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Teachers are not appreciated

Original post made by Bernard, Pheasant Ridge, on Jul 5, 2011

I am amazed at how people are quick to blame teachers for the problems in the state budget , the failing of our education system and the general malaise of the American student. I taught in the public system for many years. As much as I enjoyed teaching and coaching( most of it was inner city). I was not able to support a family on a teachers salary. We are one of the few cultures that do not value our teachers. We overly regulate and under pay our experienced teachers. Talented and creative individuals do not look to teaching as a long term career choice. As a long time resident of Pleasanton I am well aware of how our home values are closely connected with the reputation of our school district.WAKE UP, potential home buyers are aware that Pleasanton residents cannot pass a simple parcel tax whereas San Ramon Unified has passed several. Unless our school district continues to excel our property values will fall. This is a fact. You can stick your head in the ground and act like the problems with our schools will go away - THEY WILL NOT Young people will not choose teaching as a career. We are losing our life blood ( young teachers ) . If you value the future of our country you need to take a stand for public education. Otherwise we will turn into a have and have not society

Comments (77)

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Posted by moreisless
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Teachers are not appreciated is BS

I do not blame teachers for the problems in the state budget, the failing of our education system. But I do blame there union (and others) for a great deal of our state budget problems. My greats fear is that my kids will not have a state of CA to live in. Unless the voters and our so called leaders are willing to stand-up to these unions are state will go broke. As for losing young teachers maybe we should be able to terminate the poor performing teachers and only keep the best. That's right we can not do that because of there union.

The California Federation of Teachers passed a resolution reaffirming their support for Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to death in the 1982 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer during a routine traffic stop.
A few facts
You had numerous eye witnesses seeing him actually kill the cop. He was found at the scene with his gun, registered in his own name, with five expended shells. In addition to all this, you have numerous eye witnesses reporting that he confessed to killing the cop, including one of his sympathizers.

Maybe the California Federation of Teachers should spend more time focused on the education system in the state of CA.

So yes I respect the Teaching profession and vote yes on G. But I have no suspect for there union and fell it's time for the teachers to stand up to there union.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Bernard, I don't think the failed attempts for a parcel tax are a direct link to teachers' salaries (others have been concerned that it would only go to salaries). You could attempt a parcel tax to create a sign on incentive to new teachers or a bonus plan for all teachers--needs to be specific (but I think that's the case for any parcel tax).

As to the dilemma over teacher compensation, many are looking at how to improve pay, of course, but the push/pull is 180ish workdays and/or an expectation of approximately 1080 hours per year (for instance, if the average work year is used at 2080 hours, teachers would need to work 11.5 hrs. per day or 57.5 hrs. a week during the school year--arguably, many do), step and column, tenure . . . those are not small hurdles for those on either side of the debate.


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Posted by money madness
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Recently there was a column that was aghast at the behavior of students at the Foothill graduation. The level of educational value in each student is dropping in all disciplines. Administrators try to keep their salaries par with the "private sector" (avoiding the fact that private sector assumes risk, government workers assume NO risk). IF teachers want more money they should get it from their administrators. If they leveled the management layer as they do in the private sector (meaning get rid of all the unnecessary bosses and bosses of bosses) there would be ample budget to fund teachers. But that takes us back to the unruly kids at graduation. The fact is, even in college, kids spend their time texting and facebooking during lectures (my professor friend at UC Berkeley is aghast at the turn of events). I say you gotta look inside for the problem and the solution.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

last i heard, teachers have been blamed for the shape of the gobi desert...go figure...


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Posted by Calstrs imploding/ management in denial
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I think teachers are much more appreciated than they care to admit. On this same message board teachers were claiming they contributed 8% toward their pensions. That hasn't been true for the past decade. It is only 6% they've been contributing toward their own pension. The other two percent was "diverted" to retiree healthcare benefits they claim they don't receive.

Teachers claim they only receive 2%@60 retirement benefits when they can actually retire at 55. Or they can retiree at 61.5 years of age with a pension multiplier of 2.4%. On top of that they can receive an additional 5k per year for working more than 20 years: a longevity pension bonus on top of the contractual longevity bonus.

Most people wouldn't consider that a big deal because they don't see these costs coming from their paycheck. Those same people WILL consider this a big deal when they understand how much the unfunded pension liability will cost them - directly. And they will certainly understand how this affects education when the true cost of unfunded pension liabilities starts to hit school districts up-and-down-the-state in the form of increased costs and a decreased quality of education.


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Posted by be judged on your merits
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I think good teachers are valued. Of course not all teachers are good teachers, and why would they be valued? Just like anything. Teachers that belong to and financially support a union, are the union. Whatever the union does - is what THEY do. If the union pushes for increased wages/pensions when the private sector is hurting, that's what THEY (teachers) do. If the union values seniority over merit - that's what teachers value. This shouldn't be shocking. How else can it be viewed?

The private sector has a different system in order to remain profitable. When times are tough, they have to reduce spending. And at all times be improving their marketability - which doesn't always jive with the seniority system. That makes no sense to public sector unions - there's always the tax base.

