Labor

LAT: All 1,023 Fired School Admins Were Above Average

|

Are you getting my good side?

We shouldn't laugh at other people's misfortunes, and I liked a (very) few of the apparatchiks who manned chairs at my kid's old school. So it's strictly in the spirit of finding moments of humor in tragedy that I point out some of the details in this Rick Rojas story about layoffs (of support staff, not teachers) at the Los Angeles Unified School District:

A proud Plant Manager is described by Rojas as a "14-year district veteran."

A Library Aide (whose job seemingly didn't take her near the math books) chooses to get laid off rather than accept reduced hours because "I can't afford a 50% pay cut."

Another Plant Manager, who has been transferred from Sierra Vista Elementary to San Antonio Elementary, carries "a thick stack of letters of crayon drawings and words of gratitude from students." (I actually was kind of moved by that one.)

A 14-year-district-veteran Library Aide files a grievance after being transferred to a school that will require a "two-hour drive from her home, which, she said, her doctor told her she can't make every day because of medical issues."

I wish all these folks the best in finding private-sector work. I just want to know why the L.A. Times didn't blow all this smoke up my ass when they fired my…ass.

NEXT: Inflation: It Just Doesn't Pay the Bills Anymore, and The Fed's Fate in Ron Paul's Paws

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I can’t afford a 50% pay cut! Library Aide FTW!!!

  2. If “plant manager” is what used to be titled “custodian” back in my day they are the only school employees I have any respect for.

    1. As far as the administration goes, I agree. Most of them could be replaced by the PTA and the job would be better done for less. And I feel the same way about the PTA as I do vomit coming out my nose.

      There are some great teachers, but they’re few and far between and aren’t compensated any better than the ones that can’t even spell correctly in the notes they send home.

      1. I know school administrators. If you had any idea the legal compliance nightmares of running a school and dealing with the multiple layers of bureaucracy they face on a daily basis, you wouldn’t be making such a ridiculous statement.

        I once had a school psychologist tell me that he put in over 60 hours a week, every week, but only about 10% of it was spent on what his actual job supposedly was: clinic time with students who needed his help. The rest of his week was spent on useless paperwork that was required of him (and yes, it had to be him) by the district, city, state, DEA, etc.

        So a full-time PhD on staff in every school, putting in endless unpaid overtime hours for the sake of clerical busy-work.

        It’s not the people in your school’s office that the problem is coming from. It’s the beast that is our public education system.

        1. This is true. My experience is in higher-ed, but the problem is similar. There are vast numbers of of federal, state, and local requirements, laws, guidelines, and policies. Teachers simply don’t have the training, time, or inclination to do all of the administrative and technical work required. The burden imposed by the government never decreases.

          1. From what I can tell, this is driven by the “down-size/right-size/austerity measures” that have made every military member and gov’t employee their own administrative/ clerical/ personnel clerk.

            When you’re paying someone to do specific work but they spend most of their time doing general admin/clerical work that could be done more efficiently by someone at a lower pay scale, you’re not getting what you’re ostensibly paying for. You’re just overpaying someone to do what a secretary or a clerk should be doing.

            See also, the misconception that gov’t workers make scads more for less work – when you’ve got leadership, specialists and technicians wasting their time on administrivia you’re not saving money or accomplishing the mission. Instead, you’re limiting actual accomplishment of the mission to the margins by failing to properly support the folks at the pointy end of the stick.

    2. If you take “plant” to mean flora, then a plant manager title could be the English extension of the theme that brought us “kindergarten”.

      Otherwise, they should go with millworker, because schools are where the raw materials that are your little brats are refined and manufactured into the Jersey Shore watching, barely literate finished product known as graduates.

      1. But they have high self esteem…

  3. LAT: All 1,023 Fired School Admins Were Above Average

    So they kept that crappy half.
    Typical government program.

