In the discussion on teacher employment that Tyler and Karl have been contributing to, Tyler makes a point I want to quickly address:

Note this is a sector where there is a growing realization that quite a few of the workers should, for non-cyclical reasons, be fired anyway.

This is a reason why it would have been possible to fire a significant number and do so consistent with a desirable structural adjustment, thus making the decline not a bad thing per se. Districts could have tried to identify and fire the least productive teachers consistent with Hanushek’s recommendation that we do so.  However, due to LIFO and other restrictive policies I would venture that is by and large not what is happening, and the teachers laid off are simply the most recent hires, or those in areas where you don’t  necessarily want layoffs back but schools have an ability to do so, such as music and art. I don’t have any data on this, but it is what I’ve observed, and I wouldn’t guess this is a controversial point.

Because of this I don’t see any reason why Tyler’s point should be given much of any weight in considering whether we should hire more teachers or not. I’m open to persuasion if someone has actual data on this indicating I am incorrect.

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