Credit: Lillian Mongeau/EdSource Today
Gov. Jerry Brown

In the sharpest exchange of the first, and most likely, only debate between the two leading gubernatorial candidates, GOP challenger Neil Kashkari told Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday night that he “should be ashamed” of himself for “fighting for the union bosses” who have contributed to his campaigns rather than “fighting for the civil rights of poor kids.”

“That makes no sense at all,” Brown replied. “That is so false.”

“It’s absolutely true, governor,” Kashkari retorted – three times.

That prompted the moderator, KQED’s John Myers, to step in.  “Gentlemen, gentlemen, I don’t think we are going to agree on this  issue tonight,” he said. “Governor, we must move on.”

The immediate target of the exchange  was Brown’s decision last week to appeal the Vergara v. California ruling that could upend key teacher employment laws, including those determining the length of tenure, and seniority laws that protect teachers from layoffs.

Kashkari, a former high-ranking U.S. Treasury official, is trying to make Brown’s ties to the California Teachers Association a major issue in the campaign. Kashkari is trailing Brown by 16 percentage points, according to the latest Field Poll.

Brown vehemently defended his decision to appeal the Vergara ruling issued by a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court , arguing that the”state constitution requires the Court of Appeal to invalidate the laws of California.”

“As far as bad teachers, they have no place in the classroom,” he said.  To that end, he said signed Assembly Bill 215, which will make it easier to dismiss teachers accused of egregious misconduct, and will streamline other suspension and dismissal procedures. But he pointedly pledged to do more on the issue if necessary.  “If it is not enough, we will do further next time.”

He conceded that tenure laws may help protect a small number of  teachers – the 1 to 3 percent of ineffective teachers described in the Vergara trial – but suggested that a far greater problem are other factors holding children back, including “the lack of language, lack of income, the disproportionate funding in the schools.”

“Those are major factors,” he said.

Brown said the policies he had promoted were addressing those issues: Passage of Prop. 30, the initiative approved by voters two years ago that is generating billions of dollars of extra tax revenues for schools, and the Local Control Funding Formula that is targeting billions of state education funds to low-income students and English learners. He described the funding formula as a “revolutionary education reform that puts more money into those classrooms where challenges are the toughest.”

Brown referred to his experience at the Oakland Military Institute, a charter school he founded  in 2001 when he was mayor of the city.  It serves mostly low-income students whom he said “come from homes where they speak no English, are from homes with single parents who have uncertain jobs,” and who face “gunfire on the streets.”

“Those kids were under stress,” he said.  All these factors, he said, “obviously have some impact” on how students do in school.

The exchange came on the same day that Kashkari posted an eight-minute online video labeled a “mini-documentary” that in addition to criticizing Brown for his position on Vergara v. California, seemingly blames Brown for all the shortcomings of the state’s public schools, including the fact that it trails most other states in per capita income support.

In a preview of his remarks during the debate, Kashkari charged that Brown’s interests lie not with California, but with the “union bosses that have been funding his career for 40 years.”

The CTA has endorsed Brown for governor in all his campaigns for governor. In the video, Kashkari says, “in 2010 the CTA coordinated more than $7 million in campaign contributions for Jerry Brown.”

The “Follow the Money” website of the National Institute of Money in Politics shows that the CTA donated $62,900 directly to Brown between 2006 and 2010, out of just over $150 million it spent on all candidates between 2003 and 2012.

However, a report  by California Common Sense shows that the CTA contributed over $6 million to independent expenditure committees that supported Brown. Those contributions, along with over $30 million of independent expenditures from other organizations, “partially offset  the $144 million that Meg Whitman donated to her own campaign,” the report noted.

John Fensterwald contributed to this report. 

 

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  1. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    California Budget Fact Check: Voters Approve Tax Hikes to Protect Schools - But Where Will the Money Actually Go? "Last fall, proponents of Proposition 30 promised that these voter-approved tax increases would be used to prevent painful cuts to California’s public schools and halt pending massive tuition increases at the state’s public colleges and universities. Despite these promises, two recent reports suggest that Prop. 30 dollars may be used up fairly quickly for purposes that the … Read More

    California Budget Fact Check:

    Voters Approve Tax Hikes to Protect Schools – But Where Will the Money Actually Go?

    “Last fall, proponents of Proposition 30 promised that these voter-approved tax increases would be used to prevent painful cuts to California’s public schools and halt pending massive tuition increases at the state’s public colleges and universities.

    Despite these promises, two recent reports suggest that Prop. 30 dollars may be used up fairly quickly for purposes that the voters may not have intended. The California Budget Fact Check found that:

    The recent budget plan put forward by the California State University (CSU) system proposes to spend two-thirds of the money it will receive from Prop. 30 in the 2013-14 budget year on cost increases associated with pay hikes, benefits, energy, and other “operations” costs. This money will not go to helping more students earn degrees faster.

    A recent report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests that unfunded pension liabilities in the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) will require additional annual payments of $4.5 billion – more than schools are expected to receive under Prop. 30.”

    http://www.arc.asm.ca.gov/budgetfactcheck/?p_id=472

    Don says – Now that Brown has used Prop 30 to fund some of the pension liability (rather than to save public education as 30 was sold to the public) and dumped the rest of the liability on districts how much will students get?

    Replies

    • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

      Irrefutable facts from reliable sources.Taxes properly used can accomplish great ends, but it's clear where Prop 30 monies are going, and it's not to improve the public education of California school children. I know a 7th grade girl with 38 kids in her English class, not unlike her own mother's junior high English classes a generation ago. There is no trade-off to justify this. If one cares about the future, reform of our education system … Read More

      Irrefutable facts from reliable sources.Taxes properly used can accomplish great ends, but it’s clear where Prop 30 monies are going, and it’s not to improve the public education of California school children. I know a 7th grade girl with 38 kids in her English class, not unlike her own mother’s junior high English classes a generation ago. There is no trade-off to justify this.

      If one cares about the future, reform of our education system is urgently needed because there are more poor children and English learners in the schools than ever before.Teacher Mary Jacobsen works hard and longs for improvement and less rancor: she is brave to write here. And she’s right.

      Which takes me back to the top: Governor Brown is neither brave nor right. He has ducked this most crucial and tough issue. At this point in his long career, Brown should leverage his power, influence and experience to make upgrading California public education his priority. He should go on the road and lobby for it the way he lobbied for Prop 30 and make a persuasive case for training more teachers, spending much more per child and cutting class size K-12. He also should stop carrying water for old political buddies and let Vergara take its course.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Frances: "...Brown should leverage his power, influence and experience to make upgrading California public education his priority. He should go on the road and lobby for it the way he lobbied for Prop 30 and make a persuasive case for training more teachers, spending much more per child and cutting class size K-12." Could not agree more with your points. Trust me, by 2016 the Governor will have his opportunity to do just those things and I … Read More

        Frances:

        “…Brown should leverage his power, influence and experience to make upgrading California public education his priority. He should go on the road and lobby for it the way he lobbied for Prop 30 and make a persuasive case for training more teachers, spending much more per child and cutting class size K-12.”

        Could not agree more with your points. Trust me, by 2016 the Governor will have his opportunity to do just those things and I hope he follows your advice.

        On the Vergara thing, you need to think again. As Kamala Harris pointed out, neither the plaintiffs, their witnesses, nor the judge in his “ruling” ever established any causal relationships between the subject statutes and lack of student achievement in CA. This is easily explainable because there is no causal relationship. The judge’s rationale, and the plaintiff’s claims seemed to be: there are some low achieving students in CA, teachers are around, let’s blame them.

        All of the reasons you state, e.g., low student funding and high class sizes, on the other hand can be, and have been, related to low student achievement by well established research. Let’s work on those real things for a change.. And, as opposed to your conspiracy theory about the ‘Faustian bargain,” the teachers’ unions will be on your side when we do work to solve real problems rather than scapegoat teachers and demonize their unions. Happy days are here again. (Someone should write a song with that as the title.)

        And while we are in the midst of actually doing something about low student achievement that goes beyond burning people at the stake, lets work on the poverty issue. The latest census data says CA has the highest poverty rate in the nation. One in seven Californians–and one third of them children–live in poverty. “Irrefutable facts from reliable sources” (no less!) in the form of reams of solid research connect the conditions of poverty with low school achievement. As much as people want to hide their heads in the sand, and avoid the inevitable tax and economic consequences, something needs to be done about that. It’s bad enough that the richest state in the union has the highest poverty rate in the union, but it’s perhaps even worse that the wealthiest nation on Earth has the 31st highest child poverty rates of the 32 most industrialized nations.

        I look forward to that time in the near future when we will be working consistently on the same side.

    • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

      Don, What percent goes to the CSUs? I was under the impression that 89% of the total revenue went to K-12. Does this website mean that the 2/3rds of the percent that goes to non-K-12 will be spent on these CSU expenditures? Or is it part of the total 89% revenue? Secondly, after reading the link I noticed all the "coulds" and the "mays." Does this mean that it already happened or could happen? Additionally, the link … Read More

      Don,

      What percent goes to the CSUs? I was under the impression that 89% of the total revenue went to K-12. Does this website mean that the 2/3rds of the percent that goes to non-K-12 will be spent on these CSU expenditures? Or is it part of the total 89% revenue?

      Secondly, after reading the link I noticed all the “coulds” and the “mays.” Does this mean that it already happened or could happen?

      Additionally, the link that Ca Budget Fact Check provides to the LAO says nothing about prop 30 on page 2. In fact, throughout the entire document, I found nothing to support the claim. Perhaps I am not looking for the right thing. Please advise.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        I believe that link mentioned goes to a site put together by the Republican Caucus. I need to tell you I was surprised there were enough Republicans in Sacramento to put a caucus together. Proceed with caution, the “analysis” may well be “fair and balanced.”

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Not exactly to your point, but a little background (from the CA Budget Project): State support for CSU and UC has not kept up with the significantly increased demand for higher education in California. Since 1980-81, enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent at CSU and by more than 90 percent at UC. Yet during this same period, General Fund support for each institution has declined by nearly 13 percent, after adjusting for inflation. As a … Read More

        Not exactly to your point, but a little background (from the CA Budget Project):

        State support for CSU and UC has not kept up with the significantly increased demand for higher education in California. Since 1980-81, enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent at CSU and by more than 90 percent at UC. Yet during this same period, General Fund support for each institution has declined by nearly 13 percent, after adjusting for inflation.
        As a result, General Fund spending on a per student basis at both CSU and UC remains near the lowest point in more than 30 years, after adjusting for inflation. General Fund spending per student at both CSU and UC has fallen significantly in the past generation. At CSU, General Fund spending student in 2013-14 is $6,417, down from $11,240 in 1980-81 — a 43 percent drop. At UC, General Fund spending per student has fallen from $24,045 in 1980-81 to $10,879 in 2013-14 — a 55 percent drop. (All of these figures are in 2013-14 dollars.)

