First-hired, last-fired


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Scott says:

    Please, the last thing the unions care about is what is good for the students, they only care about continuing the union stranglehold on education. So I laugh when I hear Arne tell us that “Students only have one chance for an education…” as if he’s going to cross the unions.Report

  2. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    I’m sure we can find a balanced approach to balancing school budgets. I’m also sure that once we find it, we’ll shelve it, and opt for something less balanced.Report

  3. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    Two side notes to this:

    Typically, something not often mentioned in the public skuul teacher’s union debate is the fact that teachers in many areas take a pay hit when compared to their age- and education-comparative peers. Top 15 salaries for a college graduate? Petroleum/Chemical/Mining/Computer/Electrical/(a break in the #5 slot for CS)/Mechanical/Industrial/Systems Engineering/Engineering Technology/(another break for Actuaries)/More Engineering/Finally bottoming out with Construction Management (that’s CNN Money’s numbers from last year).

    Teachers, at least ones holding a certificate to teach in California, typically are on the equivalent of the 5 year plan held by many engineers, as they have to get their credential and complete their student teaching.

    It goes without saying that their earning potential is significantly less than all of the previously mentioned jobs, plus law, medicine, etc.

    So, the union has in many cases typically gone for “pay over lifetime” or “net benefits and compensation” rather than straight pay as their target. Thus, one can credibly make the case that the older teacher is actually due some serious compensation.

    Perhaps the union might be more amenable to a buyout package.

    Second, Ezra’s point FTA:

    > But that doesn’t militate towards something like “first-
    > hired, last-fired.” It militates towards developing
    > objective quality metrics that a teacher could use to
    > make the case that he or she was fired unreasonably

    Yes, and this is a wicked problem, so maybe it doesn’t come to the conclusion you’d like, Ezra. Measuring teacher quality is not a trivial issue. We can fairly credibly measure a teacher’s skills by empaneling a nice set of experts to observe the teacher for a significant time period. This obviously does not scale. Until we can come up with a reasonable, scalable, economically feasible method for measuring teacher quality, it *is* going to result in “first-hired, first-fired”, for exactly the reasons he alludes to here. Longer on the job==higher salary.Report

  4. Avatar Lyle says:

    Teacher unions are deathly afraid of pay by discipline it is anathema to them. If implimented a lot of humanities (english, social studies, foreign languange, teachers would face pay cuts as their base disciplines have a surplus of people in them. Now in a few areas such as foreign language you could pay more for native speakers who IMHO make better language teachers than those who learned later.Report

  5. Avatar Chad says:

    As usual, the extremes are the problem. One of our local Catholic high schools (which are often a poster child for why teachers’ unions exist) just had a “purge”. It fired or chased off about a dozen of its most experienced teachers and replaced them with cheaper, young teachers. Some of these teachers were institutions that were beloved by both students and alumni. Good for the young teachers, crappy for the older ones who were receiving much in the way of benefits to begin with.

    I imagine part of the argument is that the school is shooting itself in the foot by damaging its reputation like this, but that doesn’t help the folks dumped onto the streets towards the end of their careers. No one likes to hire experienced, educated teachers. Heck, my fiance had to hold off on completing her master’s degree just to make sure she could get a teaching job.Report