An out-of-control teachers union in Buffalo, New York has
taxpayers picking up a $2.7 million tab for teachers' plastic
surgeries and nearly $200,000 more for lavish trips -- leading
critics to question the district's priorities.
Kyle Olson of the Education Action Group Foundation (EAG) reports
that in addition to the lavish perks for teachers, Buffalo schools
spend $25,000 per student and have a 12-1 student-teacher ratio.
Even so, they have a dismal 54 percent graduation rate and are
nearly $50 million in debt.
"When you look at those statistics in terms of spending and
student achievement, when you look at what's going on with plastic
surgeries … limousines and traveling to five-star hotels and fancy
restaurants and all of that, you just have to say, 'What are the
priorities of this school district,'" Olson submits.
Though the teachers' contract expired seven years ago, New
York's "evergreen" clauses or "perpetual obligation" terms enable
the union to continue operating under the old contract.
"So there's a huge incentive for the union to not settle if it
believes it's going to lose perks such as this one or make
financial concessions and that sort of thing," the EAG spokesman
He says this is a prime example of how the educational system is
out of touch with student and parental needs. It
also shows that the system is not
held accountable by the taxpayers.
Analysts say better retention policies are needed to stop the
trend that's kicking nearly 50 percent of educators who begin
teaching careers out of the profession within five years.