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Kentucky Teacher Protests Are Political Theater Without Substance

Teachers have shut down schools across the state, allegedly to protest pension changes. But those pension reforms are pretty mild.

Alex Slitz/TNS/NewscomAlex Slitz/TNS/NewscomAbout 5,000 teachers rallied at the Kentucky State Capitol on Monday to protest the passage last week of a pension reform measure that...well, it doesn't actually do much of anything to change their retirement plans.

But the bill might help bring Kentucky's public sector retirement plans back from the brink of financial collapse.

Under the terms of the bill that zipped through the legislature on Thursday, teachers hired after January 1, 2019, would be moved into a new retirement system using a so-called "hybrid cash-balance retirement plan," which retains some elements of a traditional pension and includes individual investment options similar to a 401(k) plan. Future hires know they won't lose their money—which makes the plans significantly less risky than 401(k) plans in the private sector—but taxpayers will no longer be responsible for making up the difference when the pension investments fall short of expectations. (The Pension Integrity Project at the Reason Foundation, which publishes this blog, provided technical assistance to Gov. Matt Bevin and state legislators as they crafted various pension reform proposals over the past year.)

Those future hires might also have to work a little longer before qualifying for retirement. While current teachers will still be able to retire after 27 years on the job, those hired next year will have to work until they are 65 or until their age and years of service add up to 87—a 57-year-old teacher with 30 years of service would be eligible to retire, for example.

None of those provisions affect the thousands of current and retired teachers who swarmed the state capitol promising to throw out the bums who had allegedly shortchanged their retirement plans. Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table" with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Bevin had pushed for a version of the bill that included changes to future cost-of-living adjustments for current teachers and retirees. But that provision was stripped from the bill after earlier opposition from the teachers who now say they did not have a seat at the negotiating table. Indeed, hundreds of teachers swarmed the state capitol in mid-March to have their voices heard as state lawmakers debated the pension proposal. The state set up a website to collect feedback from the public on various pension proposals too.

The public has the right to participate in the legislative process, but no one is entitled to get what they want out of it. This is political theater.

Protests like the one staged in Frankfort—and the walkouts in schools around the state this week—are meant to flex the public sector unions' muscles and make state lawmakers think twice about making more changes in the future. This isn't about retirement planning; it's about political power.

If it was about retirement planning, the teachers would admit that something has to change. Kentucky has eight public sector pension plans, and none of them are in good shape. The state faces more than $62 billion in unfunded pension liabilities over the next few decades, and the teachers' pension plan (the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, or TRS) accounts for more than $33 billion of that debt.

By comparison, Kentucky taxpayers' paid about $32 billion last year to fund the entire state government—everything from schools to road construction.

pensions.ky.govpensions.ky.gov

Depending on how you measure, Kentucky's public sector pension plans are either the worst-funded or the third worst-funded in the country. A Standard & Poor's report in 2016 ranked Kentucky dead last, with just 37.2 percent of the assets needed to cover current obligations, behind even such infamous pension basket cases as New Jersey (37.8 percent) and Illinois (40.2 percent). A Moody's report published a month later measured states' pension liabilities as a percentage of their annual tax revenue. Kentucky's liabilities totalled 261 percent of annual tax revenue, well above the average burden of 108 percent and more than three times the median of 85 percent. Only Illinois and Connecticut were in worse shape.

There's no doubt that Kentucky's pension crisis is partially a self-inflicted wound caused by years of deferring contributions to the system. According to an analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 15 states contributed sufficient funds to their pension systems in 2014 (the most recent year for which complete data is available) to avoid falling farther behind. Among the 35 states that failed to do so, Kentucky was by far the biggest deadbeat, chipping in less than 70 percent of what is required. In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the Kentucky teachers' pension plan had negative cash flow in nine years, and hemorrhaged $634 million in 2016 alone.

