Government Spending

Stuf U Learn In Pubic Schools

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Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa's Merrill Middle School, organized a large group of students the other day to protest a spending slowdown, and to demonstrate some of the excellent results the Hawkeye state is getting for its $7,419 per pupil:

What our they trying to say?

Video here. Courtesy of Mish Shedlock, who follows up with other tales of teacher trickery in Rhode Island.

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  1. Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa’s Merrill Middle School, organized a large group of students the other day to protest a spending slowdown,

    This asshole should be fired.

    1. And all entities with government contracts that lobby should be too, right?

      But funny, no posts about them yet…

      1. Why, did they bring someone else’s children to lobby for them as well?

        1. Is that the objection, the drafting of the kids? Or is it the recipient of goverment pay trying to influence budget matters?

          1. 1) are = our in ebonics
            2) self is team is more important than spelling
            3) is team = esteem in ebonics

      2. I believe it’s the fact that he “organized a large group of students”, which to those of us who’ve actually been through public schools means he probably abused the power of the grading pencil to either threaten or bribe students into supporting his agenda.

        1. Or maybe he just did what that says, he organized them. Maybe they came to him with concerns. Maybe he just mentioned his and they wanted to act.

          I wonder why you are jumping to only negative conclusions without knowing?

          1. We’re talking about government sector workers here. What do you expect from them?

            1. See Ted, its ad hominem attacks like this that hurt the libertarian cause that inspired me to enter government service in hopes of helping improve public services. The vast majority of public sector workers I encounter are professional, intelligent, and extremely dedicated to serving the public. I won’t argue about the ridiculousness of politicians and policy, but when you stoop to demeaning an entire workforce–many of whom make great sacrifices in serving the public–you just look like a bitter asshole and hurt the credibility of libertarians who understand that a few bad apples don’t represent the entire public sector workforce. I await your predictably dismissive, sarcastic, and unsubstantial response.

              1. Wow, Chris. You entered public service because of libertarian ad hominem. Guess there’s not much to respond to with ambition like that.

              2. “many of whom make great sacrifices in serving the public”

                perhaps they shouldn’t be making sacrifices they aren’t being asked to?

                I had worked for a state government for as long as it served my needs. The pay was crap, but I never thought I was making any sacrifices. I was choosing a crappy pay in exchange for good benefits and stability. As soon as my needs changed, I left for the private sector and never looked back. So if anyone feels like they are sacrificing anything for my sake, do me a favor and get that job they really like so they don’t feel like life is passing them over. Can’t get a job? Well, that’s a totally different matter now, isn’t it?

                1. I agree with this. I work for the state as well and I do it because it suits me, not because I am making a sacrifice for the greater good. And I don’t know any of my colleagues who could be claiming to do so.

              3. “Dedicated to serving the public”? It’s a job. They’re getting paid. They’re not volunteering in the slums of Calcutta.

                And other than soldiers, who’s making “sacrifices”? As Reason has pointed out many times, public sector employees nowadays get paid more than private sector employees.

                1. “And other than soldiers, who’s making ‘sacrifices’?”

                  Taxpayers.

              4. Good name calling – it really helps prove your point – I worked on a contract at Mass EOHHS – RomneyCare! – The project was 100% over budget after 1 year. I left after about 8 months because I knew if I stayed any longer it would hurt both my professional reputation and my skill levels. The level of incompetence in both the project office and state FTE was staggering. They were stuck because they knew they’d never get fired but that they couldn’t get an IT job outside of the state. My friend had worked a contract in the courts and he told me nevert o take a state contract no matter how much they paid and he was right.

              5. So, your claim is that employees of the DMV, Post Office, SSA, IRS, etc. that interact with the public ARE NOT representative of public sector workers as a whole? Really?

                Then, you claim that ‘many of (the public sector workers) make great sacrifices in serving the public’. Given that total wages plus benefits of public sector workers have surpassed those of the private sector, what sacrifices would those be, exactly?

              6. Libertarians don’t generally enter government service, and if they do it’s not in an effort to IMPROVE upon them.

              7. Bwaaaa!!!

                I’m not falling for this obvious bait. No real poster could make such a statement.

          2. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:43PM|#
            “…Maybe they came to him with concerns….”

            Maybe unicorns fall out of the sky….

            1. Of course Unicorns fall out of the sky. You’re thinking of the Pegasus, that’s the one with wings.

              1. As God is my witness, I thought unicorns could fly!

                1. Nice WKRP ref.

                2. You’re thinking of the “alicorn”. Winged like Pegasus and having a horn like a unicorn.

                  Go geek cred!

                3. Thanks for the memory, Les.

          3. Maybe they came to him with concerns. Maybe he just mentioned his and they wanted to act.

            I’m sure the students were horrified that their teacher would only make 50% more than their parents.

            And want to give up money for their future college education so tha this “public servant” does not have to give up his boat.

            1. Stop being fucking stupid. People here seem to think that every teacher makes as much as the most ridiculously overpaid teacher in California. This is not the case. In many places, teachers are not paid any kind of exorbitant wage.

              School districts are largely independent and have wildly different pay scales. You presume to know that this teacher is overpaid.

              That said, the teacher really has no business organizing students to agitate for pay rises for him. At the very least it has the appearance of an ugly conflict of interest.

              1. As someone who takes credit applications all day, I know what people make all over the company at all kinds of jobs. Teachers make more than most people. Really. It is a myth that they are underpaid. Even when they make 35-40k (which is pretty normal) they make more than most people. Esp. when you consider the fact that it is only 9 months of work.

                1. “all over the company at all kinds of jobs”

                  Should be all over the country.. dang it

                  1. I’m with Susanita. I used to work in a financial field, including Mortgages and retirement rollovers, tax returns, insurance, etc. I saw people’s deepest intimate secrets. The teachers almost always had the highest income and the best pensions – at relatively young ages (late 40’s early 50’s). (Only one teacher I reviewed was not well off – he got himself into heavy debt trying to start a side business). Few, if any, people in my office then or current position (I have 25 people on my staff) made then or make now what a teacher does. The funny part about it? They just ASSUMED that everyone made that much and had that much in their retirement plan. I truly don’t think they really knew how good they have it – or they were terrific actors.

