Getting Less for Less

Hawaii decided to fix their budget shortfall by eliminating 17 days from this school year in exchange for an 8 percent reduction in teacher salaries.  That means Hawaii public school kids will spend 163 days in school compared to about 180 for most kids nationwide.

Eighty-one percent of all teachers approved the deal, which leaves “teacher vacation, nine paid holidays and six teacher planning days … untouched.”  Teacher benefits, including pension and health benefits also remain unchanged. In addition, “[t]he new agreement also guarantees no layoffs for two years and postpones the implementation of random drug testing for teachers.”  

So, teachers work 9.4% fewer days for 8% less pay, full benefits and two more years of guaranteed employment.  It’s not a bad deal… as long as you are a teacher.  Kids will be shortchanged, parents have to scramble for daycare, and the state gives away more than it gets in savings.

The only risk for the teacher union in doing this is that we might discover that student achievement is unaffected by 17 fewer days of school.  If that’s the case why not cut 34 days of school for 16% less pay?  Or maybe get rid of it altogether.

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3 Responses to Getting Less for Less

  1. allen says:

    A couple of years ago it was revealed that the Cincinnati school district was hemorrhaging kids to charters which had an impact on the state per-student funding of course but didn’t have any effect on the locally-derived funding.

    It seems obvious that the best outcome would be to dump all the kids on the charters, fire the teachers and close the schools. That way the administration would have about a hundred million dollars in funding to pay them to continue doing what they’re doing right now.

    In a somewhat analogous fashion Hawaii could gradually whittle down the number of days of school, getting rid of superfluous teachers along the way, until the number of days dropped to zero as did the number of teachers and the central administration could formulate policy without worrying about whether it’d be properly executed.

  2. [...] What percentage of Hawaii teachers see time spent in front of students as an obstacle to career fulfillment (H/T Jay Greene) [...]

  3. [...] the Wal-Mart Professor of Education at the University of Arkansas, Jay Greene, could declare that Hawaii’s  8% reduction in teacher salaries was a great deal — for [...]

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