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        A little dated, but the %s have not changed that much: (from the CBP) Slightly More Than Half of State Spending Supported K-12 and Higher Education in 2010-11 Other 8.6% Corrections and Rehabilitation 10.5% K-12 Education 39.2% Health and Human Services 29.0% Higher Education 12.7% Estimated 2010-11 General Fund Expenditures = $91.5 Billion Note: these figures seem to combine community college with "higher ed" when the actual CC budget is linked to K-12. Also note: We are … Read More

        A little dated, but the %s have not changed that much: (from the CBP)

        Slightly More Than Half of State Spending Supported K-12 and Higher Education in 2010-11
        Other 8.6%
        Corrections and Rehabilitation 10.5%
        K-12 Education 39.2%
        Health and Human Services 29.0%
        Higher Education 12.7%
        Estimated 2010-11 General Fund Expenditures = $91.5 Billion

        Note: these figures seem to combine community college with “higher ed” when the actual CC budget is linked to K-12.

        Also note: We are spending just a little less for prisons than we do for higher ed. If we front loaded that money to early care and early childhood education we could like cut the prison budget significantly. Or so the research suggest.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          Gary, I am not sure if you are responding to my request for the %, but I should have clarified what percent I was addressing. I was looking to see if the Prop 30 % changed. What was voted on was 89% for K-12 and 11% for community colleges. The following website is connected to the Controller's office and "tracks" Prop 30 monies: (http://trackprop30.ca.gov/). It still has the 89% and 11% there. I have not seen … Read More

          Gary,

          I am not sure if you are responding to my request for the %, but I should have clarified what percent I was addressing.

          I was looking to see if the Prop 30 % changed. What was voted on was 89% for K-12 and 11% for community colleges. The following website is connected to the Controller’s office and “tracks” Prop 30 monies: (http://trackprop30.ca.gov/). It still has the 89% and 11% there. I have not seen where it feeds into CSUs or pensions, so I am a little confused about Don’s point. Additionally, I read through the governor’s budget and found no mention of prop 30 monies as the Budget Fact Check website claims. I also found it confusing where the money was actually going once it arrived in each county, so if Frances has specific clarity on that point she should provide some evidence. It was certainly NOT clear to me.

          I do have an idea about how prop 30 monies might feed into pensions (especially with each district’s new required contribution), but it would certainly change from county to county and district to district so I do not think anyone could say that prop 30 monies are definitely going there with any degree of universal certainty. Like the Budget Fact Check website claims, Prop 30 monies “might” or “could” be going there. But we should not confuse that with the money “is” going there. Qualifying words signal a spectrum of possibilities and leave a possible “out” for the interlocutor, so we should take these “mights” and “coulds” with a healthy dose of skepticism until we know for sure.

  2. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

    HISTORY from 1970 to the present day and personal experience are my damning citations.
    This entire wandering thread — which takes the cake for off-point subject-changing and bloviating — dodges
    the awful truth of my repeated statement about the Faustian deal that serves California politicians, teachers and educrats over the needs of our state’s public school children. Governor Jerry Brown has chosen to go-along-to get along.
    Finally, teacher Gari Ravany, please spell my first name correctly.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Sorry, Frances. The truth is then, that you have no actual evidence of the Faustian bargain that you speak of? There is no evidence outside your imagination about CTA making an agreement to keep salaries high, class size high, and funding low? You obviously didn't read the RAND report asserting that in cost-of-living weighted dollars CA teachers' salaries are below the national average. CTA and my organization, CFT, have constantly lobbied to raise school funding and reduce cuts … Read More

      Sorry, Frances.

      The truth is then, that you have no actual evidence of the Faustian bargain that you speak of? There is no evidence outside your imagination about CTA making an agreement to keep salaries high, class size high, and funding low?

      You obviously didn’t read the RAND report asserting that in cost-of-living weighted dollars CA teachers’ salaries are below the national average.

      CTA and my organization, CFT, have constantly lobbied to raise school funding and reduce cuts over the years. Some “bargain” to keep school funding low doesn’t even reach the lowest bar of credibility? What would be the advantage?

      Both CTA and CFT worked with the governor to pass Prop 30 which was the first tax increase passed in the state for school funding in memory. How is that consistent with your claim?

      Why in the world would teachers want to keep class sizes the highest in the nation????

      What happened around 40 years ago that totally undermined school funding was Prop 13. The rest is fantasy.

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        In response to FrancEs: A popular "reformer" theme calls for larger class sizes, and "reformers" regularly state that smaller classes have no value. And top "reform" names such as Michelle Rhee have also firmly stated that higher funding would not benefit schools. Those statements, which are frequent, are generally framed as rebuttals to teachers' unions calling for higher funding and smaller class sizes. You've apparently had better things to do than pay attention to all … Read More

        In response to FrancEs: A popular “reformer” theme calls for larger class sizes, and “reformers” regularly state that smaller classes have no value. And top “reform” names such as Michelle Rhee have also firmly stated that higher funding would not benefit schools. Those statements, which are frequent, are generally framed as rebuttals to teachers’ unions calling for higher funding and smaller class sizes.

        You’ve apparently had better things to do than pay attention to all the messages coming from the “reform” world, which is wise of you! So it’s understandable that you have it completely backward. But here’s the way it is in reality: The “reform” message calls for larger class sizes and discounts the need for increased funding, while teachers’ unions regularly call for increased funding and smaller class sizes.

        • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

          Trust me, Caroline, I don't need a lecture on the hijacking of the word "reform." Your naming me in the same sentence with Michelle Rhee is ridiculous. I am aware that CTA always "calls for" small classes, but bottom line? CTA always manages to settle for absolute tenure protection, big classes, and raises for its members beyond annual step-and-column. And if California has disgracefully low funding per public school child? Well, that's the state's problem. CTA has looked out … Read More

          Trust me, Caroline, I don’t need a lecture on the hijacking of the word “reform.”
          Your naming me in the same sentence with Michelle Rhee is ridiculous.

          I am aware that CTA always “calls for” small classes, but bottom line? CTA always
          manages to settle for absolute tenure protection, big classes, and raises
          for its members beyond annual step-and-column. And if California has disgracefully
          low funding per public school child? Well, that’s the state’s problem. CTA has looked
          out for its own.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            I agree that CTA argues for "tenure protection." There's no doubt about that. But has CTA "settled" for big classes? Class size reduction has been one of its platform principles for over thirty years now. It is still there on their website today. Have they really "settled" for big classes instead of smaller ones when they still openly argue for smaller ones? That doesn't make any sense. Looks like they aren't settling for anything … Read More

            I agree that CTA argues for “tenure protection.” There’s no doubt about that.

            But has CTA “settled” for big classes? Class size reduction has been one of its platform principles for over thirty years now. It is still there on their website today. Have they really “settled” for big classes instead of smaller ones when they still openly argue for smaller ones? That doesn’t make any sense. Looks like they aren’t settling for anything on this issue. I suppose one could argue that CTA is inept concerning this issue, but I have not seen evidence that they have settled for big classes. Frances, could you please point out evidence for your claim so I can see how you arrived at this destination? All the evidence I see appears to openly contradict you on this point.

            I could be wrong, but CTA has not settled for raises “beyond step and column” nor raises for any purposes. Isn’t that a local district issue? The last time I checked teacher salaries were not uniform in California, nor were starting salaries for new teachers, nor were any of the step and column upgrades in salary, nor were teacher benefits. If CTA is settling for raises, then CTA is clearly ignoring several districts in the state that haven’t seen a raise or an adjustment in salary or benefits since 1998.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            I think if CTA looked out for children first, teachers second, it would be a lot more credible. Teachers should be treated well, but 5 steps and over 100k cost and years, and under 100 fired statewide in 10 years is ridiculous. Also, letting people miss so many days they don't need is ridiculous. Subs really hurt the kids. CTA would be much more credible if they put the interests of children at … Read More

            I think if CTA looked out for children first, teachers second, it would be a lot more credible. Teachers should be treated well, but 5 steps and over 100k cost and years, and under 100 fired statewide in 10 years is ridiculous. Also, letting people miss so many days they don’t need is ridiculous. Subs really hurt the kids.

            CTA would be much more credible if they put the interests of children at the top of their priority list and worked in benefits to teachers along with that, rather than the other way around.

            The fact that CTA has had a virtual power monopoly for so long and our education has gone down so far from #1 to near bottom is indicative. Yes, family life isn’t perfect, but parents are probably better than they were 30-40 years ago, kids study more, more parents send kids to school prepared, more parents use flashcards, Kumon, tutors, more parents read to their kids and teach them to read early, so I don’t buy that home life is the entire problem.

            What we really need is balance. Any organization tilted to only one side will do insane things. For example, CTA supported giving $40,000 to Mark Berndt to fire him. They also defended many teachers and I’ve seen horrible teachers get back in the classroom due to CTA. Let the bottom 2% go, they make you look the worst. I lost a lot of respect for CTA after the Berndt story, before that I believed they had some sense of concern for children, but if you spend money and effort arguing for $40,000 for a guy who goes to prison for 25 years, you are basically saying children have no value at all in your outlook. That was a huge mistake in my view. Their credibility will take a long time to recover from that and they’re more likely to repeat that mistake or make other minor ones than turn that around and start evaluating teachers with an open mind and favoring the termination of those they truly feel hurt kids. There are ones out there CTA is defending who have absolutely no argument in their defense.

          • Mary Jacobsen 2 years ago2 years ago

            Agreed, if we really need to reform education, we need to be balanced. Any organization that goes too extreme in one direction loses all credibility. Michelle Rhee loses credibility when she suggests principals should be able to fire any teacher with 2 weeks severance for any reason, even because they are actually sick, or because they are older and cost more, or because they teach Islam. Suggesting schools be privatized and voucherized … Read More

            Agreed, if we really need to reform education, we need to be balanced. Any organization that goes too extreme in one direction loses all credibility. Michelle Rhee loses credibility when she suggests principals should be able to fire any teacher with 2 weeks severance for any reason, even because they are actually sick, or because they are older and cost more, or because they teach Islam. Suggesting schools be privatized and voucherized is also insane and will increase segregation. However, I admit CTA goes too far the other way. Bad teachers exist, and good teachers shouldn’t deny that when anyone with any experience with public schools knows bad teachers exist and are overprotected.

            As a teacher who never calls in sick, for over 10 years, or misses a day for any reason, I do think it would be fair if I got a bonus for that. I resent it when teachers take a day off to see a movie. I want to be free to say anything I want, I want protection from arbitrary firing, but we won’t ever turn around the state of education without being realistic and admitting to ourselves that some teachers don’t work as hard as they could because they know there are no consequences. Children know bad grades will lead to lower income, lower educational opportunities. If a teacher takes a day off for no reason, or doesn’t do their best, same thing. I respect most educators, but there are a couple in my school that put in the bare minimum and then the next year I’m paying for it. Everyone should do their best.

            Why can’t we all have some sense of perspective and balance on this board. I see people like Don who want to have Stalin like reign of terror firing sprees and then people who defend all teachers at all times. Let’s just come to the middle and use the brains God gave us. Let’s be logical. I’m not for putting students first because that may be unfair to teachers, but I’d suggest a 50/50 balance. Not Michelle Rhee’s only students matter or Torlackson’s only teachers matter philosophies. We have compromised on so many things, why not this? Why is it either or?

