I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

03 March 2013

Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William Hite  wants you to know how much he values the hard work and professionalism of his teacher employees, despite his unwillingness to provide them with basic classroom supplies like textbooks.
Many of our teachers work beyond eight hours — they work on weekends, they work nights, and they work on holidays.  We value that.
Yes, because nothing says "we value you" by mandating unpaid work beyond the (lengthened, pay-reduced) work day.

What Hite is doing here is equating "professional" with "non-union".  What bothers him is the contract; by delineating what teachers can and cannot be forced to do, the contract keeps him from fully embracing the skewed work-life priorities of salaried labor in the United States.

It's not that Hite values the extra hours Philadelphia teachers put in.  It's that he wants the right to demand that they show their gratefulness for their (reduced, frozen) salaries by working extra unpaid hours every day.  By purchasing their own textbooks, by accepting fifty students in a class they've never taught before.

Woe betide the teacher who would like an evening with his or her family, or to leave work on his or her lunch break to pick up prescription refills, or to spend a few daylight minutes not at work.  Superintendent Hite knows that there are plenty of unemployed educators - or at least minimally-trained recent college graduates - to temporarily fill his schools' teaching staffs.  Why accept a teacher who wants a sixty-hour work week when you can get one who will do eighty for less money?

This isn't about learning outcomes, and Hite's claim that teachers don't need contract protection to get drinking water and textbooks for students is belied by...well, at least by the entire state of California.  Very little of education reform is "for the kids" - or at least whatever kids are purported to need boils down to recreating Gilded Age labor conditions for their benefit.

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