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According to teachers, it’s a tragedy whenever teachers are displaced for any reason. “They need to know they have jobs,” said Candi Peterson, a member of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “There’s no need to be forced out, unless they want to leave.” It is accepted wisdom that teachers should be “guaranteed” jobs, along with constant across-the-board salary increases. Anything less is tantamount to child abuse.
UNIONIZED TEACHERS complain as if it were their job, and I sometimes suspect it is. But they don’t have it that bad. The average teacher works 190 days a year. In New York City, a teacher’s workday is 6 hours and 50 minutes on the dot, as required by law. (According to Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, this “is what normally happens in the private sector.”) Plus, you can be inept and still make a living. If we are willing to pay bad teachers to teach, why not pay them to stop?
A few years ago Virgin Records paid Mariah Carey $28 million to end her contract — that is, $28,000,000.00 not to sing, not even “Emotions” or “I’ll Be There.” They found her voice so dreadful that not hearing it was, in their judgment, worth 28 million smackers. There’s a lesson here for teachers: If you are bad enough, unemployment can be a lucrative line of work. In many public schools, the way to succeed is to fail really badly.
Not all teachers are bad, of course. Some are adequate. But the problem with good teachers is that they are not rewarded for being good — they are rewarded for getting old. Seniority, not skill, is what matters when salaries are allotted. The longer you’re there, the more you make. “People get paid the same,” explained Joel Klein, “whether they’re outstanding, average or way below average.” Merit is as irrelevant in public schools as it is in Police Academy. There is, however, one crucial difference: One is a slapstick comedy, and one only deserves to be.
Education is too important to be left to teachers. As costly as it is to keep them around, paying them to leave is a no-brainer.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?