Measure E. Why so much negativity toward teachers? Schools & Kids, posted by New to town, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:58 am
We recently relocated to Pleasanton because we were impressed with the quality of the schools (on paper). My kids are in middle and high school now and I have had nothing but exceptional experiences with the staff at the schools (HP and Amador Valley). I don't expect perfection and some of my kids teachers are better than others but as a whole my kids are getting a far superior education than they would have in my previous town.
I know that some people are fundamentally opposed to paying more taxes and I respect that. What is shocking and saddening to me as a newcomer to this debate is that people who don't want to pay an increase in taxes are choosing to attack and belittle hard working people who have decided to do the very hard job of educating OUR kids.
Also strange to me is the fact that we pay very little per pupil to receive a high quality education. You can't get a mediocre "private" (religious) school education for the price we pay per student.
A high quality private school is upwards of 30K per year.(The Harker School in San Jose) The thing I loved about Pleasanton and the thing I love in general about public education is that it is available to all persons regardless of income.
The economy is not in a good place. Times are tough for all and if you don't want to pay the parcel tax then don't vote for it. I would like to call for a stop to the negativity, vitriol, hatred and demonizing of the staff members. I would expect that the educated people of this town could come up with a more productive way to debate idealogical differences.
This very ugly and public battle is teaching my kids a lot. I'm just not sure that this is what I moved here for them to learn.
Posted by taxpayer, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Many of us have no beef with the teachers per se, but we want the truth to be out about the parcel tax.
It will not pay for S & C raises -- period! This tax will not reduce class size, it will not keep new teachers, it will pay for the raises of tenured teachers, many of whom really need to be culled from the system. In view of the economy the teachers need to freeze (or eliminate) S & C raises. Our teachers are paid one of the highest median salaries in the country, yet they will not give up even a single year of raises. They insist on a parcel tax that is falsely being advertised as "saving programs" in the PUSD. It will not.
The young man who called me last night pushing measure E got more than he bargained for I think. He insisted that "no one will get any raises" and I demanded that he explain when the S & C had been suspended. He went on to read from a statement that had more lies and mis-directions that I insisted that he correct. He finally just asked me to please vote yes and I asked how he could possibly ask that based on the lies that he had been telling me.
Anyhow, NO ON MEASURE E, NO MORE RAISES FOR TEACHERS. This measure will not pay for enything else.
Posted by Another Taxpayer, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm
I think that "New to town" brings us an interesting perspective in this argument. I also think he/she hit the nail on the head. There are people in this town who will not pay taxes for anything. Anything. Regardless of what they get in return.
Thanks to the no on E campaign I have familiarized myself with the step and column chart. It's not nearly as outrageous as I was led to believe. It's fair. Fair and predictable compensation. If I need to pay $98 a year (most of us lose that much in the laundry) to maintain people (PEOPLE = PROGRAMS) then I will do so.
Like "New to town" I think you have the right to vote against the tax if you don't want to pay it.
Personally I don't care if the money is used to pay "raises". Teachers continue to make concessions to be in the profession. It's not exactly glamorous. We have SOME OF THE BEST TEACHERS IN THIS STATE.
$98 per year - even in this bad economy - seems like a small price to pay to keep them and even reward them for their superior performance.
Posted by b, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm
There are a few short-sighted people who seem to think the solution is to hire the teachers who will accept the lowest possible salary and benefits. No consideration of the consequences of such actions.
Yes, MANY people pay a premium to live here, thanks to the quality of the schools and other community resources. Premium services come at a premium cost.
Posted by optimistic mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm
New to Town,
I understand exactly where you are coming from. Opposition to the parcel tax can be explained without resorting to the argument that many of the tenured teachers "need to be culled from the system".
I respect Pleasanton's teachers, and the principals who work with them to ensure that our community's children receive a high-quality education. No teacher is perfect, but I have not met a principal yet in Pleasanton who is not willing to listen to a parent's concerns and follow up on them.
We can also disagree without calling each other names. I understand that some people oppose step-and-column increases and will vote against measure E for that reason. I also understand that revenues from state taxes have dropped significantly, and passing measure E is one way for Pleasanton to minimize the impact of the economic downturn on our schools.
I join you in your call to end the vitriol. We can disagree about ideas, and debate the issues thoughtfully -- let's continue to do that, respectfully.
Posted by Reality, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm
We have many great teachers in Pleasanton. If we want to keep them paying them a good salary needs to happen. If we want to erode the attitude of excellence and erode the morale then we can keep fighting about a tiny parcel tax.
Posted by Mary, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm
New to Town,
Thank you so much for the post! My kids are in elementary school, and one will soon be in middle school. I agree with what you say completely. In fact, I'm getting involved with the Yes on E effort personally and will be donating (I already donate to the schools). I am very happy with the teachers here and if anyone deserves a raise in my opinion, they do. I have looked at the step and column numbers also and I think it is very reasonable. It also appears that column increases are not automatic, but teachers must complete continuing education requirements to get them.