              2. “Sav are teacher.” WHATEVER his salary, he’s grossly overpaid.

                1. Perhaps if these kids were spending less time being used as tools for this over-paid union “educator” they might be able to spell!

          4. Although it culminated over fifteen years ago, I still recall my mostly miserable high school experience rather vividly. Our teachers threatened to strike over budget cuts during my sophomore year, and I’ll be fucking damned if the subsequent student walkout was triggered by any of my fellow students approaching the teachers with our concerns.

          5. Maybe they came to him with concerns.

            Yeah, I’ll bet. Concerns of the “How can I make this D into a B?” variety.

          6. I think students have other frivolous concerns than government spending. They would have had to have been “talked” into this by the teacher.

          7. Or maybe it’s the fact that a LANGUAGE TEACHER brought students to a rally with signs that are MISSPELLED!!!

            If you’re going to try and keep getting money for a thing, I would this it a good idea to make sure you are at least demonstrating some minor ability to do the thing you want money to do.

          8. Maybe Cynical actually has met a public school teacher or two. Our kids are in big trouble. Keep pounding that kool-aid, MNG.

      3. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:12PM|#
        “And all entities with government contracts that lobby should be too, right?
        But funny, no posts about them yet…”

        Just about the time I think you can’t lower the bar further, you do. What an ignoramus.
        These people are charged with educating the children in their schools.
        *Not* with using them as small propaganda props to line their wallets.

        1. We don’t know the circumstances, but we will assume! Because, ya know, GOVERNMENT WORKERS! Or something…

          1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 9:42PM|#
            “We don’t know the circumstances, but we will assume! Because, ya know, GOVERNMENT WORKERS! Or something…”

            We may not “know” the circumstances, but those with some ability to reason have an idea; quack, walk = duck.
            Got data otherwise, or are you still hoping for those unicorns?

            1. Oh no, those making assumptions without evidence have that burden of proof my nutty friend!

              1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:30PM|#
                “Oh no, those making assumptions without evidence have that burden of proof my nutty friend!”

                I’m not your friend, asshole, and you’re ‘presuming’ what the article denies:
                “Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa’s Merrill Middle School, *ORGANIZED* a large group of students…”
                See, that “organized”, asshole” Now please tell us about the unicorns.

                1. Organized could mean after being approached by the students themselves Captian Presumption.

                  1. Organized could mean after being approached by the students themselves Captian Presumption.

                    This has to be one of the most ironic if your idiotic postings to date.

                    You’re criticizing others for presuming facts that we do not know to be true, while simultaneously presuming facts for which there is less than zero evidence.

                    Captain Presumption, indeed.

                    1. They’re probably just pinin’ for the fjords.

          2. Oh, and just because you deserve it, jackass:
            “Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa’s Merrill Middle School, organized a large group of students…”
            Now, let’s hear about those unicorns.

    2. My private school took us to a protest so the city wouldn’t cut funding to a specific grant that some of their students received.

      Ah yes, teachers, that other group which need to be put in their place. Is it all about tearing people down with you, I thought libertarians were all about lifting people up. I guess that’s just for those already rich.

      1. Since when are we about “lifting people up?” Where do you get this shitty straw from?

        1. The same place he got his rich-people-suck tagline at the end of his post.

      2. Oh no not this again|4.26.10 @ 8:36PM|#
        “My private school took us to a protest so the city wouldn’t cut funding to a specific grant that some of their students received.”

        Where to begin….
        Who is “us”?
        Tu quoque?

        Next:
        “Is it all about tearing people down with you, I thought libertarians were all about lifting people up. I guess that’s just for those already rich.”
        And if your earlier crap weren’t bad enough, you poison the well on top of it.
        Stupid, followed by stupid, added to stupid….

      3. Hmm. I would like the Government to give me more cash for operating on patients. Next time I have a cardiac OR list, during the pre-op consult can I ‘ask’ the patients to come and demonstrate with me once I have fixed them?

        1. Only if they’re photogenic kids with misspelled signs.
          Oh, and only if MNG says from her/his ‘understanding’ of economics it’s OK.

      4. You think us Libertarians are the ones tearing people down?! Ever read any other political sites? Get real.

      5. You mean “already rich” like the overpaid teachers? I will stop tearing them down when they stop stealing money from me.

      6. Well, good thing only your stupid parents were paying them for that, and not everyone else then, eh?

  2. UR doing it rong

  3. They just spelled “savvy” wrong. No big whoop.

    And no, Des Moines, I don’t know your teacher, and based on her shrieking calls to save vocal instructors, I have no desire to do so in the future.

    Good thing they didn’t use the kids as props though. A well thought out protest indeed.

    1. Or they misspelled “enslaved.”

      You know, in Roman times, a lot of the rich employed Greek slaves as teachers.

      1. I believe that’s meant to read “savoir faire”.

  4. hay know, I due that all the thyme.

  5. It’s going to be okay, students. When state taxpayers say no, Senator Harkin says yes… to a $23 billion education bailout.

  6. I really, really, really want to see the education parasites get shut down hard. Firings, benefit and pay cuts, the works.

    “I’ll vote it down like a raise for schoolteachers!”

    1. I take it that today you were given another detention again?

  7. Central Falls RI is the absolute runt of the litter, economically, educationally, culturally, socially and desirability.

    Any of you not conversant with all of the joys of visiting the Ocean State should know that Central Falls is not one of them.

    1. Central Falls RI is the absolute runt of the litter, economically, educationally, culturally, socially and desirability.

      Shouldn’t that be “desirabilitally”?

    2. Yeah, but I bet there’s a lot of stupid chicks there who bang you for $12.68 or less.

      1. You’re right. Your experiences or those of a friend or an acquaintance?

  8. On a radio broadcast of a protest against the layoffs/firings of teachers in DC, a student took the mike and used the word “edumacation” at least four times in less than forty words. She was thanked effusively for her plea without the slightest hint of wincing at her words.

