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What’s the difference between old-style patronage and principal discretion in hiring?

September 14, 2012

A second grader named Aaron once told me a joke.

“Hey Mr. Klonsky. What’s the difference between boogers and Brussel sprouts?”

“I don’t know, Aaron. What’s the difference between boogers and Brussel sprouts?”

“Kids will eat boogers.”

I thought of that joke this morning as I read Mark Brown’s column in the Sun-Times.

Brown listed all the reasons why the teachers are winning this strike.

But he suggested that he thought that principal discretion in hiring was not a bad idea.

From what I have heard, the issue of union recall rights is one of the last things that is holding up an agreement.

Brown, a long time observer of Chicago politics and critic of business as usual should know better.

Union recall rights are what stands in the way of fair hiring practices being replaced by old time Chicago-style patronage.

Without union recall rights alderman will be calling principals and demanding their cousins be hired in their ward’s schools.

And then they will be demanding their cousin be the principal.

“So, Aaron. What’s the difference between principal discretion in hiring and patronage?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Klonsky. What’s the difference between principal discretion in hiring and patronage?”

“Absolutely nothing.”

“That’s not a joke, Mr. Klonsky.”

“It sure isn’t, Aaron.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    September 14, 2012 11:37 pm

    Ha,ha…love (& miss) those elementary school kid jokes! Also, love your principal/patronage hiring analogy.

    In fact, comparing boogers & Brussel sprouts (sounds like Hobson’s Choice) makes me think of…the 2012 presidential elections.

    And, unfortunately, that’s no joke, either.

  2. granny permalink
    September 15, 2012 12:50 pm

    I hadn’t thought of the patronage. (Yes, I’m naive.) I just kind of figured it was an effective way of getting rid of teachers who lost their jobs to closings. They would be too expensive for most positions and the $$ available.

  3. Beata permalink
    September 15, 2012 2:36 pm

    If prinicpals can have discretion in which teachers to hire, then that same logic should be applied to classroom teachers. Maybe they should have that same discretionary power in determining the students they have.

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