Vote for Students or the Teachers Union this November

tuck-marshall
Marshall Tuck is challenging incumbent Tom Torlakson

By Jeff Boone

One of the most important California political races this November is the election of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  In one corner is the California Teachers Union (CTA)-supported Democrat incumbent Tom Torlakson.  In the other corner is another Democrat, Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive from Los Angeles.

Tuck is a political newcomer that gained some recent notoriety galvanizing support of a lawsuit by nine students that led to Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruling California’s teacher tenure and dismissal laws unconstitutional.  In the Vergara v. California case, Judge Treu said the negative student impacts from the current system of tenure “shocks the conscience.”

The basis of the lawsuit was that California teacher tenure rules unfairly harm our most vulnerable students. Judge Treu agreed.  So do many parents and students of California public schools.

But, backed by the powerful teachers union, the incumbent Torlakson asked Governor Brown to file an appeal. The governor, also proven friendly with the teachers unions, expectantly complied.

California schools rank next to last of all states in reading and math scores.  California schools have one of the highest drop-out rates of all states.  Improvements have been negligible since Torlakson was elected Superintendent… and much of it can be attributed to NCLB (the No Child Left Behind Act) which Torlakson opposes along with his teachers union backers.

Tuck is adamant that tenure causes a practical inability to fire bad teachers.  He cites his own experience running charter schools saddled with tenure requirements by the state, and statistics over the last ten years where only 91 teachers out of about 300,000 lost their jobs in California. Of those, only 19 have been dismissed for poor performance.

When challenged on his dismal record for making substantive education improvements and the student impact of teacher tenure, Torlakson cherry-picks some evidence of minor improvement with older students, and then echoes the standard establishment excuse that we don’t spend enough.  Even as our teacher union-backed governor increased state tax rates and raided the RDA cookie jar to send more money to education, Torlakson still demands more money as the only solution to California school’s terrible public school performance.

Alternatively, Tuck says that spending more will do little to nothing to improve California public K-12 education. He supports the Vergara ruling to abolish teacher tenure so that bad teachers can be directed to find more fitting careers, and good teachers can be better recognized and rewarded.

Tuck is a reformer. Torlakson backs the old education establishment.

It will be an interesting race, and it will indicate if California voters side with the welfare of our most vulnerable students, or will again side with the teachers union.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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39 Comments

    1. Matt Williams

      Greg, since my wife and I are going to have to vote for either Tuck or Torlakson, and want to be informed in that vote, can you explain the false premise and false choice you see in what Jeff Boone has written?  That will be very helpful to the two of us, and to all the voters out there who like us are not as up on the issues as you appear to be.  Thank you.

      Matt

       

       

      1. Frankly

        And when you read Torlakson’s bit, you will note this as the main focus and common theme.

        There’s no question that the financial emergency facing California’s schools represents the biggest roadblock in our path, made even more daunting by the recent failure to reach a bipartisan budget agreement . My top priority continues to be restoring and increasing California’s investments in education, and I pledge to redouble my efforts to engage every leader in this state in the urgent and critical task of once again providing our children with the resources they need . 

        The problem is that he is a financed puppet of the teachers union.  He cannot step out of line advocating anything that the union disagrees with.  And this is why any and all of his ideas will be connected to greater spending.

        So if you believe that spending more on California education will result in commensurate value to California students, go ahead and vote for Torlakson.

        What Jeff Boone wrote is not an attack piece, it illuminates the basic and fundamental choice: establishment or reformer.

        1. South of Davis

          Frankly wrote:

          > So if you believe that spending more on California education

          > will result in commensurate value to California students, go

          > ahead and vote for Torlakson.

          Maybe we need more money, I was just reading on SF Gate

          “A former Union City superintendent took home more than $600,000 last year”

          and

          “Palo Alto Unified School District hired Glenn “Max” McGee as its superintendent by offering a four-year contract with annual pay starting at $295,000 to work 224 days, a $1 million interest-free home loan, a $9,000-a-year car allowance, and $6,000-a-year for life insurance premiums. Palo Alto Unified serves 12,400 students.”

          http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Fired-school-leaders-get-big-payouts-5847735.php

           

           

        2. Gunrocik

          The highest paid Superintendent in the State was the only decent Superintendent we’ve had in recent memory:

          http://www.dailybulletin.com/social-affairs/20140725/ontario-montclair-schools-superintendent-james-hammond-made-492k

          Can’t say I blame him for going to a District with a less meddling Board — where he can actually focus on student outcomes instead of having to make sure he doesn’t impact Trustee outcomes for their next higher office.