    1. That’s racism, straight up.

      1. Popeye was a racist?

  9. I’m sure the smirky leftists of the MSM will be all over this the same way they were gung ho to make fun of any Tea Party folks with mispelling or gramatical errors on their signs.

    1. Er, dude, these are kids we are talking about.

      1. Er, dude, homophonic confusion is a symptom of bad teaching.

        1. ARE/OUR seems a bit more severe than screwing up Their/There/They’re.

          I’m not sure if they’re really homophones though. I pronounce OUR with an “o” and ARE with an “a”. OW-R vs ARRRRR.

          1. Sorry, language confusion amongst kids doesn’t equal the same amongst adults. But nice of your wacky ideology to warp that crucial fact!

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:32PM|#
              “Sorry, language confusion amongst kids doesn’t equal the same amongst adults. But nice of your wacky ideology to warp that crucial fact!”

              And I’m sure this might mean something to someone. Maybe.

            2. MNG, you really should watch the accompanying video.

              It is so chock full o’ stupid that, I think, even you would have a hard time defending it. Those featured are (sp?,our?) not little kids they should know when to use “are”.

              So please, watch the video, and come back to let us know what you think.

            3. MNG, you really should watch the accompanying video.

              It is so chock full o’ stupid that, I think, even you would have a hard time defending it. Those featured are (sp?,our?) not little kids they should know when to use “are”.

              So please, watch the video, and come back to let us know what you think.

            4. MNG, you really should watch the accompanying video.

              It is so chock full o’ stupid that, I think, even you would have a hard time defending it. Those featured are (sp?,our?) not little kids they should know when to use “are”.

              So please, watch the video, and come back to let us know what you think.

              1. Whoa, my refresh button is now chock full o’ stupid.

                1. Nah, the video was so chuck full o’ stupid that it needed three comments from you to hold all that stupidity.

            5. No, it doesn’t equal the same amongst adults. But these are middle school children. They should be *well* past confusing “our” and “are”. They are NOT homophones, they aren’t the same parts of speech — other than being in the same language, there is no way that either of these things is like the other.

              Personally, I’m a little fed up with all the excuses being made for the lack of education among the children of America today. We keep spending more money and get less and less for it. I’m 50. Although I was eventually put into private school because the school system refused to let me skip any more grades, my public school education was vastly inferior to my mother and father’s. (My parents tutored me themselves at night, so don’t think my superior education for my age at the time had anything to do with the school system.) My grandparents were learning algebra in sixth grade, and reading The Odyssey. There is no excuse for a middle school child of average intelligence to confuse “our” and “are”.

              1. hey!

              2. Actually, the words are/our are homophones in many areas of the country, both being pronounced “are”. In, you know, the hinterlands. The two words are virtually indistiguishable as spoken by most Iowans.

                That said, there is not a single reason for middle-school students to be unable to spell them correctly.

          2. It’s a regional thing. I would say from the Midwest westward, they’re homophones.

      2. Er, dude, these are kids we are talking about.

        More deep irony.

        Yes, they are “kids” – i.e., tend to be easily manipulated by adults. But they “approached” the teacher and ASKED him to “organize” them.

        Sheesh.

  10. These children can’t spell because their teachers aren’t paid enough!

    1. Dude, if the misspellings get pointed out on TV, this is exactly what some dipshit from the teacher’s union will say.

  11. SAVARE is French for ‘fail’…

    1. Could be “savor rare teachers”, which would seem to advocate some sort of cannibalism.

      1. It’s a COOKBOOK!!!

    2. You would have been better off pretending it was Italian. It looks nothing like a French verb.

      1. Jonas, if you know French, and I’m assuming you do since you made this comment, then you know there’s an entire class of French verbs that terminate in “re”. I can very easily see “savare” as being an infinitive in French, and I studied it for 12 years and lived in the country for a while. *shrug* YMMV

  12. Higher salaries and smaller class sizes will fix this.

    1. Maybe we should start paying the kids.

  13. Arch Reason T-shirt girl is a big improvement over baked Reason hoodie girl.

  14. Isn’t it a staple of economic theory that higher salaries attract better employees?

    1. In highly unionized situations, higher pay is granted almost solely based on seniority and not on merit, so higher pay in this case just means more money for union brass, administrators, and the teachers who have been around the longest.

      If you are bright, motivated, and want to rise quickly by working hard and doing a good job, but will only be paid more after “putting in your time”, you go elsewhere. This is one of the main problems with attracting talented teachers.

      1. “If you are bright, motivated, and want to rise quickly by working hard and doing a good job”

        It’s not so much that libertarians overestimate the number of such people in the world as they so often think these people=them, and other people are lazy parasites protected from getting “theirs” by evil government, unions, etc.!

        It always makes me wonder: how much private sector experience have you guys had (and what is the mean age on this thread)? The private sector is as beset with nepotism, bureaucratic inertia, etc., as the public sector dudes. The lucky and connected are as likely as the bright, eager and hustling to succeed. The market does not have the satisfactory lazer-like precision you guys imagine, slicing off inefficiences. It works well over the long haul, but we are talking a long haul here dudes. Inefficient enterprises with good locations, capital, past good-will, etc., can limp on inefficiently for amazingly long periods of time…

        1. Inefficient enterprises with good locations, capital, past good-will, etc., can limp on inefficiently for amazingly long periods of time…

          Especially if they have political connections. The private sector is not a utopia, but more often than not, there are consequences to behavior – rewarding intelligence and hard work, and punishing stupidity and sloth – that are almost completely absent from the public sector.

          1. Voters vote out administrations rife with incompetence all the time, so yes there are consequences.

            And a private entity need have no political connections to limp along inefficiently thank you. Maybe they happened to luck into what became a great location, or have long past deserved good will that still translates to business, or they are just so massive they benefit from economies of scale, etc., etc, etc.

            Again, I suspect people with two or more decades actually in the private sector would know what I’m talking about…

            1. I have only worked in the private sector, except for a brief stint at the beginning of my career (I worked for a research lab at SUNY, but as an employee, not in any academic capacity). I have worked mostly for small companies, but also as a consultant for big ones and for two medium (300-400 employees) ones. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now.

