Tags: Axelrod | teachers | fact | check

WaPo: Obama Campaign Exaggerated Teacher Job Losses

Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 11:55 AM

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Obama campaign claims that hundreds of thousands of teachers have lost their jobs in the last couple of years are hyped “beyond reality,” The Washington Post concluded in a fact check.

The Post was examining remarks made by Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod, who made the remark in defense of President Barack Obama’s claim that the “private sector is doing fine.”

“We have had 4.3 million private sector jobs created over the last 27 months, but we lost almost half a million public sector jobs, and most of them are teachers….We have lost 250,000 teachers in the last couple of years,” he said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

Axelrod’s figures were drawn from Bureau of Labor Statistics, but BLS told the Post the numbers are not all teachers but include all jobs in education including administrators, cafeteria workers and janitors.

“For instance, about 10 percent of the total education jobs are in administration or clerical support, 5 percent are food preparation workers, 4 percent are janitors, and 3 percent are bus drivers. All told, only about 67 percent of the jobs could be broadly defined as being held by ‘teachers’ — including teaching assistants (11 percent of the posts). If only full-time teachers are counted, it works out to about 50 percent.

“So, applying a formula of 67 percent to the local government-education figure brings the number of teachers down to no more than 150,000. That’s a large number, but it’s much less than the 250,000 claimed by Axelrod.”

In conclusion, the Post determined the claim was worth two Pinocchios, meaning it includes “significant omissions and/or exaggerations.”

“Clearly, schools are under financial pressure, and difficult choices must be made. But that does not give the Obama campaign or the White House license to hype the figures so far beyond reality,” the Post said.


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