Teachers deserve sympathy for six afflictions, writes Checker Finn on Gadfly. Number one:
An absurd and antiquated compensation system that pays bad teachers as much as good ones and phys. ed. teachers as much as physics teachers. (A recent survey reminds us that math and science teachers are the most apt to leave due to meager pay–compared to what they can earn elsewhere.) That system is controlled by large bureaucracies instead of individual schools; is skewed to favor time-servers at the expense of newcomers; and is coupled to archaic, non-portable pension plans.
Most of the San Diego area teachers who got pink slips in March will have jobs in the fall, reports Voice of San Diego. But some have found other work and won’t be back.
(Veteran teachers had) seen it all before in 2003: Dire warnings of severe, statewide cuts to schools. The ensuing stream of layoff warnings to employees. Furious outcry from parents and unions. And the eventual cancellation of the dreaded layoffs — or most of them — as California lawmakers retreated from their budgeting plans and reduced cuts to schools.
Faced with protests, “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a new budget proposal that restored some funding to California schools.” Mark Mathewson, an information technology worker turned elementary school teacher, got his job back. But he’d already accepted an IT job offer.
Driving away employees such as Mathewson is just one cost of a layoff process that drains schools of time, money and morale.
State law requires districts to issue layoff notices two months before the state budget is finalized — assuming it’s done on time. So districts assume the worst, telling new teachers that they’re expendable. Some think districts announce drastic layoffs to pressure legislators for more education funding.