UT opinion article on SB 1021 and Prop 30

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Coronita on April 3, 2014 - 11:03pm

Haven't done enough research on it...Real or memorex?

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/apr/...

A common refrain in California is that it’s awfully difficult to raise taxes because of Proposition 13 and other laws. But the reality is these obstacles have often been overcome. That’s why we have among the nation’s highest income, sales and gasoline taxes.

Because of Proposition 13’s limits on how much assessments can increase from year to year, California is in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to property taxes. But now state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is backing SB 1021, which would change the rules under which school districts can impose higher parcel taxes if two-thirds of local voters give their approval. Because of a dubious legal finding, the measure only requires majority approval by the Legislature, not the two-thirds approval required for many tax measures.

The key to the complex bill is that it would allow parcel tax rates to vary by category and size of property, instead of being standardized — long the California norm. The measure gives school bureaucrats some discretionary authority to determine how parcels are categorized and thus what their taxes would be; for example, adjacent properties owned by the same party could be grouped in the same category even if one is developed and one isn’t. This is a recipe for chaos.

SB 1021 is also an invitation to discriminatory treatment, in which those without property vote to sock it to certain types of landowners. But as bad as this legislation appears, it looks even worse when one considers the larger picture of taxes and the warped traditions that govern California’s schools.

Remember, it was less than two years ago that state voters were persuaded to impose higher sales taxes on everyone and higher income taxes on the wealthy with the promise that additional revenue would go to beef up school programs.

Instead, as critics predicted, revenue generated by Proposition 30 appears to have gone mostly toward compensation for teachers, whose unions are the most powerful forces in state politics.

Now these unions are lining up behind another revenue grab — one that will be marketed with the same assurances that “it’s all about the kids.”

Don’t believe it. The way school districts operate in California all but guarantees the money will go to employee compensation. Teachers typically get raises in 15 of their first 20 years on the job simply by showing up. They can also spike their pay by doing additional academic courses — and the classes don’t even have to be in the field they teach. There is no evidence of any substance that this makes them better teachers, but their pay goes up anyway.

Meanwhile, a 1971 state law requiring that student performance be a factor in evaluations of teachers — and thus implicitly a factor in how much they are paid — is simply ignored.

This status quo benefits teachers — not the public, and certainly not students. Until it is reformed, new taxes should not be added to funnel more money to schools — whether they’re bureaucratic nightmares like Sen. Wolk’s parcel tax or much simpler proposals.

Submitted by ltsddd on April 5, 2014 - 6:10pm.

CA renter wrote:

Preuss succeeds only because of three things:

1. Students who have already proven themselves to be high achievers.

2. Parents who are mandated to participate in their child's education on a variety of levels.

3. Fairly unlimited funding and resources (relatively speaking) from both public and private sources.

There's a fourth factor:

The fact that the kids and their parents are willing to go jump through all the hoops to get into the school demonstrates that they have the desire for a good education and would not squander the opportunity to learn once they get in.

Submitted by lookingagain on April 5, 2014 - 10:10pm.

AN wrote:

Currently, SDUSD is spending $9,846 per student. A good (not elite) private school cost about $9-10k. With this cost, the class size range for 10-1 to 20-1 teachers to student ratio. This is from K-12 we're talking about here. So, yeah, if it's about class size, offer a $9846 yearly voucher to parents and their kids can have class size between 10-20 per teacher depending on grade. Sounds like an easy win IMHO.

AN,
I do not mean to be picky especially since the number you quote here comes from CAR, but the cost per pupil at SDUSD is not $9846 per student. If you read into the way that the data is presented in the website CAR used, only the most direct costs are used to calculate that figure. This is like someone saying that the $1,000,000 house they bought with 0 down only costs $600 per month because all they are counting are the utility bills.

A number that is equally valid (and equally incorrect) is $1,900,000,000(the 2013/14 budget)/135000 students = $14,075 per student. And this number is probably closer to the truth.

My main point is that when someone brings data to a discussion (CAR) please bring honest data.

Submitted by an on April 5, 2014 - 11:00pm.

lookingagain wrote:
AN wrote:

Currently, SDUSD is spending $9,846 per student. A good (not elite) private school cost about $9-10k. With this cost, the class size range for 10-1 to 20-1 teachers to student ratio. This is from K-12 we're talking about here. So, yeah, if it's about class size, offer a $9846 yearly voucher to parents and their kids can have class size between 10-20 per teacher depending on grade. Sounds like an easy win IMHO.

AN,
I do not mean to be picky especially since the number you quote here comes from CAR, but the cost per pupil at SDUSD is not $9846 per student. If you read into the way that the data is presented in the website CAR used, only the most direct costs are used to calculate that figure. This is like someone saying that the $1,000,000 house they bought with 0 down only costs $600 per month because all they are counting are the utility bills.

A number that is equally valid (and equally incorrect) is $1,900,000,000(the 2013/14 budget)/135000 students = $14,075 per student. And this number is probably closer to the truth.

My main point is that when someone brings data to a discussion (CAR) please bring honest data.

even with $9.8k, it's still higher than or equal to a lot of private schools and you get less. I didn't need to debate the official number from CA government when it's enough to prove my point.

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 12:08am.

lookingagain wrote:
AN wrote:

Currently, SDUSD is spending $9,846 per student. A good (not elite) private school cost about $9-10k. With this cost, the class size range for 10-1 to 20-1 teachers to student ratio. This is from K-12 we're talking about here. So, yeah, if it's about class size, offer a $9846 yearly voucher to parents and their kids can have class size between 10-20 per teacher depending on grade. Sounds like an easy win IMHO.

