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O/T Education Cut Backs, etc.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by fssberson, Mar 6, 2011.

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  1. fssberson

    fssberson Active Member

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    Well, I keep reading on this site the bashing of unions, especially teacher's unions. Yes, I have a "dog" in this fight. I am a retired school principal, very conservative, registered Republican, and a part-time university professor who supervises student teachers and taught college education classes. No other public sector "industry" has take a hit as bad as your childrens' education.

    Recently, I visited a 6th grade classroom with 38 students [fire code violation, probably]. A noted Cal. State University has essentially closed its door in the education area out in one of our So. Cal. valleys. Private university enrollment in education programs is down over 50%. Why? No Jobs. In the local paper today, 137 teachers, aides, and others are going to be laid off. This is the second round of cuts [2009/10].

    Now the state still wants the schools to improve reading scores and state test scores... with what? Charter schools sound nice [yes, I sit on the board of directors for a very successful charter], but a group of charters was just caught formerly cheating on test scores and an other embezzled over 1 million of public funding.

    If there was ever a time to pat a teacher on the back and say "THANKS!" ... IT IS TODAY AND IT WON'T COST YOU A DIME IN HIGHER TAXES. Fred Berson
     
  2. ntgr8

    ntgr8 Member

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    If things are as you say then the system is extreamly top heavy. Admim being paid excessive salarys and percs. 1/2 of our state budget goes to education and the educators say it is not enough. How much do you want? When will enough trickle down to the teachers. Big city supers are paid 3,4 hundred k a year and have a bldg full of assst supers. The super is never seen or heard from unless it is for a photo op or a tearful appeal for more money. Enough is enough learn to live with it and do the job, quit bitching.
     
  3. 682b

    682b Member

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    Fred , you are in a position to know where the fat is. In my state (Virginia) it costs the state about 15000,00 per child per year. The teachers say the have to use their own money for supplies and use their own time to finish there work. I suspect the amount is higher in your area, My daughter graduated from Va Tec 3 years ago and It did not cost near that for all her yearly expenses. Who gets all the money? Thanks Jim
     
  4. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Many teachers do a great job, and I empathize with their situation - but remember, 7 million unemployed in the private sector did not "deserve" what happened to them, either.



    If California can't figure out a way to adequately fund education with a 10% state income tax and 8% sales tax, you were either too dependent on property taxes, have too many "no-speaky ingles" freeriders, too many "administrators" making too much for not teaching...or a combination of all the above (plus several others I'm probably missing).


    Also, don't forget a key contributor: the California Community College system. By State Constitutional decree, it sucks resources off the same state budget. I seem to recall as recently as 1996/7, tuition was something like ,what, $20 a credit? (When they raised it from $5 to $20, people had a HISSY FIT). Giving a taxpayer-subsidized college degree to every person who can walk, run, or crawl across the border and establish residence doesn't leave a lot of money for elementary and HS teachers, I'm guessing. Here in my adopted state of IN, if you want to go to Community College, you pay actual money for it, and it shows in the dedication of the students. In California, the decision was made that if kids need an extra couple years to figure out what they want to do in life, they don't join the Military like Midwestern kids...they get to hang out at College on the taxpayer nickel...basically an extra couple years of taxpayer-subsidized High School for whoever wants it. Now, I'm sure this has been a terrific full-employment deal for "educators" (that is, provided you can depend on the continued 10% income tax to fund it).



    In summary, Fred, I'd bet a California state Principal retirement + PT College professorship + BOD of a charter adds up to a pretty nice chunk of retiement change for your shooting budget. Care to compute for us how many multiples of the average teacher salary that works out to?


    (I bet it would pay for a lot of back-patting...)
     
  5. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    If we are spending all this money on our educating our children, why are we 31st in the world?

    I don't think patting a teacher on the back is in order!

    case in point: Back in the mid 70's here in WA, 75% of school funding was from "logging" tax dollars. The Eco-freak movement came out of the "higher" education arena. Succeed in shutting down an industry. Who's to blame?

    Nothing was taught about trees being a "renewable" resource! What was taught was "evil corporations", nasty loggers, Mother earth good!
     
  6. Chichay

    Chichay TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    There is a great documentary just out: "Waiting for Superman". It's about our dysfunctional educational system. Available from Netflix and just a little short of two hours. It's worth your time. Chichay
     
  7. Hawk46

    Hawk46 TS Member

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    berson, the issue is not so much with the teachers themselves (though there needs to be better accountability and performance standards as they exist in the private sector - but as an educator you may not know that); it is with the concept of public unions who feather their beds by helping elect politicians who, in "negotiations", fork out taxpayer dollars to educators in the form of salaries, pensions and benefits that exceed those of many employees in the private sector. It likely doesn't concern you that "public servants" are doing better than the "public" but it bothers the rest of us - a lot. There are a lot of private sector "honorable" professions beyond those of teachers and safety forces, and very many are struggling and sacrificing in this economy. It's time public employees shared in some of these struggles, even to the extent of job losses if that's what it takes. Unemployment isn't something that should be reserved only for private sector citizens is it?