As long as you have that pension, you can just ignore all of those you feel are not valuing you - what does it matter? You can't have your cake and eat it too. You want financial security at taxpayer expense - you seem to have that for now. You want to be valued - then take a risk and be judged on your merits. You can't have both.


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Posted by Great article!
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I absolutely agree with you and thank you for your post! This town is ridiculously conservative and blames the public sector (teachers, police officers, city workers) for the problems in the state. We have banks who received millions of dollars from our government to loan it out and instead, they put it into accounts, collected interest, and then paid back the money. THEY MADE MONEY OFF OF OUR ECONOMIC CRISIS! This is RIDICULOUS!!!

Why in the world this town does not rise up against big business, is beyond me. Actually, I know. Many in this town are in the top levels of big business and the others wish they were and will do anything to please those conservatives (and keep their illusions that they will one day live in Ruby Hill).

It's sad that we blame our teachers. Pathetic, actually. Compared to Piedmont, Moraga, Lafayette, Orinda, San Ramon, Danville, and Walnut Creek, we are an absolute joke.


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Posted by unfunded pension liability
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

You are correct. I do blame public sector unions for the unaffordable pensions. CalPERS & CalSTRS are a big part of the problem. Does that make me a bad person? Should I be embarrased because I pay attention and see that these unfunded liabilities will suffocate the very services that we are paying for, that the monopoly union service providers are now saying isn't enough. When is enough ever going to be enough?

When will you understand that expenses shouldn't grow faster than revenue? And what part of recession doesn't compute in the world of education?


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Posted by be judged on your own merits
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Speak for yourself, Great article! YOU may be a joke, but are also very simplistic. Hmm - we have people in the "top levels of big business" or wanna bes, and the public sector - that's all that exists in Pleasanton according to you. Maybe you should go out and meet your neighbors. There's some hard working folks in this town - many in small businesses - many off-and-on working - many working 7 days a week, 10 hours per day. The worker bees are ####, make no mistake about it. They don't really give a rats you-know-what about the upscale communities you are so worried about as to how we compare - they're just trying to figure out how to keep their head above water and save for retirement at the same time. You should be ashamed.


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Posted by Gil
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 6, 2011 at 6:28 am

As crushingly mediocre as any of my neighbors around me, I have learned, like Judge on Your Own Merits, that the best way to cope in the capitalist corporate system is to kiss up to the wealthy and keep kissing up. Despite the high failure rate of start up companies in the private sector, I'll continue to hold the private sector up as a model. It's part of my whole kiss-up character to do so. And don't call me a toady wannabe. It's my personality to be a kiss up.


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Posted by Gloria
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

It is not the teachers I object to it is the administrator making $150,000 to $250,000. The teachers are worth the money. Although the teachers I know in Pleasanton have second homes and travel extensively. Get a cost of living raises each year. I on the other hand get social security with no cost of living raise in two years. The teachers must also realize who pays their salaries the tax payors. Many of my friends in the private section have got a 17% decrease in salary and have had a raise in there health care costs. So everyone needs to tighten their belts. Just get us to it or stop voting for Demorats. Name me a state run by Republicans that is having the problems California is. And please do not call Swartzenegger a Republican, because he never was. Gloria


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Posted by Ann Rand
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

Government teachers are the problem. Why else are all Pleasanton schools failing? If they spent half the time teaching kids how to read and right that they spent indoctrinating kids on Marxism and all that other self-esteem junk we wouldn't have all the dropouts and failing schools and illiteracy. Privitization seems to be the only fix. The constitution never said anything about government education.


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Posted by Margret
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Most teachers are sitting on the beach with a beer in their hands for the next few months and will retire sometime in their mid 50's. I doubt they are too worried about what we think.


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Posted by Admin & Tenure
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I voted NO for the parcel tax because I do not see a "shared sacrifice" coming from the Administration. It's a Fat Cat world there at the corner of 1st and Bernal. My benefits are being cut right and left, but they will get phone and car benefits? Huh?

And why would anyone go to college to teach when the pipeline is protected with tenure. There's little movement in and out of teaching to let in the new teachers.

The bad teachers stay because they are protected by the union and tenure. So many of them are zombie teachers, doing the same ol' same ol' and essentially retire while on the job.

The young, new inovative teachers struggle to find permanance in a system that does pink slips every March.

The system is WRONG. The system needs to find a way to move out the teachers who are not performing (and that's doesn't necessary need to be tied with scores but with real, real teaching) and give space to those that want to do their best at teaching.

In my company, if you aren't performing, you are gone. If we have a bad year, you don't get a raise. If you go to school on your own time, you don't get to come back and show HR a slip with more credits and automatically get a raise.

Compensation is tied to performance. Teaching should be the same.


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Posted by AnnaS
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Only two simple steps should be done in order for teachers to get back their appreciation and respect:
First - non-unionized teachers must be allowed to teach in public schools;
Second - schools must be allowed to lay off bad or underperforming teachers.


