Credit: cybrarian77 / Flickr

Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he’s open to changing tenure and other teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit, and most teachers in a new survey say they want to change them, too.

Most of the 506 public school district teachers who answered the online questionnaire, which was released Monday, said they favor lengthening how long it takes for teachers to receive tenure and making job effectiveness, not just seniority, a factor in layoff decisions. They also support a less drawn-out process for dismissing poor-performing teachers – as long as teachers have an opportunity to improve and their peers are involved in evaluating them.

Teach Plus, a national organization of teachers, funded the survey, which was conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, an independent opinion research firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

raising-the-bar-graphic

The survey responses are more nuanced than the positions of the unions that represent them – the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers. Both unions are defendants in the Vergara lawsuit, which claims laws regarding teacher tenure, firing and layoffs disproportionately hurt poor and minority children, saddling them with the state’s worst-performing teachers. Last year, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu agreed with the plaintiffs and ruled the laws unconstitutional. The two unions have filed an appeal.

“The evidence at trial overwhelmingly showed that these statutes promote and support important public interests like attracting and retaining qualified teachers for California public schools while providing objective, fair, and transparent procedures in the event of economic layoffs,” the unions stated in announcing their appeal.

The views of teachers in the survey offer a path to compromise, “a ‘third way’ between reformer calls to throw out all teacher job protections and old-guard calls to preserve virtually all elements of the current system,” Teach Plus, which has called for changing the laws challenged in the Vergara lawsuit, said in its summary of the teacher survey.

The survey included a cross-section of new and veteran teachers from various grade levels. Its four main findings, according to a Teach Plus summary, are:

Teachers highly value tenure but support making it more performance-based, granted after a longer period than two years on the job under current law. Five years, on average, would be the appropriate length of time, the respondents said.

  • 81 percent said tenure is important to them personally;
  • 55 percent worked at a school where tenure protected an effective teacher from dismissal;
  • 69 percent said tenure protected an ineffective colleague who should have been dismissed but wasn’t;
  • 15 percent said tenure in two years or less was appropriate;
  • 75 percent said qualified teachers should play some role in tenure decisions.

Teachers believe that classroom performance should be an important element in any layoff decision.

  • 71 percent said layoff decisions should be based partly or entirely on classroom performance; 24 percent supported basing layoff decisions almost entirely on seniority;
  • 74 percent worked at a school where an effective teacher was laid off because of a lack of seniority.

The current system needs to better support struggling teachers while setting a time frame for firing persistently ineffective teachers.

  • 74 percent said it should take no more than two years for dismissal after a teacher receiving help was still determined to be ineffective;
  • 36 percent of teachers said it should take no more than one year.

Teachers should be given a central role in developing policies on tenure, layoffs and dismissals.

  • 75 percent said they should play at least a partial role in tenure decisions;
  • 75 percent said that teachers’ observations should be part of the tenure decision.

Governor interested in middle ground

Gov. Brown discusses the Vergara lawsuit at a press conference on Jan. 9.

Source: webcast of press conference on the state budget

Gov. Brown discusses the Vergara lawsuit at a press conference on Jan. 9.

Gov. Brown said he’d be open to changing tenure and related laws when asked by a reporter at a press conference on the state budget Friday if he expected legislative action this year in response to the Vergara ruling. His three-minute answer indicated he’s struggling for the right balance.

While saying he understands why teachers believe tenure is important, he said, “It is a contentious issue, and I would welcome any improvement that people could suggest.” Charter schools, most of which are non-union, aren’t bound by the teacher protections at issue in Vergara, he said, and that system “functions pretty darn well.”

Brown said the “real intensive focus on the Vergara-type issues … isn’t really getting at the really big problem, and the big problem is training teachers, recruiting them, retaining them, inspiring them and then their doing the same thing with students.” And he associated the Vergara lawsuit with a string of ”silver bullets” – “grandiose programs these last few years, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top” – that “seem all to have faltered.”

But then, in a final nod to those who brought the suit, he acknowledged that some teachers “are not so good, and getting rid of them is a nightmare. So I certainly am open to dealing with that.”

Brown had not commented extensively on Vergara since Attorney General Kamala Harris filed an appeal of Treu’s decision on the state’s and the governor’s behalf in August. That one-page appeal cited technical reasons, not a defense of the laws. It said only a Court of Appeal and the state Supreme Court can issue rulings that have a statewide impact, not Superior Courts; therefore, “changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review.” The appeal also faulted Treu for not detailing the factual and legal bases for his ruling.

Both sides in Vergara are expected to submit briefs to the 2nd District Court of Appeal early this year, but the court has no deadline for a ruling. And so the Legislature may not be in a hurry to act this year.

“I find it counter-intuitive that the governor is appealing a court decision that compels the Legislature to do the right thing, yet says he’s open to any improvements,” Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who has unsuccessfully proposed bills that would change tenure and dismissal laws, said in a statement Tuesday. “Teachers deserve reasonable job security, but as a Legislature we have the moral and legal obligation to put the interests of students first.”

Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, called Brown’s comments “a mixed bag.” He said the union is pleased that Brown has appealed Treu’s ruling and recognizes that the way to make teachers more effective is improving the process of training and mentoring teachers.

However, he said Brown is “mixing apples and oranges” when comparing teacher contracts of charter schools with other public schools. Since most charters are non-unionized, teachers speak less freely about their workplace conditions, he said. “It would be like sticking a microphone before Wal-Mart workers (a non-union workplace) and asking them to talk about their jobs,” he said.

Students Matter, the nonprofit organization that brought the Vergara lawsuit on behalf of nine student plaintiffs, said in a statement Tuesday: “Students Matter agrees with the sentiment that the Vergara ruling does not represent a silver bullet but rather a critical piece in creating an equitable education landscape where all kids have access to a quality education. The governor’s willingness to explore tenure is a great step forward.”

Mike Stryer, a former Los Angeles Unified teacher who is Teach Plus’ vice president for district and union policy, said Brown would find his views parallel those of most teachers. Teach Plus, he said, welcomes the opportunity to modify existing laws.

Pechthalt countered that he’s confident the positions of the union are fully consistent with the views of its members.


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  1. Jake Klinks 1 year ago1 year ago

    Although edsource does not have a bias on this topic. My stands goes against teacher tenure. I agree that teacher tenure that should be harder to achieve and quicker to remove. From the article above, here are just a few points to point out. First, even teachers taken from the survey agree that tenures should be changed. The right amount of time to become tenured should be closer to five years instead of the … Read More

    Although edsource does not have a bias on this topic. My stands goes against teacher tenure. I agree that teacher tenure that should be harder to achieve and quicker to remove. From the article above, here are just a few points to point out.

    First, even teachers taken from the survey agree that tenures should be changed. The right amount of time to become tenured should be closer to five years instead of the usual two. “69 percent said tenure protected an ineffective colleague who should have been dismissed but wasn’t;” This is factual evidence that supports that ineffective teacher are fairly prevalent in schools.

    Second, the process to eliminate some teachers that “are not so good, and getting rid of them is a nightmare. So I certainly am open to dealing with that.” This provides emotion to support eliminating tenure by using harsh words like “nightmare” to support that eliminating teachers is very hard once they are tenured.

    Overall, I believe that the teacher tenure should be eliminated because it is too easy to become tenured and too hard to get fired. Just from the survey, over 50% of teachers agree that it has major problems and that could use adjustment.

  2. navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

    Since everyone is now in agreement that the fb wording was unintentionally misleading, I'd like to make a couple comments on the question of the 'poll' itself. The first thing that jumped out at me was the how both the teach plus press release and the edsource coverage of that release played down and ignored (respectively) what is perhaps the most important piece of information from the poll related to tenure, which was how teachers … Read More

    Since everyone is now in agreement that the fb wording was unintentionally misleading, I’d like to make a couple comments on the question of the ‘poll’ itself.

    The first thing that jumped out at me was the how both the teach plus press release and the edsource coverage of that release played down and ignored (respectively) what is perhaps the most important piece of information from the poll related to tenure, which was how teachers believe tenure impacts the quality of the teaching force. In case it’s not clear why the question of quality matters let me simply remind that the entire basis for the attacks on tenure is the supposed goal of improving teacher quality. According to the poll, twice as many teachers believe that tenure has a positive impact on the quality of the teacher workforce as believe it has a negative impact. The rest believe it has no impact at all. So a full 3/4 of surveyed teachers believe at the very worst tenure is a no-op re quality (and 2/3 of those say it’s actually better than that). The press release admitted this but did not give it the pretty infographic nor highlighting nor bullet point nor colors that the other ‘important’ points apparently merited. It did not even make the final bullet list! Not surprisingly (because it wasn’t made obvious in the press release), the edsource coverage ignored that point altogether. Even if one fails to believe this point matters in the debate, it still highlights the fact that coverage of such already-filtered information is at the mercy of that filtering, whether that then can be validly transferred to intention or not.

    There are a number of other ways in which either the press release or the poll itself could be criticized. I won’t go into many of those in the interest of brevity (too late!) and sanity (even too later!!). I will, however, highlight a few concerns about how the ‘data’ is presented.

    First, the press release does not list the questions in a way that allows us to truly ascertain what was presented. It’s true many questions are ‘included’ as references, but it’s not clear whether these were all the questions nor in which order they were presented (it’s possible they are all there exactly as presented but not possible to know from what is provided).

    Second, it is curious that the press release chose not to publish the median on the open ended ‘years to tenure’ question, but did so with some others. The reason that might be useful is there were 3 responses that were excluded because they were over 25 years (!). Clearly there were some people who consider tenure invalid from the outset and were using this to answer that (which is a different) question. It’s arguable that someone indicating even 10 or 15 years was doing the same thing. So although it’s unlikely the median was equal to the current probationary time, it’s fairly likely given the ‘throwaway cutoff’ was 25 years, that it wasn’t 5. It would also allow better understanding how the mean might have changed had that cutoff been 15, 10 or even 5 years. Again, not a huge issue, but curious the omission given the median reporting for a couple other questions.

