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"A Great Day for Good Teachers"

Original post made by Nomad, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Aug 7, 2012

Wouldn't it be nice if this could be the headlines all over the California news? Instead it's all over the New Jersey news, as Governor Christie signed legislation implementing annual teacher reviews and extending the length of time to teacher tenure to four years. (Web Link)
It is worth noting that the sponsor of the legislation is (D) State Sen. Teresa Ruiz who said "But we can't sit back and do nothing." And note the Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said "We can't have the bad ones in the schools anymore, one bad teacher is one bad teacher too many."
More details are in the Wall Street Journal here (Web Link).
Before anyone thinks about supporting either of the two multi-billion dollar tax hike initiatives this November that purport to support CA schools, ask yourself what really is going to improve the schools......more money for a failing system.....or reform that will increase the quality of the teachers?
Maybe if Governor Brown, the Democrat dominated CA Legislature, and the teachers unions would focus on improving education first, they would garner fiscal support from the citizens. As it stands now, doing what is right for our students seems farthest from their minds.
Too bad.

Comments (28)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Well....
a resident of Avila
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Lets see. So many parents on here were devastated about the staggered reading program and the shortened school day for K - 3. Imagine what it's going to be like if the tax is not passed? Staggered reading will be the least of your problems.


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Posted by Well no
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm

The cuts made this year were made because they are assuming the taxes won't pass. It's already been accounted for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Inching forward
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

Good, a step forward for the children in New Jersey. Better if Christie could have held out for the seniority fix, but at least inched forward on the tenure job guarantee.


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Posted by show them the money
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

New Jersey also has the highest starting teacher salary in the nation - but before you jump out of your seat, that salary is a whopping $44K. I doubt that creating more hoops and obstacles for young college kids to become teachers is going to attract more superstars to the profession. It is just not economically feasible anymore. It is expensive to become a teacher in California - so this type of reform is not going to be very effective unless there is some financial reward associated, besides the carrot of "just hang in there for 25 years and you will get a pension."

The pipeline of college students choosing to enter the teaching profession is disproportionate to the market need - so though this grabs headlines, is most likely going to be counterproductive at this time.

Web Link


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Posted by a question
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

We keep talking about how there are "bad" teachers. Think back when scores throughout
California were much higher--we did not have the multi-language situation where some children now enter school with English as their second language and parents come to school and have their children interpret for them or the school district needs to hire an interpreter.

I am not against giving education to all children, but we can't keep blaming all the teachers.
When tests are taken to see how the children score - is language or the understanding of the English language taken into consideration.

In France you use to be proficient in French before entering their schools. One of our friends had to have their daughter go to a school to learn French before entering their school system. I do not know if they have this same standard - but it sure would help if we had it in California!!!c


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AnnaS
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

Everybody with understanding in basic economy knows how increasing already high taxes influences on businesses and total revenue. They know what would happened if the tax increase would pass: more of the richest will 'redistribute their wealth' between places where their money would generate more money for them, more small businesses will be forced to shut down, more cities will file a bankruptcy, more capable to work youth will flee out of the state, more good teaches will run away with them, more school programs will be cut, government will ask for more taxes.
California is in a position where there is no quick fix solution to its' problems, but it's still possible to fix these problems step-by-step.
The first step toward rebuilding America and California is to *vote them all out!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jaclyn F.
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

Yes Nomad, it WOULD be a joy for us to open our newspaper or turn on the TV to hear a similar story but I'm not expecting to hear it any time soon.

We had an opportunity to at the very least begin the process that would modify the current process for dismissing teachers or administrators after they have engaged in sex, violence or drug offenses with children
or that had been convicted or accused of other crimes. But guess what? Our esteemed teachers unions and their complicit cohorts in the democrat controlled state legislature made sure that never happened and killed SB1530.

So if you really think that we will EVER have a mandate that puts teacher accountability, performance and a review based formula ahead of seniority based or simple tenure when we can't even get rapists, child molesters and drug dealing teachers at least reprimanded for their behavior (don't even consider firing them) well you my friends are truly delusional.


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Posted by New Jersey Tony
a resident of Happy Valley
on Aug 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hurray, Hurray!!! New Jersey teachers will now have yet another disincentive for entering or staying in the profession.

For all the blustering from the Christie Whale's blow-hole, that's what New Jersey ends up with? An extra year to be under the gun, frightened by the prospects of having either incompetent administrative supervisors, zealous witch-hunting right wingers, or both.