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            It is either/or because of people like you, Mary, who make assumptions like being pro-Vergara means you want teachers to have Stalin-like power - people who claim to want moderation but don't show any - people who want to polarize the situation while feigning interest in a happy medium. You comment is a perfect example of Godwin's Law. It's isn't unreasonable, Mary, to believe as I do that teachers should have a rigorous evaluation … Read More

            It is either/or because of people like you, Mary, who make assumptions like being pro-Vergara means you want teachers to have Stalin-like power – people who claim to want moderation but don’t show any – people who want to polarize the situation while feigning interest in a happy medium. You comment is a perfect example of Godwin’s Law.

            It’s isn’t unreasonable, Mary, to believe as I do that teachers should have a rigorous evaluation process and simultaneously be afforded due process. While some Vergara supporters, maybe most, will want teachers evaluated on the basis of student test scores, I’m not one of them. I’ve come to that position because I don’t believe it is possible to apply test scores as a fair barometer of teacher quality. Should it be shown that not to be true I could change my mind. Teachers should be evaluated by their peers as well as with some input by the communities they serve.

      • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

        I note that Texas has 10.1 high school students per HS teacher statewide, while California has 23.7 HS students per HS teacher. California HS teachers are bearing more than double the Texas student load. Both states have similar demographics, with a majority of Latino students. Property taxes collected per capita are very similar in both states, but in terms of total state and local tax collections, including … Read More

        I note that Texas has 10.1 high school students per HS teacher statewide, while California has 23.7 HS students per HS teacher. California HS teachers are bearing more than double the Texas student load. Both states have similar demographics, with a majority of Latino students. Property taxes collected per capita are very similar in both states, but in terms of total state and local tax collections, including income taxes, California collects $4,914 per capita while Texas collects only $3,536, yet California per student spending is about the same in unadjusted dollars and significantly less when adjustments for cost of living are made.

        Texas substantially outperformed California in 8th grade NAEP math.

        Numbers like this make it hard not to conclude that a Faustian Bargain was struck somewhere. Since both the California legislature and the CA governor lean heavily Democratic (as opposed to Republican Texas) and since California Teachers Unions seem very cozy with the governor and the legislature, the list those who have enough power and might be complicit in a Faustian Bargain is very small.

        The alternative is to assume that the vaunted California Teachers Unions are incompetent and ineffectual, in relative terms. It would explain why CA HS teachers have more than double the Texas student load. CA teachers did support Prop 30, which helped bring California COL adjusted educational spending per pupil from last in the nation to almost last in the nation. But the funding level per pupil is still abysmal by any measure.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Andrew: There you go again. You act as if CA got to its miserable school funding situation just the day before yesterday. It did not. Te state's school funding per child dropped below the national average in 1985 a few years after passage of Prop 13. You also forget that however "cozy" that state teachers' unions (composed of and guided by, recall, the state's teachers) are with this Governor there were governors before him. There was … Read More

          Andrew:

          There you go again. You act as if CA got to its miserable school funding situation just the day before yesterday. It did not. Te state’s school funding per child dropped below the national average in 1985 a few years after passage of Prop 13. You also forget that however “cozy” that state teachers’ unions (composed of and guided by, recall, the state’s teachers) are with this Governor there were governors before him. There was the infamous “Governator” who took the position as a lark, Wilson, and Dukemajian. Well what about Davis? Yes, Davis who was impeached in large part because he tried to raise motor vehicle taxes to plug some holes in the state budget that created the school funding crisis. That’s a demonstration of how the state’s voters, generally older and whiter, feel about supporting the state’s school children, generally younger and browner.

          CA is (in)famous for its pro Prop 13 anti-tax fervor. Perhaps you haven’t heard? And perhaps you also haven’t heard of the huge fraud called the “Texas Miracle” in education that was the model for NCLB? No real reason you should if you’re not in the business, I guess.

          Yes, the unions joined with the Governor to pass Prop 30 which will go down in history as one of the very few tax increases to pass statewide in decades. Conservative think tanks have been propagandizing against taxes for 40 years and it has worked. Very few politicians are ready to step on the taxation “third-rail” of CA politics. The Governor quite famously has asserted that he will not raise a tax without a vote of the electorate. Both the Governor and the electorate are famous for frugality. Frugality has consequences and one of those is the dire condition of school funding in CA.

          So you want to put the entire responsibility for CA’s funding situation on the backs of the teachers’ unions? (Kind of ridiculous on the face of it, but no more than usual.) Fine. Sponsor and pass an initiative that gives the unions unilateral power over CA’s revenue stream. Then stand back.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Why is the solution always to raise taxes? Why not claim a larger share of the $4,914 per capita that California already collects in state and local taxes vs. the $3,536 collected by Texas? The $4,914 total state and local taxes per capita collected by California are 39% greater than the $3,536 collected by Texas, and yet both fund education per student at about the same (low) level in unadjusted dollars per student. … Read More

            Why is the solution always to raise taxes? Why not claim a larger share of the $4,914 per capita that California already collects in state and local taxes vs. the $3,536 collected by Texas?

            The $4,914 total state and local taxes per capita collected by California are 39% greater than the $3,536 collected by Texas, and yet both fund education per student at about the same (low) level in unadjusted dollars per student. Shouldn’t California’s per student education allocation be 39% greater than that of Texas? Poverty? Texas has a higher rate of poverty than California. Percentage of students vs. the rest of the population? Both states are quite similar in the percentage of school age population.

            With “friends” like California teachers have in the liberal democrats who abound in the state and control California state finances through the legislature and the governor’s office, who needs enemies? How much worse could things get for California teachers with “enemies?” How much worse than the worst staffing ratios, the worst per student spending, the burnout, the low morale?

            In Idaho a few years ago, conservative Republican gun-toting Idaho, voters restored teacher tenure through the initiative process after the legislature took it away. Ultra-conservative solid Republican Wyoming funds education at about twice a much per student as California does, and does it without any state individual or corporate income tax. Something tells me that the teachers in those states have a fundamentally different connection, a different relationship, with the populace, regardless of the conservatism of the populace.

            Some of the problem for CA teachers may be time and burnout. What is the difference between a Texas high school teacher with a student/teacher ratio of 10 to 1 and a California HS teacher with a ratio of 23 to 1? The California teacher has no time to foster real relationships. If the California teacher is core (and not teaching typing or French or something like that) the teacher may have six periods with 35 students each, 210 students. This is a recipe for burn-out and leaves no time to connect with students or even learn all their names properly, let alone connecting with their parents.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            "Why is the solution always to raise taxes?" Because the dullards who espouse that as a solution can't think of anything else. They've been saying it for so long now they don't have any other ideas. It's all about the poverty of the students or the poverty of the State and never about the poverty of their ideas. We are to believe that California would not be in the predicament that it is if only if … Read More

            “Why is the solution always to raise taxes?”

            Because the dullards who espouse that as a solution can’t think of anything else. They’ve been saying it for so long now they don’t have any other ideas. It’s all about the poverty of the students or the poverty of the State and never about the poverty of their ideas.

            We are to believe that California would not be in the predicament that it is if only if was the first highest taxed state instead of the 4th highest. That raising taxes has consequences is not matter.

            That those earning over $250K pay 66% of the tax revenue but generate only 39 % of the economic activity is no matter. That California has the most progressive tax structure in the country is no matter. That it has the highest pension obligations in the country is no matter. That we spend more per capita on the social services which compete for our taxes is no matter. Nothing matters excepts money. It isn’t about better teacher quality or the low number of instructional days. No. It is about lower class size, by far and away the most expensive reform and one that would energize the union membership, even though the incremental achievement gains of lower classes are not commensurate with the outsized costs.

            Let’s not talk about reform until we take every last penny from every rich person still living or dead in California. Then we’ll talk about what to do.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          Both the CTA and Brown are on record advocating for class-size reductions. Does this sound like some long-lasting continuation of a Faustian bargain about class size? If so, Andrew and Frances are certainly taking us down the rabbit hole of logic here. It may be extremely hard to fathom, but sometimes no movement occurs without Faustian deals. Sometimes what-ought-to-be just gets deferred or derailed for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do … Read More

          Both the CTA and Brown are on record advocating for class-size reductions. Does this sound like some long-lasting continuation of a Faustian bargain about class size? If so, Andrew and Frances are certainly taking us down the rabbit hole of logic here. It may be extremely hard to fathom, but sometimes no movement occurs without Faustian deals. Sometimes what-ought-to-be just gets deferred or derailed for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with conspiracies or the Red Queen’s logic. But perhaps we are not running in place as fast as Frances and Andrew are.

          On a side note: It is interesting to note that Brown and Torlakson are on record supporting class size reductions, but Tuck and Kashkari haven’t mentioned it at all in any medium. If one reads their education plans, discussion of class size is conveniently absent from both plans:

          Tuck: (http://www.marshalltuck.com/Plan)
          Kashkari: (http://www.neelkashkari.com/education/).

          They must not see class-size reduction as important as Andrew, Gary, and I do.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Andrew: Education spending in CA approaches 50% of the set budget currently. That still leaves education spending in CA at 50th in the nation (49th if you want to quibble) in cost-of-living weighted dollars. Where does that leave the rest of the spending in cost-of-living weighted dollars? As much as I want to see education spending increased, with the consequent potential to reduce class sizes, add counselors, librarians, and nurses, etc., I also recognize that kids … Read More

            Andrew:

            Education spending in CA approaches 50% of the set budget currently. That still leaves education spending in CA at 50th in the nation (49th if you want to quibble) in cost-of-living weighted dollars. Where does that leave the rest of the spending in cost-of-living weighted dollars? As much as I want to see education spending increased, with the consequent potential to reduce class sizes, add counselors, librarians, and nurses, etc., I also recognize that kids spend–between kindergarten and 12th grade–about 17% of their waking lives in school. They spend the other 83% with their families and in their communities. They have dire health care needs that must be addressed. Budgeting between education and social services is a razor edged balancing act that we charge our legislature with carrying out. Agreed, part of that problem is related to the legislatures own hesitance in trying to counter the constant deluge of misinformation about taxes, income inequality, education, and social serves that emerges from right wing think [sic] tanks, talk radio, most of the “punditry,” and the neo-liberal water-carriers of the malefactors of great wealth.

            In the last few decades we have built around 9 prisons in the state and one university which tells you where public sentiment lies. The state spends less than $10K for students and over $60K for prisoners. Think the unions supported those choices? If you think the unions, unilaterally, could have changed that sentiment you have highly exaggerated sense of union power and resources. One of the reasons the enemies of public education (enemies of public anything–except prisons– actually) keep putting anti-union propositions on the ballot that have limited chances of passing is to keep union resources responding defensively rather than being proactive, as you seem to endorse, with initiatives like Prop 25 and Prop 30.

            On the other hand, the “liberals” in the CA legislature had been handicapped for years by the 2/3rds requirement for voting to pass a budget. A handicap that was at least partially solved by Prop 25 of a few years ago. Up until that time the conservative minority in the legislature could demand draconian concessions, like tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, in exchange for the few votes necessary to pass a budget. The state continues to have an anachronistic 2/3rds majority needed for revenue increases often related to Prop 13. Many of the states revenue problems can be traced to Prop 13 and many of the rather primitive ideas about the role of the state (in the meta sense) in “promoting the general welfare” and anti-tax hysteria emanate from that movement.

