Hundreds of Metro teachers notified of job terminations

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

Hundreds of Metro teachers across all grade levels in recent days received notifications from the district’s central office informing them they won’t be returning to their positions next school year.

Metro school officials say the release of non-renewal teachers is typical this time of year and that they don’t constitute as layoffs. Many could be re-hired. 

“These are all non-tenured teachers,” June Keel, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, told The City Paper. “None of them are being non-renewed for budgetary reasons. That was not a consideration in any of these non-renewals.”

In all, 265 teachers were given notification that their employment with the district will terminate June 2. All were given notice before a state-mandated May 15 deadline. Metro has about 5,900 teachers employed in the system. 

Keel said non-renewals result from state licensure issues. She said each year the district hires teachers who have a transitional license. Though this type of license is state-certified, she said this particular group of teachers has coursework they must take to become eligible for a full license.

“There are specific requirements as far as coursework and taking the required practice exams that they have to take in order for them to renew that license,” Keel said. “So, we non-renew these teachers every year until they can provide us documentation that states that they have met the requirements for renewal of that license. This is not an unusual number. This happens every year.”

Keel said a number of the non-renewed teachers are educators the district would like to retain somewhere in the system. But she pointed out the district has been “tightening up” on its state-required teacher-pupil ratios, meaning many other teachers are already being displaced to different schools.

"We will place all of those teachers and make sure all of those teachers are placed before we start considering these non-renewed teachers for rehire,” Keel said.

But some teachers learned they won’t return to their positions as a result of unsatisfactory evaluations, she added. Presumably, these teachers would be less likely candidates to find employment elsewhere in the district.  

Erick Huth, president of the Metro Nashville Education Association, the local teachers’ union, agreed notifying non-renewed teachers is standard practice, adding that they aren’t layoffs.

“The numbers don’t seem to be out of the ordinary,” he said.

Huth, however, has observed that many teachers who aren’t being renewed for state-licensing issues are more confused than in previous years. 

“They seem to be less understanding this year than they have been in the past,” Huth said.

“We have a lot more people calling us up this year wondering why they’re being non-reelected because of their licensing than we have in the past,” he elaborated. “Usually we get one or two people ... This year it seems there are more people who are in that situation.”

For teachers being displaced within the district, Metro has organized two job fairs, allowing teachers to learn about other school employment opportunities.

The first was to take place Tuesday night at the Martin Professional Development Center. The second job fair will take place at the same venue, Wednesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

10 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 5/18/11 at 5:32

I am surprised at the Nashville City Paper for writing this column. I thought they were more objective than this. Annual teacher turnover has been a part of the teaching process for as long as I can remember.

By: govskeptic on 5/18/11 at 7:22

Of course these teachers do not have tenure or belong to the teacher's union.
It's doesn't matter how good or effective they are in the class room, it's just that
they are fairly new hires and don't yet belong to the club. Last in-first out is
the rules right or wrong. Dedicated and competent as well as poorly motivated
and/or incompetent keep their jobs with seniority and MNEA membership!

By: bartsdad on 5/18/11 at 7:30

In any job I've had, you have to serve your time. I don't see how this constitutes an article...much less a sensational headline. Sounds like it would be a GOAL of the new teachers to work towards their seniority as best they can...do a good job and yes, join the union. Duh.

By: bruingeek on 5/18/11 at 8:11

It may be a matter of semantics, but there is a difference between being fired (terminated) and not having one's contract renewed until certain qualifications are met. Regardless, the sensational headline doesn't exactly match up with the content of the story. Then again, I probably would not have read the story if the headline read, "265 Metro Teachers May or May Not Be Returning".

By: howelln on 5/18/11 at 1:26

the difference this year is that there are a lot more terminations.

By: mg357 on 5/18/11 at 3:41

With the inception of 11 new charter schools, won't these teachers be able to apply there for work..........mg

By: nasheducation on 5/18/11 at 3:48

There are several differences in the ways teachers may not return the following year. These are not clear from the article.

If a teacher is "displaced" it means he/she is a licensed teacher who is guaranteed a job in the district, but there is no space for him/her at the current school. These are the only teachers allowed to attend the displaced teacher fair. Displaced teachers are often displaced because of shifts in school enrollment and/or individual school funding. They must be hired before any other hiring can occur.

If a teacher is "nonrenewed" for licensure, it means he/she must prove that he/she has completed the necessary requirements for licensure before being re-hired into the district. If a teacher has not completed these requirements, he/she cannot be re-hired.

If a teacher is "nonrenewed" for performance issues it means he/she is a non-tenured teacher who has been fired.

By: Nitzche on 5/18/11 at 4:57

City Paper objective????...come on you are smarter than that, you are better than that

By: Moonglow1 on 5/19/11 at 5:30

Moonglow1: oops!!! Haslam forgot. He told everyone his administration was focused on jobs. Perhaps he meant elimination of jobs. Maybe that is his jobs plan. Elimination rather than creation. After all, the tea party believes only God can create. Oh well, hands are tied. Cannot do a thing.

By: Moonglow1 on 5/19/11 at 5:30

Moonglow1: oops!!! Haslam forgot. He told everyone his administration was focused on jobs. Perhaps he meant elimination of jobs. Maybe that is his jobs plan. Elimination rather than creation. After all, the tea party believes only God can create. Oh well, hands are tied. Cannot do a thing.