Monday, February 2, 2009

Seniority and Tenure vs Learning and Productivity

As the manufacturing company I work for faces the grim reality of separating with and/or laying off upwards of 25% of the employees (~25,000) worldwide in order to ensure the company remains a viable business and employer for the other 75%, I wonder what the stockholders and stakeholders would think if seniority was the primary selection criteria ?

The company line would be that employee capability, effort, willingness to continually improve and learn, customer focus, etc are less important than years served. Therefore we will continue to harbor those that have lost interest in their job, show little effort, show poor behaviors, and have stopped learning/trying, etc. We will accept the loss in productivity and the risk of having our American company put out of business by foreign competition in order to keep these disengaged employees unhappily employed until their retirement.

Would this make any sense at all ?

My father taught me a very simple and transparent truth. You must continually work to ensure your perceived value is greater than your perceived cost, in order to survive the cuts in a downturn. And if you are still one of the unlucky ones, the ongoing efforts you had taken to maintain your value should help you find another job quickly.

So I did some research on how seniority and tenure grew in importance in the public school systems and found the Time articles linked below. I am interested in this today, because I learned this weekend that the ZLE Principal that started just this year is being bumped to Northport and that the PLE Principal will move to ZLE next year.

I am sure the new Principal will be fine, many PLE parents love him. However, what strange rationale would drive the Administration to subject the teachers and students to another transition when the Principal is doing a great job. More importantly, wouldn't Northport get more value from having a more experienced Principal?

I assume this has a lot to do with seniority and some to do with extending an olive branch to the PLE parents that will have kids at ZLE next year. Though I would think the PLE parents whose kids will not be attending ZLE may find it more of a slap in the face. ZLE wins either way, just thought it odd. Enjoy the articles:

Time Tenure
Time Great Teachers


Christine said...

Seniority is not the best way to assess teachers, but experience does count for a lot. I wish 281 was more focused on achievement and teachers that could produce it.

I was a parent who asked for the SHE and the PLE principals to follow their students. I was hoping for one of them to end up at Sonnesyn, in hopes that it may make that school seem a better choice for my kids. But alas, it didn't work out for me. 281 did it in an attempt to stem the exodus from the district, and I'm sure it will help. But for the PLE families slated for Sonnesyn, we have been given a very bitter pill to take.
I still wish more parents from other schools had pushed for the K-6 plan. The K-5 plan is so much more disruptive to the district on so many levels. Last year, they talked about that a lot, but this year, it didn't suit their agenda, so they didn't make the statistics public.
And I've been told that your ZLE principal was the principal at New Hope Elementary before it closed, but was kicked back to IA and had been waiting for an opening in the interim. So perhaps he's not all that "green." I think Northport needs someone excited by the challenge.

John said...

To make sure I am understood, I think the ZLE Principal (Patrick) is energetic, friendly, outgoing, organized, dedicated, personable, great around kids, etc. We would prefer to keep him, for these qualities and the fact that the teachers and kids like him and have adjusted to him.

Also, he has plenty of experience for a ZLE. Just seemed Northport may benefit from someone who has been around even longer. The upside is Patrick will bring lots of energy to Northport.