Fugetaboutit: Maybe 40,000 teachers won’t lose their jobs …

Arne Duncan – Secretary of Education – has been the  one Obama cabinet member who seemed competent to most people.

Then, he jumped on Obama’s Sequester Armageddon train, claiming that:

  • 40,000 teachers were going to lose their jobs, and
  • School districts had already started laying off teachers because of the Sequester

Oops.

That earned the dude 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post for “Significant factual errors and/or obvious contradictions.”

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Here’s the real story …

According to the Post’s factchecker

Regarding the 40,000 jobs:

An aide to Duncan described it as a “rough back-of-the-envelope calculation,” derived by dividing the average pay and benefits of a teacher — $70,000 — by the amount — $2.8 billion — that needed to be cut in education programs.

But, school districts and states may find many ways to juggle funds or reduce expenses to avoid losing many teachers, which is what has happened during previous periods of financial stress.

Keep in mind that local taxes (i.e. real estate taxes) fund about 90% of teachers. … and, remember that most districts are now bloated with administrators feeding the Federal bear with paper.

Regarding the layoffs already occurring:

The Education Department for days was unable to cough up the name of a single school district where these notices had been delivered.

Then, Duncan appeared before the White House press corps and produced a name — Kanawha County in West Virginia.

But, no one in the county seemed to know what Duncan was talking about, including the education reporters who cover the school district for the Charleston, W.V., newspapers.

“There’s very little sequestration-related panic, at least on the education side of things,” one reporter said.

Our colleague Lyndsey Layton helped unravel the mystery.

She discovered that these were not layoffs, but rather “transfer notices” sent to 104 Title I teachers for reasons unrelated to the sequestration cuts.

In other words, Duncan was peddling a made-up story.

Good luck rebuilding your cred, Arne.

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