On the creation of a Hobson’s choice


A Hobson’s choice is a free choice in which only one option is offered. As a person may refuse to take that option the choice is therefore between taking the option or not; “take it or leave it”. The phrase is said to originate from Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), a livery stable owner at Cambridge, England. To rotate the use of his horses he offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all.
from Wikipedia

Our governor, well known friend of the working man and public employees (for my out of state readers that’s sarcasm) has a new proposal, as the AP put it,  to halt layoffs of junior teachers.

Because of the unequal distribution of  high and low seniority teachers in many districts, poorer schools often have a very large number of low seniority teachers, and when there is a large number of pink slips given out, these schools can be devastated.  I’ve worked in many schools that have had this problem. It was part of the reason behind some of our recent teacher “cycling” at my site, but if this is the answer to those problems, I’m just shaking my head in disbelief. It potentially puts us all in the situation of be probationary, for the rest of our careers, and ignores a fatal truth about what is going on, this will not end, stop, or roll back teacher layoffs. It just changes who gets laid off.  It could be because you complained about a condition at your school that is covered under the Williams settlement, it could be because your administrator doesn’t like the “cut of your jib”.

What is really disheartening is how it pits educators against each other. As though all new teachers perfect, and teachers with seniority are troglodytes.  These are gross over-simplifications! Teachers are being laid off at levels that are horrific! We’re now reduced to arguing who will have the pleasure of keeping a job teaching in classroom where the kids are packed in like sardines, instead of funding the education of children like we should. When the inevitable “bad consequences” come, like 98% of a school staff being laid off, we fall back on that old shibboleth of blaming the teachers.

For those of you in the Golden State concerned about this bill, I urge you to use this number, 888-202-2246, to contact your State Senator and let them know you oppose SB 955.

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