Thanks again for bringing this perspective to these forums and good luck. We all love our kids and want what's best for them.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
There are different reasons for different people to oppose a parcel tax. Some of them are...
- A belief that the district needs to get its costs under better control before asking the public to raise a new tax during a poor economy.
- They don't like the way the tax was written. Turning it down means that they didn't agree with that specific proposal, not that the person doesn't want to fund education. Maybe the term of the tax is too long or the language is too vague. A no vote on Prop. 8 didn't mean the voter hates marriage.
- A lack of trust of the district. There's a history there that newcomers are not aware of. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Can't fault people for not wanting to be fooled twice.
- Ideology. Some people just don't like the idea of paying taxes. It's like the removal of collective bargaining in Wisconsin had little to do with the practicality of solving the budget crisis. It is a mistake to lump everyone into that ideological box though just as it is a mistake to attack all teachers because of the behavior of one teacher.
Posted by long time parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm
I don't think people have a problem with teachers, or at least most teachers. The problem is with the union and tenure. If we could get rid of the bad teachers that would be good but the union will support a teacher, no matter how bad they are. I think all of us who have had students go through the school system, or still do, can say that most of the teachers they had were very good. However, everybody can tell you of a bad teacher. If you try to transfer you kid out of that class, the principal will make it real difficult and tell you to stick with the teacher as it will get better; but it never does. The principal then says the same thing to parents the next year, on the same teacher. Now your kid who was unlucky to be in that teacher's class is stuck there a full year and it makes it very difficult in the subsequent years because the kids did not get the education they should have in that class. From what I have heard from parents, math is our weakest link in Pleasanton. There are some math teachers who have been in the district for a long time and should not be. Their kids will struggle in subsequent years because they have not received the base knowledge they need to continue.
But on the parcel tax, I think most of those who disagree with the tax have nothing against the teachers; in fact probably support the teachers. They have a problem with longevity raises going out automatically when there are no funds from the state. The district is asking the local taxpayer to pay for the raises in the form of a parcel tax. But even Stacey has posted that this parcel tax is not even enough for the raises during the 4 year term of the tax. So unless the State dramatically improves, we will be firing teachers every year so that some of the teachers can get their longevity raises. During the 4 years of the parcel tax, the district expects to spend $15,000,000 in step and column raises. That means we keep firing the "newer" teachers. In a few years from now, we will probably only have teachers at the high end of the salary scale of $98,000/year. Every other teacher would have been fired to pay for the raises for the teachers to get to the $98,000/year salary.
Posted by Old to the town, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm
New to town brings up a valid point. There is a lot of negativity toward the teachers and toward the system of compensation that has been in place for some time now.
Stacey points out why people oppose the tax which is kind of her to do but I think most of us know why people oppose the tax. We just don't understand the negativity from the opposition.
I have lived here all of my life and until very recently we have been a town that is very supportive of our educators. I believe this played a key role in the success of our schools. The teachers were well compensated and they had a supportive public.
There are some problems with tenure and some problems with teachers that need some help improving. I am not sure how pulling money from the system as a whole is going to help those problems. I think that lack of funding will exacerbate those problems.
I would love to know what the people who are passionate about reforming the tenure system in public schools have constructively done to get that reform started? I do agree it's necessary but I am not willing to do much to reform the system. I guess some people feel like they are contributing to reform by making sure the school system is in financial turmoil.
The schools need the money to continue to provide amazing services. Taking money will not solve any of the problems with tenure or the union or bad teachers. Those will be solved by people who have ideas getting involved.
If I had a crystal ball I bet I could look into the future 10 years and see a decline in public schools here in Pleasanton. And what a shame that would be. We used to be the example of how to do it right for so many other districts.
Posted by Grateful dad, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm
Attn New to town: Like anything, you have to sift through the garbage and only read the intellectual comments. The same losers who have nothing good to say about the teachers are the same ones who have a negative comment about everything. My kids are thriving as a result of these schools and Iíve never met another parent who didnít have high regards for these teachers and administrators. Just ignore the negativity as I do. They arenít worth your time.
Posted by b, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm
Stacey said: "Some people just don't like the idea of paying taxes."
Yes, that seems to be the new American way. Everyone wants something for nothing. Perfectly happy to live in this city and enjoy all the benefits, but not willing to pay the price.
Central Oakland has schools and teachers, too. You can buy a house for half as much, pay half the property taxes, no parcel taxes, and their teachers even work for less money! You anti-tax people should check it out.
Posted by To optimistic mom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm
"Talk with Joan Buchanan or Mary Hayashi or Ellen Corbett.
Hiding behind a science fiction character to call teachers liars? Truly cowardly."
Want to talk about cowardly? Last year when the State Assembly had a vote on whether to make changes in California Education System so we can receive Federal Funding, our "education representative" Joan Buchanan abstained from that vote. Talking with her will get you nowhere.
