Pink Friday Approaches with a Statewide Protest Against Pink Slips

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On Friday, March 13, 2009 across the state of California will be a protest by California’s teachers who face a whopping 18,000 pink slips.

California’s budget crisis and the worst recession in 70 years has led to tremendous and devastating cutbacks in education funding.

David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member CTA:

“We are pushing back against this attack on public education because our students will feel these cuts for many, many years. The potential lay off of so many educators will hurt our communities and California’s future.”

According to a release from CTA:

“California’s public schools, colleges and universities are facing more than $11 billion in state budget cuts. These cuts are going to impact an entire generation of kids and alter public education for years to come.

March 13 is the deadline for school districts to issue preliminary pink slips to California’s teachers. Last year, more than 10,000 teachers got pink slips and nearly 5,000 lost their jobs. And this year could be much worse.”

I have seen notices that there will be protests in Woodland, in Sacramento by a coalition of different teaching organizations from across the metro area, and while I have not seen the notice, I understand there will be a protest in Davis as well.

We have had a long and lengthy discussion of the prospect of teachers taking paycuts in Davis. Across the state, the California Teachers Association has given orders to local teachers unions not to take paycuts even if it means saving the jobs of teachers. While I believe that to be a mistake, I also think we can get too hung up on that.

There is a bigger and much more tragic problem. We have cut $11 billion in spending to public schools, community colleges, and the CSU and UC system. That is an incredible blow for education.

We do have a budget crisis. It is very severe. And we had to take drastic measures in order to prevent catastrophe at the statewide level a few weeks ago.

But let us not pretend everything is okay. Education is more than simply a budget item. It is an investment in the future of society. Our children are the next generation of leaders, business people, doctors, teachers, lawyers, policymakers, etc. When we cut from investments in the future to save our present fiscal condition, we are mortgaging the future to subsidize our own wasteful and at times irresponsible behavior.

We do not get a second chance to get these children a first-rate education. Even before this current economic crisis, California was falling behind the rest of the nation in education funding and most importantly educational scores.

In Friday’s Sacramento Bee, there was an article on the Davis Schools Foundation and their drive to stave off teacher layoffs. They have suggested that donor fatigue may be setting in.

That does not surprise me. I have very mixed feelings myself. Last year, I enthusiastically supported the movement to save 114 teaching positions. The community came together and raised $1.7 million. And then we went far further than that.

Just one year after approving Measure Q, a parcel tax, we approved Measure W. Because of Measure W, the district has an additional $2.4 million that would have been enough were it not for the state’s budget quagmire.

In the process of supporting Measure W however, I vowed that this would be all I asked the community to give. Some in the community were understandably reluctant to give even that. But come election time, the community came through and gave an additional $2.4 million. As far as I am concerned, the community has done its job, it has supported education. It has supported vital programs such as elementary school science, music, and art. It has supported a reduction in class sizes. It has supported the offering of a seventh period for some high school students. It has supported library services and counseling services.

The community has stepped up to the plate and supported education. If the rest of California were willing and able to do the same, we could reduce much of that 18,000 number.

The Sacramento Bee interviewed Alan Anderson, DSF President whom the Vanguard had on its radio show last year promoting the dollar-a-day effort.

“We’re going to have to do something in a short period of time again. We’re going to have to unveil (our campaign) and run like crazy.”

Moreover,

“The foundation will have to convince donors that their dollars will be put to good use. Anderson said he’s already heard from parents who are ready to give again, and others who say they can’t do it because of financial problems.”

However it is not just the economy, this year is going to be a tougher sell as Mr. Anderson acknowledges:

“It’s not just the economy. No one wants to be in a repeat situation.

Board President Gina Daleiden is also skeptical about a new fundraising effort after what we did last year and believing that our problems were mostly solved.

“I don’t think we can expect a massive fundraising effort on the scale we had last year.”

For those concerned that the community will be asked to help balance the budget again, read what Superintendent James Hammond said. He was listening loud and clear last fall.

“We can’t keep coming to the community to balance our budget problems year after year. We have to take ownership of our fiscal position and create a solvent budget that preserves programs for the children.”

From my standpoint, the community has already stepped up. They stepped up in 2007 with the passage of Measure Q. They stepped up last spring with $1.7 million in the dollar-a-day campaign. And they stepped up again this fall by approving an additional $120 parcel tax on top of the $200 for Measure Q.

What I would like to see is the teachers step up and support our community by making it possible that we do not have to cut education programs this year. Yes we are asking the teachers to sacrifice. But many in this community have sacrificed themselves to enable Davis to retain all of its teachers last year.

We are in a crisis in education in this state. We all need to join together and get through this. $11 billion in cuts to education is unacceptable. That is money we are stealing from our future generations. That needs to stop. There is a reason the voters approved Proposition 98.

I was willing to support the budget because things would get so much worse without its passage. But the bigger issue is enough is enough. We need to get control of spending that is out of control such as on imprisoning non-violent offenders and clogging out court system with such cases.

That is just the beginning. We cannot longer borrow from our future to finance the present and the past.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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72 thoughts on “Pink Friday Approaches with a Statewide Protest Against Pink Slips”

  1. Confused

    The past three Davis schools-realted columns continually ask teachers to sacrifice. Your argument is that Davis has already given Measure Q, Measure W, and the SOS contribution. But aren’t the majority of Davis teachers also Davis community members who gave the same thing? So essentially you have been pushing for one portion of the population to take an additional hit for the benefit of the students. I truly do not see how this is fair or makes sense. You get what you pay for. Pay teachers even less than they already get, and start expecting to receive less in the quality you receive. Think carefully about this. Why do teachers have to give up their salary to teach the community’s children? I have been reading the long long long debates and arguments on the other threads and I am surprised that so many people believe that teachers should have to give up their pay to teach the children of Davis: that it’s their duty in order to preserve their education.