            I have little to no disagreement with your concerns about the negative effects of high class sizes on teachers and students. I lived, with my students, those negative consequences for 35 years.

  3. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Francis:

    “There is a 44-year-old California public education formula that survives fire, earthquake and flood.
    It is a deal between politicians and school district administrations and the powerful
    California Teachers Association to maintain…”

    That is a pretty dramatic “claim.” Do you have any citations you would like to post to verify those claims?

    Replies

    • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

      You do protest and change the subject too much. You wanted facts? In 2012 Governor Brown killed off Molly Munger's rival tax measure Prop 38 that explicitly detailed improvements in K-12 public education in California. In 2012 Governor Brown's Sword of Damocles Prop 30 tax measure passed -- with a near-$9 million boost coming from the California Teachers Association alone out of the $11 million total spent -- to raise the sales tax a … Read More

      You do protest and change the subject too much. You wanted facts? In 2012 Governor Brown killed off Molly Munger’s rival tax measure Prop 38 that explicitly detailed improvements in K-12 public education in California.

      In 2012 Governor Brown’s Sword of Damocles Prop 30 tax measure passed — with a near-$9 million boost coming from the California Teachers Association alone out of the $11 million total spent — to raise the sales tax a little on everyone over 4 years time and the personal income tax on the very rich over 7 years. Its design vaguely describes benefits to a wide range of schools and public safety. Not vague was the provision that, if 30 failed, it would trigger draconian new state funding cuts across K-12 public schools, UC, CSU and community colleges. If 30 passed, the new revenue presumably would “help” those agencies, though there was no assurance that new money would go to classrooms anywhere.

      And this is what we’re stuck with now — watered-down assistance to K-12 via “local control education funding formulas” designed by insiders and administered by unaccountable counties overseeing local school boards and administrators. I predict in the next year we will see big teacher raises approved wherever contracts are being negotiated and that Vergara-supporting superintendents like John Deasy of Los Angeles will be history — high-five, CTA — but there will be no significant improvement in anything directly related to a richer curriculum for K-12 public school students or smaller class sizes.

      In 2012 Molly Munger’s Prop 38 was a rival tax measure on the ballot, largely funded by her own deep pockets and nowhere near the war chest amassed by the Gov and his CTA friends to crush 38 and pass 30. Prop 38 was to raise everyone’s personal income tax depending on income level for 12 years. The measure would have raised $10 billion in its first year, with 70% going to K-12 on a per-student basis, with 18% extra going to schools based on their number of low-income kids and 12% going for tech equipment, teaching materials and teacher training. It would have restored Early Childhood Education funds that had been cut in 2008. It also stipulated that monies raised could not be spent on salaries or pensions for school personnel and that spending required public decision-making and school district accountability.

      Munger’s Prop 38 could have made a 12-year difference in the lives and education of California school children, but the
      prevailing financial politics — the Faustian bargain — killed it off.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Frances: Come on now, let's try and be a bit reality based. I asked you for some citation re your rather dramatic claims about the alleged "Faustian bargain" where teachers unions agreed to have CA's education spending lost in the nation, the class sizes highest in the nation, and all with the ultimate objective of having salaries, according to RAND, that are below the national average. That is not "changing the subject," it is your … Read More

        Frances:

        Come on now, let’s try and be a bit reality based. I asked you for some citation re your rather dramatic claims about the alleged “Faustian bargain” where teachers unions agreed to have CA’s education spending lost in the nation, the class sizes highest in the nation, and all with the ultimate objective of having salaries, according to RAND, that are below the national average. That is not “changing the subject,” it is your subject.

        See, you claim CA teachers’ salaries are “highest in the nation” with no attribution, and I say CA teachers’ salaries are below the national average with a citation from the RAND Corp. Citations, attributions, etc., are considered a good thing when debating a point.

        It appears now that Prop 30 was part of the grand and Faustian conspiracy the Governor and teachers’ unions plotted to undermine Prop 38, delivered from on high as it was, in order to support Prop 30 which has dragged CA’s school funding back from the brink of the abyss.

        Sorry to intrude with Earth based reality again, but Prop 38 never polled above around 40% with strong negatives. It wasn’t the Governor and the unions that buried Prop 38 it was the CA electorate. Worse, Prop 38 didn’t come from “on high.” It didn’t emerge from the collaboration of unions representing hundreds of thousands of Californians. It didn’t emerge from the agreements of millions of CA’s Democrats and the Governor. Rather, it emerged from the mind of one very wealthy person: Molly Munger. I believe I can say with some accuracy that even Ms. Munger regrets these events.

        If you look back to a November 5th, 2012, article on this site you can find that Munger contributed $44 million herself to the Prop 38 campaign while all of the various contributors to Prop 30 contributed around $69 million. Considering that pro Prop 38 might be construed as anti-Prop 30, and then add in the specific anti-prop 30 dollars at $53 million, and you have the $69 million pro contesting $93 million con. The Prop 30 campaign was, indeed, an accomplishment. A number of civic minded organizations concerned about the influence of money in politics expressed dismay they the Munger kids, between just the two of, them, put $54 million into the campaign and far exceeding spending by organizations reflecting the political leanings of millions of people. Rule by oligarchs? Almost. Thank the unions (and the voters).

        Then there was the $11 million put into the initiative process in “dark money,” against Prop 30 and for Prop 32, the initiative that tried desperately to limit the ability of unions to bring forth propositions that “promote the general welfare: Initiatives like Prop 30. It has been revealed that certain supporters of Vergara were implicated in the “dark money” scandal. Which points to the fact that Vergara was not “for” poor and minority kids, it was against unions passing initiatives that tax the oligarchs. And that might well be a change of subject. So be it.

  4. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Celeste: I'm not sure what you are upset about. The Reich article you reference is mainly about the effects of economic segregation and the impact that has on school funding. In those states that continue to base school funding on local property taxes there are, as a famous book title pointed to, "savage inequalities" in the way schools are funded. That ended in CA, in large part anyway, with Prop 13 and the Serrano v. Priest decision. … Read More

    Celeste:

    I’m not sure what you are upset about.

    The Reich article you reference is mainly about the effects of economic segregation and the impact that has on school funding. In those states that continue to base school funding on local property taxes there are, as a famous book title pointed to, “savage inequalities” in the way schools are funded. That ended in CA, in large part anyway, with Prop 13 and the Serrano v. Priest decision. Prop 13 managed to cut CA schools free from any reliable and adequate funding source, and then linked with huge tax cuts to business, put the whole state budget as well as the schools in an almost never-ending cycle of near adequate funding and then fiscal collapse.

    However, in the intervening time span organizations like Ed Week have noted that while we chronically underfund our schools we do it in a very “fair” way. CA’s students are denied access to adequate school funding in a very democratic way we can all be proud of. LCFF will now mean that “unduplicated students,” poor/minority/foster kids, will be denied adequate funding but in an even more equitable fashion.

    The question on the flyer that goes to “Will education cure poverty?,” or “Do we need to cure poverty in order to equalize educational opportunity,” are interesting. The answers have clear indications when we look at the countries who get the “vital” high international test scores.” Finland, which always ranks quite high, chose the route of creating economic and social equity first and the test scores trotted along neatly afterwards. Most of the really high scoring nations, usually the northern European social-democracies run child poverty rates at around 5% or lower, with the US at 24% or higher. This is what scares the bejeezus out of the malefactors of great wealth in this country and is why they fund attacks on public sector workers and teachers (in particular). They need to keep the publics attention glued to the idea that “education cures poverty” because that allows them to scapegoat the schools and teachers. If the public ever got the notion in its collective head and voting habits, that it was curing poverty that allowed for equal educational access then someone might get the idea that poverty and the increasing economic inequities in this country need to be dealt with. That means reversing economic inequities. Oh, the horror.

    It’s interesting that there is some focus on Lowell High School which is one of the highest performing high schools in the nation, in a variety of ways of defining “performing,” but to me it has always been a prime example of what can happen when you allow a public school to behave like a restrictive private school as Lowell “out-performs” most private schools. Lowell chooses its students. What isn’t answered is, what happens to the kids who aren’t chosen?

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Lowell does not choose its students. Though the admission process is a bit complicated, in a nutshell, about 70% of students get in under the most stringent criteria (Band 1) which is based upon a combination of grades and test scores and all who make the mark are accepted. About 30% get in with significantly less stringent criteria under Bands 2 and 3 with the intention of providing diversity and all-city representation. Not sure … Read More

      Lowell does not choose its students. Though the admission process is a bit complicated, in a nutshell, about 70% of students get in under the most stringent criteria (Band 1) which is based upon a combination of grades and test scores and all who make the mark are accepted. About 30% get in with significantly less stringent criteria under Bands 2 and 3 with the intention of providing diversity and all-city representation.

      Not sure how Gary finagled the idea of “education curing poverty” as propaganda. If a teacher doesn’t believe education opens doors who does?

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        As a parent who has been through the Lowell admission process twice (for the record, both my kids were accepted but made another SFUSD choice), I'll say that Don is correct -- Lowell doesn't pro-actively choose, applicant by applicant, the way a private school does. Gary's general point is correct -- Lowell is selective -- based on a formula, not quite the same as handpicking. I can go on about the difference between covertly handpicking and … Read More

        As a parent who has been through the Lowell admission process twice (for the record, both my kids were accepted but made another SFUSD choice), I’ll say that Don is correct — Lowell doesn’t pro-actively choose, applicant by applicant, the way a private school does. Gary’s general point is correct — Lowell is selective — based on a formula, not quite the same as handpicking.

        I can go on about the difference between covertly handpicking and quietly imposing hurdles while claiming not to, as charter schools generally do (the claim is always, essentially, “those aren’t hurdles!”), and schools with open, transparent selection criteria; I do understand Gary’s point about how that impacts other schools. Luckily, SFUSD has a number of excellent general-admission public high schools.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          "What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet" As the Bard said. Or, if not a rose, maybe not as sweet by half. Or more commonly, " a distinction without a difference." Setting up fairly stringent entrance criteria is pretty unusual for public schools. Up until a few years ago you just had to live in the attendance area of a school to attend. Various "parental choice" initiatives have … Read More

          “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
          By any other name would smell as sweet”

          As the Bard said. Or, if not a rose, maybe not as sweet by half.

          Or more commonly, ” a distinction without a difference.”

          Setting up fairly stringent entrance criteria is pretty unusual for public schools. Up until a few years ago you just had to live in the attendance area of a school to attend. Various “parental choice” initiatives have muddied that water and contributed to increased segregation. I understand SF has various programs in place to try and resolve a host of issues. From inside the system it may well appear different than to those outside that system as is true with many things.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            We wouldn't want anything unusual in public education. Yes, Lowell is unusual. It is the oldest public secondary school west of the Mississippi and dates back to 1856. It is also one of the best schools in the country, by academic criteria anyway. Early in the 20th Century it was designated the college preparatory high school when not many went to college. Eventually they set up admission criteria to control demand. But it does … Read More

            We wouldn’t want anything unusual in public education.