AN,
I do not mean to be picky especially since the number you quote here comes from CAR, but the cost per pupil at SDUSD is not $9846 per student. If you read into the way that the data is presented in the website CAR used, only the most direct costs are used to calculate that figure. This is like someone saying that the $1,000,000 house they bought with 0 down only costs $600 per month because all they are counting are the utility bills.

A number that is equally valid (and equally incorrect) is $1,900,000,000(the 2013/14 budget)/135000 students = $14,075 per student. And this number is probably closer to the truth.

My main point is that when someone brings data to a discussion (CAR) please bring honest data.

I did bring honest data. Please link your source so we can dissect it more. The public school number you've posted probably includes some major infrastructure and interest on bond payments, among many other indirect costs. Many private schools are attached to churches, so you'd have to take into consideration the payments made by the church for their building infrastructure, too. Also, your number for SD Unified might include things like busing, which most private schools don't provide.

BTW, while I appreciate AN's number, the private schools around in the better parts of North County cost anywhere from $20K to $35K/year. They have fundraising requirements *in addition to this.* They also tend to have more wealthy donors who will pay for significant portions of the schools' buildings, etc. (with naming rights). While public schools might have fundraisers, they aren't the same as those in the better private schools where the wealthier parents are expected to give much more than $50 or $100 per year.

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 12:09am.

ltsdd wrote:
CA renter wrote:

Preuss succeeds only because of three things:

1. Students who have already proven themselves to be high achievers.

2. Parents who are mandated to participate in their child's education on a variety of levels.

3. Fairly unlimited funding and resources (relatively speaking) from both public and private sources.

There's a fourth factor:

The fact that the kids and their parents are willing to go jump through all the hoops to get into the school demonstrates that they have the desire for a good education and would not squander the opportunity to learn once they get in.

Agreed, and I think that can be incorporated into numbers 1 and 2. But you make a very valid point.

Submitted by an on April 6, 2014 - 12:19am.

CA renter wrote:
BTW, while I appreciate AN's number, the private schools around in the better parts of North County cost anywhere from $20K to $35K/year. They have fundraising requirements *in addition to this.* They also tend to have more wealthy donors who will pay for significant portions of the schools' buildings, etc. (with naming rights). While public schools might have fundraisers, they aren't the same as those in the better private schools where the wealthier parents are expected to give much more than $50 or $100 per year.
$20k-$35k? Really? La Jolla Country Day, Francis Parker, and Bishop's are around $27-28k. Which school is $35k? Are you seriously comparing any public school to these elite private schools?

You've obviously haven't even bothered with looking into the cost of non-religious private schools. I've shown examples but lets just say, for similar amount $10k/year, you're looking at an elementary school that feeds into Francis Parker and Bishops. Their teacher to student ratio is 10-1 for pre-K & K, 12-1 for 1-3rd grade, 24-1 for 4-6th grade. Get back to me when public school can get some thing as close as those numbers. I'm not even talking about religious private schools. Those goes for $5-8k/year and they have similar teacher to student ratio.

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 1:55am.

AN wrote:
ocrenter wrote:

We must be REALLY REALLY unlucky to have encountered 2 of these type of VERY RARE teachers in my daughter's 5 years of schooling starting in kindergarden.
Maybe it's just that you don't know what you're talking about and those teachers are doing a great job.

ocrenter wrote:
NPR had a segment in 2012 where an experiement was done in a struggling school district. They gave bonuses to all of the teachers at the beginning of the year, if the teachers do not meet certain academic criteria, the bonuses would have to be returned. This is compared to teachers that were promised bonuses if the same acadmeic criteria was met. The result showed if the bonuses had to be returned, the students ended up doing much better.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/19/161370443/...

So the question is would unions actually say yes to something like this???

Michelle Rhee offered something similar, essentially offering to double the pay if teachers will give up their tenure and they can get raises base on performance. It was a opt-in option as well, so teachers can still stay in the current system if they want. The union didn't even let it come up for a vote.

Only an idiot would give up tenure for something as problem-plagued and prone to administrator abuse as that. And she didn't double the salaries of everyone who opted out of tenure, only offered to give them merit pay/bonuses "up to" $130K in exchange for giving up tenure.

More on Michelle Rhee and her "reform" accomplishments:
----------

For teachers, DCPS has become a revolving door. Half of all newly hired teachers (both rookies and experienced teachers) leave within two years; by contrast, the national average is said to be between three and five years.[28]

It was a revolving door for principals as well. Rhee appointed 91 principals in her three years as chancellor, 39 of whom no longer held those jobs in August 2010. Some left on their own; others, on one-year contracts, were fired for not producing quickly enough.[29] She also fired more than 600 teachers.[30]

Child psychiatrists have long known that, to succeed, children need stability. Because many of the District’s children face multiple stresses at home and in their neighborhoods, schools are often that rock. However, in Rhee’s tumultuous reign, thousands of students attended schools where teachers and principals were essentially interchangeable parts, a situation that must have contributed to the instability rather than alleviating it.