    I don't recall ever being invited to the bargaining table so that I could put in my two cents. I only send money so that they can, in their corrupt manner, decide how to divide it between them.

    I love teachers and have the utmost respect for our safety forces. I just don't like how they use my money to buy and elect union supported Democrats for their own benefit; and wind up with chocolate covered cherry pensions that make my pension look like a single M&M.
     
  8. dave1

    dave1 TS Member

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    Ok,
    I feel the need to weigh in here. I have spent 29 years as an educator(still going) and damn proud of it. Yes, there are teachers who should not be in the classroom. Thankfully it is a minority for and yes the unions make it painfully slow to remove them (I never belonged for the 14 years I taught). I have worked in Calif, Oregon and now Wa. across all grades K-12.If I were in the private sector (which I was for a time), an equivalent job with my responsibilities and hours (60-80) would pay 250K+ not including stock options etc... I make good money but nowhere near that. I love the private sector comparisons as everyone is an education expert because we all went to school ( not sure we would all do surgery just because we went to the doctor a few times!).First, we have to serve ALL students, we don't get to select our raw material or send it back or reduce output during slow economic times.It is now the expectation that every student graduate HS. This is not what our system was built to do. It was built to educate people to work in the "new" industrial revolution, and read at the 8th grade level and to sort students from high to low. Over 50% of students did not graduate in 1955 but that wasn't a big deal because there were jobs to support a family without. Not the case today as we expect all students to graduate. Most adults on the street today could not pass our 8th grade state assessment in reading and math. School is FAR more challenging today than when I was in school. A final thought, we pay 30-40,000 a year to incarcerate our worst and yet scrape by with 6-8,000 per student to educate them. Hmmmm priorities????
     
  9. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    I am so, completely, calling bull on that.



    You gotta be using large-system Superintendents or something as your basis of comparison, because there are very, vanishingly few private-sector jobs that will pay "$250k+ not including stock options" for a teacher's level of education, even if they were working 60 hours. (And when you figure in the 3 months off in summer for teachers...I'd call it double-bull). You said you spent time in Washington, so I can only assume you're drawing your comparisons on the basis of some Microsoft people or something, because there's just not very many American private-sector workers with access to that kind of gig. (If that were really true, and that kind of opportunity still existed for the majority of middle-class people out there...California simply wouldn't be in the budget mess they're in).



    But you're right about one thing...things are different than 1955. The game has changed, and turning out 50% illiterate boobs into society carries a "Net Present Value" in terms of social costs that is simply unacceptable, today. And the education profession will have to adjust to that. The days of teaching the delightful little attentive students...while ignoring the bad ones and passing them on...are over.


    Like it or not, it's true that you are, indeed, "stuck with what's left," in many cases. And disgorging them into society in an uneducated state is not acceptable. Yes, the private schools suck away a lot of the better kids...yes, the parents of the remaining ones don't always give a crap...and yes, there are going to be some kind of objective performance metrics. If you can't hack that...maybe you're not cut out to be a public school teacher? Step aside...there are lots of recently-graduated kids who would love to have your job, working with the kids every day. What, you say? "Pushing out older workers to make room for cheaper ones?" Welcome to Life in America, buddy...lemme give you a news flash - when did you become so special and protected?



    As for the $6~8,000 per student thing...if true, and I'll take your word for it...that sounds like a California problem. When you make the judgement that everyone who can crawl across the border is entitled to a College Degree without having to pay (meaningful) tuition...and the money for it comes out of the same state budget that pays HS teachers...that's an unrealistic "Mansion on the Hill" position that is going to have some serious consequences (the same way that saying everyone is entitled to free healthcare is going to have consequences for the quality of service delivered).


    The "Mansion on the Hill" concept may have seemed feasible, at one time when California was brimming with good jobs...but check it out - California failed to gain electoral votes for the first Census in 50 years (and in truth, the only reason they remained steady is because there was an influx of immigrants to balance out all the whiteys who are leaving). It appears that many heretofore middle-class members of California society no longer believe in the "dream."


    Oregon? Washington? Same deal...just delayed by 10 or 20 years...(you'll see).
     
  10. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Lets just go to an "outcome" based pay rate for our educators ! If they do a good job then they deserve more than those that just let the kids slide by.

    Sounds like a decent idea to me, but I'll bet my SS check that the union would have no part of it.
     
  11. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Not spending enough? Make me hurl!

    LA opened a high school last fall that cost 578 Million! Click on the above link and read for yourself.

    578 Million?? What did they do - build a classroom for "Siegfried & Roy" and their accouterments?

    Give me a stick and some bare dirt, and I can teach math to a kid.
     
  12. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    "A final thought, we pay 30-40,000 a year to incarcerate our worst and yet scrape by with 6-8,000 per student to educate them."

    There is a solution to this also. Take all the weight room stuff, big screen TV's pool tables, etc away from the criminals. The reason for more guards per inmate is that the inmates have bulked up and it takes some just as impressive guards to control them!

    Take away their AC and Heat, put in garden spots and put in wood fired boilers. If they can't grow their own food and cut and split wood for their heat, GO WITHOUT!

