Last week, the feds kicked in $10 billion to save the teachers from draconian cuts due to recession, etc. Some pertinent facts: According to a University of Washington researcher, total job losses at public schools (all staff, not just teachers) would have been maybe 100,000 without further funds. Which sounds like a lot until you realize that over 6 million folks are employed by the system.
Then there's this:
For decades our elementary and secondary schools have focused on adding teachers and support personnel, a hugely expensive strategy that scarcely has moved the needle on student achievement. Nationally, public school enrollment has grown about 9 percent since 1970, while the number of paid staff has grown 85 percent (including a 50 percent increase in teachers) during the same time. Research by the online Education Intelligence Agency shows that from 2003 to 2008, 38 states increased their teacher work forces at a greater rate than student enrollment. In Iowa and Kentucky, one new teacher was hired for every two new students over the five-year period. In states like Michigan, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the number of teaching positions grew at substantial rates while the number of students actually declined.
So does that sort of failure to match supply with demand factor into who gets what new stimuleratin' dollars or how they have to spend em? Nope:
In return for a bailout, Congress at least could have demanded necessary changes to policies that weight teacher dismissal policies based on seniority. No incentives were included to help states and local districts end the common practice of "last in, first out." Following such rigid union work rules helps to ensure that districts dismiss more lower- paid teachers rather than lay off the least effective instructors or reach responsible settlements to freeze wages and save jobs.
The edujobs bailout provides more than twice the resources set aside for the reform-driven $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition. It also follows the more than $100 billion in education stimulus funding authorized in February 2009. Congress and the Obama administration have staked far more money on the status quo than on substantive change.
Hat Tip: Mike Krause, Independence Institute.
And to top it off, if the movies are true, then teachers' jobs are just getting easier and easier since the Summer of Love. Take it away, Up the Down Staircase!