No Malthusian crash for the teacher population


wolf photo

Who's afraid of the big bad
pension-reform wolf?
(Photo by Wayne NoffSinger)

Doomsday projections aside, NCTQ found in a recent
that layoffs in large urban districts were modest: Over the past two
years, only 2.5 percent (on average) of the teaching staff at the seventy-five
large urban districts they surveyed were let go. Half of the participating
districts saw no forced layoffs at all. (Many districts decreased staff size
simply through teacher attrition.) This falls in stark contrast to the rhetoric
of a “new normal” pushed out from the White House: Remember its
of 280,000 teacher layoffs this year alone? The story of how
cities avoided layoffs is interesting: A large percentage cut their
central-office workforce. Good. But more districts cut class time or school
days than reduced workers’ benefits. In fact, only 7 percent of surveyed
districts in 2011-12 dared mess with teacher benefits. These data could
bolster the case
of reformers like Scott Walker who argue that state policy
should tackle runaway growth in benefits because school boards and
administrators will not. Clearly only a tiny minority of districts were willing
to touch these areas of their budget. So lay off the predictions, Nostr-Obama.

This piece was originally
(in a slightly different form) on Fordham’s
Flypaper blog. To subscribe to Flypaper, click here.

Teacher layoffs: Did
the sky fall or not?
,” by Staff, National
Council on Teacher Quality
, November 2, 2011.