Tag Archives: competitiveness

Is Anyone Going To Stop the Teacher Exodus?

When Arnold took office in late 2003 he argued that one of the state’s highest priorities was to “reform” a workers’ compensation system that was supposedly driving businesses, and therefore jobs, out of the state. And the Legislature did so, cutting benefits to injured workers in order to try and keep business and the Chamber of Commerce happy.

Five years later California faces a similar crisis, as skilled workers flee the state in droves, taking their salaries and therefore their positive economic  impact with them. But this time, Arnold seems happy to see their backs, because it’s teachers and not well-connected corporations that are fleeing a state thanks to poor budget priorities:

Precious Jackson has two years of teaching under her belt and two school teacher-of-the-year awards to show for it. She also has a pink slip…

“Your future is in our classroom,” the Fort Worth, Texas, school district says on a San Diego billboard. It plans to send recruiters to the city next month to dangle $3,000 signing bonuses.

Several Los Angeles-area newspapers are carrying ads for the Clark County, Nev., school district, which hopes to lure teachers to Las Vegas with $2,000 incentives.

“We don’t hear things like that here,” said Jackson, 25, who teaches English at Lincoln High School, her alma mater in San Diego’s hardscrabble Lincoln Park neighborhood. “Instead we just don’t know what to expect, and it makes us feel underappreciated.”

Here is a teacher who gave back to her community, sacrificing opportunities for better pay and easier working conditions to devote herself as a teacher to the students in need in her community. Now she’s looking at leaving the state because California isn’t willing to do what it must to keep her employed.

It’s not as if California has a surplus of teachers to lose to other states. It has been estimated that California needs to recruit 100,000 new teachers over the next 10 years just to maintain current staffing levels thanks to retirements. Given the staffing needs, and the economic benefit of having employed teachers contributing to the state’s businesses, one would think that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be moving heaven and earth to keep California competitive and stop this economic exodus.

Instead we have young teachers looking at moving to Atlanta, or Las Vegas, or Fort Worth just to make ends meet:

Andrea Wiesner, a middle-school teacher in San Diego whose one-year contract won’t be renewed, plans to apply in Henderson, Nev., south of Las Vegas, to take advantage of generous student-loan repayment assistance offered by the Clark County School District.

“I worked really hard to be a teacher and now it’s like, ‘Well, if you want to stay in California, go back and work jobs you worked in college,'” the 28-year-old said. “But I can’t just volunteer. I need a job.”

I would love for Arnold and his fellow members of the Yacht Party to explain how any of this is good for California’s economy.