It is not a good time to be a beginning teacher.

Historically, the first people to get laid off are the part-time, substitute, and intern teachers. The term “intern” essentially means “contracted while we feel like it”. At any point the intern teacher can be served with a March 15 letter with the phrase “services no longer needed” buried into a lot of legal fluff.

The term “March 15 letter” refers to the deadline given by California Education Code; it’s the last possible date to let a teacher now that they must begin looking for a job. Every year, around April, dozens of recently polished resumes and recommendations flood recruiting websites like in an effort for new teachers to find the next “intern” position. Eventually, the intern earns enough clout to earn “tenure” which guarantees them a spot for the next year.

At least… that’s how it usually is.

A school that doesn’t have a union is a rarity in Southern California. Here, the powerhouse Union negotiators have lawyers and press agents on speed dial, ready to pounce on administrators the moment they start to show shady behavior.

Many charter schools are union-free, largely because of the odd curriculum and regular teacher turnover. It is not uncommon for some charter schools to see 30% turnover every year. The teachers at one such union-free school, unfortunately, have no advocate.

So when several teachers are laid off in late July, they are, as the French say, le screwed.

The reason the March 15 deadline exists is to allow veteran teachers a fighting chance to get the most desirable positions. Several veteran teachers (in a school without tenure) were recently canned largely, it is believed, due to the high cost of their salary.

Why keep a $70,000 English teacher when you can get a fresh one for $45,000?

With a never-ending supply of fresh, inexperienced teachers, this pattern can be continued indefinitely, constantly removing teachers from the posts when they begin to be excellent and raise student test scores.

The school is saved from the budget crunch.