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Teachers' union endorses Bowser, Laursen for election to Pleasanton school board

Original post made on Sep 27, 2010

The Pleasanton schools' teachers union has endorsed Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen for election to the school board on Nov. 2

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 27, 2010, 7:51 AM

Comments (54)

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:28 am

So, now we know who not to vote for......I wonder what caused the union to pass on the other delegates---no payola?


Posted by Freedom, a resident of Danbury Park
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

Yes, I agree they will not get my vote now that I know who is behind them.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

I agree with you Steve and Freedom...I will cast one vote and it will be for Piderit.

Teachers, I love most of you. But there are a few of you that should not be allowed in a classroom, and the union has fought hard to help those teachers keep their jobs. That is why the union has zero credibility with me.


Posted by Kiss of death, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:13 am

Me too. Teacher union seal of approval is kiss of death for me !!
I want somebody who will REPRESENT the ... STUDENTS ! ! ! What a novel idea. Is that too much to ask ? No more '' go along '' types. Let's have a pleasanton value of "students first ".
I've had enough union puppets.


Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

Obviously, the Union has not heard about Bowser's incident with the princess, forcing her to be rescued.


Posted by Very Curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

Timothy T wrote:

"Obviously, the Union has not heard about Bowser's incident with the princess, forcing her to be rescued".

Can you expand on that? I'm curious.


Posted by observation, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

I want to vote for Piderit but how can I be sure? A Palin endorsement would be very helpful as it has in other races, but unfortunately, local elections like these are too small to get her attention.


Posted by AVHS Mom, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

What I like about Sandy Piderit is she's not part of the PTA or Teacher's clique. She will add a new fresh voice and not be aligned with any "group".


Posted by curious also, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Uh, who is "the princess"? And what are Sandy Piderit's experiences and ideas re: our schools? Bowser's background looks very broad and experienced in education and budget management to me. That's more important for consideration than whether or not APT is behind them or not. I truly don't understand the anti-teacher bias so often found on this forum. Our schools are great and we should all be proud and grateful, and support those who will work to maintain their high quality.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

curious also asked: "And what are Sandy Piderit's experiences and ideas re: our schools?"

Here's what I found on her website:

"
Dear Pleasanton residents,

Thank you for visiting my webpage to learn more about how I can contribute to the school board.

I want you to know:

* I believe that the most important role of public schools is to focus children's innate curiosity and develop their communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.
* I am a business school professor, and I've done both research and teaching on what makes complex organizations effective. I know that schools differ from businesses in important ways, and yet the discipline that is required for any organization to achieve its mission is similar.
* I believe in setting high expectations and providing excellent support so that every child, teacher, staff member, and school leader can meet those expectations.
* I believe in listening, and engaging people in dialogue, as a way to solve problems and grasp opportunities.

If you'd like to get to know me better, please sign up for my campaign newsletter to learn about upcoming events where we can meet. If elected, it would be my honor to serve the community as a school board member.


Priorities

* Maximize opportunities for students to develop skills in clear communication, effective collaboration, and critical thinking
* Maintain high expectations for teachers, staff, and management
* Ensure that professional development is rigorous and will support continued growth in teaching effectiveness
* Communicate proactively with community members about school district activities, budget issues, and strategic decisions
* Listen to all community members without bias, maintaining confidentiality when necessary
* Make budget decisions from a long-term perspective and in a transparent way

I earned my BA in Mathematics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I went on to complete a Ph.D. in Business Administration at the University of Michigan. Over the past 15 years, I have taught business school students in both public and private universities.

For the past 3 years, I have had the honor of teaching officers in the United States Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines about managing organizations effectively. I am a Visiting Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, and teach on a part-time basis in both the MBA and Executive MBA programs in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy.

My classes examine lessons learned from instances of bad management, like the Blackhawk friendly fire incident in Iraq in 1994, and from skilled management, like the leadership that brought the Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to Earth.

