Wednesday Journal’s April 18 editorial calls for the Illinois School Code to be amended so that with teacher reductions in force (RIF), teacher performance will be a more important factor than seniority. In fact, Illinois law was changed in 2011 specifically to address that very issue. Section 24-12(b) of Public Act 97-0008 creates four priority groupings for layoffs, with teacher evaluation results the primary factor in setting priorities. The full effect of the legislative change may not be felt until the state’s new evaluation system is up and running, but the philosophical shift your editorial calls for has already been enacted into law.
It is worth noting that our local state Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4) played a leading role in negotiating these changes, which were highlighted last year by the Center for American Progress.