            Yes, Lowell is unusual. It is the oldest public secondary school west of the Mississippi and dates back to 1856. It is also one of the best schools in the country, by academic criteria anyway. Early in the 20th Century it was designated the college preparatory high school when not many went to college. Eventually they set up admission criteria to control demand.

            But it does cream off the majority of the top students in the district and I understand that this can have repercussions among the other schools that have fewer of the higher performing students as a result. There’s a lot of history at Lowell and any attempt to touch its protected status is met with fury across the board.

            That said, surely, Gary, you understand that your words glossed over the clear difference between actively pick one student over another as opposed to have a criteria for admission ( actually 3). Choosing students is not the same as having admission standards. And those standards are relaxed in part to attract students with less competitive scores, to the detriment of many higher performing students. I can see how your interest in not choosing and everything being equal would lead you to believe students shouldn’t be held to a achievement standards just as teachers shouldn’t be either.

            Caroline, I think Brown is still a charter proponent, but as I mentioned before you not as strident and see the issues without the rose-colored glasses. He gave them to Gary,

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Sorry about my typos. I’ll correct this sentence:

            “…Brown is still a charter proponent, but as I mentioned before, he is not as strident and sees the issues without the rose-colored glasses.”

          • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

            SFUSD’s complicated assignment system grew out of years of court-mandated, court-approved desegregation plans, but the existence of Lowell and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts isn’t directly connected with that. They’re magnet schools and would be even if SFUSD had an all-neighborhood assignment process.

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        “Opening doors” is not the same thing as “curing poverty.”

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          No Caroline, but it is giving a chance. The schools people say are unthinkable, many Asian kids go to and get to UC Berkeley, one of the top universities in the U.S. Asians in CA study 13.8 hours a week, whites 5.6, others less. If you study, doors will open for you. 41% of Lowell is on free and reduced lunch. If you want to get into a UC and have … Read More

          No Caroline, but it is giving a chance. The schools people say are unthinkable, many Asian kids go to and get to UC Berkeley, one of the top universities in the U.S. Asians in CA study 13.8 hours a week, whites 5.6, others less. If you study, doors will open for you. 41% of Lowell is on free and reduced lunch. If you want to get into a UC and have a high income as an adut, study 25 hours a wek, the average of kids that get into a UC. These people you are saying can’t succeed due to poverty often have so much food they are physically obese and watch TV 40 hours a week or more, or play video games, yet you say it’s impossible to expect them to study 25 hours a week, which would guarantee a life of prosperity. This I don’t understand at all. The kids at Lowell outperform kids at wealthy high schools in Marin and wealthy private schools in SF. It can be done. It just takes a maximum effort. Like Obama said, you’re never so poor all you can do is watch TV, and as Al Pacino said in ‘Any Given Sunday’, the guy that’s gonna win a fight is the guy who’s willing to fight and die to win that inch, to leave everything he has on that field. Very few kids put in maximum effort, but they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain, to quote the very liberal Tim Robbins.

          • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

            Yes, opening doors is valuable. I was correcting someone who said that opening the doors was the same thing as curing poverty. It’s not.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Very true. The challenge is that if you guarantee everyone not be in poverty as an absolute, what about someone who refuses to make an effort to look for work, show up on time, work not long hours but a basic 40 hour week, etc? Workfare managers have noted some with a guaranteed job don't show up consistently, close to half. It's hard if they have to be paid for by others. … Read More

            Very true. The challenge is that if you guarantee everyone not be in poverty as an absolute, what about someone who refuses to make an effort to look for work, show up on time, work not long hours but a basic 40 hour week, etc? Workfare managers have noted some with a guaranteed job don’t show up consistently, close to half. It’s hard if they have to be paid for by others. It’s hard to have zero poverty without some taking advantage by not doing their fair share. There was an argument that having mothers do workfare deprived them of the chance to raise their kids well, yet some studies have shown kids on welfare do worse in terms of grades than kids who are poor but whose parents work. Ideally, if you have welfare, you have time and can do flash cards, reading, math, libraries, volunteer at the school, but theory doesn’t always match reality.

            It’s a tough dilemma for me. I don’t want any child, or adult, to live in poverty, but at the same time you don’t want anyone to not at least make their best effort as an employee, parent and student. I feel only 10% of parents make a strong effort to raise a top student, maybe higher in SF but nationwide, 10%. I feel most make an effort to be a good employee. Most kids do not make a full effort to be a good student, maybe 10-15% make even what I would consider a reasonable effort to be a top student, with one study showing under 10% of American kids spend more time studying, reading, doing art and doing extracurricular artistic or sports activities or volunteer work, combined, than they spend watching TV or playing games.

            So it’s a dilemma. It’s hard to cure poverty, and if we have a guarantee of no poverty, will some who are near poor now decide to make no effort at all? And if so, how much harder will the rest of us have to work?

            As a liberal I realize we spend far too much on prisons and “defense”, more accurately termed “offense” in my view. I’d slash both by over half. It’s just a dilemma in my view. I don’t know if we could ever have a society which “cured poverty” without many taking advantage of that cure by reducing their effort. The threat may always have to be there. I’ve been in poverty and am terrified of returning to it, and it does make me work harder.

    • el 2 years ago2 years ago

      This article is a very good example of how poverty and employer policies are affecting the education of our young adults and our kids: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/13/us/starbucks-workers-scheduling-hours.html?_r=0 Hourly workers are expected to be constantly on call on very little notice, work irregular shifts, and are not guaranteed a set number of hours. Last month, she was scheduled to work until 11 p.m. on Friday, July 4; report again just hours later, at 4 a.m. on Saturday; and start again … Read More

      This article is a very good example of how poverty and employer policies are affecting the education of our young adults and our kids:

      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/13/us/starbucks-workers-scheduling-hours.html?_r=0

      Hourly workers are expected to be constantly on call on very little notice, work irregular shifts, and are not guaranteed a set number of hours.

      Last month, she was scheduled to work until 11 p.m. on Friday, July 4; report again just hours later, at 4 a.m. on Saturday; and start again at 5 a.m. on Sunday. She braced herself to ask her aunt, Karina Rivera, to watch Gavin, hoping she would not explode in annoyance, or worse, refuse.

      Two days later, on July 8, she had to tug her son out of bed just as early, rousing Gavin before 5 a.m. for their long commute. …
      Ms. Navarro hated waking Gavin so early, but the trip from home to day care to work took a mile-long walk, two trolleys, a bus ride and over three hours.

      Starbucks has made some changes since this article came out, but these practices are widespread among hourly employers, and they make it difficult if not impossible to hold a second job to flesh out income, to go to community college, or to provide a stable and nurturing environment for kids.

      It’s hard to understand how any teacher, no matter how wonderful, can compensate for the fact that a child is being buffeted by such irregular sleep and home schedules.

  5. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Rothstien attempted, in court, to clarify his meaning and then went on to do the same at length in a NY Times op/ed. Rothstein was trying to emphasize that there is a tiny minority of teachers who can be deemed ineffective and that making draconian changes to the institution that reduced protections for the 97% to 99%of teachers show were effective to deal with the minority was bad for the system. In a cost-benefit analysis … Read More

    Rothstien attempted, in court, to clarify his meaning and then went on to do the same at length in a NY Times op/ed. Rothstein was trying to emphasize that there is a tiny minority of teachers who can be deemed ineffective and that making draconian changes to the institution that reduced protections for the 97% to 99%of teachers show were effective to deal with the minority was bad for the system. In a cost-benefit analysis more damage would be done than would be alleviated by making those kind of changes. The judge decided to take the comments out of context.

    You are then left even with the 1%-3% questions: 1) nothing was established at trial to suggest it was all that difficult to dismiss those teachers if management is competent when necessary; and, 2) nothing at the trial suggested where these teacher were, how they could be identified, or whether skilled mentors, time, and resources could remediate the 1% to 3%.

    Recall, the data suggest that high numbers of new teachers separate themselves from the profession voluntarily. It could well be they self-assess and decide they are not suitable. The classroom is a very uncomfortable place for adults who are not suited, empathic, and skilled.

    The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) asserts CA already has higher numbers of teachers let go during the probationary period, and then dismissed after achieving permanent status, than the national average.

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      "You are then left even with the 1%-3% questions: 1) nothing was established at trial to suggest it was all that difficult to dismiss those teachers if management is competent when necessary; and, 2) nothing at the trial suggested where these teacher were, how they could be identified, or whether skilled mentors, time, and resources could remediate the 1% to 3%." This is a dichotomy. OTOH, you claim that it isn't difficult for competent management to … Read More

      “You are then left even with the 1%-3% questions: 1) nothing was established at trial to suggest it was all that difficult to dismiss those teachers if management is competent when necessary; and, 2) nothing at the trial suggested where these teacher were, how they could be identified, or whether skilled mentors, time, and resources could remediate the 1% to 3%.”

      This is a dichotomy. OTOH, you claim that it isn’t difficult for competent management to dismiss incompetent teachers (via due process proceedings). OTOH, you claim that the plaintiffs couldn’t make a case for how to identify such ineffective teachers while simultaneously claiming competent administrators could easily dismiss them. So I guess you are saying that competent administrators can identify ineffective teachers but that that the plaintiffs can prove it. So really you’re just playing games. You know there are incompetent teachers, but since evaluation is so controversial and subjective there’s no way to prove it in a court of law. And that’s exactly why the judge did not allow this impasse to obstruct justice for students of incompetent teachers. The concurrence from both sides on a level of 1% to 3% was agreement enough.

      Caroline, you can assert all you want about Brown’s charters, but if they violated the law with their enrollment process, why didn’t you do something about it? If applicants were fewer in number than available seats, there would be no rejections, by law. Conversely, if they exceeded capacity a lottery would decide placement. I don’t know the history of the school and I’m not saying that everything was above board. But if you know differently, than do more than simply accuse them of wrongdoing without some specific explanation.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        sorry, correction – “So I guess you are saying that competent administrators can identify ineffective teachers but that that the plaintiffs CANNOT prove it (who’s incompetent).”

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          Don, A dichotomy involves non-overlapping parts. Although the topics appear to be separate, especially with how Gary set up his argument, they do, in fact, overlap quite a bit in reality. In addition, Gary has four separate points here and not two, by the way. Therefore, your own point is quite confusing taken as a whole or taken as separate and assumed paired parts. Secondly, Gary's first point is incorrect. There was a bit at … Read More

          Don,

          A dichotomy involves non-overlapping parts. Although the topics appear to be separate, especially with how Gary set up his argument, they do, in fact, overlap quite a bit in reality. In addition, Gary has four separate points here and not two, by the way. Therefore, your own point is quite confusing taken as a whole or taken as separate and assumed paired parts.

