Spring ritual: non-tenured teachers get layoff notices

A year ago, when Willmar, Minn., was sending layoff notices to all non-tenured teachers, I asked those in the profession, “why do you bother?”

It’s a good time to ask the same question because this afternoon the school board is likely to do the same thing.

As with last year, most of the teachers will probably be hired back. Last year, a school board member said the board doesn’t like to single out the 10 or so teachers who would actually be laid off, so they prefer to give them all notices.

Otherwise, supporters of one teacher will pack the board room to say it should be another teacher who should be cut.

This year, those getting notices include 30 elementary teachers, 12 English Language Learner teachers, 14 special education teachers, nine math teachers, instructional coaches, reading instructors and guidance counselors, according to the West Central Tribune.

It’s tough running a school system. It’s tough being a teacher, even if you’re not getting jumped while trying to break up fights. Around this time every year, you have to wonder whether you’ll have a job in the fall. And, presumably, you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it to try to hang in for three years when the protections of tenure kick in.

Oh, by the way, there’s a shortage of teachers in Minnesota right now. Thirty two percent of the young ones leave within five years of starting their career. The best and the brightest are trying to figure out why.

[update] New superintendent proposes studying tradition of laying off/rehiring non-tenured teachers (West Central Tribune)