My research has been published in several referred journals, and I co-edited two books, the Handbook of Women in Business and Management, and A Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics.
"


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Curious Also:

We are not anti-teacher. We are anti-teacher's union. There's a huge difference. Pleasanton has mostly good or even great teachers. There are a few that I would happily double their salaries if I had the power.

But there are a few that should NOT be allowed in the classroom. The ones I am familiar with have been around for many years. That makes it even tougher to get rid of them. My daughter had a teacher that was so bad I insisted after a couple months that she be moved. Then I (and other parents) worked with the principal to get her removed. She ended up being put on "mental health disability" while the district worked with lawyers and the union to get her removed. She was out for a YEAR but ended up coming back. I tell all my friends who have children who get this teacher to have them moved, and so far, all of them have. By the way, I hear a lot of students LOVE this teacher because she does things like teach them how to swear in foreign languages and watch youtube videos in class...anything but teach the curriculum. At back to school night the next year, my daughter's teacher in the same subject actually said "for those students who had (said teacher) last year, I will work with them to get caught up. If that's not an indictment, I don't know what is.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

"A Palin endorsement would be very helpful as it has in other races"

Are you kidding me? Do you have a brain at all?


Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

The princess is in another castle.


Posted by hmm, a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Glad there are people out there who would rather base their vote on the endorsement of someone else, rather than do the research themselves to find out who would make the best candidate for the job. That is very ignorant!


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm

PUSD does not need a trustee who was a teacher, in the teacher's union, who's wife is a teacher, who championed rolling back taxpayer protections, and who admits he would have to recuse himself thereby making himself an ineffective trustee. (Web Link)
Mr. Bowser should not be a trustee. The vote then defaults to Ms. Laursen and Ms. Piderit.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Hate to be the Mad Hatter at this Tea Party, but--

School board members can't do anything about California state law. By California state law, teachers have the right to organize in a union and since California is a "union shop" state, everybody who wants to work in Pleasanton public schools must belong to the APT (Association of Pleasanton Teachers).

Actually, our union has not been as confrontational as many others in the East Bay area. The APT have always tried to cooperate with the administration and board "for the good of the kids", calculating that, 95 times out of 100, it's better to work towards a common solution than to pursue an adversarial relationship.

I see that some wealthy Pleasantonians want to "bust the union". Ah, more class warfare, and our side hasn't fired a shot.

Well, ok, "bring it on" as they say. If you want to turn the "born to be mild" APT members into a more militant and confrontational group, the best way to do it is to keep kicking us in the butt after we agreed for the good of the kids to take five furlough days and to go without raises commensurate to the cost of living. Pleasanton teachers are now teaching more kids for less pay, but of course for the wealthy Tea Partiers, it's never enough.

I realize the very idea that Pleasanton teachers have a union, and are therefore not powerless serfs you can fire at a whim because one of us gave your child a bad grade or just to show us who's The Boss, enrages you, but perhaps it's time you got your way and see how hard teachers can fight when you threaten our professional independence and our ability to house, clothe, and feed our families.

Keep on pushing it, baby. Sooner or later, we will push back.


Posted by Very Curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Timothy T wrote:

"The princess is in another castle".

Now I'm really curious, please expand. I'm on a quest to understand everything about all three school board candidates. I'd love to know more about your cryptic message.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I am voting for Pinderit, and I also wanted to vote for Laursen, but I am concerned that with the APT endorsement, some may vote for the pair Laursen-Bowser, and those who like me, want to vote for Pinderit-Laursen, will end up hurting Pinderit's chances.

I will cast only one vote: Pinderit, and hope that Laursen (not Bowser) gets elected as well. (I recall a meeting where Bowser announced his campaign for lowering the threshold for passing a parcel tax from 2/3's to a simple majority - something I disagree with, even though I voted for measure G and was disappointed it did not pass)


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

To Yet another teacher:

Wow. I'm embarrassed for you. You are far more confrontation than any tea partier I've ever met, and yes, I have attended the local tea parties even though we're not "wealthy". My husband I and make less than 2 teachers with comparable education and experience in Pleasanton make. We are both in technology fields which you'd think would make more than teachers, but not in Pleasanton. And we have to work year-round (except for 3 weeks vacation and 7 holidays) to get that.