This is a completely unsustainable course. Any teachers just starting their careers in Kentucky's public schools should take a look at the chart below and ask if they're willing to trust their retirement to a system that could be insolvent by the mid-2030s if it earns less than 4 percent annually:

pensions.ky.govpensions.ky.gov

"The reaction to this common sense bill makes it clear that many educators had no intention of supporting any changes whatsoever to the pension system," writes Gary Houchens, a professor of education at Western Kentucky University. "Which also means that there was no need for further discussion on the topic in the state legislature. You're either going to stop kicking the can and do something, or you're going to let a broken system continue to spiral out of control."

The pension reform package that passed the state legislature last week won't solve that existing pension crisis. The current debt will still have to be paid, and it will continue costing Kentuckians for years to come. But the changes to pension promises for future teachers will allow the state to pay off the current debt without risking futher financial disaster.

Last month, Bevin said teachers were being "selfish and short-sighted" by opposing pension reforms. He's as right today as he was then.

Photo Credit: Alex Slitz/TNS/Newscom

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  • damikesc||

    I'll go ahead and opine that all of these state teacher protests are as grassroots as the students protests last month.

    Aww, you can't retire from a 9 months out of the year job after 27 years with generous federal holidays and days off for snow that the private sector doesn't get and rather cushy hours of work? Cry me a fucking river.

  • JWatts||

    "Aww, you can't retire from a 9 months out of the year job"

    This. Of course, I've been told repeatedly that teachers work longer than that. But the actual days worked is mandated by the State. In TN for example, it's 180 days in the classroom + 6 days of office work. The don't count days less than 6 hours, but that's a few days a year. A typical year for a TN teacher is around 190 days. The average worker with 2 weeks of vacation and 10 holidays per year works 240 days a year.

  • colorblindkid||

    But they work "extra" time, and have to prepare for class, and think about stuff when they're not at work, you know, just like everybody in every job ever.

  • Libertymike||

    "Everybody in every job ever."

    Did you forget that everybody includes Tony and PB and Tulpa and Michael Hihn?

  • damikesc||

    Do they HAVE jobs?

  • Rhywun||

    Trolling HyR is their job. They probably get paid for it, too.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Wow, posting about your teacher's salary on an article on teachers. How meta...

  • ||

    The truest form of the Deplorables.

  • Joe_JP||

    Teachers, unlike loads of jobs, take a lot of work home with them ["unlike loads" means some do] and put a lot of effort out of class to formulate lesson plans, check homework and so forth.

    We can disagree that they are being paid too little or whatever w/o being silly.

  • Sevo||

    Joe_JP|4.4.18 @ 2:05PM|#
    "Teachers, unlike loads of jobs, take a lot of work home with them ["unlike loads" means some do]"
    Bullshit.

  • JesseAz||

    Go research the self reported time work surveys. Teachers don't work long hours. I worked in a bar at college. From 3-6 was University teachers "grading" papers. They usually finished more drinks than papers graded.

  • ||

    Every "professional" brings their work home, or agree to be called into work at absurd times, work long hours...Teachers somehow get annoyed at doing what many professionals do, job prep off the clock.

  • colorblindkid||

    Exactly. Sure, it sucks for teachers, but there are thousands of other careers where you are expected to do the same shit off hours.

  • DarrenM||

    I'm sure some do, but most teachers are not going to work much longer than they have to. They're as human as anyone else.

  • Agammamon||

    The middle school in my town has half days on Wednesdays specifically to allow the teachers time to do . . . whatever they do when not in class.

  • gormadoc||

    All public schools in my district do something similar. Every elementary and middle school has one hour (I think) off of one day in the month, while high schools get one hour off of every Tuesday.

  • damikesc||

    They get one period here a day with no students to do work as well.

    I'd love to get an hour a day to do extra things.

  • Tony||

    So why don't you idiots become teachers and live the good life?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I've been thinking of retiring. Getting a government job would be a way to do that.