              Big companies suck, as they lack movement as well, reward seniority, and have stupid bureaucracies. They are no paradise. But you can still rise rapidly in them if you prove to be extremely valuable. It is pretty much impossible to rise rapidly in a union. So I wouldn’t go near it.

              This is why I work at startups; it’s a ton of hard work, but it’s nimble and you get rewarded.

              1. “Big companies suck, as they lack movement as well, reward seniority, and have stupid bureaucracies.”

                And these big companies, the least dynamic, dominate most of the private sector..Interesting…

                1. Only because an overly regulated market make it extremely hard for smaller businesses to compete. That and probable political connections that smaller business doesn’t get.

            2. Voters vote out administrations rife with incompetence all the time, so yes there are consequences.

              Like in Detroit, Philly, DC, and . . .

              1. …and the federal government? Yes.

        2. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:34PM|#
          “…The private sector is as beset with nepotism, bureaucratic inertia, etc., as the public sector dudes….”

          Cite, please, jackass.
          What’s more is that it doesn’t matter; poorly run companies go belly-up, and what income they have is voluntary.
          It takes a thinker from the shallow end of the gene pool to presume that *tax-supported* workers are equivalent to those paid by willing customers.
          And you sure qualify.

          1. I cite life buddy (2010).

            ” poorly run companies go belly-up”

            Wrong, for many reasons i pointed out, none of which your pussy ass addresses directly. You live in a book world.

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:36PM|#
              “I cite life buddy (2010).”

              Oh, well, in *that* case………..
              I cite your obvious stupidity.
              And now the best you can do is use “pussy”?
              I know your mom told you that you were smart; she lied. Go away; not only are you stupid, you’re boring.

              1. Oh, come on. You know the likes of Tony, Chad and MNG bring a lot to these threads….

            2. So what are you saying. Success or failure of a business is totally random? It doesn’t matter how well it is run?

              If that is not what you are saying, I am not sure what your point is. Poorly run businesses do worse than well run ones. This donesn’t mean that they will all fail immediately, but most won’t last long. Public sector unions can’t go out of business, so they don’t have as much incentive to do a good job. The private sector doesn’t have to be anywhere close to perfect for this to be true. So what is your point here?

        3. “The private sector is as beset with nepotism, bureaucratic inertia, etc., as the public sector dudes”

          To a certain extent, that is correct, but how many people have said the market deals with inefficiencies with laser like precision? Still, it is pretty pinpoint compared to the incentives that motivate government. Even big political election shifts have problems changing the culture of the entrenched bureaucracy.

          For some reason you think that the perfect being the enemy of the good means that the bad should be given a pass.

          1. but how many people have said the market deals with inefficiencies with laser like precision?

            Only one, stupid leftist troll, of which I am aware.

            One more time for the mentally challenged. The private is better than the public because no one has a gun to your head. Not perfect, certainly not “laser like” but several factors better.

            Haven’t you ever read about the Soviet Union? They just didn’t do it right?

            1. Marshall Gill|4.26.10 @ 8:49PM|#
              “…Haven’t you ever read about the Soviet Union? They just didn’t do it right?…”

              It’s only a guess on my part, but I’d bet MNG is willing to sacrifice, oh, another 80,000,000 (other) people to give them another try to get it right.
              (that’s eighty million, MNG; I know zeros can be confusing)

              1. I don’t have to defend the Soviet Union, like you don’t have to defend your fellow communist hating Adolph…

                1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:39PM|#
                  “I don’t have to defend the Soviet Union, like you don’t have to defend your fellow communist hating Adolph…”

                  Oh, how…
                  Godwin’d
                  And stupid……

              2. That is just stupid. There is an awful lot between totalitarian communism and free markets. Equating support for public school teachers with support for communist dictators is about as intelligent as assuming that the only reason to oppose Obama is racism.

          2. “To a certain extent, that is correct, but how many people have said the market deals with inefficiencies with laser like precision? Still, it is pretty pinpoint ”

            See how the man deconstructs himself in two sentences?

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:38PM|#
              “To a certain extent, that is correct, but how many people have said the market deals with inefficiencies with laser like precision? Still, it is pretty pinpoint ”

              See how the man deconstructs himself in two sentences?”

              Pointing out your strawmen is ‘deconstructing’?

            2. You don’t get relative effectiveness, MNG?

        4. MNG said, “It always makes me wonder: how much private sector experience have you guys had (and what is the mean age on this thread)?”

          I have no idea what the mean age on this board is. I’m 50. I started working when I was 7 years old — raking leaves, shoveling snow, that sort of thing. I started cleaning houses to pay for my extra horseback riding lessons when I was 10. I started babysitting at 12, working 3-4 night a week about 40 weeks out of the year, until I was old enough to legally work for a company. (I worked as a secretary for my stepfather’s company without pay from the age of ten until 16.) I worked a 40 hr week while going to both high school *and* college simultaneously, had 12 extra-curricular organizations, and had a steady boyfriend when I was 15-16. I went away to college full-time just before my 17th birthday, and worked between 30 and 40 hours a week for private industry and political organizations until I completed my first M.A.; from there I went into government service (intelligence). Left that, had a number of corporate jobs. Became ill with several neurological diseases, including lupus, in 1987, and was bedridden for two years. During that time I still had to support myself, so I began writing professionally, and have done so ever since, as a freelancer.

          When I have worked in the private sector for a company (as opposed to freelancing), I have been well rewarded for my efforts, though I did see a fair amount of nepotism that made my teeth hurt. I never saw people succeed though “luck” — unless hard work and determination constitute luck. I will admit that frequently one does have to make ones own opportunities, but that’s not luck.

        5. Private sector sucks! Public sector rules!

        6. The difference in the private sector is that if a private company hires and sets salaries for stupid corrupt reasons, they are only hurting themselves since that is a bad business decision. When public sector jobs are done that way, it hurts the taxpayers since the money is not spent as efficiently as it could be and it hurts the students because good teachers can’t be encouraged with merit pay and bad teachers are hard to fire.