If you were really worried about "the good of the kids" you would have forgone the yearly step/column increases and/or the "cost of living" increases and let the kids keep those 5 days of school. Are you aware of how many people in Pleasanton have had to take pay cuts for the same or more work, and the number that have no job at all? Oh, and in case you're not aware, the cost of living has NOT gone up the last couple years. Even social security recipients didn't get a cost of living adjustment this year: Web Link

Please get your facts straight before you make wild accusations.

My suggestion is that every unionized teacher should have to put their children in the classes of teachers
- who have had multiple warnings but never change
- who don't know the curriculum despite years of 'teaching'
- who have the most parent requests to not have that teacher or
- who have been around so many years they don't really care any more.

The union will then have credibility with me. I am NOT okay with sacrificing a year of my child's education just to give a bad teacher another chance. To repeat: there are far, far more good teachers than bad in Pleasanton. But if your child gets stuck with a bad one, those statistics don't really matter.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

So let's see. The teacher's union endorses Mr. Bowser. A few posters disagree with that choice, and the union invokes class warfare and militancy? Where have we seen this before?
Lest I get carried away with YAT's extremism, back to the topic at hand. If anyone thinks the union needs another voice at the table, then go ahead and vote for Mr. Bowser. With APT President Trevor Knaggs and CSEA reps taking the podium at the start of every PUSD Board meeting and with the CTA and AFL-CIO right by their sides during negotiations, this community needs Trustees as un-biased as possible, and able to vote for what is right for the community, not what is best for the union.


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Unions breed mediocrity in work performance. I'm voting for Piderit -- Where can I pick up a yard sign?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Arroyo,

Information on her website says to call her number and leave a street address if you want a sign.


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Thanks Stacey. I do not know the other candidates, but I was impressed with Ms. Piderit when I met her.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

YAT incorrectly stated that every employee of PUSD has to be a member of a union. Every employee only has to be a member of a bargaining unit. They don't have to join any of the unions. Here's the facts: Web Link The decision is a personal one, but it helps to have all the facts.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm

While I agree union endorsement should not rule out a candidate but it will make me look much closer at that candidate before supporting them.

YAT - In all honesty, I do not understand how you can state that the community is asking you to do more with less (which is something the private sector, good companies at least, typically make common practice year after year) when furlough days essentially require you to do less with less, not more with less.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

YAT may have been talking about some elementary teachers and some high school English teachers and maybe others that have larger class sizes now. However, I don't remember them taking a pay cut several years ago when class sizes were reduced, so when class sizes are increased (although still smaller than they were before class-size reduction), whining about it makes her sound like....a union member.


Posted by You are wrong, "Educated", a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Sep 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

You are incredibly wrong, "educated". It frustrates me that you think you are indeed educated, when you make statements such as class sizes being "smaller than they were before class-size reduction". At minimum, general ed teachers at the middle school and high school have 34 students in a classroom. It would be nice if these were students who had the same abilities and were equal in every way, shape, and form. Let me assure you, they are not. Out of the 34, some are GATE, some are Special Ed, some are EL, some have parents who do not have a clue how to raise their children. The rest are students that are a mix between high achievers and those who do not make school a priority.

For the most part, the parents in this community (just like most of the PUSD teachers) are incredibly supportive and work towards finding a solution (and not anonymously posting on Pleasanton Weekly because they are too afraid to take a public stand). To those parents, I am incredibly grateful for all of your support and appreciate that you understand the union did not cause all of our current problems. Thank you for choosing to work with us.

