Latest – but outdated – Ed Week survey ranks California 50th in per pupil spending

Quick Hit LogoThe ghost of spending past crossed the hope of spending future with the publication of Education Week’s Quality Counts 2014 and the release of Gov. Brown’s proposed state budget on the same day last week.

In Ed Week’s annual comprehensive comparison of states on many measures, California stumbled to the bottom in per student spending in 2010-11, the most recent data. It was 50th out of the states and Washington, D.C., with only Utah behind it.

But 2010-11 was the worst year for California schools following the Great Recession. It was also the year before voters passed Proposition 30, the November 2012 measure that temporarily raised state taxes about $6 billion per year, with most of that going to K-12 schools and community colleges.

School district finances have been looking up since. Last week, Brown proposed sharply boosting per pupil spending by 8.6 percent – $725 per student – for 2014-15.

EdWeek’s and Brown’s per pupil spending figures don’t make for an apple-to-apple comparison, since EdWeek factors in cost of living, based on 2005 data of states’ wages and salaries (also outdated but the latest federal data that EdWeek can get, it says). California is a relatively high-cost state, lowering its state ranking. That’s also why advocates for higher spending in California prefer to cite the Quality Counts surveys, which have ranked California from 45th to now 50th over the past decade. By comparison, the National Education Association, using unadjusted data, ranked California 43rd in spending in 2010-11 but in the 30s in other years.

According to Quality Counts, average per pupil spending in California was $8,341 in 2010-11 – $3,523 below the average spending nationwide of $11,864.

According to the NEA, per pupil spending in California (page 85) was $8,689 in 2010-11 – $2,137 below the national average of $10,826. It then jumped to 34th in 2011-12, spending $9,541 per student or $1,435 below the national average of $10,976, then falling to 38th in 2012-13.

Among California districts, however, per pupil spending has varied substantially. Funding in some  “basic aid” districts – the roughly 10 percent of districts with enough property wealth to finance schools outside of state funding – has exceeded the average by $3,000 or more per student. And, under the old system of funding “categorical grants,” some districts received hundreds of dollars extra in funding per student. Under the new Local Control Funding Formula, districts with large percentages of low-income students and English learners will receive more than the average state funding.

Quality Counts reported that in 2010-11, California was among the bottom states in another measure: the capacity to spend on education, which it defines as local and state revenues spent as a percentage of taxable resources. California spent 3.1 percent, tied with Oklahoma for 37th lowest.

Brown’s proposed 8.5 percent per pupil increase applies to funding through Proposition 98, the primary formula for determining money for schools, but doesn’t include some other sources of state and local revenue. But it’s safe to say that the extra money will push California up from the bottom, though 2014-15 spending, if adopted by the Legiislature would still be shy of the national average, by any measure.

Check out EdSource’s state-by-state comparison of education spending for more information.

Filed under: School Finance, State Education Policy


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125 Responses to “Latest – but outdated – Ed Week survey ranks California 50th in per pupil spending”

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  1. Dawn Urbanek on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:28 am12/5/2014 7:28 am

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    LAO just Released CalFacts-

    California 50th in the Nation in per pupil Spending, but has billions for High Speed Rail.

    The 2012-13 budget includes $6 billion—$2.7 billion in bond funds and $3.3 billion in federal funds—for construction in the Central Valley and $1.1 billion for local projects around San Francisco and Los Angeles intended to support the development of HSR.

  2. Gary Ravani on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm12/4/2014 5:05 pm

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    Re John’s post on NCTQ a byproduct of Fordham. This on NCTQ from Diane Ravitch and former Board member at Fordham:

    “With the release of the NCTQ ratings of teacher preparation programs, this is a propitious time to review its origins.

    It was created by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. It floundered, then was rescued by a grant of $5 million from Secretary of Education Rod Paige in the early days of the Bush administration. It is not a research organization. It is an advocacy organization.”

    I don’t doubt their presentation of salary data is likely accurate; however, I suggest their conclusions about what to do about salaries is typical Fordham hogwash.


    • Don on Dec 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm12/4/2014 6:33 pm

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      Certainly not all Fordham’s conclusions on the education issues of our times are hogwash. For example, Gary, you support CCSS and so do they.

    • John Fensterwald on Dec 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm12/4/2014 9:25 pm

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      Gary, it’s facile to dismiss a report through guilt by association. I have questions about the cost of living factors applied to California districts, but it’s clear that teachers overall and in high-cost areas in particular need to be paid better. Randi Weingarten said of the study, “This report, like the recently issued Economic Policy Institute report, says something more—that teachers are especially undervalued, given their importance to society as well as the skills and knowledge their jobs demand.”

      The study points to a critical issue: Will the current uniform pay system that unions have championed serve to attract the next generation of teachers? I have my doubts that this system will draw Millennials and coming Generation Z, with their expectations of changing careers over the course of their work lives, to teaching. In other words, unions should be open to bigger bumps in pay earlier and differentiated pay in recognition of exemplary work (not by test scores — but other measures).

      • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:19 am12/5/2014 7:19 am

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        Unfortunately for teachers and students – when the State intentionally underfunds education that means there is not enough money in the budget to pay teachers more unless you cut students services. In Capistrano Unified we furlough students to pay our teachers more. So I would ask – will we eventually end up at a point (2021) when we close our doors and pay teachers not to teach?

        • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:55 am12/5/2014 7:55 am

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          Of course not. By then all our schools should be charters and we can just use new graduates in other fields on a 2 or 3 year revolving basis to stand in front of the classroom while students teach themselves (note under the new ’21st century critical thinking learning’ model, teachers no longer ‘teach’ but instead are just facilitators). Well, until we get rid of the bachelor requirement, then we can just use high school grads.

      • Manuel on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:36 am12/5/2014 10:36 am

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        John, that may happen only if the same pay model is applied to other state employees, say, police, trash collectors, fire fighters, correction officers, etc.

        Of course, it will be a battle royal to get that implemented across all job classifications.

      • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:41 am12/5/2014 10:41 am

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        Randi acknowledging that teachers are especially undervalued is one of probably a hundred reasons why teacher compensation can only decline in the future.
        The ‘value’ of anything is about supply and demand. When teachers are not valued there is no demand, at least not for quality. Although our dropping prep enrollment may imply a corresponding drop in supply, I don’t think it really is. I think instead of increasing pay to stoke supply we will cut entry requirements to increase supply, and in doing so will create a new definition of ‘the product’ (this already happens in the classroom with TFA; it already happens in libraries with ‘coordinators’ or even ‘clerks’ instead of librarians; it’s already starting in technology with ‘specialists’ as ‘instructors’ and online and blended learning as an alternative to traditional staffing needs ).
        It is probably not an accident that our standards and other ‘reforms’ appear to devalue content in exchange for other things, such as ‘learning how to think’, ‘learning how to learn’, ‘project based learning’, collaboration, etc. While those things obviously have value, when they are seen as mutually exclusive to content, for example–something I will remain agnostic on here other than to point out the claim–they raise serious questions about the nature of required teacher competencies (there was a story here just a few days ago about the attempt to partly redefine what a teacher is and does). This question of expected competencies is probably even more important than compensation (in fact the latter is dependent on the former). As we attempt to change the role of the teacher we need to keep in mind whether the (supposedly) new things we are trying to instill in students can be instilled by teachers who don’t already possess those skills. On one hand, it may be valid to question whether that is a requirement–as Ken Robinson said, Shakespeare was in somebody’s english class–but if we claim it is, and we claim that the current system does not instill those skills (john dewey tells us that’s been claimed since at least 1938), and our teachers are a product of the current system, how can that possibly work? And related to compensation, what exactly will drive any increase if the skills we want to reward don’t exist?
        Furthermore, and maybe most importantly, we have annihilated the rest of our school staffing levels as part of the ‘negotiating’ process with teachers unions to the point where teachers are, relatively speaking, really the only ones left at schools. This puts immense pressure on districts to direct any additional funds toward re-staffing, which would have to come at the expense of teachers. Of course some districts have already chosen to focus on teachers instead, but in doing so have solidified the impossibility of the teacher’s job. Because of this I expect others to try to resist, and use some of the above approaches in the process (our own district is threatening to cut some of the few remaining counselor positions we still have even though their current ratios make it impossible to serve all kids).
        So no, for those, and maybe a dozen other reasons 😉 I don’t expect to see something like this manifest. Much more likely is that the current system will finally drown, as was intended.

        • Manuel on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:51 am12/5/2014 10:51 am

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          Alright, navigio, you’ll have to tell us where exactly did you read that “they” intended to drown the system.

          Are you, gasp, one of those followers of the conspiracy theory that “conservatives” want to end public schools because they believe that the state should not be in charge of molding citizens through politically correct propaganda?

          Who woulda thunk you are a member of this particular tin-foil-helmetted brigade.

          Welcome home, brother. 😉

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm12/5/2014 2:33 pm

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            This conversation is rather disturbing for the parent of children in the Public Education System. All of the changes to Common Core and the new LCFF – forcing schools that are broke to buy both a Digital text book and an online text book at 2 X the cost – and the thought that schools will become large rooms with 50 kids at 50 computers for 6 hours a day – with technicians making sure the screens don’t go black – that is no way to create thinkers who have to read peoples expressions and read between the lines and make PEOPLE work together. What is going on in Education?

          • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm12/5/2014 2:58 pm

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            Politics is going on in education.

        • Gary Ravani on Dec 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm12/5/2014 4:39 pm

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          Your statement: “Furthermore, and maybe most importantly, we have annihilated the rest of our school staffing levels as part of the ‘negotiating’ process with teachers unions to the point where teachers are, relatively speaking, really the only ones left at schools.”

          You falsely attribute the reduction in non-instructional staff to “negotiations with teachers unions” as other have falsely attributed the layoffs of less experienced teachers to seniority statutes. The reason for cutbacks, from custodians to counselors, has been CA’s chronically low support for education compounded by the impacts of the financial sector created recession.

          In any discussion held by local boards, local administrations, and local teachers’ unions about the necessity for rolling back educational programs as required by the $20 billion dollar cuts to education since 2008 you are like to find some reference to “protecting the core.” That means keeping as many instructional personnel in the classrooms as possible. That is seen as the root function of the system. You want to argue otherwise?

          The false testing based accountability system implemented in CA in the mid-1990s put an emphasis on reading and math because that was the primary focus of state testing and the API. This reduced the incentive of districts to have a broad range of electives and even had negative impacts on science and social studies particularly in districts with high EL and free and reduced lunch populations. These were the districts most in danger form state sanctions associated with low APIs and AYPs. This exemplifies the damage done to the students in those districts via the “narrowing of the curriculum” the National Research Council as well as many others warned about.

          Even in many affluent districts the year in year out starvation of school funding negatively impacted elective programs, counselors, librarians, nurses, and other key services provided by classified personnel.

          As the recently released 2014 Cal Facts notes, this state devotes more than have of its entire budget to education. The state also has other responsibilities. The problem is the state receives too little in the way of revenue. Cal Facts also notes the decline in business taxes paid over time. The there are the long range impacts of Prop 13 that undermined the property tax base that results in very volatile state budgets for CA, but very stable (relatively) funding streams for schools in other states that continue to rely on property taxes.

          The unions would deeply appreciate the return of the conselors, librarians, nurses, custodians, low class sizes, and services provided by other staff members that have ben cut over time. In many cases these services and jobs are not subject to collective bargaining, are resisted by management, and/or are just not feasible because of lack of funding.

          • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm12/5/2014 5:55 pm

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            Gary, I think low funding of education is a negotiation tactic. Ergo my comment.

          • Gary Ravani on Dec 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm12/5/2014 6:46 pm

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            Your comment: “Gary, I think low funding of education is a negotiation tactic. Ergo my comment.”

            Huh? I don’t been know what that means. You are discounting reports like that of Ed Week that assert CA’s school funding is near last in the nation?

            As a part of “due diligence” for a union there are extensive analyses of district budgets. All districts submit public documents re budget issues as well as mandatory reports to the state on budget issues that unions use, with expert help, to base bargaining proposals on.

            The computations for equitable salary schedules for example, are based on those analyses. Trust me, even with some district efforts to squirrel money away in obscure sections of the budget, there is not much to “play” with.

            Conditions are different in some basic aide districts, of course, and that appears to be true even in the brave new world of LCFF.

          • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm12/5/2014 7:31 pm

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            Sorry for not elaborating. I type too much as it is and was in a hurry. But quickly, I dont mean at the district level. I mean at the state/taxpayer level. I think there is a perceptions that ‘unions take all the money’ any time there are increases, and part of the electorate seems to have a problem with that. Note how close prop 30 came to not passing, and that was with the supposed guarantee of not using any funds for ‘benefits’, or even for any raises depending on who you talked to.
            Listen to some recent commenters on this site if you want to hear the ‘we’ll give you more money once you agree to our conditions’ mantra.
            There are some other similar dynamics for privatization proponents such as bill bennett and grover norquist, but thats not necessarily the same impact, in our state anyway. sorry, gotta run again, hopefully it clarifies a little bit maybe..

