There Is No Time Like Part Time?

Taken to scale, this contract employee idea raises some obvious moral hazard problems around salary as well as health and retirement benefits and it seems to also run afoul of NEA policy, no small thing in our business.   But, in general the idea of finding ways to attract retiring boomers — especially those who were good teachers at some point in their career — to stay involved in education is a good one.    

There are some national service ideas floating around on this but they tend to focus on full time teaching.  Another way to approach it would be to create more adjunct teachers, especially at the high school level.   While teaching full-time may be more intense and more of a time commitment than some people want as a post-retirement option, capturing some of their time is one way to help address the various human capital challenges education faces.   Good selection and, in the case of those who have not taught training, too, would be important and this idea would be much more applicable at the middle and secondary levels than elementary schools.  Still, with some flexibility there is some value that could be brought into schools.   There are other part-timers out there, too, for instance mothers with young children, who could be tapped.  School districts do some job-share options now and some kinds of block schedules make that even easier.   But there is a lot more that can be done to maximize the amount of talent in front of students.   Facilitating all this would be an attractive niche for a non-profit, too…

My ideas, too, are unlikely to pass NEA muster and also could create some downward pressure on wages and benefits if not approached carefully.  Yet there are ways through that and the field does have to think about how to use people differently — especially in shortage subjects.   And needless to say, though I’ll say it anyway, if the country had a rationale health care system it would make a lot of this easier…

6 Replies to “There Is No Time Like Part Time?”

  1. Amen to your notion of a rational health care system. I think if we were to have such a thing, we’d have a lot more common ground on educational issues. Many things would be possible in a country like that, and I hope we live in such a place one of these days.

    The reality, though, is UFT President Randi Weingarten is looking at privatizing the NYC healthcare network, and her prime reservations seem to relate to how big a cut will reach union coffers and a very short-sighted temporary stop on turning over the company. It’s sad Ms. Weingarten feels she can’t operate her patronage mill on a piddling 80 million a year.

    Still, it’s remarkable that her myopic vision indicates teachers need what the rest of the country has. Particularly in terms of health care, the rest of the country needs what teachers have, and the sooner the better.

  2. You back out of a blind alley the way you drove in.

    Our FUNDAMENTAL problem is too many kids without enough adult guidance. Your idea makes great sense. The same applies to a sustainable version of KIPP. Young teachers working 100 hours a week is not sustainable. Dividing the job into say four people of all ages is.

  3. Thank you for including mothers with young children in your post. As a mother with young children I recently started blogging to try to stay involved in education in some way. What I would really love instead is to be back in the classroom, especially part time!

  4. There already is an adjunct type system in place in NYC – it is called F-status and almost everyone who retires seems to be offered some kind of part-time gig. Some of these jobs are bull – friends of principals, etc.

    Others are used to keep the budget down – hire 2 F-status for a cluster so you don’t need to hire someone full-time. And these people serve at the will of the principal. Think of how much would be save in an entire school of F-status people. Retirees don’t need health care or pensions.

    Let’s also think how a decent health care system would impact on the students.

    People like Eduwonk and the regressive ed reformers they support – Rhee, Klein, etc. like to say we can close whatever gaps there are through inspired leadership, setting goals, high expectations, removing teachers, etc. Talk about health issues like Richard Rothstein does and you are making excuses.

    Teachers in urban areas fullof poor kids who daily face lousy neighborhood health services know full well how their learning is affected. Teachers attuned to social justice issues fight to heal the whole child, knowing full well the achievement gap is about a lot more than teaching reading.

  5. I suspect a proposal like this seems a lot more appealing if you, like Andy, are a onetime resident of suburban Washington, which boasts both a large number of retired engineers/military contractors (with pension benefits) and an antiquated teacher certification system that all but denies interested career-changers entry into the profession (as Virginia’s requirements have since the 1970s).

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