  4. Just have a quick question…

    …say you guys win. You get your 435 ron pauls, every state/local legislator across the nation…

    …say they follow your ideology, all the schools close, safety net gone, everything you hope for…

    …say the country devolves into a somalia look alike…

    …then what? Are you happy living in a country like that, just because it fits your ideology?

    I understand that some of you want to argue “that won’t happen” – but my question is, IF that happens, then what? Do you stick with your ideology, or….what?

    1. Just have a quick question…

      …say you guys win. You get your 435 Karl Marxs, every state/local legislator across the nation…

      …say they follow your ideology, all the businesses close, safety net gone, everything you hope for…

      …say the country devolves into a North Korea look alike..

      …then what? Are you happy living in a country like that, just because it fits your ideology?

      I understand that some of you want to argue “that won’t happen”- but my question is, IF that happens then what? Do you stick with your ideology, or… what?

      1. What do you mean, “if”?

      2. ..say the country devolves into a somalia look alike…

        The collapse of a government can only be blamed on the government itself with the help of the UN which created incentives for the factions to fight for the claim of central authority for which the victor got the UN’s spoils. Instead of blaming the actual people and institutions that took part in the destruction of Somalia, you blame libertarians who had nothing to with it? That makes a Hell of a lot of sense.

        1. It takes a liberal genius to make those kind of connections.

      3. What exactly do you perceive my “ideology” to be, and why do you assume i follow a rigid “ideology” to its extremes? I never claimed to be a libertarian, communist, etc…

      1. Oh, hell yes!

        1. So I can add some whiskey to my coffee?

          1. uh, the FDA may want to have a word with you…

    2. Just have a quick question…

      …say you guys win. You get your 435 ron pauls, every state/local legislator across the nation…

      …say they follow your ideology, all the schools close, safety net gone, everything you hope for…

      …say the country devolves into a somalia look alike…

      You’re missing an intervening step there.

      Somalia doesn’t only lack public schools or a social safety net. It lacks basic law enforcement exercising the police power over its entire area.

      The United States had an extensive period of time with no federal social safety net and only a rudimentary public education system [and even that wasn’t universal]. But it still had a functioning government that was competent to maintain basic law enforcement over its entire area.

      So if your scenario happened, I would say, “Gee, the next time we do this we better work harder on making sure we maintain a functioning police force and court system to prevent crimes against persons and property.” Because failing to do that would be the critical fuck-up, and not being too rash about cutting some other service or services.

      1. In what way are you allowed to steal my money to pay for police to enforce laws i don’t agree to? Are you just abadoning libertarianism when it suits you? This i don’t understand…can you tell me when it is ok for my money to be “stolen” and spent by others that think they know better than me? I’d like a list of exceptions, and the ideology behind allowing the exceptions…

    3. Somalia!!!

      I’m getting an eye patch and a parrot tomorrow!

      1. Oh hell no – no way I’m putting up with 20 million Jack Sparrow wannabes.

      2. So, it’s the libertarians are dirty pirates meme this week, right? Those weeks are fun, but not as fun as the robber barron weeks. I don’t mind wearing the eye-patch, but I prefer the monocle.

        1. Well, that, plus having a nice Porsche or a Rolls is mush nicer than having a creaky leaky POS wooden boat.

        2. I always wore the monocle over my eye patch.

          1. I always wore the monocle over my eye patch.

            No! Eye patch over monocle!

    4. I don’t think “the country” will devolve, though some parts of it might. But those parts only avoided that previously by exploiting the rest of the country.

    5. Are your arms tired from beating on that strawman?

    6. Well…i guess that was too hard to give a straight answer to…i’ll try again another time…

    7. To be fair, i’ll answer your question. If we were to implement a policy that led to unforeseen consequences that harmed us, i would recommend removing said policy. I do not follow a rigid ideology. I’m not actually “partial” towards any one set of policies – just the ones that produce what i believe to be the best outcomes…you see, i do think consequences matter.

      Now, can you tell me what you would do in this case? Do you abandon your ideology, or do we all suffer in the name of purity?

