Treating Teachers like Wine
School Choice Weekly, Issue #12
Unions seem to believe teachers are like some wines: The older, the better. The age-determined pay scale unions demand is the reason 2013’s National Teacher of the Year earns less than 25,000 other teachers in his state, despite his accolades and despite his high-demand field--teaching high school science.
Besides his teaching duties, Jeff Charbonneau has netted his high school more than $25,000 in grants for a robotics program he runs there. He is also adjunct faculty at three higher education institutions, meaning students who take his classes can earn up to 24 college credits by high school graduation.
Charbonneau’s pay is limited, however, not by his work ethic and expertise, but by pay scales that recognize neither. According to those, he is worth the same as every other teacher who manages to stay put in the same district for 12 years.
This system “treats all educators like identical parts in a factory,” writes Jamie Lund, a senior fellow at Washington’s Freedom Foundation, who checked into Charbonneau’s pay. “Those with less seniority get paid less, and they also have less protection from moves or dismissal due to declining enrollment.”
Many districts have seen beloved and excellent teachers laid off before less-excellent teachers simply because of seniority rules. As Lund points out, that recently happened to Sacramento’s Teacher of the Year.
Some wines get dusty and sour with age. Because of this, age is not the criteria even a half-aware person uses for choosing a wine. Why use it for teachers? Only because, for unions, teachers and children are an afterthought. Money and power are the real goals. Age-determined hiring, raises, and firing keeps teachers part of the collective, rather than giving them the individual freedom to earn the rewards of their excellence.
SOURCE: Freedom Foundation
IN THIS ISSUE
- ALABAMA: Parents seek to defend the state’s tax-credit scholarships against the state teachers union’s third lawsuit against it. Judges threw out the other two lawsuits.
- LOUISIANA: The state releases its second call for independent providers of classes students can take outside school, for credit and using K-12 funds. The mini-voucher is called Course Choice, and this year the flood of students into it caused state leaders to scramble for funds.
- NEW JERSEY: A Rutgers University study compares the outcome of ZIP code-assigned schooling to “apartheid.” It found 26 percent of black students and 13 percent of Latino students attend schools where 1 percent or fewer of students are white.
- ARIZONA: The first-ever survey of education savings account parents reveals what they think of their education option. They are highly pleased and use the accounts differently from a voucher by dividing the funds among multiple education activities.
- IOWA: A new poll finds 54 percent of Iowans support vouchers and 58 percent support tax-credit scholarships. Five times as many Iowans wish they could send their kids to private school than actually do.
- NEW YORK: The state education commissioner has canceled three public Common Core forums, saying parents have gotten too boisterous. He also called objecting parents and teachers “special interests.”
- OHIO: The House Education Committee chairman says Common Core opposition “makes no sense” and is a “conspiracy theory.” His hearing room was filled with parents and voters last week to discuss a bill that would repeal the national education standards.
- TEXTBOOKS: The Business Roundtable wants to establish a panel to judge which school materials are Common Core-compliant, because everything labels itself so now. Teachers and districts say they’re overwhelmed at sorting through all the Common Core-labeled materials.
- BULLYING: A new study finds anti-bullying laws and programs are likely to increase bullying. The study’s author, who collected data on approximately 7,000 students from all 50 states, says it appears anti-bullying programs give kids more cruel ideas.
- COLORADO: Discover the school district set on implementing controversial data-gathering initiative inBloom after nearly all the states that planned to do the same have dropped out. The database connector includes potential entries for things like family relationships (such as “foster parent” or “father’s significant other”) and reason for enrollment changes (“withdrawn due to illness” or “leaving school as a victim of a serious violent incident”).
- ILLINOIS: The state superintendent refuses to release results of a publicly funded poll about public schools. School administrators were worried about embarrassing findings.
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