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Now what?

Original post made by Dreamin, Southeast Pleasanton, on Jun 2, 2009

I voted NO today, but I am actually quite willing to spend more money on our schools...if we had a different contract with our employees.

Can we get a contract without tenure? Can we eliminate seniority-based rules? Can we have some small amount of pay-for-performance? Can the district terminate bad teachers/employees after years of complaints? I would be willing to pay more if we could have even minor improvements in the status quo. I'm just a bit tired of the logic that says pay more or face ruinous cuts to the schools. There's middle ground between taxpayers and the district/union, if we insist that the school board tries some new ideas (not just temporary budget gymnastics).

Comments (18)

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Posted by Sux to say
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I hate to say this but the truth hurts.
1. No - Why, status quo & the union.
2. No - Why, status quo & the union.
3. No - Consisered immeasurable
4. No - Tenure & seniority


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Posted by Dreamin
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Fine, then I'll keep my $233 this time :)


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Posted by kristine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I am not even sure if the current contract has "tenure". Seniority, sure, but not tenure the way colleges have it.

Merit pay is definitely possible. Actually, Obama's stimulus funding package includes competitive grants for districts that try out new merit pay plans. I'd love to see PUSD apply for that!


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Posted by Dreamin
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I had a conversation with a principal about a particularly bad teacher. He told me that he could show me over 200 complaint letters, but that there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it. It turns out that the parents who were in the know (and active in the classrooms) found ways to get their kids assigned to the good teachers; my kid wasn't so lucky. So, maybe its a tenure problem or maybe a seniority problem, but status quo isn't designed with the kids' best interests in mind.


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Posted by Mom2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Short term? Wont' hurt children? Force teachers to reduce their pay? Even if this takes time, a year, a couple of year? We will show those teachers??? It's not the teachers you are hurting.......

A child who leaves first grade reading behind grade level has a 85% chance of NEVER reading on grade level the rest of his or her school career. THIS IS research!!!! So, tell this to the first graders who are in a packed classroom without a reading specialist or Barton teacher to help them avoid a LIFETIME of failure!!!! They only have one year, NEXT year as a first grader.

If you ever had a struggling reader or a child with dyslexia in your family, you might understand "just a year" affects a child's entire life. Hope you can sleep on that thought!


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Posted by T
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm


"Can the district terminate bad teachers/employees after years of complaints?"

Good lord, people - this has been addressed (and addressed):
YES, bad teachers/employees can be terminated. It is the PRINCIPAL's job to do this. S/he is charged with ensuring that every teacher meets criteria set forth by the district. If not, there are steps s/he must take. If you have a crappy teacher, it is the ADMINISTRATOR who you should go to.


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Posted by kristine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Dreamin -- the problem there isn't the teacher -- that's a really bad principal. There are things that can be done.

Document the problems, organize the current parents of that teacher's students... there are things that can be done.


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Posted by T
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Take it to the next level, on up to the School Board, if need be. ...and share about the principal's 200+ complaint letters.
There are ways to remove teachers.

"Posted by Dreamin, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, 1 minutes ago

I had a conversation with a principal about a particularly bad teacher. He told me that he could show me over 200 complaint letters, but that there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it. It turns out that the parents who were in the know (and active in the classrooms) found ways to get their kids assigned to the good teachers; my kid wasn't so lucky. So, maybe its a tenure problem or maybe a seniority problem, but status quo isn't designed with the kids' best interests in mind."


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Posted by Dreamin
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Thanks for the info. If there is a next time, I'll escalate it.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

kristine and T are correct: Call the principal on the carpet to get the teacher out. Teachers can be removed, but most administrators so not want to put in the time to do it.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Of course there is tenure. Two years completed in teaching and if renewed, you are tenured the first day of your third year.

Stop blaming principals. The unions fight back with big money. You have to catch a bad teacher in the first two years, and as someone pointed out to me, anyone can fake it for two years.

And in this case I will tell you the Board can't do much either; there's a process to be followed and costs $100,000 or more if everyone follows it to the letter. And they still could lose.


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Posted by missing something
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

but then.... how is it possible to lay off teachers with up to 5 years experience in PUSD?


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Posted by Chatty Chad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

"A child who leaves first grade reading behind grade level has a 85% chance of NEVER reading on grade level the rest of his or her school career."

That's why all 3 of my children learned to read in preschool and write in K. Who in the right mind would rely on PUSD to teach their children the basics???


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

This contract with the teachers ends June 2010 and will be negotiated soon for another three year contract (usually). It could be a time for a new approach. There has to be a will on at least one side of the equation to make that happen. It would be a good time to be a vocal community.


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Posted by T
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:05 pm

No, NOT TRUE. Ask the District and ask APT.

Also, the unions don't "fight back with big money" - yes, a teacher gets representation, but only to preserve rights. Doesn't everyone accused receive representation?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger,
Of course there is tenure. Two years completed in teaching and if renewed, you are tenured the first day of your third year.
Stop blaming principals. The unions fight back with big money. You have to catch a bad teacher in the first two years, and as someone pointed out to me, anyone can fake it for two years.
And in this case I will tell you the Board can't do much either; there's a process to be followed and costs $100,000 or more if everyone follows it to the letter. And they still could lose.


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Posted by Toomuchdamage
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Pass or not pass, the issue has created a lot of hostility in the community. I think comments like, "Who in their right mind would rely on PUSD to teach their children the basics?" are not necessary. I believe there majority of teachers chose the job for all the right reasons and do an excellent job. Many of them are not interested in being involved in the politics surrounding their job, they just want to do their job. One problem with the field of education is that because everyone has gone to school, they think they know how to teach and run a classroom. I flush a toilet every day, yet I don't believe I am capable of installing or fixing one.


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Posted by Would love to help you...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Mom2

I am an oral/written language specialist with advanced training that has set up many a reading lab in public schools to help children "recover" from dyslexia.

If you have a child with prereading difficulties and these areas are treated specifically, 90% of kids can be instructed out of "dyslexia" (which is a far reaching term to include any type of reading issue). If the child has normal intellect (meaning they aren't reading because they have a developmental or cognitive delay like Down Syndrome, Autism, etc) then they CAN be instructed out of dyslexia.

We know the garden variety of dyslexia is a language based disorder, not a visual processing disorder as previously thought. There is so much you can do to assist a child with such issues. It doesn't happen in the regular ed classroom however. Find a special educator trained in language based disorders (an ASHA Certified speech-language pathologist is best) and if they have not specialized in this domain in thier field, contact Dr. Candace Goldsworthy at Sac State who specializes in language based reading disabilities and treatment at her private clinic.

Web Link

Good luck!


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Posted by Rosemarie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Having a child with reading challenges/dyslexia, can be quite expensive. I know; my family was there.

We learned our child had dyslexia in the first grade. Barton was not offered at the elementary school my child attended 4 years ago, so we had to pay for it out of pocket.

Twice a week, an hour each time at $40/hour, we went. That equated to $320/month and over $2000 for nine months of tutoring. The tutor had a wait list and charged based on what the family could afford, but not below a certain ceiling.

Unfortunately, with the current economic conditions, children who would have gotten this service thru the school district, will have to have their families pay for it - I wonder how many will be able to afford it?

My child was extremely bright and is a stand out in their class today. I would hate to think of where they would be without the almost 3 years of tutoring we did.

Now, some of you smart alecs will make some sort of snide comment of 'getting a job teaching Barton'. I challenge you to do it; sitting one-on-one with 4-5 kids every night helping them work thru learning issues takes a talented, gifted and extremely patient person.

I know neither my spouse or I would have been able to do it.


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