If you have read any of my more recent articles there has been a small theme (excluding a few articles of course), and that is equality among socio-economic statuses. Recently the Spokane Public School District has faced a major budget shortcoming, this has led to 325 layoffs throughout the district by seniority. The district faced a $31 million budget deficit which is yet to be explained how that kind of money is missing from the budget.
The problem with following seniority, is with a school with a high turn over rate such as John R. Rogers High School, they lose the largest amount of teachers and staff, of the 325 layoffs throughout the district, Rogers lost 22 staff members while other schools like Lewis and Clark didn't face a single lay off. Unfortunately, Rogers needs all the support staff they can get due to the socio-economic status of the students at the school. Almost 80% of Rogers students are on free and reduced lunch, this number is considerably high for any school.
Staff turnover is high because it's not usually a place teachers go to retire unless they consider themselves part of the school identity like a few special do. I write about this because I attended Rogers and even when I attended it was always very clear that we were always expected to do poorly, and funding was always low. It always felt as though our test scores determined our funding so there was always pressure from our teachers. But the teachers we had always enjoyed their job- and even when they didn't they always cared for us and wanted to help us with whatever they could whether it was with our personal lives or academically.
Students have had enough.
On April 17th, students walked out to let their voices be heard. They claimed that they were not "going down without a fight" and that their voices would be heard. Many places that face layoffs see it as important to do so by seniority for equality purposes, however, the issue here isn't equality, the issue is equity. Equity is when you give one group what they need to be successful and level out the playing field. Equality is giving everyone the same treatment, but this doesn't level the playing field. This keeps the people who are already ahead. This is what we're seeing in this case. Schools like Shadle and Lewis and Clark didn't have layoffs because teachers and staff stick around longer, but because of this, Rogers who is in desperate need of the help was just set back again due to this.
Whether it's too late or not, this cannot happen again, even throughout the surrounding districts who are announcing the deficits in their own budgets. Hopefully, they will look into the difference between equity and equality and make their decisions for layoffs based off of the statistics.