  • damikesc||

    Having seen education majors in college, most people tend to be overqualified.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Because of a general dislike of children not related to me in some way.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.4.18 @ 12:07PM|#
    "So why don't you idiots become teachers and live the good life?"

    Integrity?
    Look it up, scumbag.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I want to be paid for performance, not for time served.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The average worker with 2 weeks of vacation and 10 holidays per year works 240 days a year.

    That's only if you assume 2 days off per week (aka weekends, whatever those are). Based on my current work situation I'm not sure that's a solid assumption. I routinely have to work 6 or 7 days a week to meet unrealistic schedule demands.

    And 8 hour workdays? Pffft, I wish.

  • JesseAz||

    Bls.gov has self reported numbers... Teachers admit on those surveys they only work 34 hours a week. The myth of the all night grading is persistent.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    There's no bigger group of whiny ass, needy little passive-aggressive bitches in America than the public school teachers.

    They waste ridiculous amounts of money on lobbying and campaigning that would be better used to help with retirement, and then cry rivers of salty ham tears when that comes back to bite them in the ass.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If "bigger" refers to the size of the group, you might have a point.

    If "bigger" referrs to the intensity of the whining, alienated, intolerant, stale-thinking, cranky old-timers who complain about how white, straight, male Christians are being persecuted in America can't be topped.

  • Sevo||

    "If "bigger" referrs to the intensity of the whining, alienated, intolerant, stale-thinking, cranky old-timers who complain about how white, straight, male Christians are being persecuted in America can't be topped."

    Aww, asshole Artie has his pants in a wad!
    Fuck off.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Open wider, Sevo.

    Your betters may not be finished shoving progress down your throat, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, so just brace yourself and hope it doesn't go down sideways.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    And Arthur with the rape analogy.

    If you're using a rape analogy for what you want to do to somebody, you're probably not on the side of "good."

  • ||

    "hope it doesn't go down sideways", progressive central planning in a nutshell.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Meh, the only people who didn't have a "seat at the table" are the taxpayers. Remember them? You know, the ones who will have to actually pay the bill?

  • DajjaI||

    Public pensions and debt are a far greater threat to the health and safety of children than berzerk autistic kids with guns. But they are silent because if they get to protest for ineffective and counterproductive legislation then their teachers should too.

  • ||

    I'm guessing the Teacher's Union is looking to the long term (for once).

    If more and more money is put into these hybrid plans, do the Teacher's Union (or their political allies) lose power?

  • Agammamon||

    Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table" with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

    Maybe remember that the next time the KEA comes 'round demanding dues.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    How Kentucky became an educational, economic, political, cultural, and moral drag on our nation must baffle some people.

    Mostly the people who neither respect nor understand the essential role of public education in building a great America.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • DJK||

    One not supporting obscene pensions and retirement after 27 years (at age 49 if you start right out of college at age 22) is tantamount to not understanding the essential role of education? And what does clinging have to do with anything? Try a few more tired tropes and shift those goalposts a little further. Is this the quality of reasoning that we get from public education?

  • S Moderation Douglas||

    That's not the way it works...

    " until their age and years of service add up to 87"

    Starting at 22, would need to be age 54.5 with 32.5 years service.

    87 years total.

  • Dallas H.||

    The "add up to 87" is the new rules that were just passed that they are protesting. The previous rules were 27 years of service. Period.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    Kirkland, believing that public education is the only way to teach people, not recognizing the role homeschooling, private schools, and charter schools could play in building a better world.

    Carry on, clinger.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Homeschooling is great for producing socially inept, superstitious yahoos.

    Backwater religious schools are great for producing the wrong end of bright flight.

    Public schools (through high school) have made America great. Some people dislike this.

  • Sevo||

    "Public schools (through high school) have made America great."

    You're a real laff-riot, asshole.