Well, this one is pretty amusing. By the way, note the discrepancy between media treatment of the blow-hole fattie and how New Jersey citizens are voting. Every public opinion poll -- left, right, and in-between -- shows Obama in the lead by at least 13 points. Do Jerseyans want a Republican at the nation's helm. Nope.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Torborg
a resident of Danville
on Aug 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Yes, I agree with you, Tony. Christie has stated time and again that he wants to abolish seniority as a criterion for lay-offs, thereby eliminating security for all teachers. This is not education reform. This is union busting at the expense of teachers being able to experiment, create, without fear of a numbers-crunching supervisors or hostile parents. Christie is out of control, and should begin reeling himself in with a weight watchers' diet. Can he do it? Maybe not, as he doesn't seem to have done so in the past. He's neurotic, depressed, and probably so unhappy with himself that the only 'anitdote' is to vent his anger towards others who tend to exercise more self control than he does, teachers. He's a very unhappy man who wants to make others unhappy, and unfortunately there are all too many crusaders who are just as unhappy and mean as he is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Upping tenure to 4 years is but a tiny baby step on the way to reform, but an important step..creating a tiny bit larger window to detect incompetent or perverted teachers, before their absurd lifetime guarantee kicks in.
Tony and Peter are so obvious PUBLIC union gatekeepers with their petty illogical 'union protectionism' blather.
Peter, you must have a crystal ball where you brain should be.
Amazing trick how you know what goes on inside Christie's head, i.e. 'neurotic, depressed, and unhappy' and 'who wants to make others unhappy'. What an amazing gift of idiocy you have.
Keep protecting the molesters.


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Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

....and speaking of blowholes, Peter, commenting on christie's weight, your comment about fatties couldn't be elected president.
Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, were Christie's size. John Adams almost.
President isn't about weight, taxes, nothing except leading a nation in trouble, and a person who can fix the problems....with knowledge suited to the problem in that time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 10, 2012 at 5:58 am

Hm, so as the comments ramble on from the various anonymous folk, the true reason for "teacher reform" slips out: breaking the teachers' unions. This has nothing to do with improving our schools.

The unions in New Jersey should have contributed a lot of money to Governor Christie's election campaign. I'm sure the Governor's views on "education reform" would be a lot different then.

If you want true education reform, we should look at the model of Finland. In Finland:

This is from an article in The Atlantic (excerpts quoted under the Fair Use provision of copyright):

"The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything America's school reformers are trying to do.

For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system's teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

...what matters is that in Finland all teachers and administrators are given prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility. A master's degree is required to enter the profession, and teacher training programs are among the most selective professional schools in the country. If a teacher is bad, it is the principal's responsibility to notice and deal with it."

Web Link

p.s.--Finland has what is regarded as the best public education system in the West and *very strong* teachers' unions.



I do agree that the digs at Governor Christie's weight are absurd and uncalled-for. What is this, middle school?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 10, 2012 at 6:05 am

By the way--the #1 predictor of a child's success in school is the social class/economic status of his parents. Poor kids often do poorly in school, and the further up you go on the social status and income scale, the more likely it is that children will get good grades and graduate.

The final paragraph of that article from The Atlantic states what a lot of "education reformers" in the USA would rather ignore:

"The problem facing education in America isn't the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed. More equity at home might just be what America needs to be more competitive abroad."

Education reform, divorced from broader social reform, is doomed to failure. But again, "education reform" in the USA, with its obsessive focus on standardized testing and breaking teachers' unions, isn't really about education at all, but about grabbing political power.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

Another article, this time on the role of the strong Finnish teachers' unions:

"More than 95% of teachers in Finland are unionized, paying 1.2% of their gross salary to support the Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ.

The organization aims to influence policies that benefit educators, much as the state's largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, does in Wisconsin.

But in Finland, the OAJ negotiates on the national level with employer groups to create 14 universally binding agreements that spell out everything from minimum salaries to working hours for teachers and the length of the school year (currently 190 days).

"We have a philosophy: happy pupil, happy parent, happy teacher," said Nina Lahtinen, development manager for OAJ."

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Daniel - You have some good points. Can you help us understand the process by which Findland's principals fulfill their responsibility to notice and deal with a bad teacher? how does that compare to the California process?