The teacher evaluation system that Rhee instituted designates some teachers as ‘highly effective,’ but, despite awarding substantial bonuses and having the highest salary schedule in the region, DCPS is having difficulty retaining these teachers, 44% of whom say they do not feel valued by DCPS.[31]

Although Rhee removed about 100 central office personnel in her first year, the central office today is considerably larger, with more administrators per teachers than any district surrounding DC. In fact, the surrounding districts seem to have reduced their central office staff, while DC’s grew.[32] The greatest growth in DCPS has been in the number of employees making $100,000 or more per year, from 35 to 99.[33]Per pupil expenditures have risen sharply, from $13,830 per student to $17,574, an increase of 27%, compared to 10% inflation in the Washington-Baltimore region.[34]

A comparison of pre- and post-Rhee DC-CAS scores shows little or no gain, and most of the scores at 12 of the 14 highest ‘wrong to right’ erasure schools are now lower. Take Aiton Elementary, the school that Sanford wrote about: The year before Rhee arrived, 18% of Aiton students scored proficient in math and 31% in reading. Scores soared to over 60% during the ‘high erasure’ years, but today both reading and math scores are more than 40 percentile points lower.[35]

Enrollment declined on Rhee’s watch and has continued under Henderson, as families enrolled their children in charter schools or moved to the suburbs. The year before Rhee arrived, DCPS had 52,191 students. Today it enrolls about 45,000, a loss of roughly 13%.[36]

Even students who remained seem to be voting with their feet, because truancy in DC is a “crisis” situation[37], and Washington’s high school graduation rate is the lowest in the nation.[38]

Rhee and her admirers point to increases on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam given every two years to a sample of students under the tightest possible security. And while NAEP scores did go up, they rose in roughly the same amount as they had under Rhee’s predecessor, and Washington remains at or near the bottom on that national measure.[39]

The most disturbing effect of Rhee’s reform effort is the widened gap in academic performance between low-income and upper-income students, a meaningful statistic in Washington, DC because race and income are highly correlated. On the most recent NAEP test (2011) only about 10% of low income students in grades 4 and 8 scored ‘proficient’ in reading and math. Since 2007, the performance gap has increased by 29% in 8th grade reading, by 44% in 4th grade reading, by 45% in 8th grade math, and by 72% in 4th grade math. Although these numbers are also influenced by changes in high- and low-income populations, the gaps are so extreme that is seems clear that low-income students, most of them African-American, did not fare well during Rhee’s time in Washington.[40]

*****

It’s 2013. Is there any point to investigating probable cheating that occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2010? After all, the children who received inflated scores can’t get a ‘do-over,’ and it’s probably too late to claw back bonuses from adults who cheated, even if they could be identified. While erasure analysis would reveal the extent of cheating, what deserves careful scrutiny is the behavior of the leadership when it learned that a significant number of adults were probably cheating, because five years later, Rhee’s former deputy is in charge of public schools, and Rhee continues her efforts to persuade states and districts to adopt her approach to education reform–an approach, the evidence indicates, did little or nothing to improve the public schools in our nation’s capital.

http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=...

---------------------------

For more on Rhee's cheating scandal:

An impasse over erasures

McGraw-Hill's practice is to flag only the most extreme examples of erasures. To be flagged, a classroom had to have so many wrong-to-right erasures that the average for each student was 4 standard deviations higher than the average for all D.C. students in that grade on that test. In layman's terms, that means a classroom corrected its answers so much more often than the rest of the district that it could have occurred roughly one in 30,000 times by chance. D.C. classrooms corrected answers much more often.

In 2008, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) — the D.C. equivalent of a state education department –– asked McGraw-Hill to do erasure analysis in part because some schools registered high percentage point gains in proficiency rates on the April 2008 tests.

Among the 96 schools that were then flagged for wrong-to-right erasures were eight of the 10 campuses where Rhee handed out so-called TEAM awards "to recognize, reward and retain high-performing educators and support staff," as the district's website says. Noyes was one of these.

Rhee bestowed more than $1.5 million in bonuses on principals, teachers and support staff on the basis of big jumps in 2007 and 2008 test scores.

At three of the award-winning schools — Phoebe Hearst Elementary, Winston Education Campus and Aiton Elementary — 85% or more of classrooms were identified as having high erasure rates in 2008. At four other schools, the percentage of classrooms in that category ranged from 17% to 58%.

Although all of the experts consulted by USA TODAY said such aberrations should trigger investigations at the school level, that did not happen in D.C. in 2008. No schools were investigated.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/educ...

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 3:39am.

And please tell us if this is an example of a teacher who should be fired, or one who should tell other teachers around the country how to teach after just three years in the classroom. The first year "classroom management" skills are instructive:

--------

[The teacher in question] had poor class management skills, she said, recalling that her class "was very well known in the school because you could hear them traveling anywhere because they were so out of control." On one particularly rowdy day, she said she decided to place little pieces of masking tape on their lips for the trip to the school cafeteria for lunch.

"OK kids, we're going to do something special today!" she said she told them.

[Teacher's name] said it worked well until they actually arrived at the cafeteria. "I was like, 'OK, take the tape off. I realized I had not told the kids to lick their lips beforehand...The skin is coming off their lips and they're bleeding. Thirty-five kids were crying."

Yep, Michelle Rhee.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcschoo...

----------

And those test scores from her own classroom experience that she so often touted?

...

Here I will attempt to follow four different cohorts of students through Harlem Park Elementary, one of the Baltimore City public schools that was taken over by Tesseract/Edison company for several years in the early-to-mid-1990s and failed. Using publicly available data, I graphed the average percentile ranks of groups of students as they went through Harlem Park in first grade, then second grade, then third grade, and so on. If there’s a blank in my graphs, it’s because the data isn’t there.

I highlighted the classes where Michelle Rhee was teaching. In her last year, the scores did rise some, but nowhere near what she claimed. In her first year, they dropped almost as low as they can go. If Tesseract/Edison had been using the IMPACT evaluation system she foisted on DCPS teachers, she would have probably been fired after the first year!

http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2011/...

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 3:32am.

AN wrote:
CA renter wrote:
BTW, while I appreciate AN's number, the private schools around in the better parts of North County cost anywhere from $20K to $35K/year. They have fundraising requirements *in addition to this.* They also tend to have more wealthy donors who will pay for significant portions of the schools' buildings, etc. (with naming rights). While public schools might have fundraisers, they aren't the same as those in the better private schools where the wealthier parents are expected to give much more than $50 or $100 per year.
$20k-$35k? Really? La Jolla Country Day, Francis Parker, and Bishop's are around $27-28k. Which school is $35k? Are you seriously comparing any public school to these elite private schools?