    2. Isn’t it a staple of economic theory that you ought to be able to fire people who don’t do their job well, or at all?

      1. Teachers don’t get fired? That’s news to me.

          1. wackyone
            The employer didn’t fire the teacher unless it could prove a contractual breach. That’s great, right libertarian?

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:41PM|#
              “wackyone
              The employer didn’t fire the teacher unless it could prove a contractual breach.”

              So you admit you lie? Good.

            2. And it took 6 years to make a “confession” case? Really, fuckstick?

            3. It’s okay for a grown adult teacher to send sexually-laced e-mails to a student.

            4. THe problem is not that they need to be able to breach the contract. The problem is that the contracts make it too hard to fire teachers for cause or incompetence. Remember that the point of education is to educate the students effectively, not to give secure jobs to teachers. If school districts had the flexibility to fire bad teachers and pay good ones based on performance, the system would be a lot better. The objection I can see is that some people might get fired who don’t deserve it. While that sucks for them, it is still important to remember that the point of the schools is to educate children, not to employ teachers. If a cost of improving the system included a few good people getting the sack from time to time, then so be it. Their job security should not be a consideration in policy decisions.

          2. I went to high school at a private school. The year after I graduated it was discovered that one of my teachers was having some kind of sexual relationship with a girl on the debate team which he coached. Once that got out he was fired pretty much immediately. No rubber room, no expensive litigation, none of that. Just, you’re outta here.

            As it should be in situations where there is a clear, valid reason for termination.

        1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:42PM|#
          “Teachers don’t get fired? That’s news to me.”

          Finding something that’s news to you is not going to test the skills of that kid up there who can’t ‘splee’:
          http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..1CVBM6.DTL
          After two years, and a boycott of the school, why, he’s put on paid leave!

        2. Never heard of the infamous “rubber rooms” in NYC/LA/Oakland/etc?

          1. Perhaps this is an off night for you. See, I know you value contracts. And the contract involved here did not allow firing the guy without further confirmation. So you should be happy, since you like contracts. Unless, unless, you have some irrational hate of unions that overrides your love of contracts? Oh no, not you too Kant…

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:43PM|#
              “Perhaps this is an off night for you. See, I know you value contracts. And the contract involved here did not allow firing the guy without further confirmation.”
              Cite?

              “So you should be happy, since you like contracts. Unless, unless, you have some irrational hate of unions that overrides your love of contracts? Oh no, not you too Kant…”
              Or, perhaps, doesn’t suffer fools well.

            2. And if that contract were a mutual arrangement between employee and employer, I would expect that it be upheld by both parties, that much is true.

              The point you keep tip-toeing around, MSG, is that the “contract” is the result of coercion, by an entity which has a monopoly on the labor pool, and is allowed to commit legal extortion by the Government.

              And your smarm will not change that inconvenient fact, which puts quite a dent in your narrative, no?

              1. How in the world was that contract the result of coercion?

                1. If the school district held all the cards in negotiation, if the government allowed every district in that state to pay teachers a low commission based on graduation rate, if they could keep teachers on permanent probationary status, if they could require 16 hour days, and refused to pay out unless teachers spent the summer repainting the schools; you wouldn’t have any problem answering your own question.

                  What part of “MONOPOLY on the labor pool” don’t you understand?

            3. If it takes twenty years to prove guilt or innocence… so be it. We’re talking about public employees here – they’re THAT important.

            4. Actually, I prefer at-will employment.

            5. No, we don’t value contracts in and of themselves. We value consistent and fair enforcement of contracts. That doesn’t mean that teacher contracts can’t be a bad deal for the students and taxpayers.

    3. Yes, if you raise pay for teachers, then — ceteris paribus — more people will compete for those positions. Supposing, among other things, that there is a good screening process, then the quality of teachers hired will increase.

      Fair enough. But teachers are virtually unfireable, and as Episiarch points out, their pay increases with seniority. There is no such thing as merit pay in public education, so there is no incentive to do a good job beyond the satisfaction of a job well done.

      Given that we’ve increased teachers’ salaries over the decades without measurable positive effect, it is safe to say that that is not sufficient motivation. Not only that, but further increases without other reforms would be foolish given the empirical evidence.

  15. You mean “higher pay” for teachers won’t translate into higher pay for every level of teacher (at whatever level of seniority)? I doubt that.

    It’s basic economic theory. Higher pay means higher at every level, including hiring. The seniority thing is just a benefit, like four weeks of vacation or an office over looking the pond (like I have). Still, everything else aside, the higher pay at ever level should mean attraction of better workers in any economic school of thought I’ve ever seen.

    But yeah, I know, unions=bad so the rules are somehow different or something…

    1. Senior management, even in private companies, make sure they get first crack at increased salaries.

      It’s very simple: if you told me, as someone who is intelligent, works hard, and expects to be rewarded financially in exchange for that, that a potential employer was unionized, I wouldn’t even interview with them.

      I have risen at small startups meteorically fast in my life, and I know that I would find the promotion/salary increase rate at a unionized company, or even a large non-unionized company, to be glacially slow.

      Now, take a smart, skilled young person considering teaching, but they also want to be financially rewarded. If they are told that it will take years and years for them to advance very fast in teaching, it’s very likely they’ll choose another career.

      1. “me, as someone who is intelligent, works hard”

        Yup…I don’t think any libertarian I’ve ever met would describe themselves as different. Yet I get the feeling that if every libertarian that I have met’s supervisor was here there would be some discongruence…

        But as to your specific example: not so fast. I’ve never seen higher teacher salaries to mean only focused at the top, it usually means across the board raises. This would, all other things being equal, attract a better candidate than if the starting salary were lower. That’s basic EKON 101 if you’ll excuse the term.

        Now, you say that will be offset by the nature of unionized work, that the eager won’t be able to rise so fast. But eager doesn’t always translate to best or most rational: factoring in the higher dignity, job security and such of union jobs must be done. As a talented guy who, quite rightly, wants to get the best bargain I can from my employer I may value these things more than “the chance to rise meteorically from my own vast Promethean talents.” Perhaps being rational I try not to overestimate the latter…

        1. I’ll go on record to give you an alternative libertarian personality. I consider myself intelligent, but in terms of work ethic, I am off and on. When I feel highly motivated, I have a pretty darn good work ethic, but there are times where my work ethic is lacking and I’m downright lazy, though never quite SEIU-level lazy

          1. Jesus what is with you guys and bashing nurses and waiters? In your universe, are trod-upon CEOs the victims of their all-powerful nurse and waiter underlings?