  5. How exactly does commenting on sclerotic and inefficient public education bureaucracy get us to rooting to Somalia? It’s a false dilemma, a straw man, and a non sequiter coated with hyperbole.

    1. “It’s a false dilemma, a straw man, and a non sequitur coated with hyperbole.”

      That was great, toxic.

      +2

    2. That’s absolutely wonderful, Toxic. Shared on FB.

  6. Hi think that some people are motivated to become CEOs, Presidents, Donald Trumps, Monther Theresa’s, etc.
    But not all people.

    Some people are happy with being librarians. Or managing plants. And, I guess in tough times, are easy targets.

    It’s shameful and cheap to make fun of them though.

    1. Hi can sympathize with the Monther Theresa’s of our yooth.

    2. We’re making fun of them because most of the ones who complain feel like they’re special because they sacrificed by taking those jobs. Fuck’em. They are no more special than a dental assistant, often less well trained.

    3. That’s me, shameful & cheap…want some more?

    4. Fuck them if they want to be like Mother Teresa.

      1. you can’t fuck Mother Teresa, she’s dead. She’d disintegrate if you jumped her bones.

        1. What if you’re a cane toad?

    5. I’m happy that they are happy. That still doesn’t entitle them to a job, though. It’s that sense of entitlement that is being made fun of.

    6. Some people pay good money to feel shameful and cheap.

  7. Why does every idiot on the internet think that Somalia “fits libertarian ideology?”

    1. I can’t speak for everyone but government authority is the only thing stopping me from a life of violent crime, kidnapping, and piracy. I’d be committed to a powerful warlord the first day the government stopped guiding my moral choices, because liberty is all about acquiring my neighbor’s property at gunpoint.

      1. Most people in Somalia aren’t warlords.

        The problem with anarchy is that there’s absolutely no means of controlling the minority of people who do want to acquire property at gunpoint and are good at doing that.

        1. Commerce, self-defense, and community can certainly be mitigating factors, especially in an economy with more resources and a capitalist basis.

          I’m not an anarchist. Is there no degree of government decision making between the current US government and the Somali government models?

          1. No!

            We’ve already cut everything TO THE BONE!!!!!!

        2. You’ve got the same recourse you do in any area of the U.S. where the police don’t give a fuck. Arm yourselves, know your neighbors, and have a plan for hiding the bodies if you think the state will hassle you for protecting yourself.

        3. The problem with anarchy is that there’s absolutely no means of controlling the minority of people who do want to acquire property at gunpoint and are good at doing that.

          What on earth are you smoking? There are certainly ways of controlling violent individuals or groups in a free society. Here is one example, but there are many ways which this could happen:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispute_resolution_organization

          Or there is a real-world example (which is very effective, contrary to the ramblings of this forum), if you wish:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeer

          Now let us examine your statement a bit more closely. A government is a group of individuals who want to acquire property at gunpoint and are good at doing that. The way they acquire property is called “taxation”. So basically you are saying that the only way to stop psycopaths who want to steal shit is to give unlimited guns, absolute moral authority and zero accountability to a group of people who will use that power to steal shit at gunpoint from those they purportedly protect.

          And what happens when a (non-government) criminal actually steals something of yours? A fat donut-muncher comes over, writes a few things down, and leaves. You will most likely never see your property again. If the donut muncher does find it, they will probably confiscate it and sell it to increase their own budget. Any compensation you see will be from insurance that you buy yourself.

          So what is the point of government?

    2. It definitely fits libertarian anarchist ideology, however much the anarchos attempt to run from that fact.

      1. Anyone not a bootlicking uniform fetishist is an anarchist to you, Tulpa.

        1. It’s nice how you address the issue without resorting to name-calling.

          1. Well, thank you.

      2. One could easily view Somalia as a demonstration of Nozick’s contention that in the absence of a state, other entities will arise and act much like (often despotic) states. Nozick’s argument* is, IMHO, the strongest one to be marshalled against anarchism. At the same time, it’s simply wrong to pretend that individualist anarchists aren’t aware of that problem, and haven’t proposed solutions. (I understand that David Friedman has tried to address that, but since The Machinery of Freedom is currently buried in my ‘to read’ pile, I can’t comment intelligently on that. Rothbard certainly offered some arguments, but none I found convincing.)
        However, I think it’s unfair to view Somalia as any sort of model of what anarchists have in mind and hope for. And given the way in which Somalia devolved into its current state, it may be unfair to suggest that Somalia is an example of the inevitable outcome of a lack of a central state.