          …and I will point out that the “higher office” syndrome isn’t just the School District — as the City Council just proved with the City Manager hire.

        3. wdf1

          Frankly:  The problem is that he is a financed puppet of the teachers union.  He cannot step out of line advocating anything that the union disagrees with.  And this is why any and all of his ideas will be connected to greater spending.

          So if you believe that spending more on California education will result in commensurate value to California students, go ahead and vote for Torlakson.

          What you and JB may be overlooking is that Tuck’s platform also calls for greater spending:

          We’ve got to find a way to make going into teaching more appealing to students who otherwise become doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs or executives. 
          ….
           I’ll join with legislators in the push to allocate more of our state budget to public education, so we can pay teachers more over time.
          source

        4. Frankly

          The difference is that Tuck wants more funding to support a pay for performance model where the consistently high performing teacher is making six figures.

          The difference is clear.  Tuck puts reforms at the top of the list, and funding simply as a function of the reforms.  Conversely, Tarlikson – like all teacher union-backed establishment candidates – puts funding at the top of the list and steers clear any reform that doesn’t require more union employees or more money going to employees.

          But both candidates are Democrats and there are going to be similarities in their ideas… especially spending more money.

          I am one that has no problem spending more money on education that promises returns commensurate with the added investment.

        5. wdf1

          Frankly:  The difference is that Tuck wants more funding to support a pay for performance model where the consistently high performing teacher is making six figures.

          And it is at this point where I want him to discuss his specific track record with Green Dot and his Partnership for LA Schools.  What policies did he follow at those ventures?  Did he follow a pay for performance model at any of his schools?  How did that work?  Did he pay out six-figure salaries to high-performing teachers?  Did he attract and keep experienced and high quality teachers?  Were they sustainable policies for the long term?  Are they policies that can be readily followed in many other districts?

           

      2. Greg Brucker

        Mr. Williams,
        I debated whether to respond, as I don’t see discussion of this piece as worth the time respective of what really needs to be discussed and dealt with in our schools. We have far greater and more important things to deal with in my opinion. But I will answer your question respectfully and give you the benefit of the doubt.

        The false choice presented is one of setting this up as either a vote for students, or a vote for teachers unions (and teachers), as if it is a simple black or white issue. It is not. Far from it. Mr. Boone’s premise is that if you support teachers unions (teachers), you don’t support students, because teachers unions (teachers) don’t care about students, and this vote comes down to students v. teachers unions (teachers). This is about the farthest thing from the truth. If this was true, not one teacher in Davis or Woodland would care about the students, because they are all union members and are a “union.”

         

        So:

        This is a completely false premise. It isn’t a real choice based on factually based ideas. It is a made up choice used to create an argument to push one’s agenda (in this case, anti-union and anti-teacher, a well known right wing and anti-govt conservative talking point) while aiming to control or guide the conversation in that direction. And in that, I think it needed to be stated; and in my mind, that was the end of it.

        Past that, I’m not going to get into a public debate and discussion here about the two State Sup. candidates or any of our school board candidates locally. I’d be more than happy to meet in person and chat about it all if that was what you were interested in. Just let me know.

         

        1. Matt Williams

          Greg, thank you for the reply.  It is very helpful to any reader who isn’t as knowledgeable about the situation as you are.

          The number of voters in Davis who do not have children in school almost surely exceeds the number of voters who do, and as such the concerns you have illuminated won’t be an active part of their thinking as they prepare to vote.  You have laid those concerns out very clearly.

        2. Barack Palin

          I’ve read the article twice and I didn’t get at all that it was “either a vote for students, or a vote for teachers unions (and teachers)” as Greg  Brucker has tried to define it.  To me the article is about do we elect a State Sup. who will keep teacher tenure in place or do we elect one who will open up an avenue that will help parents, students and principals get rid of bad teachers.

  1. Tia Will

    Jeff

    Your article focuses on only two main points. The issue of tenure and the issue of charter schools.  I see this as much more complicated.

    This is an issue on which I am conflicted. I do not like the status quo. I do not see charters as a panacea. I have not decided how to vote.

