Teacherpocalypse Update: There Was No Teacherpocalypse


The National Council on Teacher Quality did an (unscientific) survey of actual teacher layoffs in the last couple of years, after noting "the lack of reports on layoffs in newspapers this fall. Last spring, they were all reporting about school districts handing out pink slips by the thousands, but there's been little follow up on teachers converting from pink-slip status to no-job-at-all status."

And it turns out that despite threats of hundreds of thousands of unemployed teachers nationwide, teacherpocalypse was more fizzle than bang.

In their 74 district sample, which was heavy on urban districts that should have experienced more layoffs, they found that:

Around 9,545 teachers--about 2.5 percent of the total number of teachers in these districts--were actually laid off (or were probationary teachers who were non-renewed for budget reasons). Excluding the uniquely bad-off California districts, that rate falls to about 1.5% across the country. About half of the districts reported no layoffs.

Many of the districts reported filling budget gaps with stimulus and EduJobs money. But two-thirds of the districts say they still haven't spent all of their federal stimulus cash, opting instead to do things like lay off administrators, allow attrition, and (in a small number of districts) trim benefits.

More Reason on teacherpocalypse hype.

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  1. of course, there were very few layoffs. There are ALWAYS very few layoffs. A time-honored tactic of the left is to raise the specter of teacher and cop layoffs unless "someone" ponies up the money that state and local folks misspent. No one ever threatens to lay off principals, administrators, or anyone on the high end of the salary scale. Why do you suppose that is?

    1. i think you're wrong. Many school districts have a standing policy of laying off nearly all non-tenured teachers every spring and force them to go to other districts to reset their time and make it harder for them to get tenure. Most of these teachers get rehired. If unions keep you from selectively firing teachers, the next solution is to fire all of them and rehire only "the good ones".

  2. In Seattle, I suspect there are shenanigans going on.

    A couple of years ago, Seattle had such shrinking enrollment (it's a yuppie city full of educated 20 and 30 somethings and creative types) which had reached a 50 year low. Think about that... enrollment at a 50 year low. So they closed five schools. Everyone went apeshit. Then, a year later: BAM! Enrollment UP UP UP. UP so much they had to REOPEN THE FIVE SCHOOL!

    Someone's playing with numbers. I'm not sure who, but someone somewhere is.

    Either the student enrollment never went down and all these college educated 20 something creative types are squirting out kids at a baby-boom rate, or Seattle materialized thousands of new students out of thin air.


  3. Eh? Why a statistical sampling when the full data set should be available?

    Every district should be able to report its number of layoffs. Full data set, please.

  4. What is the number of students in public schools today vs. say ten years ago? And how many teachers and administrators now vs. then? Chatting at a 40 yr. reunion (baby boomers) we seemed to remember 30 student classes and a handful of admins vs. what our kids were experiencing.

    1. If that's what all 40-year reunion parties are like, I think I'll skip mine. My 20-year was all about getting drunk and laughing our asses off.

      1. If that's what all 40-year reunion parties are like, I think I'll skip mine. My 20-year was all about getting drunk and laughing our asses off.

        I thought that's what actual school was for.

      2. I couldn't stand any of the shitheads I went to school with then. There's no way I'd take the time to go to a reunion with any of the motherfuckers.

        1. I went to the 20-year of a high school I didn't go to - we moved just after 8th grade. There is no way in holy hell I would go to a reunion for the high school I did go to.

          1. Me too, but at this point I can't even remember them, so I lost no sleep over missing the 20-year reunion.

    2. I believe when I was in elementary school, 40 kids in a class wasn't entirely unusual.

      Here are Seattle's total enrollment numbers over the last 10 years.

      Year Students
      2010 47,735
      2009 46,523
      2008 45,698
      2007 45,581
      2006 46,097
      2005 46,070
      2004 46,331
      2003 47,546
      2002 47,853
      2001 47,449
      2000 47,575

      According to the Seattle School district, this 200 student increase (over the year 2000) was cause to reopen five (5) schools.

      Conversely, and in defense of the teachers, the drop in student enrollment (a total of about 2000 from the year 2000-2008). was cause to close 5 schools. Really, you close five schools because your enrollment dropped 2000 kids?

