G.I. Guarantee Watch: Letter declares “fair use”

by David Safier

Bureaucrats_gi_version It's official. According to the Goldwater Institute, the definition of "bureaucrat" includes bus drivers, maintenance workers and food service workers — I think.

I got a [kind of] definitive letter in the mail on an official piece of G.I. stationery.

Here's the word from G.I.

"We believe the term bureaucrat accurately describes many of the employees in question and is a fair use of the term."

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know the legal meaning of "fair use." But I do know the meaning of the word "many," as in "the term bureaucrat accurately describes many of the employees in question." That means it does not accurately describe all of the employees in question.

I wonder if bus drivers, maintenance workers and food service workers are among the many who are bureaucrats or the few who are not.

The letter also has this interesting sentence:

"When discussing the issue in the future, we will also be glad to employ words like administrators, officials, bus drivers and other terms in addition to bureaucrats to help people better understand the variety of non-teaching roles in the system."

When Darcy Olsen went on Arizona Illustrated Thursday, she said:

So you basically have one
bureaucrat or official or administrator per teacher, and that's the
wrong ratio.

No mention here of bus drivers. On the John C. Scott Show, she only included bureaucrats and administrators in her list.

Darcy, thanks for your efforts "to help people better understand the variety of non-teaching roles in the system."

You can read the letter here.

HEADS UP: The newest G.I. line of attack against district schools is that, while district schools have a 1-to-1 teacher-to-non-teacher ratio, private schools have closer to 3 teachers to 1 non-teacher.

Let's sharpen our pencils, folks, and deconstruct this latest construction. Most private schools don't provide bus transportation. Many of them don't have cafeterias. Because they can screen their students, they have less need for some student support services. Each of those would eliminate some of the non-teaching positions.

I don't know how G.I. arrived at its 3-to-1 figure, so I don't know what twists and turns it used to get there. If anyone can help make sense of the new talking point, please add your thoughts and information in the comments.

COMING MONDAY: I asked Matthew Ladner this question: If bus drivers, et al, are bureaucrats, aren't teachers bureaucrats as well? So, isn't everyone in every school district a bureaucrat?

Monday, read Ladner's zany replies.

0 responses to “G.I. Guarantee Watch: Letter declares “fair use”

  1. I have to also question Goldwater’s private school statistics claim.

    The private schools in this state don’t have to release any kind of information like that, and I’d be absolutely shocked if there is any comprehensive employee list for even a handful of Arizona private schools. The private schools themselves generally don’t even release that kind of info to each other. I doubt very much that Ladner could produce the data that even begins to back up his wild claim.

    It’s easy to throw out numbers like that when the data doesn’t actually exist. Goldwater has become very, very sloppy with their supposed ‘research’. When is the media going to start calling them out on this?

  2. Stephen Courtright

    I commented on your other post about this, but my private school is far from 3-1. Private schools frequently DO provide transportation, but they also have development offices, complete administration for each school (there is no “district office”), and sometimes have residential staff as well. Private day schools may seem to have fewer “bureaucrats” than public schools, but boarding schools (there are a decent handful in the state) have many more.