            1. We like nurses and waiters just fine. Now the closed-shop goons they are forced to gain employment through, who then confiscate a portion of their earnings in order to meddle in politics “on their behalf”? Not so fucking much, CHONY.

              1. Because the lowest paid members of society have no reason to want to organize and have powerful interests competing for influence in Washington. We wouldn’t want them stinking up the place with their dirty janitor uniforms and grossing us out with their bloody scrubs. Influencing power is best left to the already powerful.

            2. OK, how about “teamster lazy”?

        2. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:41PM|#
          “…Yet I get the feeling that if every libertarian that I have met’s supervisor was here there would be some discongruence…”

          Now, *there’s* an argument! MNG ‘gets a feeling’!

          1. Meh, this is still far superior to any comment you offer as an argument Ronnie.

            1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:44PM|#
              “Meh, this is still far superior to any comment you offer as an argument Ronnie.”

              Very good.
              Those who can’t provide argument attempt all sorts of infantile alternatives, such as calling their opponent some diminutive…
              Good going, MNG!

              1. If you ain’t union, you ain’t shit.

        3. MNG said, “Yup…I don’t think any libertarian I’ve ever met would describe themselves as different. Yet I get the feeling that if every libertarian that I have met’s supervisor was here there would be some discongruence…”

          Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Libertarians as a whole were of above average intelligence and achievement. It’d be interesting to do a study and see. We certainly value self-reliance and individual responsibility more than those in other parties, because it’s right there in the philosophy.

          I personally think I’m kinda lazy. My supervisors of the past must have disagreed, though, since they kept giving me raises and promotions. I know that as a freelancer I could work harder and earn more money, but my husband and I made a mutual decision that since my lifespan will probably be reduced and my quality of life already has taken a pretty big hit, I should have the freedom to kick back and relax and have more “downtime” when my health permits me to enjoy the activities I can. So, while I’ve never missed a deadline, I do occasionally turn down work, and undoubtedly that has irritated a client or two from time to time. So far, it hasn’t been bad enough for them to stop working with me, but it may be one day.

        4. “Yup…I don’t think any libertarian I’ve ever met would describe themselves as different.”

          I can’t speak for anyone else here MSG, but due to a multitude of life failures on my part (going to College one of them), I in no way consider myself intelligent or a hard worker. I am a lazy piece of shit who hates himself, and yet I value people who work hard and want to be compensated as such. So there, you have “met” a Libertarian who does not conform to your cookie-cutter glib definition.

    2. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:28PM|#
      “…Still, everything else aside, the higher pay at ever level should mean attraction of better workers in any economic school of thought I’ve ever seen….”

      So there’s more that’s “news to you”?! Noooo!
      Yes, higher wages tend to attract more highly-skilled workers. But, ya know, exactly how skilled would, say, a janitor need to be to qualify for $400K/year?
      Any employer pays no more than the market demands for the skills required. But to know that, you’d have to have read (and *understood*) something of econ.
      Rather than invent transparent men of straw….

      1. You’re reading it backwards. Taxpayers want better schooling. Better schooling comes with a better caliber of teacher. Better salaries attract better caliber of teacher.

        c’mon EKON 101 instructor, what’s wrong with any step of that?

        1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:47PM|#
          “You’re reading it backwards. Taxpayers want better schooling. Better schooling comes with a better caliber of teacher. Better salaries attract better caliber of teacher.”

          Cite, please.

          1. What part do you need a cite for? That better pay attracts better workers? Ok, I’ll cite Ron L. Retard several posts up: “Yes, higher wages tend to attract more highly-skilled workers.” (2010).

            Or you need a cite to the effect that taxpayers want better schools for their tax money or that having better teachers in place would effect the quality of the teaching? C’mon lil Ronnie, you’re just being silly now.

            1. It appears that MNG’s public school didn’t teach him the difference between “effect” and “affect.”

            2. apparently not. Many of the highest paid teachers are in the worst school systems in the country. See Washington DC for an excellent example. And many of the lowest paid teachers are at the absolute best of private schools (see any top private school near you).

              For those who didn’t go to college where k-12 education was offered as a major: the education majors are uniformly bottom feeders, somewhere below “speech communications” and “industrial relations” as collectors for failed students who originally aspired for something more. Yet education majors routinely make more than majors in hard sciences like biology and physics and chemistry. Why? Because being a lab assistant is more intellectually challenging than being a teacher (for those so inclined), and there are far, far fewer positions available. Plentiful supply of labor and low demand – well, you got yourself a low paying job there. Teaching public school kids is a job that rarely appeals to the best and the brightest for long periods of time, despite the excellent benefits and outsized long-term pay. So no, your simple equation does not remotely begin to address the dynamics of education system pay scales.

        2. I want lower taxes.

        3. You are missing an important part. Being able to get rid of bad teachers quickly.

    3. You have officially achieved “CHONY” status. Please pick up your new credentials and your spiked TrueFit? vibrator.

    4. You are still missing the point. Even if teacher salaries are raised across the board, raises are still based on seniority and you have to put the time in to get to the highest salary levels. THe point is that the best teacher in the school should be able to make the most money, even if he has only been there for a short time. As it works now, you don’t get rewarded that way for success, you get rewarded for doing what you need to to get by in the job for 20 years.

  16. Isn’t it a staple of economic theory that higher salaries attract better employees?

    It’s also a staple of economic theory that misallocated resources will be withdrawn, and put to better use.

  17. the higher pay at ever level should mean attraction of better workers

    Do you advocate open hiring policies? If not, shut the fuck up.

  18. “Give us the money!”

    Cant run, draw, nor sing witout it, ya no.

  19. Maybe we should start paying the kids.

    I have suggested this, too. Incentives matter, as they say.