You've obviously haven't even bothered with looking into the cost of non-religious private schools. I've shown examples but lets just say, for similar amount $10k/year, you're looking at an elementary school that feeds into Francis Parker and Bishops. Their teacher to student ratio is 10-1 for pre-K & K, 12-1 for 1-3rd grade, 24-1 for 4-6th grade. Get back to me when public school can get some thing as close as those numbers. I'm not even talking about religious private schools. Those goes for $5-8k/year and they have similar teacher to student ratio.

I spoke of the better private schools. These are the only ones, IMO, where students might get some kind of academic benefit over public schools.

But you're right, the ones up here are not as expensive; I had looked into them for our own kids, but there was no way we could afford them.

The Grauer School is $22,000-$23,500 (this is the one we were most interested in which is why that number stuck)

http://www.grauerschool.com/admissions/t...

Rhoades is $15,570-$16,550

http://www.rhoadesschool.com/domain/110

Sanderling Waldorf is $14,400, including fees

http://www.sanderlingschool.org/html/adm...

Encinitas Country Day is $12,710, including fees

http://www.edline.net/files/_lNALY_/1237...

-----------

Again, these numbers do NOT include donations from parents, alumni, or other sources.

Submitted by ocrenter on April 6, 2014 - 7:09am.

CA renter wrote:

ocrenter wrote:
NPR had a segment in 2012 where an experiement was done in a struggling school district. They gave bonuses to all of the teachers at the beginning of the year, if the teachers do not meet certain academic criteria, the bonuses would have to be returned. This is compared to teachers that were promised bonuses if the same acadmeic criteria was met. The result showed if the bonuses had to be returned, the students ended up doing much better.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/19/161370443/...

So the question is would unions actually say yes to something like this???

To say the least, Michelle Rhee's time in DC was controversial. Needless to say, you have some strong feelings about the lady.

Did you at least get a chance to look at the NPR piece on performance based bonuses that need to be returned if certain goals are not met?

Obviously we are all eager to see positive changes with the schools. So please don't minimize the problem (by saying bad teachers are rare and far-between). I didn't bring up anything controversial. Just a simple research that showed an effective tool at improving academic performance.

As a die-hard union supporter, is that something the union would say yes to?

Submitted by ltsddd on April 6, 2014 - 8:34am.

CA renter wrote:

Again, these numbers do NOT include donations from parents, alumni, or other sources.

Very true. I could only speak about Francis Parker here - and the data point is about 12+ years old. Part of the application process is the interview session with the parents. And one of the key information they want to get out from you is, after you've paid through the nose for the tuition, how much can you donate to the school. Consider the tuition as a barrier to entry.

Submitted by ltsddd on April 6, 2014 - 8:38am.

Does anyone know, academically, how private schools like FP, Bishop, and Cathedral Catholic compared to the public schools like Torrey Pines, Westview, Del Norte and BR High Schools?

Submitted by scaredyclassic on April 6, 2014 - 8:42am.

ocrenter wrote:
CA renter wrote:

ocrenter wrote:
NPR had a segment in 2012 where an experiement was done in a struggling school district. They gave bonuses to all of the teachers at the beginning of the year, if the teachers do not meet certain academic criteria, the bonuses would have to be returned. This is compared to teachers that were promised bonuses if the same acadmeic criteria was met. The result showed if the bonuses had to be returned, the students ended up doing much better.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/19/161370443/...

So the question is would unions actually say yes to something like this???

To say the least, Michelle Rhee's time in DC was controversial. Needless to say, you have some strong feelings about the lady.

Did you at least get a chance to look at the NPR piece on performance based bonuses that need to be returned if certain goals are not met?

Obviously we are all eager to see positive changes with the schools. So please don't minimize the problem (by saying bad teachers are rare and far-between). I didn't bring up anything controversial. Just a simple research that showed an effective tool at improving academic performance.

As a die-hard union supporter, is that something the union would say yes to?

this reflects the human reality that we are pained to lose something we already have much more than we are pleased to gain something we don't. this is the nature of humans and im pretty sure it's been wired into us over many years for survival purposes. a bird int he hand, etc. obviously, it's not entirely rational, since the end expected result may statistically be the same, but the feelings are the feelings.

probably run into legal problems making people return money later they don't have. maybe do soem sort of hybrid system where they geta trust that is in their name with certain conditions, but they get the paperwork and the feeling that it is theirs...

Submitted by joec on April 6, 2014 - 5:54pm.

Am I one of the few people who feel all this is sorta futile? I was reading the UT this morning and an article was saying that only like 30% or so graduating high school even meet college or basic UC minimum requirements to attend.

I think the main problem is when a child is young, you can "force" them to study, work hard, etc...and turn things around...

Once they hit their teens, if their home and friend environment aren't up to snuff to stress the importance of school/academics/education/future/jobs, you are pretty much fighting a losing battle if they aren't worried about what college to go to, but what food to eat or if they should join this or that gang...etc...

or if they should "hook up" and sleep with that boy, etc...

All these cases are sorta loss causes IMO and until you change the desire of the kid who wants to get out of his dump, or at least have more positive role models that they "can" get out, I think the large majority will fail. Seems like a waste almost to even send them to school...maybe teach them a trade/craft, etc...instead.

From what I've seen, only Sports and Music/entertainment/movies seems to really get the slum kids out and even then, after they play or get famous, they lose most of their money as well...