    Here’s an idea regarding SHARED responsibilty. Since everyone agrees that this is a financial mess and there is NO GOOD solution, what about a shared plan of cost? Every teacher gives up 1.5 percent of their salary and every family gives 1.5 percent (on lowest step of the teacher’s pay scale) for each child they have enrolled?

    Isn’t that a better shared role than asking teachers to shoulder the financial burden? Each school board member should also donate 1.5 percent of THEIR salary and all administrators (principal, vps, district office) should step foward with 5-10 percent of their salary.

    We’re all in this together, right?

  2. Thomas

    Not a bad idea! But I am sure it will get torn apart. What about teachers who have kids in the district? Would there be some sort of exemption or reduction there? Maybe that no family would pay more than 1.5 or 2 percent?

    This does seem like a shared burden plan that involves all the stakeholders.

  3. parent

    David,

    It is probably important to keep an eye on the May state ballot propositions. If certain ones fail, then next year’s state budget falls apart and more cuts happen, including more cuts to education than have already been accounted for. I would like to get your early analysis on those propositions.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Parent:

    My preliminary comment is that if the ballot propositions fail (or if the revenues are worse than expected) we have to do February all over again in terms of the budget.

    I’ll have a full analysis when it’s clear that the ballot measures are finalized.

    One of the key points is Prop 1A which caps spending in exchange for lengthening the tax increases. So those concerned that there was no accountability for the budget in terms of spending caps, that is not correct.

  5. Mike Hart

    Parents with children in the school system are responsible for filling the gap. I have kids in the system, I plan to write more checks.

    That being said, if cuts must be made, the union needs to get out of the way and allow administrators more flexibility in firing teachers than arbitrary seniority-based systems. I am quite confident that no impact at all would be felt from this round of layoffs if administrators could eliminate folks who don’t pull their weight. And yes, they do exist and anyone who is involved with the school system knows this.

  6. Anon

    “We have had a long and lengthy discussion of the prospect of teachers taking paycuts in Davis. Across the state, the California Teachers Association has given orders to local teachers unions not to take paycuts even if it means saving the jobs of teachers. While I believe that to be a mistake, I also think we can get too hung up on that.”

    That is the point, the very point. The majority of teachers are not willing to take a pay cut to save the jobs of their fellow teachers. Very simple. So I have to assume the teachers do not feel these pink-slipped teachers are essential to our educational system. The Davis teachers are commenting there is collosal waste at DHS – that program cuts need to be instituted. There is “pork” in them thar schools. That is the feeling of these insiders who work at our schools. In essence, the position of Davis teachers is that program cuts is a better way to go than a pay cut. Frankly, it is their decision to make at this point – whether the public agrees or disagrees w it. The public is tapped out financially.

    However, for every teacher laid off, that is one family that cannot make their mortgage payment. Expect to see more foreclosures, more businesses going belly up, the economy tanking. No jobs, no economic recovery. I don’t have the answers, and I don’t want to make judgments. It is what it is. Teachers will have to take responsibilty for their actions – end of discussion.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Anon:

    “The majority of teachers are not willing to take a pay cut to save the jobs of their fellow teachers. Very simple. So I have to assume the teachers do not feel these pink-slipped teachers are essential to our educational system.”

    I think it’s far more complicated than that. Let me put it this way, without external pressure from the leadership of the statewide CTA, I’m not sure that this would be their preferred alternative.

  8. Concerned about teachers

    if cuts must be made, the union needs to get out of the way and allow administrators more flexibility in firing teachers than arbitrary seniority-based systems.

    Sounds like a reasonable idea, but realistically that would never happen so I do not think that is worth dicussing

  9. Don Shor

    “The majority of teachers are not willing to take a pay cut to save the jobs of their fellow teachers.”

    We don’t know that. The DTA hasn’t voted on the proposal.

  10. Rich

    [i]”Across the state, the California Teachers Association has given orders to local teachers unions not to take paycuts even if it means saving the jobs of teachers.”[/i]

    Last week I saw a print copy of an email from David Sanchez from the CTA which essentially said the CTA would destroy any local chapter which broke ranks on this issue. The CTA has conceded that it currently* is an either/or situation. Either salaries are cut or low-tenured teachers are fired. The acceptable option for the CTA is fire teachers. The DTA is going along with its parent organization, and while Don is right that the Davis teachers have not voted, I know of no reason to think that a majority here will break ranks.

    * That email presumed that California is going to vote to increase income taxes even higher — we already, by FAR, have the highest rates in the country — to fund more money for K-12. Thus, according to the CTA, when that passes, all the fired teachers will be rehired with the new money.

  11. Mike Hart

    People generally get what they deserve…

    Teachers unions take everything off the table for discussions.

    Thousands of hard-working, competent teaches will be fired as a result. They won’t talk about letting the worst teachers go, the ones who drag down the whole system. Nope, they want to let the new ones go first. They won’t talk about any kind of cost cutting that would allow more teachers to stay, no, they want to issue unfunded ultimatums so thousands of new teachers go first…

    I think the Unions are the problem, not the budget.

  12. Concerned about teachers

    Arnold tried to reign in the union and got shot down.
    The CTA is setting itself up for failure this time. Voters will not go for a tax increase.

  13. wdf

    [i]”The majority of teachers are not willing to take a pay cut to save the jobs of their fellow teachers.”

    We don’t know that. The DTA hasn’t voted on the proposal.
    [/i]

    The DTA was supposed to have polled their members last week on the issue. I suspect that the results are already known, and that the consensus is probably not to take paycuts. Although it’s not a final position, it would represent a general view of the teachers.

    With respect to anon 8:30 comments that the teachers think there’s pork and excessive waste, etc., that assumes all teachers think alike and probably overgeneralizes. There are real and very personal economic issues in play as well, and that affects teachers and families to one level or another.

