Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Teachers Feel Budget Ax

Here are Mike Petrilli's comments about the NYT article below:

You call that a "sacrifice"?

My post yesterday, arguing that we have too many veteran teachers who cost too much and add too little value, stirred up quite a bit of controversy, both here on Flypaper and over at Let me kick up a bit more dust.

The New York Times just posted a story by Winnie Hu about the wage cuts and "give-backs" that teachers in the New York metro area are agreeing to, even in affluent suburbs. At first blush, I was heartened to see that teachers would agree to take a haircut in order to protect extra-curricular programs, art and music classes, and junior teachers' jobs. (And for sure, many teachers deserve credit for their willingness to do exactly that.)

But my cheer dampened when I learned of the details of the teachers' "sacrifices." For instance:

Faced with the prospect of 20 layoffs, a majority of Scarsdale's teachers voted to reopen their contract to shave one percentage point off an expected raise of 3.25 percent in each of the next two years. That would save $1.9 million.

Wow, that's tough, in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and at a time of record-low inflation, teachers are "only" going to get annual raises of 2.25 percent. (Plus, most teachers will actually get bigger raises, because they will get "step increases" for staying in the classroom another year.)

That doesn't keep the unions from laying it on thick:

John Yrchik, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association…said teachers had been treated like automated teller machines by government officials and taxpayers.

"Whenever there have been shortfalls in revenue," Mr. Yrchik said, "teachers have been asked to make up the difference."

Puh-lease. The problem isn't a "shortfall in revenue," it's ever-expanding expenses, driven by promises made to teachers that we can't possibly afford. (Promises made by school boards and legislators elected largely with union cash.)

Europe is starting to face the reality of needing to live with less; our education system needs to do the same.

-Mike Petrilli


May 11, 2010

In New York's Suburbs, Teachers Feel Budget Ax


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