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Would The New York City Layoffs Hurt Poor Schools More?


Thank you for the analysis on this subject, I was very curious to see that correlation looked at. I agree that the data points away from any direct correlation between high poverty and high layoffs; however, I think that saying that layoffs hurt lowest income schools the most is not unreasonable. First, Generally speaking, higher income students have more stable homes, and school is not the only constant in their life. At many high poverty schools, including the one I teach at, the school (and the teachers there) are that constant. I always like to tell a story from my first year teaching to emphasize this point. I took my first day off from school in November, since I got a pretty bad cold. I called in sick. The next day, my students showed up to class and all told me that they thought I had left them, or quit, or something like that, simply because I hadn't shown up one day. Let's be honest here, a high school student at an affluent school in NYC isn't going to care much if their teacher changes, and if their teacher does change, odds are that the school is going to attract another great teacher. This brings me to a second point: The level of a replacement teacher at a low income school is going to be worse than at a high income school. Therefore, even if both the low income and high income schools are losing young teachers at the same rate, the shuffle of more veteran teachers that will inevitably happen will have the better teachers end up and the more affluent schools, since its where they want to be. I think that this is the stronger of the two points, and the one that is ignored in this. Thoughts?

It looks like your analysis includes a nubmer of schools who won't lose any teachers. For the sake of your regression analysis, I would probably make sense to remove those schools. (maybe you already did that?) Also coudl you share your data set! Thanks

This is true of NYC schools; it's not true of all school districts. In my district, SFUSD, layoffs unambiguously impact high-needs schools more. This appears to be true in LAUSD. Mind you, I don't believe the answer is overturning seniority. But ignoring the reality that low-seniority teachers tend to be clustered at high-needs schools is as unhelpful as value-added assessment schemes.

Why would it make sense to take away schools that aren't losing any teachers? That's part of the most valuable information. If there are affluent schools not losing any teachers, and high poverty ones losing a lot of teachers, that's important to see (which, according to this data that includes all the schools, doesn't appear to be the case)

Jacob: Links to both datasets are actually embedded in the post. The projected layoff dataset is in the first sentence, first paragraph. The school poverty dataset (absent the schools that he looked up individually) are in the fifth paragraph, second line.

Jacob, Thanks very much for your comment, but Sam is correct - if we're trying to see how the incidence of layoffs differs by poverty (or any other variable), we have to include schools without layoffs in the analysis. Sam, I think it's entirely plausible, if not likely, that layoffs have a greater adverse impact on high-poverty students. This post addresses the question of whether there are *more* layoffs (as a proportion of teachers) in higher-poverty schools, as some people are claiming. So, while it is true that layoffs hurt all children, I might have been more clear about what I meant, which is that the *incidence* of layoffs (as currently conducted in NYC) is roughly equal in higher- and lower-poverty schools. You, on the other hand, are asking a different (and perhaps more important) question: Whether layoffs, when they do occur, are more harmful to poorer students/schools. I cannot address your question using this dataset, but there is evidence that you're correct - for example, teachers in high-poverty schools tend to improve more slowly and inconsistently (at least according to estimates from growth models), and many poorer schools tend to have trouble attracting and retaining good candidates, as you note. If true, this would seem to suggest that we should do whatever we can to avoid layoffs entirely, especially in a district like NYC, where so many of the schools are high-poverty relative to the typical public school district. Thanks again to both of you.


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