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Posted by learntospell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Seems like a lot of you commenting above could do with going back to school and asking the teachers for help - the grammar and spelling is terrible!!


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Posted by Tea Party Texan
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Hey learntospell,

I rescent that all you can do is hearl bad names at the thoughtful posers who are feddup with the bad teaching thats' going on in this towne. All we are asking is to teach our kids how to read and right good. You need to raze the level of you're discourz.


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Posted by just saying
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Learn to spell:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm

What I find interesting is the AVHS teacher who received recognition as a top teacher had, at last count, a total of 3 'congrats', 'well-deserved', 'thank-you' messages over nearly a two week period and this pathetic diatribe has had 13 posts in the last 24 hours. People seem to have plenty of time and inclination to attack but no time to provide some positive reinforcement and good wishes. Bluntly, and once again, not a nice reflection on, and of, our so called community.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jul 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I don't feel unappreciated by the majority of the Pleasanton community. After all, 65% of voters cast their ballots in favor of parcel taxes to support our schools in the last couple of years.

It's a strident minority--many of them either Tea Party members or sympathizers--who are anti-union, anti-public education, anti-government, anti-everything except big banks and big corporations--who are controlling things.

Let's put it this way: if I ran for Governor and got 65% of the vote, the analysts would say I won in a "landslide".

A parcel tax that gets 65% of the vote is called a "failure".

Meh. I didn't become a teacher to get money or fame, but to provide a service, and I do that. I do feel appreciated by my students and by the parents of my students, and respected by many people in Pleasanton who don't have kids in school, but acknowledge the value of the work that my colleagues and I do.

So a third of Pleasantonians have this far right-wing Ayn Randish agenda. That's their problem, not mine. I say we need to take our elections back and have a requirement that a parcel tax can be passed with a simple majority, the same way we determine all of our other elections.

It's called "democracy" and it works.


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Posted by fred
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I agree with Joe. What a great honor for that Amador teacher to get some press for a job well done. Not is only is that teacher tireless in their work that teacher justs keeps on keeping on. Hooah! Go out and make it happen and quit your whining!


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Posted by lizza
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I agree w/ Fred...quit whining...perhaps yet another teacher can heed the same advice about the parcel tax and other "whines" about tea party, anti public education anti union etc....and other anti-stuff. ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz


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Posted by Blossom
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Jul 7, 2011 at 7:02 am

Ayn Rand was a great thinker who desdained philosophy and instead rote fiction. Instead of banging heads with philosophers she transended all the talk and had fictional characters, accountable to know one, do her talking. Easier to deny accountability for ones words that way. See? Her adoring fans have realized that fiction is more powerful then facts.


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Posted by Rand
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 7:15 am

So Blossom, what is your reaction to the fact that Rand's writings were heavily influenced by the failed state she grew up under (USSR)? In her writings, she was protesting against the universal truth that unproductive people will always look for a way to graft off of productive people and that government left unchecked will become a mechanism for this.

Look at the US. Since the advent of Johnson's great society, government transfer payments have grown from approximately 20% of the federal budget to 100% today. And yet, all people like you clamor for even more transfer of wealth from the productive. It seems you won't be satisified until government can control all the wealth of its citizens.

Isn't your end-point nirvana the same as the failed state of communism?


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Posted by Lynn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 7:47 am

Sigmund Freud, Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas inter alia, experienced life under Nazi Germany or the forces that brought it about. Yet they did not write bad propaganda disguised as 8th grade reading material. Leave it to the Tea Party jihadists to dismiss facts while holding up a bad fiction writer as their intellectual leader. An inability to distinguish liberalism or democratic socialism from the totalitarian Soviet state shows a level of ignorance far too steep to dignify a serious response. Such ignorance testifies to the sorry fact that our society has failed to adequately educate all of its members.


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Posted by fred
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

New Pleasantonians have all the answers.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

Lynn - I'd be curious to get your take on Hakey and his observations that it was liberalism in the early days of Italy and Germany that lead to their decent into fascism.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

I think many of our teachers are very much appreciated and respected by their students and parents and do a great job. What many of us object to is the fact that new teachers (or experienced teachers who just happen to be new to the district) get laid off while tenured teachers get shuffled around into classes they have no expertise for and are not excited about. Some tenured teachers are wonderful; but some are not.

We also object that teachers get these automatic pay increases while the average taxpayer's income goes down (i.e. taxes to pay the teachers also go down). The difference is supposed to come from -- what? parcel taxes, so already strapped taxpayers can make up for the income taxes they no longer have the income to pay? Or should the difference come out of all the extras (library, PE, music, sports, reading help) that keep our kids excited about school. Cutting back to just the bare basics of reading and math, just so we can pay tenured teachers a little bit to teach them, will not improve education.

If our tax system can't prioritize schools over prisons, and our teachers' unions can't get a clue about incentives and economic realities, nothing will change.


