A public school teacher responds

by David Safier

I received this comment on a post I wrote about some of the changes affecting teachers that were thrown in with the latest round of budget cuts.

I'm a teacher in the Tempe Union school district, and I now have my eye on the exit signs because of this. Which I'm sure will please the people who passed this law. The intent is to decimate public education in Arizona, and losing good, experienced teachers will go a long way in making this happen. For me, it's a shame. Other than this, I have my dream job. But I can't risk THIS.

Right now, nationwide cuts to education have tightened the market for teachers, so teachers are like likely to hold onto their jobs. But when more money starts flowing into education and more baby boomer teachers retire, it's going to be a seller's market once again, and teachers will be able to pick and choose. How many of our best teachers will take a pass on Arizona and find jobs in states that aren't so anti-teacher?

0 responses to “A public school teacher responds

  1. Dave, you mentioned the retirement of the baby boomers. Over HALF of all teachers working right now are between the ages of 55 and 60. That means that over HALF of ALL teachers will be retiring in the next 5-10 years. So, yes, it will absolutely be a seller’s market soon. And as an experienced teacher with great references, I expect to have my pick. 🙂 And why would I pick Arizona…even as the thought of leaving my current school breaks my heart?

    See, this is what administrators and legislators so often take advantage of in dealing with teachers. We are so damned dedicated to what we do that we’ll take any abuse, work under any conditions. Oh sure, we’ll bitch. But then we’ll adapt. We’ll get it done for the kids. Look at this school year. Massive cuts. No supplies. No new books. My department lost four teachers, which of course meant larger class sizes. But you know what? We’ve adapted. We’re doing more with less, as they used to say on The Wire. So of course they’re cutting more for 2010. Now, I’m sure there’s a breaking point, but because of the nature of teachers, it’ll still be awhile before we reach it. We’re our own worst enemy, in a way. 🙂

    My other comment relates to your post about Arizona versus Michigan. I am from Michigan, born and raised. I moved to Arizona because I could not get a teaching job in Michigan. I got one extremely easily here. And at a GREAT school too! But now, with what’s happening in Arizona, I actually have better chances back in Michigan. Last summer I applied for a few jobs in Michigan. I had calls for three interviews. There probably weren’t even three jobs to apply for in Arizona, with 4000 teachers having just been riffed. I was just window shopping, but if I’d been serious, I could’ve left Arizona last summer. So I plan to spend the coming summer vacation in Michigan, actually going on interviews. It’s weird to imagine moving TO Michigan these days, but when you’re moving FROM Arizona I guess it makes more sense.

  2. I don’t see how this is any different issue if the economy was in good shape or (currently) the economy is not in good shape. If this teacher is very good then he could presumably find a school that is willing to hire him or keep him at his current school over a fair teacher.

    One of the factors always is “How is the economy in location X or Y?” If Alaska recovers first, how many teachers will target jobs in that state?

    If the economy should improve somewhere down the road who is to say that the current policy isn’t the best policy (evidently it is bad according to the teachers union but the legislature evidently disagrees about the new policy being a bad idea for school boards, taxpayers and students).

    That all being said I am no reflexive union hater these days but it is up to the unions and their supporters to offer candidates and reasons why voters should vote for them. So far the voters haven’t found those candidates or pro-union position to be overly appealing.

    The economy being in sad shape, I don’t think that voters and taxpayers think that the issue foremost is pro-teacher or anti-teacher but pro-taxpayer or pro-student.