Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Does this make sense?

Rules on non-compete agreements accept the sanctity of contracts, even when it hurts future income for workers who are unable to find new jobs:

Daniel McKinnon, who had been a hairstylist in Norwell, Mass., lost a court battle with his former employer who claimed that Mr. McKinnon had violated the terms of his agreement when he went to work at a nearby salon. Mr. McKinnon said that he did not think the original restriction — to wait at least 12 months before working at any salon in nearby towns — still applied because he had been fired after years of friction with the manager there. Shortly after being fired, he went to work at a nearby salon.

But a judge issued an injunction ordering him to stop working at his new employer.

“It was pretty lousy that you would take away someone’s livelihood like that,” said Mr. McKinnon, who for the following year lived off jobless benefits of $300 a week. “I almost lost my truck. I almost lost my apartment. Almost everything came sweeping out from under me.”
But now talk about teacher tenure and suddenly the potential for future economic losses is a compelling reason to break existing agreements:

In striking down several laws regarding tenure, seniority and other protections, the judge said there was compelling evidence of the harm inflicted on students by incompetent teachers.

"Indeed, it shocks the conscience," Treu said.

He cited an expert's finding that a single year with a grossly ineffective teacher costs a student $50,000 in potential lifetime earnings. 
No data is given on how many teachers are "grossly ineffective", how confounding by school neighborhood was handled, or whether the replacement of these teachers with somebody else would necessarily improve matters.  Notice how we don't show the same level of heightened concern over actual lost wages for real workers as we do about potential losses. 

Interesting to ponder. 

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