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Posted by also reasonable, and considerate
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Dear Reasonable,

Can you try saying something that hasn't already been said on these posts ad nauseum? I've read your post so many times I'm getting dizzy. Try on a new thought. Got none? Try the library.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

According to API ranking, Pleasanton teachers and PUSD are doing an outstanding job. There are few other communities in the bay area that can boast that almost all of their schools are ranked 9 or 10 out of 10.

I moved to Pleasanton mainly because of the highly ranked schools and I fear the effort the very vocal minority is making to reduce teacher pay and benefits will affect the quality of education in Pleasanton leading to lower API rankings and lower house values.

While I would agree that there are problems with the system, I don't agree that teacher bashing or cutting funding to schools will solve the problem. It is clear that cutting funding will only lead to larger class sizes, shorter school years, fewer school programs and a general deterioration in school quality. It will not lead to a reduction in teacher pay and benefits. In fact, I believe the average salary would likely increase due to the fact that the newer, lower paid teachers would get laid off first.

Let's stop the teacher bashing and start putting forth real solutions like legislation that prevents pension spiking. I think this is something teachers could even get behind because most teachers don't try to spike their pensions. Furthermore, they are potentially at risk of reduced pension benefits if the few who do spike their pensions cause the pension funds to become severely underfunded.


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Posted by matter of perspective
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

"According to API ranking, Pleasanton teachers and PUSD are doing an outstanding job. There are few other communities in the bay area that can boast that almost all of their schools are ranked 9 or 10 out of 10."

Pleasanton schools are good and we should all strive to ensure they stay that way. Can they be improved? Can they lose ground if we continue on an unsustainable financial path? I think the answer to both questions is yes. Currently Pleasanton schools are ranked in the middle for districts with similar demographics (ranked 5).


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Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Dear Reasonable and Considerate,

Judging from your post, you are neither. How about sticking to the topic instead of using the forum to bash individual posters? I am only responding to you because I worry that bullies like you will scare off the truly "reasonable" people who post here. If you are dizzy, try putting your head between your legs.

Reasonable, I agree with your post - that many teachers are appreciated. I can see how this thread ("Teachers are not appreciated") started though because a very vocal minority at this site has done a fair amount of teacher bashing.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm

"...continue on an unsustainable financial path"

Exactly, we need to pass a parcel tax soon so that we get back on a sustainable financial parcel tax. "Districts with similar demographics" in the Bay Area all have parcel taxes in place. It is time to educate the public on the importance of supporting education for our children.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

"...while the average taxpayer's income goes down "

What complete baloney. It has been posted here on this forum (look it up if you like) that average pay for tax payers in Pleasanton (Bureau of Labor Statistic numbers) has increased at an equal or greater rate than that of average teachers, all anecdotes aside. You should check statistics before you make false, blanket statements like that.


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Posted by Ron
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Why does every education discussion eventually come back to an informercial for a parcel tax to continue the wage schedule without modification? Just ........ Let ....... IT ....... Go. defeated TWICE.


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Posted by Cathy
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

What is really sad is the fact that the children of these schools have drilled into their heads that if their parents do not raise even more money for their schools, their teachers will lose their jobs. I can't tell you how many days my kids have come home almost in tears asking why their teachers are losing their jobs because the parents can't contribute more money. My only response is that we can't keep giving money when the schools are not spending the money responsibly and that when we see that the schools are taking the appropriate cuts in the areas that make sense for all, we will then again be happy to contribute money.

To directly involve the children in the school's money issues, though, is such a shame. Don't the children have enough stress and pressue in their lives, not to have this additional burden added to it?


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

""...continue on an unsustainable financial path"

Exactly, we need to pass a parcel tax soon so that we get back on a sustainable financial parcel tax. "Districts with similar demographics" in the Bay Area all have parcel taxes in place."

Of course, it's all about the money.

What you don't understand is that Pleasanton's issues are even worse than most similar cities as a result of converting health care payments to compensation, thereby making those dollars pensionable. This issue is going to rear its ugly head in a couple of short years. What will you say then? My guess is you will re-introduce the $299 per year parcel tax, for the next 30 years, and then blame the entire thing on incompetent decisions of prior management. You will tell the community their child's future is dependant on the tax passing and not to blame the problems on the current PUSD for mistakes made between 2003 - 2011.

It's going to happen - and it has already begun.


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Posted by Gil
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:09 am

Arnold is soooooo right. Like he says, the title wave is coming in a huge tsunami that will rear its ugly head. Cal's bond rating has just been given an upgrade, but that's just the calm before the ugly head-raising tsunamic storm that is amassing off the coast of my money. Screw all others, I only care about me. When the tsunami hits there's only one option: save yourself and don't look back as the unfunded liabilities we now call entitlement groups ask for your help. Apply all value-additives to yourself and disregard all the unsustainables.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

Ron,

Sorry to tell you this, but the next parcel tax ballot is coming, and the changing demographics in Pleasontan favor our side. 65+ per cent with the last vote and many new young families moving in with the new affording housing being built. A new parcel tax will be passed sooner or later. No changes needed from PUSD. They're doing a fine job now. Just get used to it.