For the few who show genuine interest, I agree that more should be done since they're the ones who can get out of their bad hood, but a lot of kids (at least from what you read), seem do the school thing up to high school because that's just where their friends are and what is required of society, but once they hit 18, they're pretty much completely worthless to society in terms of productivity. Maybe just pay them to not attend since it's a waste of money anyways.

I think the downside of private schools is that a lot more kids are probably hard core so if you're trying to get into Harvard or Stanford, they probably won't accept that many from your smaller private school and just 1 or 2 top kids.

This kid will be going to Harvard or Stanford I read...(his choice)...
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-n...

and he goes to a public school I believe (Canyon Crest)...

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 7:06pm.

ocrenter wrote:
CA renter wrote:

ocrenter wrote:
NPR had a segment in 2012 where an experiement was done in a struggling school district. They gave bonuses to all of the teachers at the beginning of the year, if the teachers do not meet certain academic criteria, the bonuses would have to be returned. This is compared to teachers that were promised bonuses if the same acadmeic criteria was met. The result showed if the bonuses had to be returned, the students ended up doing much better.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/19/161370443/...

So the question is would unions actually say yes to something like this???

To say the least, Michelle Rhee's time in DC was controversial. Needless to say, you have some strong feelings about the lady.

Did you at least get a chance to look at the NPR piece on performance based bonuses that need to be returned if certain goals are not met?

Obviously we are all eager to see positive changes with the schools. So please don't minimize the problem (by saying bad teachers are rare and far-between). I didn't bring up anything controversial. Just a simple research that showed an effective tool at improving academic performance.

As a die-hard union supporter, is that something the union would say yes to?

Sorry, OCR, my response there was to AN. I neglected to directly answer your question. Let me first include some more information, after which I will address your point.

I have very strong feelings about Michelle Rhee because she is one of the most powerful tools of the privatization movement -- a movement that is NOT designed to help students, but rather to shift all of that education money toward corporations where owners/shareholders will make millions while teachers work as "at will" employees for $10/hr with no labor rights. Look to Ms. Rhee's long series of failures for proof of that. Her B.A. is in government, and her M.A. is in public policy -- she is a corporate-friendly, profit-seeking politician/corporate tool; she is not an educator, nor is she an advocate for students. If she really cared about the students, she would be in the classroom collaborating with very experienced teachers in an attempt to find ways that genuinely help many different types of students.

So, I ask you: How is someone with three years of educational experience -- and much of that very controversial, as she would have been a failure by many measures -- suddenly thrust into the political and media spotlight as someone who holds the answer to all our educational ills? The answer is that she is a tool being used by millionaires and billionaires who see the billions in educational funding as an untapped source of revenues for their private corporations. They have to get the buy-in of the public, though, in order to shift these funds to private entities like publicly-funded private schools (charters and vouchers), and test developers, and publishers, and "expert" consultants (often with little/no real educational experience, like Michelle Rhee), and curriculum developers, etc. Enter Michelle Rhee and Waiting for "Superman."

Quite frankly, these corporate-backed "school reformers" who most often have absolutely NO educational experience (and some don't even have children of their own, much less a total lack of educational experience!) should not be given a voice at all. Why are we not hearing more from REAL, properly credentialed teachers with 20-30 years of experience in the classroom? If anyone could give us an answer to our problems, they could. Where is their voice in the media?

Here's an article on some of the money behind the privatization movement in education, and there are even more millionaires and billionaires that I'm aware of who aren't listed.

http://www.notwaitingforsuperman.org/Art...

---------------

Now, to answer your question, what we do not know about the bonus clawback story is what was happening in the classroom and/or test site that made these gains happen in the first place. Were the students and/or teachers cheating? One would think that desperate teachers who had already spent that money would certainly be more inclined to cheat than those who would get bonuses after the fact. Were other subjects dropped so that the teachers could "teach to the test," instead? Were they drilling students, day after day, on their math facts instead of teaching literature, social sciences, art, or even math that is not being specifically tested?

We would have to know the details in order to determine if this would really work or not.

Ask any teacher about the main influence on a student's (and their school's) success, and they will all tell you that the parents are the ones who determine success. Look at the neighborhood and/or demographics of any successful school, and you will almost always see the same pattern: kids with well-educated, involved parents (this does NOT mean that they micro-manage the teachers, BTW) who are often from upper-middle to upper-class backgrounds.

If you want to see children succeed, then you MUST address the issue of bad parenting. This ranges from parents who refuse to back teachers when their children misbehave, to parents who are doing drugs and/or abuse or neglect their children entirely. This is the most important and most influential thing we can do to improve student outcomes.

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 7:21pm.

Just a little blurb about one of the "philanthropists" behind the privatization movement. Made his living from "working hard" trading at Enron (made his largest bonus just before they collapsed), and then his own hedge fund. This is what he would like to see:

-------

Arnold has funded various politically-oriented 501(c)4 organizations, including Engage Rhode Island.[34] Many of the these organizations advocate pension fund reform, encourage state and local governments to reduce benefits to workers and to invest assets in riskier investments such as hedge funds.[35] Some have criticized his efforts, saying that hedge fund managers, such as himself, collect generous sums in fees for managing the funds, while the workers are left with reduced pensions.[36][37][38]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Arnold

--------------

Like I've said numerous times before, these anti-union "reformers" are NOT taxpayer advocates, nor are they advocating "for the children" when they push for their reforms. They are very wealthy, greedy capitalists who are looking for new ways to extract even more money from taxpayers and Joe Sixpack...as if our current income/wealth inequality problems (caused by many of these same people and the policies they've advocated for over the years) weren't bad enough.

If you follow the money back through all of these "reform" organizations, you'll see a very long list of people just like him...and Doug Manchester...and Eli Broad...and Bill Gates...

