Good Teachers Make All the Difference

06/15/2010 10:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Teacher layoffs have a devastating effect on our schools: students are deprived of stablility; staff moral declines; and too often, bright, young, commited teachers are the the first to go.

We can do better. While budget cuts to education are an unavoidable outcome of the economic crisis, we can minimize the impact cuts have on student learning and achievement.

Teachers are the single most valuable resource at our schools, and we can and should ensure that the best and brightest among them remain in ou classrooms.

Today, Boardmembers Yolie Flores and Tamar Galatzan will introduce a resolution to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education that directs the district to take action and address the disparate impacts seniority based layoffs have on our students and schools.

The resolution calls for the immediate development of a negotiations strategy to reform and improve the collective bargaining agreement that impedes the ability to protect the stability of teaching staffs at all District schools. It also directs the Superintendent to engage the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Counsel, the State Board of Education, UTLA, and other advocates to join the District in urging California lawmakers to immediately support legislative changes that allow districts the flexibility to protect equal access and educational opportunities for all students by basing lay off criteria on qualifications other than seniority.

We cannot stand by while our children suffer from teacher layoffs that adversely affect a school's ability to provide a stable workforce of quality teachers. Our primary concern must be that every student has access to a high quality education - one that enables them to graduate college-prepared and career-ready - and I urge the School Board to pass this resolution and continue to protect the rights of our students.

We all believe that every student has the fundamental right to a quality education and a stable staff of quality professionals, so let's work together to fix a broken system that fails to recognize the invaluable contributions talented teachers make to our students.