Monday, October 04, 2010

Interesting Fact of the Day

As reported in the movie Waiting for "Superman":

About one of 57 medical doctors and one of 97 lawyers loses his or her license annually for malpractice.  In contrast, only one in 2,500 unionized, public school teachers with tenure gets fired each year.

Special DC Bonus: I was at the 4:15 showing yesterday for "Waiting for 'Superman'" at the E Street Cinema in DC, and Michelle Rhee was there with her two daughters in the row in front of me.


At 10/04/2010 11:39 AM, Blogger Colin said...

I went down to E Street cinema early Saturday evening to check the movie out and the next two showings were sold out. Hope to see it later this week.

At 10/04/2010 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many doctors and lawyers quit before they reach their sixth year of practice? One of every two schools teachers quits within their first five years (Source: Washington Post, 2006). Why do they quit. Who is left to fire with a 50% attrition rate?

At 10/04/2010 11:57 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

A very cool benefit for attending Waiting for Superman is a $15.00 gift card for every moviegoer. is the site where the $15.00 can go to the classroom project of the moviegoers choice.

Very interesting statistics on professional sanctions of medical and law vs. educators.

At 10/04/2010 1:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Note to Walt G:

If someone drops out of (quits) an occupation, perhaps they were not suited for that particular occupation in the first place.

How may law students or medical students drop out during law school or medical school? Once they decide that the field is too difficult, they drop out so as not to have to invest any further money in the endeavor. If we make their education "free", there will be much less incentive to quit and we will wind up with even more incompetent professionals.

How many of the teachers drop out because they do not want to spend additional money on the graduate degrees that many school systems require, especially when there may be a negative return on investment?

Perhaps if we made education degrees more difficult and expensive to obtain, we might deter some of the incompetent ones from pursuing that occupation in the first place.

At 10/04/2010 1:14 PM, Blogger The Bitter Guy said...

Minnesota originated the Charter School movement.
The highest test scores in Minnesota are from Charter Schools.
And also, the lowest test scores in Minnesota are from other Charter Schools.
Most European countries have higher test scores that the US.
The US has teacher's unions.
Europe has teachers unions.
Therefore, teachers unions cause/eliminate poor test scores and the cure is/is not Charter Schools.

At 10/04/2010 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You need to show evidence that incompetent teachers drop out of the work force more than competent teachers or that making their education more expensive would impact one group more than the other group to support your claim.

Anyone that has had any HR training knows a high labor turnover rate is indicative of a systemic problem, and 50% in five years is a huge turnover rate. The rule of thumb is that it takes at least $15,000 to replace one employee in a job that requires a bachelor's degree. That's half of a starting teacher's usual salary.

Teachers are not being fired. They do not need to be. They are self-firing through quitting early and normal and forced-early retirements.

Do students come to school and have problems or do they bring the problems to school with them? When that question is answered and addressed, there will be many fewer problems.

At 10/04/2010 2:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10/04/2010 2:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"Forced early retirement":

Why would a school district force an experienced, highly skilled teacher to retire and replace him/her with an inexperienced new graduate? The reason is that union contracts reward and protect seniority, not competency. The school district may want to keep the skilled and experienced teachers, but they are lumped in with the ones who have been warming a chair for twenty years. I wish that the school districts were able to get rid of the chair-warmers and keep the highly skilled and highly experienced teachers.

When teachers became unionized, they forfeited their "professional" status. Now they are no better than a bolt-turner at the Chrysler factory.

At 10/04/2010 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That the school districts will not usually hire teachers with master degrees because they do not want to pay the wage premium, but the majority of teachers who retire early have them would highly suggest that the forced early retirement is for financial reasons. You sound like you have another agenda without anything to back it up.

“Protecting seniority” could also mean that a teacher does not have to screw the principal or get fired to hire the superintendent’s daughter who just graduated with her teaching degree.

What profession do all these people who are firing the incompetent teachers come from? Maybe teachers, too? Were they the good ones or ones that could not do anything else?

I will ask again. Why do so many teachers, 50% or more, with these cushy 9-month jobs spend four years in college and quit within five years? Is that normal? If so, in what profession?

At 10/04/2010 7:37 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

I have no data other than a teacher x-GF, but I can think of several reasons:

Maybe they are ambitious and realize that the teacher contracts don't allow the sort of upward mobility they want.

Maybe they love teaching, but hate having the next-door teacher be an incompetent jackass & they both have the same compensation.

Maybe they have students whose parents don't care & the school's rules make it so the disruptive children can't be dealt with.

Maybe they expected a three month summer off, but it's actually been shortened to two & a lot of that is spent doing BS training that's required in lieu of competence.

Maybe they were the least intelligent graduates of their university & thus find teaching too hard.

The one thing I remember most about that ex-girlfriend is that she would NOT stop bitching & moaning about her job. Maybe it was her, maybe it was the job.

At 10/05/2010 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe it was her, maybe it was the job."

Maybe it was her gender. What men thinks is bitching is often women "sharing her feelings" with you. Women can be strange that way.

At 10/05/2010 10:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Maybe it was her gender. What men thinks is bitching is often women "sharing her feelings" with you. Women can be strange that way."

Here's how one man handled this problem.

At 10/05/2010 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neat acronym for that Ron H.: PTGAS


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