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Federal Workers Are More Likely to Die Than Lose Their Jobs (and for Good Reason)

USA Today bemoans the fact that you're more likely to die than get fired from a federal job. An economist says this makes perfect sense.


A new USA Today report finds that if you work for the government, you're more likely to leave your job because of death from natural causes than you are to get fired. Same goes for layoffs, even in the recession. Private companies fire or lay people off at a rate of 3 percent annually; the government fired only 0.55 percent of its workers last budget year.

Besides getting some generic comments from federal representatives on how they try to "hire the right people," USA Today quotes one San Francisco State University management professor saying this is a bad, bad thing. The low departure rates show a failure to release poor performers and those with obsolete skills, he says. He adds that these statistics "would indicate a serious management problem."

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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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People Are Awesome: Fifth Grader Donates $300 Life Savings to Stop Teacher Layoffs

Elementary school student Jocelyn Lam emptied her piggy bank to save pink slipped teachers. Now she's inspired an entire community to do the same.


Thanks to draconian budget cuts, thousands of layoff notices have been delivered to teacher mailboxes nationwide over the past few weeks. But, after notices went home about pink slips handed out in the Arcadia Unified School District, Jocelyn Lam, a fifth grade student at Camino Grove Elementary decided there was something she could do to save her school's teachers: she emptied her piggy bank.

Last Friday, Lam gave her teacher an envelope full of $1, $5, and $10 bills totaling $300—money she'd earned over several years for doing chores and getting good grades. She also included a handwritten letter addressed to the Arcadia Unified school board and superintendent, saying, "I really hope this $300 will help save the teachers that are about to be laid off. I also hope this is enough to save more than one teacher." Her donation was completely unsolicited and took the school staff by surprise.

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