Posted by My Theory, a resident of the Avignon neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Here's my theory:
There is WAY more support for teachers in towns such as Piedmont and Lafayette, mainly because it's what I call old money. Many residents grew up in communities similar to the one that they are raising their kids. They gladly will vote for a parcel tax if it means quality education. Look up what people pay in Piedmont. They would laugh hysterically that some Pleasanton residents are having a hard time "morally" with $98.
Pleasanton, Danville, and San Ramon tend to be new money, or people who are new to growing up in an upper middle class area. There is a sense of entitlement as a result and many people view public servants as beneath them. That is why you will see comments on here such as "I pay for their salary", when in reality little money that they pay in taxes goes towards teacher salaries.
This is my opinion and I know some will rip me to shreds, but I really think it's true. The sense of entitlement in this town is absolutely disgusting and it is working its way down to some of our children.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm
"Yes, that seems to be the new American way. Everyone wants something for nothing. Perfectly happy to live in this city and enjoy all the benefits, but not willing to pay the price."
Hmmmm, close to the highest overall taxes in the country and plenty of extra for school bonds, school donations and more and you call that "nothing". I wonder what you consider paying the price. And in theory I'm on your side for this one . . .
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm
I grew up in an "old money" neighborhood (not in CA) and yes, people can be very generous with both time and money. But they also need to know the money will be well administered and well spent. There's a place for both sides of the debate about what the parcel tax will be spent on. And we've seen in the past 10 years what can happen if you don't keep an eye on how public money is spent.
But I don't think that it should involve bad mouthing the teachers who are excellent in this district from my experience, did not cause this problem and did an awful lot to help keep programs going last year.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm
"There is WAY more support for teachers in towns such as Piedmont and Lafayette, mainly because it's what I call old money. "
Well, San Ramon is new money and voted for a parcel tax. Cupertino is new money and voted for a parcel tax. I am not sure I agree with your theory. In fact, the people who are pushing the most for this measure E are what you call "new to upper middle class" people.
I grew up in an "old money" family and area. People do not get to be wealthy by spending money foolishly. Yes, throwing money at the problem is done a lot but to a point. Smart individuals will recognize the need for change before the problem gets to be so big that the solution is difficult.
One of the problems in Pleasanton is that we have a lot of people living beyond their means, they have gone through foreclosure (and that includes a board member), and that needs to change.
It is one thing to mismanage personal finances, that is a personal choice, but when you are talking about managing public funds, you need to be fiscally responsible.
There is nothing against the teachers. I think people are just demanding better financial decisions, and honesly, what will 98 dollars accomplish?
Posted by KT, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 9:21 am
My Theory, I'm so glad you posted your thoughts. I couldn't agree more! Lafayette is a wonderful district with extremely supportive parents, and some of the highest test scores in the state. The community has a true 'spirit' of civic awareness! If some of the 'entitled' P-town residents would actually leave their little 'bubble', they might see how more successful communities are able to thrive despite the economic meltdown.
Posted by I agree!, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 11:35 am
I have to say that I agree with another teacher. I am convinced that the tea party and the patriots who love America are just pushing the propaganda onto the masses for the distinct purpose of keeping the poor in their place. The gap between the rich and the poor in this country is widening and tax breaks for the wealthy have not trickled down to the poor. And wake up people the middle class is the new poor. The last stronghold is public education but not just in terms of organized labour but it is a way that people who were not born into wealth can move in society. The puppetmasters of the tea party and politicians of the like have a vested interest in keeping the majority of this country with just enough money to buy crap from the companies.
We are all being taken for a ride by these so called America loving patriots. Don't you notice how their evangelists tend to get extremely wealthy off of the idiots while hawking their message? Of course they want to privatize education because then they can decide who is worthy. And if you are brown or gay you can count your self out of being part of the New America.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm
"I am convinced that the tea party and the patriots who love America are just pushing the propaganda onto the masses for the distinct purpose of keeping the poor in their place"
Well, I just looked at what is being cut in the state budget, which is not being controlled by the tea party at last check, and it is mainly things that affect the poor, children and elderly and very little to contain the waste and inefficiency of goverment.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
My husband does not work in the educational industry and this lie from YAT has become a source of humor. He happens to be a past member of a union; even found his union card while going through some papers recently.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
YAT has printed this lie about my husband numerous times on this website and has yet to provide any evidence proving it. YAT has the burden of proof. So, where is it? I'm just as curious as everyone else on who this person is that YAT thinks I am.
Posted by concerned, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm
I am concerned that we have these teachers posting here and saying all the problems are because of the tea party. These are the people who are teaching our kids. I am not a tea part member. I am not a republican. I am a concerned resident and taxpayer that sees that our current methods in government are leaving such a mess for our kids. We have unsustainable financial packages with giving raises automatically, even if there is no money. We have the same agencies that are not paying their complete liabilities and charging things for our kids to pay for. Raising taxes and raising liabilities is a disaster. The longer we keep our heads in the sand, the bigger our problem will be.
