The Economic, Career, Social and Personal Effects of Reduction in Force (RIF) in Secondary Teachers Terminated from Three Iowa School Districts, 1981-1983
Prior, Barbara L.
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Purpose. The purpose of the study was to collect data on the effects of Reduction-in-Force as they related to the economic, career, social, and personal lives of secondary school teachers, to describe the current status of this group and the adjustments made to job loss. Procedures. A questionnaire was designed to secure information of the effects on secondary teachers riffed (1980-1983) from three Iowa multi-high school districts. Comparisons of data were reported in numbers and percentages, grouped and cross-tabulated according to sex, age, subject area, length of service, and school district. Findings. Most riffed teachers were in the 31-40 age group, with three to five years of teaching experience, females out-numbering males by a wide margin. Teachers were terminated from all disciplines, the greatest numbers from special education and physical education. Twenty-six percent reported illnesses diagnosed as stress-related to job loss; 55 percent have made life-style adjustments. Some teachers have relocated, either to accept other teaching positions or to make career changes. A large percentage of riffed teachers were recalled within three to six months, some to other disciplines and different grade levels. Not all accepted recall. Conclusions. Female teachers between the ages of thirty and forty bore the brunt of RIF at the secondary level. The numbers of terminated teachers who were recalled before the next school year began would support the contention that school districts over-riffed. Recalled teachers are teaching outside their preferred subject and grade areas to a greater degree than before RIF. Major life-style changes were made as riffed teachers sought to adjust, with those making career changes finding teaching skills to have value. Recommendations. School districts should take steps to ensure that seniority is not the sole criterion for RIF but that it is combined with other criteria to protect academic disciplines and unique programs. Those districts which have successfully retrained riffed teachers and provided supportive environments should be studied as models. Boards and administrators should anticipate trends and make preparations to ensure that the total impact of RIF, if it occurs again, will be diffused.
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