Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The best defense of seniority (so far)

I found this reprint of a Matthew DiCarlo piece from the Answer Sheet.   It's the best attempt to "defend" seniority based decision making that I've seen.   Needless to say- I take issue with several points made by DiCarlo- which I hope address in the near future.   Here's a snippet:

Third, all of the outrage against seniority seems way overblown. It has for decades been considered a fair and impartial way of proceeding, in both the public as well as private sectors (though it is far more common in the former, and among unionized employees in both sectors). In education, this policy also has some research backing: Even by the narrow measure of student test score growth, experience is among the few proven signals of teaching quality (see here, here, here, here, or our summary here), to say nothing of the possibility that experience matters more when it comes to other student learning outcomes (including, by the way, reducing attrition; experienced teachers are less likely to leave the profession).

In short, seniority is definitely imperfect, but it is hardly outrageous to use it as a proxy for quality

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