It seems now that if a taxpayer speaks up with concerns with government spending, that person is labeled as a union hater or a tea party member.
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm
YAK is just junk and a troll at that. Just an example of the type of person we have hired to teach our children and maybe not even a teacher but rather a librarian. I hope he and other teachers continue to post here because the more they do the more no votes which are generated against "E". Are these the types of people we want to give raises to? Not my hardearned money.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm
Concerned, I agree. I've voted for democrats all my life, voted for Obama, but am now more independent. But the number of times I've been called a tea party member here is starting to mount up!
And I do agree with the tea party on the fiscal responsibility side as well as the desire to get some new people elected, so maybe they have a point! Though I also think that the banks got and are still getting away with murder, the wealth gap in the US is crazy and unsustainable, public sector retirements with defined benefits at 50 or 55 are too and that the wealthy should be taxed more . . . so who knows . . .
I do support the parcel tax, but I think people have the right to ask how this money will be used over the four years (going beyond the general language being used right now).
There are some difficult issues facing us, and I know we can't resolve them all all at once. But I do think we should be allowed to have this dialogue without people saying that anyone who dares to question anything is a right wing nutcase or left wing loonie. Like many political issues here, there seems to be a wall and you have to stand on one side of it only. I'm not sure that is healthy.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Another no vote here. I take offense to teachers' and other yes on E proponents calling E opponents "teacher bashers, education haters, children haters, etc" furthermore I take offense to any pay increases when student programs are being cut. The same group of people claiming to want to protect education are those influencing program cuts over compensation changes. I'm sorry, I don't buy it, if you really want to save education I'm on board, but not when the tax just helps crutch a broken system that itself doesn't prioritize education.
Bring on the non-union charter schools. I'll gladly pay.
Posted by To Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Apperson Ridge neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm
Send your kids to a charter school in Pleasanton then. Oh wait, we don't have any. That's because are schools are so amazing that a charter school would never survive.
I saw a wonderful bumper sticker on a car the other day. It said something like "To those of you concerned about the direction our country is going - Where were you when Bush was president?". So true. It's hilarious when people on this site claim to have voted for Obama and then say they are concerned about the direction this country is going. You should have been worried 2 months after 9/11. Shame on you for being so passive aggressive!
Posted by athlete's foot henry, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:23 am
As soon as I saw the very first post saying Yes on E, I took offense. I was for E until I saw some E supporter criticize a No on E. That was it. It got my dander up. I'm not a Repubican. And I'm not a Tea Party activist neither. You might call me a fascist. But at least I'm not a DEMON-ocrat. Ha-Ha. Get it?
The last thing we should be worried about is improving our schools, our society. No, we need to tear down goverment and the teachers. C'mon people, let's stop progress dead in its tracks. Set back the clock to the good old days.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 10:05 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Since when is ever-increasing taxes considered "progress"? We do need to be improving our schools through thoughtful reform that is both practical, improves organizational efficiency, and invests limited resources where they are needed the most, in programs that have the most effect. Once that is identified, then we invest in that. Where is it that Measure E guarantees funding for reading specialists so that we don't have to worry about reading specialists being on the cut-list for the next four years?
Posted by Hoppy, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 10:33 am
I went to Amador in the late 60's and I had 4 kids graduate and I can tell you the quality of education certainly has gotten worse. Each one of my kids got a shorter and shorter end of the stick and you could see that the schools moved away from the fundamentals at the expense of the kids. Money is not the issue. Teachers make to much as it is for what they do and what level they perform to.
Posted by Upright citizen, a resident of the Avignon neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 11:01 am
Stacey's right, we've been Taxed Enough Already! Her claim of "ever-increasing taxes" is 100% true once we exclude all those years of tax cuts that have helped build an enormous deficit for our ourselves and our children.
I'm also glad to see Hoppy's contribution to Stacey's argument--what a team! He's right, though--if you look at the records, our schools are performing much worse now than they were back in the day in EVERY important metric! Hoppy, what do you think has been the main factor in bringing our school system down since, oh...1955?
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Teachers must teach to state standards on pacing guides inside of culturally and educationally diverse classrooms. Must easier to shoot the messanger, than bureaucratic agencies, like the state and federal departments of education who have screwed education up, beyond belief.
Posted by emotionless, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm
It's too bad school financing issues become us vs. them emotional arguments. Unfortunately, the way government agencies have salaries structured (steps) it will necessarily cost more EACH and EVERY year to run ANY government agency. During years of revenue increase, this works ok, but there is no plan for if revenue decreases. The only options are to try and increase revenues (aka a tax) or cut programs. If funding was structured in a different manner, these "drama-filled options" (which will be annual occurrences over the next few years), could be eliminated.
It's not personal (it shouldn't be) it's not emotional, it is simply a flawed economic model. I see what the problem is and I don't *hate* anyone...