          Secondly, Gary’s first point is incorrect. There was a bit at the trial that was established between fighting experts about how easy and how difficult it is to fire teachers. The judge sided with the experts who claimed it was difficult to fire teachers. Gary’s implied point about the judge “assuming” the administrators were competent does have merit, though. Administrator competence was addressed slightly, but the judge must’ve thought (assumed?) the point did not have merit. Interestingly, the judge uses a passage from the CDE where it clearly has merit about incompetent teachers “affecting poor and minority students” but it doesn’t have merit when it comes to incompetent administrators grossly affecting poor and minority students (both are mentioned and lumped in together). Hmmm. Although it sounds like a contradiction, the judge didn’t have to rule on administrators–only teachers. But is he did find that whole argument to be without merit, though.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            TheMorrigan, Gary's numbered assertions do indeed seem to me two fundamentally separate issues - 1. the facility for competent admin to use due process for dismissal and 2. the issues associated with identification of ineffective teachers. I suppose you could make a case that they are overlapping issues, but we don't we just stick to the issues rather than getting caught up in rhetorical considerations. OTOH, this is kind of interesting. Let's say Gary … Read More

            TheMorrigan, Gary’s numbered assertions do indeed seem to me two fundamentally separate issues – 1. the facility for competent admin to use due process for dismissal and 2. the issues associated with identification of ineffective teachers. I suppose you could make a case that they are overlapping issues, but we don’t we just stick to the issues rather than getting caught up in rhetorical considerations.

            OTOH, this is kind of interesting. Let’s say Gary is right and teacher’s are not fired due to administrative incompetence (an assertion that posits teacher incompetence as a given). In that instance how could teachers be identified as incompetent if the administrators who are evaluating them are incompetent? The only way I can think of would be through an objective evaluative set of metrics that would not require administrative analysis. But unions are totally against such metrics.

            Is Gary saying that the plaintiffs failed to make the case that incompetent teachers can be identified or that, in practice, they cannot be identified. Because it the latter is the case, then how can administration be blamed for not executing due process proceedings?

            Regarding your point – “Administrator competence was addressed slightly…” – are you referring to the Treu’s ruling or the trial? I don’t think he stymied the defendants from fully making this case.

            But I will tell you this – I totally concur with the idea that the questions of competence as it relates to teacher should relate equally to administration. However that is not for the judge. He is charged with the problem of deciding whether the law is constitutional or not and he cannot resolve the ageless internecine struggle between labor and management.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            It is not a "rhetorical consideration." I'm not making an attempt to persuade you here. It just is. There are four issues and they are interrelated and they do overlap. Gary had it wrong saying that there were two: 1) administrative competence; 2) where incompetent teachers are located (perhaps he meant something else with this one); 3) how to identify incompetent teachers; 4) and (not "or" as Gary puts it) can incompetent teachers be made … Read More

            It is not a “rhetorical consideration.” I’m not making an attempt to persuade you here. It just is. There are four issues and they are interrelated and they do overlap. Gary had it wrong saying that there were two: 1) administrative competence; 2) where incompetent teachers are located (perhaps he meant something else with this one); 3) how to identify incompetent teachers; 4) and (not “or” as Gary puts it) can incompetent teachers be made competent.

            As it is now, teacher competence is directly tied to administrative competence because administrators currently identify who the incompetent teachers are (points 1 + 3). Incompetent teachers are located all over but they affect urban areas more because, as the CDE report states, they also have incompetent administrators (points 1 + 2). And if you have an incompetent administrator, he or she would do very little to try and help a teacher become competent (points 1 + 4). The other points overlap as well. You have to grossly ignore a lot to assume that they do not, or could not, overlap.

            I’m not quite sure what Gary is saying or doing there. I would rather not go down Assumption Road. Building upon Gary’s error only makes your own points just as erroneous. It is clear that there are more than two points there.

            Regarding “addressed slightly”: It was addressed during the trial. The state used Darling-Hammond and (at least) one district superintendent (do not recall name now) to do so. Both stated that competent admins were needed and this is why it is difficult to know who the incompetent teachers are, why incompetent teachers get due process, and why incompetent teachers stay on the job being incompetent. The judge must have assumed that point didn’t matter because it is not addressed at all in his ruling as a possible counter nor as a point that needs qualification in his justification. Incidentally, the point is explicitly addressed in the same CDE report that he selectively cites in his ruling to prove that urban areas are more affected than suburban ones. He obviously read the report if he used a passage from it, right?

            And I know that it is not for the judge to rule on incompetent administrators. I already stated that in my previous post. You get bonus points for restating what was already mentioned in heightened jargon, though.

            Consider: By not acknowledging this obvious connection anywhere, especially since it was brought up in the trial, it does create weak points in his final ruling. Imagine any legal or academic paper not acknowledging an obvious counter point.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Again, the prudent person tries to avoid conflict with any "Celtic Goddesses with seven aspects;" however, unless one of those aspects is comparable to a state attorney general I am forced to disagree. There are innumerable points in the trial testimony even if the judges rulings skipped the vast majority of those. I decided to enumerate two of the possible points around some testimony misinterpreted by the judge to "support" his ruling by Prof Rothstein re … Read More

            Again, the prudent person tries to avoid conflict with any “Celtic Goddesses with seven aspects;” however, unless one of those aspects is comparable to a state attorney general I am forced to disagree.

            There are innumerable points in the trial testimony even if the judges rulings skipped the vast majority of those. I decided to enumerate two of the possible points around some testimony misinterpreted by the judge to “support” his ruling by Prof Rothstein re the “1% to 3% ineffective” teacher statement. In the semantic jujitsu let us not forget his primary point: dismantling necessary job protections for 99% to 97% of effective teachers is a loser when doing a cost/benefit analysis. You could enumerate other nuances within that frame. Feel free.

            In Kamala Harris’ rejoinder to the judge’s ruling she states:

            “in un-rebutted [!] testimony…from a wide variety of school districts –including San Diego, Long beach, Riverside, San Juan, Hart, Fremont Union, El Monte, Hueneme–describing how they routinely [!] make informed tenure decisions within the two-year probationary period, identify struggling teachers and either improve them or exit them from their school districts, and conduct layoffs without disproportionally impacting low-income and minority students. The State Defendants proved at trial that well-runschool districts can–and routinely do–apply the Challenged Statutes without violating the constitutional rights of their students. And the evidence proved that across the state of California, the Challenged Statutes are constitutionally applied the overwhelming majority of the time.”

            I added the [!] for emphasis.

            The statutes were not proven to be applied unconstitutionally anywhere at any time. What was established was that certain districts had demonstrably whiny Broad trained administrators who were struggling to carry out the whims of their billionaire overlord and complained that the statutes were impeding this, with the side benefit that eliminating the statutes also undermined the union. Need I mention that the unions used their political power to enact a state initiative that negatively impacted billionaires in their bank accounts?

            My guess is there are many who will take Rothstein’s analysis that eliminating statutes that protect up to 99% of classroom teachers from arbitrary and capricious personnel actions, like being persecuted for collective bargaining advocacy which happens routinely in the non-unionized sector, and say: Hooray! That the consequences of all of this will result in a diminution of working conditions/learning conditions with negative impacts on the vast majority of students will be, as they say, collateral damage.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          This is consistent. The defenders of the status quo always want to say they really are for teachers working harder and calling in sick less and missing fewer days and firing truly bad teachers, but they just want to do it another way. They want principals to be able to enforce cooperation with reforms and ensure every teacher does their best, but another way. But if that way is ever proposed, they … Read More

          This is consistent. The defenders of the status quo always want to say they really are for teachers working harder and calling in sick less and missing fewer days and firing truly bad teachers, but they just want to do it another way. They want principals to be able to enforce cooperation with reforms and ensure every teacher does their best, but another way. But if that way is ever proposed, they oppose it. They are playing games. Indeed. They have never suggested an alternative. Gary, I would ask this…what other way would you suggest, not to blame administrators, but to really make sure the following actually happen:

          1. Teachers who are consistently bad for years do not continue in the profession anywhere, so that kids are considered as more important than teachers…

          2. Teachers only miss days when it is a very important event (funeral, emergency, wedding) or they are truly too sick to go to work, so that we get a lower absentee rate among unionized teachers than in private industry, which should easily be the case considering 250 work days a year in private industry vs. 185 for teachers.

          3. New reforms are enthusiastically embraced.

          4. Children and parents who complain about bad teachers have a recourse and outlet to pursue change and are listened to and treated as important.

          5. A higher number of teachers are dismissed to the level of private industry and teacher quality be the highest priority.

          100 firings in a decade is not enough to pressure teachers to work hard, minimize sick / sub days to the maximum extent, and administrators to terminate a much higher number of teachers. It’s no where close.

          I think you want to see teachers like this stay on and that to you, sacrosanct job security is more important than children’s education and test scores.

          • Celeste Phooey Condon 2 years ago2 years ago

            I am so upset right now. I got an email to go to www.caresf.blogspot.com and it is some article with Robert Reich blaming school performance on poverty, being racist, and abusive, and hurtful, and they have a meeting this Thursday. I will go to speak up for poor children and unions. I am bringing friends. I am very upset. They even have a school board member speaking. I already … Read More

            I am so upset right now. I got an email to go to http://www.caresf.blogspot.com and it is some article with Robert Reich blaming school performance on poverty, being racist, and abusive, and hurtful, and they have a meeting this Thursday. I will go to speak up for poor children and unions. I am bringing friends. I am very upset. They even have a school board member speaking. I already posted and will post again. Please post on there to defend poor children and unions and let these corporate sellouts know our children and schools are not for sale to the highest bidder.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            I notice, Celeste, that the CARE group whose meeting you'll attend included this burning question: "How can we equalize educational outcomes for all our students in order to reduce poverty in the future?" They want to equalize outcomes (not opportunities.) Equalizing outcomes is easy and the state appears poised to make significant progress in that regard with the present funding formulas - just provide the most advantaged students with a sufficiently mediocre and underfunded education … Read More

            I notice, Celeste, that the CARE group whose meeting you’ll attend included this burning question:

            “How can we equalize educational outcomes for all our students in order to reduce poverty in the future?”

            They want to equalize outcomes (not opportunities.) Equalizing outcomes is easy and the state appears poised to make significant progress in that regard with the present funding formulas – just provide the most advantaged students with a sufficiently mediocre and underfunded education and you can depress their outcomes to the point where all outcomes are sufficiently equalized.

  6. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Just to confuse [sic] the issue, allow me to enter an edited (for space concerns) article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution re the "hard to fire teachers" mythology: "Finally, to add some context from Richard Ingersoll, a noted University of Pennsylvania expert on teacher turnover: The teaching occupation suffers from chronic and relatively high annual turnover compared with many other occupations. Total teacher turnover is fairly evenly split between two components: attrition (those who leave teaching altogether); … Read More

    Just to confuse [sic] the issue, allow me to enter an edited (for space concerns) article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution re the “hard to fire teachers” mythology:

    “Finally, to add some context from Richard Ingersoll, a noted University of Pennsylvania expert on teacher turnover:

    The teaching occupation suffers from chronic and relatively high annual turnover compared with many other occupations. Total teacher turnover is fairly evenly split between two components: attrition (those who leave teaching altogether); and migration (those who move to teaching jobs in other schools

    Too little turnover in any organization may indicate stagnancy. Effective organizations usually benefit from a limited degree of turnover, which eliminates low-caliber performers and brings in new blood to facilitate innovation. High levels of employee turnover, however, suggest that an organization has underlying problems; in turn, this high turnover can cause turmoil and lead to problems in how the organization functions (Mobley, 1982; Price, 1977)

    About 19 percent of these beginners who left teaching said that they did so as a result of a school staffing action, such as a cutback, layoff, termination, school reorganization, or school closing. Around 39 percent said that they left to pursue a better job or another career, and about 29 percent said that dissatisfaction with teaching as a career or with their specific job was a main reason.

