Raises For Everyone

Sit back all week, dear readers, while we collaborate (drink) on a Boston-centric, developmentally-appropriate (drink) train wreck (drink).

Goldstein Gone Wild begins with Conrad Harper, a Harvard trustee. Former, that is. He quit. The New York Times has Harper ticked off about a proposed 3% raise for embattled President Larry Summers.

Just 3%? Heck, even GGW gets that much each year. Too bad Summers can’t just cross the Charles River and line up Hub Mayor Thomas Menino as his boss. As the Boston Globe reports, the Mayor doles out hefty raises for everyone. Check out the teacher salary growth: the average Boston teacher now reels in over $69,000 per year. That’s more than every nearby suburb.

And in return for his largesse, what has Menino received? Merit pay? Um, no. How about teachers agreeing to additional training that their principals believe will help improve student achievement? Not exactly. (Click and scroll for a Talmudic discussion on how teachers are counseled to avoid training).

Okay, well at least will the Boston Teachers Union support the well-regarded Superintendent and its own teachers, who want to create more win-win (for students and teachers), high-performing pilot schools?

EdWeek reports the opposite: the BTU is killing the pilot schools movement. These popular quasi-charter schools are autonomous, small, and funded on a per-student basis. Teachers waive union work rules and participate in decision-making.

Yet the BTU has overruled its own teachers who want more of these schools. Their argument is that the teachers who choose to work at schools where they can stay late to help failing kids (stuck in inter-generational poverty, no big deal) jeopardize the teachers who want to hit the parking lot at 1:40pm. What does the BTU want?

Another raise (in the form of overtime).

Which brings us back to Mr. Harper. “In my judgment, [Summers] 2004-05 conduct, implicating, as it does, profound issues of temperament and judgment, merits no increase whatever.”

Summers’ Shot Heard Round The World – that women may have “what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end” in science – had already led to a $50 million “settlement” of sorts, for a new initiative to bolster every level of the pipeline for Harvard female scientists.

And while the move was a big step towards campus detente (the issue is not just the sciences, by the way, only 13% of Harvard’s tenured professors are women), Harper remained dissatisfied.

Fair enough. No 3% soup for you.

Naturally, Harper’s own law firm, the eminent, white-shoe Simpson Thacher in New York City, has a much better track record when it comes to creating family-friendly partner tracks for women.

Although…what’s this?…I may be miscalculating, but isn’t 20 female Simpson Thacher partners out of 158…exactly 13%?
– Guest blogger Michael Goldstein

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