Posted by Observer, a resident of the California Somerset neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm
I have to agree with emotionless on the step and column thing. Education is not the only area of the government to use that system of compensation. However I do think that because teachers are so visible and the public gets to know them so personally that it is super easy to make them targets of anger. Over the years your kids are bound to have a few rotten teachers (not that this is okay but it's like that in any job - no profession can escape the lazy slugs who don't want to do their job and don't tell me they all get fired in the real world, because they don't) and it's easy to remember the rotten teachers because of the hardships they can cause with our kids. No doubt about it a bad teacher can damage a child's educational experience. That said it seems we need to work to support the teachers who need help and to really applaud those who are doing a great job because it is an incredibly difficult job to do right. It's not like a lot of people are going into teaching, that needs to tell us something about the reality of the job. When high tech was booming everybody who could breathe was getting into it. Why? There were major financial rewards. There will never be major financial rewards with teaching but it needs to be a respected job that provides stability and support for the people doing it. The better off they are the better off our kids are. We don't need to pay teachers ridiculous amounts but we need to compensate them fairly. We should be working with the district to get rid of step and column because it is not sustainable and we should work to support and respect the teachers through that transition.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I didn't say we're Taxed Enough Already. I said that progress is not equated with passing new taxes. It doesn't matter if taxes were higher in the past. What matters is how the money is spent. Measure E does not ensure that we won't be laying off reading specialists by this time next year.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:16 am
As far as I can tell, the NO voters are uniformly against such things as teacher raises, teacher unions, high teacher morale. What the NO voters seem most intent on doing is sparing themselves an unwanted parcel tax. What is conspicuously lacking on these posts is any cluster of teachers' voices who are against the parcel tax. (Now, having written this, I'm virtually certain a couple of honkers will pose as teachers and claim they are against the parcel tax. Need I stress that their efforts will be readily transparent?)
If NO is the right way to go, then I would think teachers would be smart enough to realize such and support NO. But they either are not smart enough, or they're too self-interested, or they're too corrupt. I don't believe they are any of the above. I know many of them, and they are bright, devoted to their students, and by no means corrupt. The teachers' voices are consistently saying YES to the parcel. I would think they are truly worth listening to.
In contrast, many of the NO posters seem to have an axe to grind. The mere mention of S and C, or unions, or teacher raises sets them to grinding their teeth (my hunch: they are in the grip of an outdated ideology of possessive individualism, and hence there is no way in the world teachers are ever going to please them). Others seem comfortable working with abstractions -- lots of sterile numbers -- but with an apparent inability to grasp the specifics of real human educational needs (e.g., teacher morale and how it relates to a positive learning environment). And others still are simply mired in ignorance and hatred, probably because they had bad educational experiences when they were young. The only suggestions all these NO posters seem to offer are negative: take away S and C, do away with unions, reduce teacher salaries. Or, a variant: become more like South Carolina, or Idaho, or Clovis, CA, which is to say, take away S and C, do away with unions, reduce teacher salaries. Too bad all that negative energy couldn't be put to more positive uses: How might the community further assist our overworked teachers? This would entail asking teachers for advice. One piece of advice being consistently offered by teachers is that the Parcel Tax, though not a perfect cure-all, would be a positive step forward. I bet they'd also have other ways to enlist positive community support.
Posted by why the negativity?, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:13 am
Gee, I wonder why posters make negative comments about some teachers. Just search for "Yet Another Teacher" on this forum and then ask yourself why he/she/it is one of those protected and tenured teachers who get S & C raises at our expense. Sure there are some good teachers but the really bad ones are tenured and protected forever. Until tenure is abolished and S & C frozen I will vote NO on any parcel tax. I refuse to give raises to people who will not accept the reality of the economy.
Now YAT, before you spout lies about me as you consistently do about Stacey, consider the fact that you are the best example of why we need to vote NO. You and your ilk are the reason that tenure needs to be changed. On second thought, maybe you should keep posting your rants, those few undecided voters can get an idea of the kind of people who will be getting more raises with this parcel tax. It will pay for nothing other than S & C and the election the first year. The tax will not even cover the cost of raises in the second year.
Posted by Mary, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:47 am
To why the negativity,
Teachers in Pleasanton range from good to excellent in my opinion. I have had both of my children in Pleasanton school for years now and have been very happy. We moved to Pleasanton for the schools and are very pleased indeed. My children's teachers have worked very hard to give my children a great education. If anyone deserves a raise, they do. I will vote yes on E, and I hope that you change your mind.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:02 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Pointing out the effect that unions have on public employment does not equate to union-busting just as voting no on Prop. 8 does not mean a voter is out to destroy marriage just as voting no on E does not mean that one is anti-teacher, anti-union, or anti-education. Voting no on PP didn't mean that one was against protecting the hills from development. Voting no on Oak Grove, which would have brought some extra funding to Pleasanton's schools, didn't mean that one was against public education. California has plenty of examples to draw from of poorly implemented law because voters bought the propaganda from the special interest that wanted voters to draw such conclusions.
