Study Group

Seniority-Based Layoffs

This study focuses on the implications of seniority-based teacher layoff policies.

In the 2008-09 school year, over 2000 teachers in Washington State received layoff notices, and continued tough economic times suggest that there will be more. Teachers who received these notices can be linked to Washington State data on students and schools to help answer four key policy questions:

1) Are there characteristics, other than seniority, that predict the likelihood that teachers are laid off?

2) What are the characteristics of students at schools where layoffs occurred?

3) Given the prevailing salary structure in Washington, what are the budgetary implications of seniority-based layoffs?

4) How effective are those teachers who received layoff notices as compared to those who did not?

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Goldhaber, D. and Theobald, R. (2013). Managing the teacher workforce in austere times: The determinants and implications of teacher layoffs. Education Finance and Policy 8(4), 494–527.
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Goldhaber, D. and Theobald, R. (2011). Managing the teacher workforce: The consequences of “last in, first out” personnel policies. Education Next 11(4), Fall 2011, 78-83.
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Goldhaber, D. and Theobald, R. (2020). The COVID-19 crisis and teacher layoffs: Research on how to mitigate harm. CALDER Policy Brief No. 20-0620.
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Goldhaber, D. and Theobald, R. (2011). Seniority-based layoffs hurt schools, students. Tacoma News Tribune, July 4, 2011.

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OUR PUBLICATIONS

TEACHER RECRUITMENT & SELECTION

A long-standing researcher-practitioner partnership between CEDR and Spokane Public Schools (SPS) has connected data collected during the teacher hiring process in SPS to later teacher outcomes in SPS and other district in Washington

SCHOOL RESOURCES &
EQUITY

CEDR projects have investigated the connections between school resources (e.g., textbook adoption) and students' educational trajectories and outcomes.

POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION

CEDR projects have explored the impact of programs like Washington's College Bound Scholarship program and students' postsecondary outcomes.

TEACHER PREPARATION & LICENSURE

CEDR projects including the Teacher Education Learning Collaborative (TELC; www.telc.us), the Improving Student Teaching Initiative (ISTI), and others have investigated the connections between specific teacher preparation experiences and measures collected during teacher licensure and later outcomes for teacher candidates.

SPECIAL EDUCATION &
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

CEDR has participated in several projects related to the participation of students with disabilities in career and technical education (CTE) and the extent to which this participation predicts later outcomes

TEACHER LABOR
MARKETS 

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN EDUCATION SYSTEMS & LABOR MARKET OUTCOMES

CEDR projects have investigated the connections between school resources (e.g., textbook adoption) and students' educational trajectories and outcomes.

CEDR has studied processes and outcomes in the teacher labor market like teacher collective bargaining agreements, teacher quality gaps, and teacher layoffs and their connections to student achievement

TEACHER QUALIFICATIONS & EFFECTIVENESS

CEDR projects have explored the impact of programs like Washington's College Bound Scholarship program and students' postsecondary outcomes.

TEACHER
PENSIONS

CEDR researchers have studied the teacher pension system in Washington and other states and investigated the connections between pensions systems and teachers' career paths and effectiveness.