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm12/5/2014 7:53 pm

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            “protecting the core.”

            At my District they have been saying that cuts are “affecting” core educational programs.

          • Don on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm12/5/2014 9:03 pm

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            The long-term causes of California’s low education funding are not rooted in any conspiracy, but more the result of Republican low tax policies dating back to Prop 13 and exacerbated by Democratic spending policies, in particular the huge union pension giveaways during the late 90’s under Phil Angelides, But I would not be surprised if the whole education reform movement was a Cloward Piven strategy hatched in some Business Roundtable meetings whereby education would be brought to its knees and a sea change of privatization would replace the old staid union model. If only 1/3 prove to be proficient by SBAC standards, we could be near the end game.

            In an era of vociferous political discord, bipartisan reformer certainly have some strange bedfellows.

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm12/5/2014 10:06 pm

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            What about the Masons and Illuminati? You have to look behind things Don. On paper, we now acknowledge that someone, somewhere in the Reagan Administration was wrong to sell arms to Iran which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths against Iraq, for whom we also bought weapons, and sending money to Nicaragua mining the harbor, setting the economy back years and killing 30,000 people. However, if someone was wrong, why is it we never paid the fine ordered by the World Court? Why is it North, Poindexter, not a single person went to prison for all those deaths, which dwarf the number by everyone on America’s death row combined, even everyone in US prisons combined. Maybe according to the Illuminati and powers that be, what they did isn’t wrong. Maybe they never spent a day in prison because that’s what they were supposed to do. And maybe our schools aren’t supposed to have enough money. And maybe no one is supposed to ever be fired because poor kids aren’t supposed to become rich kids, but are supposed to stay poor, indentured servants to the ruling class. When we lionize private schools in the face of studies that show no academic advantage to them, we are saying in effect, it is a more important societal problem that a rich kid perhaps not have the perfect education and have some inconvenience even though 39% of the top quintile makes the top quintile as adults, than it is that poor kids, the bottom quintile, have almost no chance, 6% of the bottom quintile making it. Maybe that’s as it is supposed to be indeed. Maybe even the supposedly far left Pelosi (kids in private school) and teacher’s union (supporting policies protecting bad teachers and hurting kids) are actually supposed to support policies which are in effect far right, guaranteeing poor kids can’t compete with rich ones, and saying the plight of rich kids is an outrage if they go to a school 92% of people go to, but the plight of poor kids is totally acceptable. It’s more important a rich kid have every advantage than a poor kid have a chance. It’s also more important that a teacher have a job for life than a poor kid have a chance.

            Maybe poor kids are not supposed to have a chance. Maybe it IS a conspiracy. Maybe nothing is SUPPOSED to change, ever!

            The one group who often moves from poor to rich, Asians, would be lionized in a society which valued poor becoming rich and social mobility, but they are ignored. Why? Because they are not supposed to do that! That’s why Latino immigration is more popular than Asian immigration. Latino immigrants do what they are supposed to do according to the illuminati and Masons, stay poor. Asians do what you are not supposed to do, according to the illuminati, change quintiles.

            So it is a conspiracy if you look behind the curtain at the man at the controls.

          • Don on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm12/5/2014 10:34 pm

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            I guess I deserved that. It’s what I get for indulging your fantasies with a conspiracy theory. That was rich.

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 5, 2014 at 11:37 pm12/5/2014 11:37 pm

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            Prop 13 Don? Seriously? California’s tax burden as a % of GDP is 4th, after NY, NJ and CT, yet our spending on schools is 2d lowest to Utah, I believe, 50th but that includes DC, so 2d to last. Education isn’t a priority to the people that have their kids in private school and make the secret decisions behind closed doors. Even when they do spend, they do so in a way to ensure poor kids will not compete with rich ones. Cultures which provide a monkey wrench in our caste society are ignored or disparaged, and books showing it like the Triple Package, one of the most potentially liberal radical books in decades, are dismissed as racist. Our state is so racist that a biracial couple pointing out how poor become rich is racist, and those who advocate low spending and policies which keep the poor poor are progressive. Our state is so racist a nonracist seems racist and a racist seems liberal. It’s unbelievable.

            It’s extremely Orwellian.

          • Don on Dec 6, 2014 at 12:54 am12/6/2014 12:54 am

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            Floyd, I didn’t realize you aren’t familiar with the effects of Prop 13 on California and education. 40 years is along time to nap. Like you said – it’s unbelievable.

            Straying off topic,in short, NY, NJ and NH don’t have Prop 13 type tax freezes and they spend way more on education. NY and NJ both have more kids in private schools despite dwarfing our spending per pupil. So I really doubt that the low rank of California spending has much to do with high private school enrollment.

            You can learn by searching “Where Private School Enrollment Is Highest and Lowest Across the U.S.”

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 6, 2014 at 4:47 am12/6/2014 4:47 am

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            I know it cut taxes, but my point is, we take in more money than all but those 3 states, so we choose to spend tons of money on imprisoning drug users and prostitutes and small time drug dealers at a rate 10 x Europe’s or higher, depending on the country, people who have no victim, and then we imprison people who do have a victim far longer than for the same crime in Europe, draconian and costly sentences. We then spend way more on police. In SF, crime is down 70% from 1992, but we never cut the police expense and neglect education. We have the money but choose not to spend it on education. I’m sure you could find much more waste, I just mention prisons because while prisons have grown, education has shrunk, in spending, along with the UC and State College Systems. We don’t prioritize education like Europe does and prioritize telling consenting adults what to do, and cost-wise I’m mostly referring to drugs. Enough already with the prisons. Let’s make education a priority. Ever since Richard Nixon we’ve been obsessed with Law and Order. Let’s focus on crimes with victims and put the rest into education. Ross Mirkarimi has it right.

          • navigio on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:48 am12/6/2014 9:48 am

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            Protecting the core is not always merely about retaining teachers though because understaffed schools make a teachers job harder and sometimes impossible. I really wish it were possible to know what actually happens in those discussions, ie whether protecting the core ever is about anything but teachers (for utla it seems to be, but for others it does not).

          • Don on Dec 6, 2014 at 10:17 am12/6/2014 10:17 am

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            Navigio, there are way too many long term factors resulting in the low funding to call it a tactic designed to draw concessions from the unions.

          • navigio on Dec 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm12/6/2014 1:22 pm

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            I never said it was the only one. But when we have the opportunity to spend more, the counter invariably is how that money will be used.

            not to highlight anyone in particular, but this is a comment from just this morning that highlights the stance. We heard things like this during prop 30. I heard them leading up to the defeat of our parcel tax. Etc, etc, etc…

            The real headline should have been – District Budget was balanced with cuts to student services- employee compensation was preserved”.[..] What incentive do taxpayers here have to vote for more revenue increases?

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm12/6/2014 2:29 pm

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            Navigio, you make great points. We tax more than all but 3 states despite Prop 13. We just spend it on the wrong things. We won’t have world class schools by raising taxes, the appetite isn’t there. They should go up some on the rich as redistribution/punishment for what they did to salaries since 2008, taking 95% of growth and giving it to the already overpaid 1%, but some will leave and we won’t get much money. Greed should be punished, but it won’t help much. We need to focus on where we are wasting money and try to cut other parts of the budget to put that into schools.

            We won’t close the achievement gap until all kids not advanced have to go to after school study groups and Saturday tutoring. You’ll never close the gap with professional development or changing instruction or an ethnic studies class. I agree with Navigio about other services. Many are valuable, but we have a lot of highly paid consultants designing curricula when we need tutors sitting next to kids. We spend more outside the school than in.

      • Gary Ravani on Dec 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm12/5/2014 3:01 pm

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        I did not “dismiss” the report. I dismiss the conclusions drawn by NCTQ. As I stated, the data seems pretty accurate.

        As to just what kind and to what degree “guilt” should be associated with either NCTQ or its parent, Fordham, I will leave up to Diane Ravitch who was both on the board of Fordham and also present at the creation of NCTQ. As Ravitch states: “It is not a research organization. It is an advocacy organization.” She is/was in a better position than most to make that assertion.

        The problem with “data based decision making” or “conclusion drawing” is that “data” is much like a Rorschach Test, one stares at it and it begins to take shape based on personal preconceptions and biases. It has nowhere near the objectivity many like to attribute to it. And so we have the debates about the appropriate uses of “test data.”

        Having sat at the bargaining table for over 20 years I do have some familiarity with the construction of “uniform” salary schedules. The “compressing” of salary schedules–removing steps in the schedule– is an interesting idea. It is also a very expensive idea. There is a finite amount of dollars available to work with and you have competing demands. You can put more people at a higher level –on average–but then you don’t have much left to raise the maximum pay. People look at maximums in nearby districts and compare, so there is a demand to raise the maximum. And, I should state at this time, that you have to look at demographics in a given district which is idiosyncratic. So you do a “scatter gram” and spread sheet to see how you can most equitably spread the dollars across steps and columns. The you have the factor that people’s pensions will depend on that max salary figure. Then you have to look at starting salaries and make them “competitive,” as much as is feasible, with local and comparable districts. (If you have a “local” district that is basic aide than you have a political as well as other kinds of problems.)

        If you happen to be in a joint union district you have an issue deciding if elementary teachers will be on the same schedule as secondary because secondary (under revenue limit) received about 20% more per student than elementary. In the district I worked in the secondary teachers outnumbered the elementary around 3 to 1, but the teachers voted overwhelmingly to have one, uniform schedule because even though that meant secondary would get less pay that was more equitable and represented true unionism.

        This does not represent a comprehensive list of the issues involved.

        Remember the super-predators? That was supposed to be the Millennials,or some anyway. Instead we have a much more altruistic and less violence prone group of young folks. I don’t expect them to be any less appreciative of equity then the Boomers or an other group of teachers. As to changing jobs multiple times, that may be attractive to the TFA crowd, but I think most real teachers are looking for a profession.

        • Gary Ravani on Dec 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm12/5/2014 3:15 pm

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          As to recognizing “exemplary work,” that is done routinely at the table. It is generally called “extras duty pay.” There are all kinds of stipends that fall under this classification, everything from being an athletic coach to being a BTSA support provider. Again, there are limited dollars and competing demands. People should be compensated for doing extra work, but every dollar you put into extra duty pay is a dollar that comes out of the same budget category that goes generally to compensation.

          It would be a wonderful experience to raise the pay for beginning teachers to what entry pay in other professions is, move people rapidly through the steps and across the columns to higher pay earlier, have a maximum salary that rewards long years of dedicated service and provides for a secure retirement, and pay everyone everything they deserve for taking on valuable extra duties and all of above in service to providing CA’s students with the highest quality education possible.

          What was the title of this article again? “…Ed Week Ranks CA 50th in Per Pupil Spending” That explains a lot doesn’t it?

          • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm12/5/2014 4:00 pm

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            Compression could be done at the lower steps at minimal cost given the current teacher distributions within the salary schedules that I’ve seen in la county districts (clearly in other states things are sometimes done differently). Higher beginning salary would also, in theory, attract more candidates, and, in theory, increase their ‘quality’. There is of course the problem that the distribution can change with time, as it did during recent hiring freezes and layoffs, or in the opposite direction as during the class size reduction years. Unless funding or the salary schedule can adapt to these variations there will always be non-educational drivers for how districts treat teachers. And note that reduced income disparity in general would make these issues much less but we’re going the wrong direction on that front..

          • Gary Ravani on Dec 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm12/5/2014 5:06 pm

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            A problem, there are a number of issues but I’ll stick to “A” (one), is that when you “compress” all personnel on lower steps move to the remaining higher step. That instantly increases expense. What do you cut to provide for that increase in a finite system?

            Likewise, increasing beginning salary means you cut from somewhere else or hold other steps and columns in place. Everybody wants some kind of improvement wherever they are on the schedule.

            The concept developed by the NCTQ, which you seem to embrace, is not invalid. Over the course of 30+ years most teachers would benefit if salaries were boosted in the early years over the course of a career. The problem is people live in “today.” They have house payments today. Kids need shoes today. Cars need to be repaired today. It’s a fine abstraction to talk about the very long term advantages of compressed salary schedules. But, practically, people want an increase today or this year anyway. It’s like trying to talk about the benefits of compound interest in savings when your car needs gas.

            There just isn’t enough money in the system to do everything. There are many competing interests as well a s cost-benefit analyses to do.

            It’s not easy.

            And when people look at which district they want to apply to they do look at beginning salaries and then at the top salary to see where they might be headed in enough time. That top salary is a key to being competitive with other districts as well as the beginning salary.

