Senate approves performance-based teacher lay-offs

Apr 13, 2011

The State Senate has approved a controversial proposal to base teacher lay-offs on performance - not seniority. The vote late Tuesday triggered a heated debate on the Senate floor and split majority Democrats. Senator Rodney Tom is a suburban Seattle Democrat. He led the charge for performance-based lay-offs:

“Why in the world would you ever lay-off a second year or third year or fourth year teacher of the year in lieu of maybe an eight or ninth year teacher who is on probation? It just makes no sense.”

But Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown assailed the teacher-layoff proposal as “symbolism”:

“The sad reality that the biggest education bill of the session is talking about how to lay-off teachers, how to lay-off teachers not how to prevent the lay-off of teachers.”

The teacher-layoff proposal was thought to have died earlier this year in the face of strong opposition from Washington’s teachers’ union. But a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans in the Washington Senate resurrected it just before a key legislative cut-off. The debate will now move to the Washington House.