Take tenure; somehow, the reformies think you can take it away and teachers (and potential teachers) will never notice:
Teacher tenure, in both higher-education and K-12 schooling, is an important mechanism for attracting talent. Stanford’s Terry Moe, a strong union critic, finds in his polling that “most teachers see the security of tenure as being worth tens of thousands of dollars a year.” His survey suggests a majority of teachers would need to be paid 50 percent more to give up tenure. Take away tenure without substantially increasing pay, and the pool of qualified candidates for the teaching profession is likely to shrink. (Although some might argue that talented teachers will feel confident and flock to teaching even without tenure, research has long found that self-confidence and actual ability are not as tightly correlated as one would hope.) [emphasis mine]"Talented teachers" are most likely talented in other areas as well. Why would they "flock" to teaching when they can be paid much more in other jobs that don't offer tenure?
There used to be some logic in the way teachers were compensated. Yes, they made less than other parts of the labor market, but society made it up in other ways: pensions, health care, tenure, etc. This was a good deal for taxpayers: it saved them money by providing non-pecuniary compensations to educators.
Well, we've pretty much destroyed any advantage teachers had in health care and pensions at this point. Now we're going to take away tenure. Politicians like Chris Christie and Arne Duncan keep saying they'll make up for this by "paying the best teachers more," but why should any teacher (or potential teacher) believe them when they won't come up with a serious, concrete plan to do just that? They want us to give up our benefits and tenure just on their promises?
Look at the top of this blog, and tell me what a promise from Chris Christie is worth.
This entire reformy movement has been all about cutting teacher compensation. The hope among the reformy is that we have so decimated the middle class that teachers will have no choice but to give in, because everyone else has sucky benefits, pay, and workplace protections.
The problem is that, even though the American aristocracy has done some real damage over the last 30 years, they haven't yet brought down the entire labor market. Teachers (and potential teachers) still have other options. They don't have to teach if they don't think it's worth it; they can go do something else.
Now, at this point in the argument, the reformyist will trot out his appeal to sainthood, a la Chris Christie:
I think for those people who are feeling discouraged right now, because they're going to have to pay a percentage of their health insurance premium, or they're going to have to pay one or two points more towards a lifetime pension, then I would suggest to you respectfully that those people have completely lost touch with reality, and probably didn't have the passion to begin with.See, a good teacher must be a saint. The regular rules of the marketplace - the ones Christie cheers as he provides tax giveaways to the "job creators" - just don't apply to teachers. It's OK to be motivated by money if you're in business, but it's not OK to passively accept lower wages, broken promises, and the abolition of tenure if you're a teacher. Anyone who does that isn't "passionate" enough.
Like Chris Christie was "passionate" about corporate lobbying. Of course, his passions paid off...
Just a couple of the sacrifices Chris Christie made to follow his "passions"...