        *Forgive me if I’m misrepresenting or oversimplifying Nozick. It’s been a decade or so since I tackled Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

        1. It’s also Hobbes’ argument, and ultimately it can’t be refuted by anything other than dreams about rainbows and unicorns.

          1. Well, Hobbes also believed that only Leviathan (ie, a powerful, intrusive state, albeit one arising out of a social contract) could prevent the war of all against all. Hobbes was right about the problems inherent in human nature, but Leviathan is a bit of an overreaction.

        2. I hope that every individualist anarchist over 19 is perceptive enough to pick up on the fact that no form of government, or absence thereof, is going to make coercion irrelevant. The trick is getting that coercion distributed enough that it’s more convenient to rob people through holiday sales than through mugging and protection fees. Functionally, Nozick’s argument is a (needed) corrective to college freshmen who really think statelessness really means no more coercion. If you just think that micro-states, voluntary governments, and gangs, all without the aegis of divinely appointed authority, are the best protective against despotism, as you said, Nozick’s argument isn’t anything you haven’t considered.

          Somalia isn’t the only country in Africa run by warlords. In most of them, you have to bribe, threaten, or kill the right people to get in power. In Somalia, only the difference is that most of those people aren’t government officials, and once you get in power, your business card doesn’t end up in the State Department Rolodex. Most of the unique problems in Somalia are because the “governments” are at war with each other, and in the more chaotic parts, there’s no international relationships to speak of that would make them clean up their negative externalities (e.g., pirates.)

    3. Because some “libertarians” are anarchists, and Somalia is a lawless, brutal anarchy. But “libertarians'” definition of anarchy is a peaceful commune where everybody agrees with everybody else and there is no need for cops or courts or armies, weekends are three days long and every child has a pony and a unicorn.

      1. I hadn’t even read your post yet when I started writing my own unicorn post.

        1. The lesson? Every ideology thinks it is the realist one as they ride their own unicorns into political debate…

          The libertarians just name their unicorns “Lysander.”

          1. That may be true, but not all illusions are equal.

            Among ideological fantasies, “In the absence of a state everyone would just get along and love each other” is kind of pretty high up there. It’s way, way, way beyond “Without a public postal service, private companies would deliver the mail”.

            1. “Without a public postal service, private companies would deliver the mail on the backs of unicorns

              is what you meant to say, right?

        2. I understand unicorns are very very tasty…

      2. Somalia isn’t an anarchy, their government is just much more open about being a criminal organization than ours is.

    4. Because hyperbole is easier than reason.

  8. I actually was kind of moved by that one.

    You’re going to need to turn in your top hat and monocle if you keep making statements with sentiments such as this.

    The decoder ring as well.

    Sincerely,

    The Kochtopus

  9. It’s funny. Libertarians read the story about the woman filing the grievance and yell “who does this woman think she is, very few people can file grievances in their workplace, me included! She’s lucky to have a job!”

    I see it and say “Good for her, I wish everyone, myself included had that right. How unfortunate we are.”

    1. If she can file a grievance about the fact that the only job available for her is in a different town, then I should be able to sue the LA school district for not providing me a job in Vermont.

      1. Yeah, the two are so analogous because the LA school district offers so many positions in Vermont…

        OTOH I imagine they might have positions closer to this woman’s house…

        1. And on what basis should *this* woman get that position “closer to her house*? It’s closer to my house. I don’t want to drive two hours, and I have higher seniority. So I should get the position, right?

          You’ve never worked in a unionized environment – it’s obvious. So please stop – you’re just irritating.

