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