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Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Daniel, you must be part of academiz...your article is very scary...
""values equality more than excellence". Scary and absurd ! Excellence is everything. I certainly hope I never see that change here in my lifetime!. You're one of those that doesn't want grades, or names on jerseys, no valedictorians, etc.
Well, I'm sitting here cheering loudly at the Olympics...and, ESCELLENCE MATTERS ! ! ! Some will make it and some will NOT ! That's reality. One is 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd !! Your concepts have been practiced in our schools for 35 years. That's when our schools started to deteriorate...coincidence? I don't think so ! The ONLY coincidence in timing is that was when school 'unions' started, and suddenly, for teachers, teacher's unions became more important than students ! ! !


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jimbol
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

Tell ya what, Mr. Bradford. If you like Findland that much why don't you move there? When's the last time the Finds have defeated Japan, and North Korea, or Vietnam, or Russia, or Iraq? How did we do it? Education. And now we're tittering on the edge of defeat because of unionized school teachers.Let me tell you something about your logic, Bradford. You have none. And your a coward as well.


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Posted by why tenure?
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

I fail to see that tenure serves any purpose at all. It guarantees that the most incompetent teachers can have lifetime employment. What other job sector does that?
Teachers should be subject to performance reviews like anyone else. If they fail, then tenure should not be able to keep them in their jobs.


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Posted by Jimfol
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2012 at 6:56 am

I also fail to see what purpose tenure serves. Just put in a good conservative administrator, find out whether the teachers are socialists or not -- easy to tell by their party affiliation -- and just sweep the school clean of all the Marxist vermin.

Tenure, like (elitist) education, is waaaaay overrated. I never had tenure. In fact, I didn't graduate from High School. But look how successful I am!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beeky
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

"Poor kids often do poorly in school, and the further up you go on the social status and income scale, the more likely it is that children will get good grades and graduate."

I would agree that income scale is perhaps the single best indicator of academic success of children, however, one problem is that we know that intelligence (at least how we currently measure it) is based on genetics. Therefore, smarter people are generally going to be more wealthy and also have smarter children.

This argument would imply that if all people in the US (or around the world) all had exactly the same financial status then all of the children would have the same academic success. Everyone know that to be ludicrous because we all know of families where on child has lots of success in school and another child does poorly.

This does not mean we should constantly be looking at ways to improve schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beeky
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

"Teachers should be subject to performance reviews like anyone else. If they fail, then tenure should not be able to keep them in their jobs."

They are subject to performance review and if they fail they can be removed from their jobs. Sure, it is difficult to remove a teacher, the that is up the the school administration. Please educate yourself before posting lies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beeky
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

"Can you help us understand the process by which Findland's principals fulfill their responsibility to notice and deal with a bad teacher? how does that compare to the California process?"

Are you not educated enough to figure that out by yourself or are you just to lazy? I'm guessing the real truth is that you are trying to make some sort of point to Mr. Bradford without any real evidence or effort on your part.


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Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2012 at 12:19 am

Children in a 'poor' family means thoughtless parents continued to selfishly breed beyond their ability to provide...very irresponsible and cruel.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

Beeky - I'll ignore your incorrect assumptions and personal attacks.

Daniel Bradford linked to two articles which I read and from which I did more research. The Atlantic article made a claim about how Findland's principals perform their duty. Daniel should be able to back his claims and cited references in an adult discussion. As I will back mine.

Are you willing to join the adult discussion?


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Posted by Jimfol
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:21 am

And you just KNOW that anyone who does research on what principals do in "Findland" is to be trusted. Thanks for your research, Nomad. Your my hearo. Have you attended any of the tea party fests? Great food.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Jimfol - I have not. Seems you have? How are they?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jimfol
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

Great Sweedesh meatballs, and Findish kafelter fish, and Polesh goolosh, and Norweegean pickelled hairing.

But I think, No (not really) Mad (honest), that you would enjoy most the corn dog and pickelled eggs that was the hit of the last party.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I was at the last gathering and I thought the food was the best ever. I do have some concerns about exactly how much was paid out of the kitty for the tea bags placed near each paper saucer and the over-sized American flags that sat atop the cone hats that were passed around. Wondering if all the fancy stuff like that was sustainable in this hurting because of Obama economy. As the party of responsible citizens we need to be zealously responsible with the way we spend our dues. I mean, just how much does a total of $22.37 get you in the way of flags, tea bags, and cone hats?


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