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Dubious assumptions about teacher layoffs
St. Paul Pioneer Press ^ | June 15, 2010 | Charles Lane

Posted on 06/16/2010 6:26:27 AM PDT by rhema

By now, you've probably heard about the urgent teacher layoff crisis threatening America. Because of shrinking state and local budgets, as many as 300,000 teachers could be laid off, with devastating educational consequences for our children. The only cure is $23 billion in fresh federal deficit spending, rushed through Congress as part of a bill to fund U.S. overseas military operations. 'The urgency is high,' President Obama warned congressional leaders in a June 12 letter.

Don't believe the hype.

Start with that number being bandied about: 300,000 teacher layoffs. The sources for it are teachers unions and school administrators, whose national organizations counted layoff warning notices sent out this spring and extrapolated from there. Notably even these sources usually describe the threatened positions as "education jobs." That's because the figures include not only K-12 classroom instructors but also support staff (bus drivers, custodians, et al.) and community college faculty. And 300,000 is the upper end of a range that could be as low as 100,000. Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers.

Moreover, spring layoff notices are a notoriously unreliable guide to job cuts in the fall because many public school systems require administrators to notify every person who might be laid off. As The New York Times recently reported: "Everywhere, school officials tend to overestimate the potential for layoffs at this time of year, to ensure that every employee they might have to dismiss receives the required notifications."

Given this, it's unclear how the bill's supporters came up with its $23 billion price tag. It works out to about $77,000 per job saved in the 300,000-layoff scenario, but $230,000 per job if only 100,000 jobs are at risk. Maybe that's why the bill's fine print allows states to spend funds left over from education hiring on other state employees. By the way, the bill distributes funds to states according to how many residents they have, not how many threatened layoffs.

But what about class size? Well, 300,000 teacher layoffs would increase the national student-teacher ratio in public schools from 15.3-to-1 to 16.6-to-1 — roughly where it was in 1997. And 100,000 teacher layoffs would increase it to 15.6-to-1 — the 2005 level. Neither number portends educational apocalypse given how uncertain the links are between class size and student achievement. Student-teacher ratios shrank roughly 10 percent nationally from 1996 to 2008, but reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress stayed essentially flat. Newark, for example, has a student-teacher ratio of only 10.7 to 1 — and the poorest test-score results of any public school system in New Jersey.

The Obama administration argues that the bill would pay for itself in part because teachers who are retained would continue to pay taxes and not collect unemployment benefits. But the same could be said for spending on any category of employment. Beyond its totally unquantified claims of long-term educational benefits, the White House has no evidence that there's something especially economically stimulative about keeping schools fully staffed.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: aft; education; nea; obama
NJ Gov. Chris Christie: "But the teachers union is about the accumulation and exercise of raw power."
1 posted on 06/16/2010 6:26:28 AM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema
from 15.3-to-1 to 16.6-to-1 — roughly where it was in 1997. And 100,000 teacher layoffs would increase it to 15.6-to-1 — the 2005 level. Neither number portends educational apocalypse given how uncertain the links are between class size and student achievement.

Union Bribes again.

We put satellites into orbit with 30:1 student teacher ratios, and we used SLIDE RULES. This is sickening. How about making that 500,000 Administrators?

2 posted on 06/16/2010 6:38:21 AM PDT by Gorzaloon (CNN:AP:etc:Today, President Obama's stool was firm and well-formed. One end was slightly pointed. ")
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To: rhema
Well I'm one of those “Support Staff....I was a Technical Support Specialist for a 2300 student High School with 468 computers.. After 12 years I got the old heave ho ....Forced retirement at 63..

3 posted on 06/16/2010 6:38:43 AM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: rhema; ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas; stephenjohnbanker; DoughtyOne; genetic homophobe; FromLori; ...
RE :”Start with that number being bandied about: 300,000 teacher layoffs. The sources for it are teachers unions and school administrators, whose national organizations counted layoff warning notices sent out this spring and extrapolated from there. Notably even these sources usually describe the threatened positions as “education jobs.” That’s because the figures include not only K-12 classroom instructors but also support staff (bus drivers, custodians, et al.) and community college faculty. And 300,000 is the upper end of a range that could be as low as 100,000. Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers... ...Given this, it’s unclear how the bill’s supporters came up with its $23 billion price tag. It works out to about $77,000 per job saved in the 300,000-layoff scenario, but $230,000 per job if only 100,000 jobs are at risk. Maybe that’s why the bill’s fine print allows states to spend funds left over from education hiring on other state employees. By the way, the bill distributes funds to states according to how many residents they have, not how many threatened layoffs”

On top of this new numbers scam the public school teachers (who ALWAYS vote democrat) are off for the summer but this would keep them paid, pay for their vacation. So lay them off and hire them back in September and save 10 billion. Where else will they get union jobs tied to the federal government?