    These final two reasons—pursuit of another job and dissatisfaction— together play a major role in about two-thirds of all beginning teacher attrition. The survey asked the 29 percent who listed job dissatisfaction as a major reason for leaving about the source of their dissatisfaction, again giving them the option of listing up to three reasons.

    More than three-fourths linked their quitting to low salaries. But even more of them indicated that one of four different school working conditions was behind their decision to quit: student discipline problems; lack of support from the school administration; poor student motivation; and lack of teacher influence over schoolwide and classroom decision making. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 1994-1995 Teacher Followup Survey.)”

    “Nothin’ but the facts, Mam.”

    From the reading, again, we have an institutional problem keeping teachers, and not getting rid of them.

    One interesting quote from Vergara was a quote by Berkeley Professor, Jesse Rothstein, (for the defense) who said his estimate of “ineffective” teachers in CA’s system ranged from 1% to 3%. The judge quotes this statement in his ruling.

    (Continued)

  7. Tressy Capps 2 years ago2 years ago

    Jerry Brown is an immigration anarchist. His recent statement that Illegal Mexican immigrants "are all welcome in California" made it very clear that the welfare of American children is not high on his priority list. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/09/05/Gov-Jerry-Brown-Nearly-30-of-CA-Kids-Illegal-or-Don-t-Speak-English For your children's sake, figure out a way to educate them outside the public education circus tent arena. The odds are stacked against your child receiving a decent public school education. Common core not withstanding (indoctrination and lower standards), you … Read More

    Jerry Brown is an immigration anarchist. His recent statement that Illegal Mexican immigrants “are all welcome in California” made it very clear that the welfare of American children is not high on his priority list. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/09/05/Gov-Jerry-Brown-Nearly-30-of-CA-Kids-Illegal-or-Don-t-Speak-English
    For your children’s sake, figure out a way to educate them outside the public education circus tent arena. The odds are stacked against your child receiving a decent public school education. Common core not withstanding (indoctrination and lower standards), you are competing with illegal aliens for limited resources and their rights trump yours. Run, don’t walk, the other way. Make the financial sacrifices necessary to home or private school your children. Invest in the future of America. You will not regret it. I have two grown sons that attended a private Christian school from the start. They are walking testaments to the power of a good Christian based education. What is more important? That new car or bigger house or the investment in your legacy that will go on for generations?

  8. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Like the man once said, folks, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. From the RAND Corp study -- CA's K-12 Public Schools: How Are They Doing? (2005) "In addition, it is clear that over the long term, relative teacher com- pensation plays an important role in influencing people’s decisions to enter and leave the teaching profession (Goldhaber, 2000). In sheer dollar terms, the average salaries of California’s teachers have consistently placed … Read More

    Like the man once said, folks, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    From the RAND Corp study — CA’s K-12 Public Schools: How Are They Doing? (2005)

    “In addition, it is clear that over the long term, relative teacher com- pensation plays an important role in influencing people’s decisions to enter and leave the teaching profession (Goldhaber, 2000). In sheer dollar terms, the average salaries of California’s teachers have consistently placed them in the top 10 in the nation, suggesting that California teachers are well paid in comparison to most of their counter- parts across the country. But since California’s cost of living is considerably higher than that of most other states, the purchasing power of these higher salaries is less in California than it would be in most other states. Once average teacher salaries are adjusted for regional cost differences, California’s average teacher salaries end up below the national average.”

    Again, CA has the second highest cost-of-living, behind only Hawaii, of the 50 states.

    The study is from 2005 and two years later a series of school budget cuts removed billions from the system. Teachers’ compensation was basically “frozen,” and furlough days enacted by many districts resulted in pay cuts for teachers.

    The fact that CA’s contributions to education as a percentage of per capita income is quite low. This too is covered in the report. The fact that CA has the lowest per student spending of the 50 states is the topic people seem to want to dance around. Prop 30 began the process of correcting that (or at least stemming the cuts) by doing the only thing that could possibly do that–it raises taxes primarily on the wealthy.

    Anyone who listed to Kashkari, or reads any of his stuff, understands that he has answers to nothing of importance.

  9. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

    Of all the California governors since 1970, Jerry Brown has been uniquely qualified by background, education and social vision to be our greatest champion of public education, but he has never gone the distance. In fealty to old California Teachers Association allies and driven to nail down re-election to an unprecedented final act in the Governor's office, Brown has blown the chance to make crucial changes in how our public schools are run and funded. … Read More

    Of all the California governors since 1970, Jerry Brown has been uniquely qualified by background, education and social vision to be our greatest champion of public education, but he has never gone the distance. In fealty to old California Teachers Association allies and driven to nail down re-election to an unprecedented final act in the Governor’s office, Brown has blown the chance to make crucial changes in how our public schools are run and funded. The Democratic Governor is okay with California’s traditional Faustian bargain: near-bottom funding-per CA child, highest teacher pay and biggest class sizes in the nation — even though today’s student demographics cry out for change. Jerry Brown is a huge disappointment.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

      Jerry Brown started two charter schools when he was mayor of Oakland, and I know both from a friend whose child attended one of them and from an administrator at one of them (whom I've known for many years) that Brown has been deeply involved in the schools -- including attending parent meetings, recruiting administrators and making hiring decisions. So whatever one thinks of charter schools or of Brown's opinions on education policy issues, he … Read More

      Jerry Brown started two charter schools when he was mayor of Oakland, and I know both from a friend whose child attended one of them and from an administrator at one of them (whom I’ve known for many years) that Brown has been deeply involved in the schools — including attending parent meetings, recruiting administrators and making hiring decisions. So whatever one thinks of charter schools or of Brown’s opinions on education policy issues, he speaks from experience. Also, I heard Brown speak at a promotional event for charter schools when he was just planning the charter schools — this was about late 2001. At that time his attitude was basic doctrinaire reformer — he expressed the view that charter schools were needed to innovate because traditional public schools were mired in the status quo. He made it clear in the speech that he thought it would be easy.

      Brown got his baptism by fire and his opinion changed. Anyone who has followed his viewpoints on education knows that’s true. So no, it’s definitely not true that Brown has displayed “fealty to old California Teachers Association Allies.” Reality indisputably shows that Brown has not been blindly loyal at all to teachers’ unions (which have not been fans of charter schools) and in fact openly, forcefully defied them to start his two charter schools. If his opinion changed, it’s because he learned from doing so.

      (Also, the previous comment indicates that teachers’ unions call for low funding and large class sizes. The opposite is true.)

      • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

        When the curriculum and resource expenditures were $38 per year per pupil, the unions were fighting to ensure high salaries, but so far as I could determine, were perfectly content with the amount spent on curriculum. I recall one slogan used by the unions at the time, "Rich children will have teachers, poor children will have computers." If curriculum and learning resources were like food to children, what the school system and teachers were … Read More

        When the curriculum and resource expenditures were $38 per year per pupil, the unions were fighting to ensure high salaries, but so far as I could determine, were perfectly content with the amount spent on curriculum. I recall one slogan used by the unions at the time, “Rich children will have teachers, poor children will have computers.”

        If curriculum and learning resources were like food to children, what the school system and teachers were saying to me as a parent of a prospective student was this: We are going to feed your child, providing all dietary needs for all meals, for nine months with a total food budget of $38 for your child. But don’t worry, we have highly qualified, well paid chefs preparing and serving the food.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        I don't believe Brown's opinions have not fundamentally changed. He's still a charter school advocate to this day, but with moderation - the way it should be. His board, while not the rabidly pro-charter crowd that characterized the latter part of the Governator's SBE, is still open-minded to charters. The unions have to make due with this position b/c he is still a strong old school union supporter as well given his need for union … Read More

        I don’t believe Brown’s opinions have not fundamentally changed. He’s still a charter school advocate to this day, but with moderation – the way it should be. His board, while not the rabidly pro-charter crowd that characterized the latter part of the Governator’s SBE, is still open-minded to charters. The unions have to make due with this position b/c he is still a strong old school union supporter as well given his need for union support. I don’t think Brown buys into the pro charter/anti charter polemic that characterizes so much of the debate. I think he’s a pragmatist not an ideologue on the issue.

        It will be interesting to see what Brown ]does with SB 913 that is waiting for his signature by the end of the month. I’ve expressed my pro charter views on this blog, but unlike the charter industry I believe 913 is a wise and reasonable law that will strengthen accountability and I reject the industry’s view that it will encumber charter boards. If it does it is worth it because there’s nothing more important in democracy than sunshine and this bill will make the charters more accountable. After all they are functioning with our money. I can see a total lack of accountability in my own son’s charter . The district isn’t providing oversight as it is supposed, the state has abdicated doing so with LCFF’s weak charter accountability, and they now are more or less free to run slipshod over the so-called accountability provisions that are in place (very little to none). The only people watching might be parents and watchful ones are few and far between. The current laws have made it much more difficult for them to have an avenue for dispute resolution. If you look at the LCFF law it provides for district oversight, but should they not concur with a complaint there’s no place for appeal. Many LEA authorizers can’t be bothered to work for their 1% oversight fee and some just don’t care about charter accountability because that would be the pot calling the kettle black.

        Brown’s very successful charters, Oakland School of the Arts and Military Academy have their LCAPs front and center on their websites . Many charters showed a total or near total disregard for the LCAP as they have zero interest in engaging the community in their decisionmaking. That’s too bad because the biggest hindrance to even greater charter school proliferation is the industry’s own lack of willingness to play by the same basic rules for public accountability.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Correction to double negative in first sentence above- “I don’t believe Brown’s opinions have fundamentally changed.”

          • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, Brown's opinions have changed fundamentally based on what he said at the charter school event I attended circa 2001 compared to what he said when he was running for governor in 2010 and since. He made it clear in his speech at the charter school event that he felt public schools were making unnecessary mistakes and that doing it better would be easy. He clearly said in 2010 that he had learned otherwise. I … Read More

            Don, Brown’s opinions have changed fundamentally based on what he said at the charter school event I attended circa 2001 compared to what he said when he was running for governor in 2010 and since. He made it clear in his speech at the charter school event that he felt public schools were making unnecessary mistakes and that doing it better would be easy. He clearly said in 2010 that he had learned otherwise. I know I can’t prove what he said and you’ll point that out immediately, but I’m giving this information because it may be useful and informative to people. I have no reason not to be accurate.

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          Sometimes I wonder which event is rarest, a tenured teacher being terminated for poor teaching, a teacher being struck by lightning, or an underperforming California Charter School having its Charter actually revoked by the CDE. I did the calcs on lightning once, using National Weather Service stats, and a teacher was actually four times more likely to be fired after a hearing than to be struck by lightning. The bargain under which California Charter … Read More

          Sometimes I wonder which event is rarest, a tenured teacher being terminated for poor teaching, a teacher being struck by lightning, or an underperforming California Charter School having its Charter actually revoked by the CDE. I did the calcs on lightning once, using National Weather Service stats, and a teacher was actually four times more likely to be fired after a hearing than to be struck by lightning.

