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Annals of Bureaucracy – 1

Herewith inaugurating a look at the “Annals of Bureaucracy”, a sad tale, via our friends at Hit & Run, of the government school bureaucracy in action.

Applications and letters of interest from idealistic teachers continue to pour into inner-city school systems across the country, and many candidates, like Cochran, are being ignored or contacted much too late to do any good, according to an unusually detailed study by the nonprofit New Teacher Project.

A new report on the study, “Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Schools,” concludes that those school systems alienate many talented applicants because of rules that protect teachers already on staff and because of slow-moving bureaucracies and budgeting delays.

“As a result, urban districts lose the very candidates they need in their classrooms . . . and millions of disadvantaged students in America’s cities pay the price with lower-quality teachers than their suburban peers,” wrote researchers Jessica Levin and Meredith Quinn, who were given rare access to the inner workings of school districts in four U.S. cities.

It was standard procedure to let impressive applications sit in file drawers for months, the researchers found, while the candidates, needing to get their lives in order, secured work elsewhere. One district, for example, received 4,000 applications for 200 slots but was slow to offer jobs and lost out on top candidates.

It goes on and on, enumerating the ways unions, administrators, and legislators all contribute to a system that seems designed to insure that the best teachers do not get anywhere near the neediest kids.

5 comments to Annals of Bureaucracy – 1

  • Andy

    I read that as “anals of bureaucracy” at first. It appears I was correct.
    But even after these teachers get hired, the same bureaurcracies make it impossible for good teachers to stick around since they typically have little patience for the petty-mindedness and general stupidity that populate these bureaucracies – and they go elsewhere where they are appreciated. Too bad the school districts don’t have to compete for students, then they’d compete (and act quickly) in hiring teachers, too.

  • BigFire

    Re: Andy

    Why do you think public school districts and teacher’s unions are fighting tooth and nail to kill school vouchers? It’s competition on their monopoly on poor children’s schooling.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Guess they need a more enlightened education bureaucracy…

    Stuff like teacher performance indices, school rankings, and results orientated pay scales… Gee, where did I hear all of that before?

    But be wary of what you wish for. The law of unintended consequences can often bite back, hard…

  • Richard Cook

    That model of giving EVERYONE vouchers and the schools being private concerns is looking real, real good.

  • Guy Herbert

    Alternatively they could give the teachers vouchers. Big ones. That avoids educational choice and pleases the unions. And it neatly ties the teachers firmly to the state–you be less likely to leave (as so many do when they have to face the bureaucracy), if it meant you’d lose your house.