    This week represents the end of one phase of the budget process — general agreement on how the district proposes to balance the budget, and issuing pink slips. The rest of the budget process continues until June 30.

  14. Rich

    [i]”I think the Unions are the problem, not the budget.”[/i]

    While I don’t agree with the position of the CTA or the DTA, I don’t think either one is “the problem.” Each is doing what it thinks is best for its members. That is what unions are supposed to do. They are like attorneys for guilty clients. They are not fighting for the general interest. They are a special interest fighting for themselves, just as farmers are a special interest or real estate developers are a special interest. In each case, sometimes their special interest and the general interest coincide. Much of the time, they conflict.

    I think the real problem is that for ideological reasons, people on the left (including most elected Democrats) tend to believe that what benefits unions is the general interest, even though most of the time that is not true. (The same thing happens with others, usully Republicans, who mistakenly conflate specific business interests with the general interest.) When we elect people who think, “what’s good for the unions is good for us as a whole,” the general interest is not well served.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    The budget is clearly THE huge problem. Whatever portions of what I disagree with in terms of the unions, they are not the problem. They just aren’t contributing enough to the solution of this particular problem.

  16. Mike Hart

    David- I disagree about the budget being a problem. It is like looking at a fat person who blames their hunger on not enough food… The real problem is the years of piling on the deep-fried twinkies so they now “need” 10,000 calories a day.

    We have a great state, plenty of revenue and more than adequate taxation to cover reasonable costs. We simply have an aversion to diets.

    Time to get off the twinkies and lose some weight.

    Sadly, the unions hear we need to lose 20 pounds and they suggest cutting off a limb rather than sweating off some fat.

    Unions are the problem.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    Mike:

    I’m not following you. They are cutting $11 billion from a budget that was already in the bottom half of the country in terms of per pupil spending. Locally they are cutting $3 million from the budget. That is a budget problem.

  18. another district

    I was teaching recently about skin cancer. Later I found out that one of my students had a melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, that he got checked out because of my lesson. I saved the kids life. I didn’t bother to mention it to my boss although I did tell my wife about it. Yet I am sure there are those who would like to see me leave teaching. So you see Mike Hart its not so cut and dried as you think. Another teacher who might be more popular might not have covered skin cancer, something that while important, is not directly stated in state standards for biology and probably doesn’t show up on standardized tests.

    While I appreciate your willingness to step up and pay your part your attack on teachers, who, for whatever reason don’t meet your criteria is offensive.

    You all need to remember the state has cut the budget demanding budget cuts, not the teachers or their union. If the state wants cuts why is it wrong for the teachers to simply say let the chips fall where they may. Maybe that is the shock that California needs. It sucks for the kids and the teachers too but the teachers didn’t create the crisis and they should not be asked to shoulder a disproportionate part of the burden.

  19. Mike Hart

    The problem is that union seniority policies keep school administrators from having any real ability to eliminate specific teachers who may not be pulling their weight. Seniority is the rule in schools and the unions are 100% responsible for this policy. It means that you have to hire more teachers than necessary to get the job done and whenever you try to cut the budget, you keep the fat, but eliminate good teachers.

    Think about it in Davis, 40 teachers are not that many if the administrators could eliminate specific teachers who are inadequate. Oh god, I am sure I am about to get a response from some teacher saying that every teacher in Davis is above average… sigh, it doesn’t work that way.

    Spending per pupil is a meaningless measure. Many inner city private schools spend far less per pupil and get far better results. The Teachers Unions are horrified by this kind of thinking as it reduces the size of their feeding trough.

    Unions are the problem.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Mike:

    Actually you really need to look at the list of cuts, it’s very specific. And has little to do with seniority or the union. Part of it, is strictly class size reduction. Within that you are correct, there will be seniority.

    The other two-thirds are specific program cuts and that will largely and completely depend on the teachers involved.

    I respect your view, but you would do best to better inform yourself on this issue. You are allowing your biases to get in the way of facts.

  21. another district

    Why do those innercity schools succeed with less? For the same reason Davis schools succeed, parental involvement. It has little to do with the dynamism of the teachers. I saw this thing on the Charter school Andre Agassi started in the poorest part of Las Vegas. He claimed that his model could be replicated anywhere so I watched and it turned out one of the requirements was parent involvement. Fabulous I thought but what about the kids who don’t have parents or have parents who aren’t for whatever reason involved. Anyway, before I get off track too far, my point is that there are nuances that you miss. If you want to attack tenure and seniority, procedures that have been around for most of the last 100 years, offer something more constructive than everyone should be at will and seek those changes when things are calm not right before the ax falls when it just seems shrill.

  22. Concerned about teachers

    Many inner city private schools spend far less per pupil and get far better results.

    Davis schools get very good results and I think the spending per child is below the state average. Considering the results (test scores. for example) I have to assume the teachers are doing a good job.

    I agree there are union issues, but if fixes are to be made the change will take years. The immediate concern is lack of money and what to do about it now.

  23. wdf

    With respect to comments by another district, 11:56 AM:

    It will be interesting to see how Da Vinci continues to develop compared to DHS. It will be a charter school next fall. They have long been able to limit who is accepted into the program, whereas DHS accepts everyone.

    It might be a way that you could get your child in with a group of more highly motivated students. So then Da Vinci could start looking really good compared to DHS, and we might think it is all because of a “superior” charter school model.

  24. I appreciate Teachers

    Sorry Mike Hart, but I have to agree to disagree wtih you. Unions are NOT the problem. Greedy coorporations and greedy managers or CEOs like the ones in the banking industry are the problem. We find the same thing (greed amongst the school administrators) in education.

    Unions advocate for the forty hour work week, good working conditions, sick leave, holidays, FMLA as provided for the first time under former President Clinton, etc. Without the advocacy of unions fighting for better working conditions and rights for their members employees would be working for slum bosses they way they do in many non-unionized states.