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 7:23pm.

joec wrote:
Am I one of the few people who feel all this is sorta futile? I was reading the UT this morning and an article was saying that only like 30% or so graduating high school even meet college or basic UC minimum requirements to attend.

I think the main problem is when a child is young, you can "force" them to study, work hard, etc...and turn things around...

Once they hit their teens, if their home and friend environment aren't up to snuff to stress the importance of school/academics/education/future/jobs, you are pretty much fighting a losing battle if they aren't worried about what college to go to, but what food to eat or if they should join this or that gang...etc...

or if they should "hook up" and sleep with that boy, etc...

All these cases are sorta loss causes IMO and until you change the desire of the kid who wants to get out of his dump, or at least have more positive role models that they "can" get out, I think the large majority will fail. Seems like a waste almost to even send them to school...maybe teach them a trade/craft, etc...instead.

From what I've seen, only Sports and Music/entertainment/movies seems to really get the slum kids out and even then, after they play or get famous, they lose most of their money as well...

For the few who show genuine interest, I agree that more should be done since they're the ones who can get out of their bad hood, but a lot of kids (at least from what you read), seem do the school thing up to high school because that's just where their friends are and what is required of society, but once they hit 18, they're pretty much completely worthless to society in terms of productivity. Maybe just pay them to not attend since it's a waste of money anyways.

I think the downside of private schools is that a lot more kids are probably hard core so if you're trying to get into Harvard or Stanford, they probably won't accept that many from your smaller private school and just 1 or 2 top kids.

This kid will be going to Harvard or Stanford I read...(his choice)...
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-n...

and he goes to a public school I believe (Canyon Crest)...

You're not the only one, and that's one of the reasons why many teachers get burned out. There is only so much you can do with a student who is hell-bent on not learning, yet teachers will always get the blame for any of these failures.

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 7:56pm.

In addition to the Arnolds, mentioned above, here's another one of the backers of "Teach for America," from which Michelle Rhee came:

-----------

While the WSJ doesn’t include in its story that it was a Walton Family funded group whom facilitated the relationship, it reports on the curious contact between a billionaire hedge funder and the Connecticut State Board of Education to prompt the private takeover of Bridgeport schools.

Dating back as far as January, emails referencing a state takeover of the Bridgeport public school system were exchanged between the Bridgeport Schools
Superintendent John Ramos, the state board of education head Allan Taylor,Coleman, and Meghan Lowney, who according to tax forms was an independent contractor for the $134 million family foundation of Sue and Steve Mandel, the founder of Lone Pine Capital in Greenwich. The emails also mention Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s involvement in the matter, though he was not included on any of the emails reviewed

Lowney was introduced to state school board chairman Allan Taylor over email by Alex Johnston, founder of education reform advocacy group Conncan.

In an email to Taylor on Jan. 11, Lowney stated that her bosses, billionaire philanthropists Steve and Sue Mandel, were “focused on education reform” and helping “Bridgeport get going with meaningful school change.” She said the foundation had joined with other education funders to revise Bridgeport’s education charter and establish mayoral control of the schools. million family foundation of Sue and Steve Mandel, the founder of Lone Pine Capital in Greenwich. The emails also mention Bridgeport
Mayor Bill Finch’s involvement in the matter, though he was not included on any of the emails reviewed.

“We are very hopeful that the State Board would agree to intervene and appoint a Special Master,” wrote Lowney to the state board chairman in April. “Should the State Department of Education act to intervene, there is excellent
private partnership to be activated.”

http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpr...

Submitted by CA renter on April 6, 2014 - 8:02pm.

And another hedge fund backer of TFA and education "reform":

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Julian H. Robertson Jr. KNZM (born June 25, 1932)[1] is an American former hedge fund manager. Now retired, Robertson invests directly in other hedge funds, most run by former employees of Robertson's defunct hedge fund company.

He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina in the United States. Robertson founded the investment firm Tiger Management Corp., one of the earliest hedge funds. Robertson is credited with turning $8 million in start-up capital in 1980 into over $22 billion in the late 1990s, though that was followed by a fast downward spiral of investor withdrawals that ended with the fund closing in 2000.

In 1993, his compensation and share of Tiger's gain exceeded $300 million. His 2003 estimated net worth was over $400 million, and in March 2011 it was estimated by Forbes at $2.3 billion.[2] Robertson said in 2008 that he shorted subprime securities and made money through credit default swaps.[3] The following year, according to Forbes, Robertson's return on his $200 million personal trading account was 150 percent.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Robe...

-----------------

Now, I ask you, do you really believe these hedge fund guys (and many other corporate leaders) are honestly funding the anti-union/anti-teacher reform movement out of the kindness of their hearts? If so, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Submitted by an on April 6, 2014 - 11:45pm.

CAR, if I understand you correctly, the status quo is just fine. Correct? Do you think there's no need for change?

As for Michelle Rhee, like her or not, agree with her or not, I don't care. At least she's trying to implement change. If you think it's wrong solution, what's your solution (this is assuming you think there is a problem)?

Submitted by an on April 6, 2014 - 11:47pm.

CA renter wrote:

Only an idiot would give up tenure for something as problem-plagued and prone to administrator abuse as that. And she didn't double the salaries of everyone who opted out of tenure, only offered to give them merit pay/bonuses "up to" $130K in exchange for giving up tenure.

Oh really? Then why not let it up for a vote and let the teachers show how stupid and out of step Michelle Rhee is. If only an idiot would take Michelle Rhee's proposal, then if there is a vote, no one would vote for it, so there's nothing to worry about.

Submitted by CA renter on April 7, 2014 - 12:12am.