I am not voting no on E because of teachers like YAT. It would be a mistake to consider that all teachers are like YAT just from YAT's poor example just as it is a mistake to believe all those against E are tea party members or anti-education. I have been clear about why I am voting no. It is a regressive tax because it isn't based on square footage and it just will end up going to fund automatic raises instead of saving teaching jobs because it does not guarantee funding for specified programs. We'll be back here in another year or two looking at another parcel tax because the structural issues were not dealt with today. That's why the budget crunch is even worse this year than it was in 2008/2009. The can was kicked down the road.
When we want to be honest, we'd acknowledge that we'd need a $188 parcel tax to fund the current labor cost structure for the next four years in light of lack of COLA from the State instead of playing games about saving programs and shuffling money.
Posted by b, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:24 am
Stacey, LOL at your little tiff with YAT. Every time I post in one of these threads, someone accuses me of being a union rep, which couldn't be further from the truth. And yet, those comments don't get censored as innuendo or unsubstantiated facts.
Additionally, the last pension thread got shut down with th same accusations from th moderator, after I brought Bart's own very-early retirement to light in the thread. I very clearly stated that his employment history is easily accessible onthr Internet.
I'm very sorry to see the moderators taking sides on these important discussions, and trying to shape the conversation by selectively moderating comments from one side, while continuing to allow ridiculous accusations and misleading commentary from the other side.
Posted by Mary, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:37 am
How do you know this person is even a teacher? Anyone could pretend to be anything here. You would base your vote on this important issue on someone who might just be pretending? My children's teachers have been good to excellent. I don't care about square footage and my house is not that big.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:45 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I wrote that I would NOT base my vote on YAT. And you're exactly right that the person may not even be a teacher. I've questioned that myself too in a past thread. They claim to be a teacher. That's all.
Yea, I noticed you getting accused of that. I don't believe you are. It is too easy to make assumptions about other posters and basing an argument on those assumptions actually weakens it.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:52 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
PP is a perfect example of what happens when voters pass something that doesn't accomplish everything on their wishlist. Voters thought they were voting to protect hilltops in the southeast hills from being built on with large homes. What they actually voted for was the idea of 10 homes on hilltops. The Council will probably have very little discretion to block 10 homes on hilltops now.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 10:07 am
"The Council will probably have very little discretion to block 10 homes on hilltops now."
yeah, and Ayala et al were saying they did not want the 51 mansions on the hills. Now they will have 10 even bigger homes up there, and there is nothing they can do about it. The land belongs to the Lins, not to Ayala et al.
Most people who joined Ayala had no idea what they were voting for, it was all emotional and they did not understand the facts.
People who are promoting E and will vote yes on it do not seem to understand what is going on. They refuse to think in a logical way and they do not realize that next year, E funds will not even be enough to cover the raises they are so in favor of. Sad!
Oh yeah: Arkin was against the Oak Grove project, and now is for measure E, not surprised!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:20 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Teacher morale is important and so is tax morale, a complex concept of taxpayers feeling a moral duty to pay taxes that is affected, among other things, by the confidence they have in how the money is being spent. Both issues are leadership problems.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:35 am
Sorry, Stacey's 'tax morale'. That's better still! Let's everyone sing an ode to Stacey's 'tax morale'. Again, no sense of proportion; simply locked into to a position with little grasp of the realities of teaching and administration.
Posted by Jerry, a resident of the Apperson Ridge neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:51 am
I agree that we should not be blaming the teachers for this. The blame should rest with the PUSD admin and board members who negotiated these unsustainable contracts with the teacher's union. If you look at ed-data, you will see that PUSD offers one of the highest salaries in the state. The average teacher's salary is $82,958 while the statewide average is $67,530. Web Link
Even teachers working in the district of Cupertino make an average of only $69,624. So something is seriously wrong with the negotiators that represent us. While I think teachers should be given a generous compensation for all the great things they do, that by no means suggest that we should pay significantly higher than other comparable school districts. Something needs to be done with those contracts. Give our teachers a fair salary that is in-line with those of comparable school districts and save our programs.
Posted by Mary, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm
As far as I know, there aren't any other districts comparable to Pleasanton. I can say that from first hand experience, which is even more important than test scores, but we've got great test scores too! I have two kids in the schools and, believe me, I have had experience with other districts. If anyone deserves a raise, it is Pleasanton teachers.
Posted by aye yi yi, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Here we go again. Do we have to again point out differences in teach pay and benefits across communities, how some get health benefits others don't? Or is Jerry simply being disingenuous -- i.e., intentionally dumb?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I didn't say that tax morale is more important than teacher morale. Gosh, I'd be frustrated too if I had such a hard time with reading comprehension of what other posters wrote.
Tax morale and employee morale are equally important as leadership problems of public agencies as both must be balanced in proportion to each other. If both employee and taxpayer are feeling that their concerns are not adequately addressed by leadership, both will have low morale. Right now Californians are feeling pretty low in the tax morale department and we're witnessing the effect of that.
