Thursday Highlights

Good morning. Bleah. Wake up 10 minutes late. Leave 15 minutes late. Get to work and dressed 10 minutes late. Get call, youngest missed bus and mom’s car didn’t start. Finally … back to work. Whaz next?

  1. Batteries, the sun, and the expeditionary Marine.
  2. Slavery, or is it a straw argument. If you’re free to leave, you’re not a slave, Jason.
  3. Wealth, education, and denomination.
  4. A pointed question for the practices of teacher wage/pension construction.
  5. Safety nets and India.
  6. Of personhood.
  7. The billion/day discrepency.
  8. A little levity.
  9. Yeah, and used books and used cars really cut into book and car retail sales.
  10. Editorial practice and the White House.
  11. Liberal/Conservative dialog in academia … how not to do it right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Much has been made of the Paul Ryan-authored House budget’s proposal to make Medicare more solvent

    I’m sorry, I just can’t comment on any of the links after I read this bullshit. What is the point?

  2. Boonton says:

    You mean the Ryan proposal to abolish Medicare.

  3. Boonton says:

    4.A pointed question for the practices of teacher wage/pension construction.

    Megan let’s slip a slightly more important statistic, I think…namely that 50% of teachers leave within the first 5 years of starting.

    This is pretty relevant IMO because the argument is that while turnover has costs, it also has benefits. But knowing that a teacher whose already done 10, 15, or 24 years is very likely to finish out the 25 years isn’t very important by itself. What portion of teachers are such long time vetererns versus what portion are relative newbies who aren’t ‘locked in’?

    Also the ‘lock in’ stat may be kind of misleading. Consider the information that teachers who have ten years done leave at a rate of only 1%. Over the next 15 years that means that population of teachers with 10 years in will still have 15% turnover. The benefits of adding ‘more turnover’ to the teaching pool may already be captured.

  4. Mark says:

    On #4, why is that relevant. I’d bet lots of other fields have high turnover in the first few years, but they don’t tend to lock people in with golden handcuffs. Whether or not the last years have low turnover, golden handcuffs are the norm in the teaching industry but not in others. Why?

  5. Mark says:

    I’d add that many fields have “vesting” periods to make it encourage people to repay the training investment. But the incentive is not so strong as in the teaching profession.

    And I’d take that 5 year leaving with a grain of salt. Starting teachers are predominantly women in their 20s, many whom stop after they marry and have children.

  6. Mark says:


    You mean the Ryan proposal to abolish Medicare.

    Oh. You warm the cockles of my heart with your pretty words.

    Alas, he’s not planning really to abolish Medicare. But a gal, err, guy can hope.

  7. Boonton says:


    Only issue with using women having kids to explain the 5-yr turnover is, well many working women who have kids go back to work after family leave. I don’t think the majority of the turnover is due to mothers taking time off and then deciding not to come back to the job market.

    I’m commenting in more detail about this on Megan’s site but what I’ve found so far is that NYC has about 80,000 teachers and for the last ten years at least they’ve been hiring about 7K per year. What I’m really curious about is how ‘golden’ those handcuffs really are.

    24 years ago it was 1987. How many teachers were there in NYC in 1987? How many teachers today have 24 years in the force and are waiting to finish that last year?

    I think the high turnover, ‘golden cuffs’ has evolved for the following:

    1. You need a ‘lottery ticket’. In the private sector people work for decades at most pay because there’s a chance that you may hit it big. In teaching, though, you’re not. The best math teacher in the world isn’t going ot make a million off of it. (Yes starting a private tutoring company or school may get her a million, but technically that isn’t teaching). The ‘big chance’ then is the cushy retirement. Even though I’m suspecting not many actually get there.

    2. The job itself is exceptionally hard for a college grad. Unlike most white collar job, you don’t get the freedom, flexiblility and trust. Your days are preplanned, the schedule is rigid and it never changes. This is very different from most college grad jobs and likewise will produce a lot of early turnover as people entering the job realize it is radically different from what they are suited for.

    3. The interesting aspect to this is that its a type of win-win. Yes once teachers get some serious years down they will stay and not go. Their pay is high and retirement costly. However on the flip side since many teachers never make it past the first 5-10 years many are paid at the low end of the scale. Overall the payroll then isn’t that high. If you got rid of the prospect of the ‘mega-retirement’ benefit then you’d have to make up by raising pay rates for new teachers. Since you churn thru lots of new teachers, you may end up spending more on their pay than you’d save from the relatively few people who make it to the magic retirement.