I came across this great petition to show support for putting an end to seniority-based teacher assignment and hiring as well as “bumping” in Providence Public Schools. If you’re not familiar with bumping, it’s basically that if an employee (in this case a teacher) gets laid off and they have a certain number of years under their belt (regardless of their qualifications or the quality of their teaching), they can bump a junior employee (again, in this case a teacher) from the position, transferring the lay off to that teacher. Again, this does not take performance, qualifications, or the quality of their work into consideration. It is purely seniority based. The unions love this, the residents don’t. Seniority, especially in the case of teachers, does not coincide in the least bit with quality. In fact, in many cases, seniority means dead weight and getting paid a whole lot more. Should we be paying extra for lower quality teachers simply because they have been teaching the longest? Experience only goes so far. Twenty years experience teaching is not twice as good as 10 years if you’ve been teaching the same subject.
If you live in Providence, you should support this petition. The Rhode Island Education Commissioner signed an order to put an end to this practice and force school districts to hire and promote based on interviews and actual performance rather than seniority. The Providence Teachers Union, disgustingly, filed a lawsuit to overturn this order.