    As long as there are liberals and the ACLU it will never happen! Prisons are overflowing with repeat offenders because they are to comfee cozy! Which equal lots of money to operate!
     
  13. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    There are ways to fix this but it will never happen. I'm sure most of you already know that anyone renting apartments or homes don't pay any property taxes in their county or city and that is where most of the financial support comes from for the school system. Only land owners pay for sending kids to school. Of the fourteen hundred dollars that I was taxed for my home almost eight hundred went to the schools in my county. However if all states had a flat tax, say 10 cents on the dollar for all purchases then everyone would have to pay for the education of the kids. Huckabee is in favor of that and he agrees that it would correct a lot of our shortfalls. Especially, in meeting the needs of the illegal alien special needs teachers. Jackie B.
     
  14. fssberson

    fssberson Active Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Many of your facts and figures are way off, but that will not change your minds. You have got to blame someone, so "burn the teachers at the stake" along with the textbooks ... but these are the people who are teaching your sons, daughters, and grand children. Fred
     
  15. shelly

    shelly TS Member

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    Fred Whinestein, that was as dumb as dirt. Grow up and join the rest of us non-protected saps.
     
  16. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Fred is upset because he has just now heard the rabbits squealing. Lunch was so much more enjoyable for the wolves when the rabbits weren't heard.

    Just shutup and provide the lunch.
     
  17. Hawk46

    Hawk46 TS Member

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    dave1, first of all, thanks for the post, we need varying viewpoints in order to try and intelligently hash through this and other important issues.

    With regard to your $250k private sector job comparison I will tell you that I worked as a mid-level manager in the insurance and telecommunications fields prior to retiring a couple years ago.

    For comparison's sake, the $250k (with stock options) salary you cite is the equivalent of a Regional VP. You attain this position through higher education, a variety of top-notch management skills and, most importantly, by exceeding challenging performance standards and getting financial and other important business results.

    In the world of academia, this might be the equivalent of a Superintendent of Schools achieving a 15-20% higher graduation rate, higher test scores and higher college transition percentages in several progressively larger school systems. If you feel that your performance has elevated you to the point where you would indeed be deserving of a VP position in the private sector, I'd like to hear your story: what you're earning, what positions you hold and have held, and what accomplishments you have achieved that equal that of a private sector VP (a position that is foreign to 99.5% of we private sector folks). I'm not trying to be a smart a*# here; I'm genuinely interested in hearing you make a case to support your thought process. I hope you'll oblige.

    ...and thank you for your apparent dedication to teaching our kids. Our good teachers truly are appreciated by the large majority of we parents, even though it may not always seem that way to the teachers. I couldn't teach in a big city school myself. I'd probably have to injure somebody.

    "Dave2"
    Dave Heston
     
  18. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Why can private schools do a better job educating kids with less money per student than public schools?

    Until that gets answered, the problem will not improve.
     
  19. Hawk46

    Hawk46 TS Member

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    Fred, try to understand that emotions run high these days on the issues of public unions and their impact on struggling taxpayers, lack of accountability and performance standards for educators and administrators, and a seemingly high tolerance and protection for poor teachers.

    I think that, in most conversations you have with parents, you will find a reasonable if not high respect for good teachers - and administrations that are "getting it done."

    There are voices of reason to be found on both sides, but I believe the tolerance for public unions has about run its course in many states. I believe the rest of it will be worked out to a reasonable degree, but there are some things we know for sure: educators cannot solve societies ills, serve as cops and babysitters, force kids to learn when they could care less, be expected to act as defacto parents, function as drug counselors or be expected to tolerate threats that come from students and idiotic parents. We all need to be a part of THOSE solutions. We need leaders with ideas and I sure don't have all of them. The ideas that I do have are likely unacceptable to society in general.
    Dave
     
  20. 682b

    682b Member

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    Dave1,I read what the average cost per student and the thread said it was 6 to 8,000. That seemed a bit lower than the 15000.00 I stated so I did a few minutes of research and I found this at answer.com and the American Blogger.

    http://www.allamericanblogger.com/2627/how-much-does-dc-spend-per-student-in-their-government-schools

    I cut these two quotes from the American blogger These may have been taken out of context by including retirement costs for the teachers.

    In Virginia, Prince William County “has a projected annual cost per pupil of $10,496, compared with $12,917 in Fairfax, $12,461 in Loudoun, $17,500 in Arlington and $17,968 in Alexandri
    We’re often told that public schools are underfunded. In the District, the spending figure cited most commonly is $8,322 per child, but total spending is close to $25,000 per child – on par with tuition at Sidwell Friends, the private school Chelsea Clinton attended in the 1990s.


    http://progress-index.com/news/op-ed/letters/the-real-cost-of-public-education-in-petersburg-1.1025838 city of petersburg
    12300 state 1300

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_cost_per_student_Washington_public_schools

    14,200 in 2009

    vermont 14,000

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_cost_per_student_Washington_public_schools

    14,200 in washington state.

    Yes I was wrong but not by much for my area anyway.
     
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