          The bargain under which California Charter Schools were permitted was that they would be excused from adhering to much of the CA Education Code and they would be given great freedom, but they would be held accountable for outcomes. In practice, they were excused from Code adherence and given freedom, but I have not seem they they have ever been held reasonably accountable with real consequences. When challenged regarding their underperformance, they always trot out rationalizations as might, I suppose, be expected but which shouldn’t be accepted. They often attempt to play some race card.

          I can look in my local newspaper and see a Charter advertising the wonder “academic excellence” of its primarily online program. If I look at its test scores, overall only 14% of its students scored proficient or above in math. With no accountability, it continues to advertise and draw students. Other Charters in our greater region score significantly below the underperforming public schools and yet nothing is ever really done even though the CDE was granted power to directly revoke the Charter of an underperforming school whether or not the school was chartered by the CDE or a local agency.

          Now that disclosure of testing outcomes has been all but abolished for some time, I assume that such Charters will continue to operate without meaningful accountability. Computer based testing will be particularly important so that there is no specter of paper test answer sheets being erased and “corrected” post test by any of the Charter operators seeking better scores.

          • tom 2 years ago2 years ago

            Andrew, Don't forget that kids going to a Charter School is by choice unlike the public schools. Therefore, if the Charter School is not performing, parents are free to remove their kids. I would argue that this free market principle works best in any environment that is otherwise a monopoly. Also, the California Charter School Association monitors the performance of Charters, and if a school doesn't perform relative to their peer … Read More

            Andrew, Don’t forget that kids going to a Charter School is by choice unlike the public schools. Therefore, if the Charter School is not performing, parents are free to remove their kids. I would argue that this free market principle works best in any environment that is otherwise a monopoly. Also, the California Charter School Association monitors the performance of Charters, and if a school doesn’t perform relative to their peer schools, they move to revoke their charters. In December 2013, there were six schools that the CCSA were recommending for such action. When is the last time we saw a K-12 public school do this? May not be easy to do but much more oversight than we have seen in public schools. Agree that there is no good testing in place currently and that is a problem, but that is common across all schools in CA. Thanks a bunch Bonilla, Brown and the CTA.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Agreed, Tom. Good points. I am not opposed to Charter choice at all, just opposed to Charters using fraud, concealment or non-disclosure together with hype to pull ADA money out of conventional public schools that are performing much better than the region's Charters in question. You get kids and relatively trusting parents scammed into believing that a Charter school with 14% K-12 math proficiency offers "academic excellence" and none of those … Read More

            Agreed, Tom. Good points. I am not opposed to Charter choice at all, just opposed to Charters using fraud, concealment or non-disclosure together with hype to pull ADA money out of conventional public schools that are performing much better than the region’s Charters in question.

            You get kids and relatively trusting parents scammed into believing that a Charter school with 14% K-12 math proficiency offers “academic excellence” and none of those kids will ever succeed in any post-secondary endeavor requiring STEM proficiency or ever have a shot a med school, engineering, or anything like that. Critical foundations will be missing.

            I was glad to see the private Charter organization CCSA moving against a few of the worst underperforming Charters, but it should have been the public CDE. A private organization shouldn’t have to do the job of the public department responsible for weeding out underperformers. So far as I could see when underperformance was challenged in the cases mentioned, the usual rationalizations were floated and nothing much happened in the long haul.

            To me, healthy competition for public schools should come from high achieving charters with laudable outcomes. Not academically failing Charters that scam students and parents into believing they are something they are not. Maybe there should be some requirement of disclosure of the charter school’s relative academic performance with any Charter ad?

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don’t forget that CA has an active inter-district transfer rate. Some districts, such as Claremont, Coronado and others, have a high choice transfer rate (between 10% and 20%). The Allen Bill is used fairly often for K-8, too. It would be incorrect to imply that charters have a monopoly on school choice.

        • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

          Both Brown's charters, OSA and OMI, openly pick, choose and reject students*. Despite that, both struggled badly -- really desperately -- for their first few years and would never have survived without the massive fundraising Brown has done for them (sometimes drawing attention over ethical issues). Those points need to be made in response to the description of them as "very successful." *Yes, my kids attended Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, which … Read More

          Both Brown’s charters, OSA and OMI, openly pick, choose and reject students*. Despite that, both struggled badly — really desperately — for their first few years and would never have survived without the massive fundraising Brown has done for them (sometimes drawing attention over ethical issues). Those points need to be made in response to the description of them as “very successful.”

          *Yes, my kids attended Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, which is also selective by audition. Obviously I’m not opposed to such a process, but it needs to be made clear what a huge advantage that gives a school, and the fact that it’s being done needs to be open and transparent. And even so, OSA and OMI were in desperate straits, struggling badly, for their first years.

      • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

        I describe a three-part formula that has been in place in public education since I moved to California in 1970. Ten years ago when there was a lot of money around, K-3 class size was reduced to 20 kids. That wonderful short-lived reform was abandoned when money became tight and we returned again to the formula of largest class size in the nation. Funding per child remained where it's been for years: low on the … Read More

        I describe a three-part formula that has been in place in public education since I moved to California in 1970. Ten years ago when there was a lot of money around, K-3 class size was reduced to 20 kids. That wonderful short-lived reform was abandoned when money became tight and we returned again to the formula of largest class size in the nation. Funding per child remained where it’s been for years: low on the national list. Teacher salaries remained where they’ve been for years: highest in the nation. That’s the formula that Governor Brown could have changed — should have changed — and where his intellect and political heft should have been applied on behalf of California’s school children. Instead of on bullet trains and Sacramento Delta engineering.

        I did not say that CTA designs anything or calls for anything or stands for anything beyond its members’ interests: it goes along to get along and tries to influence outcomes for its members by contributing (or witholding) huge sums from political campaigns in return for “consideration” which includes the salary part of the time-honored formula.

        My indictment and disappointment have nothing do with Governor Brown’s attitude toward charter schools or the Oakland charters he started as mayor there. All we know about charters is that there are more and more of them: some are good, some are not.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Frances, if I understand you correctly, you’re claiming that the fundamental financial problem plaguing education in CA after insufficient funding is overpaying teachers. That is not a tenable position to take. Does anyone other than you think teachers are overpaid?

          • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, please do not misrepresent what I have plainly stated. You are choosing not to understand. There is a 44-year-old California public education formula that survives fire, earthquake and flood. It is a deal between politicians and school district administrations and the powerful California Teachers Association to maintain 1) the highest teachers' salaries in the nation 2) the largest class sizes in the nation 3) and near-bottom funding per public school child in the nation. This longstanding … Read More

            Don, please do not misrepresent what I have plainly stated. You are choosing not to understand.

            There is a 44-year-old California public education formula that survives fire, earthquake and flood.
            It is a deal between politicians and school district administrations and the powerful
            California Teachers Association to maintain
            1) the highest teachers’ salaries in the nation
            2) the largest class sizes in the nation
            3) and near-bottom funding per public school child in the nation.

            This longstanding disgraceful arrangement serves everyone — imperfectly but adequately — except
            for the schoolchildren who are supposed to be the focus of the system but who suffer because of it.
            I think Governor Brown, moving toward his final term in office, has a moral obligation to fix this.

        • el 2 years ago2 years ago

          Teacher salaries are highly variable across the state and are set at the district level, not by the governor or the state legislature. They varied by at least a factor of two from the lowest to highest paid districts, last time I looked at the data.

        • el 2 years ago2 years ago

          As much as I've been critical of various implementation details of LCFF and whether the base was sufficient, I have to hand Brown an enormous amount of credit for changing the school funding formula to benefit low income and underresourced schools and for the remarkable political feat of getting it done in an eyeblink. I think you can argue about this or that nuance of it, but to say that he doesn't care or hasn't … Read More

          As much as I’ve been critical of various implementation details of LCFF and whether the base was sufficient, I have to hand Brown an enormous amount of credit for changing the school funding formula to benefit low income and underresourced schools and for the remarkable political feat of getting it done in an eyeblink.

          I think you can argue about this or that nuance of it, but to say that he doesn’t care or hasn’t put any political heft into education funding is not supported by the data.

          We still don’t put enough total money into the system, but I think the LCFF shakeup is transformative and will be closely studied to see if it gets the results we all hope to see.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            I really think they need to take cost of living into account. The ruling in the '70s was based on a rich suburb next to a poor suburb or City. It was during the era of white flight. While that is still an issue, the well off being segregated from the less well off, there is another factor. It is way more expensive to live anywhere near San Francisco, San Jose, … Read More

            I really think they need to take cost of living into account. The ruling in the ’70s was based on a rich suburb next to a poor suburb or City. It was during the era of white flight. While that is still an issue, the well off being segregated from the less well off, there is another factor. It is way more expensive to live anywhere near San Francisco, San Jose, West L.A., the Peninsula, or Orange County than Sacramento, Bakersfield, Modesto, Fresno, Redding. Additionally, far more tax revenue comes in from those areas. For them to have equal schools, they need to get more funding because teachers cannot afford to live in expensive areas, so whereas a teacher in Manteca earns slightly more than a teacher in San Francisco, a teacher is average in SF and SJ and in the top 10% in very poor communities such as Manteca, Pleasanton, Modesto, etc. You can see this by comparing police salaries. In SF, teachers earn under half what police earn, on average, whereas in San Diego or Manteca they earn over 73%. This is not equality. This means in the more expensive areas, we create many jobs, most of which go to people who move here and most who grow up here (San Francisco) end up moving ot the Central Valley. We cannot educate to the level of our community.

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      The math of "near-bottom funding-per CA child, highest teacher pay" means that in addition to largest class sizes, there is only a pittance available for critical learning resources and curriculum. Something has to give. I did this math years ago and it was one of the reasons that I chose homeschooling for my children and persisted with it K-12. At the time I started, California was already plummeting toward the bottom … Read More

      The math of “near-bottom funding-per CA child, highest teacher pay” means that in addition to largest class sizes, there is only a pittance available for critical learning resources and curriculum. Something has to give.

      I did this math years ago and it was one of the reasons that I chose homeschooling for my children and persisted with it K-12. At the time I started, California was already plummeting toward the bottom on education spending and had fallen to 30th nationwide in educational funding per pupil. In the district my school age child would have attended, out of the several thousand dollars spent per pupil annually, only $38 per pupil was spent on curriculum and learning resources. We voted on that with our feet.

      We spent many, many times as much as the public schools to ensure that our children had access to the best available curriculum, individualized to their learning styles, and ready access to computers, arrays of books, and other resources. Interesting and engaging educational resources stimulated intellectual curiosity in a relaxed atmosphere. The results were extraordinary.

      If I do the math now, if California simply raised its per pupil expenditures to the national average, and spent half of that increase on curriculum and learning resources, every child in California could have the quality and quantity of resources that my children did.

      Your words “Faustian bargain” aptly describe what still occurs, only worse.

  10. FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

    No surprise here, it makes me tempted to vote for Kashkari but I won’t, but I will vote for Marshall Tuck. I am disappointed in Brown’s opposition to Vergara.