    Third, The question with the assumption of it being possible to fairly evaluate a teacher’s effectiveness blurs the distinction between having been found hopelessly ineffective and being found remedially ineffective. This is a crucial point given the question is asking for a reasonable duration for dealing with both of those very different situations (asked independently the duration for each would likely vary, as it might depending on what just such an evaluation method would look like). Of course the poll goes on to ask whether it’s possible to develop a fair way to evaluate teachers. Unfortunately it did not distinguish between such an approach being ‘properly implementing what we already have defined’ and ‘requiring something new’. I know many teachers who would claim the failure in evaluation lies in the implementation and not in the process as defined (something that superficially might even be corroborated by the claim that a 2 year probationary period is insufficient to evaluate someone. Hello?). It’s true we might like to address these questions under both contexts but not only was that not done, but implementation ‘realities’ then open the door to political (funding or policy) manipulation, an issue that is not even on the horizon in this poll.

    Finally, this was not just a story about a poll. Information about the poll was couched in a number of other facets related to the subject of tenure, including lawmaker, students matter and CFT stances, as well as the vergara lawsuit. Again, I would never have criticized the piece for that. Context is valuable and I appreciate how John generally achieves that. But that also does not mean it’s not possible to interpret this ‘context’ as an attempt to frame the poll results within a broader, anti-tenure momentum, thus making readers more likely to agree not by virtue of inquiry, but by virtue of simple resignation to the tide of history (if not only our leaders but also our very teachers disagree with their own unions, why should we believe what unions have to say?).

    Regarding the charge of inconsistent bias watchdogging, I would respond that criticism is dependent on the severity of the transgression. That I don’t immediately jump on every hint of bias does not mean that it does not exist, rather that it I feel it was either something fairly benign or so obvious as to be irrelevant (because readers are able to detect it). For the most part edsource is among the fairest presenters of complex educational topics that I’ve found. As can be seen here, criticizing bias too liberally (ha!) can backfire in that it leads to ad nauseum tangents and spiteful bickering. There is enough to argue about without needing that.

    Ok, after all that, I think the most important sentence in the whole article is the very last one because this is what the ‘message’ from the poll is trying to imply (I appreciate John making explicit that connection and bothering to ask that question–would be a great topic to pursue). Not only is it important to think about how a union’s stance relates to those of its membership, but when they diverge, why that happens. I would posit that these things are never as black and white as we want to make them. Education is not a single issue topic. It’s not unexpected that there would be some divergence merely due to that complexity. It may even be the case that teachers don’t know better (a la the mantra that if members could fend for themselves they wouldn’t need representation). There is also the related question of whether we want to only selectively base public policy on teachers’ opinions. It’s pretty clear that teachers differ in their take on educational law and funding and testing and standards and, and, and… from lawmakers and even voters in a much more extreme manner than this ‘data’ supposedly indicates vis-a-vis tenure (reminder that the poll itself suggests tenure is an overall net positive on the quality of teachers).

    Are we ready to take heed of those opinions as well? Or will we only choose those that serve the political winds of the day? Or of Benito’s. 😉

    Replies

    • el 1 year ago1 year ago

      Great comment, navigio. As I said in a comment made earlier on this article, I think it's no surprise that in theory that if a person has to be laid off, we all want that person to be the least effective and most annoying person on the team. When the district is small such that everyone is known to the supervisor, and only one position has to be cut, often this is achievable one way or … Read More

      Great comment, navigio.

      As I said in a comment made earlier on this article, I think it’s no surprise that in theory that if a person has to be laid off, we all want that person to be the least effective and most annoying person on the team. When the district is small such that everyone is known to the supervisor, and only one position has to be cut, often this is achievable one way or another. When you have a district of 10,000 employees and a thousand positions have to be cut between January and March, this is not possible, and this is the rubber-meets-the-road moment that is very hard to capture in any poll.

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      With the exception of only the most ardent and ideological union opponents, the thrust of the contemporary criticism of tenure primarily has to do with AMENDING THE TERMS of tenure, not the casting out the tenure itself. It is the nature of our system that we do not legislate from the bench and thus the judge cannot change those terms, only rule on their constitutionality. So why cast this issue in the light of … Read More

      With the exception of only the most ardent and ideological union opponents, the thrust of the contemporary criticism of tenure primarily has to do with AMENDING THE TERMS of tenure, not the casting out the tenure itself. It is the nature of our system that we do not legislate from the bench and thus the judge cannot change those terms, only rule on their constitutionality. So why cast this issue in the light of such polar extremes when it is more than apparent to the casual observer that almost no one is arguing for no tenure and that a tenure bargain to change to the timeline will ensue in legislature if Vergara is upheld or even before. So who< Navigio, are you arguing against? I appreciate the fact that supporters of the educational bureaucracy complex such as yourself feel under attack and naturally are inclined to lash back. But if you are going to trouble yourself to do so why not have an opponent in mind?

      Regarding your continued and very well reasoned bias analysis of the article, let me just say – still trying to beat a dead horse? Look at the Huff Post piece on the survey and then tell me whose presentation was more even-handed. There's no there there. If as you say the severity of the transgression is the determining factor in watchdogging, this article has nothing on the "Suspensions Expulsions Down" article. But why spend your time trying to make someone else's case? I point out John's omission of Teach Plus as pro-reform because an omission is an omission.

      Give it a rest.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        Not everyone needs to manufacture opponents in order to think. In case you didn't read it, my comment was an analysis of how one might assess the presentation and coverage of this issue and this data. Charter policy is not only an argument for, but even an implementation of 'no tenure' (regardless that some choose it anyway), as is the call for lifting charter caps. Some even cite this as the primary benefit of charters. … Read More

        Not everyone needs to manufacture opponents in order to think. In case you didn’t read it, my comment was an analysis of how one might assess the presentation and coverage of this issue and this data.

        Charter policy is not only an argument for, but even an implementation of ‘no tenure’ (regardless that some choose it anyway), as is the call for lifting charter caps. Some even cite this as the primary benefit of charters. So that there is no significant call for no tenure is incorrect.
        Regardless, I was talking about the coverage. So I guess your criticism of my point implies you’re saying that the fact that three quarters of teachers feel tenure is not harmful to teacher quality (with most of those even saying its even beneficial) is not relevant enough to even mention in an article about how teacher’s feel about tenure? Mmhmm.

        And what kind of fallacy is simply asking people to be quiet? Pots have no moral standing to call kettles black.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Of course teachers believe tenure increases quality. They are the beneficiaries of what the current tenure terms provide - bulletproof job protection. This is a case of the pot calling the kettle clean. The LEA, a public agency, grants tenure and is led by elected officials who serve the constituents, the people, not the teachers union (at least in theory but in practice the unions control the elected officials). What does … Read More

          Of course teachers believe tenure increases quality. They are the beneficiaries of what the current tenure terms provide – bulletproof job protection. This is a case of the pot calling the kettle clean. The LEA, a public agency, grants tenure and is led by elected officials who serve the constituents, the people, not the teachers union (at least in theory but in practice the unions control the elected officials). What does it matter if teachers want tenure or claim by whatever majority that it improves quality? For a teacher to claim tenure increases quality is tantamount to helping oneself, to blowing one’s own horn as a teacher of quality. This is not an issue for teachers to decide. The CA Constitution dictates the will of the people and as a constitutional issue the people will decide new terms for tenure in the 21st Century should the Vergara ruling be upheld. It will be a teaching union-sponsored initiative to amend the Constitution. The only question is whether union muscle can get the electorate to provide something worthwhile. If they overstep and ask for too much teachers could find themselves with only the standard labor protections.

          Certainly there are radical elements that seek to destroy all teacher protections. In the context of this article about tenure and Vergara the argument revolves around how to provide greater balance between teacher and student needs. You are polarizing the issue, Navigio, by characterizing the opponents of the current statutory protections as enemies of teachers. I just don’t think that’s the case. To reiterate- ” only the most ardent and ideological union opponents, the thrust of the contemporary criticism of tenure primarily has to do with AMENDING THE TERMS of tenure.”

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            correction: messed up my paste of the last sentence of above comment:

            “With the exception of only the most ardent and ideological union opponents, the thrust of the contemporary criticism of tenure primarily has to do with AMENDING THE TERMS of tenure, not the casting out the tenure itself.”

          • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

            I see. So edsource and teach plus ‘of course’ decided for us that teachers are wrong about potentially self-serving opinions yet right about ones that are damaging to unions. Gotcha.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              There's a difference between asking if a teacher supports tenure, one s/he currently enjoys, and asking qualitative questions about its strengths and weaknesses. So, for example, 81% can say tenure is important to them while offering observations on likes and dislikes. Is your point that teachers support tenure by a large margin (which btw was the first bullet point) and we shouldn't inquire any deeper than that or disregard what else they … Read More

              There’s a difference between asking if a teacher supports tenure, one s/he currently enjoys, and asking qualitative questions about its strengths and weaknesses. So, for example, 81% can say tenure is important to them while offering observations on likes and dislikes. Is your point that teachers support tenure by a large margin (which btw was the first bullet point) and we shouldn’t inquire any deeper than that or disregard what else they have to say about this important issue?

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Navigio, could most teachers pass a lie detector test that they work no less hard due to tenure? Sure, they like it, who wouldn't? We should keep it because the beneficiaries of an unfair policy that hurts children like it? Something's wrong with this picture. I'd love to see a poll done with a lie detector test. Have you called in sick when you weren't? Would you if you … Read More

              Navigio, could most teachers pass a lie detector test that they work no less hard due to tenure? Sure, they like it, who wouldn’t? We should keep it because the beneficiaries of an unfair policy that hurts children like it? Something’s wrong with this picture. I’d love to see a poll done with a lie detector test. Have you called in sick when you weren’t? Would you if you had to call the principal, who decided promotions, pay, lay offs and bonuses based on merit? Would you work harder? Do you believe teaching quality would be better? Not just asking, but with a lie detector test.

  3. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Navigio is back! But you should have stayed away a little longer! Your comment is nonsensical. Do you really think John thought he could get away with not telling us that Teach Plus is a pro-reform group without his readers knowing? I’m in favor of Vergara and I pointed out the omission right away in the spirit of full disclosure. You’re frayed at the seams if you think he wanted to pull a fast one.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 1 year ago1 year ago

      I appreciate the many comments on the piece and take them seriously, including those that assert, wrongly in my view, bias in the reporting of the results of this survey. EdSource has no position on teacher tenure issues, and I don't have a position on it which should be clear from past writings on this topic. A number of readers have criticized the lack of explanation of the methodology used in the survey. That is a … Read More

      I appreciate the many comments on the piece and take them seriously, including those that assert, wrongly in my view, bias in the reporting of the results of this survey. EdSource has no position on teacher tenure issues, and I don’t have a position on it which should be clear from past writings on this topic.