      I see it this way. Seattle probably has too many schools and teachers, period. When enrollment numbers are down (which I believe enrollment numbers are down overall if the table went back further, but the Times omits that) so we probably have too many schools.

      But closing a single fucking school in Seattle turned into the zombie apocalypse for the Teachers' Union and eventually led to the dismissal of the Superintendent.

      The numbers take a mild uptick-- and suddenly we need five schools reopened?

      And all these students don't hail from one district or neighborhood. Twenty of them are in Magnolia, 112 are in Capitol Hill. 102 are in Rainier Valley etc. Do entire schools need to be opened because 20 new kids show up in Magnolia?

      Someone, please tell me the complicated nuances of student population management that I'm not understanding.

  5. I can't swallow the whole teacher layoff hysteria here in California, either. I get three e-mails a week from my alma mater, encouraging me to get my teacher credentials. They offer a (taxpayer subsidized) accelerated credential/MS Edu. program with in-class internships and a generous stipend. They push this program pretty hard for an industry which is supposedly shrinking.

    1. In Seattle they'll subsidize your housing.

    2. C'mon, EDG. This is classic higher ed bubble.

      Subsidized courses put money in the school's pocket. The fact that there are no jobs for grads makes no diff to them. They got theirs.

  6. Katherine Mongol-Horde

  7. Speaking about my home town, there is this baptist/bootlegger alliance going on between wealthy stay-at-home moms looking for a crusade and the local educators' union.

    The educators want to preserve their jobs/perqs.

    The wealthy moms like the feeling of activism, like how the school system keeps property prices high, and truly believe they are giving their kids a better shot at life.

    The former uses the latter group as cannon fodder in the former's astro-turf campaigns.

    1. Is there anything left that hasn't been ruined by crusading stay-at-home moms?

      Except trakter pools, naturally.

      1. Aaaaand here we have yet another reason to never have kids. I've added more to my list since starting to read reason than all the years combined up to that point!

        1. That's the wrong lesson to learn. Clearly the right lesson is not to become an activist crusading for a lefty cause.

          1. That's the wrong lesson to learn. Clearly the right lesson is not to become an activist crusading for a lefty cause the children.

            Won't somebody, please think of the CHILDREN!!?


    Proof that texting while driving laws don't work.

  9. The hell will all this shit, Justin Bieber might have knocked up a fan. When is Reason going to break silence on THAT story?

    1. Utter nonsense, everyone knows Justin Bieber reproudces asexually by budding.

  10. If the income-redistribution sentiments of "Occupy Wall Street" are sweeping the nation, you wouldn't know it from the election results in the presidential swing state of Colorado Tuesday night. The results were "a killing field for tax measures," as the Denver Post described it.

    By nearly 2 to 1, voters statewide rejected a higher income and sales tax earmarked for education. Supporters had pitched the tax hikes as "temporary" to help the medicine go down, and the alleged earmarking for a popular cause like education is a familiar tax increase ploy.

    Supporters advertised the tax hike as a way to alleviate state spending cuts for K-12 and college education. But opponents attacked the increase in the flat-rate income tax to 5% from 4.63% and in the sales tax to 3% from 2.9% as job killers.

    The antitax mood was equally clear at the local level. The Denver Post reports that "Aurora voters rejected a $114 million tax increase for recreation centers, Douglas County voters said 'no' to school tax increases, Ca?on City voters rejected a tax for library improvements and Boulder voters appeared to be approving the creation of a municipal electricity utility but wouldn't pass a tax hike to fund it." That Boulder bit is especially rich, since the local utility measure is intended as a rebuke to the state's biggest electricity provider, Xcel Energy, which supposedly uses too much evil carbon fuel. Even the great and good liberals of Boulder don't want to pay to indulge their anticarbon principles.

    In other news to give progressives heartburn, pro-voucher candidates prevailed for the school board in suburban Douglas County, where a voucher program has divided the area and is bogged down in legal challenges, and two reformers won seats on the Denver school board. Oh, and Denver voters rejected mandatory paid sick leave for all workers, 64.5% to 35.4%.

    1. My faith in humanity got a boost from this.

  11. Teacherpocalypse might not have amounted to much, but over in London, Nanageddon's destructive reign of terror continues:

  12. only a good teacher can bring up good student

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