War on teachers escalates

Last month’s wholesale firing of 74 teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island exemplified America‘s rising anti-teacher sentiment. Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised Superintendent Frances Gallo’s decision, and Newsweek writers Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert called the firings a “notable breakthrough.”


This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “War on teachers escalates”.  Please click here to read the entire article.  You can respond or provide feedback by clicking on the comment button below.


 Thanks for reading.


 –Christopher Paslay

6 thoughts on “War on teachers escalates

  1. If you don’t want teachers to be hired/fired/regarded collectively (an enlightened generality when you apply it to someone else, a stereotype when applied to you), then maybe you should leave your union. You miss the entire point of what happened in Rhode Island. It wasn’t simply that the students were failing, it was that the teachers were being paid an average wage almost double what their student’s families were earning and refused to give more value for the money they were being paid. As someone who has family in Rhode Island, I have watched the teachers there strangle their communities for years, and applaud the community that finally stood up and said “STOP!” I would support the same approach here. If a private sector union drives its employer out of business, they lose their jobs (unless its the UAW). Public employee unions have no such disincentive for outrageous behavior. Public employee unions should be outlawed, in my opinion. When public employee pensions drive this country bankrupt as they are likely to do, I suspect that will finally happen.

  2. Bo,

    Wow–you have “watched the teachers strangle their communities for years”? You just proved my point exactly: anti-teacher sentiment is on the rise in America.


    Chris Paslay

  3. this has nothing to do with education reform. this is all union busting. the country is broke and turning over every couch cushion possible. you have millions of baby boomers at the top of the pay scale approaching retirement. read that again, you have the country’s largest population boom since the irish potatoe famine all rapidly approaching retirement whilst being at the top of their pay scales. why do you think they have been slugging it out with the insurance company mobsters lately? to give poor people health care? all those boomers are heading to 24/7 health care needs very very soon. lets give 32 million people that cant afford medical coverage some health care. great window dressing and gorgeous headlines for re-elections. let’s look at the truth here. the smart kids will still go ivy and become the lawyers and doctors and politicians and ceo’s. i dont see enrollment issues at stanford, they still turn people away and force them to go to duke. if american doctors are still turning their noses up at malpractice insurance there are plenty more in india and china ready to set up practice here. all this daily political rhetoric is laughable sometimes but mostly just gives me a headache. the bottom line in any cost efficiency analysis for helping poor people is underneath the titanic. there is no value or return on investment but the talking heads cannot come out and say that. it is downright greedy to take such an underpaid profession such as teaching and turn it upside down and shake the change out. they must be running out of couch cushions. you could start checking car ash trays but they stopped putting those in years ago.

  4. Many years ago I went to a job fair for teachers. The lines for the affluent towns were really, really long with absolutely no one in line for the not so affluent towns. The recruiter at one of these tables was standing up and begging us to come over and apply for the jobs that were available in his town but no one budged.

    btw, when I got certified to be a HS math teacher I went on 5 interviews. In all 5 cases I was offered a job. I turned them all down. One of the job offers would have been an hour and a half commute. I turned down the other four because of the bad attitude of the person interviewing me. Each of these interviews is a story in itself but one was in a low performing school. The principal was horrified that I knew calculus because 85% of the students in this HS were taking “Integrated Math” which he told me was glorified arithmetic. There would be no opportunity for me to teach an AP Calc Class. I asked about the remaining 15% and he told me that those students would end up going to Catholic School. I wondered about a system that ‘required’ me to have a master’s degree in order to teach glorified arithmetic. I also became a fan of vouchers as a result of this interview, since this principal did not seem interested in satisfying the needs of the 15% who might actually want a high school education.
    I, and every other math major, can usually earn much more money in business rather than in teaching. More importantly, there is SO MUCH MORE RESPECT. When I compare my teaching interviews with my computer programming interviews, there really is no comparison. I feel like people are fighting over hiring me in the business world, whereas in the teaching world some dour faced principal acts like he is doing me a favor by offering me a substandard wage.
    And now, the solution is to cut benefits and ask for unpaid overtime? Hello……

  5. One more comment….My friend’s son will be graduating from college in May with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He got multiple job offers. He accepted the job offer for $64,000 per year with a $3000 signing bonus to be paid after one month of employment. He could be an excellent math and/or science teacher but someone like Bo would resent the $35,000 salary and want to cut his benefits…….

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