      A number of readers have criticized the lack of explanation of the methodology used in the survey. That is a valid point, and I have waited to respond until I had more information. That said, one of the advantages of links and our Going Deeper box is that readers can go right to the source for more details that aren’t in the story. Many regular readers find this useful. Had others done this, they would have found the full list of questions in the survey (in footnotes in the back) and, on pages 2-3, information on how the survey was conducted and who funded it. It’s one thing for commenters to criticize the piece, another to dismiss findings they don’t like based on inaccurate speculation about who answered the survey and how they were selected.

      As the piece said, the survey was done for Teach Plus by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, an independent opinion research firm that does advocacy campaigns and surveys for candidates, public interest campaigns and legislators nationwide. I interviewed the firm’s founder, Paul Goodwin, and Tim Wilson of ROIRocket, a market research firm that selected the respondents. They confirmed what the study said, that the 506 California teachers – all of them working for traditional school districts (no private, charter or part-time teachers) did an online survey without being told who was sponsoring and funding the survey.

      They also provided the following information:

    • *The teachers were selected from a list of 5,000 teachers who were invited to join panels of professionals interested in doing online surveys.
    • *They were recruited based on career information they provided on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

    • *They were selected to closely match the demographics of the California workforce in terms of experience, grade levels, gender and geographic location.
    • *They agreed to participate after being told only that the survey was being conducted “of teachers on issues affecting teachers.”

    • *They were told their answers would be kept confidential.
    • *The polling firms did not know the views of the interviewees on the issues.
    • According to Goodwin, the survey was done by “super clean panels not know who we were, and we did not know what they thought” about the issues in the survey. The 500-plus teachers formed a valid sample size for online surveys. He said that he crafted neutral questions after conferring with Teach Plus about the purpose of the poll: to find out teachers’ views on tenure, lays based on seniority and the dismissal process.

      One last point: I have noticed an increase in personal sniping and attacks by readers of other readers. This violates our policy and creates a hostile tone that discourages especially new readers from participating. We will delete comments like these from the site.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        Hi john. Is your Facebook page run differently?

        • John Fensterwald 1 year ago1 year ago

          Our Facebook page is another way we engage readers and attract them to our website. Social media are different (140 characters for Twitter and really short summaries in FB) but should reflect our values of impartiality and objectivity. We ask readers to indicate if they “like” our posts. In this case, I can see where that could have been interpreted as promoting the findings. That was not our intent.

          • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

            Thanks for clarifying, John. One point is that when the survey is paid for by a partisan organization promoting a particular point of view, no matter how reputable the vendor that actually does the work, it still presents the appearance of partisan bias, and that's not without reason. One example from long ago was that for-profit school manager Edison Schools hired the Rand Corp. to do a study of its schools' effectiveness. I met one … Read More

            Thanks for clarifying, John.

            One point is that when the survey is paid for by a partisan organization promoting a particular point of view, no matter how reputable the vendor that actually does the work, it still presents the appearance of partisan bias, and that’s not without reason. One example from long ago was that for-profit school manager Edison Schools hired the Rand Corp. to do a study of its schools’ effectiveness. I met one of the researchers who’d done the study and he said there had been at least two years of negotiations over how the results would be presented — by which time Edison’s star had plummeted, but that’s another story. Anyway, clearly the respected Rand Corp. was not free to present the results in the manner its scholarly researchers would have used on their own.

            Media reporting on such survey results can cover themselves by simply providing clear disclosure. (The “like if you agree” was apparently just a misjudgment.)

            I’d appreciate if you’d take down all the personal sniping about how I present information and ill-tempered speculation about what my views are (which, among other things, often mischaracterizes both my comments and my views). A post by me seems to draw out a blizzard of nasty personal comments about me that I actually don’t think are warranted or appropriate. As you’ve told me privately, I can handle it, but it intimidates other followers of the site and creates an unpleasant atmosphere. Thanks very much.

      • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

        Appreciate the explanation, John. That being said re EdSource I read this with some amusement: "According to Goodwin, the survey was done by “super clean panels not know who we were, and we did not know what they thought” about the issues in the survey. The 500-plus teachers formed a valid sample size for online surveys." "Super clean…" And what else would be the claim? I am not well educated on the validity of the statement "valid … Read More

        Appreciate the explanation, John.

        That being said re EdSource I read this with some amusement: “According to Goodwin, the survey was done by “super clean panels not know who we were, and we did not know what they thought” about the issues in the survey. The 500-plus teachers formed a valid sample size for online surveys.”

        “Super clean…” And what else would be the claim?

        I am not well educated on the validity of the statement “valid sample size for online surveys.” There’s is a difference in “validity” for online surveys as opposed to other surveys? By whose criteria? Is there some difference in the validity of online as opposed to telephone or other surveys? Here I am thinking of the (in)famous historical incident where President Truman is holding up a headline showing he had been defeated by Dewey based on much of the polling at the time. Gallup was involved in this and it caused them to upgrade their sampling strategies.

        Then there was the “victory” [sic] of Alf Landon over Franklin Roosevelt. Some popular US literary magazine of the time made that prediction which was widely accepted. This was where Gallup first shined and predicted the actual outcome. The magazine had sampled magazine subscribers and owners of telephones. These were two wealthy and conservative demographics in the 1930s that did not reflect the nature of the rest of the US population.It was not a “random and representative sample.” I notice the sampling of teachers in this case was for those who were “recruited” from those posting on Facebook and Linked In. Recruiting your sample and “limiting” that sample to social networks represents a current ‘high point” for a “random and representative” group?

        And then more recently, we have Karl Rove running around with his hair on fire, and where his polls particularly and many other polls in general either picked the wrong winner in 2012 or failed to indicate the depth of the eventual difference in final results. Some suggest this was in the interest of the media, and their influence on the polling, to keep the “close horse-race” narrative alive and generate viewership.

        As I said, though fairly up on polling results and having worked with a variety of polling professionals over the years, it remains outside any of my areas of expertise. This survey may indeed be valid. Personally, I’ll take it all with a shovel of salt.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          Gary, to get at the truth, you absolutely cannot use online response as any board is self-selecting. Those who go to foxnews.com are far to the right of those who go to msnbc.com or sfgate.com. You would need to randomly select 500 teachers somehow and call them, but you'd have to make sure they respond. The fear is the union could send out newsletters and try to influence response and tell teachers … Read More

          Gary, to get at the truth, you absolutely cannot use online response as any board is self-selecting. Those who go to foxnews.com are far to the right of those who go to msnbc.com or sfgate.com. You would need to randomly select 500 teachers somehow and call them, but you’d have to make sure they respond. The fear is the union could send out newsletters and try to influence response and tell teachers they should unify behind a specific point of view. You would need to choose by population of schoolchildren meaning 45 from LA 12 from San Francisco, 6 from Oakland, etc. Then within said subgroups, it would have to be completely random. Otherwise this is not accurate.

          I do know that pubic surveys have shown most of the general pubic believes seniority/tenure is not the ideal way to get the best effort and performance out of teachers. Over 70%.This survey may or may not be random, but the tide of history is on the side of changing this.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          A quick check found this article and a reference to the peer review study it was based on: "INTERNET OR ONLINE SURVEYS have become a popular and attractive way to measure opinions and attitudes of the general population and more specific groups within the general population. Although online surveys may seem to be more economical and easier to administer than traditional survey research methods, they pose several problems to obtaining scientifically valid and accurate results. … Read More

          A quick check found this article and a reference to the peer review study it was based on:

          “INTERNET OR ONLINE SURVEYS have become a popular and attractive way to measure opinions and attitudes of the general population and more specific groups within the general population. Although online surveys may seem to be more economical and easier to administer than traditional survey research methods, they pose several problems to obtaining scientifically valid and accurate results. A peer-reviewed article by Responsive Management staff published in the January-February 2010 issue of Human Dimensions of Wildlife details the specific issues surrounding the use of online surveys in human dimensions research. Reprints of the article can be ordered here. Responsive Management would like to thank Jerry Vaske of Colorado State University for his assistance with the Human Dimensions article and for granting us permission to distribute this popularized version of the article.”

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        John, I think everyone, if I may say so, appreciates your follow-up comment, but personally I think you indulge us too much. You provided ample opportunity for readers to educate themselves on the survey and they should do so if it is of particular concern to them. You can hardly be expected to write a ten-page article that will cover every question a reader might have. It bears pointing out that you made … Read More

        John, I think everyone, if I may say so, appreciates your follow-up comment, but personally I think you indulge us too much. You provided ample opportunity for readers to educate themselves on the survey and they should do so if it is of particular concern to them. You can hardly be expected to write a ten-page article that will cover every question a reader might have. It bears pointing out that you made reasonable inquiries about the survey and the manner in which it was conducted as opposed, for example, to another recent article on Ed Source in which the reporter used a district press release as gospel to make a less than reasonable assumption. Though it is unnecessary to say so, your writing is prolific and nothing less than astounding given the difficulty of reporting on some education issues while maintaining a reporters’ proper distance . No matter what you do you’ll never please everyone particularly when you write about things people care deeply about.

        I’d also like to mention that no survey is without bias, only some less biased than others. While readers have every right to question the study for bias, once having done so a reasonable person ought to acknowledge the validity of the findings whether or not they comport with their own personal views and attitudes or explain why they are not valid. If experience is any lesson, I expect those who express skepticism about the findings will likely be unswayed by the relative neutrality of the study. No matter that a highly respectable opinion research firm is not going to trot out a trumped up result for a few bucks in fees and run the risk of tarnishing its reputation.

      • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

        A Teach Plus official just followed me on Twitter. Hey, I'm not even saying don't report on their study, and I don't have the skillset to dissect their methodology even if I were inclined to. I'm just saying: Disclose the partisanship. And if you're representing EdSource as not taking sides, don't endorse the study's findings that support Teach Plus' positions. Read More

        A Teach Plus official just followed me on Twitter. Hey, I’m not even saying don’t report on their study, and I don’t have the skillset to dissect their methodology even if I were inclined to. I’m just saying: Disclose the partisanship. And if you’re representing EdSource as not taking sides, don’t endorse the study’s findings that support Teach Plus’ positions.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          From my reading there's no endorsement in this article of the positions of Teach Plus by John F.or Ed Source for that matter, Caroline. Could you please cite an example from the article since you believe that not to be the case, otherwise yours is just another unfounded allegation. In the last sentence of the article it says, " Pechthalt countered (the Teach Plus position) that he’s confident the positions of the union are fully … Read More

          From my reading there’s no endorsement in this article of the positions of Teach Plus by John F.or Ed Source for that matter, Caroline. Could you please cite an example from the article since you believe that not to be the case, otherwise yours is just another unfounded allegation.

