”My wife is a teacher, and I gave up a successful career in advertising to become one as well.
Arizona recently killed tenure and allowed schools to get rid of all those “evil” bad teachers who are sucking the system dry and doing a bad job teaching. Guess which teachers were -immediately- let go in mass firings? Experienced ones. GOOD ones. Teachers who had climbed to the higher levels of the payscale (aka, they were making 50k-60k instead of 30-40k). As an example, when Mesa let go of hundreds upon hundreds of teachers, not a -single- one of the layoffs was a teacher with under 5 years of experience. Are you telling me there’s not a single bad teacher among the lower paid set? Are you telling me every single 20+ year teacher in Mesa that was fired is a bad teacher?
No. It was not a “getting rid of bad teachers” decision, it was a monetary decision. Those positions didn’t “go away”. Mesa hired for almost every single position they had just vacated – filling them with new young teachers or even hiring older experienced teachers (who coming into AZ can’t bring all their years to the payscale – meaning they start considerably lower on the payscale despite their experience). Tenure used to protect these teachers from being universally fired without cause. Now, teachers are simply disposable. Why keep paying a GOOD teacher a slightly higher wage when you can simply hire a new graduate right out of college instead.
Schools hide the negative effects of this on education by gaming the system on national testing under NCLB as well. My wife’s school, for example, has a -massive- number of their english as a second language students classified as “learning disabled” – this essentially takes them out of the equation when AIMS testing comes up yearly, allowing the school to appear to be performing in the face of a TERRIBLE decline in quality of education. It’s a total farce against the system, but nobody opens their mouths because saying -anything- about this means you won’t be getting a contract next year.
My wife’s average class size is over 35 students. Next year it’s set to rise to above 40 because the school district she teaches in is closing two schools as they cut education funding to help meet the state budget. She doesn’t even have 40 chairs or places at lab stations to put 40 students (her classroom was designed for 25 students or so).
But yeah, it’s all these evil teachers and their evil unions and tenure and bad teaching and high pay and pensions and benefits and summers off.
this excellent rant comes from the comments here about 60% of the way down the page:
featuring the US govt bombing schools and sending Haliburton-employed teachers in…