  • Texasmotiv||

    I guess it doesn't need to be said that Rev. is probably the least tolerant person who posts here. He demonstrates a complete lack of depth in any topic he chooses to comment on, and blindly spouts partisan insults and willful stupidity for the sake of signaling unearned moral superiority. I assume that he fancies himself a hero for the bravery to stand up for what he believes in, which unfortunately is crushing people he deems inferior to his enlightened worldview.

    Rock on Rev, you are literally the worst poster here. At least Tony occasionally has original thoughts and a consistent logical framework. Your entire posting history consists of bigoted statements about social conservatives, which is weird trolling for a libertarian website.

    I really hope you aren't a real person, but I'm pessimistic enough to believe you are.

  • ||

    Your homeschooling assessment seems to be awfully close to the last one on your list.

  • damikesc||

    Have you seen the Chicago school system?

    Hell, Wisconsin's school system is not better than Texas, when you add in the racial makeup of the student bodies.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Simpson's paradox for the win. But arty probably thinks that has something to do with a cartoon.

  • Sevo||

    "Carry on, clingers."
    Fuck off, assshole.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    The correct response to an organized conspiracy of members of the coddled petty bourgeois to extract money from the people in order to support themselves in extended years of idleness is to send them to re-education camps to learn what labor actually is. They certainly shouldn't be allowed to remain in positions where they can propagandize working-class youth into believing "progress" is serving the narrow class interest of parasites on labor.

  • retiredfire||

    Arbeit macht frei
    Right, Artie?
    The "proggie" tips his hand.
    "Progressing" towards totalitarianism.

  • Eric L||

    This new plan sounds very similar to the current Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS); although I did not see any mention of Social Security. Are teachers in KY currently paying in to SS and if not, will they be under the new plan?

  • gormadoc||

    I do not believe teachers pay into Social Security. It also depends on school district in KY on if they get SS later, assuming they didn't work enough in a normal job to be eligible.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    They do not.

    That's why the guarantee no-loss plan.

  • Karl Hungus||

    Rage Boner: ACTIVATED

    UK pensioner charged with murder after he stabs armed burglar to death:

    https://bit.ly/2GwqNSI

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    Not with Bon Jovi's mouth.

  • JeffreyL||

    As an Illinois Resident, my only comment is that i wish our state pensions were in good shape as Kentucky.

  • MOAB Maxine||

    "THIS IS ABOUT THE KID$!! WON'T YOU THINK OF THE KID$!!"

  • ||

    These "protests" and those of the gun banners from last month, perfectly demonstrate why women should not be allowed to vote.

  • DJK||

    Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you? I see your ridiculous comments against women and other races here and on Volokh. Do us a favor and don't pretend to represent anything libertarian or patriotic.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    You mean, apart from the fact that he's obviously a troll?

  • gormadoc||

    The usernames you choose fuck up my filters.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    The filters you choose fuck up my usernames.

  • DJK||

    Maybe. I've seen so many stupid things from both the left and the right that I can no longer tell what's trolling and what's legitimate belief.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring Worst Troll||

    Rule 24 of being online: everybody on the internet is either an idiot, an asshole, or a pervert. Sometimes more than one of those options applies.

  • Libertymike||

    Did you forget retard?

    Yes, retard should be added to your list because a poster can be a retard without being an idiot. Sure, there might be a Venn diagram for retards who are also assholes or perverts, but there still is a category consisting of just pure retard.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    but there still is a category consisting of just pure retard.

    See: Tony for one example.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    For some people, it's important to misrepresent the other side.

  • ||

    What's ridiculous is giving people predisposed to illogical, emotional arguments completely devoid of reason any say over how to run this country.

  • DJK||

    So women are illogical, emotional, and completely devoid of reason? As are African-Americans, Asian-Americans, or whatever other group you don't like? Sounds rather... devoid of reason.

  • Sevo||

    "What's ridiculous is giving people predisposed to illogical, emotional arguments completely devoid of reason any say over how to run this country."

    So how do we get your franchise removed?