          In the last sentence of the article it says, ” Pechthalt countered (the Teach Plus position) that he’s confident the positions of the union are fully consistent with the views of its members. So the obvious question is how does Mr. Pechthalt know this? Has it been put to a union vote? Is there another survey? Or is he just blowing smoke? Caroline, wouldn’t you want to know where he gets his information or is it OK by you that he speak contrary to the membership if in fact the survey results are representative? It right to question the veracity of the Teach Plus position, but why not do the same for the president of the CFT for whom you seem willing to grant poet license to speculate with certainty on member opinion?

          • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

            I agree, Don. There is no endorsement in the article of the positions of Teach Plus, though the article should have disclosed the fact that Teach Plus promotes a strong position on the subject of the survey. Failure to include that disclosure was a lapse of journalistic standards and ethics.

            It’s the EdSource Facebook post that inherently constituted an endorsement of the findings of the survey, as discussed elsewhere on this thread.

          • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

            ‘Click like if you agree’

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Navigio, Caroline, Manuel, et.al., your concerns regarding a journalistic lapse of ethics would make more sense if they were applied across the board rather than only to the "lapses" that you believe convey the wrong messages, those not to your liberal inclinations. The recent article on the drop in suspensions and expulsions by Ms. Frey allowed entirely unsubstantiated results from a school district press release to provide the basis upon which … Read More

              Navigio, Caroline, Manuel, et.al., your concerns regarding a journalistic lapse of ethics would make more sense if they were applied across the board rather than only to the “lapses” that you believe convey the wrong messages, those not to your liberal inclinations. The recent article on the drop in suspensions and expulsions by Ms. Frey allowed entirely unsubstantiated results from a school district press release to provide the basis upon which the article’s author then made correlations to link Restorative Practices to higher achievement. Whether or not they prove to be correct correlations doesn’t matter at present. The jury is still out. But you have not seen fit to chime in on that instance of journalistic bias and many others by certain Ed Source reporters while seeing fit to make a mountain out of a molehill about the “click if you agree” issue. It is unbecoming to see you all struggling to make the worst of out what was by and large a well written and factual article by Mr. Fensterwald.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Like the Chronicle, EdSource publishes articles written by different people from different sources. I have seen articles that seem to tilt to the right and others that seem to tilt to the left, like arguing that suspending kids hurts those not suspended. Personally, I remember some kids who really distracted me and hurt my education and don't see how that is even theoretically possible. EdSource is balanced. They don't have a … Read More

              Like the Chronicle, EdSource publishes articles written by different people from different sources. I have seen articles that seem to tilt to the right and others that seem to tilt to the left, like arguing that suspending kids hurts those not suspended. Personally, I remember some kids who really distracted me and hurt my education and don’t see how that is even theoretically possible. EdSource is balanced. They don’t have a hidden agenda. They take info from sources on both sides. If the union has a press conference announcing something, they will public it, and if Students Matters does, they will publish it.

            • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

              I haven't really gotten into discussing this, but for the record I actually am at least somewhat in agreement with "Floyd" and Don on the whole issue of suspensions and discipline and some of the coverage thereof. It's complicated, but I'll just say that it's really easy for people who aren't in classrooms (or don't have kids in classrooms) to make it all sound simple and clear-cut, and I'm a stickler about not confounding correlation … Read More

              I haven’t really gotten into discussing this, but for the record I actually am at least somewhat in agreement with “Floyd” and Don on the whole issue of suspensions and discipline and some of the coverage thereof. It’s complicated, but I’ll just say that it’s really easy for people who aren’t in classrooms (or don’t have kids in classrooms) to make it all sound simple and clear-cut, and I’m a stickler about not confounding correlation with causation.

              However, as a busy person with a full-time job, I don’t get to read everything on EdSource closely, and I don’t comment on everything I do read. (I’ve been following a few comment threads closely in the past few days.) So just be aware that in commenting on what I do or don’t think or do or don’t discuss, you may well be wrong if you make assumptions. In fact, it’s pretty much of a waste of time to comment on what I do or don’t think and do or don’t talk about, as opposed to making a case for your viewpoint.

              Just to clarify once again: I don’t have a problem at all with EdSource publishing the Teach Plus survey story. EdSource was wrong based on generally accepted journalistic standards and ethics not to disclose that the survey was paid for by an organization dedicated to promoting policies on the issue that the survey results happened to support. EdSource’s Facebook post, which was not “click if you agree” but “click LIKE if you agree,” appeared to demonstrate a clear viewpoint on the issue. OK, if it’s not clear what the concernswere, that’s my last try.

            • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

              I have a life.

              And it certainly does not include me watchdogging every single post made at EdSource.

              Therefore, the accusations of not “applying it across the board” me hacen lo que el viento a Juarez….

              😉

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          Caroline, when you criticize a charter or a poll on tenure, should you disclose that you have never said one good thing about a charter or a bad thing about a teacher who survived due to tenure and damaged kids, and that you automatically criticize every charter or if you can't find something bad, stay quiet? Should you state that if you read something that goes against you, you will ignore it? That … Read More

          Caroline, when you criticize a charter or a poll on tenure, should you disclose that you have never said one good thing about a charter or a bad thing about a teacher who survived due to tenure and damaged kids, and that you automatically criticize every charter or if you can’t find something bad, stay quiet? Should you state that if you read something that goes against you, you will ignore it? That you are acting as a lobbyist for the union and against charters, rather than an independent open-minded observer who reviews facts? You love to find facts, but it is clear you don’t have students’ interest first when you do so and that if you find a fact which benefits students over teachers, you will ignore it.

  4. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    A couple of words on the validity of surveys/polling: Karl Rove. Most people have seen the pictures of Karl Rove's meltdown on Fox News [sic] when the final votes came in and the electoral college count showed Obama trouncing Romney. Rove was absolutely gob-smacked that Romney might actually lose after all of his polling had indicated the opposite. Of, course, Rove was not the only one. Romney's backers had paid big bucks to pollsters and polling … Read More

    A couple of words on the validity of surveys/polling: Karl Rove.

    Most people have seen the pictures of Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox News [sic] when the final votes came in and the electoral college count showed Obama trouncing Romney. Rove was absolutely gob-smacked that Romney might actually lose after all of his polling had indicated the opposite. Of, course, Rove was not the only one. Romney’s backers had paid big bucks to pollsters and polling firms to get some insight into what the election results were “going to be.” It is obvious that the Romney fans got what they paid for. They wanted polling data showing Romney winning and that’s what they received. It just happened to be completely divorced from reality.

    There is a technique, called “push polling,” where the questions are designed to get the answers the sponsors want. This can be used as a propaganda strategy called “band wagon,” influencing people to go along with an idea/candidate/etc, that they might not otherwise support, but do anyway because they think “everybody’s doing it.” Humans can be “herd animals” at times, as the infamous “mob mentality” indicates.

    This survey might well be very “accurate”, but employed “push” style questions or had a very limited demographic/ Again, when one “follows the money” questions naturally arise.

    Reading some of the suggested responses, it seems the survey might have been restricted, for whatever reason, to very new and inexperienced teachers.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      I've noticed, interestingly, that Gary has brought up both Karl Rove and Harry Truman. We all know what happened in the legendary Truman election with the false early election results plastered in front pages across the nation. So why is Gary berating Karl Rove for pointing out on Fox News that the results in Ohio might be too close to call? I remember that night and I went back to review the YouTube videos of … Read More

      I’ve noticed, interestingly, that Gary has brought up both Karl Rove and Harry Truman.

      We all know what happened in the legendary Truman election with the false early election results plastered in front pages across the nation. So why is Gary berating Karl Rove for pointing out on Fox News that the results in Ohio might be too close to call? I remember that night and I went back to review the YouTube videos of the so-called “meltdown”. Rove didn’t meltdown. Though ultimately wrong, he was calmly pointing out at that moment the closeness of the election and the need not to be hasty to call the result, exactly what Gary was pointing out in regard to the Truman election as it applies to this opinion survey.

      Gary, you got your signals crossed, but it doesn’t surprised me since you’re so hell-bent and spinning every story in favor of unions, even an article as evenhanded as that on which we are commenting. Did anyone from the union bother to ask how Mr. Pechthalt arrived at his conclusion that “the positions of the union are fully consistent with the views of its members” ?

  5. Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

    I was just steered to EdSource's Facebook page and asked to comment on its top most "post:" EdSource 19 hrs · Survey: teachers say it's time to change tenure laws. Click "like" if you agree. I was under the impression that EdSource would be more careful on how it presents things like this. I mean, a casual reader would think from this line that all teachers want that and if that's what they want, then it must be good. … Read More

    I was just steered to EdSource’s Facebook page and asked to comment on its top most “post:”

    EdSource
    19 hrs ·
    Survey: teachers say it’s time to change tenure laws.
    Click “like” if you agree.

    I was under the impression that EdSource would be more careful on how it presents things like this. I mean, a casual reader would think from this line that all teachers want that and if that’s what they want, then it must be good. And click “like.”

    But we all know this is not true because John and all of us know that this on-line survey was of 506 teachers.

    Even though we are told that this survey was designed to conceal the sponsor, we have no idea how these 506 teachers were recruited for the survey. And the first question is a push/pull question: “in your experience, only effective teachers get tenure.” There is no way in the world that this can be answered in the affirmative because some ineffective teachers will manage to get through the system. Hence, this question poisons the well for this survey, as far as I am concerned.

    Now, why would EdSource create a poll of its own that is so slanted, for lack of a better word?

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

      I had the idea that EfSource was presenting itself as an impartial, unbiased resource — despite lapses like rewriting KIPP and pro-parent-trigger press releases. Based on that Facebook post, I was misinformed. Sorry to learn that.

      • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

        EdSource. Damn iPhone.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        Me too. Truly surprised and dissappointed.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          It's obvious to anyone who is intellectually honest that A. bad teachers exist, B. many teachers take unnecessary days off despite having 66 more days off than most people and C. bad teachers are staying on for decades and hurting children and D. the lack of pressure causes many other teachers to not work as hard as they would otherwise. Every time some evidence shows this you criticize the source or make up something. … Read More

          It’s obvious to anyone who is intellectually honest that A. bad teachers exist, B. many teachers take unnecessary days off despite having 66 more days off than most people and C. bad teachers are staying on for decades and hurting children and D. the lack of pressure causes many other teachers to not work as hard as they would otherwise. Every time some evidence shows this you criticize the source or make up something. Is Jerry Brown now somehow bad for saying this, according to you? This is ridiculous. You don’t care about children improving their lot. If you succeed and we just blow this off and naysay it and stick with the status quo, it isn’t your kids who will suffer but the poor. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Caroline, I hope your interest in balanced and transparent reporting as a matter of journalistic integrity applies to all subjects be they liberal or conservative. In that vein, I haven't heard from you regarding the absolutely irresponsible editorializing masquerading as news reporting in the article "Suspension, Expulsions Down Statewide". Considering the quality, breadth and balance of John's reporting, I attribute the omission as nothing more than an oversight and certainly not purposeful. … Read More

      Caroline, I hope your interest in balanced and transparent reporting as a matter of journalistic integrity applies to all subjects be they liberal or conservative. In that vein, I haven’t heard from you regarding the absolutely irresponsible editorializing masquerading as news reporting in the article “Suspension, Expulsions Down Statewide”. Considering the quality, breadth and balance of John’s reporting, I attribute the omission as nothing more than an oversight and certainly not purposeful. OTOH, Ms. Frey’s article is a blatant attempt to attribute achievement gains to Restorative Justice without any evidence other than a correlation.

      • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

        Don, I tend to dip in and out of this site, as I have a busy life and a full-time job, and read the posts that most interest me. I agree that all reporting and posting that reveals a clear bias (when done by a resource that positions itself as impartial); all rewriting of self-promoting press releases; and all misinterpretation of statistics should be called out as unworthy of a high-quality news resource. Yes, I'm … Read More

        Don, I tend to dip in and out of this site, as I have a busy life and a full-time job, and read the posts that most interest me. I agree that all reporting and posting that reveals a clear bias (when done by a resource that positions itself as impartial); all rewriting of self-promoting press releases; and all misinterpretation of statistics should be called out as unworthy of a high-quality news resource.

        Yes, I’m much more likely to call it out when it hits on an issue I have a high level of interest in, as who isn’t? I do appreciate that you called out the failure to disclose Teach Plus’ strong reformista affiliations.

        My husband has been a teacher for several years, so I’m actually extremely critical of reporting that makes it sound simple to “fix” classroom discipline and cope with challenging students. (Actually, I would be critical even if my husband hadn’t been a teacher.) And I’m always critical of the misinterpretation of statistics and the confounding of correlation with causation. I’m glad others are doing this too.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          If anything EdSource tilts far left/pro-Union. The position that it should be so difficult to fire a teacher that 10 a year are fired statewide, and it be acceptable to miss 11 days a year with no negative consequence and all be done on seniority is so untenable even extreme liberals like Obama, Jerry Brown and most teachers see the light. It's just untenable if you are intellectually honest which is why even … Read More

          If anything EdSource tilts far left/pro-Union. The position that it should be so difficult to fire a teacher that 10 a year are fired statewide, and it be acceptable to miss 11 days a year with no negative consequence and all be done on seniority is so untenable even extreme liberals like Obama, Jerry Brown and most teachers see the light. It’s just untenable if you are intellectually honest which is why even the defenders like Gary and Caroline can’t prove their point and just throw distracting points out there and then go radio silent if facts contrary to their views are presented. I think EdSource has been very fair. They present studies from both sides, which have biases. They posted an article saying kids who aren’t suspended are damaged by the fact that some kids are, which based on my experience in schools and my kids’ makes no sense and can’t be true. It’s like the claim firing bad teachers will hurt good ones because principals will unfairly target them, which makes no sense. Once they get rid of the worst, teaching will be more respected, fewer people will go through experiences which make them angry about the inability to fire bad teachers, and as absenteeism will drop at least to industry averages, more money will be available for salaries. Also, kids will learn more so teachers will spend less time making up for bad colleagues. Ed Source has shown balance. You are showing an autopilot tendency to criticize anyone who doesn’t say gee, duh, let’s keep making it impossible to fire bad teachers, let’s do exactly what made us one of the worst states in a country low in international testing comparisons, it has to work eventually, duh.

          • el 1 year ago1 year ago

            In general, my experience with rules and regulations is that they are almost always implemented because of at least one specific incident, or a pattern of undesirable incidents. Lots of regulations that seem kind of odd (like "this door to remain unlocked during business hours") have significant and sometimes horrible stories behind them. This doesn't mean that the resulting regulation is good or well written, only that it is best to understand the inspiration before … Read More

            In general, my experience with rules and regulations is that they are almost always implemented because of at least one specific incident, or a pattern of undesirable incidents. Lots of regulations that seem kind of odd (like “this door to remain unlocked during business hours”) have significant and sometimes horrible stories behind them. This doesn’t mean that the resulting regulation is good or well written, only that it is best to understand the inspiration before clearing things away.

            Floyd, you state it makes no sense that good teachers would be fired or targeted without these regulations. But, I assure you, the history exists, and even the fact that poor teachers have been retained is evidence that not every principal and administrator makes classroom excellence their top priority or that they are all excellent at their job. Most of us can point to a crappy administrator as easily as they can recall a teacher they disliked, and yet administrators are easy to fire.

            As I’ve said, I think the rules and procedure for dismissal can be improved to make them more friendly to all parties. The way forward is to have a collective understanding of what the process is now (again, a great topic for Edsource) and then a lively discussion of where the sticking points are (someone once pointed out in a comment that for some cases the list of who needs to sit on the hearing committee is unnecessarily restrictive).

            But, it’s also true from my perspective that some of the friction isn’t in state law but in the internal bureaucracy of large districts. Small districts, where it’s more likely that administrators have to work directly with the problem employee, seem to have fewer problems.

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Teach Plus contracted Goodwin Simon which seems to be a very respectable opinion research firm. On their webpage it says " His candidates (Goodwin's) include more than 75 state and local elected officials in California, Oregon, and Washington, often in the toughest and most contested districts. He also works for the Washington and California Democratic party caucuses on critical targeted races. I don't think you can make any hay, Manuel, by trying … Read More

      Teach Plus contracted Goodwin Simon which seems to be a very respectable opinion research firm. On their webpage it says ” His candidates (Goodwin’s) include more than 75 state and local elected officials in California, Oregon, and Washington, often in the toughest and most contested districts. He also works for the Washington and California Democratic party caucuses on critical targeted races. I don’t think you can make any hay, Manuel, by trying to kill the messenger. It doesn’t appear to be a right-wing opinion firm.

      BTW, it isn’t at all uncommon to poll small groups of scientifically selected individuals to draw wider conclusions, as I’m sure you’re aware. It is done all the time with great success in the polling world.

      But many will refute these findings because nothing could be more worrisome to the unions than the fact that large swaths of the membership are not on board with the long standing hardline positions on seniority and LIFO.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        It's not about the messenger delivering an unwanted message, it's about the messenger taking sides in the debate. The concern is with edsource, not with the poll people. "Click like if you agree" is not 'an oversight'. Read More

        It’s not about the messenger delivering an unwanted message, it’s about the messenger taking sides in the debate. The concern is with edsource, not with the poll people. “Click like if you agree” is not ‘an oversight’.

      • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

        Incredible.

        I point out the cognitive dissonance between the contents of the poll, the ones who paid for it, how it was reported here, and how it ends up at facebook and you come back with “you are killing the messenger.”

        Really? Really?

        And you wonder why I don’t take you seriously and think you are… inconsistent?

        Oh, and anyone has their price, the polling firm included.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Manuel, I don't agree with your comment so naturally I'm not going to click 'like' that I agree. No one is forcing me to click the button and I shouldn't as a person of free will because I know your comment is illogical, ill-manned and mean-spirited. I suspect that most, though obviously not all, readers of EdSource have the wherewithall to be able to decide whether they agree with an article and are … Read More

          Manuel, I don’t agree with your comment so naturally I’m not going to click ‘like’ that I agree. No one is forcing me to click the button and I shouldn’t as a person of free will because I know your comment is illogical, ill-manned and mean-spirited. I suspect that most, though obviously not all, readers of EdSource have the wherewithall to be able to decide whether they agree with an article and are not encouraged to change their minds by a button. I might be wrong because it seems that many people are capable of being intimidated by a button. You now the survey hit a raw nerve when otherwise intelligent and reasonable people conclude that J.Fensterwald is a pro-reform collaborator working as a mole for a left-wing online education news outlet. LOL

          Manuel, I know you are a busy person like Caroline, so I understand that provides you with an excellent excuse to watchdog only the articles you choose.

          • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

            Good to hear that free will makes media bias moot. And all this time I’d believed objectivity was of some value. Silly me.

          • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

            I'm so sorry to use having a life as an excuse not to dissect (or, I admit, even closely read) every single EdSource post. Please, please forgive me for my lapses! So I just have to make it a blanket admonition: EdSource, disclose surveys done for the purpose of promoting specific policies and don't do stuff that makes it look like you support one side on a controversial policy. And don't rewrite billionaire-funded press releases … Read More

            I’m so sorry to use having a life as an excuse not to dissect (or, I admit, even closely read) every single EdSource post. Please, please forgive me for my lapses! So I just have to make it a blanket admonition: EdSource, disclose surveys done for the purpose of promoting specific policies and don’t do stuff that makes it look like you support one side on a controversial policy. And don’t rewrite billionaire-funded press releases on controversial issues into one-sided puff pieces. That’s the best I can do.

  6. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    I’m confused. The democratically elected union leaders have told us there’s no such thing as a bad teacher only a teacher in need of more tax-funded professional development while students attend classes with substitutes. If in fact teachers don’t think all teachers are good, contrary to the union line, why did these teachers vote for representation to that believes to the contrary?

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      From this morning's HuffPost, not exactly a source without expressed political leanings: "...she thought the poll results were unsurprising. So did Eric Heins, vice president of the California Teachers Association, even though he comes from a group on the opposite side of the teacher-tenure debate.The California Teachers Association is currently fighting to overturn the Vergara decision. Heins noted that due to the broad nature of the poll questions, results could be interpreted loosely. " And this is … Read More

      From this morning’s HuffPost, not exactly a source without expressed political leanings:

      “…she thought the poll results were unsurprising. So did Eric Heins, vice president of the California Teachers Association, even though he comes from a group on the opposite side of the teacher-tenure debate.The California Teachers Association is currently fighting to overturn the Vergara decision. Heins noted that due to the broad nature of the poll questions, results could be interpreted loosely. ”

      And this is how Huff Post’s Rebecca Klein described TeachPlus, ” an education reform group that seeks to support new teachers.”

