Jan 24, 2018
Sorry, what? Educators in Detroit’s main school district may need to start disclosing outside employment, if the Detroit Public Schools school board adopts its policy committee’s proposal made last week. The proposed policy change goes on to say that Detroit “expects employees to devote maximum effort to the position in which employed”.
Why the change? Proponents of the change, like DPS Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, say the policy change aims to “prevent some of the ills of the past,” like in the case of this renegade DPS employee who cheated the district out of $1.3 million for never-delivered tutoring services. Vitti adds that many school districts nationwide bar their teachers from outside employment.
So… is tutoring out for Detroit’s teachers? This is where the details get fuzzy. Many educators are also tutors, and around 19 percent of Michigan educators held a second job to make ends meet, according to a 2014 report by the National Center for Education Statistics. The numbers could be even higher in Detroit, where educators face low pay and shuttered schools. While the proposed policy change does say that “employees may use [off-duty] time for the purposes of non-school employment”, Detroit Federation of Teachers president Ivy Bailey says that’s not good enough: “The bottom line is until you start paying teachers enough money, people … do what they have to do to make ends meet. It’s really none of [the school district’s] business what teachers do on their off time unless it’s a conflict of interest.” Hear, hear to that rare nugget of common sense.
What's next? The DPS School Board is considering whether to adopt the policy proposal when it meets next in February. That's also when the public – including educators – can comment on the proposed change.
All of this sound familiar? Tutor-educators around the country have faced similar impediments to managing their working lives. Have you experienced any barriers to outside employment, or had onerous reporting requirements? Share your stories in the comments below!