        2. They’re perfectly analogous.

          Employment opportunities are where they are. You can either move to them, or not take advantage of them.

          That truism is just as true whether you live two hours away from the available posting or across the country.

          In fact, I would go BEYOND my initial statement, and say that her grievance is just as groundless as it would be for me to sue you, personally, because I have a lemonade stand in front of my house that you refuse to travel across the country to visit.

          If I want your business, it’s my problem to find a way to get to where you are. It’s her problem, too.

          1. She could always start a business in her own home…of course she would have to have some skill that someone was free to pay her for…

    2. Worker: I want a grievance cause I have a two hour drive to work!!!

      Union Rep: There’s nothing in our contract about that – it’s not a violation of the contract.

      Worker: I don’t care! Write me a grievance.

      Union Rep: *complies*

      Clearly, you haven’t worked in a unionized environment. This is exactly what happens. Just try to imagine the utter waste in time, money, energy and productivity. But I know you can’t….

      This is what libertarians laugh at.

      1. Only libertarians and only in union contexts would see attempts to enforce contracts as wasting time…

        1. *not in the contract*

          The point is that if unions actually spent time just enforcing the contract, most of us who’ve actually had to deal with them would have no issue with it.

          The [actual] example I provided was of a grievance for a non-contractual complaint. Therefore, no basis for the employee and union to grieve it. Therefore, utter waste.

          And that was the point you completely missed.

          1. Among dozens and dozens of others.

        2. You missed the part where he said it’s not in the contract.

    3. Where do I file a grevience against MNG? His constant BS annoys me.

      1. I like MNG. He provides a left/progressive perspective without the trolling, and often asks interesting questions like the one about the government’s responsibility to help the people they screwed over.

      2. He’s the least shitty left-leaning poster here, so that has to count for something. And watching him argue with his palette-swap John is good fun; a little bit hilarious lover’s spat, a little bit Spy vs. Spy.

    4. I see it and say “Good for her, I wish everyone, myself included had that right. How unfortunate we are.”

      You want to file a grievance with your company? It’s quite easy, just send a certified letter to Human Resources.

      Yes, it will probably be ignored if your claim is baseless. So what?

  10. Hmm. In my company, plant managers are responsible for….running plants. Safety, quality, production, budget, hiring, discipline, public relations – everything. The entire workforce ultimately reports to them.

    So now I see what we’ve been doing wrong – our cleaners (outside contracted service) should be “Plant Managers”, and our plant managers become…”Lord God High Emperor of All I Survey”.

    Which pretty much sounds like government/public eduction/any kind of bureaucrats, so…yeah.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I always thought plant manager meant. All these years I’ve thought my step-dad was actually quite successful being plant manager of a railroad shop, but now I find out he was a mere custodian.

  11. The NY Times today has another story about unemployed, this time focusing on the long-term unemployed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12…..?src=busln

    They point out that people unemployed for a long time get re-employed at a much lower rate than people unemployed for a brief time.

    …people out of work fewer than five weeks are more than three times as likely to find a job in the coming month than people who have been out of work for over a year, with a re-employment rate of 30.7 percent versus 8.7 percent, respectively.

    They then wonder aloud why this could possibly be so, and conclude that it’s:

    …probably because of some combination of stigma, discouragement and deterioration of their skills.

    But then their example of a long-term unemployed person is a jobless television producer, who:

    …has been unable to find work since 2008, despite having two decades of experience at places like Nickelodeon and the Food Network.

    It doesn’t occur to them that maybe this guy’s problem is that maintaining steady work as a television producer requires good fortune the equivalent of a lottery winner’s.

    Maybe the length of time the long-term unemployed have already been unemployed is a function of self-delusion about what job they’re likely to get – and the reason the long-term unemployed are less likely than the short-term unemployed to find work is because of the inertia of their self-delusion.

    A realist would have figured out he wouldn’t work again as a TV producer back in 2009, and would have another job by now.