    I would like to see some more information to support your points. Of relevance to deciding what factors are contributory to California’s low performance besides teacher tenure would be a comparison with the top performing states of the ratio of charter schools to public schools in the high performing states, the rules regarding teacher tenure in the top performing states, the amount of funding per student in those top performing states, the ratio of children living below the poverty line in the top performers and the ratio of children from non -English speaking families. In addition, it would be important to see comparisons within the high performing states of children in the charter schools to those in the mainstream public schools.

     

  2. Jim Frame

    Some years ago while at a party I found myself in conversation with an attorney who specializes in school district matters.  His client list comprised both school districts and those challenging the districts.  I mentioned the deplorable case — that was still ongoing at the time after more than ten years, or possibly had just wrapped up — of a teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary whom the district “just couldn’t get rid of,” who once attempted suicide in her classroom after hours, and who had recently finished up the year with only 6 students in her class as a result of parent decisions to change schools rather than subject their kids to her bad moods and ineffective instruction.  The attorney chuckled and said, “If the Superintendent really wanted to get rid of her, he could have done so within six months of initiating the effort.  He just didn’t want to rock the boat.”  What this told me is not that tenure rules are unreasonable, or that the teacher union is too powerful, but rather that we need administrators who aren’t afraid to tackle problems head-on.

    I voted for Torlakson.  Not out of a powerful belief that he’s the best man for the job, but rather because Tuck’s blame-the-teachers approach and his charter school leanings smell like an attempt to gradually privatize education in California.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Jim wrote:

      > I voted for Torlakson.  Not out of a powerful belief that he’s the best man for

      > the job, but rather because Tuck’s blame-the-teachers approach and his

      > charter school leanings smell like an attempt to gradually privatize education

      > in California.

      Most people I know are voting for Torlakson since that is who the local teachers are telling them to vote for.  It is rare that a bad teacher is not quickly pushed out of Davis and schools (is the suicidal lady still at Chavez?) and set up at a school in a poor area (where the parents won’t complain) and the teacher can do little to educate the (mostly minority) kids until they get their pension and retire…

      1. Gunrocik

        “It is rare that a bad teacher is not quickly pushed out of Davis and schools…”

        I’m going to restrain myself from using all caps.  But the statement above is False, False, False, False!

        After nearly a decade of kids in Davis schools, I couldn’t take it anymore.  There are certainly plenty of good, dedicated, teachers — but the District is absolutely unwilling to deal with teachers who have stopped teaching, can’t teach, and decide to teach in a way that is damaging to the children in their classroom.

        And quite often when you complain to the administration, your email ends up in the hands of the teacher, and the balance of your student’s teachers as well — thus ensuring retaliation against your child in all of their classes.

        I would also argue that the worst teachers stick around in our schools because they are a far safer environment to work in than our adjoining districts.

        Let’s face it, we have a great gene pool in our schools — the quality of teaching is not up to speed with our gene pool.  But none of us want to say that too loud, because we don’t want our home equity to plummet when people find out that our schools are not in line with their reputation.

        1. Frankly

          Well said.  I agree.

          It is absurd that anyone would defend the current system when only 16 CA teachers have been fired for performance reasons over the last 10 years.  And how many of those 16 had been responsible for the most reprehensible behavior?

          It is absurd… can I say that enough times?

          Here is the thing… for those demanding that the quality of human teachers are the single most important contribution to the quality of education, how can they then defend a system that cannot effectively get rid of the consistently poor-performing teachers, and cannot effectively reward the good performing teachers?

          Is teaching quality important or not?

          Those that say that human teachers are the most important component, but that also continue to support the status quo in teacher performance management, are identifying themselves as nothing more than union sympathizers… clearly seeing the system primarily as providing job utility to the employees and secondarily providing quality education to the students.  The tenure and pay for performance debate clearly delineates that PR message that kids are the priority.

        2. wdf1

          Frankly:  It is absurd that anyone would defend the current system when only 16 CA teachers have been fired for performance reasons over the last 10 years.

          I posted this a few months ago here:

          In the Vergara trial, John Deasy, former Superintendent for LA schools affirmed, under oath:

          Attorneys for the other side, however, then brought forward data in which Deasy has taken pride: the increasing number of teachers fired or forced out.

          In 2011-12, L.A. Unified fired 99 tenured teachers. This compares to 10 in 2009-10, before Deasy became superintendent. In 2011-12, 122 teachers resigned in lieu of being terminated.