      I agree John was remiss not to identity Teach Plus as a Gate’s funded organization and that the click issue could have been handled better though it was a formality. However, overall the article is very objective and more informative compared to the HuffPost’s. Not one of you has bothered to point out that John did not ask Mr.Pechthalt why “he’s confident the positions of the union are fully consistent with the views of its members.” In fact he ended the article on that note. Had he wanted to John could have questioned this response. Instead he gave the union leader a break because it’s obvious that Pechthalt was talking off the top of is head. That doesn’t strike me as media bias. You are blasting the Teach Plus survey which actually has some documentation to support it, but don’t ask give a hoot how Pechthalt knows differently. Got bias?

      • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

        I never blasted the Teach Plus survey. I said EdSource should have disclosed the fact that it was funded by an organization with an interest promoting one view with the results. That has been discussed and explained to death. I really think this topic is done.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Me, too. So... you said you have some measure of agreement with my comments on suspensions and expulsions. I appreciated your comment (paraphrasing here) that those who are not in the trenches ought to tread carefully before supporting politically-minded fixes. That said, you read the article and still did not take a moment to make a brief comment about the author's classic misuse of correlation as causation (your pet peeve). I'm just not buying your … Read More

          Me, too. So… you said you have some measure of agreement with my comments on suspensions and expulsions. I appreciated your comment (paraphrasing here) that those who are not in the trenches ought to tread carefully before supporting politically-minded fixes. That said, you read the article and still did not take a moment to make a brief comment about the author’s classic misuse of correlation as causation (your pet peeve). I’m just not buying your interest in journalistic integrity until I see you apply it with less partiality. Maybe once in awhile…in between all your other activities! Good day to you!

          • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

            Sorry I missed it. Some days or weeks or other blocks of time I'm busy and don't check in, and sometimes I have more time and start following a thread closely. Don! I totally agree about confounding correlation with causation -- it's a mortal journalistic sin along with the others I've cited. Whichever writer did it needs a refresher course in the use of statistics and logic. Otherwise, step away from the statistics with your … Read More

            Sorry I missed it. Some days or weeks or other blocks of time I’m busy and don’t check in, and sometimes I have more time and start following a thread closely. Don! I totally agree about confounding correlation with causation — it’s a mortal journalistic sin along with the others I’ve cited. Whichever writer did it needs a refresher course in the use of statistics and logic. Otherwise, step away from the statistics with your hands in the air. (I don’t know which writer I’m chiding.)

        • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

          “I really think this topic is done.”

          I would have thought so, too.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        The last sentence is perhaps the most important one of all. I very much noticed it and even wrote a response saying so. But it violates the current terms of service for commenting so it will have to wait.

  7. Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

    The legislature should show some courage here, which was not evident when I went to Sacramento to testify with respect to this issue before the Senate's education committee. My advice then remains the same today: simply remove the state from legislating on this issue by repealing the existing offensive labor laws, and let local districts, which are the teachers' direct employers, negotiate these issues with local collective bargaining units. Then we might see innovation flourish, … Read More

    The legislature should show some courage here, which was not evident when I went to Sacramento to testify with respect to this issue before the Senate’s education committee. My advice then remains the same today: simply remove the state from legislating on this issue by repealing the existing offensive labor laws, and let local districts, which are the teachers’ direct employers, negotiate these issues with local collective bargaining units. Then we might see innovation flourish, as creative contractual solutions were attempted: some would fail, but others will likely succeed, and in a wired world the successful innovations are likely to replicate and create new norms within less than a decade. Contrast this with the continuous, decades-long robbing of generations of pupils I witnessed at Locke High School, which lost the respect of its Los Angeles neighborhood in the 1980s, plummeted still further in the 1990s, and was busy failing a second generation of ghetto dwellers in the 2000s when I and a group of like-minded teachers decided that enough was enough and that someone outside the status quo deserved a shot at managing the school.

    Replies

    • tom 1 year ago1 year ago

      That would be great Bruce! We could then downsize CDE and give the saved money to the schools aka LCFF! Problem is, politicians love bureaucracy, and bureaucrats love laws because it gives them something to do.

    • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

      What's the employment situation at Locke HS now, Bruce, and what's your opinion of how the school has done? It seems like you're just describing the beginning of the story, when a lot time has gone by and we're well into it. Were there a lot of "bad teachers" who "couldn't be fired"? Are there better teachers now? Are bad teachers being fired? What's the outcome for the students and the school? Read More

      What’s the employment situation at Locke HS now, Bruce, and what’s your opinion of how the school has done? It seems like you’re just describing the beginning of the story, when a lot time has gone by and we’re well into it. Were there a lot of “bad teachers” who “couldn’t be fired”? Are there better teachers now? Are bad teachers being fired? What’s the outcome for the students and the school?

      • Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

        Caroline, I can't easily answer your questions because I haven't visited Locke in over a year and am steadily losing contact with it. There were, in 2007 (when we circulated our petition), dozens of teachers I wouldn't want teaching my children, suspect you wouldn't want teaching yours, and know the principal didn't want teaching his; but they couldn't be removed due to the union contract. I suspect that the teachers now are better: that's what … Read More

        Caroline, I can’t easily answer your questions because I haven’t visited Locke in over a year and am steadily losing contact with it. There were, in 2007 (when we circulated our petition), dozens of teachers I wouldn’t want teaching my children, suspect you wouldn’t want teaching yours, and know the principal didn’t want teaching his; but they couldn’t be removed due to the union contract. I suspect that the teachers now are better: that’s what the pupils were saying a couple of years after the change, and their verdict may be semi-permanent, since no current pupils will have studied under LAUSD’s Locke teachers and no former pupils will have studied under Green Dot’s, so neither group can make an eyewitness comparison. Under the Green Dot contract, teachers who don’t perform up to management’s expectations can be removed, and are unlikely to earn permanent status; but you’d have to check with the organization to get better details than that. The school’s outcome overall appears positive, but I continually compare it with what might have been, and note that Green Dot now appears a mere footnote in the national conversation about how to improve America’s schools, whereas we were front and center at the end of the previous, disastrous decade.

        • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

          That does tend to be the pattern with the "reform" fad of the day -- hype and hoopla, inflated claims, increasingly evident lack of actual success in the fullness of time, and a drop off the radar. If those participating in the hype and hoopla were sincere about searching for effective ways to solve the challenges of education, would they be examining the fizzled fad and publicly discussing what went wrong rather than pretending they … Read More

          That does tend to be the pattern with the “reform” fad of the day — hype and hoopla, inflated claims, increasingly evident lack of actual success in the fullness of time, and a drop off the radar. If those participating in the hype and hoopla were sincere about searching for effective ways to solve the challenges of education, would they be examining the fizzled fad and publicly discussing what went wrong rather than pretending they had never heard of the fizzled fad? Discuss among yourselves.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            Good point, Caroline. For example, last year's hype&hoopla-palooza was the Parent Trigger/Parent Revolution coup at Desert trails in Adelanto. I have included a rather long segments of a post done by the Capital&Main site that is looking at a number of rather slippery charter schools' escapades across the nation, and some from the local paper. A point you, Caroline, have made over time is that many charters (KIPP anyone?) who consistently hype their performance … Read More

            Good point, Caroline. For example, last year’s hype&hoopla-palooza was the Parent Trigger/Parent Revolution coup at Desert trails in Adelanto. I have included a rather long segments of a post done by the Capital&Main site that is looking at a number of rather slippery charter schools’ escapades across the nation, and some from the local paper.

            A point you, Caroline, have made over time is that many charters (KIPP anyone?) who consistently hype their performance do so by pushing low performing/educationally challenged students out the door and back to their regular local public school.

            Could that be happening in Adelanto I wonder? Let’s look at he local conservative newspaper’s account for an except:

            “There’s a lot of work you have to do at home,” Nicole Bothman said. Half of her daughter’s kindergarten class has left during the school year, replaced with other students off the waiting list. “I think the families who couldn’t handle it didn’t stay.”

            The obvious question remains, is it the parents/kids who “couldn’t handle it,” or was it the school that couldn’t handle the kids? Let’s look at some allegations filed by teachers at the school:

            At the end of Desert Trail’s inaugural, 2013-14 school year, a group of eight former Desert Trails teachers hand-delivered a 15-page complaint to the Adelanto Elementary School District (AESD), charging Desert Trails with an array of improprieties and its executive director, Debra Tarver, with unprofessional and sometimes unethical conduct.
            Among the most serious accusations are charges that administrative chaos at Desert Trails has resulted in both a stampede of exiting teachers and staff; that uncredentialed instructors have taught in its classrooms; and that Desert Trails had an unwritten policy of dissuading parents of students with special learning needs from seeking special education.
            “Not only was it dysfunctional and unprofessional,” says second grade teacher Renee Salazar, a five-year veteran of Los Angeles’ inner-city public schools, “it was law-breakingly unprofessional.”

            And:

            “Federal law requires all taxpayer-supported schools to admit students with disabilities. Schools are required to carry out an individualized education plan (IEP) for each disabled student, which could include extra tutoring or a placement in a smaller — and costlier — specialized classroom. Desert Trails’ charter application promised to accommodate the elementary school’s estimated 90 special education students by hiring “a Special Education Coordinator, three full-time special education teachers and five instructional aides.” In its first year, however, the Desert Trails Special Ed program consisted of a single teacher, Special Education Coordinator Tina Fryberger, and a sole classroom aide.”

            I’ve mentioned before that a recently departed “nonprofit” charter operator’s CEO (rhymes with “Blue Schools Denture Fund”) reported that he was bringing down $695,000 a year. Read below about similar shenanigans in Adelanto:

            “The teachers interviewed for this story, who were paid about $3,300 a month, claim the school’s extreme miserliness shortchanged teachers and students on basic classroom tools.
            These teachers also say that Tarver, who as executive director of a charter school is paid a salary commensurate to that of a San Bernardino county school district superintendent by both Desert Trails and LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy — a combined annual salary of around $200,000…”

            As I point out with some frequency, you need to “follow the money,” and in the case of Adelanto it’s:

            ” Desert Trails Parents Union (the name of the Adelanto Trigger faction) and its sponsor, the Gates Foundation- and Walton Family Foundation-backed Parent Revolution.”

            Hype & hoopla only? Not so much.