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Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

Before anyone votes for another tax (whether it be a parcel tax, special sales tax), would someone please explain the rising cost of maintaining state employees including teachers. Is there or isn't there a guarantee pay raise that is part of the union contract? If there is, when someone says 'no raises', what does that mean, in plain English! There is just too much double-talk and carefully chosen words to describe what is really given up?


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Posted by Adolpho
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I'm very much of support of education and I really really like teachers. But I think teachers make way too much and should be forced to pay for their own health and benefits and pensions. Also, their union is greedy, which makes them greedy. And they're unsustainable, which means I might be asked to contribute to a parcel tax somewhere down the road, and who wants to do that? And they're unfunded liabilities that are contributing to a tsunami of debt that will drown us all, mark my words, in two years or so. Remember. I told you so.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Sorry if I was repeating a few other poster's sentiments. My main (original) point was that the economics are getting lost here.

The government does not decide to cut school funding willy-nilly. Funding is cut because the state's tax income has gone down. Taxes are going down because the average taxpayer's income is going down (maybe not in Pleasanton, but statewide, yes). It is crazy to think that everyone should just pay more (parcel) taxes out of pocket (from their now-lower income) since their income taxes are no longer enough. Again, maybe in Pleasanton we can sustain a parcel tax, but I'm talking about an overall concept here.

The concept is that the teacher contracts are not currently tied in any way to the overall level of funding (generated by the economy) that is available to the state. THAT is what has to stop. I have no problem with collective bargaining, but it has to be for one year only. Where we've run into major problems is that the contracts stay the same (or increase) from one year to the next, whereas the state's resources (and thus the budget)change each year.

There should be a way to tie them to each other so we dont' end up just cutting all the extracurricular and special resources out of education. These are also part of our children's education and should have an equal claim on the funding as do the teachers' salaries (that was my other "original" point)!!!


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Posted by Ugh!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2011 at 1:11 am

Hate this town!!! We live in such an incredible bubble, it's disgusting!


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Posted by Riki
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 9, 2011 at 6:10 am

I love teachers and appreciate immensely. But when is the last time you saw a teacher fall on their own sword for the betterment of the state. I mean, if the state suffers a decline, why raise taxes on those who can afford it? Let's force the teachers to take a hit instead. They are so greedy and ungrateful. We hire them. We own them. They belong to us. But they act like they have no accountability to their owners. This is unsustainable.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 9, 2011 at 7:07 am

Web Link

Here is what the state budget is doing; a sacrifice of student learning.

"The language of the bill was agreed to two days before the budget vote in a meeting that included the governor, Democratic leaders and representatives of the California Teachers Association. But the bill was officially drafted and printed the day of the vote and lawmakers did not see the final version until less than an hour before it was approved."


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Posted by Archy
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jul 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

Thanks Kath. I agree with you. This just goes to show how the right-wing loons think, doesn't it? What about parental responsibility and accountability? Too cheap to throw a few bucks into the pot, they wail and whine about the sorry state of our educational system. New needs, new technologies arise, and education becomes more expensive every year, but the right-wing loons want us to believe that a size 13 foot can be fit into a size 6 shoe. Show us the language! How exactly are you going to do it? Can't say? Then not a nickel from my pocket. Nice! They think since they pay their prop 13 tax that they are entitled to top-notch education with no additional expense. Legislators attempt to cope with the problem and everybody starts whining about how they didn't even read the bill (they never do) and how we're all victimized. Typical right-wing entitlement mentality. I'm here to tell ya: We can't afford to sustain such unfounded liabilities of thought. They do not add any cultural value to the overall equation.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Arch, Balancing budgets should not be accomplished by cutting learning time for students.


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Posted by Archy
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jul 10, 2011 at 6:41 am

Cutting learning time for students, cutting teachers, cutting textbooks, cutting teacher salaries and pensions so as to have the effect of driving good teachers out and discouraging potentially good teachers from entering the profession ... what's the difference? The kids suffer from any one of these. Must be sacrificed on the altar of language specificity, I guess. Let me tell ya, if given the choice between clear administrative language and educational support, I opt for clear administrative language every time. Sometimes we have to make the students suffer the semantic sins of their administrators. Doesn't that just frost ya to the toes?


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Posted by Butch
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2011 at 7:02 am

@ "Balancing budgets should not be accomplished by cutting learning time for students."


thank you kathleen reugsegger for giving me a hearty laugh early this morning! you're priceless!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 10, 2011 at 7:54 am

The article I provided a link to above is about the state saying cutting seven days of school in 2012 is acceptable. I don't think teachers agree that losing class time is good for students. Yeah, I personally still would like specific language for a parcel tax, and that can be for raises or bonus money for teachers or counselors or specialists or CSR. Again, I don't think it is too much to ask that taxpayers know where the money will go. Can you or one of the other posters tell me why, if you believe schools need additional support, specificity is such a deal breaker?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 10, 2011 at 8:12 am

For example, I think reading specialists and counselors would like to know they have a job at least for the life of a parcel tax. Or even our youngest/newer teachers in K-3 CSR. Neither of the recent parcel tax attempts guaranteed those jobs would stay in place.


