Opinion-Policy Nexus

Ok, you are probably sick of reading about my complaints re: regulation 274.  But I received yet another anonymous letter, this time of a newspaper clipping in which a number of anecdotes are underlined about alleged nepotism in teacher hiring in the past (and hence why we need seniority).

Sigh. First of all, there is no systematic evidence that nepotism was occurring in Ontarion in any large scale or meaningful fashion. None. All we have are anecdotes. But even if the anecdotes are in fact accurate and generalizable, hiring on the basis of seniority alone is not the answer.  Nor, would I argue, is seniority any better than nepotism!

In one school board in Ontario, I'm told, the school board simply takes the list of 20 or 30 jobs that are available in any given year and goes to the top of the LTO list and says to the candidate at the top (with the most seniority), "ok, which job would like?" No interviews, no principals. Just seniority.

How is that process in any way fair?  You can be the absolute worst teacher in the world and not have any interest in students or teachers, and yet you still get to choose whatever teaching gig you want.  All you have to do is just wait it out and voila, instant job.

If we want fair and transparent hiring, then change the interview process.  Create checks and balances in which the task of interviewing and assessing teacher candidates is either divided among different committees.  Or appoint at least one hiring committee member who is from the school board.  Or better yet, have a non-voting member of the union sit on each hiring committee whose job is simply to ensure that hiring is done fairly and without bias or conflict of interest.

Seniority is not the answer.  Neither is nepotism. The answer is in creating hiring practices that ensure merit trumps bias.