  • Mezzanine||

    One of the main points of Libertarianism is the belief that each person only represents themself.

  • NoVaNick||

    There has definitely been an uptick in teacher strikes recently and last year, my oldest son's school shut down at the last minute for the "day without women" (funny-they didn't do it this year). If the progs think this will help them win, they should know that nothing pisses parents off more than being stuck at home with the kids, or having to arrange and pay for childcare.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I live in Northern VA too, and I think the same thing when progs clog the streets of D.C. with their mindless protest marches, particularly on weekdays. It doesn't seem to occur to them that ordinary people trying to get to work don't appreciate being fucked with by wankers who don't live there.

  • damikesc||

    The Progs want us more and more dependent on union labor that can fuck our lives royally so they can wield more power. I remember that NYC transit strike during the holiday season a few years ago that Bloomberg surrendered on immediately instead of, rightly, firing every last one of the fuckers.

  • NoVaNick||

    It doesn't seem to occur to them that ordinary people trying to get to work don't appreciate being fucked with by wankers who don't live there.

    I dunno - a lot of these wankers seem to now live in NoVa, and many of them are government employees who don't really need to get to work. I moved here about 15 years ago from Mass. hoping to get away from them, but they've followed me.

  • Dallas H.||

    But the difficulty of arranging child care, etc. is part of the plan. They never protest during the summer. They want to make it as difficult on families as possible so the populace gets fed up and will support anything the teachers want just to get their kids back in school.

  • syzito||

    It was proven a few years ago that after 100 hrs of instruction people [ kids] are educated to the point of mastering basic English, Math, History and Science. Enough to be able to attend any college and graduate. So why 12 years? Money!!

  • BYODB||

    Due to the inherent nature of public education, you teach to the lowest possible denominator. Thus kids who might require 100 hours of instruction to master the basics must be taught as if they are mentally handicapped autistics.

    Of course, there's always the 'honors' program which is basically where all the not-retarded kids end up but even then it's not the equal of private education. Gee whiz, it's almost like we pay more for less. I bet a labor Union would make that system better, right?!

    /sarc

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Thus kids who might require 100 hours of instruction to master the basics must be taught as if they are mentally handicapped autistics.

    And then some of those kids end up getting bored out of their skulls at school and come to hate and resent being forced to go and sit and sit in a room with a bunch of people that actually are retarded.

  • DarrenM||

    They are being trained for an office job in the real world.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Babysitting, pure and simple

  • CIH||

    There is no question that pension reform is necessary in Kentucky, the method our legislators chose to pass this reform was underhanded and deceitful to the teachers and the Commonwealth's citizens. The 291+ page reform was attached to waste bill under consideration. The bill passed committee unread and then passed through both houses in a two to three hour time frame. The majority Republicans who complained about former majority Democrats tactics in the past have obviously learned...

    I won't argue that any bill would have met resistance. I just don't appreciate the tactics. And I actually agree with much of the contents of the legislation. Bevin is much like Trump in that he enjoys bullying people and considers that leadership.

    Regarding the comments earlier about work ethic of teachers. There are bad apples in all industries, but I have personally witnessed my daughter's dedication to kids in her Title 1 school. She's at work by 0630 and routinely is not home until 1600. She's there because there is too much BS admin type stuff during the day to properly plan she needs that time to focus on her kids for the next days and weeks. Yep - she's there 180 days, but is paid at a 9 month rate, is required to attend summer meetings/training, and has to make up every snow day.

    The problem isn't the large majority of teachers. It's too much administration, too little parenting and government kicking the can down the road.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And in those 9 months makes more than the median income. Don't give me that "only paid for 9 months" bullshit.

  • CIH||

    I didn't give the "only paid for nine months" bullshit. The bullshit is the way the the legislature pushed things through. Pension plan needed changed.

