B. A. Birch reports on the Education News website about the results of an Education-Trust West study that shows that low-income, minority children are likely to be placed with the worst performing teachers in a school.  The findings come after another 18-month long study that found that having good minority teachers for three or more years is quite helpful in helping Hispanic and black students to improve to a level that is comparable to their white and Asian peers.

Researchers in this study found the following:

  • Students who had the worst ranked teachers were stuck below grade level.
  • Seniority-based layoffs often meant that schools had more ineffective senior teachers in low performing schools.  When budget cuts had to be made, more lower-paid teachers had to be let go while the higher paid yet ineffective senior teachers remained.

The study researchers recommend the following:

  • Better professional development for teachers
  • Evaluation methods and incentives that help retain top teachers in high-poverty schools
  • Reform to state laws that mandate seniority-based layoffs
  • Increased oversight to ensure that top teachers are spread equitably among schools
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