Sunday, November 05, 2023

Trina Kay Prufer: The Current Strategic Goals - How they Harm Teachers and Damage Public Education

From Trina Kay Prufer

November 5, 2023

The Current Strategic Goals - How they Harm Teachers and Damage Public Education
Neville is very good at choosing words to hide the ugliness of intent. One of his favorites is “sustainability” or “sustain”, which means propping up the STRS system by harming teachers. Every one of the STRS goals contains platitudes, which sound fine, but in reality support the excesses and basic rot of the STRS system. 
Below is my interpretation of what the goals really mean. 
1) Financial Health - This means STRS, not teachers. To STRS, benefits are a zero sum game. We lose, they win. Their aim is 100% funding… which is absurd, because it is not needed, will take another 11 years, and puts many retirees into poverty. There is no sense of fairness or a modicum of caring about the well-being of teachers. 
2) Engaged Customers - This means more money pumped into the  Department of Propaganda. Given goal #1, there are, and will be, an ever increasing number of very unhappy, desperate retirees. Best to try to convince them that all is well, and their loss of buying power does not exist. This is the very definition of gaslighting. 
3) High Quality Workforce - The sky is the limit in terms of number of hires, their salaries, bonuses and perks, and having a facility that outshines the statehouse and many Fortune 500 companies. Nothing is too good for employees … brick pavers, waterfall, heated sidewalk, vast building and expensive artwork. 
4) Operational Excellence - This seems to me just another rationale for spending vast sums of money on the STRS system. They can hire lots of consultants, lobbyists, investment experts to write impressive reports and give presentations at board meetings supporting the lie that STRS is a premiere retirement system. Yes, they do provide benefit counselors…  but it now takes 3 months to get an in-person appointment 
What‘s missing from the goals?  Anything that has to do with providing financial security for teachers. The entire point of a solid retirement system is to bring the children of Ohio a high quality workforce. Why would the best and the brightest want to become teachers? Just read the goals...they tell us the answer.

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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