    I will say that some unions can be greedy; however, teaching is one of the most underpaid professions I have ever seen. They work hard, they are dedicated, they have to often buy their own supplies, and work long, long, long hours and they are some of the first people to be given pink slips when the economy is tight. We then wonder why our children suffer.

  25. Barbara

    I think there a few separate issues here. Good teachers versus bad teachers and how seniority plays a role is one issue.

    How teachers contribute is another issue. I think it’s important to note that our teachers pay for healthcare what people normally pay for COBRA payments. I know one teacher – a single mom of 4 who pays $900/mo. for her district healthcare plan. Many of our teachers live in our community and as someone else noted, a great majority of them donated to Davis Schools Foundation and as homeowners pay for W and Q. In addition, I read on a separate blog on this site that there is something going on with their Cost of Living adjustments. So, to say that it’s time for teachers to pony up disregards what they’ve already done as Davis citizens and what they put up with as school teachers (low pay, bad benefits).

    I think the problem is the budget. If you look at other large states like ours, the per-pupil spending is almost double what California spends. Another point is that many longtime teachers have been digging into their own pockets for supplies and books since 1978 when Prop 13 passed. For those teachers who have been living with reduced education funding for over 30 years, they must feel that you can’t take blood from a stone as the saying goes.

    It’s a very sad situation all around.

  26. wdf

    Another point is that many longtime teachers have been digging into their own pockets for supplies and books since 1978 when Prop 13 passed. For those teachers who have been living with reduced education funding for over 30 years, they must feel that you can’t take blood from a stone as the saying goes.

    I hope that’s not as much the case in Davis. I’ve seen this comment a couple of times before, and it may need to be clarified. I understand that there is a certain allocation from Measure Q money so that teachers have money from the district for classroom supplies. Do teachers in DJUSD get that allocation?

  27. Rich

    [i]”Without the advocacy of unions fighting for better working conditions and rights for their members employees would be working for slum bosses the way they do in many non-unionized states.”[/i]

    You mean slum-like conditions in Japan, where they have never had strong unions and worker compensation is higher than it is in countries with the strongest unions? Or are you refering to the most highly unionized countries, such as Argentina, where since unions gained political power in the 1950s, the Argentine economy fell from one of the strongest in the world to 3rd World status?

    Speaking of union trouble… Ford Motors reached a deal today with the UAW, which just might save our only major car company that is not insolvent: [url]http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D96QNF0O2.htm[/url]

  28. Rich

    [i]I think the problem is the budget. If you look at other large states like ours, the per-pupil spending is almost double what California spends.[/i]

    This is simply not true. Here is where you can find all the numbers for the states broken down. Some are as recent as 2008; some a little older:

    [i]http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66[/i]

    In per-pupil spending K-12, California is right in the middle, higher than states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Texas; behind states (with declining student populations) like New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

    Largely because our class-sizes are higher, California has the highest teacher salaries of any state (though I’m not sure if that includes D.C.).

    The District of Columbia, with bar none the worst performing schools in the country, spends the most money per pupil. Utah spends the least and has among the very highest test scores.

  29. wdf

    The District of Columbia, with bar none the worst performing schools in the country, spends the most money per pupil. Utah spends the least and has among the very highest test scores.

    Some good points, but I would also suggest comparing those performance measures with affluence.

    DC is probably not as well off economically as Utah, but it (DC school system) is an embarrassment, given all the money spent there. Michelle Rhee, the new Superintendent of DC schools has been getting a lot of attention to see if she will turn things around. I thought I saw somewhere that she’s supposed to speak in Sacramento. I understand she has connections to Kevin Johnson through his schools. Don’t know when that date is/was.

  30. Rich

    [i]”DC is probably not as well off economically as Utah.”[/i]

    They are actually right about the same, according to Wikipedia. However, I would guess that DC has a larger percentage who are poor, and its public schools (because they suck) don’t include people who can afford private education (like the Obamas). So your point basically holds.

    My presumption is that the income of the family (as long as they can afford proper nutrition and shelter) is by itself mostly irrelevant to scholastic performance. What counts is the culture of the family. When you look at the UC Davis student body — with Asian-Americans overrepresented by 400% — you can see that. Asians (meaning people whose heritage is from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.) who are from poor families are more likely to make it to UC than a child from a non-Asiatic middle-class household. I think that’s because Asian cultures (with a couple of exceptions) tend to push their kids to perform in school. The result is great students. It’s the same for other minority cultures with similar ethics. Arab-Americans, for example, have far better than average academic performance, regardless of family income.

    ————–

    Median Household Income by State: 2007 [1]

    1. Maryland – $68,080
    2. New Jersey – $67,035
    3. Connecticut – $65,967
    4. Alaska – $64,333
    5. Hawaii – $63,746
    6. New Hampshire – $62,369
    7. Massachusetts – $62,365
    8. California – $59,948
    9. Virginia – $59,562
    10. Minnesota – $55,082
    11. Washington – $55,591
    12. Colorado – $55,212
    [b]13. Utah – $55,109 [/b]
    14. Nevada – $55,062
    15. Delaware – $54,610
    [b]16. District of Columbia – $54,317 [/b]

    source: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_of_the_United_States_by_income[/url]

  31. Don Shor

    Income inequality in DC is higher than most other metropolitan areas. There is a very large concentration of very poor people, and a fair number of very wealthy people, in the DC metro area.

    ” * The average income of the top fifth of the District’s households —$186,830 in 1999 — was 31 times higher than the average income of the bottom fifth of households —$6,126.

    * The gap between high-income and low-income households in the District is as wide or wider than in any of the central cities of the nation’s 40 largest metro areas. Two other cities — Atlanta and Miami — have similar income gaps, but in most cities the gap is much smaller than in DC. In the typical large city, the income of the top fifth of households is 18 times the income of the bottom fifth.”

