Rif Criteria: A Collaborative Process Model For Public Schools (reduction-In-Force)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


Educational Leadership


Purpose. Reduction-in-force (RIF) among American public school teachers is a recent phenomenon. Methods used to determine how and who shall be retained have not generally earned wide support. The purpose of this study is to develop RIF criteria based on direct input from teachers, administrators, school board members, and parents; and to assess their applicability and acceptance.Method. Investigation included Case Study Interview; RIF Questionnaire; and Summary Interview. The study was conducted in a large metropolitan public school district involving 289 respondents. Workplace environment, relative influence of respondents, and opinions and beliefs regarding teacher-worth were measured to formulate RIF criteria.Findings. Data describe a school district with minimal experience with, or concern for, RIF. Working relationships are best among teachers-principals; followed by teachers-Board; then administrators-Board; and teacher-superintendent. Contract negotiations had reached impasse as these data were collected.Administrators were rated most influential, followed by teachers, parents, and school board members. Subgroups scored measures of teacher-worth similarly, ranging 8.2 percentage points from the mean; except Seniority, spanning 26.2 points. Teaching performance emerged as most important, although teachers scored it 2.1 points less than Seniority. Collaborated values and percentage of total criteria are: Teaching Performance Appraisal, 35.9%; Extra-Curricular Participation, 10.4%; and Breadth of Certification, 9.8%. Resultant RIF criteria were generally or highly satisfying to 50% of interviewees, while 25% were somewhat satisfied, and 6.25% were not satisfied. Improving the teacher evaluation process was most frequently named as a concern in implementing a collaborative process.Conclusions and Recommendations. (1) Teaching performance is the most important RIF criterion, even though seniority is more important to teachers. (2) Collaboratively devised RIF criteria generates acceptance of them. (3) Teaching performance evaluation needs to be improved and attuned to RIF use.Further research of the collaborative model is needed in schools with extensive RIF activity. The impact that RIF practices have on instruction needs exploration.


Education, Administration

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