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Posted by Butch
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

@ "Can you or one of the other posters tell me why, if you believe schools need additional support, specificity is such a deal breaker?"

Kathleen Reugsegger. You're really a laugh a minute. Please! Keep 'em comin'!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

Glad you are amused.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

I doubt that reading specialists and counselors were the deal breakers that led to measure e's defeat by such a resounding margin. But I agree with Butch, this Kathleen Reugsegger is a real hoot.

Re. the 'lack of specific language'. I wonder if p-town's educational specialists didn't want to stoop in their decision-making to the level of one or two right-wing blusterbags?

Any administrator worth their salt knows that you don't paint yourself into a corner by guaranteeing exactly what will be done with a budget. Too many contingencies arise throughout the year. Guaranteeing right-wing gasbags anything only invites additional distractions down the road. [As in -- blah-blah, tea party buzz word here, right-wing ideological term there, blah-blah, look how the administration has departed from the specific language! See, for example, your intellectual soulmate Stacey.] Keeping language regarding future determinations reasonably vague is a practice wise administrators acknowledge as an optimal way to go. This requires going beyond ordering people around with one's administrative title; it requires a sense of proportion from being well read and theoretically grounded in matters of education.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Stacey is a registered user.

What does the continued name-calling, calumniating, and extreme sarcasm have to do with supporting education? No one wants to be associated with that. Surely education is of a much higher worth than stooping to such rhetorical dirty tricks to defend it. There are many ways other than voting yes on a parcel tax to support education.

As both the survey and the election showed, this community would like to support education during this difficult economic time through a modest parcel tax as long as there's no raises. The failure had nothing to do with whatever Kathleen and I have written here and everything to do with contract negotiations.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

If some one or two things are valued for a period of four years, that is what you commit to. You have the same flex as always with the entire budget as it stands already.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 11, 2011 at 7:32 am

Who said anything about anyone's writings influencing the measure E vote? I can imagine only an extreme and deluded narcissist would think of making such a claim. But I agree, No! to calumniating. Such a practice cannot be sustained in an atmosphere created by dishonest, right-wing bloviators. In the meanwhile, as a former administrator who didn't simply push people around but who rather valued reasonable, open-ended commitments with the budget I was asked to work with, I can only shake my head in disbelief at the lengths some go to in order to discredit our educators.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

Simone, what kind of administrator uses bullying and name calling as part of "open-ended and reasonable discussions"? Happy to have a discussion based on merits and opposing opinions. Do you believe cutting seven days of school is a reasonable way to balance the state budget? This also means cutting seven more days of pay for teachers and, most likely, administrators and other staff--so students lose learning time and others lose pay--is that how you would balance a budget, local or state? Given that it is possible to have finite uses for a parcel tax and still have the regular budget remain flexible, what do you see as the specific drawbacks to saving, for example, reading specialists, art teachers, and/or library time?


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I do wish people would stop bullying and calumniating me. I mean, c'mon! My only problem is that identifying, say, devoted money to art teachers is that it wouldn't please the crew of right-winger bullies who'd begin ballyhooing about not enough being devoted to math or science. At a certain point, those who are paid to think long and hard about what to do with money, including keeping it relatively open-ended, have to pull the plug on the right-winger, know-nothing creeps who think they know what they're talking about. In fact, there's no pleasing them, at all. They're a miserable lot of narcissistic losers who live in order to criticize anything associated with the public sector.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Okay, so the answer is you are unwilling to have a civil discussion and perhaps lack any constructive suggestions. Guaranteeing some sector of the employee roster jobs for four years would free up part of the current budget for either absolute savings or spending on some other area of the education program, which means it remains open-ended. So where is the problem? Ask the people who have their jobs pink slipped year after year if they would prefer a four-year (potential length of a parcel tax) job guarantee.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

There's open-ended and open-ended, and you know it. I wish you'd stop smuggling specific meanings into words which can be variably defined. My open-ended could be used to save those jobs, depending on whether or not more important needs arise. You know this You're being disingenuous and I understand why the school district doesn't want to bend over backwards to satisfy your pinched views and those of others. There's no satisfying you and the rest of the crowd of know-nothings who want to stick their mob-like, dirt-seeking noses into educational administrative affairs.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Simone, Of course I know there is more than one version of open ended. There is the taxpayer funding already provided for K-12 education. If deemed necessary by taxpayers, additional funding can be provided for a period of time (although parcel taxes only seem to be renewed and increased and not sunsetted). In your open ended version, nothing is guaranteed from year to year, jobs or program. I happen to think it is a good exchange for taxpayers to maintain what they want to remain in place for X number of years in exchange for their money. I also think it is reasonable for parents to drive the decision on the priorities. Right now they have done fundraising for what they deemed important enough to keep--like reading support.

Parents have expectations for their children's education (as do all taxpayers) and have worked collaboratively with educators to see they are met. It's always been a two-way street and that should not be forgotten.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

@"Parents have expectations for their children's education (as do all taxpayers) and have worked collaboratively with educators to see they are met. It's always been a two-way street and that should not be forgotten."