            Charter schools are known for being “innovative” in their compensation packages. They have many of the kinds of innovative, competitive based, gimmicks so may people like to crow about and suggest that teachers and unions will just “have” to adapt to. Charters also have teacher turnover rates many times that of regular public schools. But what’s reality got to do with it when you can be innovative, market based, and 21st century? (As one who honchoed a bargaining unit of 500 people for almost 20 years I have answers to that question.)

          • navigio on Dec 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm12/5/2014 6:05 pm

            • 000

            The only point I was trying to make was that its not as expensive as one thinks if the compression happens more exclusively at the lower end. I did a back of the napkin analysis of one district and came to the conclusion they could pay EVERYONE top step and only increase teacher salary costs by about 13%. Simply compressing lower steps in that particular group would result in negligible increases, probably much less than could be made up by a year of disproportionate retirings. Your other points are valid and I wasnt implying that those are not important concerns.

          • TheMorrigan on Dec 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm12/5/2014 6:45 pm

            • 000

            I appreciate the discussion here from John, Gary and navigio. It has given me much to think about in ways that I wouldn’t have considered before.

        • John Fensterwald on Dec 6, 2014 at 1:29 am12/6/2014 1:29 am

          • 000

          Gary: There are many reasons that teachers leave the professions after a few years, as you know, but one is pay. If it’s true, as studies indicate, that teachers become most effective after five or so years on the job, then year 5 would seem a right spot for a big bump and the years soon after that. An effective evaluation system, which would include recognition of teachers who contribute greatly to the school and the professional growth of other teachers (critical with Common Core) should include extra compensation. That would be more effective than simply giving more money for getting a master’s degree with no relationship to impact on learning and the school.

          I’d like to see more districts experiment with alternatives — then we can see if it’s the maximum pay or a more compressed system that attracts younger teachers. Voters might be more inclined to support parcel taxes or raise general taxes to attract the next generation to teaching with a higher base pay and differentiated pay based on merit, however measured — at least this taxpayer would.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 6, 2014 at 7:52 am12/6/2014 7:52 am

            • 000

            What most taxpayers see is that no matter what new revenue we give to the State – we see no real effect on the quality of education our children receive. Taxpayers voted for Prop 30 because they were told it would benefit students. I can guarantee that it would not have passed if Jerry Brown had been honest and told voters that it was going to backfill government employee pensions.

            When you add that to the fact that the Capistrano Unified School District actually mislead parents about how budget cuts were being made- I can promise that it will be almost impossible to get any local tax increases here.

            I will give you an example-

            In 2012 Districts were doing budget projections based on the passage or failure of Prop 30. So they identified the cuts that would be needed if Prop 30 failed ($51 million in CUSD) and the cuts that would be needed if Prop 30 passed (#30 million).

            The District uses a multi-pronged approach to balancing its budget-

            First they identify all the cuts that can be made without having to negotiate (unilateral cuts) then they identify negotiated cuts.

            When the District announces to the public “Budget Balanced with Employee Concessions Solutions to $51 Million Deficit Found Through Negotiations”; the Public assumes that everyone is making sacrifices.


            However after the passage of Prop 30 the District only implemented the cuts to student services and never implemented cuts to employee compensation.

            The real headline should have been – District Budget was balanced with cuts to student services- employee compensation was preserved”.

            So our District has not benefitted at all with the passage of Prop 30. We still have furlough days and increased class sizes and no ability to restore programs. What incentive do taxpayers here have to vote for more revenue increases?

          • Andrew on Dec 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm12/7/2014 12:57 pm

            • 000

            I looked at teacher salary schedules for my old hometown in the Rockies, an area that has always struggled economically, and the starting salaries there are several thousand dollars higher than many in California, including the LAUSD. Top tier teacher salaries from my hometown are lower, however, and the schedule is more compressed. But you can buy a nice house there in a safe neighborhood for $80,000. A first year teacher there can afford to buy an $80,000 house, and can even afford a 15 year mortgage, owing the home free and clear in 15 years.

            Many newer California teachers, with the present salary structures, can look forward to a lifetime of renting. Their stepped salary increases will correspond to their landlords’ rent increases and the increased rental costs of bigger quarters as they endeavor to leave their studio apartments to start families. They indeed need a major salary bump around the five year point, at least.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm12/7/2014 2:12 pm

            • 000

            If the State of California is going to intentionally underfund school districts then teacher will have to understand that there will be no raises for anyone. But you don’t see the teachers union in my District fighting for more funding. They simply negotiate behind closed doors to make sure that their compensation is protected even if it means the District will need to use furlough days, increased class sizes and cuts to student services to do so.

          • Gary Ravani on Dec 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm12/8/2014 2:33 pm

            • 000


            Yes, there are a number of reasons that teachers leave the profession within the first five years (about 50% nationwide), and the two most common ones I am aware of are “lack of leadership” and “lack of resources to do the job.” If there is something in the general population of teachers about a lack of “differentiated pay” in the uniform salary schedule i have not heard of it, nor has it come up as a major issue in any bargaining unit I have heard of (and I hear about a number).

            As to “experimenting with alternatives” of various stripes, that is what the profession has been putting up with since NCLB and even longer here in this state. Generally there was a faith based belief in the concepts of “standards and accountability” (test based) and imposing corporate market based values on the education system (aka, choice) that have been abject failures. I will leave, for the sake of brevity, those arguments to the report done by the National Research Council. Now the system purportedly needs yet another experiment in alternative pay schedules. Why? There have been experiments with various “merit based” systems and they have generally been abandoned. The last one I can think of was in NYC.

            It is widely acknowledged that one of the chief weakness of the whole charter school system is its high teacher turnover rate. Charters use various pay schemes and none of them hold teachers creating “churn.” Churn in regular public schools is cause to overturn seniority rights. Churn in charters or through TFA is just great. Right.

            The key problem with compressing pay schedules, and there is currently considerable variability in pay schedules, or other adjustments to the uniform schedule is it is quite genuinely a “zero sum game.” Someone must lose in order for others to win. There is not enough money in the system to do all the good things people want to do.

            As to “masters degrees” having no impact on learning based on “studies,” recall Ravitch’s warning about Fordham: Do the “studies” emerge from a legitimate research organization or an advocacy organization? Was the “study” presented before a learned body for peer review or was it released at a press conference? Who funded the study and/or organization? Is there a track record of ideological and/or political “leanings” in the author’s history? It is interesting, if not ironic, that few would argue that increased formal education is a positive for a professional’s credibility EXCEPT for teachers where it “has no relationship.” Think about it.

            The success of parcel taxes in this state has a direct relationship with the wealth of people living in that district, not to elaborations on pay schedules.

            Re teachers who “contribute greatly to school and professional growth.” Fine. Recall the mentor teacher program in CA that did just that? Defunded. Recall PAR and the “coaches” who did that? De facto defunded with “flexibility,” and gone with LCFF. State support for Nationally Certified teachers? Zero sum.

          • navigio on Dec 9, 2014 at 8:22 am12/9/2014 8:22 am

            • 000

            Yes, change in a zero-sum system always implies winners and losers. Not only is that expected, in this case it would actually be the point. That this happens is not sufficient reason to argue against any possible change, unless the current system just happened to have evolved into perfection given available resources. Not only is that highly doubtful but it’s likely impossible given that pay schedules remain static for a number of years while the distribution of the teachers within them as well as available funds change from year to year.
            My impression is that there is no “rate-distortion optimization” discussion happening as part of negotiations rather elected officials simply look to see what they are able to politically get away with, then do something close to that.

  3. Don on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm12/2/2014 11:11 pm

    • 000

    No.Here in the US public school is free for everyone, but in Mexico you have to be a citizen to attend for free. They aren’t idiots to think that any who shows up on the doorstep is not entitled to the same services as the citizens of a country.

    As for a free public education, this year the Californian state government alone will spend about $60B (?) on public education. That is not nearly enough, though there are numerous other issues inhibiting student performance besides funding. Despite the lack of proper funding we continue to open our arms to any and all including those that break the law and enter the country illegally while many wait to be granted legal entrance; ergo, we are rewarding unlawful behavior. And we are doing so not only with free public schooling but with a multitude of other social services for people who never paid a penny into the system. And we simply can’t afford it. The liberal-minded purveyors of free public education for any and all cry the loudest about the lack of funding, but they typically condone the never-ending illegal influx of millions across the border. It isn’t difficult to understand, but adult political ideology trumps the education of California’s children.

    I sympathize with the plight of people, but that doesn’t change the fact that educating all is a significant driver of insolvency in this state and public education is one of the victims. My great uncle lived in Mexico for 20 years waiting for a visa to live in the US.


    • Manuel on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:11 am12/3/2014 12:11 am

      • 000

      According to and citing work done by the Pew Hispanic Center, about 10% of K-12 students are undocumented. That works out to $6 billion/year if one believes the numbers you cite. If the funding for these kids was funneled to the native-born, it would hardly put a dent on the funding gap (right now, the state pays roughly $7k/kid and Dawn claims she needs $11k/kid, so no way, no how).

      But let’s say the state follows your lead. What is your solution? Throw those kids on the street? Put them in a “relocation camp” prior to shipping them out? Or just put them in a bus and dump them at the border?

      As for the “other services” you are complaining about, none of them, aside from emergency medical services, are available to the undocumented. And how sure are you that they are not paying their taxes? Where is your proof that they don’t? Oh, wait, they get paid under the table. But then, it is the fault of their employer who does not report their wages.

      Are there millions of them coming across the border? That’s unadulterated fear mongering as we are not in the days of Wilson anymore (“They keep coming… and coming…”) and, in fact, apprehension of illegal border crossers is at a 40-year low if one can believe The International Business Times.

      So, whose fault is it they are here? Could it be the employers? If so, why not simply make it very expensive to hire an undocumented? Start throwing employers in jail and job availability would change in a flash. These people are coming over for the jobs, not to put their kids in a lousy educational system.

      But that will never happen because our economy, whether we like it or not, depends on their labor. Who cares if the middle class complains? They don’t matter to those who really run the country.

      Next time you go to any restaurant check who is working in the kitchen. If you see someone brown, walk out. Do your part to stop “those people” from being rewarded. Because we can’t afford it and can’t let political ideology win, no?

      • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:21 am12/3/2014 12:21 am

        • 000

        Manuel, you can try to play the race card. Maybe it will work on someone else. I will say some of your points are well considered and I agree with many. Nevertheless, I don’t think the children are crossing the border for jobs and they certainly aren’t coming here because they love public education in Mexico and Central America. You’ve got to get off that race horse. It’s a loser.

        • Manuel on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:15 am12/3/2014 11:15 am

          • 000

          Is race mentioned anywhere in my note (other than the quip about restaurants)?

          No, it isn’t.

          Why? Because this is not just about those crossing the border by “the brown hordes” of Wilson’s ad. It is about those overstaying their visas and they are not from the South. They are from Asia and Europe. Go inform yourself on that and then get back to me about the race card.

          This is strictly about macroeconomics.

          These men and women have come here to do jobs that few want and to escape civil unrest bordering on civil war. Or to simply leave an economy that they feel has no place for them (why do you think that so many Chinese in the Los Angeles area are buying houses with cash?). Sometimes they drag their children with them and sometimes they have children here. Either way, those kids are the ones you and Dawn want to deny school services to get a measly 10% raise when what is needed is 50%. Chump change, indeed.

          Either you put up with their parents doing those jobs that employers don’t want to pay enough for or you kick them all out without regard to their status. To do that, though, you will have to gut the 14th Amendment. You will have to militarize the border. You will have to institute a police state where you must prove your status at any moment. (If you think getting through immigration at the airport is a PITA, just wait.) Nothing else than that will “solve” the problem the way you and Dawn want it.

          What loser card are you going to play now?

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:44 am12/3/2014 11:44 am

            • 000

            Lets talk about the 14th amendment a bit.

            To be constitutional under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment the base Grant must be sufficient to provide EVERY child (legal/illegal, rich/poor, black/white/Red/Brown/Purple) with an “adequate” education. It is settled law. So what happens to the Equal Protection Clause when a State’s funding law intentionally deprives students of adequate funding for a basic education simply because they happen to live in a wealthy area- irrespective of the individual students personal income, race or ethnicity? The law violates the Equal Protection Clause. Rodriguez stated this verbatim. If the Federal Courts were to review California’s new Education funding law it would be stuck down as an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

            Let me ask all of you- don’t any of you care about the poor and English Language Learners in my District? They are not getting what they need because $273 Supplemental grant does not begin to cover their educational needs- so I guess the California law only cares about the education of the Poor and English language learners that do not live in wealthy areas.

          • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm12/3/2014 2:35 pm

            • 000

            Manuel, multiple sources provide information on who is in the country illegally.

