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Smart List: 60 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education
3 Replies to “If You Were Wondering”
hello Eduwonk !
In a blog of which I am a regular reader I came to know about you, as a good blog in ‘education’. By reading the reviews I can see that its true. From now on you will find me regularly in your blog.
Finn and Hess claim that local school districts could have used the recession as an opportunity to purge their ranks of underperforming teachers. I don’t buy it. Many teacher contracts provide for RIFs to consider things like seniority in a district when determining who gets let go; very few take into account anything having to do with teacher performance. Furthermore, if “bad” teachers were let go due to budget shortfalls, those teachers with the most seniority (or higher degree, etc.) would have been re-hired first. Again, that goes for most public school contracts that I’m familiar with. Without the influx of federal funds, many schools would have had to let teachers go and, according to contract agreements like the one described above, a lot of those could have been good teachers. And some of those good teachers, having been laid off and fed up with inconsistencies in funding and uncertainty, may have left the profession – for good. By keeping all of the teachers, the federal funds allowed for class sizes to remain static, good teachers stayed in schools, and things did not get worse. This is the key thing to consider. Sure, federal stimulus dollars in these instances did not produce dramatic improvements in education (how would they?), but they kept things in many districts from going from bad to worse. It’s not a reformer’s dream, but it was probably better than nothing.
Can we please stop pretending that the free marketers at places like the National Review want schools to succeed? It’s been obvious for some time that the real goal of these forces is total privatization of the school system. So of course they don’t want more teachers, since that actually makes schools work.