  20. This would, all other things being equal, attract a better candidate than if the starting salary were lower. That’s basic EKON 101 if you’ll excuse the term.

    Assume a can opener.

    1. Glorious! Now the libertarian pooh-poohs economics! What a hoot I tells ya!

      Wow, the only thing that makes libertarians more crazy than Israel are unions!

      1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 7:48PM|#
        “Glorious! Now the libertarian pooh-poohs economics!”

        No, the libertarians “pooh-pooh” the straw men offered by the economic ignoramus.

        1. Well, do higher wages attract better workers, or what? Show your work!

          1. MNG|4.26.10 @ 10:48PM|#
            “Well, do higher wages attract better workers, or what? Show your work!”

            I answered that. Show you can read.

          2. Normally, yes. However, incentives also require negative feedback loops. Given that you cannot fire public school teachers, we can say that these people are largely insulated from the consequences of their failure. Unsurprisingly, they have continued to fail despite higher pay.

            Maybe that’s covered in EKKKONOMIKKKS 102. I’m not sure.

            1. pmains|4.26.10 @ 11:15PM|#
              “…Maybe that’s covered in EKKKONOMIKKKS 102. I’m not sure….”

              Careful, there. MNG is likely to run out of “K”s on his/her keyboard, not to mention running out of brain-cells to respond.
              MNG’s concept of “EKON 101” seems to be the Scrooge McDuck section of comic books.

              1. Actually, I’ve read a number of Scrooge McDuck comics which contain a rather good understanding of economics. Like one where Scrooge negotiates a deal to buy a gold mine in some country, only to discover after the deal is done that the country’s corrupt government has nationalized the mine, making it illegal for Scrooge to export the gold.

          3. The theory of upward sloping supply tells you that higher wages attracts *more* workers. They may or may not be better workers.

      2. Three words: “Those who can’t…..”

  21. all other things being equal,

    This may come as a shock to you, but all other things are *not* equal; not even close.

  22. Dude that is the coolest thing I ever senn!

    Lu
    http://www.anon-vpn.se.tc

    1. Our anon-bot rocks! Way better than anywun elseses bot!

      … Hobbit

  23. Please, MNG, please, tell me you are being facetious. My detectors are off due to a rampant sinus, ear, and eye infection and I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not.

    These are middle school kids – 6th through 8th grade in most all districts, who should know better than to confuse a verb with a pronoun. It’s basic grammar taught in the second grade and reinforced along the grade school curriculum (ideally).

    What bugs me is that this was an ENGLISH teacher (as I am. In a public school. In a UNION!). No matter what the timeline involved in the situation, I never find it acceptable to allow gross spelling (let alone grammatical) errors go out when students are letting their work be made public. It smacks more of lax teaching and oversight in the face of getting the kids out on the streets, rather than careful organization and presentation of the cause as one that is legitimate and just.

    I have beefed about the union issue before. I have also praised my school as one that is a likely model for one that has sane leadership. Our local has stood up to the NJEA/NEA on some points, and most of my fellows are sympathetic to the budget cuts even though they know they will hurt some people.

    Unions themselves are not inherently awful, but as a member of one of the largest and most powerful in my state and the nation, I see firsthand what kind of propaganda they expect educated individuals to take without any second-guessing involved.

    And, I do think I’m a good teacher. Parents tell me so, kids tell me so, my supervisor and peers tell me so…but my paycheck, alas, will only grow at the rate that the collectively bargained pay scale says it must. Even absent union membership, I would not be permitted to bargain for my own salary concessions based on performance.

    My private sector jobs paid better, and I rose swiftly in the ranks for various reasons: the standard combo of hard work and good timing. Those jobs were not spiritually or emotionally satisfying. I took the pay cut knowing that what I was giving up in wealth I would make up for in some other satisfactions. I’m not complaining that I make too little; $49K/annum (gross) seems fair to me considering I am relatively new to the profession. But it would be nice to see some financial rewards for my contributions, as I received in the private sector. It will never happen now – it’s a choice I made and I will live with it, but I do see something wrong with paying all workers the same regardless of ability or performance.

    I don’t give all of my students the same grades regardless of their ability or performance.

    1. Two questions, most important first:

      What do you ride?

      Have you considered teaching in a private school?

      … Hobbit

      1. Considering the rampant infections, I’m guessing our biker here had a ride on [insert current celebrity whore].

      2. Currently, nothing. Second baby on the way precludes riding at the moment. But when I’m not gravid, I ride a Cannondale 2000 with full carbon upgrades and Shimano Ultegra components. The mountain bike is an old but awesome Kona Kula Deluxe with SRAM 9 group, carbon monkey bars and the best grips ever.

        As for private schools: yes, I’ve considered it. None in my area are hiring currently. But I look. I actually like my public school and wish to remain there, but I’m not sure what my status will be given the budget constraints. I do not have tenure so my situation is a bit unsettled at the moment.

        1. “Biker” I had you figured as a cruiser rider but everyone on two wheels knows that what matters is the wind in the face.

          ’01 Vulcan and two dirtbikes.

          … Hobbit

        2. And here I had you figured as a BWM sport-tourer rider.

          1. BMW FUCK FUCK BMW FUCK YOU PREVIEW

        3. I’ll see your Cannondale and raise you a Ti framed Litespeed (Campy components).

          1. Never. Not on my salary. Aluminum is about all I can afford right now.

    2. Madbiker|4.26.10 @ 8:35PM|#
      “Please, MNG, please, tell me you are being facetious.”

      Based on evidence, MNG is not being facetious. MNG *hopes* that his/her strawmen will be accepted as argument.
      MNG is either a knave or a fool; either way MNG claims to be bright enough to know better while MNG’s posts show otherwise.

    3. I don’t give all of my students the same grades regardless of their ability or performance.

      You haven’t read the latest National Grading Guidelines have you? EVERYONE deserves a gold star regardless of merit!

  24. Ive actually considered teaching history in one of the local high schools. I like mongrels, and have been tutoring my friends and family since I was a that age. Think I’d be good at it. What do you like the best about it Biker?