            You can check it out at Pro Con for example to see for yourself. Mexico is at the top with 59% of the undocumented. El Salvador is next with a 1/10 of that. Three Asian countries comprise about 12%. No Europeans are in the top ten. This is pretty much the same on other sources with very minor variances.

            That said, I don’t care which people it is that’s coming illegally. A country needs to protect its borders and operate under a rule of law for its own security which is a primary purpose of the federal government. I have traveled all over the world and I’ve never come across a country that allows for such wanton disregard for immigration across its border. Then, after millions of people arrive unlawfully you claim it is a done deal and we can hardly turn the country into a police state to repatriate the undocumented. I would agree that it is virtually impossible to repatriate all and I wouldn’t want to tear all these lives apart doing so. But future immigration has to be stopped if it isn’t legal. Or is your solution to do nothing? You have nothing to say about that so far. Of course, you also minimize the consequences in general and downplay its effect on schools.

            FYI, It isn’t a race thing as you want to make it out with your constant references to race, quips or otherwise. You constantly intimate that those who oppose illegal immigration like Dawn or myself are racist while maintaining that you aren’t talking about race. Come on. Get off it. It’s a ridiculous association, but if you want to make it at least owe up to it.

          • el on Dec 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm12/3/2014 5:10 pm

            • 000

            Dawn, the supplemental grant is 20% of the base grant, more like $1400 additional per student.

          • el on Dec 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm12/3/2014 10:25 pm

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            Dawn, you are still misunderstanding that number at your link.

            $212 cited in that document is an average divided across the total ADA of the district. It is not how much your district gets when a new student enrolls. You get 20% of the base grant for that grade level supplemental additional if the student qualifies, and $0 if not.

            • John Fensterwald on Dec 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm12/4/2014 2:13 pm

              • 000

              You are right, el. Accepting the district’s calculation for its base grant, the 20 percent supplement for each English learner or low-income child would be closer to $1,500 per child (technically, the 20 percent is applied by grade span, which have different funding levels for elementary, middle and high schools). You can cite a districtwide impact since only 26 percent of children would get that supplement, but even then it would be about $375 per child. But keep in mind supplemental money is supposed to be used to increase or improve services for the high-needs children; it’s not simply more money for a district’s General Fund. The regulations for the Local Control and Accountability Plans make that clear.

          • Don on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:30 am12/4/2014 12:30 am

            • 000

            El, why would the district report the supplemental grant allocation for qualified students as a per pupil amount for all students? Even reported that way it’s more than $100 too low so maybe something else is going on with CUSD’s accounting.

          • navigio on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm12/4/2014 3:54 pm

            • 000

            Because they are not talking about supplemental allocations. If you look at the web page, they are talking about the gap between current and full LCFF funding. The $212 amount is based on the state funding 12% of that ‘gap’ in 13-14, where funding is for a district with a given unduplicated rate (1%, 26%, 60% and 100%). So this has nothing to do with the s&c grant specifically. They were trying to describe how LCFF will change funding for school districts as a whole.

            • John Fensterwald on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm12/4/2014 4:17 pm

              • 000

              Ah, you’re right. Each year the gap between where districts are and full funding under the formula closes. If the forecasts for next year’s Prop 98 are on target, districts may be close to 50 percent of full funding after 15-16, but revenues won’t be as robust after Prop 30 expires, not to mention the impact if there is a recession.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm12/4/2014 8:21 pm

            • 000

            Regarding the Gap you are discussing- I think that pages 11, 12, and 13 of the following District Budget Presentation explain it a bit better.


            The Chart on Page 13 explains why I feel so hopeless about any child getting an adequate education in our District going forward. We will never have funding to restore any programs, reduce class sizes or fix our facilities. When you add in the increased pension contributions our District has no chance of recovery- if there is a recession- well it gets worse faster.

            The Base Funding Grant has to be increased to an amount that provides and adequate education to EVERY student. Parents in our District cannot make up for $200 million in unfunded educational costs per year.

      • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:01 am12/3/2014 7:01 am

        • 000


        The State of California has the highest revenues in its history – so why is Jerry Brown funding education at 2008 levels? Because he is using money that should be spent on students for other things. That is a choice that is being made. The base grant needs to be increased to a level that is sufficient to pay for an “adequate” education for EVERY student then additional funding can be added for the poor and English Language Learner. Increasing the Base Funding Grant would be good for everyone.

        • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:53 am12/3/2014 9:53 am

          • 000

          Because that’s all he can politically get. Note that without prop 30 funding would have been even lower. And prop 30 barely passed!
          Based on the ‘truths’ you think should have been more clearly stated at that time, it even would not have passed.

          And it would not be good for ‘everyone’ because doing so would come at the expense of s&c funds. Note that the base grant was already raised once, and the estimates at the time were that that ‘compromise’ decreased funding targeted for disadvantaged students by 20%-25% (!!!). That, to raise the base grant by about $500, not $4000 or more like is being suggested. You would have to do away with s&c grants entirely to even begin to move toward that goal, and even if you did that, you’d barely put a dent in the difference. Note that EIA was eliminated entirely in favor of LCFF s&c grants, so eliminating s&c is effectively removing virtually all state-based compensatory funding directed at english learners and kids in poverty. (Curious, were you fighting for eliminating EIA while that was in place too?)

          Btw, I think you do your own cause a disservice by calling out ‘illegals’ and english language learners (many of the latter being American citizens). Those 200 kids have zero impact on your district’s base grant. In fact, you are getting even more money due to those kids being there than you otherwise would–if your argument is about encroachment then please note the 20% or so of unrestricted general fund revenues that are currently ‘diverted’ to special education in many districts. Even at triple the cost, and even if covered entirely by your base grant, those 200 kids represent less than a half a percent of your general fund budget. Put another way, if you took that money and applied it to your base grant, you could raise it by $37 (and that’s assuming your district actually spends the $16k amount, which it probably won’t unless those kids are also classified special ed at some point). As mentioned above, even applied at the state level, removing s&c grants entirely would get you nowhere near your $11k goal. And in the process, you will have entirely eliminated state funding targeted at disadvantaged students (in a state with child poverty levels at about 25%). Not surprising people would take issue with that.

          Why has the sufficient funding cry arisen in wealthy districts only once they have become directly impacted? How hard would your district fight for lausd, with more than half it’s student body current or former english learners and it’s unduplicated rate over 80%, once your district got its &11k pie? And after you achieved that by calling out english learners as taking all the money?

          To be clear, I don’t think anyone here disagrees with your contention that education funding in general is too low. Or even your claim that politics is full of lies (both prop 30 and LCFF were widely criticized on this very forum at those times). But I think you can work toward higher funding for everyone without having to frame it in the context of the wealthy needing more from the poor or illegals taking all our money. I think you’d also get a lot more help if you could do that. :-)

          • Manuel on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:34 am12/3/2014 11:34 am

            • 000

            navigio, a minor quibble: the CDE reports that 59.4% of students enrolled in 2013-14 in K-12 schools qualified for “Free or Reduced Price Meals.” As you undoubtedly know, FRPM is a proxy for “poverty level.” That’s way more than the 25% rate you cite.

            FWIW, the percentage of English learners for 2013-14 was 22.7%.

            Given these two percentages, the major problem is not English learners who surely cannot all be undocumented. It is poverty.

            But these two will never admit it. They see it as “these people” taking away their money and that won’t stand.

            (Let me be incendiary: the biggest chunk of funding is not taken by the undocumented: it is taken by the students identified as needing special education services. Yet, nobody wants to loudly and forcefully inform the public that neither the feds nor the state funds these services above the 40% level leaving the districts to “use local funds,” as the LAO put it in one of their reports, to close the gap. For instance, LAUSD spends roughly $1.8 billion on 80,000 kids in special ed annually. Consider the effect it has on the other 480,000 students who have to get by on what is left on a roughly $6 billion budget. In fact, designating more than 50% of the LCFF Supplemental and Concentration grants for 2014-15 is what led the ACLU to threaten a lawsuit over flagrant disregard of the Legislature’s intent in distributing these funds. Whether the ACLU will go forward with the threat, I haven’t heard anything yet.)

            Indeed, all politics is personal.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:49 am12/3/2014 11:49 am

            • 000

            Manuel stated: “Given these two percentages, the major problem is not English learners who surely cannot all be undocumented. It is poverty.”

            I agree with you 100% the problem is poverty… so why do you want to allow more and more poor and uneducated people into our country while you make educated people follow the immigration laws and wait in line?

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:54 am12/3/2014 11:54 am

            • 000

            I also agree with your Statement regarding Special Education-

            So let me ask again- what services will a student in my District get when they are not poor, not an English Language Learner and/or don’t have special needs? The answer is nothing unless their parents “donate” money to provide services that the State is constitutionally obligated to pay for.

          • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm12/3/2014 12:33 pm

            • 000

            Manuel, the percentage of english learners stats only includes those who are currently classified english learners. Once an english learner is reclassified they no longer count toward that number. They were, of course still english learners at one point. Thats why I said ‘current or former.
            F&R qualification is usually set above the strict poverty line, while poverty stats tend to use an actual definition of poverty. I guess that’s why the term ‘low income’ is often used instead.
            Yes, special education encroachment is definitely an issue, but the real problem even there is not that those kids should not deserve to have that access, but that the general public does not realize that this happens, and thus rejects calls to increase funding in general based on ‘reformy’ cries of waste and inefficiency and over-spending.

            Although I admit I was somewhat surprised at lausd’s action (not that they did it, but that they advertised it), it is worth noting that there is quite a large overlap in unduplicated and special ed students in that district. Ie, most of the s&c portion of that money would have gone toward those students anyway. It’s true, however, that it would not necessarily have been for special ed services per se.
            I quipped long ago that at one level LCFF was nothing more than a way to legalize encroachment (and move it from ‘base’ to s&c), never believing anyone would actually put it in writing!

          • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm12/3/2014 12:56 pm

            • 000

            Dawn, the answer to that question lies in understanding government’s role. Looking strictly at the levels of funding, it would be easy to conclude that the rest of the students get ‘nothing’. However, as it applies to the education of a child in a general sense, nothing could be further from the truth. Statistically speaking, a wealthy child enters the educational domain with a whole slew of advantages over their less-advantaged brethren. And they not only maintain them during schooling but even extend them. That is largely not a result of something the schools do, but things outside the schools. The role government is playing here is to try to make up for that difference. It’s not clear how it could do that by reducing resources for disadvantaged kids.
            Perhaps a brown quote best makes the point, “Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm12/3/2014 2:43 pm

            • 000

            navigio- You really do not understand- the continued lack of funding is hurting the academic performance of all students- For example:

            LCAP data now shows that despite the wealth and parental education levels in south Orange County, only 23% of the students from CUSD are ready for College level courses in Mathematics.

            22% of English Language Learners are prepared for college level course-work in Mathematics.

            Our Students are weak in mathematics across all demographics.

            Only 54% of our students complete A-G Requirements.

            CUSD High School Freshman – 81.5% are on track to graduate with that number dropping to 59% by 11th Grade

            and the data goes on and on.

            With all the wealth, parental support and extra fundraising etc the system is failing our students. API dropped 9 points this year and we are no longer the #1 performing large school district- in one year we have dropped to 4th.

            CUSD employee costs are 92% of the budget – when Jerry Brown makes us pay the increased pension contributions over 100% of our budget will be employee costs- so there is no hope for students in CUSD unless funding is increased.

          • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm12/3/2014 4:19 pm

            • 000

            Dawn, I already said many times I agree with you on the overall lack of funding. Where I disagree is on how that can be remedied, specifically not in class-warfare style. :-)

            Regarding your numbers, those things could all be true but LCFF caused none of them. The last API released was 2013, the year before LCFF went into effect. Furthermore, for each of the 9 years previous, your API went up. All years in which your district was already ‘underfunded’ compared to others (some years much worse than now).
            Anyway, 2013 was an anomalous year, IMHO, in terms of testing and thus API. Many (in fact most–I did an analysis of this back then and I seem to remember something like an 80% turnaround for the worse in that single year) districts and schools saw a drop in API after years of increases. There was extensive discussion of this phenomenon on this site. It is also estimated that there is at least a 20 point ‘margin of error’ in API, not to mention that what it measures may not be worthwhile anyway. In short, I would not put too much stock into API unless virtually everything else can be held constant. Believe it or not, those other numbers are not that surprising, but that’s a whole different discussion. :-)

            Regarding employee costs: there is a disconnect in policy in that the state defines funding levels while contracts are negotiated with local boards. By placing an increased burden on school districts I expect brown is trying to put pressure on local BoEs to adjust teacher compensation down. A more suspicious version of myself also believes it’s a silent directive to increase charter school counts (note how those are treated differently under LCFF).

          • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:25 pm12/3/2014 9:25 pm

            • 000

            Navigio, I want to respond to this statement: “You would have to do away with s&c grants entirely to even begin to move toward that goal (larger base grant) , and even if you did that, you’d barely put a dent in the difference.”

            That makes sense but even increasing the base grant does not guarantee a per pupil minimum which is I believe what Dawn is getting at (funded at proper levels). Unlike the S and C grants which are ostensibly supposed to fund targeted students ONLY, there is no such accountability in the LCAP that restricts the use of base grants. If a district wants to take half the base grant funding and use it for S and C purposes there is nothing in the state law to prevent it. S and C advocates have been worried about the opposite happening- using S and C grants to fund non-targeted students. But here in San Francisco the opposite is true as first outlined. We already have a weighted student formula that allocates by need and the district continues to fund schools under that formula while also applying the S and C grant money to it as well. That is to say, they are using base grant funding for S and C purposes thereby lower the base grant funding to every school and many of these schools don’t make up for it with S and C grant funding. They are in effect supplanting base funding. Then you have T1 money that only goes to school with the 60% threshold and you get a district that has a free hand to funnel money to favored schools with the public hoodwinked by the district obfuscation via the complexities of resource allocation (lack of accountability) in the budget and by the basic fungibility of money under LCFF (as opposed to the old SACs system).

      • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:09 am12/3/2014 7:09 am

        • 000

        Manuel Said: As for the “other services” you are complaining about, none of them, aside from emergency medical services, are available to the undocumented.

        That is not true. The unaccompanied minors (200) that entered CUSD are entitled to many programs see US Department of Education- Educational services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States

        Services for Educationally Disadvantaged Children (Title I)
        Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
        English Language Acquisition Programs
        McKinney-Vento Act:
        Migrant Education Programs (MEP)
        National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition

        • Manuel on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:39 am12/3/2014 11:39 am

          • 000

          Dawn, you too are a one-trick pony.

          The argument is that all those millions coming across the border Don talks about are getting ALL the services US citizens get. They are not.

          What gets your goat is that US laws allow the offering of services to minors until their status is determined by an immigration court.

          So, fine, what’s your proposal? Put them on a plane to their country of origin immediately upon capture lest they infect your precious children with some dreaded disease?

          We are a nation of laws, you know… 😉

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm12/3/2014 1:22 pm

            • 000

            Manuel, every time they’ve passed immigration reform the argument is, let’s legalize those here now and not let any more illegal immigrants in, and then we can try to assimilate those already here. However, as soon as they do it, they can get other jobs, more open ones, wages drop, and then millions more come as there are always millions willing to live in the uncertainty. The uncertain situation we speak of as horrible is better than the certain situation in their nations. Now they are from nations which have failed, for the most part, to achieve economic success. There are many there who would love to come here and be in the situation the illegals are in now. Therefore, if they pass this law, it won’t just make it easier on those here now, it will cause an equal number to come and be undocumented. You don’t enforce laws by rewarding lawbreakers. The new ones will figure eventually they’ll marry someone or eventually they will pass another such law in 20 years. It happened under LBJ and then under Reagan. I know you want them to pass this law, but you’re selling it on the idea that if we help those here, we won’t get a new flood, and in 1965 and 1985, we did. Why would you think it would be different this time around? And it lowers our API scores because for the most part, these immigrants do not work hard in school and have disadvantages with language and poverty. Instead of trying to turn around the horrible performance of our kids, more resources will be diverted to newcomers who do not value education.

            I think they should severely limit immigration but increase it from Asia, because people from Asia are also willing to take any low paying, difficult job for 20 years while at the same time requiring their kids do not work and study 20-40 hours a week and obsess over grades, so with Asian immigrants, the next generation will be prosperous and we get the cheap labor. With Latin America, we get the cheap labor, a quick fix like a hit of cocaine, but then we get that headache the next day, the children who do not try hard in school and don’t study long hours and don’t care what their grades are.

            There are exceptions, but thinking this will raise API scores or be a one time thing is delusional.

            Dawn is right on this point. It isn’t helping. We should not be for this. If you care about Latinos in California now, focus on getting them to work long hours and obsess over grades for a generation. Right now, the kids of the 1965 and 1985 giveaways are doing worse than whites in school, and whites are honestly doing horrible compared to Asians, barely a quarter as likely to make UCLA or Cal or any UC. Let’s fix the problems we have here before encouraging new immigration.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm12/3/2014 4:26 pm

            • 000

            Floyd I agree with everything you said. No country should allow illegal immigration.

          • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm12/3/2014 4:44 pm

            • 000

            It’s fine for you to believe that but it really doesn’t have anything to do with education funding.

      • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:23 am12/3/2014 7:23 am

        • 000

        Manuel stated: “Are there millions of them coming across the border? That’s unadulterated fear mongering as we are not in the days of Wilson anymore (“They keep coming… and coming…”) and, in fact, apprehension of illegal border crossers is at a 40-year low if one can believe The International Business Times.”

        My District received 200 “newcomers”. The District will receive $7,002 to educate these students. It costs $16,683 per student because many of these “newcomers” speak little or no English, many are not fluent or literate in their own language and many have not had any formal education. If the District needs to provide these students with services that cost almost triple what is received- the money comes from from services that should be spent to educate everyone else.

        It is not fair to legal residents *irrespective of their race or ethnicity” to be deprived of their education because our Government is inviting people to ignor our immigration laws.

        • el on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:00 am12/3/2014 11:00 am

          • 000

          Dawn, you are conflating the amount your school receives on average with your current funding from all state funds and sources and current pupils with the amount a new student brings on the margin. These students that concern you will bring the base grant amount plus the supplemental grant, so more than your current average.

          I cheerfully remind you that there are indeed districts funded at higher levels because of their supplemental and concentration grants. My school’s population is 75% FRL, has a per pupil funding average closer to what you desire, and I assure you that we would welcome the enrollment of your students, whether you live in our district boundaries or not.

          As to the unaccompanied international minors, if they truly are walking and traveling thousands of miles solely to get to our sweet free education, I can only imagine their desire, resourcefulness, and esteem of the importance of education will be a credit to our schools.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:29 am12/3/2014 11:29 am

            • 000

            navigio- if California currently has 25% of its students in poverty – that percentage is only going to continue to increase as the the Federal Government continues to open the Borders. And because of the ridicules number of entitlements that California offers to people who come to this country illegally – a disproportionate amount will end up in California. My District gets $273 in a supplemental grant and no concentration grant – so as more uneducated and poor (no matter what their race or ethnicity is) enter my child’s public school without adequate funding then the quality of education goes down for every child. The end result will be a failed public school system with more and more parents choosing to homeschool if they cannot afford Private school.

      • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:22 am12/3/2014 9:22 am

        • 000

        Manuel, I don’t think $6B is chump change. Be we are discussing the unaccompanied minors. You are highly misinformed when you say only emergency medical is available to unaccompanied minors. These individuals are a tremendous expense to federal, state and local governments. Who do you think is paying for all these children? It costs between 400 and 1,000 per day just to house them. Look it up.

        Regarding your contention that these children don’t receive services, an excerpt of an article below from CBS News is informative. This is only a small fraction of the costs and don’t include education, foster care, medical, dental, food stamps and many other services.

        CBS news

        The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says that apprehensions of undocumented immigrants along the Southwestern U.S. border remain near historic lows, but agents have seen a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors trying to enter the country illegally over the past five years. Over the first 8 1/2 months of fiscal year 2014, 52,193 unaccompanied minors have been taken into custody — a 99 percent increase over 2013.

        The soaring number of migrant children has strained the system, forcing the federal government to scramble to open additional emergency facilities across the country and prompting President Barack Obama to request Tuesday for an emergency appropriation of $3.7 billion to fund the operation.

        ORR also has seen its caseload jump sharply in recent years, rising from an average of between 7,000 and 8,000 unaccompanied children from FY 2005 through 2011 to 24,668 last year, according to figures provided by HHS. This year, officials estimate, the office will receive at least 60,000 referrals.


        It’s difficult to calculate the cost of apprehending, housing and adjudicating the cases of undocumented minor immigrants over time because a number of different agencies may deal with them, including Customs and Border Protection, ICE, and HHS/ORR and the Department of Justice, as well as local agencies or courts, such as family courts.

        But it’s clear that it is increasing.

        A budget brief for HHS’s FY 2015 budget request, estimated that the agency would need $868 million to care for unaccompanied immigrant children, the same amount appropriated in FY2014 but up from $376 million in FY2013. But on May 30, the Congressional Research Service reported, the Office of Management and Budget requested more than twice that amount — $2.28 billion – to operate the program.

        In seeking a $3.7 billion emergency appropriation on Tuesday to address the crisis, the White House requested $1.8 billion for the HHS/ORR program alone for the remainder of the fiscal year.

        Cal Gov website

        Q: Can an unaccompanied young person apply for CalFresh without his/her parents?
        A: Yes. Since unaccompanied youth by definition are not living with their parents, they are not part of
        their parents’ “household”. They can apply for and receive CalFresh benefits…

        • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 9:56 am12/3/2014 9:56 am

          • 000

          Manual, That Federal $3.6B appropriation works out to about $62K per child with 60,000 unaccompanied minors this year. Compare that cost to our state allocation to education – just a little over about $7300 in base grants when you average the K-3, 4-5,6-8 and 9-13 adjusted grants. It costs 9 times that just to process and house foreign children who entered illegally. Then California is on the hook to educate, feed, cloth and shelter each child. This idea that somehow we as Americans are too good to deny entry to foreign children doesn’t make sense when we can’t educate our own children properly. Our policies encourage the influx of all sorts of undocumented foreigners for political reasons, not charitable ones.

          I agree about sanctioning employers who are really at the heart of the failure to stop illegal immigration in general. They get cheap labor and the government pays the benefits. African Americans are waking up to how bad Obama’s recent executive order will be for their community. Employers do not have to pay the $3K Obamacare cost if they hire they hire non-citizens.

          Here’s an example of a recent news story on this subject:

          Under the temporary amnesty awarded to illegals through the Obama administration’s executive order, as many as 5 million illegal immigrants can legally be in the United States for three years, during which time they are eligible for work permits. However, during their three-year-period, the temporarily amnestied immigrants are not eligible to buy insurance on the health exchanges under Obamacare, meaning that employers won’t be penalized for not covering their insurance. Even though they are ineligible for various other public benefits, as well, the once-illegal aliens are expected to capitalize on this technicality in the job market against U.S.-born job hunters.

          Dawn, you asked why we are funding schools at the 2008 level when we have the largest revenues in California history. Great point.

          • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 10:10 am12/3/2014 10:10 am

            • 000

            Being the highest in history isn’t really relevant. For the most part, every year has the highest revenue in history. And ironically, 07-08 was the highest education spending in history. Should that make me think it was enough? Or too much like most people were claiming at the time?

      • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm12/3/2014 4:42 pm

        • 000

        “Are there millions of them coming across the border? That’s unadulterated fear mongering as we are not in the days of Wilson anymore..”

        Ground control to Major Tom. Obama just gave a limited amnesty to about 5 million undocumented individuals and there are about 10 million more. I thought we were talking about unaccompanied minors but you keep talking about people coming to work so I think the multimillion figures are applicable.

        Of course it you believe Bulgarians, French or Italians are the the ones crossing the border I know a good online pharmacy in Canada.You wouldn’t be able to go there to pick it up because they actually control their entries and keep track of who’s in the country.

        • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm12/3/2014 4:45 pm

          • 000

          I don’t mean you personally. I mean people in general are accounted for- not allowed to come and go as they please. What a wonderful world that would be.

        • navigio on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm12/3/2014 4:47 pm

          • 000

          Oh goodie! Do I get to choose other Canadian policies that are good just because they implement them?

  4. Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:25 pm12/2/2014 8:25 pm

    • 000

    It is not the responsibility of taxpayers to import and support the world poor at the expense of their own children. Fund my District at 11,000 per student (which is what it costs to educate a student in a wealthy suburban school district) and then we can help others. But, both the State of California and the Federal Constitution prohibit the State of California from depriving my child of an adequate education so that the legislature can provide services to people who are not legally entitled to be in this country and build a train that goes nowhere. California has lost its way and we have elected people to represent us that have lost their collective minds.

  5. Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm12/2/2014 8:20 pm

    • 000

    “And the US as a whole does spend more per student on average than other OECD countries; however, the US spends far less on medical care (in terms of government dollars), parental leave, and the social services and supports. In the US the schools are expected to make up for all of the “social contract” deficits and that puts a severe strain on school resources and distracts from instructional focus. Obviously, these extra school burdens impact schools with higher populations of poor the most. This is why, on the international tests US schools with 10% or less of free and reduced lunch you find kids scoring tops in the world. Schools with high poverty levels (as determined by free and reduced), and the US has more of those than all but one OECD nation, the scores are very low. This leave US international test scores averaging in the middle of the pack.”