That's not how I see it. I bet you my dollars to your donuts, Kath, that Measure E rec'd an overwhelming percentage of support from parents with kids in school. It was mostly nonparent right-wingers with a Grover Norquist complex -- We want specific pledges that satisfy our agenda -- who were driving rhetorically the minority position that derailed parents' wishes. Earlier you erroneously stated, as if it were fact, that measure E failed on account of unspecified language. (Can't see beyond your own narcissistic set of biases?) Please don't sugarcoat this with yet another deceptive argument. You're too much, and I agree with Butch from Birdland, only I don't think you're funny. At all.


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Posted by Adolpho
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

I really support education. But I voted against Meaure E because I'm cheap. I admit it. Why lie? Language? I didn't even bother to read it. I vote against anything that threatens to erode my economic liberty.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

Simone, I don't argue there was likely a high percentage of parents who voted in favor of G or E. I don't think they would vote against a measure that was more specific though, and I believe they would like to know "name that program here" would be locked in for four years. Fundraising is exhausting, particularly for the dollar amounts being raised. No deception on my part; happy to clarify any point.

Adolpho, As stated previously, I continue to make donations directly to a school.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

No, those who voted for the measure probably wouldn't have voted against it with more specific language. But I'm not sure anyone besides you, who seems to think others are like-minded, would have voted for the measure even with specific language. It wasn't about the language, except in your megalomaniacial machinations.

What you don't seem to grasp is that it often is not in the interest of professional and well-educated bureaucrats to kowtow to the specific demands of a vocal minority, some of whom cannot be satisfied, others obsessed with raising insignificant matters of concern on account of narcissistic compulsion to meddle in public matters. (See Max Weber 'On Bureaucracy' for most powerful statement in this regard.)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

There were those who would not vote for any tax, certainly; however, there may have been enough who would have voted yes to push it over the threshold for passage.

One thing I have learned is often a vocal minority or even one person can be making a valid point. I have found myself on the same side of an issue with those i would oppose on every other topic. To be dismissive of an opposing opinion may mean you learn nothing and may lose the day.

Regarding Max Weber, even his theory adjusted for the potential threat to individuals, otherwise we'd have Gattaca.


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Simone - It's interesting that if you search on "Max Weber" on the PW, you'll get three writers this year who wrote about Max. I would find it surprising if there were indeed four different people (you included) who know enough about Weber to use his writings to argue for the ongoing education bureaucracy. Those writers are:

Posted by puzzled, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:50 am
Posted by joe, a resident of Dublin, on Jan 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm
Posted by Casual Reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm
and Simone

Are you the same writer?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Nomad,

Of course.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 13, 2011 at 6:20 am

Gattaca, Kath? You've just provided strong indication that you are more comfortable with science fiction movies than with reading some of the world's greatest literature on subjects of which you profess to have some knowledge. Stace and Nomad, the level at which you seem to operate seems to dictate that you express surprise that more than one contributor to these posts would have read what stands as probably the world's most profound contribution to our knowledge of how state bureaucracies best function with a form of legal-rational authority that enables bureaucratic effectiveness while preserving individual autonomy _within_ the bureaucracy.

Kath's response -- "Regarding Max Weber, even his theory adjusted for the potential threat to individuals, otherwise we'd have Gattaca" -- is complete nonsense and shows Kath doesn't have much of a foundation in understanding how state bureaucracies work. (It's amazing how people can work in a bureaucracy for years, profess to know what they do, but never show enough curiosity to investigate the literature.) This confirms my view of the right-wing zealots in P-Town who profess to know more about education than teachers and administrators: "unsustainable ... blah, blah, ... liabilities ... honk-honk ... Gallaca ... specific language ...honk-honk."

Max Weber's discourse on bureaucracy, Kath, wasn't about protecting outside vigilante groups or their narcissistic spokespersons who storm the gates on the basis of some flavor-of-the-day ideology; rather, it was about protecting individual _bureaucrats_ from the unread, movie-watching, ignorant, zealots who intrude upon the bureaucracy's everyday workings, and who do so without a clue.

P-Town: I introduce to you your right-wing propagandists. They don't read. And so they know little except how to spew ideological mantras. If you care to cite Max Weber, or Emile Durkheim, or Karl Marx, or any other of the world's great social theorists, they're so convinced that everyone is as ignorant and poorly educated as they are that they'll insist you must be me. Or they'll offer rejoinder by citing an irrelevant science fiction movie to make their point. What a joke these gassers are.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 13, 2011 at 8:50 am

Good morning Simone, Stating Max Weber, et al, as profound theorists is an opinion; grant it, many may share your opinion, I'm just not one of them. If you are talking about a private sector bureaucracy, they ultimately are responsible to shareholders (privately or publicly held) and their customers. Otherwise, you are, as one example, Chrysler, who ignored the threat of foreign car makers, missed what the customer was looking for in an automobile, and was bailed out by the taxpayers twice--whether individual taxpayers wished to do so or not. I'll skip the longer conversation about the impact of intractable unions and pensions and Wall Street on their failures, because first they failed shareholders and customers.

