on 09.12.12 @ 01:15 AM
Should be interesting to see if the voters of Ca agree to Proposition 38, since it will increases income taxes for anyone who has taxable income in excess of $7,316. I love it that a daughter of a billionaire investor is the author of this Proposition. I don’t think the additional taxes most low income people will have to pay because of this Proposition will affect this rich, spoiled trust fund baby, who probably has never worked a day in her life.
Anyway, it is highly unlikely any of the additional revenues will help the children, inasmuch as all of the money will be needed to fund the additional pension contributions to Calstrs (teacher pension fund), because of the $65 billion of unfunded pension liabilities it has incurred.
It is certainly comforting knowing that our school board members are recommending the voters approve four different tax increases, but not one reform which would actually improve public education. No resolution to implement an effective teacher/principal evaluation system, dismantle the archaic tenure, lifo and seniority rules, or effectuate a merit pay system to reward the best teachers.
on 09.12.12 @ 07:28 AM
Wait, let me get this straight. The SB School Board—in the middle of a horrendous recession—is advocating for: (1) its own ballot measure to hike property taxes; (2) Proposition 30, supported by Gov. Brown, which will increase sales taxes and income taxes for anyone making $250,000; and (3) Proposition 38, which will increase income taxes on pretty much everyone in the state? Shrewd political move, SB School Board. This doesn’t make you look greedy at all. I had leaning toward approving the property tax hike, now, I’m probably a solid “no” vote. Overreaching during bad economic times is a huge turnoff.
on 09.12.12 @ 09:56 AM
The school board like our daffy state government is intoxicated with squeezing more blood from a rock. I wonder how many of the states white wealthy liberal trust funder population would be willing to pay the deficit on their own. If liberals think continuing to feed an out of control state government, stick a crow bar in your fat wallet and do it yourself. Put your own money at risk for a change and put it where your mouth is.
on 09.12.12 @ 10:20 AM
on 09.12.12 @ 12:32 PM
“if Proposition 30 or 38 pass we do know that this current school year will not be cut by 5 days and that our teachers will not receive a 4% pay reduction to which they have voluntarily agreed”
This is only because the current Board negotiated this agreement with the teachers union. There is no reason the Board couldn’t renegotiate this 5 day school year cut. Teachers could take the pay cut without shortening the year. Who knows, if the Board had any fortitude, it would insist on the reforms I referenced in my first post. The School Board has more control than Ed would like you to believe.
I will also bet you any amount of money Gov Brown will never allow these school expenditure reductions. He is using it as a hammer to get voters to pass Proposition 30. If he loses, he will never follow through on his threats to the voters. Remember, he is a politician, who is most concerned with staying on the good side of voters and ensuring his reelection. Don’t take the bait.
on 09.12.12 @ 12:57 PM
I applaud your courage in commenting on this board. I generally favor more investments in education (and I’m a Democrat), but I think the SB School Board made a gross miscalculation of the economic and political climate out there. (And you’d think that the SB School Board would have been more sensitive after Measures W and X failed to pass by the slimest of margins.) For the average voter, the costs of housing, utilities, gasoline, healthcare, and food continue to spike. Meanwhile, we’re contending with one of the worst labor markets in recent memory and no real wage growth. So when the average voter reads that the SB School Board supports three tax hikes in one election, you and your collegues—fairly or unfairly—appear disconnected and arrogant, which is a recipe for losing. Sorry, but the SB School Board is not immune from the laws of retail politics.
on 09.12.12 @ 12:59 PM
How come the District has not applied for the “Race to the Top” funds available from the federal government? Over 90 districts around the state have already applied. Is it because it requires the local union to agree to reform their teacher evaluation system, and this Board, who is in the pocket of the union, refuses to do anything that would upset them.
on 09.12.12 @ 11:02 PM
Mr. Segal - in my quest to gain more information, I keep reading your comments on reforming the teacher evaluation and merit pay. How would you do this exactly? What would a teacher’s base pay be and then what exact criteria you would use to determine who is a good teacher and receive more pay and who is not a good teacher? I think you have mentioned test scores should be used, but only a little bit. Is that fair to use test scores at all when a students scores do not matter to that student at all? I have opted my kids out of testing for the past few years (and each time administration begs me not to) because the scores are not allowed by state ed code to go on my kids transcripts, so colleges never see them, thus there is no reason whatsoever my kids needs to waste their time with the tests. Id rather have them at home so they can study for AP tests. Anyways, thanks for reading/answering.
on 09.13.12 @ 02:08 AM
Middle of the road,
Thank you for the questions. Based on the research I have seen, a teacher evaluation system should rely upon at least three criteria. The first and most important would be frequent unannounced teacher observations by a trained and skilled evaluator. Ideally, the evaluator would be the principal and/or assistant principal. I would also like to see parent/student confidential surveys with focused questions. I say this because of the experience I had sending my kid through the Santa Barbara schools. It seemed to me that it was not all that difficult to identify the best teachers. All I had to do was call up a few parents, and within a few hours, I generally knew who the good teachers were. Interestingly, I could also identify these teachers by asking a number of students. I was always amazed how accurate this tended to be. Lastly, I would use test scores, because even though the STAR test is less than ideal, it does give you comparative information that allows you to measure academic progress. Fortunately, this test will be replaced in 2014 with a far better test, which will measure critical learning skills using adaptive technology. How much weight you give each criterion or whether you use other measures could be fine-tuned over time.
As for merit pay, I would eliminate the length of service step increases and additional pay for advanced degrees or extra credentials. Instead, salaries would be determined using the evaluation system. You would start with a base salary, but then any amount of pay over the base would be awarded solely on the basis of these evaluations. Having said this, I would not necessarily be opposed to a hybrid system that gave some credit for length of service, however, any teacher not able to qualify for additional merit pay over a certain period of time would ultimately need to be dismissed.
It is important that there is a tightly integrated, well-organized and effective system for hiring, training, evaluating and retaining the best teachers. Finally, all administrators, including the superintendent and the principals, would be evaluated and held accountable for the implementation and ongoing performance of such a system. Ultimately, it come down to student outcomes. The goal has to be to provide the best possible education for every student.
BTW, most companies, at least in the private sector, award pay for performance, not length of service. I have never understood why this isn’t done in the public sector, despite all the excuses I hear from the unions.
PS. We also need to look at curriculum, particularly at the elementary level, because I don’t think the fundamentals of writing and math are taught as well as they should be.
on 09.13.12 @ 09:22 AM
Lou, I agree. Performance based pay ensures the best teachers are not only retained but paid better. Having done a few “surprise” visits in my children’s classrooms through out their public education, I can assure you this is a great idea. If a teacher knows they are being evaluated, knows that their pay is affected by how well they perform they will do better.
What does not work is constantly caving in to union demands for more pay, benefits and concessions from the taxpayers with less accountability. The disgusting debacle currently playing out in Chicago is the height of irresponsibility.
on 09.13.12 @ 12:40 PM
Thank you Mr. Segal for your response. Very interesting and thought provoking ideas. The only one I would disagree with you on would be the using of the STAR test. As I said before, if I were a teacher I would be very scared of using that to judge me when there is no backbone to it for a student to do well. I have opted my kids out of it because there is no reason for them to take it, and it makes teachers teaching to the test rather than critical thinking skills. As you said, hopefully these new tests will be better, better for the teachers and better for the students.