  • Sevo||

    "I didn't give the "only paid for nine months" bullshit"

    Bullshit, bullshitter:
    "Yep - she's there 180 days, but is paid at a 9 month rate, is required to attend summer meetings/training, and has to make up every snow day."

  • JesseAz||

    Facts do tend to ruin a liberals argument. Feelings, we need more feelings.

  • Sevo||

    "There are bad apples in all industries,"
    And unlike teachers, they get fired.

  • Azathoth!!||

    So, 6:30 to sometime before 4:00(how long is her commute?)

    That's not very arduous. If her commute is half an hour and she takes a standard lunch, that's basically an 8 hour day.

    And your daughter CHOOSES to be paid for 9 months. Her pay can be metered out over the entire year

    And we need to be precise.

    They get every holiday, plus fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, summer break AND vacation.

    AND 'bankable' sickdays.

    It's not arduous at all.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    Clearly she needs an easier job in the coal mines.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Clearly she needs to be paid what the public thinks she's worth, not what a union getting someone elected who will raise their pay thinks her vote is worth.

  • BYODB||


    Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table"


    I know it might be a bit of a stretch, but does this indicate that this particular math teacher doesn't understand...math?

  • StackOfCoins||

    Sounds like union boilerplate. This teacher being some math nerd or other dip is just repeating shit he has heard before. I doubt he's had a critical thought this century.

  • retiredfire||

    What benefits are offered to new teachers is none of the union's business, since, by definition, those hires can't be union members until after being given the job.
    The employment contract is between the government entity and the individual - for that individual to accept, or reject, at their own discretion.
    A union walking out over the benefit package given to new hires should be considered an illegal strike, subjecting all of them to summary dismissal.
    Unfortunately, the "education" system, that requires far too many "qualifications" for people desiring to be teachers, keeps the pool of those eligible to replace them, small and thus impossible to replace that many.
    Maybe a few token firings of the leaders would send the right message.

  • Eidde||

    I'm waiting for the headline reading "protests are *not* political theater without substance."

    You'd have to go back several years, I'm guessing.

    Maybe the "New York Times, Please Don't Lie" protests had some substance.

  • Joe_JP||

    The right to peacefully assemble to petition the government to redress grievances is such a loser right.

  • ||

    Somehow, petitioning for the government to keep its hands off one's lief and petitioning for more taxpayer money seem a little different.

  • Joe_JP||

    Depends on the details.

  • Rebel Scum||

    The problem is that these are public employees that are "protesting" during their work time. They leave the parents (taxpayers that pay their salaries) high and dry. For the children, of course. When they strike, now little Jimmy can't go to school and little Jimmy's parents have to arrange for care or miss work thanks to little Jimmy's "teacher". Little Jimmy's "teacher" should be fired, with prejudice.

  • Tony||

    It's called being desperate. Maybe the politicians you favor shouldn't have been shitting on education while giving tax cuts to the Koch brothers this whole time.

  • NoVaNick||

    So why then, Tony, has education spending gone up, especially in poor urban districts, yet these schools still perform so poorly? Any job in states like OK, WV, and Kentucky is going to pay a lot less than in the fancy shmancy blue paradise you live in. FYI the Koch bros have given a lot of their money for charter schools, which perform a lot better than public schools.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Roaches always get desperate when the lights are turned on. Funny how all of their concern for the children always requires hiring more teachers and paying them more.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.4.18 @ 3:19PM|#
    'Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, Koch brothers, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.'

    Thanks, Tony. Up to your normal quota of bullshit.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    If they think they are desperate, five years working in the coal mines should re-educate them on the nature of labor.

  • JesseAz||

    Per child spending, when controlled for inflation, has tripled since 1979. It's not a money issue moron.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Teachers have shut down schools across the state

    They should be fired and made an example of.

  • Conchfritters||

    Well, this is really about the retired people - - and last time I checked, retired people don't work. They should just tell the retired teachers they are cutting their pension in half - what are they going to do to retaliate? Not show up for work?

