Teacher seniority rights remain intact in Oakland’s public schools

Katy Murphy:

Seniority rules and teacher transfer rights will remain intact in Oakland Unified this year, despite the superintendent’s call for a change.
The recent debate in Oakland has centered on the transfer of displaced teachers — those whose schools have closed, whose positions have been cut, or who are returning from leave. Traditionally, those teachers have chosen their new job from a list of openings for which they are eligible, with the most senior employee having the first pick and principals having little to no say.
Superintendent Tony Smith had hoped to work out a different arrangement in Oakland, in an initiative called “mutual matching,” arguing it would lead to better placements and, ultimately, higher student achievement. Teachers would visit prospective schools and list their top choices; school principals would do the same, and the district would make the final placements based on both sets of preferences.
Some teachers welcomed the idea. Others expressed strong objections, or felt the process would be too rushed to put in place for the fall. This week, without the union support it needed, the district acknowledged that it had run out of time.