    If Europe is so much better than the US0 please move!


    • el on Dec 3, 2014 at 11:07 am12/3/2014 11:07 am

      • 000

      The real answer to that particular bit of analysis is that education expenses cannot be directly compared between the US and other countries, because what we account as “education” isn’t the same. A substantial percentage of the US education budget goes to pay for employee health care, which is instead accounted directly to health care in other nations; plus, the US spends far more on health care per person (typically by a factor of ~1.5) than those other countries do. Similarly, some of the money that we spend on special education would be counted as health care in other nations.

      Health care is the most obvious example, but not the only one.

      Other areas include pensions, sports, arts, and the like.

    • Gary Ravani on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm12/3/2014 2:52 pm

      • 000

      Yikes! “Love It Or Leave It.” Haven’t seen or heard that particular slogan since the ’60s. I think you spend too much time on some peculiar websites. Please carefully read some of the wisdom provided on this site and become enlightened. Your “modest proposal” to just dump on kids because they are poor and 2nd language speakers is not only questionable morally it is not legal under the laws of the good old US of A.

      It is the duty of a patriotic citizen to not only appreciate what is good about the nation, but to also appreciate where it needs improvement. Of the 32 highly developed and industrialized nations continually ranked in various categories by the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development (aka, the organization that funds some of those iconic international tests and known as the OECD) the US is ranked next to last (31st) in the number and percentage of poor children. That runs about 22+% of our kids. And, yes, many European nations are far “better” than the US on that issue. Denmark and Finland run about 3%-5% child poverty. So, do I want to mover there? No. I want to move some of their good ideas here and improve “my” (our) nation. And dealing with child poverty, as indicated by those international test scores, is closely correlated with improved measurable education outcomes. (Not necessarily the most important “outcome,” but an outcome nonetheless.)

      CA, as a state, is running one of the highest child poverty rates in the nation. So, being a high child poverty state in one of the industrialized world’s nations with the highest rate of child poverty is something that should be very disturbing to any good citizen who has an interest in “promoting the general welfare.”

      • Don on Dec 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm12/3/2014 3:48 pm

        • 000

        “Your “modest proposal” to just dump on kids because they are poor and 2nd language speakers is not only questionable morally it is not legal under the laws of the good old US of A.”

        Entering the country without a visa is not legal under the laws of the good old USA.

        Repatriating undocumented is lawful through proper procedure

      • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm12/3/2014 4:39 pm

        • 000

        Gary, Lowell High in SF is 41% free or reduced lunch, 28% free, and those kids, almost all Asian, would dominate any rich white school district. Lowell is way better than any rich suburban high school and even beats 40k private schools. When you blame poverty, you fail to blame parents and children who have access to libraries, tutoring, and their own time. Kids who say they’re so poor they can’t do well watch TV an average of over 40 hours a week. Poverty doesn’t cause kids to do bad in school. Laziness does, lack of support does, lack of tutoring, and getting a bad teacher. Poverty has very little to do with whether or not you decide to study. People who are poor tend to think more short-term,divorce and exciting sex over stability, drugs and alcohol over sobriety, calling in sick when not over job security, partying over saving, conspicuous consumption over tutoring or saving, TV over opening a book and studying, etc., and tend to pass those negative habits onto their children, but if you are poor and determined to do well in school and have your kids be better than you, they will thrive. Poverty is a scapegoat.

  6. Gary Ravani on Dec 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm12/2/2014 4:54 pm

    • 000

    Yet more polling shows the cognitive dissonance of the voting public in the state. A majority supports putting more money into both K-12 and higher education and the same majority opposes more taxes to pay for it. Magical thinking. CA is, according to the LAO about 10th in the US in per capita tax burden but about #2 in cost of living. CA doesn’t “overspend” in any known category of public spending. Where is the money supposed to come from?

    Just curious here, but those of you who object to new school dollars (still far below the national average) going to “salaries, pensions, and benefits” and not (somehow) “into the classroom” just where exactly do you expect the dollars to go? Were dollars just supposed to be wheelbarrowed into classrooms and magically transform education? Fully 80% of all school dollars go to personnel. Personnel means you are spending on “salaries, pensions, and benefits.” Personnel is how you get improved education to students. If you lower class size, which Prop 30 has helped to implement in many districts in the state, you get more teachers (lower class size=more teachers per student) means salaries, etc., etc. In a number of districts counselors custodians, and language specialists have been rehired and that means salaries, etc., etc.

    In what form are the extra dollars provided by Prop 30 supposed to get “into the classroom?” BTW, there is a pile of research show reduced class size is an effective reform strategy and almost nothing to support increasing technology.

    And the US as a whole does spend more per student on average than other OECD countries; however, the US spends far less on medical care (in terms of government dollars), parental leave, and the social services and supports. In the US the schools are expected to make up for all of the “social contract” deficits and that puts a severe strain on school resources and distracts from instructional focus. Obviously, these extra school burdens impact schools with higher populations of poor the most. This is why, on the international tests US schools with 10% or less of free and reduced lunch you find kids scoring tops in the world. Schools with high poverty levels (as determined by free and reduced), and the US has more of those than all but one OECD nation, the scores are very low. This leave US international test scores averaging in the middle of the pack.


    • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm12/2/2014 8:12 pm

      • 000

      “Yet more polling shows the cognitive dissonance of the voting public in the state. A majority supports putting more money into both K-12 and higher education and the same majority opposes more taxes to pay for it. Magical thinking.”

      California is enjoying the highest revenue in its history- yet the State funds education at 2008 levels. The fact that the powers that be chose to spend the excess revenue on people that are not legally entitled to be here rather than its own citizens means that there will never be enough revenie because even the 1% in California cannot fee, provide healthcare and educate all the people in the world. At some point you actually do run out of other peoples money and we all become equally poor and uneducated. Is Jerry Brown’s vision really to make California a 3rd world country will a high speed BEAST! Viva la Mexico!!!!

    • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm12/2/2014 8:15 pm

      • 000

      So Gary- You think its the right thing to do… to furlough students and continue to increase class sizes so that we can pay old teachers more rather than higher more teachers (reduce class sizes) at a lower salary schedule? Just curious

      • Gary Ravani on Dec 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm12/3/2014 3:03 pm

        • 000


        Do you truly believe that you can build a professional teacher corps based on the principle that once you get a few years under your belt and start earning a middle-class salary that you will be in immediate danger of being laid off because that will allow the hiring of more new and inexperienced teachers to lower class size?

        Low class size is one demonstrated component of effective reform, but so too is the necessity of having an experienced teacher to work with the class.

        Giving teachers low pay and poor working conditions is a fundamental principle of many charter management organizations. That is how they drain dollars out of the system. Not only do those charters get very poor results with students, it also creates conditions driving high levels of personnel “churn” which also works to undermine instructional effectiveness. Do some actual research on this before churning out a response.

        • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm12/3/2014 4:32 pm

          • 000

          In CUSD the average teacher compensation is $110,000 per year (I think- no new contract with teachers yet- but they did just post a new salary schedule for the District). Unfortunately for students the priority has been to preserve salaries so that our very old and experienced teachers can have their maximum pension when they all retire in the next two – three years. Then we will be able to afford the new pension costs because we will have all new and inexperienced teachers that will be paid 1/2 what the current teachers are paid.

          It is amazing that despite the fact that we have cut $157 million from our budget- teachers salary schedule was only reduced by 1.2% and that was restored this summer.

          See the salary schedules at the following link.

          • el on Dec 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm12/3/2014 10:35 pm

            • 000

            The amount paid to teachers in your district is a decision made by your local school board. Perhaps it’s a decision compounded across many years, but it’s still a local decision. It’s worth knowing that across the state that the salary scales vary by around a factor of two, probably a bit more. That of course has consequences that impact how many teachers a district can have and also who chooses to teach where and how long they stay.

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:58 am12/4/2014 3:58 am

            • 000

            There is a limit according to the law, but any locality is free to supplement the amount from the State if they wish. However, the Serrano decision caused most to act as if they are not allowed to spend more. Cities with extra funds can and should put more than the minimum into education.

            That being said, there are tons of problems with how the money is being spent and raises should be significant but in return for an end to lifetime employment for bad teachers and no control by administrators. Now a teacher with seniority won’t think twice about calling in sick when not sick, it’s common. Such teachers should be nervous the boss might not like it. Many friends haven’t missed a day in years, myself included, in private industry.

            I wish SF put less money into jails and victimless crime enforcement and homeless assistance for those from other places and more into tutoring and other services, counseling, etc.

          • Don on Dec 4, 2014 at 7:21 am12/4/2014 7:21 am

            • 000

            There is NO limit according to the law. Teacher compensation is a local matter and has nothing to do with Serrano.
            Localities are NOT free to supplement the amount from the State if they wish. They effectively only have two ways to raise local revenue, parcel taxes and construction bonds- loopholes from Prop 13. Obviously, if districts could could freely raise revenue that would invalidate Serrano, faulty as it is. As usual you are conflating various issues and don’t seem to understand the basic funding problems of California school districts.

            • John Fensterwald on Dec 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm12/4/2014 2:41 pm

              • 000

              For a different take on teacher pay in California, check out the National Council on Teacher Quality’s report this week on teacher pay, Smart Money. It compares how much teachers in the nation’s 113 largest districts earn over a lifetime, with a local cost-of-living factor applied. Oakland and San Francisco are at the bottom (see chart starting on page 11), with New York City and Hawaii (a one-district state). This despite the fact that California, in nominal dollars, pays teachers well above the national average. LA Unified, San Diego and Long Beach aren’t far above the cellar. The only “livable” California district for teachers is Fresno Unified, at #29. I can’t vouch for the methodology, which uses a 2013 cost of living Index produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research. But there’s no question that it’s very hard for teachers to survive, with escalating housing costs, in the L.A., San Diego and Bay Area regions.

              A major point in the study is that teachers reach their highest levels of pay much more slowly than other professionals, because teachers in California and elsewhere have negotiated step-and-column pay scales that spread out raises incrementally and gradually, with some variations by district. To quote the report, “The speed of income growth has a dramatic impact on how much a teacher will take home over the course of a career, which is a little-considered feature of teachers’ pay packages that accounts for tremendous disparities in teachers’ overall earnings.”

              See page 7, which compares pay scales in Milwaukee and Rochester, N.Y. The maximum pay in Rochester is $90,000 but it takes 30 years on the job to earn that much per year. At year 15, a teacher earns $60K. The maximum pay in Milwaukee is $78K but teachers get there by year 15 and most will earn more over their career than teachers in Rochester.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm12/4/2014 8:12 pm

            • 000

            In response to John who asked about compensation-

            I got the information from the District’s Public Disclosure of Collective Bargaining Agreements which reflects the Average Total Compensation for a Capistrano Unified School District Teacher-

            2012-13 Total Average Compensation: $95,673 (Salary $83,196 + Benefits $12,477)

            2013-14 Total Average Compensation: $105,340 (Salary $79,646 + $2,564 LCFF Salary Restoration + Benefits $23,100)

            To be honest – these two documents don’t add up for me. If anyone has any ideas I would be interested to hear them. I believe that the District has not complied with Public Disclosure Laws nor has it complied with Government Codes regarding contract negotiations. I know that the District intentionally delayed contract negotiations in 2012-13 so that new LCFF revenues could be added to a COLA only budget so that the District could claim that revenues were sufficient to trigger salary restoration from the 2010 teachers strike. It was my understanding that Districts were told not to include the new LCFF money in the 2012-13 Budget. Had the parties negotiated in good faith in accordance with the law and completed negotiations prior to June 30, 2013 the restoration language would not have been triggered and the $5.62 million that went to salary restoration could have prevented the District from giving students 3 instructional furlough days and increased class sizes to pay for the increased compensation. That is documented in a memo from Clark Hampton, Deputy Superintendent, Business and Support Services to Trustees.

            As a parent- I feel that employees stole three days of school from the students in the District and did so illegally.

            Source: Memorandum from Clark Hampton, Deputy Superintendent, Business and Support Services re: USE OF ADDITIONAL FUNDING FROM 2012- 2013 to 2013- 2014 AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT page 1 and Chart on Page 2



            I believe that when this years Disclosure document is filed (no new contract yet) it will be the same as 2010 where Average Compensation was $110,000 per year. I will post the 2010 as soon as I can locate it again.

    • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm12/2/2014 8:18 pm

      • 000

      “In what form are the extra dollars provided by Prop 30 supposed to get “into the classroom?” BTW, there is a pile of research show reduced class size is an effective reform strategy and almost nothing to support increasing technology.”