To those of you who believe you are "educated" and go to Tea Party rallies, I beg of you to wake up. You are being brainwashed by Fox news and need to start thinking for yourself. The fact that you even attend Tea Party rallies and then claim that you make less than PUSD teachers is a joke. It tells me you are not "educated", otherwise you would realize that the Tea Party is representing 1% of the country and not your middle class incomes.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I have never been to a Tea Party rally. I do believe in fiscal responsibility though.

I do find it humorous that a member of one of the most influential (read: brain washing) unions in the state is calling out individuals for not thinking on their own......ha ha. Thanks for the laugh tonight.

Though if the statistics are accurate, at an average salary of $83k per year (~$102k annualized), I can assure you a Pleasanton teacher makes more than many in the bay area.....pair that with a pension, S&C, and COL and summer's off and the total compensation is inflated for relative annualized work.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Someone posted this article on a different forum:

Web Link

I find the following statement interesting:

"Teachers' unions say they're open to the discussion of longer classroom time, but they also say that pay needs to be part of the conversation"

(does that mean the union opposes full time work for full time pay?)

and also:

"And the president endorsed the firing of teachers who, once given the chance and the help to improve, are still falling short.

"We have got to identify teachers who are doing well. Teachers who are not doing well, we have got to give them the support and the training to do well. And if some teachers aren't doing a good job, they've got to go," Obama said."

(that would be nice, to be able to fire the bad teachers and keep only the good ones)


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Pleasanton Parent et al, keep posting the same song and dance...teachers get paid plenty and hardly work....your ignorance about what the job entails has been clear for some time now. Keep posting lies about teachers getting COLA increases, free pension, annualized work- haha, that's a new one. You post these inflammatory comments only to have many take them as fact. How pitiful. If you really care about improving education, start by listening to those who are on the front lines every day. I'm sure you're respected for the professional job you do, feel powerful taking that same professionalism away from the teachers of this town?

Conveniently, you have left out the effects of cutting $20 million from the budget and what it has done to each classroom in this district. You also left out that the union overwhelmingly voted for a cut in pay to the total of $4.5 million in savings in order to save programs we believe in.

The band wagon comments... unions are to blame for all that is wrong,,,, don't really apply to PUSD, since the local union saved schools even after the community felt the hills were more important than the schools.


Posted by observation, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Someone said,

" can assure you a Pleasanton teacher makes more than many in the bay area"

Well I would certainly hope so. The Pleasanton school district is one of the best in the state. Parents pay inflated home prices just to live in this district so that their children can attend school here. You sound like you have no idea what these schools are all about, or how much they are valued by parents. You should get to know your community and learn something about the importance of quality education.


Posted by observation, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

To "Educated",

"My suggestion is that every unionized teacher should have to put their children in the classes of teachers... "

Are you talking about Stockton or Pleasanton? You're just posting some generic diatribe. Where are you finding all these "who don't know the curriculum despite years of 'teaching'". Maybe you're talking about biology teachers who teachers who teach evolution instead of biblical creationism?


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Really? - Reading comprehension really isn't your strong suit is it? Nowhere will you find a statement from me stating teachers "hardly work". I do understand what the job entails, and I personally think the number one problem with our schools is discipline, and that it needs to start at home.

I fully support restoring discipline in the classroom, and re-establishing the teacher as an authority figure to be respected (in the same manner as a doctor). I think restoring classroom discipline and respect in the classroom will have a far greater effect than any CSR union backed initiative could ever have.

I am also a vocal advocate for more parental involvement. If it were up to me, I would require X number of hours from each parent in the form of some sort of classroom activity. Parents need to be involved in their children's education and their school's.

As for those "lies" - teachers do have a cost of living increase in the contract, your use of "COLA" is a direct admission of this benefit. "Free" pension? No, no pension is free, nice try, but it is funded by taxpayer dollars at a rate far greater than any 401k in the private sector. And you know what, I really don't have an issue with that. Public sector positions have historically been paid lower wages, but offered better relative security and benefits. But you can't have it both ways which is the cross road we face today. Risk/reward.