  8. CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

    I see a number of people are pointing this out (quoting Don here): “To be fair it should be noted that Teach Plus is a well known pro-reformist advocacy organization funded in large part by Gates.”

    That is my understandiing too.

    Since EdSource is presumably offering a deeper look at issues than mainstream press can provide, does it seem like EdSource should give us that information instead of leaving it hanging? Rhetorical question.

    Replies

    • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

      I think, Caroline, John told us that when he wrote: "Teach Plus, which has called for changing the laws challenged in the Vergara lawsuit." Of course, you have to read carefully, else you miss this. BTW, this is a direct quote from Teach Plus' 2010 990: "PRIOR TO APPROVING THE BUDGET OF TEACH PLUS INC., THE BOARD MUST RECEIVE BUDGETARY AUTHORIZATION FROM THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION FOR ANY DISBURSEMENTS PLANNED USING FUNDS FROM THE GATES … Read More

      I think, Caroline, John told us that when he wrote:

      “Teach Plus, which has called for changing the laws challenged in the Vergara lawsuit.”

      Of course, you have to read carefully, else you miss this.

      BTW, this is a direct quote from Teach Plus’ 2010 990: “PRIOR TO APPROVING THE BUDGET OF TEACH PLUS INC., THE BOARD MUST RECEIVE BUDGETARY AUTHORIZATION FROM THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION FOR ANY DISBURSEMENTS PLANNED USING FUNDS FROM THE GATES GRANT.”

      So, yeah, follow the money…

    • Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

      I wish I understood your comment. I don't understand who "those participating in the hype and hoopla" are, nor do I know who are "pretending they never heard of the fizzled fad". I still think the topic of what happened worthy of public discussion, but I'm not sure how many others feel the same way. Read More

      I wish I understood your comment. I don’t understand who “those participating in the hype and hoopla” are, nor do I know who are “pretending they never heard of the fizzled fad”. I still think the topic of what happened worthy of public discussion, but I’m not sure how many others feel the same way.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        Bruce, the "hype and hoopla' Caroline usually refers to are some high profile charter schools that have touted successes not necessarily deserved, though other pro-reform issues are also part of her agenda to impugn any efforts to create more parental choice in public education. Sometimes in specifics cases the criticism is deserved. Caroline likes to hold up these examples as often as she can while rarely giving us names other than ones more than a … Read More

        Bruce, the “hype and hoopla’ Caroline usually refers to are some high profile charter schools that have touted successes not necessarily deserved, though other pro-reform issues are also part of her agenda to impugn any efforts to create more parental choice in public education. Sometimes in specifics cases the criticism is deserved. Caroline likes to hold up these examples as often as she can while rarely giving us names other than ones more than a decade old, and then she extrapolates these implied failures upon the entire charter realm in an outstanding example of the unethical use of guilt by association.

        As for the fizzled fad, she’s referring to anything the corporate reformers push for, though education fads have a history going back hundreds of years. One of her pet peeves is Gates’ failed small schools movement. No matter that Debra Meier is considered the founder. It wasn’t idea that was faulty. It was the implementation that left a lot of students holding the bag.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          Caroline has completely intellectually discredited herself by making mountains out of molehills all the while never mentioning any positive thing about any charter school ever. She never mentioned the Harlem Zone, KIPP, any victories ever. She knows they exist. She is more of a self-appointed lobbyist than an honest intellectual commenter. According to her there are no bad teachers, no teacher ever called in sick who wasn't, and no ethnic groups … Read More

          Caroline has completely intellectually discredited herself by making mountains out of molehills all the while never mentioning any positive thing about any charter school ever. She never mentioned the Harlem Zone, KIPP, any victories ever. She knows they exist. She is more of a self-appointed lobbyist than an honest intellectual commenter. According to her there are no bad teachers, no teacher ever called in sick who wasn’t, and no ethnic groups study hard due to culture, morals or determination, achievement. Wealth and advantage only determines grades and test scores, and genetics, not work ethic. Her radio silence has over time discredited her.

          • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

            Bizarre personal attack alert. Floyd and Don, why don’t you focus on rebutting people’s arguments instead of attacking them? It would be much more effective, aside from being gentlemanly instead of ill-mannered.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Caroline I often directly respond to your attacks with specific facts and you just disappear. You also have to admit, you have a weird auto-pilot problem with charter schools. You have never once said anything positive about charters or anything negative about bad teachers. I know if you raised two kids in SFUSD you had bad teachers hurt your kids' education due to seniority/tenure. The good part of charters is a … Read More

              Caroline I often directly respond to your attacks with specific facts and you just disappear. You also have to admit, you have a weird auto-pilot problem with charter schools. You have never once said anything positive about charters or anything negative about bad teachers. I know if you raised two kids in SFUSD you had bad teachers hurt your kids’ education due to seniority/tenure. The good part of charters is a challenge to the status quo, the hope that one day we can take what works, flexibility, principal power, parental involvement, stricter rules for children to study late and on Saturdays if they test poorly, but you criticize it when they try to do anything like that.

              You basically want to find any technicality you possibly can to try to pressure charters to do nothing different from what regular pubic schools do. You’d love it if they had tenure, had all pay based on seniority, all lay offs, had 11 days off a year with no questions asked, only a call into an automated line, no need for a note from a doctor, OK if you just say you feel like taking a day of, no requirements for parents to come to meetings or participate, no rules for kids who are failing to work harder or get tutoring or behave, no merit pay, no differences whatsoever.

              You’re trying to basically make charters like every other school. And the intellectual dishonesty is so clear because you have never admitted any fact which is against any of your opinions.

              If you make a point, I acknowledge it. You act more like a lobbyist than an intellectual.

            • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

              “You also have to admit, you have a weird auto-pilot problem with charter schools”

              She’s not the only one who is on autopilot with ideas, Floyd.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              The Morrigan, there are always valid points against my ideas and I acknowledge that. I don't pretend all charters are good. My opinions are mine due to balance of all the facts. I've seen the huge difference between teachers who have to worry what their bosses think about their performance and those who don't. I've seen the results of lax and focused parenting. None of my cousins focused much on … Read More

              The Morrigan, there are always valid points against my ideas and I acknowledge that. I don’t pretend all charters are good. My opinions are mine due to balance of all the facts. I’ve seen the huge difference between teachers who have to worry what their bosses think about their performance and those who don’t. I’ve seen the results of lax and focused parenting. None of my cousins focused much on school, but my parents moved to a mostly Asian School District and I observed the better results and compared those with where I visited on weekends and summers. I know some Asian kids don’t work hard in school, I admit any fact which can be presented and seriously consider arguments against my arguments. I don’t ignore them. I am not on auto-pilot. If you can prove me wrong, I welcome it.

              Most of my opinions are a result of balance. I admit that there are facts on both sides of every one of my opinions. I just compare the overall balance. I may come to a different conclusion but I don’t ignore all facts on one side or go silent if someone makes a point against mine.

              Please search this site and see if Caroline has ever once said anything positive about any charter or anything negative about tenure/seniority. I can’t believe she believes nothing about any charter is good or there are no negatives to children related to tenure/seniority, but she stays silent in the form of a lobbyist rather than a balanced scholar.

  9. el 1 year ago1 year ago

    I would say the sentiments feel pretty representative to me. I think the process to remove a teacher can be improved, with input from administrators and teachers and other people with direct experience using the process. It is possible to use the process now, but most times the process is short-circuited via "voluntary" resignation. There are plenty of anecdotes of situations where the dismissal process hasn't worked well, and those should be heeded and used to … Read More

    I would say the sentiments feel pretty representative to me.

    I think the process to remove a teacher can be improved, with input from administrators and teachers and other people with direct experience using the process. It is possible to use the process now, but most times the process is short-circuited via “voluntary” resignation. There are plenty of anecdotes of situations where the dismissal process hasn’t worked well, and those should be heeded and used to improve it.

    I think in theory, everyone wants this:
    “71 percent said layoff decisions should be based partly or entirely on classroom performance”

    In practice, when only a few positions are cut, usually they are cut carefully with this in mind, because the administrators have the luxury of time and insight. You look for a program or position that isn’t working well, and cut that one. It is harder to do this in large districts than small.

    What happened in the last four years is that you had districts issuing hundreds of pink slips because of budget. There is not time, money, nor insight to be able to accurately and defensibly find your “400 least effective teachers” when that happens. It is the draconian cuts that are the problem here, and we just need to stop doing them or pretending that they can be done without doing great harm to students, schools, and teachers.

    Instead what we need is a process that makes it straightforward to remove teachers that are ineffective or not a match for their current position in a way that is fair and reasonable, whether the budget is flush or lean, and enough administrators with the training and time to follow through on staff quality issues.

    My concern in lengthening the tenure process is that it makes it easier for administrators to keep marginal teachers on longer. I hear anecdotes of teachers who are marginal at the two year period who maybe should be given more time; what I don’t hear is that teachers everyone agrees are effective after two years backslide and need to be removed without fanfare or process in year 5. Having watched administrators with the process, the two year period IME seems to keep them pretty focused on whether those new teachers should stay on. I don’t want the marginal teacher staying on 5 years.

    I’m all for teachers having a role in hiring and evaluations (which include tenure and dismissal).

    I would love to see some knowledgeable discussion of a revamp of the dismissal process. It would be a great topic for John et al at Edsource.

  10. Salmacis 1 year ago1 year ago

    In December a 10-year charter school teacher was rewarded by the owners for a decade of exemplary service. The next day ? Fired by a supervisor with no reason other than personal choice. Gates, Teach Plus and co would heartily approve. Their agenda is to reduce all educational employment back to the charters' Dickensian 'at will' level - pack lightly and enjoy the moment for you may be gone tomorrow. Charter school employment laws "function … Read More

    In December a 10-year charter school teacher was rewarded by the owners for a decade of exemplary service. The next day ? Fired by a supervisor with no reason other than personal choice. Gates, Teach Plus and co would heartily approve. Their agenda is to reduce all educational employment back to the charters’ Dickensian ‘at will’ level – pack lightly and enjoy the moment for you may be gone tomorrow. Charter school employment laws “function pretty darn well” ? Who for exactly ? For McDonalds and Walmart maybe, but not for schools, not for teachers and certainly not for kids.