    [url]http://dcfpi.org/?p=57[/url]

  32. Another DJUSD Teacher

    To clarify some of the points asked about money for the classrooms…yes teachers do pay a lot of money out of pocket to get supplies that are EXPECTED by this community. Speaking for myself, I spend about $2000 a school year….about $200 a month on extras….such as paper, pencils, art supplies, reading books, math manipulatives. We get about $400 per classroom to pay for our photocopies, paper for photocopies (because the district doesn’t get us the work books that we need), and for reading books. This year, my class budget had to be spent by the end of January before the district “takes the money away”….so as of now, if I need anything for my classroom, I have to pay for it out of my wallet. I do write and get a small grant from the Davis Arts Foundation (which I’m very appreciative), but it was only $100. You can’t buy a lot of art supplies for $100, but any thing helps.

    I have to say if this 4% cut comes (and by the way the BOE is cutting our pay by cutting teacher work days….) the first thing that goes is this extra money that I have been putting into my classroom. I also have to pay over $600 a month for my children to be on my health care (does not include mine at about $170/month) and that is for basic health care.

    And yes, I do live in town, I gave to the $1.00-a day campaign, I pay for Measure Q and W….and now some in this town (especially the administrator of this blog) wants me to pay to teach in this town…..

  33. wdf

    Another DJUSD teacher says:

    [quote]We get about $400 per classroom to pay for our photocopies, paper for photocopies (because the district doesn’t get us the work books that we need), and for reading books. This year, my class budget had to be spent by the end of January before the district “takes the money away”….so as of now, if I need anything for my classroom, I have to pay for it out of my wallet.[/quote]

    The following presentation —
    [url]http://www.djusd.net/district/committees/oversight/01-15-09_-_parceltax_rev010709_2__3_.pdf[/url]

    is a breakdown of reported Measure Q dollars. Page 9 reports that classroom supplies is budgeted at $170,635. I don’t know what that is suppose to breakdown to at an individual classroom level, but it is my understanding that you get something, there. If you think that something isn’t right, then please contact one of the parcel tax oversight committee members (maybe your DTA rep could help you with that one?) and staighten that out.

    If Measure Q dollars are in there, I’m surprised to hear that it had to be spent by January, because it shouldn’t be the kind of funds that could be cut or redirected anywhere else. If you find out anything on that, please share.

  34. wdf

    [quote](and by the way the BOE is cutting our pay by cutting teacher work days….)[/quote]

    I know that the school board was considering cutting work days earlier, a month or two ago, but I was sure that they dropped that. I will go back through board minutes to see if I can find where things stand.

  35. Another DJUSD teacher

    The district administration told our Principal that all funds had to be spend by January or they would take the money away. So that is what we did.

    We did get an increase last year….it was $300 per classroom in previous years. So if there is $170,000+ for classroom budgets, I don’t know how that is spent. I just know that at my elementary school we each received $400 at the beginning of the year. I bought basic supplies (paper, pencils, markers), art supplies (paint), curriculum enrichment and remediation materials, (both were math problem solving books) and added to my classroom literature books (I bought 5 new copies of a paper back books since that series of books were getting tattered and worn). And had a bit left over to pay for my photocopy expenses.

    As to the 4 work days, yes those are gone according my DTA rep. But being the profession that I am, I will still come in early to set up my classroom, pack it up for the summer, work on my report cards during the weekends (and that is what those days were for).

  36. wdf

    [quote]As to the 4 work days, yes those are gone according my DTA rep. But being the profession that I am, I will still come in early to set up my classroom, pack it up for the summer, work on my report cards during the weekends (and that is what those days were for).[/quote]

    I am sure that the number of workdays is a point that is negotiated by the DTA and DJUSD, much as salary issues (increases, cutbacks) are. If what your DTA rep said is correct, then the likely conclusion that could be drawn is that DTA is negotiating those days out of the contract.

  37. Barbara

    re: per pupil spending, I got my numbers from information put out by Measure W.

    $13,600 Greenwich CT
    $12,853 Fairfax VA
    $8,062 Davis

    Also, I once went to a school district finance forum, and I believe the panel had a figure for New York per-pupil spending was almost double that of California’s.

  38. another district

    I don’t think Barbara’s numbers include the catagoricals that are probably higher in California where Pete Wilson never wanted to give the teachers a dime so he made everything defined in catagoricals.

  39. another district

    If you want a real number for Davis divide the total budget by the number of students of course this is also an average that won’t account for things like special ed.

  40. wdf

    another district:

    [quote]If you want a real number for Davis divide the total budget by the number of students of course this is also an average that won’t account for things like special ed.
    [/quote]

    I went to the ed-data website, and they could only provide me with 2006-07 budget numbers. I suppose there’s a delay time. The total revenues shown for DJUSD at that site is $72M. That doesn’t include capital/bond expenses; rather the cost of operating the district. The district enrollment for that year (06-07) was 8,647. When I divide $72M by 8,647, I get a per student number $8,327. It doesn’t seem far off when making general comparisons with other states.

    Have I missed something? Is there money hiding somewhere that I didn’t catch?

  41. Susan

    In order of per pupil spending:
    $13,600.32 Greenwich CT
    $12,853.14 Fairfax VA
    $8,062.58 Davis, CA
    $3,129.76 Orem, UT
    $24.09 Shanghai, CH

    In order of test scores:
    $24.09 Shanghai, CH
    $3,129.76 Provo, UT
    $13,600.32 Greenwich CT
    $8,062.58 Davis, CA
    $12,853.14 Fairfax VA

  42. wdf

    Michelle Rhee, Superintendent of DC schools, spoke in Sacramento today at an education summit hosted by Mayor Kevin Johnson:

    [url]http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=702626[/url]

    She was also interviewed on KXPR’s local affairs show, Insights, this afternoon (Monday, 3/9), audio archive at:

    [url]http://www.capradio.org/programs/insight/[/url]

  43. Concerned about teachers

    Have I missed something?

