Friday, September 03, 2010

Teachers union agrees that Senator Patty didn't save teacher jobs

Senator Patty Murray said she was saving 3,000 Washington teachers from layoffs by spending billions of borrowed dollars (nationwide; $208 million here). It was discovered and reported here that about 500 teachers received layoff notices in May and most of those notices were rescinded, so very few teachers faced job loss in early August when Senator Patty performed her heroic rescue. See SENATOR PATTY HEROICALLY SAVES JOBS NOT THREATENED and Part II. The Washington Education Association rushes to her defense: Senator Murray meant to say that janitors, bus drivers, lunchroom workers, counselors, nurses, teacher aides and administrative assistants would be saved from layoff or empty positions filled. Seattle Times Letters
Recent reports in The Seattle Times on the impact of the educator jobs bill overlook the number of education-support professional positions lost over the past 18 months. Hundreds of school counselors, nurses, bus drivers, teacher aides, janitors and administrative assistants have either been laid off or their positions were not filled due to attrition. As a result, we will see too many schools this fall with too many students and too few adults to mentor, coach, mentor, teach and support those students. Through her efforts to bring $208 million into Washington for educator jobs, Sen. Patty Murray is giving school districts the opportunity to fill hundreds of empty positions not reported in teacher-layoff numbers [“Murray errs on teachers’ jobs at risk,” page one, Aug. 24]. The Times reports did refer to the erosion of certificated positions. That erosion will have a lasting impact. We should not ignore, however, the other positions lost. These are important positions for every school and the impact of their loss to our students must be equally concerning. — Mary Lindquist, president, Washington Education Association, Federal Way
In this time of slow economy and cut backs what should be the priority in our schools? Teachers or bus drivers? Should we spend money we don't have for staff who are not in the classroom? Senator Patty got the bill passed on false pretenses. Now the money can be spent for almost anything, as we saw in Part II. Old trick. Hat tip: Washington Policy Institute's blog

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