Huffpost New York

Voters Against 'Last Hired, First Fired' Rule: Poll

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Voters don't believe seniority should reign supreme when it comes to which teachers get the ax.

That's according to a new poll by Education Reform Now, a group run by allies of Mayor Bloomberg, who is staunchly against the last hired, first fired law for public school teachers.

From the New York Post:

Of the 800 statewide respondents surveyed, 61 percent said they rejected the seniority-based LIFO policy while 37 percent supported it, according to the poll conducted for the advocacy group Education Reform Now.

The opposition was broad-based -- 63 percent of men and 61 percent of women gave thumbs down, as did 60 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of registered independent voters.

"New York voters clearly understand the difference a good, effective teacher makes in the public-school classroom for school kids," said pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies which conducted the survey. "It is exactly that sentiment that is driving voter support to change the current 'last in, first out' law."

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed favored a move to a merit-based layoff system.

The poll also showed people were less likely to vote for elected officials who were in favor of 'last in, first out'.

Advocates for the current seniority-based policy say they worry about what criteria a "merit-based" layoff policy would use.

The debate over the current law was reinvigorated last month by Mayor Bloomberg, who initially threatened that, if the state cuts aid to New York City, massive teacher layoffs would be necessary.

He later backed off that claim. Bloomberg would like any layoffs that do occur to be based on merit.