  11. George Buzzetti 1 year ago1 year ago

    This is a phony survey by a phony partisan group who is responsible for a lot of the failed privatization. Therefore, it could never be considered peer reviewable or no good. Anyone with money, and they have lots of it, can pick and choose those they want to survey to make it come out any way they want to. I have been doing this for 25 years and in 1995 teachers asked … Read More

    This is a phony survey by a phony partisan group who is responsible for a lot of the failed privatization. Therefore, it could never be considered peer reviewable or no good. Anyone with money, and they have lots of it, can pick and choose those they want to survey to make it come out any way they want to. I have been doing this for 25 years and in 1995 teachers asked me to help them with being falsely accused of child abuse for whistle blowing. In 1997, with the help of republicans I had the only audit of LAUSD by an individual by the California State Auditor. This audit is Oct. 1997, 96121. Between myself and Lenny Isenburg we have a continuous outside look at how many they have falsely charged through time and in teacher jail since the early 1990’s.

    The Vergara suit is also a false suit as Villaraigosa and crew purposely staffed those schools with the low time TFA teachers saying they would do so well and when reality hit they sued on their own actions really against themselves as usual for being dimwits with no knowledge or background in the reality of education except to steal money and to privatize for their political backers with the quid quo pro of “You will Do What We Tell You To Do.” Do you really see any sense at all to what you see happening anywhere in politics now that is for the good of the general citizens or do you see only what is good for the wealthiest and their corporations and bank accounts at our expense every time they gamble and lose. Since this is Vegas let those rules rule. Lose you pay or else.

    By the way. Whatever happened to “Due Process and Due Diligence”, aren’t they supposed to be the bedrock of our legal system along with the truth? Remember Jack Webb “Just the facts Mam, Just the facts.”

  12. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    A “survey” funded by Teach Plus. Right. Like the man said, “Follow the money.”

  13. Joe Schmoe 1 year ago1 year ago

    A whole 506 teachers, really? That’s like every teacher in the State, huh?

    Credible researchers call that an “inadequate sampling” & a “flawed survey”

  14. BeFrank 1 year ago1 year ago

    These survey results are entirely consistent with my experiences during my 37 year career as a public school teacher, principal and superintendent. I also think that these survey results, the Governor's recent comments, and the compelling Vergara decision, combined with the clear need to improve teacher recruitment, retention and professional status, would provide fertile ground for a 'grand bargain'. Perhaps there's some room for us to hope that the Governor and the Legislature can muster … Read More

    These survey results are entirely consistent with my experiences during my 37 year career as a public school teacher, principal and superintendent.
    I also think that these survey results, the Governor’s recent comments, and the compelling Vergara decision, combined with the clear need to improve teacher recruitment, retention and professional status, would provide fertile ground for a ‘grand bargain’.
    Perhaps there’s some room for us to hope that the Governor and the Legislature can muster the courage to weave together a legislative solution that genuinely improves the California teaching profession.

  15. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    To be fair it should be noted that Teach Plus is a well known pro-reformist advocacy organization funded in large part by Gates. Whether the independent survey is accurate I couldn't speculate, but it doesn't surprise me to known that many teachers are in a state of high dudgeon over the on-going retention of colleagues they know to be a drag on the profession and the students to whom they are honorably bound. Vergara has … Read More

    To be fair it should be noted that Teach Plus is a well known pro-reformist advocacy organization funded in large part by Gates. Whether the independent survey is accurate I couldn’t speculate, but it doesn’t surprise me to known that many teachers are in a state of high dudgeon over the on-going retention of colleagues they know to be a drag on the profession and the students to whom they are honorably bound. Vergara has provided the cover that qualified teachers need to get out from under the yoke of union rules – rules which have acted as a virtual gag order and created an atmosphere of fear. Teachers need to be able to identify those who are failing without concern for the pervasive union shop mentality that has a history of using blackballing and other political tools to enforce the silence.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

      This is true. Caroline and Gary seem more concerned with the study being done by an organization they don't like than they are about the existence of bad teachers, which they don't admit exist, or the fact that teachers and legislators were intimidated and even terrified of not obeying the union like puppets for decades. Now teachers are admitting the truth and all the energy from the pro-union side seems to be wanting … Read More

      This is true. Caroline and Gary seem more concerned with the study being done by an organization they don’t like than they are about the existence of bad teachers, which they don’t admit exist, or the fact that teachers and legislators were intimidated and even terrified of not obeying the union like puppets for decades. Now teachers are admitting the truth and all the energy from the pro-union side seems to be wanting to hold back progress and go back to the status quo as if it were a good thing for legislators being so afraid of crossing the union they wouldn’t even pass a law to make it easier to fire child molesters, let alone merely bad teachers, and every school board member, principal, journalist or teacher afraid of being labeled as anti-union. It’s similar to the blackballing of communists in the ’50s. The union literally sends a questionnaire to every potential school board candidate and if you disagree with their militant view on any issue, they pass out flyers against you and lobby every political club to not endorse you.

  16. Vern Braaten 1 year ago1 year ago

    The protagonists, who are attempting to “upset the apple cart” need to be careful of what they’re asking for. With all of the negative aspects of the teaching profession (low pay, working in dangerous neighborhoods, etc…) it may soon come to pass that no one will want to become a teacher, and then we’ll be stuck with only poor quality teachers.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Vern, so we should accept low quality teachers because if we don’t we’ll end up with only low quality teachers?

      That logic escapes me. It sounds more like a ploy to get people to back off.

    • tom 1 year ago1 year ago

      Vern, I've heard that to most people who go into teaching, it is a calling and a passion, not something they go into for the money. In some locations pay and benefits are very good, e.g. $85,000 top salary, plus benefits, plus summers off in our district in the East Bay of SF. A kindergarten teacher last year was making $103,000 combined and only had to work 1/2 days. I … Read More

      Vern, I’ve heard that to most people who go into teaching, it is a calling and a passion, not something they go into for the money. In some locations pay and benefits are very good, e.g. $85,000 top salary, plus benefits, plus summers off in our district in the East Bay of SF. A kindergarten teacher last year was making $103,000 combined and only had to work 1/2 days. I know other teachers who teach in low-income, Title 1 schools by choice and their student loans are forgiven after 5 years of service. Pretty good incentive. No workforce is without problem employees and we need an easier way to dismiss these people because it is the kids that get hurt by this. Adults can take care of themselves and go into another profession.

  17. TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

    “Charter schools, most of which are non-union, aren’t bound by the teacher protections at issue in Vergara, he said, and that system ‘functions pretty darn well.”’

    I suppose he might be right if one wants to increase teacher burn and turn–if one considers teachers to be disposable.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      TheMorrigan, dismissing proven to be unqualified personnel could be construed as viewing teachers as disposable or it could be viewed as good employment practice, particularly if one have ethics as concerns a student’s right to equal educational opportunity.

      • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

        Charters have a hard time just retaining their teachers without getting into whether or not the were even effective or ineffective, Don. Many of the really good teachers at charters just leave, too.

    • Joe Schmoe 1 year ago1 year ago

      It’s not a matter of planned consequences or “accepting” anything. It’s about unintended consequences and reality in a capitalistic economy. If you make being a teacher so unpleasant and such a bad economic deal, only the most desperate will apply.

      • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

        This is great news and shows most teachers realize that bad teachers exist and they are irreparably hurting children. The biggest factor in success in California is parental income. Outside of a couple few very determined ethnic groups it is very rare for poor kids to make it into the upper middle class because parents are doing a lot of the work teachers are not doing and when they don't, it isn't enough. … Read More

        This is great news and shows most teachers realize that bad teachers exist and they are irreparably hurting children. The biggest factor in success in California is parental income. Outside of a couple few very determined ethnic groups it is very rare for poor kids to make it into the upper middle class because parents are doing a lot of the work teachers are not doing and when they don’t, it isn’t enough. Parents need to improve, but this is a key factor. I’m glad Brown came to on this issue. It isn’t 2 years or 5, there are teachers who have taught over 30 years and had 3 attempts to fire them.

        This also talks about it making it miserable to be a teacher, which is ridiculous. Many voters will support higher pay for teachers if they know that they can fire bad ones. Also, there’s only so much money. If the average teacher misses 6 days a year they wouldn’t miss in any other profession because the culture accepts fake illness or days off without explanation, the costs for substitutes are enormous. If we can reduce the absentee rate to the average in industry or lower, which it should be considering summers and winter/spring days mean 66 days teachers get off that others don’t per year, which should be used for errands, medical, vacation, etc., that will help kids. It will also put that substitute money back into the salary pool, so if the average teacher works 184 days and misses 12, and we can reduce that to 6, that will improve education and put nearly 3% more into the salary pool. Essentially, teachers will earn 3% more if they don’t call in sick when they aren’t sick. Now there is no individual cost, so those who don’t take the 11-12 allowed days feel they’re giving back a benefit. If they gave a bonus for zero absences and a smaller one for 1-3, you would increase teacher income and quality of life.

        Also, bad teachers hurt other teachers, which is why this is no surprise. I know teachers who never call in sick and are very hard working, and they despise it if there is a teacher of a grade one year younger whom they know calls in sick when they are not sick and does a bad job, because it means their students the next year are not prepared due to the immoral behavior of the previous year’s teacher.

        If you put the labor laws in public school teachers into Silicon Valley, it’d go bankrupt within 10 years, maybe 5.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Floyd, were you not paying attention during ELA class or did you just have a bad teacher?

    • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

      I am wondering what I am missing. The governor thinks that relative to its teachers, the CA charter system "functions petty darn well" Though some may assume that I oppose charters generally, quite the opposition is true. I think they have great if unrealized potential to raise the educational bar in California. I badly want to see vibrant CA charter schools achieving outstanding educational results and serving as exemplary employment alternatives … Read More

      I am wondering what I am missing. The governor thinks that relative to its teachers, the CA charter system “functions petty darn well”

      Though some may assume that I oppose charters generally, quite the opposition is true. I think they have great if unrealized potential to raise the educational bar in California. I badly want to see vibrant CA charter schools achieving outstanding educational results and serving as exemplary employment alternatives for public school teachers.

      Nowhere from any objective source am I hearing that CA charter schools are great places for exceptional teachers to work in the long term. The CA charter teacher turnover statistics suggest quite the contrary, including for charters with good PR such as KIPP. The stats and the postings from charter teachers and former charter teachers suggest that churn and burn is indeed the order of the day. It is time for charters to be held to the legislative bargain that created them, that they exist and remain exempt only so long as they produce worthy results that can be verified objectively. While they should have the freedom to dismiss ineffective teachers, excessive teacher churn should be viewed as incompetent on the part of charters and as a pathology that requires charter revocation.

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