  • retiredfire||

    They'll take them to court, for violating the Constitutional ban on failing to honor a contract and get all the pension, and probably some punitive damages, as well.

  • Consigliere of the Dark Ones||

    Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table" with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

    Andrew Beaver would love fascism then.

  • retiredfire||

    Andrew Beaver, a 32-year-old middle school math teacher, told The New York Times that he and his colleagues were angry about (in the Times' words) "not having a seat at the negotiation table" with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-controlled state legislature.


    Andrew Beaver needs to understand that what is to be offered to new hires is not negotiable with those already on the job. Nor should it be.

  • Nom de Sobriquet||

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I don't know about Kentucky, but I can't swing a dead cat without hitting a wanna-be teacher in my neighborhood.

    If they didn't have such ludicrous and useless hiring standards, you'd be able to get qualified and probably more motivated teachers for a whole lot less than they currently pay.

    It takes an 8th grade A student in a subject with some pedagogy training to teach the subject to a 7th grader. It doesn't really matter what the expertise is outside the realm or beyond the grade level. Attending summer seminars to find out new developments on WW2 or ancient greece isn't needed.

  • Texasmotiv||

    I have been confronted with this a lot. My brother-in-law is a teacher in Kentucky and himself being a conservative in the charged political atmosphere he has described the whole experience like being Uatu the Watcher. He just sits back and observes not getting involved in one way or another but having a vantage point to see everything that is going on.

    The problem in my view comes from the fact that the incentive structure is unsustainable. Being that the school is NOT a profit generating organization (it is an investment cost that the community makes against future human capital) there is no mechanism to grow the size of the organization. In a private setting, a firm (hopefully) has profits and those profits are reinvested, sometimes in additional captial, sometimes in the form of salary/benefits. If there was a good year and employees performed well, there are mechanisms for the employee to get a raise or additional supplies, or an espresso machine in the breakroom or whatever.

    If teachers want to get more money they have to have the union lobby the statehouse or the schoolboard or what have you, to then increase the taxes to get more money to spend on education, usually this lags behind the demand for better salaries, demand for school services, etc due to the budgetary priorities and realities. Its why they have to push the, schools are underfunded, teachers are underpaid line because it persuades people into allowing more to be taken from them via taxes.

  • Texasmotiv||

    To put things in perspective, in Kentucky the median teacher salary is ~50k. Wheras the median private school teacher salary is reportedly much lower.

    Across the country, public schools pay their teachers more, pay more per pupil, and perform worse that private schools, and the majority of charter schools. It's also hard to measure how much the market price for primary and secondary education is distorted by the public subsidies. It's an odd market as well given the strange features, the forced universality of consumption via truancy law, the apparent need of education caused by credential inflation (a side effect of universality) and the insistence of the community that this be something we force people pay into.

    These are all things that prevent a true free market for education. Until people change their values and stop insisting on education, completely free-market education is a dream. The best we can and should hope for is that we can use the money more efficiently, and allow market forces to set prices more effectively. This whole situation is just a wonderful illustration of the structural problems hidden inside the very heart of the system.

  • CaveMan||

    In my county the public schools get $8000 +/- for each student. The private school my daughter attends charges a yearly tuition that ranges from $4200-4800 depending on grade level of the student.

  • johnnywalleye||

    Can you find a 20 yrs old teacher?fairly aggressive for a college student to do 4 yrs of work in 3 yrs.unless of course you find a brilliant young mind whom graduates from high school at 17yrs of age and decides education is their calling..can we be slightly honest?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Why do teachers need a degree? The skillset for a grade school teacher is closer to daycare. What little specialized knowledge might be needed is readily available via software and the internet.

    We need to eliminate most of the gatekeeping that keeps the qualified teacher supply artificially low.

  • CaveMan||

    The number of school shut down by this walk out needs to be questioned. Many Kentucky schools are on spring break this week and were off last Friday as well.

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