You want bonuses, pay increases, salaries, etc similar to the private sector? Fair enough, but along with it comes the accountability - pay for performance. No more tenure or "first in first out" to hide behind. Extend the school year as well, you want to be paid a livable wage", then work the majority of the year - there is no more summer harvest that the kids need to return home to help with.

Listening to those on the "front lines" is key, but only after the union filter has been removed and the poor performers have been isolated. Additionally, the type of reform required is going to require different ways of looking at the educational system - silo'ed thinking isn't going to be enough to fix this.

My professionalism comes with knowing that at the end of the day, my job is to deliver the best product/service to my customers and that in a global economy I must find ways to do more with less with each product release - faster, cheaper, better. And during times of hardship that product/service does not change, if anything it needs to provide increased value to my customers in order to keep them investing in my products.

The union did not vote for a cut in pay. A cut in pay means you do the same amount of work (or more) for less money. Teachers voted to take less pay for working less days, its not scalable and goes against the point I just identified above.

Unions are not to blame for everything, but they are a large inhibitor to any real progress. This particular union (state) advocates on behalf of children yet isn't concerned with what is best for them. Instead, it uses them as pawns, and uses fear to influence action.


Posted by You are wrong "Educated", a resident of Avila
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

To Pleasanton Parent-
If you read my post correctly, you would have realized that I was writing to "Educated" who said they have gone to some Tea Party rallies. Reading comprehension is something Pleasanton teachers are excellent at teaching, which is why your child probably would have understood my comment and you did not.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I did pick up on that......still doesn't change my response to your comment (whether directed at me or not)


Posted by observation, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

"and I personally think the number one problem with our schools is discipline, and that it needs to start at home."

Again, maybe you're talking about Oakland or Stockton? Get to know Pleasanton. Some parents here think the number one problem with our schools is too much pressure to perform or obtain a National Merit Scholarships and the like. Do you know anything at all about Pleasanton?


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Observation
- Yes I do know about Pleasanton. One of the reasons I moved here was because of the schools. That doesn't mean they can't be better, or that they don't suffer from some of the same systematic symptoms other schools in the state suffer from as well.

Have you "observed" educational systems in other states, or other countries? While they have their own problems, we shouldn't rest on past successes and we should continue to benchmark our educational system against those of other countries to identify areas for improvement.


Posted by voter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Go pleasanton parent, you're right!

And I don't like how people say people who want financial responsibility are tea party activists - just not true. I am a democrat turning republican to help my children.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

To "You are wrong":

Elementary class sizes were 30, then decreased to 20, then increased to 25. There were similar, although maybe not quite as dramatic decreases then increases in freshman English and math classes. My point was that no pay cuts were given when the class sizes were smaller, so why would one complain about "doing more for less" when they go back up to 25? Perhaps some of the other class sizes have gone up, but not dramatically:

This info is from the school district website. If you have more accurate info, I would be happy to read it.

School 08/09 stdnts/teachers/ave 09/10 stdnts/teachers/ave
Amador Valley 2517/103.8/24.2 2531/97.8/25.9
Foothill 2347/94/25 2360/87/27.1
All middle 3570/138/25.9 3628/131/27.7

Keep in mind that some of the reduction in middle school teachers last year was due to the reduction in A period classes. (My daughter was not allowed to sign up for A period last year, but did the 2 prior years. I know some students signed up anyway and got the classes.)

Now for the 10/11 school year, this is from the Pleasanton Weekly: "The eight furlough days resulted in a nearly $1.9-million savings to the district. Other portions of the agreement include increasing staffing ratios at the middle and high schools, from 26:1 to 27:1 and 27:1 to 28:1, respectively, at a savings of $864,000; the suspension of the seven-period day at high school ($448,000); suspension of voluntary staff development hours ($380,000); and suspension of the teacher support and training advisory committee ($15,000)."

So over a 2 year period, middle school class size went from 25.9 to 27.1 and at high schools from 24.6 to 28.