    Yes – when looking for expenses start by looking at Expenses, not Revenue, but you are not far off.

    General Fund expenses were 67,532K in 06/07
    Students 8376 (Avg daily attendance)
    So the cost per student was $8062 and that compares with $8285 for the statewide average for unified school districts. I also notice a $923K transfer to the county that was not included in the figure above – looks like that is an expense that should be factored into the cost per student but the line was not included for statewide averages.

    I didn’t realize teachers had to pay so much for medical insurance for their families. Based on the comments from teachers, it sounds like the teachers themselves are covered by benefits but the children/spouse are not. I bet 80-90% of family medical insurance is covered by the UCD program. When looking at salaries you need to consider that extra burden. It seems the community does not value a teacher’s family – preferring to have single teachers.

  44. wdf

    It seems the community does not value a teacher’s family – preferring to have single teachers.

    I was told once that at one time so many Davis teachers were married to UCD employees or employees connected with the state, who already had a decent health care plan, that at the time it made some sense not to offer as much in the way of health benefits. Times have changed, and perhaps the health care hasn’t kept up with those changes.

  45. David M. Greenwald

    This is clearly something that the district and board need to address, but right now they cannot. They don’t have the resources for it. It’s why they went ahead with the two-percent health care increase for the rest of the employees this year, even though they could not really afford it.

  46. Rich

    [i]”It seems the community does not value a teacher’s family – preferring to have single teachers.”[/i]

    I don’t mean for this to come across as cold-hearted, but it is [b]not the community’s responsibility[/b] to “value a teacher’s family.” I believe the sole community value is “a first-rate education for children in the K-12 grades,” including those things which reinforce that value.

    General teacher welfare and a first-rate education may or may not be in conflict — most likely not. Of course we want and desire great teachers in order to have “a first-rate education for children in the K-12 grades.” If, given our limited resources, the best way to attract and keep great teachers (and at the same time to dissuade and dismiss crummy teachers) is to provide a benefits package which “values a teacher’s family,” then that is what we ought to do.

    However, our motivation as a community of taxpayers shouldn’t be to “value a teacher’s family.” (There is nothing wrong with the DTA or its members valuing that.) It is when we, the general public and our reps on the Board, lose sight of the point of a public education system and treat it as a welfare program for school employees, regardless of how much or how little each employee adds to the education of kids, that public education suffers.

  47. Concerned about teachers

    “However, our motivation as a community of taxpayers shouldn’t be to “value a teacher’s family””

    Ok then if I follow that logic, the family medical programs offered by UCD are a waste of taxpayers dollars and having then has caused public education to suffer. That should go over well in Davis.

    I only brought up the topic to point out an added burden on teachers.

  48. wdf

    Interesting perspectives on Davis schools from Bob Dunning in today’s (3/10) Enterprise:

    [quote]It’s unfortunate that the plan to modernize Halden Field has been a divisive one and has called into question the value of athletics in the overall education of our kids. It’s also unfortunate that many have regarded this aging facility simply as a football stadium and not as the multi-use venue it has been for many, many years.

    I’m sure if he were alive today, the man for whom the field is named, Dewey Halden – who was both a coach and an educator – would be shaking his head at the level of misunderstanding.

    For, once we get into arguing the comparative values of the many programs offered in our public schools, we all lose. Is math more important than science? The Jazz Choir more important than the Mads? Softball more important than wrestling? A library more important than a performing arts center? The comparisons are endless. And meaningless.
    [/quote]

  49. Rich

    [i]”Ok then if I follow that logic, the family medical programs offered by UCD are a waste of taxpayers dollars and having then has caused public education to suffer.”[/i]

    Your statement doesn’t logically follow what I said. I hope that was simply intentional [i] in order to advance your political cause[/i] and not because you lack the ability to reason.

    If “the family medical programs offered by UCD” attract and help maintain faculty (or other personnel) who are needed “to provide a low-cost, yet high quality university education to California’s elite students,*” then they are in no way “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

    Unfortunately, the University of California is a great example, today, of a public institution which has completely lost sight of its mission. Because the Regents, the various chancellors, the UC presidents, our legislators and others in power have pursued agendas that ignored the mission statement of UC, it is today terribly expensive and in some cases the students it is serving are not our elites. Just 20 years ago, a four-year UCD veterinary education, not counting the cost of room and board, was had for under $10,000. Today, I am not sure of the exact total, but if I recall correctly, it is in the neighborhood of $160,000 plus room and board. Undergraduate education has likewise skyrocketted in price, as the powers that be have catered to the interests of administrators, high-paid faculty and so on, all the while losing sight of why the UC exists.

  50. Concerned about teachers

    “Undergraduate education has likewise skyrocketted in price, as the powers that be have catered to the interests of administrators, high-paid faculty and so on, all the while losing sight of why the UC exists”

    You may be partially right, but don’t confuse fees and costs. It always cost a lot to train a veterinarian, but in the past most of the costs were not passed along to the students in the form of fees. As State funding has declined, the UC campuses have removed subsidies to the people going to professional schools. The higher fees charged to the students have more to to with the elimination of subsidies than the rising costs of teaching.
    I appreciate the high fees being charged by the UC system, since I am in my 12th year of payments (3 students). I am looking forward to the end of that outflow – started at $1,300/qtr and the bill I paid last night was $2,800.

    Oh and by the way, most large employers do subsidize family medical insurance because it is the right thing to do. Sure it hurts the bottom line but it is one of those things that is expected from socially responsible businesses. You may not understand that but I figure the parents of the 8400 students attending Davis schools do.