4 posted on 06/16/2010 6:39:48 AM PDT by sickoflibs ( "It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: rhema

Most states have laws on teacher lay offs, most say the lay off must be in April to June or the teacher gets a contract for the next year. As schools worry they may lose or gain students in the next school year or the promised state funding may or may not show up next year, they make the decision to send lay off notices to a number of low seniority teachers, but intend to recall them by September if the pupil count or funding shows up.

That means the lay offs the teacher’s unions are yelling about are not all firm lay offs. It’s the sort of “crisis” the left uses to get its way. Schools and teachers will survive this crisis without new laws or new funding.


5 posted on 06/16/2010 6:57:01 AM PDT by RicocheT
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To: Gorzaloon
We put satellites into orbit with 30:1 student teacher ratios, and we used SLIDE RULES. This is sickening. How about making that 500,000 Administrators?

Think about that little figure in the article:

Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers.

This means that 1 percent of the ENTIRE POPULATION is a K-12 public school teacher!!!!!!

I wonder what the numbers are for other professions?
6 posted on 06/16/2010 7:01:01 AM PDT by BikerJoe
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To: sickoflibs

Grand Theft!!


7 posted on 06/16/2010 7:01:37 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Support our troops....and vote out the RINOS!)
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To: sickoflibs

On top of this new numbers scam the public school teachers (who ALWAYS vote democrat)

A member of my extended family became a Conservative and started voting Republican, but only AFTER retiring from teaching. While he was employed he voted the straight union party line, and was pretty open about doing it for monetary reasons. (being addicted to the government teat is like being addicted to crack apparently)


8 posted on 06/16/2010 7:04:24 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Buckeye McFrog
RE :”A member of my extended family became a Conservative and started voting Republican, but only AFTER retiring from teaching. While he was employed he voted the straight union party line, and was pretty open about doing it for monetary reasons. (being addicted to the government teat is like being addicted to crack apparently)

Plus government workers almost always convince themselves that they are acting for the greater good of the country, as opposed to private sector employees controlled by greed and self interest(the housing bubble, crash and bailouts reinforced this natural bias). Public servants have become our masters.

If all their coworkers and friends are liberals and they get info from liberal sources then they have a different view of the world. I am always emailing democrat coworkers stuff that they never seen or heard before that is on FNC. Obama told them not to watch FNC, and some programs especially Hannity’s show is just an RNC commercial which is turnoff.

9 posted on 06/16/2010 7:20:04 AM PDT by sickoflibs ( "It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the federal spending=tax delayed")
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To: Gorzaloon

I notice that whenever they talk about teacher “layoffs” in my area, they also will say that they will probably all be hired back in the fall due to “attrition” or whatever....


10 posted on 06/16/2010 7:39:42 AM PDT by cherry
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To: cherry
I notice that whenever they talk about teacher “layoffs” in my area, they also will say that they will probably all be hired back in the fall due to “attrition” or whatever....

They always threaten teachers, cops, and hosers..all the popular ones, every time they want more cocaine. FOR THE CHILDREN™.

All poltics are local. Watch the towns do it every year.

The more successful local extortionists then waft upward, froth like, to the State Level, and if all goes well, they someday become Genuine Scum For Rent™ in DC.

11 posted on 06/16/2010 8:48:50 AM PDT by Gorzaloon (CNN:AP:etc:Today, President Obama's stool was firm and well-formed. One end was slightly pointed. ")
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To: Buckeye McFrog

>>>On top of this new numbers scam the public school teachers (who ALWAYS vote democrat)

A member of my extended family became a Conservative and started voting Republican, but only AFTER retiring from teaching. While he was employed he voted the straight union party line, and was pretty open about doing it for monetary reasons. (being addicted to the government teat is like being addicted to crack apparently)<<<

Always is a expansive word, my friend. I entered the teaching profession as a conservative in 1998 and I’m still conservative. I haven’t voted for a liberal politician during that entire time. In fact, there’s a whole cadre of us working in our school. Yes, there are doctrinaire liberals and leftists as well, but they don’t run the place. Most of the staff here are non-union, too.

Perhaps that’s because I’m living in Alaska.

My experience is that the schools are a microcosm of society as a whole. The leftists are a minority, but a loud minority in places of influence, and their voices and antics make them seem larger than they are. The rest of us are too busy working to counter their idiocy. Like I say, maybe these observations are because I’m in Alaska. My stereotyped imaginings of California and New York agree with your outlook, but I’ll bet there are quiet conservatives there, too.

In any case, experiencing socialism on a minor scale in the school bureaucracy should be enough to convince any thinking person that leftist philosophy doesn’t work.

My own opinion is that we need to do away with tenure, have year-round schools, and privatize the whole affair. If a doctor or a lawyer can come to town and hang up a shingle and open an office, why shouldn’t I be able to do the same thing? I’d love to see it. I’m always pressing for it. Maybe it’ll happen before I retire.


12 posted on 06/16/2010 10:26:12 AM PDT by redpoll
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