"why the negativity?" wrote to YAT "consider the fact that you are the best example of why we need to vote NO". I'm not claiming anything about other posters that they didn't write themselves.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm
Oh, I see. That's really a lot clearer now. 'Tax morale' isn't MORE important than teacher morale; it's EQUALLY important. Because, see, the kids in school feel both about equally. Wouldn't want to attempt to quantify this claim, would you?
Fact is, the bean counters consistently put quantitative claims over human concerns. Why? Likely because they value their own precious tax dollar over the quality of our society. Here, with this rather amazing concept, 'tax morale', is but another conspicuous example. They put forward an 'economic model', which reduces all persons to numbers, because that's how they see themselves, that's how the bean counters see the world. Teachers are viewed as having this level of salary, with these benefits; students are seen as belonging to this statistical category. What's lacking is anything relating to quality. 'Tax morale' is just a fantastic concept, substanceless, just as the bean counters view 'teacher morale' in similar terms. They have no concept of what teachers actually do. Only the dollar signs in front of numbers matter to the bean counters. It's sad, but consistent with the reductionist ideology they attempt to foist upon teachers and students. Bad news.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm
To 'ttJ' - Teachers value their own precious dollar as well. You said before that teachers are in favor of the parcel tax. Why? Because it protects their own financial interests. It reduces their interests to a number, because that's how they make their living. Teachers and their union are preoccupied with their level of salary and benefits. And lack any interest in anything relating to quality like removing poor performing teachers. Only dollar signs in front of numbers matter to these teacher bean counters. It's sad, but consistent with their union ideology they have foisted upon the public.
As for 'negativity', I think it's time to start a positive campaign, like 'Teachers for Taxes!'. And 'Teachers for Tenure!'. Stay positive!
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm
Mish, in the above poorly reasoned and supported Web Link provided by 'Broader Perspective', talks about public employees 'pissing and moaning' about their plight. The only pisser and moaner in evidence is Mish himself.
Mish pisses and moans about the decline in private sector jobs since Bush came into office, and then he pisses and moans about the relative growth of public sector jobs over the same period. Then he pisses and moans about public sector workers pissing and moaning.
Instead of scapegoating public workers, Mish might have tried pissing and moaning about the flight of corporate capital overseas. Instead of insinuating in his little screed that public workers are responsible for the decline in private sector jobs, he might have looked at how many private sector jobs have been first 'downsized' and then outsourced over the past decade. Instead of setting up the false dichotomy between public and private workers, he might have tried analyzing decline of jobs (and income) in the United States in relation to corporate profit. But no, because he's a corporate shill, his emphasis is on hiding the obvious: corporate profit continues to increase; American workers take the hit. The shameful fact is that Broader Perspective offers this screed up as if it actually had something valid to say.
I trust you don't mean to tell me this is bean counter's attempt to quantitatively support the equality of 'tax morale' and teacher morale? Pretty pathetic.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm
Start Afresh, your inability to write coherent sentences is surpassed only by your inability to distinguish an argument from a rant. I've told you before, pal, I will not engage a plate of scrambled eggs. End of story.
(Poor scrambled eggs is unable to grasp the concept that people can and do often take positions that run counter to their own self interest. Why is eggs incapable of grasping such? Because eggs can't and doesn't himself ever take a position that runs counter to his own self interest; consider this both a cognitive and moral failing on his part, linked to a poor education. He's an excellent example of why Pleasanton needs to maintain high educational standards. Protect our kids from these kinds of cognitive and moral deficit: Vote Yes on Measure E.)
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I see your ideology getting the better of you, as if "human concerns" are completely unrelated to fiduciary responsibility. I would not ask teachers to work for free just because you have an ideology that believes that money does not matter in the equation. Teachers need to be paid more than they are making now, but that doesn't excuse the locking in of automatic raises during years when there isn't money to pay for it and then cutting programs or passing new taxes to pay for them.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
If you really put "human concerns" above money matters, then you'd agree with me that the salary schedule should have no more than 5 steps because it is in the first few years that a teacher gains the most in experience and that teachers shouldn't have to wait for many years before making the top step. You'd also agree with me that seniority should not be the primary driver in layoff decisions as such layoffs are so damaging to student achievement.
Or you could always live up to your idea of human concerns by giving away your work for free.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm
Well, there it is. Stacey is so discombobulated by the insertion of truly human qualities (e.g., morale of teachers) into her quantitative designs, that all she can do is sputter out the charge that her critics must support working for free -- something I might add, many in education actually do, viz., work for free (e.g., teaching assistants, volunteers, teachers who work overtime without overtime pay and who take money out of their own pockets in order to xerox, bring additional supplies to the classroom, etc.). Obviously, working for free is a bad thing in Stacey's view. I might add here that 'giving away my work for free' is something I do quite often. Doing so does not constitute for me any cognitive-intellectual stretch; nor does it strain my moral sensibilities, at all.