  51. Rich

    [i]”As State funding has declined, the UC campuses have removed subsidies to the people going to professional schools. The higher fees charged to the students have more to to with the elimination of subsidies than the rising costs of teaching.”[/i]

    I’ll bet you a cup of coffee, if you’re interested, that the subsidy per student paid by taxpayers in inflation adjusted dollars is higher in 2008-09 at UC than it was in 1978-79, thirty years earlier, when fees were essentially zero. You have to keep in mind that in those days, UC employees* (from the bottom to the top) made FAR LESS in inflation adjusted salaries, had benefits worth a small percentage of the benefits awarded now, and importantly, the overhead of administrators and others who do nothing to support the university’s mission has ballooned a hundred fold.

    * I studied this a few years ago for a column I wrote on the inflation of executive pay in public employment in Davis, and found that Chancellor James Meyer’s salary was about 1/3 as much as Larry Vanderhoef’s, and the cost of Vanderhoef’s non-salary benefits (not including his house) were twice what Meyer’s entire salary was. Note that in nominal dollar’s, the differences were far more extreme. When I say LV made 3x the salary of JM, that accounts for inflation. … The inflation in salaries in the City, County and school district, adjusted for inflation, were all in the 2x to 3x range.

  52. wdf

    Rich,

    I think you would find the Michelle Rhee (Washington, DC chancellor of public schools) KXPR interview (link above) of relevance to some of your views. She supports teacher pay based on merit and explains how she plans to implement it.

  53. Ph.Diva

    “Parents with children in the school system are responsible for filling the gap. I have kids in the system, I plan to write more checks.”

    This is becoming as tired a statement as those made by the Salad-Shouter.

    Covering this shortfall is not only the parents’ responsibility. A well-educated populace is of benefit to everyone–not just those who have children.

  54. Ph.Diva

    “[…] and in some cases the students it is serving are not our elites.”

    So, the UC system should exist only to educate “elites?” The mission statement as expressed on the UC website nowhere mentions those institutions existing only for the “elites.”

  55. Rich Rifkin

    [i]So, the UC system should exist only to educate “elites?” The mission statement as expressed on the UC website nowhere mentions those institutions existing only for the “elites.”[/i]

    Yes, that is what UC was designed to do. It is not supposed to be a college system for people of average or slightly above average abilities. It was designed to educate our top 5-10%. After WWII, and the need for more college graduates, that was expanded to serve the top 12%.

    The Cal State system was designed to offer a low-priced university education to students who were ready for college, but not “elites.”

    You might not agree that that is what the UC mission [i]should be,[/i] but serving our elites (who could not afford Stanford or an Ivy League-type school) is what UC was set up for — so they would be prepared to become the next generation of leaders in engineering, economics, academia, law, medicine, agronomy and so on.

    For the most part, UC still does mostly cater to elite students. (I think the typical entering Freshman, today, is much better than when I entered UC in 1982.) However, when a student gets in because he is a great baseball player or for other reasons beyond scholarly talents, that does not serve the mission.

    But, to repeat, the principal (and principle) problem is, in my opinion, the loss of perspective on the expense ledger, which has caused a UC education to be very expensive. That is not due to the legislature underfunding the university system. It has been the result of the UC campuses catering to special interest groups (primarily UC employees who don’t teach undergrads) at the expense of the general interest of providing a high-quality and low-cost university education.

  56. Rich Rifkin

    After my last post, I found a news story on-line (by accident), which notes that UC has a new plan to make its enrollment less “elite” moving forward. (It appears to be inspired by rising Latino political power — at the expense of Asians.) Here’s the story: [url]http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_11713530[/url]

    This is a quote from that story:

    [i]A controversial new policy at the University of California will open the country’s premier public university system to a wider array of applicants, creating campuses that could be less Asian and more white, with a few more African-Americans and a modest climb in the number of Latinos.

    In overhauling its eligibility requirements, UC has eliminated SAT subject tests and agreed to consider lower-ranking students. The plan would broaden the socioeconomic and racial diversity of the applicant pool and offer admissions offices more flexibility in creating a freshman class.

    UC leaders have been distressed over the widening achievement gap on their campuses. The impact of the new policy, according to UC’s preliminary analysis, would be to cast a wider net among promising low-income applicants.

    While not guaranteeing admission, it would at least give more students the benefit of a closer look of both academic and nonacademic criteria such as leadership, life experiences and ability to handle adversity. Each UC campus will continue to make its own acceptance decisions.

    It’s a consequential shift for the nation’s premiere public education system, reflecting its effort to balance competing pressures: Should it keep picking the best students statewide? Or as a public education system, should it better represent the state population?

    “In my mind, it is a clear departure from the Master Plan, adopted 50 years ago,” said Steve Boilard of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, which assessed the new policy. [b]”It will really change access to the state’s public research universities.”[/b]

    The new policy applies to the class that’s entering college in fall 2012, who are now high school freshmen. It:

    * Eliminates “subject tests,” called SAT IIs, in which students are tested on classroom material such as chemistry, biology or English literature. UC is the only public university in the country to require students to take two such tests. The SAT I, which measures general aptitude in math, reading and writing, is still required.

    * Significantly increases the number of students eligible to apply from each high school — from the top 4 percent to the top 9 percent, as long as their GPA is at least a “weighted” 3.0, up from current “unweighted” minimum of 2.8. All candidates are promised a review of their resumes and essays.[/i]

    CONTINUED…

  57. Rich Rifkin

    [i]* Reduces the number of students who are guaranteed UC admission — from 12.5 percent to 9 percent of the state’s high school graduates.

    “We are a public university,” UC President Mark Yudof said. “We have to be a place that provides opportunity and socioeconomic mobility.”