AN wrote:
CAR, if I understand you correctly, the status quo is just fine. Correct? Do you think there's no need for change?

As for Michelle Rhee, like her or not, agree with her or not, I don't care. At least she's trying to implement change. If you think it's wrong solution, what's your solution (this is assuming you think there is a problem)?

There is no "status quo" in education, AN. Things are constantly changing from year to year. As of right now, students have more choices and options than they have ever had. If their parents don't like it, they are free to enroll their kids in private schools (as you do), or homeschool them (as we do). Everyone is different, so there is no singular "right way" to teach, nor is there a simple prescription for what ails our education system; if there were, we would have seen it by now.

But since you've asked for my opinion on a solution, I think that we need to put a greater emphasis on parenting and the parents' responsibility to set the tone for their child's education. I would also add that students who do not want to learn or who are emotionally unstable (violent, severe behavioral problems, etc.) should be culled from the general student population and sent to schools where parents are literally forced to physically get involved with their child's learning environment (sitting in class, if need be), and where the schools legally have more leeway to deal with these students. If the parents don't like it, I think parents should be legally mandated to teach their children at home. Behavioral problems are one of the leading causes of classroom/learning disruptions and teacher burnout.

We also need to be able to extend the school day for students who are not willing/able to learn (even for students who DO want to learn...I just like extended days, as ending the school day at 2:30 p.m. is ridiculous on so many levels, IMO).

Just doing those two things would go a long way toward improving education in our country, IMO.

Submitted by an on April 7, 2014 - 12:25am.

CA renter wrote:
There is no "status quo" in education, AN. Things are constantly changing from year to year. As of right now, students have more choices and options than they have ever had. If their parents don't like it, they are free to enroll their kids in private schools (as you do), or homeschool them (as we do). Everyone is different, so there is no singular "right way" to teach, nor is there a simple prescription for what ails our education system; if there were, we would have seen it by now.

But since you've asked for my opinion on a solution, I think that we need to put a greater emphasis on parenting and the parents' responsibility to set the tone for their child's education. I would also add that students who do not want to learn or who are emotionally unstable (violent, severe behavioral problems, etc.) should be culled from the general student population and sent to schools where parents are literally forced to physically get involved with their child's learning environment (sitting in class, if need be), and where the schools legally have more leeway to deal with these students. If the parents don't like it, I think parents should be legally mandated to teach their children at home. Behavioral problems are one of the leading causes of classroom/learning disruptions and teacher burnout.

We also need to be able to extend the school day for students who are not willing/able to learn (even for students who DO want to learn...I just like extended days, as ending the school day at 2:30 p.m. is ridiculous on so many levels, IMO).

Just doing those two things would go a long way toward improving education in our country, IMO.

When I say status quo, I mean have it be what it is today. So, yes, there is a status quo. Status quo means no real fundamental change.

I agree with parents involvement, but that's like squeezing blood from a rock. If they already don't care, what make you think you can force them to care? This is along similar line of outlawing divorce and making one parent stay at home to educate their kids and be involve in their kids' education. Idealistic, but not reality.

I agree with your solution of segregation based on ability (kinda like what we do w/ our higher education system). But again, how can you suggest something like this but not agree with voucher? This is like the "voucher" for the bad kids. I.E. separating the good kids from bad kids.

As for longer school days, do you think the teachers' union would even consider this? Some how, I highly doubt it. I'm totally for longer school days, so we agree there.

Submitted by CA renter on April 7, 2014 - 12:32am.

AN wrote:
CA renter wrote:

Only an idiot would give up tenure for something as problem-plagued and prone to administrator abuse as that. And she didn't double the salaries of everyone who opted out of tenure, only offered to give them merit pay/bonuses "up to" $130K in exchange for giving up tenure.

Oh really? Then why not let it up for a vote and let the teachers show how stupid and out of step Michelle Rhee is. If only an idiot would take Michelle Rhee's proposal, then if there is a vote, no one would vote for it, so there's nothing to worry about.

The teachers DID oppose it.

Submitted by an on April 7, 2014 - 12:58am.

CA renter wrote:
AN wrote:
CA renter wrote:

Only an idiot would give up tenure for something as problem-plagued and prone to administrator abuse as that. And she didn't double the salaries of everyone who opted out of tenure, only offered to give them merit pay/bonuses "up to" $130K in exchange for giving up tenure.

Oh really? Then why not let it up for a vote and let the teachers show how stupid and out of step Michelle Rhee is. If only an idiot would take Michelle Rhee's proposal, then if there is a vote, no one would vote for it, so there's nothing to worry about.

The teachers DID oppose it.
Was it through a vote? I thought the teachers' union didn't let it come to a vote?

Submitted by CA renter on April 7, 2014 - 2:43am.

AN wrote:
When I say status quo, I mean have it be what it is today. So, yes, there is a status quo. Status quo means no real fundamental change.

I agree with parents involvement, but that's like squeezing blood from a rock. If they already don't care, what make you think you can force them to care? This is along similar line of outlawing divorce and making one parent stay at home to educate their kids and be involve in their kids' education. Idealistic, but not reality.

I agree with your solution of segregation based on ability (kinda like what we do w/ our higher education system). But again, how can you suggest something like this but not agree with voucher? This is like the "voucher" for the bad kids. I.E. separating the good kids from bad kids.

As for longer school days, do you think the teachers' union would even consider this? Some how, I highly doubt it. I'm totally for longer school days, so we agree there.

Trust me, there is no "status quo" where education is concerned. It changes from year to year, and decade to decade. There have been some very dramatic shifts over the past couple of decades, most of which I like, such as charter schools and magnet schools (but I only advocate for publicly funding PUBLIC charters), open enrollment, site-based control, etc.