      Oh I don’t know- maybe the excess dollars could pay for art, music and science programs, paper and pencils, the electricity just to name a few… really? Or better yet – how about a 180 day school year in classrooms that are not mold infested portables with bathrooms that actually have flushing toilets. How about art, music and science for EVERY student not just those that are wealthy enough to fundraise for core educational programs.

      • Manuel on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm12/2/2014 11:26 pm

        • 000

        Dawn, your obsession with undocumented immigrants is becoming rather offensive. As well as tiresome because it was the US Supreme Court that ruled that these immigrants are entitled to a free education. Don’t like it? Change the US Constitution. In the mean time, do us all a favor and stop acting like a… an unthinking citizen.

        BTW, making art, music, and science programs available will mean more “salaries, pensions and benefits.” Or do you expect those teaching those programs to work for free?

        One more thing: why should your district be entitled to get $11,000? Because it is, as you put it, wealthy? Why shouldn’t poor districts like LAUSD, which is 76% poor, be entitled to the same?

        • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 3, 2014 at 6:55 am12/3/2014 6:55 am

          • 000


          Every student is entitled to “Adequate” funding. California has done studies that show what it costs to educate a student

          Source: at xiii

          Calculated Per Pupil Costs, including Base Costs with Special Needs Weightings are as follows:

          Average: $11,094 – $12,365
          Urban: $11,508 – $12,718
          Suburban: $10,726 – $12,077 *CUSD
          Towns: $ 8,932 – $ 9,896
          Rural: $10,615 – $11,881

          What the State cannot do is intentionally underfund students just because they happen to live in a wealthy District … that is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. And I am sorry if you are offended by a frank discuss of what illegal immigration is costing the American taxpayer. As a parent it is my responsibility to ensure that my child is getting the education that they are entitled to and I am here to tell you that at $7,002 per student they are not.

  7. Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm12/2/2014 12:04 pm

    • 000

    Now the State is going to cancel the middle-class scholarship programs and use that money to prevent tuition hikes for the UC System. Why don’t our representatives choose not to start the following new programs rather than cancel scholarships for middle-class people?

    Why does California have money to create a new bureaucracy to provide Drivers licenses for an estimated 1.4 million illegal immigrants (Assembly Bill 60) that will cost more than $140 million over the next three years and requiring hiring 1000 new government workers with their permanent salary, pensions and benefits and not benefit a single legal resident?

    But not enough money for middle-class scholarships?

    Why is State Sen. Ricardo Lara (who represents the City of Bell) introducing legislation that will extend health-care coverage to all Californians “irrespective of immigration status that will cost the State millions when the State has to cancel scholarships for middle class students?

    State Sen. Ricardo Lara also introduced a bill to establish the California Office of New Americans to help immigrants better integrate into the State – the costs are yet unknown- where is the money for this new program going to come from if there is not enough money for middle-class scholarships?

    In September Governor Brown signed Legislation to help unaccompanied minors with legal services that cost tax payers millions- where is the money to help middle-class families of legal residents?

    This State cares more about illegal immigrants that the students of legal residents (irrespective of the residents wealth, race or ethnicity)

    It is always the middle-class that looses in California.

  8. Dawn Urbanek on Nov 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm11/30/2014 3:50 pm

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    I was referring to Prop 30- the passage of which was actively advocated for by every school district (with no mention of Molly Mungers tax initiative).

  9. Rick Wilmoth on Nov 27, 2014 at 10:05 pm11/27/2014 10:05 pm

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    So we talk about money and test scores, etc., and never get to a real debate about our failed system. Until you get education out from under the politician’s control don’t expect to see any significant move forward. I believe we need to move toward the european system where students have a choice to go academic, or go more vocational. Most kids can’t get any vocational training until they are out of high school, and it is very expensive. Our nation may lag behind in math and science, but American Tradesmen have fallen even further behind. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. Throwing resources at a dead horse is a waste. And when you have Corporate America and their politician puppets calling the shots, well, you see their track record. Every phase of our social structure is in decay as a result of our failed economic and political system. Inequality, and the destruction of our democracy is the order of this era. Our education system is a casualty of the powerful and the privileged.


    • FloydThursby1941 on Nov 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm11/28/2014 1:10 pm

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      Why should poor people have to take blue collar jobs? That’s a caste system. With tutoring and studying long hours, poor people can grow up to be just as smart and productive as rich people. That’s why no one pays attention to Asians and they are ignored, they are a threat to the caste system. Those at the top don’t want a true meritocracy. They want everyone to do a little work and the next generation’s jobs to be based on this generation’s jobs, which is why those in the bottom 20% have a 6% chance of reaching the top quintile and those in the top, 39%. Now you want to put the poor into a trade school or vocational school? Maybe as a last resort, but in the meantime, why not tax the rich more and spend it on tutors so that from a young age, every young person can read well, write well and do math? We need to teach kids that realistically, they aren’t going to go from poor, as 65% of kids are, to well off by studying 5.6 hours a week. Convince them to believe in themselves and do more. Give them tutors and hope. Not only that, but even if one is educated and does not make big money, they always vote and vote progressively, which would mean a minimum wage significantly higher and higher taxes on the well off. This plan would keep them down, income wise and as people who don’t bother to vote and let the ruling class make all the key decisions. The rich took 19 of every 20 dollars in GDP increase since 2008 and gave it to the top 1%. I don’t trust them in this. Even if the jobs seem lucrative, they’ll eventually lower the wages and raise their own as they make all the salary decisions. Let every child in California know reading before starting Kindergarten, study 15 hours a week from 11-18, be ahead of grade level at grade 3, and if they don’t have a great job they will vote for equal rights to success and demand integration, minimum wage, fairness. This idea is a cop out to keep the poor in their place, and out of your place.

      • Dawn Urbanek on Nov 30, 2014 at 7:43 am11/30/2014 7:43 am

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        Floyd- California is taxing the middle class out of existence. At $7,002 per student no one in my District is receiving an education so to make up for what we do not receive- we fundraise- pay for extra tutoring or opt to home school if we cannot afford Private School. If you think things are inequitable – you should see what happens to the poor schools in a wealth District- we rely so heavily on fundraising to pay for core educational programs that it creates great inequities in the quality of education that students in the District receive because some schools cannot fundraise for programs and services.

        • TheMorrigan on Nov 30, 2014 at 11:41 am11/30/2014 11:41 am

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          “At $7,002 per student no one in my District is receiving an education”

          No one? It is hard to take you seriously when hyperbole lies at the core of your argument.

          What you mean to say is that a much better education can be had if we raised the per student spending. Well, yeah, no duh. But therein lies the problem. You don’t want to increase taxes, so where is that money going to come from? It means that it has to be taken from somewhere else. . . .

          “Now look! We’ve figured it seventeen different ways, and each time we figured it, it was no good, because no matter how we figured it, somebody don’t like the way we figured it! So now, there’s only one way to figure it. And that is, every man, including the old bag, for himself!”

          • Don on Nov 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm11/30/2014 12:16 pm

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            Sure, classroom education is underfunded when only a little more than half of what is appropriated through federal,state and local sources reaches the classroom! And while I would encourage society to prioritize education over other nanny state entitlements, any discussion to raise revenue is a nonstarter without some discussion as to reducing costs as they make their way down the long pipeline to school classrooms.

            Here we have “the better man, The Morrigan” deriding, in so many words, well-meaning and sincere comments as stupid and ill-informed.

          • Dawn Urbanek on Nov 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm11/30/2014 3:48 pm

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            Excuse me “The Morgan” – I believe that we all agreed to raise our taxes (retroactively I might add) so that as promised, more revenue would go to “students”. We were lied to – that revenue went to salaries, pensions and benefits. California has record high revenues, and no matter what revenues are raised – the money is spent on other things. The State has a constitutional obligation to fund an adequate education for EVERY student before it spends a dime on any new program. So stop creating new programs and entitlements for people who are not entitled to be in this country before you fund the education of legal residents. Public education in California isn’t about educating students its nothing more than a conduit to redistribute wealth.

          • Don on Nov 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm11/30/2014 8:38 pm

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            The average reader understand that when Dawn said no education she didn’t actual mean no as in zero, zip, zilch. The average reader understands comments are just quickly improvised choices of wording that in blogland tend to be rendered one-off and not always perfect.Just as people overlook typos or other obvious mistakes and focus on the intended meaning rather than on the unintended meaningless oversight. It is kind of obvious that she doesn’t actually mean that NO ONE IS RECEIVING AN EDUCATION.

            As for your contention that it is a foregone conclusion that education would be better if we allocated more money to it, the US spends more for education per pupil than practically every other nation. I don’t know if “duh” is the best way to express this idea that money somehow equals achievement.

          • TheMorrigan on Nov 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm11/30/2014 9:15 pm

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            Thanks, Don, for helping me understand Dawn’s typo. I guess it wasn’t a figure of speech (hyperbole) she used to help prove her point but simply a typing mistake. I guess it wasn’t her intent at all to use that and it wasn’t hyperbole at all. Let’s not call it a poor stylistic choice in argumentation that reduces her point to absurdity, but let’s just bunch it up into the “obvious mistakes” category, as you say. . . .

            As for your second point: Are you a do as I say and not do as I do kinda guy?

          • Don on Nov 30, 2014 at 9:41 pm11/30/2014 9:41 pm

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            As for hyperbole, there’s nothing obvious to your “duh” contention that more funding means better education. You can hand every teacher a long overdue pay raise with more money, but salary has only marginal correlation to better education.

            I like the “knight to the Dawn” idea. You’re a creative writer – like the rest of your comment.I made double sure I have no typos. I might say something I accidentally regret.

          • TheMorrigan on Dec 1, 2014 at 6:35 am12/1/2014 6:35 am

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            Don, I am in agreement with Dawn that more money should go to the classroom (not salaries, benefits, nor pensions– the crux of the “no duh”). I am not opposed to having it go to hiring another teacher to lower class size, though. Just wanted to clear up your assumption about my “obvious mistake.”

          • el on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:07 am12/2/2014 11:07 am

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            I am confused what people think they mean when they say they want more money ‘to go into the classroom for students’ but NOT for ‘salaries and benefits.’ Generally… money into the classroom is spent overwhelmingly on skilled labor – ie, teachers and aides – in the form of ‘salaries and benefits.’ Then there is a small component allocated to consumable materials – maybe a couple thousand dollars in books, paper, and a small discretionary budget for the teacher to spend for the whole year, ie well less than 5% of the labor costs for that classroom.

            So… if you want it ‘spent on students’ but not ‘salaries and benefits’ what exactly do you want it spent on?

          • Dawn Urbanek on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:52 am12/2/2014 11:52 am

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            El- Students in my District are experiencing 40 kids to a class and furlough days to pay for “increased Salaries, Pensions and benefits. Average teacher compensation increased $10,000 in 2013-14 and the Capistrano Unified School District used 3 Instructional furlough days and increased class sizes by 1.5 students across all grades to pay for that. The District just posted its new salary schedule which restored non instructional furlough days for teachers without entering into a new contract. The District is silent about restoring instructional furloughs because the budget is not sufficient to pay for that without concessions from teachers? Very Odd Budget process/Contract Process this year – all designed to protect employee compensation at the expense of student services-

            See Documentation:

          • FloydThursby1941 on Dec 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm12/2/2014 12:03 pm

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            El, what I’d love to see is more money in salaries in a way in which students clearly benefit, such as in return for agreements not to make it impossible to fire bad teachers, and perhaps bonuses for perfect or near perfect attendance to reward teachers who don’t use maximum sick days like a personal benefit, as quite a few do. Perhaps $1,000 for 3 or fewer sick days and $2,000 for zero sick days, so that you really think about missing that first day. Many people in the private sector go years missing no days. Most of my friends have not missed a day this year.

            The problem is if it just goes to salary, it is not a game changer. Even if you will get slightly better people to teach over time, we need rapid game changers. 50% of the students in the State are Latino and they are doing horrible, so we need a plan which gets them motivated and supported so they drastically improve their performance, or it is going to be very bad. Walk around UCLA and UC Berkley, lucky if you see 10% Latino, so we need to get more Latinos earning their way into these and other UCs. We need all students to do better.

            Half the money is spent not even on teachers, but away from the class. Consultants, bureaucrats, etc. In SF less than half the money is spent at the school.

            Game changers would be one-on-one tutors from age 5, or ideally 3, flashcards one-on-one or in groups, tutors available at all levels, mandatory Saturday and Summer and after school homework clubs for all kids not advanced or proficient, and encouraged for those merely proficient. Parenting classes urging reading and study together, no TV, spending on Kumon not trips or fancy clothes or alcohol or Cable. Perhaps subsidies for Kumon or private tutoring. Classroom assistants who help in demonstrable ways. Public service announcements as to methods which increase performance. Awards for top students to draw attention to academics.