Yeah, I watch movies and I also read and enjoy long walks on the beach. Yes, I worked in both the public and private sector bureaucracies--it meant collaborating within all levels of the particular hierarchical system and being responsive to parents or customers to actually meet their needs.

Taxpayers, including parents, are key to the success of this community's public sector schools.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

[Comment removed because it was disrespectful to another commenter and did not further the conversation.}


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Pleasanton voters were not convinced of the merits of passing an "open-ended" parcel tax at the same time as paying out raises during times of economic difficulty. The election results reflect the survey data produced by paid experts. The appeals to expert opinion fallacy and derision, nay, crusade towards anyone who opposed the parcel tax for whatever reason does little to educate Pleasanton voters on the merits of supposedly well-educated administrator's expert ideas. The opposite effect is achieved; people are turned away. If the expert ideas are worthy, let them stand on their own merits.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Simian. I used an obvious example to show how one can fail, go under, and ultimately need the assistance of the very people they ignored--those outside the given bureaucracy. Educational bureaucracy--federal, state, and county departments (Department of Redundancy Departments, particularly the latter), commit to change to compete in this century at a glacial pace, often adding more layers of bureaucracy that has had little or no positive impact for students or teachers, all while more than doubling the cost of K-12 education.

So far, you only wish to provoke, not actually seek common ground or a solution to the question of supporting teachers or K-12 education in Pleasanton. To go back to the topic then, it is possible to reward teachers; to attract and retain the best; to improve outcomes for students; and to select those areas the community wishes to support using specific language in a measure written for those defined areas, keeping the remainder of the budget flexible for the organizational leaders to determine what should be done in the best interests of students, including teaching about Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim or any other social philosophers with opposing theories.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen,

Here's Simone's (aka joe of Dublin aka puzzled aka many others) common ground:

"Posted by joe, a resident of Dublin, on Jan 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm
I support a parcel tax, though would like to see it progressive instead of flat, in that the wealthier would be required to pay a higher rate, and less wealthy less so. I want our teachers to get sabbaticals through part of their pregnancies, and I want male and female teachers alike to be granted extended leaves after giving birth. I want smaller classrooms and decreased teacher-student ratios -- the smaller the better. Beyond administering to our children's needs during the day, and then grading and putting together work packets for the next day's classroom sessions at night, I do not want our teachers having to stop by Staples every week in order to purchase classroom supplies out of their own pockets. I assume our teachers are not perfect superheroes, but well-intentioned, hard-working individuals who did not enter the profession to make the big bucks. Some are better teachers than others, but I assume the overwhelming majority of teachers want to improve their teaching skills. If providing some measure of job security alleviates their stress levels, I'm all for it. I'm not suggesting that throwing money at any and every problem is the answer. But, along with parental and community support, additional tax money might go a long way towards improving the overall quality of education."

Notice that my opinions about education intersect with the above on a progressive parcel tax (which I wrote about during both Measure G and Measure E campaigns; PW site is searchable; have at it.), on teachers not having to run to Staples every week, and on professional development for improving teacher quality. I have no opinion on sabbaticals and a different opinion on both job security and classroom sizes.

BTW, doubtful anyone is buying the story about separate people citing Max Weber. The claim of having been an administrator is the same, the focus on name-calling and other ad hominem attacks rather than educating is the same, the references to certain philosophers is the same, the appeals to expert opinion are the same, even some of the phrasing is the same. I'm certain there's a vocal minority intent on shutting down civil discussion. They have more in common with some of the right-wing bloggers on this site than they realize. But this is one case clearly with evidence of a single individual posting under different monikers intent not upon finding common ground, but in attacking those with whom they disagree... towards what end?

Just a sampling:

As joe, a resident of Dublin
"As a former academic administrator..." (reference to self)
"As the great German sociologist Max Weber argued..."
"Stacey's frantic _hand-waving_ and misdirected sarcasm..."

As puzzled, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood
"The great German sociologist Max Weber talked about..."
"A lot of anger, _hand-waving_, and now concerted deflection..."

As Simone, a resident of the Sycamore Place neighborhood
"as a former administrator" (another reference to self)
"See Max Weber 'On Bureaucracy' for most powerful statement in this regard"


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Interesting where the intersects are--I have no problem with a progressive parcel tax (although another discussion would be on the merits of whether those with children currently in the system should pay a higher rate as well); I don't think teachers or anyone should be out of pocket to do their jobs; and have also commented on the importance of professional development. My only quandary on sabbaticals is this impossible comment: "and I want male and female teachers alike to be granted extended leaves after giving birth." Also curious is the comment: "If providing some measure of job security alleviates their stress levels, I'm all for it," because unless this is focused on non-tenured teachers or others who are without bumping rights, tenured teachers already have job security.


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Posted by Simone
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

[Comment removed because it was disrespectful to another commenter and did not further the conversation.}


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