Post Academic


Treating Teachers Well, Part 2: The Slacker Professor Straw Man Problem

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionSo why aren’t teachers treated well? The ghosts of the Slacker Professor and the Slacker Teacher have a little something to do with it. These straw men have been used as an excuse to make cuts in public education and slice and dice good teachers for far too long. Even if charter schools succeed and education (higher ed or otherwise) is privatized, the employees are still going to be there, and they still deserve to be treated well. Yet it seems that teachers are treated like crap and excessively punished for the few slackers in their ranks.

As I’ve written about before, treating teachers badly, slashing their budgets, and busting their unions is a continuation of the weird impulse to destroy a whole system to root out a few slackers. So you don’t like the fact that there’s a bad teacher who has been relegated to the “rubber room” and is still getting paid. C’mon. Haven’t you worked with someone who did a bad job but who was relegated to the hamster-world equivalent of a “rubber room” because the company was afraid of getting sued?

The simple fact of the matter is that, once you hire someone, whether you are union or not, it is difficult to fire them, and you better have a bloody good reason to fire them. It’s the law, and unions won’t make that go away. Yet politicians and parents seem to lash out at teachers when they don’t realize the exact same thing is happening in their own workplaces.

More after the jump! Image from the Bundesarchiv on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

If these union-busting politicians spend all their energies just to root out some slackers, it won’t work. The employees who work will feel like they’re being yelled at and that what they do is never enough. They will leave the second they get the opportunity.

Meanwhile, remember those slackers you thought you’d get rid of by destroying the union and the public school system and setting up those charter schools? They’re still there. Slackers tend to set up their own ecosystems, no matter where they work, and they are often oblivious to everything except their own needs. Calling out the whole group of teachers does more damage to the system as a whole. Just admit you’re going to have some bum teachers–just like you have some bum employees in the private sector–set up a “slacker slush fund,” treat the good teachers well, and stop blaming slacker teachers (or rumored slacker teachers) for all your school problems.

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One Response to 'Treating Teachers Well, Part 2: The Slacker Professor Straw Man Problem'

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  1. YC Pan said,

    It is always the case, Bad money drives out good – Gresham’s Law!


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