          The district also barred the transfer of teachers with poor performance reviews and gave principals the right to refuse jobs to instructors who lost positions at other schools.

          Deasy also criticized rules that force principals to decide whether to grant the job protections of tenure to a teacher after 18 months. A longer trial period would result in fewer bad teachers, he said.

          But Deasy also noted that he doubled the number of teachers who were refused tenure and thus were dismissed after their second year. As far as making good tenure decisions, “I believe we have done a good job at accomplishing that,” Deasy testified.

          source

          To me this evidence above suggests that 16 teachers fired over 10 years is not an accurate figure.

          Frankly: …quality of human teachers

          human teachers?  Why are you making that distinction?  Would some of us readers think you were refering to dog teachers or computer teachers?

        3. DavisAnon

          Gunrocik is absolutely correct. We have some outstanding teachers in DJUSD, and some inexcusably awful teachers who have been in this district for many years. It’s horrific going to Open House listening to the awful teacher your child has had to suffer through all year crowing about what a great teacher they are. Unfortunately, some are also actively involved with the union, perhaps that’s why they’re still here, perhaps coincidence. Some of these teachers have moved from school to school to school, so the administration must be aware there is a problem but they let this continue, so our children pay the price.

          I also agree that Davis has been getting by on real estate values with the reputation of public school excellence for much too long, when the real truth is we have fallen far relative to surrounding districts. This is a major reason for my hope that some of the ‘outsider’ candidates in regards to DJUSD will be elected. Those candidates who have been PTA officers, site councils, etc. for years should realize the shambles our district is in, but either they are unaware of the problem (blind), afraid to speak up (then why vote for them), or part of the problem (in cahoots or too close to the administration). It’s time for a change before it gets worse.

  3. Gunrocik

    Tragically, I don’t think it is going to matter who you vote for in the race.  Two incredibly wealthy groups, the California Teachers Association and the Eli Broad Foundation are in a fight to the death over the future of education in California. Do a google search with the words Marshall Tuck and Eli Broad to see their connection.

    There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground in this battle — and while this fight drags on — our children will continue to suffer.

    It is very hard to find articles which objectively lay out the conflict, but the web is just crawling with hit pieces from the opposing sides:

    Here’s a view from the right:  In 2009, the union’s income was more than $186 million, all of it tax-exempt. The CTA doesn’t need its members’ consent to spend this money on politicking, whether that’s making campaign contributions or running advocacy campaigns to obstruct reform. According to figures from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a public institution) in 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined.

    http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_california-teachers-association.html

    And from the left:  The cost of K–12 public schooling in the United States comes to well over $500 billion per year. So, how much influence could anyone in the private sector exert by controlling just a few billion dollars of that immense sum? Decisive influence, it turns out. A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national debate on education; sustain a crusade for a set of mostly ill-conceived reforms; and determine public policy at the local, state, and national levels. In the domain of venture philanthropy—where donors decide what social transformation they want to engineer and then design and fund projects to implement their vision—investing in education yields great bang for the buck.

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/got-dough-how-billionaires-rule-our-schools

    1. South of Davis

      Gunrocik wrote:

      > while this fight drags on — our children will continue to suffer.

      Our kids have overall great schools and teachers here in Davis, it is the poor minority kids (like in the poor areas of Oakland where less than half the kids graduate) that suffer under the current system.

      > A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested

      > every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national debate on education; 

      There are some wealthy people (like Bill Gates) working to fund education reform, but I don’t think the reformers are getting anywhere near a FEW BILLION EVERY YEAR…

      1. Gunrocik

        “Our kids have overall great schools and teachers here in Davis”

        I’m not the biggest proponent of test scores, but when it comes to our schools, they help tell the story better than I can.

        Take a look at our school’s “Similar Schools Rankings” on this chart:

        http://api.cde.ca.gov/Acnt2013/2012Base_Co.aspx?cYear=&cSelect=57,YOLO

        This score is far more telling than our base API score.  When your schools have upward of 70% of parents with a graduate education (which you can see if you click on the demographic characteristics of each school)–we better have test scores well above average.

        But take a close look at our “Similar Schools Rankings.”  This is how we rank against schools with similar demographic characteristics.

        Note that 4 out of our 8 elementary schools are  a “1” out of “10”!  We also two 3’s, a 5, and Montgomery leads the way with a six.