I resent the fact that you think you know what I make because I happened to attend a couple tea parties. That is just ridiculous. However, teachers' pay scale is readily available on the PUSD website.

By the way, according to CNN, 11% of the people they polled have "given money to the Tea Party movement, attended a rally or meeting associated with the Tea Party movement, or took "other active steps to support the Tea Party movement, either in person or on the Internet". Perhaps you meant 11% instead of 1%? Web Link

According to Rassmussen, 51% of Americans have a favorable view of tea parties and 33% have an unfavorable view. So you are in the minority on that issue. Web Link

Perhaps you should stop getting your news from Keith Olbermann.

Let me summarize my points in a way that is easy to understand:
- I love (most) teachers. 2 of my grandparents were teachers. My grandmother was a school lunch lady. My dad was a college professor. Both of my sister are currently teachers (one in elementary school, one in middle school). I volunteer in the schools on a regular basis. I daresay my kids' good teachers would say I'm a very supportive parent. Their bad teachers most likely would not agree.
- I have in the past and will continue to fight to the bitter end to keep my children out of bad teachers' classrooms. It would be really, really nice if there was a way to get rid of the bad teachers, but because of the union, that is rarely possible.
- I don't think most teachers or union officials would allow their children to be in the problem teachers' classrooms. Yet their union votes result in other people's children having to be in those very classrooms.
- I KNOW teachers have made sacrifices. So have students. So has just about everyone I know. We all deal with it. So should you.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm

To "Observation":

I'm definitely talking about Pleasanton. And I keep saying that there aren't a lot of bad teachers, but if your child has a bad one, all the good ones don't make up for it. It can ruin their attitude about school and put them behind for several more years, especially in a subject like math.

My personal experience:
My daughter had a math teacher in middle school who didn't know math. She would put up an overhead from the textbook, read it to the students, and then expect them to understand. They frequently had questions that she couldn't answer, so this teacher would go to another teacher and to have it explained to her. (My daughter had previously had the other teacher, who is amazing, and saw her do this many times.) There were times the teacher would teach something wrong. My daughter would occasionally correct her, so the teacher had a personal vendetta against my daughter. This is the only teacher who has ever given my daughter a referral to the principal. When she went to the principal, who knows what kind of student she is, he told her not to worry about it and sent her back to class. I talked to multiple parents and students to make sure my daughter's represention was accurate, and heard the same story over and over.

I now recommend to all my friends whose children get that teacher to insist on a change, and most of them take my advice.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:04 am

To "You are wrong":

Your reference to "reading comprehension" makes me think that you are responding to "Pleasanton Parent's" response to "Really?", which was clearly stated in the post.

So who has problems with reading comprehension?

Oh, and your criticism of me for posting anonymously is quite hypocritical, since you do the same thing.

I sincerely hope you are not a PUSD teacher.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:06 am

To Pleasanton Parent:

Very well stated. Have you ever thought of running for the school board?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2010 at 7:15 am

"My daughter had a math teacher in middle school who didn't know math."

That's because there is a severe lack of people to teach HS/MS math and science. Why? Because people who are good at those subject usually do not go into teaching because there are many more higher paying alternatives.

I'm not sure how lowering teachers salaries is going to help attract more and better teachers. It doesn't work really well in the private sector (Please come work for our company, we promise to pay you much less than you are making now).

And as another poster said, if your only criteria for voting for anybody is that they are not endorsed by such and such group, then we certainly have bigger problems.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

Good comments from the community. Linking back to the topic then...
Where do the candidates stand on:
- Negotiating changes to the teachers union contract to better enable the firing of poor performing staff?
- Providing merit pay for excellent teachers?
- Using the $3M in federal funds to restore middle/high school student-staff ratios, 7 period day, and performing arts sections? (That is, before restoring the furlough days)


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

Me Too:

If the school *had* to hire a teacher who was not qualified to teach, that teacher should not be given tenure, and as soon as a better teacher is available, the bad one should be gone. This teacher has been around for many, many years. I have a hard time believing they couldn't find someone better during that time, especially in today's job environment. But the union prevents such rational behavior.

