Educational Moral Hazards

Posted by By at 8 May, at 09 : 46 AM Print

Eric Epstein, a redisent of the Central Dauphin School District, offered the following testimony on Monday, May7, 2012. The Board unanimously approved  – by a 9-0, vote – an “unannounced agenda” item to furlough 84 District employees including 74 teachers.

A “moral hazard” is an economic term. It is a hazard that comes from insulating a person, board or corporation from being held accountable for bad decisions or poor planning.

The risk – or “moral hazard” – is that you insulate decision makers  from failure. By doing so, they will never learn from their mistakes and take bigger or costlier risks in the future.

One educational example is grade inflation.

A more immediate “moral hazard” is penalizing teachers and students for problems that management helped to create or failed to anticipate.

There are real and measurable impacts to firing 84 District employees.

These are not just numbers. These are real people with real bills and real kids and a real impact on current students and future citizens.

There are real consequences and pain associated with mass layoffs.

If you think 84 holes in the classrooms will have “0” impact on educating our kids than you are 100% wrong.

Take a step back and ask yourselves three questions:

  1. If there was an 84 inch hole in a roof atop one of our schools,  would you lay off the roofers?
  2. If there were 84 kids without lunch money, would you increase the price of a hot meal?
  3. If there was an 84 inch gap in our football team’s offense line, would  you dismantle the team?


This year’s “involuntary separations” may be as high as 84.

Last year it was a 130 bus drivers.

In two years you have balanced the budget by eliminating 214 positions and selling off a bus fleet.

The price to balance the budget should also be paid by those who helped to dig the hole. Back to “educational moral hazards”: How many administrators have been held accountable for making bad decisions or poor planning?

You can furlough 84 human beings to fill a hole this year, but you can not back fill the gap in a child’s educational experience.

This post was written by:
- who has written 395 posts for Rock The Capital
Eric J. Epstein is RocktheCapital‘s coordinator and a community advocate for good government for over 25 years. Mr. Epstein is also Chairman of the Three Mile Island Alert, Inc., a safe-energy organization founded in 1977; President of EFMR Monitoring Group, Inc., a non-profit economic development corporation established in 1977, and Chairman of the Stray Winds Area Neighbors (SWAN), a smart growth association organized in 2005. Mr. Epstein was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at PSU-Harrisburg (1992-1999) and co-authored the Dictionary of the Holocaust, which was released by Greenwood Press (1997) - Email Eric Epstein


Related Posts