    [b]But by moving UC away from its original goals — by promising to review applications of the top 9 percent of graduates from every high school, rather than guaranteeing admission to the top 12.5 percent of students in the entire state — critics fear the institution could weaken its academic rigor.[/b]

    “It falsely suggests that the top 9 percent of students at the worst school in the state are academically equivalent to the top 9 percent of students at the best school,” said Jay Schalin with the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education in Raleigh, N.C.

    Signed into law by Gov. Pat Brown in 1960s, [b]California’s college master plan designated UC as its research institution — and the training ground for the state’s future doctors, lawyers, economists and other professionals.[/b] Students who weren’t as academically strong were steered to the California State University or community colleges.

    But that approach has given UC a lopsided population because strong students at poor high schools, who are overwhelmingly Latino and African-American, failed to qualify. And although Asians account for only 12 percent of the state’s population, they represent 37 percent of UC admissions.

    [b]A preliminary analysis of the new changes predicts that the number of Asians admitted to UC could decrease[/b] because Asians tend to do well on the “subject tests,” which are no longer part of the application.

    But the number of African-Americans, Latinos and whites could increase. African-Americans and Latinos have been less likely to take “subject tests,” because the tests are expensive and students didn’t recognize their importance until too late. And affluent whites, who are more likely to apply to private schools that don’t require “subject tests,” often skip them — cutting off their access to UC if they change their minds.

    African-Americans and Latinos could also benefit from the expanded class-ranking criteria, because top students from troubled schools such as San Jose’s Lick High School could be UC eligible.

    The intent is not to “racially engineer” the student body, said UC-Davis professor Mark Rashid, who headed the faculty committee that created the new admissions policy.

    “It is a legitimate hope to increase access of those who have been [b]disenfranchised,”[/b] he said. “But did we engineer it to achieve that? No.”[/i]

    Mr. Rashid thinks Latinos are “disenfranchised”? Hah! This appears to be the result a the majority of voters (Latinos and others) using the franchise to harm a minority (Asians).

  58. wdf

    From the previous DJUSD article, Julian says,

    “And why are there two directors for BTSA, the program for beginning teachers?”

    Because DJUSD oversees the BTSA program for several other school districts in Yolo and Solano Counties. The district gets money to run that specific program. You could probably find a way to get rid of one BTSA rep, but then you wouldn’t get state funding to divert somewhere else.

  59. wdf

    Elk Grove USD, spending into reserves, preserving class size reduction, classified hit hard with layoff notices:

    [url]http://egcitizen.com/articles/2009/03/12/feature_story/doc49b6f5c672604823629484.txt[/url]

  60. wdf

    Stockton USD, closing school, layoff/reassignment notices to principals:

    [url]http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090311/A_NEWS/903110323[/url]

  61. wdf

    Revisiting an interesting op-ed piece:

    [quote]CHALLENGE THE “SCHOOLS SUCK” CROWD
    By Peter Schrag
    The Sacramento Bee

    As California approaches the “year of education” that won’t be, what education consultant John Mockler calls the “schools suck” industry continues to churn out information falling somewhere between distorted and flat wrong.

    Although California’s fiscal problems are likely to limit “reform” next year to a lot of low-cost stuff, it might still be nice to get the picture right.
    [/quote]
    To continue reading, go to source: [url]http://www.modbee.com/2094/story/146890.html[/url]

  62. Ph.Diva

    Rich:

    I wasn’t saying what -should- be the mission of the UCs (although my view on that will perhaps become apparent in a moment). I was, however, calling attention to UC’s own mission statement as posted on their website. And that statement nowhere mentions that they exist solely for the educating of elites. The student body (at least those with whom I have had copious experience) do not bear this out (at least in many cases).

    “For the most part, UC still does mostly cater to elite students. (I think the typical entering Freshman, today, is much better than when I entered UC in 1982.) However, when a student gets in because he is a great baseball player or for other reasons beyond scholarly talents, that does not serve the mission.”

    I disagree, and have grounds to do so, since I have taught at UC Davis for the past seven years (I’ve taught entering freshman for the past 10 years total, but the first three were spent in another state).

    Many of the students I have had experience with at UC Davis are probably not better than students entering in 1982. Rather, they are over-processed, over-packaged, and over-prepped by helicopter parents. Many are from affluent families who have the wherewithal to pay for SAT prep courses, and supplementary academic programs (Kumon? Cumon?) and so think that makes them more academically prepared–though in my experience this has not panned out.

    Give me a student who has perhaps a slightly lower SAT score, but who is honestly interested in learning over one of these slick, over-packaged, academic “products” any day. That student will (in my experience) make a better future leader in any of the areas you mentioned, than a student who just wants to pass the hurdles in any way necessary (in some cases via cheating). In my experience, this latter student is of the over-processed, not-truly-interested-in-learning clan.

    They have also been the unfortunate victims of the “self-esteem” movement of the past twenty years, and so have no real sense of where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

    Just in the past 10 years, I have noticed that students’ writing and critical thinking skills have gone down. They are becoming increasingly unable to engage with a sophisticated and lengthy piece of writing and get anything out of it more than the merely superficial. Their writing is moving more and more toward the “5-paragraph essay” model that most certainly does not represent “good” academic writing–or even that which barely passes muster for “university-level” writing. They are quite surprised when I have to unteach this, since this is all they have been taught (in most cases).

    Many of my students have been from Davis, and their skills and abilities in the area I teach are really no better than students from other school districts.

    I blame this on the state school system, and the unfortunate movement toward class time devoted to prepping for the slew of standardized tests required, and less class time devoted to actually teaching these students so that they learn something. These budget cuts will only make this worse.

  63. wdf

    Sacramento schools, pink Friday, Michelle Rhee:
    [url]http://www.sacbee.com/education/story/1696043.html[/url]

    California Teachers Association:
    [url]http://www.cta.org/home.aspx[/url]

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