        Our middle schools get a 1,2 and 3 out of 10 and Davis High and DaVinci both score a whopping 2 out of 10.

        Numbers aren’t everything, but they sure mirror my family’s experience in Davis Public Schools.

        1. DavisAnon

          Those numbers are downright depressing. I wonder how our class sizes compare to the other ‘similar’ schools? I’m definitely seeing a difference (not for the better) over the last 6 or so years with the kids who are moving through with the larger classes. But we have also lost an enormous number of outstanding long-time teachers in that same period due to retirement/golden handshakes, so it’s hard to be sure what the biggest underlying factor is.

          Either way, the incoming School Board has their work cut out for them. I just hope our community chooses the right people for the job and we can reverse the downward trend.

  4. wdf1

    JB:  Your essay comes across to me as “support Tuck because California schools suck, Torlakson is supported by the teachers unions (who are implicitly ‘bad guys’), and Tuck is saying some nice things about school reform”.   It is overall a tepid case for voting for Tuck.  If I could have written a better piece supporting a position (vote for Tuck, not Torlakson) that I might not likely agree with, then I know you haven’t done your homework.

    Why didn’t you offer anything about Tuck’s experience in education?  Why nothing more compelling about who Tuck is as an individual?  At one point he was president of the Green Dot charter school system in LA Unified.  Did his experience there show success at Green Dot schools connected to policies that he supports?

    Could Green Dot schools attract and retain effective and experienced teachers?  If so, how did he/they do it?  If you can’t attract and keep such teachers, then I doubt anything else good can be derived.

    Did the Green Dot schools show signs of greater effectiveness in student outcomes because of policies that he supports?

    Did Green Dot success occur across a representative demographic spectrum of students compared to equivalent neighborhood schools?

    And I presume that any policies and successes could be scaled statewide in such a way so as not to grow the state education budget?  Because after all, you say, “…Tuck says that spending more will do little to nothing to improve California public K-12 education.”

  5. WesC

    The unions are not the barrier to getting rid in ineffective public service employees.  It is often managements failure to do their job that is typically the problem.  A typical scenario with a problem employee in public service is that the new hire is given little orientation or training, or a preceptor that could guide them and also report to management on the new hire’s skills and abilities, or performance problems.  Had the new hire been trained and seriously evaluated or monitored during  the probationary period they could have easily been let go while on probation if it was deemed they were not suitable for the job,  but they are not so they easily move into the permanent employee class.  Once they become a permanent employee annual performance evaluations are superficially done with little effort given to correcting poor performance issues.  The employee continues to be a problem but no one wants to to spend the resources correcting bad behavior, so they continue to skate by.  Finally after several years  management has had enough and tries to go  for immediate termination without first going the route of progressive discipline which would involve attempts at  training (which should have been done while the employee was still on new hire probation.)  The termination is appealed to an administrative law judge who looks at the record of an employee who has been in public service for several years, has little record of receiving ongoing training, who has received adequate annual performance evaluations every year since their date of hire, and who has no record of receiving progressive disciple or any managerial attempts to correct any performance issues.  To the judge it looks like a competent employee who has a clean record, but who perhaps had a one time lapse in judgement, and a heavy  handed management response so they order the employee re-instated.  Management is frustrated and now throws up their hands in despair and declares all public service employees are untouchable because of the unions.  The employee may now go on the offensive and file discrimination, harassment, and hostile work environment claims against their supervisor at every opportunity.  The claim against the supervisor will be investigated and the supervisor will feel they are being punished for attempting to get rid of a bad employee so they will be even more hesitant to attempt this in the future.  Add to this the desire to not rock the boat, to keep your dept or area off the radar screen, and political pressure from administration you end up with many more problematic employees that you want.

    Had management spent the time and resources up front on early training, preceptoring, monitoring, remediation, and continued with ongoing training and honest performance evaluations, and progressive discipline if necessary, they would have a much more productive work force, and much fewer headaches.

    1. Frankly

      The unions are not the barrier to getting rid in ineffective public service employees.  It is often managements failure to do their job that is typically the problem.

      A few points:

      1. The teachers unions have great influence in management hires through their connections with the teachers and the school boards.

      2. Management like any function has limited time and resources.  Setting the bar so high to fire an ineffective poorly-performing teacher means a ton of work for management that could otherwise be spent on other things… like recognizing and rewarding the effective good teachers.

