Classroom Dollars and Bad Teachers

Start with a graphic representation of a dollar bill. Divide it up to show how many cents are spent in which categories.  Not a bad way to represent expenditures.

Except when it is done this way:


Why? Because this cartoon is not just wrong, it is dishonest.  The categories of expense are a bit hard to read.  They are Administration, Publicity, Unions, Lobbying, Consultants, and Teaching.  While percentages are not provided, “teaching” is represented as about 5 cents on the dollar.  In fact, it is administration that is about 5 cents on the dollar in most school districts. 

Sure, the cartoon is trying to say that unions and lobbyists have too much say in education.  It posits that administration and consultants get too much of the education dollar, and the classroom gets too little.

Spend dollars in the classroom is the rallying cry.  Sure.  I agree.  But please tell me what the classroom is, if it is not (mostly) teacher salaries.  Unionized teacher salaries.

Having been in educational administration for a long time, I am pro teacher and union neutral.  Teachers have chosen to talk to us as a group, rather than individually.  How teachers talk to management is not an issue with me.

Do unions want bad teachers in their ranks?  Not at all.  Behind closed doors they will almost agree that they, too, think Suzie Horrible should be fired. Unions have a job to do, which is to protect the rights of their members. They expect management to do its job.  Unions don’t fire bad teachers, district administrators do.  Does legislation make that difficult?  Yes.  We need to have rational discussions about that.  The cartoon above adds nothing to this conversation.



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