As for parent involvement, there have been a few cases where parents were *legally* mandated to attend their child's school with their child. I think this needs to happen on a much wider scale, especially if the parents are unwilling to help their child and/or back the teachers in the classroom. There are too many parents who insist that their precious little Johnny or Susie is perfect, and any problems that might arise are the fault of the teacher, other students, or the system as a whole. Those parents need to be dragged in, with handcuffs if need be, so that they can be a part of the solution.

Where the longer days are concerned, I would make it voluntary for both students and teachers unless the students are performing so poorly that it necessitates their attending the longer days. IMO, it should be site-based, with some schools offering longer days, while others have a more "traditional" schedule. Teachers would be paid for the extra hours, and they would have to opt in. I think a sufficient number of teachers would be willing to put in the longer days, especially those who are childless. Personally, I would have loved to have longer days as I always felt that we were really hitting our stride in class as the end of the school day was approaching. I think students also need to learn how to work/focus for longer periods of time, and an extended schedule would allow them the opportunity to really get into some lessons and spend as much time as necessary to master the subject.

No vouchers because they divert money and resources away from some of the neediest students and can also put the whole public educational system at risk by creating more volatile funding changes from year to year as students move back and forth between public and private schools. In order to make the larger system work, you need to know how resources will be allocated over the long run. Also, too much room for corporate corruption, as some of my links above can attest.

Submitted by CA renter on April 7, 2014 - 4:05am.

AN wrote:
CA renter wrote:
AN wrote:
CA renter wrote:

Only an idiot would give up tenure for something as problem-plagued and prone to administrator abuse as that. And she didn't double the salaries of everyone who opted out of tenure, only offered to give them merit pay/bonuses "up to" $130K in exchange for giving up tenure.

Oh really? Then why not let it up for a vote and let the teachers show how stupid and out of step Michelle Rhee is. If only an idiot would take Michelle Rhee's proposal, then if there is a vote, no one would vote for it, so there's nothing to worry about.

The teachers DID oppose it.
Was it through a vote? I thought the teachers' union didn't let it come to a vote?

In general, the union represents what the majority of teachers want. I cannot speak to the DC situation specifically, but when I belonged to a union, we always had a say in which direction the union would take.

Don't know if the teachers had an official vote, but they were NOT in favor of losing tenure, even if they could get bonuses for performance. It didn't matter, though, because Rhee unilaterally imposed her will on the teachers and eliminated tenure.

....

Mr. Parker [former president of the DC teacher's union who, oddly enough, started working for Rhee's new anti-union/pro-privatization lobbying organization...have to wonder what went on there! -CAR] said he had kept an open mind about Ms. Rhee’s proposals, which would raise star teachers’ salaries to $130,000, with bonuses, by 2010, and the two went together before several mass gatherings of teachers in July to explain them. But an August poll commissioned by the union found that teachers opposed Ms. Rhee’s proposal by three to one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/educat...

Submitted by no_such_reality on April 7, 2014 - 6:56am.

CA renter wrote:

I did bring honest data. Please link your source so we can dissect it more. The public school number you've posted probably includes some major infrastructure and interest on bond payments, among many other indirect costs.

Those would be the real costs. What you brought is a school talking point.

If I buy a bunch of stuff on a credit card and then pay interest on the credit card, that's all the cost of getting the stuff.

That's how the government and schools are hiding their spending. Bonds, "infrastructure", etc. It's all the REAL spending that is being done on schools and in many districts, it's being going on for decades.

The number he brings is the same way I reached the LAUSD number, and the same way you get to the fact that California doesn't spend $100B a year at a state level, we've been spending over $200B

You go look up ALL the money being spent in the four different budget presentations.

You've lost all credibility with me since you can't admit that the Union IS part of the problem. In LAUSD they managed to get a contract that the termination is so biased and so difficult that the administration just puts probelm, and by problem we mean things like molesting students, in a non-teaching, non-working office cube and pays them out until retirement because in the end, It's less expensive.

That is a problem and creates a completely unaccountable environment. Why not, maybe it has to do ith the 3 person panel of peers, one picked by the union, one by the teacher, and one by administration.

Yep, no road block to reality there.

Submitted by livinincali on April 7, 2014 - 7:07am.

Here is the latest SDUSD complete budget I could find.

http://www.sandi.net/cms/lib/CA01001235/...

On page 9 they say total enrollment including charter school in 131,541. It also says non charter enrollment is 117,249.

On page 35 you can see the breakdown of expenses excluding charters so it's probably more accurate to compare expenses to 117K students.
The 3 major ones being.
Certified Salaries 516 million
Classified Salaries 218 million
Employee Benefits 311 million <- This is the invisible killer. Employees don't see it on their paycheck as an amount but it's increased from 276 million in 2007-2008 even with fewer staff. Everything else has decreased.

Total expenditures on page 38 are 1.11 billion. So it seems pretty accurate to say 1,111,000,000/117,000 ~ 10K spending per kid.

On page 36 you can see the number of positions by type. Basically 5000 classroom teachers and then about another 2500 employees related to special education. That is only 7500 of a total staff of 12,848. So there's quite of bit of not in the classroom staff in the budget.

Submitted by an on April 7, 2014 - 4:29pm.

CAR, I find it a little funny that you think parents involvement are essential for improvement, yet you think most parents don't know anything about educating their kids, so their input is not meaningful. AFAIK, the parents who are the most critical of the teachers are the parents who are most involved. The parents that don't care tend to have no critical assessment of the teacher.

So, are you essentially saying that have parents be fully involve, but only to be a drone and listen to the teacher? Especially since you think bad teachers are few and far in between while bad parents are more abundant than not. Do I understand that correctly>

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