Class Warfare Blog

March 8, 2014

It’s the Damned Teachers, Man!

As the current wave of “reform” sweeps through our public education system, one aspect of the reform seems evident and that is “it is all about the teachers.” Whether school kids pass or fail, it is the teacher’s fault, those over paid, underqualified, pampered employees sucking on the government’s teat. It has nothing to do with the number of parents a child has, or whether they live in poverty or are homeless, or their family has drug or violence in their home; it’s just about the teachers. The reformers say that teachers should only be paid for performance and be stopped from benefiting from the largesse of inept local politicians.

Yeah, right.
So, what is really going on?

According to EPI Brief No. 298 “Recent trends represent only a small part of a much larger long-run decline in the relative pay of teachers. Census data shows that the pay gap between female public school teachers and comparably educated women—for whom the labor market dramatically changed over the 1960-2000 period—grew by nearly 28 percentage points, from a relative wage advantage of 14.7% in 1960 to a pay disadvantage of 13.2% in 2000. Among all (male and female) public school teachers, the relative wage disadvantage grew almost 20 percentage points over the 1960-2000 period. (Allegretto, Corcoran, and Mishel 2008, p.7)” \

Say what? In 1960 female teachers received pay almost 15% higher than other women of the same education level but by the year 2000 it was almost 15% lower? Yes, and similar results are shown for male teachers. Teacher’s pay has been slowly being eroded for decades.

But, but, . . . they say that greedy teachers are ruining state budgets! They do, don’t they. A remarkable case of greed, don’t you think? So greedy that they negotiated their way, through those awful teacher’s unions, to an almost 30% wage decline (relative to wages they could get elsewhere) over that time period. Now that’s greedy.

But, but, . . .

Stop sputtering and ask yourself one question: who benefits if teachers are disempowered? (Think of Wisconsin as an example, where teachers’ unions were disempowered while businesses were given a billion dollar tax cut.) Yes, you do have to follow the money and money is power. Teachers’ unions have historically supported liberal political candidates with their money and their bodies. Who benefits from teachers’ being afraid to speak up?

Well, it ain’t Satan, Church Lady! But the current wave of public education reform, focused upon all of the “bad teachers” who are not doing their jobs and need to be fired, is financed by foundations funded by corporations and corporations themselves who have co-opted the cooperation of the federal Department of Education to shill for them.

You didn’t know, you say? You do now.

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5 Comments »

  1. Anyone who complains about public school teachers are probably not aware that private schools, including charter schools that tax payers help fund, get to pick and choose which students they will accept or expel later if they prove to be too much of a problem.

    Anyone who complains and who has children seem to deny that taking care of their own kids is a trial let alone 20-30 kids belonging to someone else with diverse personalities and at the lowest grade levels, lack basic social skills. Teachers should be highly reward simply for putting up with someone else’s misbehaved children while trying to educate them.

    Like

    Comment by lbwoodgate — March 8, 2014 @ 8:45 am | Reply

    • Basically, if kids weren’t going to school for 6 hours per day for 175 days per year, what would baby sitting services cost? Let’s say $10 per hour. So each parent would be paying $10,500 just to get child care. (Note that this is far less than local taxes for education.) So, for a class of 30 students we are looking at $315,000 of babysitting costs saved. If a teacher were to be given half of that (actually personnel costs are more like 80% of the total, but there are janitors, and other non teachers, so let’s just say 50%) they would receive a salary of $157,000 per year. Now, to educate those students, there should be a surcharge …

      On Sat, Mar 8, 2014 at 8:45 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by stephenpruis — March 8, 2014 @ 9:27 am | Reply

      • “So each parent would be paying $10,500 just to get child care.”

        Excellent point.

        Like

        Comment by lbwoodgate — March 8, 2014 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  2. The reformers say that teachers should only be paid for performance and be stopped from benefiting from the largesse of inept local politicians.

    Reformers quite decidedly, are full of bullcookies.

    What sort of rubric do your construct to measure “performance” across the jurisdiction of even one school board. The socioeconomic conditions vary widely and therefore what is good performance must also vary to a large degree, so who reliably measures that?

    is financed by foundations funded by corporations and corporations themselves who have co-opted the cooperation of the federal Department of Education

    Starve the government beast until it is underfunded and ineffective, then complain it isn’t getting results. Standard right wing tomfoolery.

    Like

    Comment by The Arbourist — March 9, 2014 @ 9:07 am | Reply

    • Nail head, meet hammer. Is it any wonder that the people who are against government are the one’s making it dysfunctional?

      Like

      Comment by stephenpruis — March 9, 2014 @ 10:08 am | Reply


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