This was middle school standard math. I haven't had a math class for decades, but I could do a better job teaching that class than the teacher did. In fact, when my daughter didn't understand something, I would read the chapter then explain it to her. She often remarked "Why couldn't the teacher explain it that way? This is easy."

By the way, my sister is a math teacher in a middle school in another state for at-risk children. She didn't have a teaching credential when she started teaching, but her kids' test scores improved more than any other teacher because despite the lack of credential, she knows how to teach. What happened when they had layoffs? She was the first to go because she was the newest. Didn't matter that she was the best. Because she was so good, another school picked her up the second they had an opening, and she is still there.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2010 at 8:36 am

Educated - The school could have easily gotten rid of the teacher in the first two years. If this school is not doing this, why is it the unions fault? The school does not have to give any reason to not ask a teacher to return in the first 2 years. While it may surprise you, I have seen it done.

But really my post wasn't about getting rid of teachers, it was about the lack of qualified teachers. You seem to have some teaching abiilities, why don't you become a math teacher?


Posted by observation, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

" This teacher has been around for many, many years. I have a hard time believing they couldn't find someone better during that time, especially in today's job environment"

Finding someone good in math and hard sciences in today's environment is quite hard. Finding someone who can teach math well is even harder. We have a number of openings available in my group at my company in software engineering and electronics engineering. Excellent skills math and science are required. Our starting salaries are far higher than those that Pleasanton teachers get and include benefits like stock options, ESPP, and many others. Look around at Oracle, Apple, Cisco, and many other local companies and you get the same story. It would be great if we could pay math teachers a lot more.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

I'm assuming, someone correct me if I'm wrong, that salaries are not based on subject taught?

I.e. everything I've read regarding compensation seems to be based on years of service (with some additional qualifiers that allow for S&C bumps, again, not adjusted for subject matter or need though).

Would the union (does it) allow for subject based compensation? If the market demand is there for better math and science teachers, but is flooded with English teachers does current compensation plan match the supply/demand? If not, this is one area that should be adjusted.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Sandy Piderit is the Parliamentarian for Pleasanton PTA Council. So, she is aligned with that group.
She supported the parcel tax, as did the other candidates.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Pleasanton Parent - you are correct. The salary is based on years of service (and higher education credits) and not by subject taught. So the whole supply and demand for the challenging subjects goes out the window.

I don't know what the union would say, but I can guess they would not be for it but it would be an interesting discussion. The biggest hurdle again would be that there is no more money, so for a teacher of one subject to make more money would require some other teacher to take a pay cut which I'm sure the union would be against.


Posted by ca94566, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm

We no longer have children in school, but I donate supplies for the kids every year.
Id still like to know why there are so many Superintendents? AND making so much money? The school system is TOP heavy!

Pleasanton Superintendent of schools(how many cities)
State Superintendent of Public instruction
County Superintendent of Schools(how many counties)

ps
Good idea of pay, based on the subject taught.


Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:40 am

I think it's hilarious that Yet Another Teacher is threatening us saying the union is going to start "pushing back." Please. Are you that naive, or just endowed with an extraordinary amount of gall? Your type has been pushing us for some time now. We're the ones pushing back [removed]! You think you're sweet little Pleasanton unions are so innocent? Fine, live in your daydream. Just try and be more militant. You'll be doing people like me a favor... Punk!


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 30, 2010 at 9:06 am

I believe this tells us what we need to know:
Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

STEM is an acronym for "science, technology, engineering and mathematics". It's just a fancy way of saying we need teachers who are knowledgeable in these subjects. American business needs job candidates who are knowledgeable in these fields and they increasingly hire foreign nationals with these qualifications because Americans are no longer qualifying. Maybe that's an opportunity for the idea of "adjunct" teachers again, have American businesses allow their employees to teach these subjects if the subjects are so important to American business. It was tried by Bush but quickly shot down.


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