      If you want to blame management for their failure to perform, then you need to get all the union meddling and other blocking policies out of the way.  You cannot have it both ways.  Accountability for performance requires authority to perform.  Education system administrators are severely constrained in their authority to take needed personnel actions even if they manage to break away from the union-establishment grip.

      By the way… I think good teachers are also way too constrained in their authority and ability to perform.

      1. wdf1

        I read where extensive teacher assessment, while ideal perhaps, typically ends up overburdening administrators.

        One strategy that seems underutilized is having teachers assess and watch each other, done not necessarily in the spirit of getting rid of “bad teachers,” but done in the spirit of offering tips to colleagues and in seeing alternative styles.  It does cost money, because if you pull a teacher from his/her classroom to watch another teacher, then someone has to fill in.  It is the kind of strategy that I think many teachers unions would support.

        I also agree with Miwok that administrators need classroom experience in order to help teachers improve.

        1. DavisAnon

          Overburdening administrators? What about our children? The administrators don’t have to waste an entire school year listening to an ineffective teacher. Our children have no choice in the matter and no power to effect change. We are fortunate to have some truly outstanding teachers, who probably get very little recognition or support for their successes. And we have some mediocre teachers, whose lack of success in the classroom also goes unacknowledged.

          Our children have no say in who their teacher is for the year and no recourse if luck was not on their side. If we feel the situation with a job or boss is truly miserable, as adults we have the option to decide if it’s worth the risk to quit. Our children do not.

          Administration is also key. Poor administrators can drag the whole school/district down very quickly, demolish student/teacher morale, and drive good teachers to look elsewhere for jobs.

      2. DavisAnon

        On the contrary, wdf1. I am completely in favor of it, but it doesn’t make up for administrators who feel too “overburdened” to do their jobs. If there is only 2 years to decide if a teacher should get tenure, that time should be used wisely and with careful consideration. I have often heard teachers complain of administrators who demand that the teachers ‘fix’ the bad teachers. The administrators knew these teachers were not up to standards but didn’t have the courage to fire when it was clear in the first 2 years that those teachers should not stay in the their jobs. The administrators approve their tenure anyway, knowing the teachers are weak, and then toss them off as a problem for the strong teachers to deal with and make them responsible for ‘teaching’ the poor teachers or at least keeping them in line. I think teacher observation by other teachers is an excellent tool, but is only part of the solution.

    2. Miwok

      Many of the administrators have never spent time in a classroom to evaluate a teacher. They go right for the Administrative credential and bypass that classroom where it all means something. Add a bunch of layers that didn’t exist 30 years ago, pay them more than teachers, and then lay off anyone who helped teachers, kept schools clean, or repaired buildings, and you get what you have now. I have no idea how any contract includes the perks I have seen.

      The State has been responsible for this mess with the model they have for financing schools equitably, and has done anything but. Every time they make a “deal” with the Governor, they get it all taken away in the next cycle. The press releases say they give more than ever, then the next year, it is a 25% on top of a 20% after that cut in funding.

  6. Alan Miller

    In the Vietnam era, there was the famous chant, “We’re not against the soldiers, we’re against the war.”

    On this matter I would say the appropriate slogan would be, “We’re not against the teachers, we’re against the power of the unions.”

    I appreciate the article.  The awareness that it brought literally changed my vote.

    As a member of a government union who’s views I unwittingly support with my dues that I cannot withhold, I find I disagree with about 90% of the positions the union takes, then sends notices out to memberz as if it was obvious we should agree with the union stance.  I believe government–and to a lesser degree private–unions are destroying California.

    I’ll vote for Mr. Tuck.

     

  7. wdf1

    Here is a strategy that improves educational outcomes that doesn’t appear to involve any tinkering with schools, but rather on the environment outside the public schools.  The Tangelo Park Program in Florida is underwritten in significant part by philanthropist Harris Rosen.  The program provides preschool for everyone in the community, mentoring by college students, parenting and adult skills classes for parents, and scholarships for every high school senior who graduates and goes on to the next course of study.

    Huffington Post: Hotel Mogul Enhances Florida Community Through Education

    Program website:  Tangelo Park Program

    I acknowledge that these links are expectedly positive about the program, and this deserves skeptical scrutiny, such as, how did nearby communities with equivalent demographics fare during the same period of time?  Nevertheless, it appears to be a promising pilot program to begin considering for other places.

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