Now, note how Stacey mistakenly (or intentionally?) attributes to me a position that holds that I don't think money is important. (Isn't this rather like the pot calling the kettle? Oh well, let's not go there, because only Stacey is permitted to claim victimhood at the hands of those who misinterpret or miscontrue her often- really often-cited positions.)
What is most revealing, however, is not Stacey's logic-defying leap. She move from a false depiction of my position -- a position which critiques her ideology of reducing humans to statistics, teachers to place-holders of salaries and benefits -- to that of her claiming that I dismiss the importance of money. You see, on Stacey's view, anyone who critiques Stacey's indefatigable tendency to reduce all persons to quantifiable money slots must therefore be against money. No grey area, because Stacey's own cognitive/moral perspective does not permit it. On her view, someone who votes against their own self-interest -- say, on intellectual or moral grounds -- must be some kind of anti-money zealot. She apparently cannot grasp how a taxpayer might view his or her parcel tax contribution as being more important than personal possession of that 35 cents per day. Her shortsightedness is patent; the deficit is real. Her quantitative designs and reasoning are consistently a reflection of such.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
When automatic raises continued while some teachers got laid off and others took a cut in take-home pay via furlough days, when families are at risk of losing their homes due to today's economy and someone suggests raising more taxes on their homes in order to pay for raises, I naturally question the ability of some at identifying what constitutes "human concern".
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm
Little miss shape-shifter changes her tune. Now, she doesn't simply criticize someone who raises human concerns. [Note how she places the term, human concern, in quotation marks, as if to set it off from her own concepts, which she holds to be more valid.] No, now she transforms herself into the great humanitarian who's out to protect the little people from losing their homes. She's funny.
Now she isn't 'Stacey doesn't support the Parcel Tax because she wants one that is larger.' No, now it is 'Stacey doesn't support the Parcel Tax because [some] teachers [despite the help Measure E will provide] may continue to be laid off and/or furloughed; oh, yeah, and folks can't afford it.'
Let's be clear: I haven't seen any post here that recommends that if one cannot afford the 35 cents per day, they should nevertheless vote for the measure. Nor have I seen any proponent of Measure E state that they want teachers to be laid off or furloughed. But Measure E does do a better job of ensuring against this unhappy likelihood than does Stacey's constant banging the drum of doom, backed by silly economic reductionist arguments and data, while calling for the Measure's defeat.
Oh, and what about 'teacher morale' v. um, that all-important category Stacy terms 'tax morale'? Well, that's kind of been dropped from the discussion.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It isn't a shift in tune. It's what I've written about back during Measure G too. I think you use a funny definition of the term "human concern" which is why I place it in quotation marks. I'll use your definition and then highlight where your definition doesn't make sense, such as laying teachers off and raising regressive taxes on others to pay for raises. Don't you want to tax the rich? Then you should agree with me that we should turn down regressive taxation.
And I didn't say I want a higher amount. I've written that I'd prefer more specific language to guarantee that the money is used for what it is intended to be used for and that the amount should be based on square footage so that it is less prone to being regressive. I've also written that if we're going to be funding raises, we should be honest about it. Are you afraid that if we are honest with voters that they will turn down the tax?
Posted by Here we go again!, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm
ttJ; through all your ramblings you've offered nothing more than the same old rhetoric and name-calling that seems to be so prevalant on the pro parcel tax side. You do, almost, admit that you're a socialist but like most of the elitist, socialists that we hear from, I'm guessing you hold your possessions tightly to your chest while calling for others to turn over what they have for "the greater good". Do you take deductions on your taxes...buy items over the Internet and forget to pay the sales tax on April 15th...are you paying extra taxes? I doubt it. I must give you credit though, you've taken the babbling to a new level.
Posted by tippy toes Jack, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm
Fact is, Stacey says many different, contradictory things, all of the time, every day. And I'm certain she'll continue to do so. And, truth be told, I've gotten to a point where I don't care where she stands on an issue, or how many different stances she takes in order to attract attention to yourself. It is the foolish reductionist nature of her arguments that prompts me to respond. The most recent being that 'tax morale' is equal to 'teacher morale', and both (apparently equally) 'being leadership problems', and both (apparently) being equally felt by students. The distinction is nonsense. It is offered with no discernible grasp of what it means to stand in front of a classroom with kids, day in and day out.
Yes, yes, Stacey is for a progressive parcel tax, based on square footage. Ask her about sq. footage calculations and she's in second heaven. Ask her about teachers' practical difficulties that arise from pay-cuts, furloughs, exhaustion from repeatedly having trumped up charges against them alleging that they are against the fine tax payers of Pleasanton, or from trumped up charges against seasoned teachers being pitted 'against' the young and inexperienced, and she's a deer in headlights. She doesn't know education. I hope she goes and knocks herself out attempting to get something akin to a progressive parcel tax passed. The issue on the table right now is Measure E.