    1. +10
      The people I know who cannot find work are the ones who outbid themselves. Realists take what they can get. It is like that library aid being insulted by having her hours cut thinking it is better to make $0 an hour than half of what she previously made.

  12. A question about the unemployed.

    Libertarians claim loudly and often that are current financial situation in this nation was brought about by government meddling. If that is correct then many of the unemployed are certainly victims of that meddling. Most of them paid into unemployment for years and years. So…shouldn’t the government help them seeing as how they’ve 1. paid in and 2. the government is the one that likely caused the conditions they suffer from?

    1. “The government” has “helped” them, and paid unemployment to date. There’s nothing in the terms of the deal regarding the causes of the umenployment (stipulating most states won’t pay if you quit a job, certain types of for-cause terminations, etc. etc.). The terms of the deal say the time has expired for that help to continue.

      Game over. What’s unclear about that?

    2. 1. Employees don’t pay unemployment, employers do.
      2. You don’t ask the murderer to perform the funeral.

      1. 1) …I must defend MNG here. “Companies” don’t pay taxes…or unemployment. Customers pay taxes through higher prices, and unemployment is really wages employees would otherwise receive if the company didn’t pay into the unemployment fund.

        2) lol!

    3. Actually, this argument has merit.

      If the free market leads to just outcomes, by definition that means that unfree markets produce unjust outcomes.

      There would also be the strong implication that the outcomes would be progressively more unjust, the more unfree the market situation was.

      The inescapable conclusion you’d have to draw from this is that there are large numbers of Americans whose current economic situation is, in fact, not of their own making, and who are unjustly experiencing distress.

      The problem then becomes figuring out how to fix that. Because having the state continue to intervene to repair the injustice it has already created just compounds the problem. It’s a logical trap – the mechanism you’re calling upon to mitigate the injustice is the same mechanism that created it in the first place. If you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. But once you stop digging, you’re still in the damn hole. So it’s a quandary.

      1. Unfortunately, the government’s solution for punishing itself involves making taxpayers hand over money to the people it fucked over while leaving the people who actually did wrong unpunished.

        Now, if it was actually true that the government reflects the will of the people and acts with the consent and approval of the governed, the former at least would be appropriate. But I’m not sure this is true, particularly if we consider informed consent the standard, and even if it is broadly true, I’m not sure why the minority that doesn’t consent to be governed or approve of the government should be asked to pay for its misdeeds.

        With great power comes great responsibility, so if being the majority gives you the power, you should also be the ones paying when your boys sodomize a convict or accidentally blow up a wedding or poison a bunch of people by running them through radiation source whose safety is uncertain.

    4. The problem with that idea,MNG, is that the money “taken” from them isn’t sitting in a vault somewhere. In order to “pay it back”, the government has to take it from someone else. if someone breaks into my car and steals my stereo, having them steal stereos from 10 other peoples cars to pay me back is not rreally helping the overall problem.

      Of course the other option is to cut funding elsewhere, but we see how often that happens.

  13. Are you happy living in a country like that, just because it fits your ideology?

    Yup.

  14. A Library Aide (whose job seemingly didn’t take her near the math books) chooses to get laid off rather than accept reduced hours because “I can’t afford a 50% pay cut.”

    Soaking unemployment for 99 weeks is probably more money than 50% of her base salary. And the phantom aliment that allows her to work full-time but not be able to drive two hours could probably be used to successfully get disability with 99 weeks to prepare.

  15. Why do I assume there’s a bottle of vodka concealed in that rolled-up poster the girls’ gym teacher is holding to her lips?

    1. Actually, she is about to unroll it and show them that the entire pitcher of milk she poured into has disappeared!

  16. And the phantom aliment that allows her to work full-time but not be able to drive two hours

    Hey, narcolepsy is no laughing matter!

    1. Depends on where and when, don’t you think?

      1. Narcolepsy + NASCAR = good times for all.

  17. d from Sierra Vista Elementary to San Antonio Elementary, carries “a thick stack of lett

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.