  25. It amazes me that a language teacher cannot use proper use of the word are-should be our…What’s happened to basic language skills?

    1. If you had a terminal degree and a pond office you wouldn’t need to ask.

    2. I refer you
      upthread

  26. I think the interesting thing to investigate re MNG’s trolling is the rather large gap in contractual terms between public and private school teachers. Why is there such a large disparity?

    1. Why, because they negotiated it, of course. Aren’t you libertoids supposed to care about contracts? …etc., etc.

  27. Sorry, not reading any of this. But this is about how our kids are stupid so we should obviously privatize education right? I can’t wait for my High School Diploma Brought to You By Carl’s Jr.

    1. Jesus Christ, Tony, shut the fuck up. You’re even more moronic and tiresome than Dan T.

      1. I hate the private sector as much as MNG goes. If not more. And anyone who makes a profit, might as well be kicking newborn kittens with golf cleats.

        1. You forgot the part about lighting them on fire first…

    2. Fuck you, i’m learning

    3. *barf*

      brought to you by KFC’s new Double Down. When you need to smack a fool down with a torrent of barf … Double Down.

    4. Funny, I thought it was about how our kids are smart, so we should have better schools. And a High School Diploma Brought to You by Carl’s Jr. would at least imply you had to learn something before you graduated.

    5. If Carl wants to pay to have diplomas printed, what’s the problem? Saves money you can use to pay good teachers or cut people’s taxes.

    6. I’d prefer that if it meant they could read it.

  28. Tony|4.26.10 @ 11:51PM|#
    “Sorry, not reading any of this. But this is about how our kids are stupid so we should obviously privatize education right?”
    So, maybe after MNG has been shown to be almost as ignorant as you in the above, it would behoove you to STFU.

    “I can’t wait for my High School Diploma Brought to You By Carl’s Jr.”
    I’m sure you can’t, and properly so. A diploma from “Contact High” would be far superior to what you’ve shown.

  29. All your diplomas are belong to us.

  30. I refer you
    upthread

  31. TO be fair, 7 grand per head isn’t that much, school funding wise. They probably get another couple grand from the feds too, but I would argue that that money would go a lot further in a private school than a public school.

  32. That might not be an error: these kids might be being taught by a type of goblin called a save, ergo save are teachers/our teachers are save? Or maybe their teacher is Mr. Save?

  33. but our children is learning, right???

  34. Wow, have to give MNG credit for taking on the entire commentariat of the blog up thread ? completely wrong in every comment he made, but damn! he did put up a good fight.

    1. Yes, his Pi?ata-style** Kung-fu was truly awesome.

      **in which one wears a blindfold, and swings wildly in a general direction.

      1. ++ Funny and insightful. The rare double combo move.

      2. Yeah, is that copy righted, kfp? Thats some funny shit.

        1. Consider it my gift to humanity, totally open-source, use as you see fit.

  35. The truly sad thing, is that the teacher probably made all the signs for the students.

  36. “Terry Hoffman, a language teacher …”

    Not the English language, apparently.

  37. Can anyone make out the words in smaller print to the left of ARE on the sign? I’ve seen this pic a few places, and I can’t quite make them out…

  38. Terry Hoffman, a female language arts teacher for 33 years, plans to retire this year. She organized the protest with her principal’s approval. And, obviously, didn’t proofread the signs.

    1. “obviously”???

  39. Wee dont nede know edjucayshun!

  40. Im an internet marketer and have read a lot of comment threads in my time. With that as my credibility there are a lot of genuinely funny people here. Thank you Reason.com for having awesome readers.

  41. You ignorant wingnuts should come to my class and learn to reed and right good, like we was saying yesterday.

  42. Mooving a way from engrish an on ta maff:

    $33,000,000 (proposed cuts) for 350 positions = burdened rate of $94,286 per position (salary+benefits) Assume 1/2 for salary = 47,143. (On 9 months)

    Compare the (2001 – Eye ain’t doin enflation cyphers) Iowa per capita personal income (PCPI) of $27,225 (on 12 months) or 1.73 times the average.

    Taxes used per student = 7,419.

    Assume: Middle school class of 25 (would be nice) per teacher = $185,475 per classroom/teacher. Subtract the burdened rate (-94,286) and there is $91,189 extra. This covers capital expense for buildings and maint. bhut eye wood gess that they’re is a huge NEA feather-bedding, of ‘facilitators’ and ‘curriculum designers’ and administrative assistants, and etc.

    From there web sit:

    Number of Schools and Students (2007-2008) 63 & 30,683

    This woud be: $227,637,177 taken in taxes for the students

    Sumwon else can go on and disect the frog somemore – I can’t stand the stench.

    Leahcim

  43. Remind me to hire Home-School and Private School students next time I stage a protest.

  44. I guess this proves that texting is degrading the quality of people’s spelling skills. Or that protest organizers should spell-check signs before hand. 😉

  45. Wow! Thanks for the interesting website. You really contribute to the greater good, don’t you? Sarcastic, judgemental, profane, ignorant remarks always help the human race become better, I guess, seeing all of your educated rantings. Did you know the facts behind this sign by T Hoffman? Well, I am a teacher in Des Moines and do know the story. She is a passionate and dedicated teacher and parent, trying to make this world a better place. One does not have to embrace a political label in order to be considered right…one needs to try to make their own individual effort to improve the world in everyway possible. The student who designed the sign was extreemely excited to be part of the protest; yes, “our” was misspelled. Too bad all of you educated liberwhatevers didn’t realize that the student was a special needs student who used her first grade equivalent intellect to do her very best to better the world. Wow…let’s condemn now, huh?

  46. After reading all the comments on this article, I really believe that some people are complete idiots and have no clue as to what it’s like to teach a bunch of spoiled, misguided, disrespectful, ignorant kids. This is a totally different society that these kids are growing up in. Are you so stupid that you really think a teacher would have the words on the poster incorretly spelled? Did you also miss the part about the teacher retiring? If she were doing this for a raise, why would she retire.
    How about this? You people, keep your kids at home, teach them yourselves. That would save some tax dollars. But thank God I’ll be dead and buried before your kids become adults. Get over it!

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