            There are many others, but if money goes to game changers, we can close the achievement gap. In DC, it was spent, and no results were had. In SF, we just increased pay 12% over 3 years. We will see if this has an impact, but it probably won’t. Game changers have an impact.

        • FloydThursby1941 on Nov 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm11/30/2014 3:11 pm

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          Dawn, we are imprisoning ten times or more the percentage of people that Europe or Japan or Australia does, and those countries have illegal immigration problems as well. We spend too much playing nun with whip and not enough playing teacher with flashcards and books. Why in hell should I spend money imprisoning a casual cocaine user, or crack, or someone who decides to be a prostitute, or steal a pizza with two strikes? Men aren’t dangerous as they get older, yet we have 25 year and longer sentences. In Spain the max is 30 years. I agree with LWOP for a few select murderers who are still dangerous, but one of the Manson women had tutored people for 35 years and they wouldn’t even let her walk on the beach with a month to live, she was no threat to anyone, that was just vindictive, inflicting torture as a method of extracting revenge. I don’t want emotions in my tax dollars, imprison threats and deter, but don’t waste money imprisoning and jailing everyone who doesn’t act like Hugh Beaumont.

          Not only that, but we spend more than the next 26 countries combined on defense, 25 of which are allies.

          So we are taxed high? Only pretty high income people are taxed very high, people who believe these schools aren’t good enough for their kids but are good enough for 92 percent of kids. As long as they believe in such inequality of opportunity, I say their taxes should go up. Taxes are only high on those lucky enough to be earning far more than the rest of us. It doesn’t impact regular people.It hits people who believe that in a nation where a bottom quintile person has a 6% chance of making the top, and a top quintile person a 39% chance, it is more crucial that their child be segregated among the rich than that we do something for the bottom 20%. If they care more about that, I say keep raising their taxes until we have equal opportunity as a means of redistribution.

          • FloydThursby1941 on Nov 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm11/30/2014 3:23 pm

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            95% of GDP increase went to 1% from 2008 to now. Any increase in taxes on people who make such unfair decisions is fair. We have the vote. You start making fairer corporate salary decisions or we will use the vote to confiscate ill gotten gains based on outsourcing, abusive salary determinations, obscene CEO pay, etc. Your choice.

            As for Don’s point, very true. We waste a huge amount of money. Salary increases should be contingent on a withdrawal of automatic support for bad teachers and a system to cut out the bottom percentage of teachers. We also spend too much outside the classroom. We should fix that before adding funding or else we are at risk of increasing funding without closing the achievement gap or raising the average test score. We absolutely must make sure that increased funding buys increased test scores, college graduation rates, and future income which will pay taxes to make up for said expenditures. Welfare is a huge issue as well.

          • Don on Nov 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm11/30/2014 5:12 pm

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            It is very easy for the lazy-minded to invoke the age old solution to simply make the wealthy foot the bill. And since 90% of the taxpayers pay only 20% of the income taxes in this state they are prone to fall for populist calls like Floyd’s for “off with their heads”.

            Under Prop 30, the top 10% pay 80% of the taxes so this group paid about $55B or so when in 2012-13 $67B in personal income taxes were collected – a big jump from the previous year. This group is already taxed at high levels compared with other states, but it you, Floyd the almighty, raised taxes by 50% on the top 10%, not the 1% mind you, and you could apply every last penny to K12 education, classroom allocations would go up a little more than $2K considering that 6M students would share about $27B and 50% would make it to the classroom.

            Of course, such a doomsday tax scenario isn’t going to happen because it would make the progressive California tax structure so extreme as to have major economic disruption. If all opportunity is lost to taxes, opportunists will look elsewhere for it. This is a big country and many states have no personal income taxes. Once you force a small group to foot the bill for the rest, that group will begin to decline. And when far less than 50% of people pay taxes you’re already starting at a huge deficit.

            Floyd, I know you like to repeat yourself in the hopes that other will understand if you just keep repeating it, but you cannot tax your way to increased academic performance any more than you can test your way to it. But you seem seem to think that more taxes and tests are the solution. Funny because, all the over achievers you admire primarily among Asian populations, are not high performers because of more tests or more taxes or even better teachers. They are high performers for one reason only – they work harder.

          • FloydThursby1941 on Nov 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm11/30/2014 6:38 pm

            • 000

            More money could go to more parent education to teach them to raise kids to work harder, to turn off the TV, read, etc. It could go to a really good pre-school.

            Personally, I’m offended that the 1%, the people we entrust with these decisions, felt they deserved 19 of every 20 dollars of GDP increase in a society which even in 2008 was already talking about inequality, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, etc. We have to do it nationwide, I agree, but I am for increased taxes as a punishment for them failing in their responsibility to make fair decisions which benefit us all. That decision was obscene. It was morally wrong.

            I agree with hard work, but more funding can teach that. The 1% isn’t happy with 400 counselors to a student, but we’re supposed to be? Counselors can tell kids what they need to do.

          • Don on Nov 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm11/30/2014 7:34 pm

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            That’s funny you now call for more funding, bc you often cite the historically poor results of DC which spends triple per pupil. You’ve repeated that many times, but now you’ve suddenly forgotten? You used to talk about linking funding to reforms, but your rage and envy of the wealthy has turned you blind and now you just want to stick it to them in the name of education. All the more ridiculous since you are the biggest supporter of these people on this blog as you never met a charter, test or national curriculum you didn’t like and all this has been brought to you by the very people you despise. It is this very same class of people who have shoved Common Core upon the nation without any vetting of it and you’re all in favor of it. The same class has pressed for ever more testing and again you are all in favor of that. And this same class has pushed privatization of public education and you are in favor of that as well without regard for good tests, or good curriculum, or good charters. But, oh, how you are against bad teachers! All the while none of these folks send THEIR kids to public schools to reap the rewards they are bestowing upon us guinea pigs without our approval or without ANY research-based results for curriculum and testing folks to hang their hats on, let alone parents. Only many of us don’t like being herded whereas you go and, to our great sense of satire, do so willingly! And teachers, who you frequently denigrate, are left to do the hard work of implementing these reforms without much in the way of professional development to help them. Of course, that’s fine by you as you can’t wait to get more tests in place so we can measure moral goodness. Ha! Well, if kids don’t pass the tests they can earn double as bus drivers what teachers earn. But why should the poor have to take crappy blue collar union jobs when they could go to college, get into debt and earn half?

            If your idea of thoughtful public education policy is driven by envy of those who have wealth it is hard to imagine anything good coming from that. I’m all for more money for education as long as local people decide what is taught, how it’s taught, who teaches it and get more money into the classroom as a precondition.

        • TheMorrigan on Nov 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm11/30/2014 7:28 pm

          • 000

          Here we have Don, the self-appointed moderator of the no solution, the self-appointed comment police, the self-appointed defender of Dawn’s hyperbole, the self-appointed knight to the Dawn who has come to defend against my stupid and ill-informed comment (Uh, Don, if my comment was so stupid and ill-informed, why did you need to defend Dawn then? Kinda doesn’t make sense).

          By the way, Don, what does it say that you and Floyd have the most frequent posts on EdSource? Does it empower you to police the comments here? Do you feel that you are valued when you do so?

          And Dawn, not every district spent money on salaries, pensions, and benefits. I know of several in my local area that didn’t. In fact, my local district hired teachers back and lowered class size with prop 30 money. The teachers in my local district haven’t had a salary increase since a 2002 COLA. In 2009, they lost their free health benefits and now have to pay a share for them. They didn’t get that back. I do not know if any of the money went into pensions, though. Whatever the case, you are projecting what is “supposedly” happening in your local district to all CA districts. That is simply not the case, Dawn.

          So Dawn, how do you suggest (specifically) all districts get more money for the classroom?

    • Dawn Urbanek on Nov 30, 2014 at 7:34 am11/30/2014 7:34 am

      • 000

      Rick is right- we need to have more options for all different types of students. Right now everyone is on one path and that is to a Community College. Our Public Schools are offering little if any vocational training. 2/3 of the kids are not completing A-G requirements and only those who take all AP classes will be eligible for a selective 4 year University. So the reality is that most high school graduates (even those from wealthy suburban school districts) will go to a Community College where they cannot get the classes they need to move on. By the time they complete the remedial coursework that is needed plus get their classes, it will take 4 – 6 years to graduate. In reality- Public Education is not so much about educating students anymore; the Public Education system is being used to redistribute wealth. Look at all the new programs and services that are being started that use tax payer money that benefit only the poor and English language learners. The system is no longer designed to educate students for the future it is designed to make us all equal. The education level and wealth of those walking across the border will determine what equality will actually mean in the future. Right now it looks like the education level, and standard of living will go down for everyone.

  10. Jeff Camp on Jan 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm01/14/2014 2:54 pm

    • 000

    State comparison figures always spark a wave of head-scratching because dollars are worth more in low-cost places than in high-cost ones.

    Last year EdSource released “States in Motion” to help put some context around the numbers. (It doesn’t include the latest budget proposal, but it shows 40 years of data by state, and education budgets don’t make nimble changes. One year’s budget won’t change the big picture much.) Visit and have a look at View #5. Move the slider from left to right. It shows education expenditures per student, by state, adjusted for inflation — but NOT adjusted for the local cost of providing education. In this “just the facts” view, California stands on the low side, but it’s when you dig deeper that you can see the deep differences between California and other states.

    View #11 shows that teacher salaries are related to economic conditions in each state, and that California is a high-cost, high-wage state. View #6 shows that funding per student also tends to vary with economic conditions, and that California is a persistently low-funding state. The punch line is that money is only good for what it can buy, and California’s schools persistently provide students with less of the stuff-that-money-buys in schools — especially adult attention.

    At present, my preferred way of thinking about this is with View #16, which shows the *cumulative* teacher-student ratio (the inverse of the student-teacher ratio) over the course of a K-12 education. Students in California, Utah and Arizona must share their teachers with far more students than those in other states.

    Replying to Jerry using view #16: Over 13 years, Mississippi’s per-student spending funds 0.84 teacher-years per student. California funds 0.62. Mississippi doesn’t spend more per student, but it GETS more teacher-time per student for what it spends — about a third more. Mississippi also puts a bit more relative effort into funding education than California does. Go to view #7 and (using the tabs at the top) switch to a column chart view. Mississippi consistently spends more of its state economy on K-12 education than California does.

  11. Jerry Heverly on Jan 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm01/14/2014 1:09 pm

    • 000

    As often happens I feel very ignorant here. Do I understand that these calculations don’t include Basic Aid districts (which would presumably lift CA’s position)? Do I understand that categorical funds don’t count, either? Without really having any good information I always feel skeptical when I read these numbers. I remember years ago reading an analysis that said there were lots of hidden expenditures here in CA that didn’t show up in surveys. My gut tells me this subject is much more complex than one facile statistic. You’re telling me that Mississippi REALLY spends more per capita than CA? Or am I being played here.


    • Dawn Urbanek on Nov 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm11/28/2014 7:27 pm

      • 000

      I spent the time to make everyone understand that California uses “education” to get increased tax revenue and then spends the revenue on everything expect education. Funding education to 2008 levels while increasing District expenses means that this new LCFF will ensure that our public education system fails.


      Now we are receiving the unaccompanied minors – yet another expense-

      and yet theState has enough tax payer money to fund California’s Office for New Americans?


      Why is the education of my child worth less than someone who just walked across the border?

      How about EDUCATION FOR ALL – Not Just The Poor and English Language Learners

      • FloydThursby1941 on Nov 29, 2014 at 5:39 am11/29/2014 5:39 am

        • 000

        My kids get a great education in San Francisco, but parents have to supplement it. It’s not a priority to most. If the rich weren’t in private school, they’d vote more funding for schools and less for prisons. The lottery was supposed to increase education funding. What a crock, they just took other money and put it into prisons. With the lottery we should at least be in the #25-30. We waste it on so many things.

  12. navigio on Jan 13, 2014 at 8:47 pm01/13/2014 8:47 pm

    • 000

    Prop 30 may have raised taxes but it didn’t raise school funding. So the fact that it passed would have zero impact on California’s ranking unless other states were not able to avoid the same kind of drops that prop 30 avoided here.
    And thanks for the last paragraph. The reality is we’ve dropped so far that even a ‘significant’ increase in funding won’t get us anywhere near normal.
    Not that anyone cares. They’re just public school kids.

  13. Gary Ravani on Jan 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm01/13/2014 5:16 pm

    • 000

    Boy, when final calculations are in, and the “extra money will push CA up from the bottom,” our state may dodge being 50th of 50 states in K-12 education funding per child. On behalf of educators up and down the state I’d like to express how such news just makes my heart swell with pride.

    (And yes, i’m being facetious.)

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