CA budget cuts

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Discus: High School Life and Pre-college Issues: May, 2003 and Earlier Archive: CA budget cuts
By Thepiskickass (Thepiskickass) on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 12:41 am: Edit

The state of California has just screwed over public schools. The budget cuts are HORRIBLE. My school may lose all its electives: band, choir, art, journalism, ag.. EVERYTHING! Teachers are being laid off... Argh! What's going on with the rest of the state?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 03:36 am: Edit

They've issued 60+ pink slips to teachers in the Santa Monica district, plus a bunch of other people: elementary librarians, school nurses, and several high-end administrators, some of which I regard as dead wood and some of which are very valuable to the district, i.e., they bring in money.

Santa Monica has put a school funding measure on the June ballot that would charge each real estate parcel a $225/year fee; there are exclusions for senior citizens and something else. I hope it passes or the Santa Monica schools are in a world of hurt.

Of course, the layoffs aren't the worst teachers. It's by seniority...union work rules.

By Mrpancake2000 (Mrpancake2000) on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 10:15 am: Edit

I sensed sarcasm, thedad, in that union work comment. I just want to say you are being totally unfair. Bad teachers are let go of. Teachers are offered tenure to prevent weird things from happening, or getting fired without a good explanation. And who are you to say who's a good teacher? Teachers are teachers because they have something important to bring to students and they WANT to teach, they certainly don't do it for the money. And teachers are incredibly qualified, especially nowadays in California. Are you aware of how many things you have to do to be able to teach? You have to take class after class (and not just workshops), complete programs, etc. just to have an opportunity to teach. I will give you some teachers shouldn't be teaching, but it isn't because they are bad teachers, it is because of their attitudes. Anyway, just wanted to offer my 2 cents.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 02:04 pm: Edit

Two cents accepted.

However, the cuts are: first, temporary teachers (working on credential still) and new (untenured) teachers first. Once those are cut in a given category, it is strictly by seniority and performance has nothing to do with it.

Please don't try to paint me as anti-teacher. I'm on the Site Governance council and am active on the PTSA board. Our school has many terrific teachers. They also have some teachers with bad attitudes that you can't do anything about while some of the best and brightest new teachers are receiving their pink slips. It simply isn't a good system.

As to who am I to say who's a good teacher? I'm an active, informed, educated parent. For that matter, I was on the interview committee when the school hired a new orchestra director. You take the opinions of students and parents like me and it's like an Impressionist painting: feel free to ignore any one splotch of color but the overall picture is going to be pretty damned accurate.

As for the union, it's dysfunctional. For years, any change to that affected work day, etc., had to approved by _80 percent_. In the last contract, they finally agreed to reduce the margin required to 70 percent...and they still can't agree on anything.

Take banked time as an example: virtually _everyone_ is in favor of it in theory, extending the average school day by a few minutes on most days so that school would start two hours late a couple of times a month to give teachers and departments paid time to do planning and development work both as departments and as faculty-as-a-whole.

But no one can agree on a plan. The coaches and the A.M. (pre-first) period teachers don't want the meeting time to be after school. The teachers who don't have an A.M. classes don't want to have to come in early. A sprinkling of teachers don't want to do it, period. More than 70 percent want change, but no 70 percent will agree on any one change regardless of how many meetings they have to discuss it. They've done an end-around and finally put banked time into the next contract as part of a package with a lot of other issues...and the faculty wouldn't/couldn't even agree on a plan to start doing it for the rest of this year.

I understand that unions protect teachers against arbitrary and capricious administrations--of which I've seen more than enough--and that unions are essential to collective bargaining. Just don't try to give me the whitewashed crap that everything that unions do--like the seniority system--are good for the students. Who is the union to tell _me_ that teachers should be retained by seniority?

By Dori (Dori) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 01:14 pm: Edit

my school district is stupid.

they're making every school give back $40 for every student enrolled.

last year they fired 11 teachers (although 2 were retiring anyway), they've cut many classes (including half our APs) and they raised the minimum number of students in a class to 42.

how are we supposed to learn when every class is REQUIRED to have FORTY-TWO students in it??

classes that have less, even 41, are cancled.

and my school is definitly better off than a lot of the others in my district.

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