Michael Kirst

The transition to a new funding and accountability system for California’s schools has required a more responsive, collaborative and nimble California State Board of Education than at any other time in recent history. The first full year of Local Control Funding Formula implementation is complete, and local educational agencies have produced their first annual updates and second round of accountability plans using a new template adopted by the board.

It is true that this massive shift in decision-making, planning and resource allocation requires patience, persistence and humility. It requires us to be mindful that many of the system components are still evolving.

So, as the board moves forward with its work, I would encourage everyone involved in the process – whether in Sacramento or in local school districts – to keep the following observations in mind:

1. A change of state policy is relatively simple compared to the enormous transformation required to implement a new funding and accountability system in each district and charter school.

 At the state level, our focus is on supporting the work underway in local districts and charters. The 2015-16 state budget acknowledges this by directing more than $52 billion to the funding formula, a 13 percent year-over-year increase in local control funding, bringing all districts and charters closer to full implementation faster than originally anticipated. The budget also provides $40 million specifically to county offices of education to support their work in assisting districts and charters and approving local plans.

The additional funding and accelerated pace for implementation supports overall efforts to improve outcomes for all students, and it especially helps those districts and charters that serve high concentrations of low income students, English language learners and foster youth improve and increase services for them immediately. To keep us informed of progress, county superintendents will continue to make regular presentations to the state board, which provides an opportunity for public dialogue.  The state board and its staff also will continue to engage stakeholders for feedback on implementation efforts.

2. The goal moving forward is to determine how all of the recent changes best lead to improved programs and services for students at the local level.

 A comprehensive look at local plans will be crucial given the new funding formula’s emphasis on providing school districts and charter schools the discretion to consider their own local context, personnel decisions and student circumstances in identifying goals and determining how to achieve them.

Thus far we know that the reforms are leading to more stakeholder engagement and less incremental decision-making. It will be helpful to learn more about how these local processes are fostering a cycle of continuous improvement. While initial reports focused on early implementation challenges, future research should take a deeper look at local plans that adhere to the final funding formula regulations and include accompanying documents that successfully communicate strategic resource allocation decisions with parents and community members.

 3. LCFF oversight is multidimensional, with many new components.

With local control, districts and charters now have discretion to allocate their resources to meet the specific needs of the students they serve. Accountability provisions and public transparency requirements are more extensive than anything previously required for local spending decisions and assessing results:

  • Districts and charters are required to describe in their plans how education dollars will be and have been allocated to achieve identified goals for students.
  • Parents and community members must be involved in the development of local goals and spending plans, and in the annual reviews of progress.
  • Local school boards must adopt and oversee the plans. All plans must be submitted to the local county superintendent or charter authorizer for review and approval.
  • The evaluation rubrics, now under development by the board and anticipated by October 2016, will help measure district and charter progress toward state priorities and local goals.
  • The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, a new state entity created by the funding formula legislation that will appoint an executive director this month, will advise and assist districts and charters in achieving goals set forth in their local plans.

Notwithstanding this new, system-wide emphasis on continuous improvement and transparency, the board and the state superintendent have the ultimate authority to intervene following multiple years of low performance.

4. Local plans should provide easy to-understand information that articulates strategic thinking, planning and implementation.

Building capacity for this new and different approach to goal setting and resource allocation in local districts and charters will take time. In the midst of this tremendous shift from a compliance-driven system to one in which the Local Control and Accountability Plan process should help produce more effective and efficient local resource allocations, policy improvements may be necessary.

The board is poised to address challenges that are identified and determine the best course of action. As this work evolves in year two, we want to learn more about how local plans and other resources help promote continuous improvement and allow for coordinated, high quality assistance to improve student outcomes.

In the meantime, I am encouraged about how the funding formula reforms are moving decision making closer to where it should have been all along – closer to where children are learning and teachers are teaching.

•••

Michael Kirst is president of the State Board of Education, and is one of the principal architects of the Local Control Funding Formula. An issue brief he co-authored with Alan Bersin and Goodwin Liu in 2008 titled Reforming California School Finance provided the framework for the current system.

The opinions expressed in this commentary represent solely those of the author. EdSource welcomes commentaries representing diverse points of view. If you would like to submit a commentary, please review our guidelines and contact us.

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  1. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Dawn, you said, ” did you happen to notice that you can no longer have a public hearing and a vote immediately after..”

    Just curious. Where is that in the Code?

    Replies

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      SEC. 42. Section 52062 of the Education Code is amended to read: (2) A governing board of a school district shall adopt a local control and accountability plan or annual update to the local control and accountability plan in a public meeting. This meeting shall be held after, but not on the same day as, the public hearing held pursuant to paragraph (1). This meeting shall be the same meeting as that during which the governing … Read More

      SEC. 42. Section 52062 of the Education Code is amended to read:

      (2) A governing board of a school district shall adopt a local control and accountability plan or annual update to the local control and accountability plan in a public meeting. This meeting shall be held after, but not on the same day as, the public hearing held pursuant to paragraph (1). This meeting shall be the same meeting as that during which the governing board of the school district adopts a budget pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 42127.

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        I suspect the normal way of dealing with this will be the same as with some other elements with similar requirements – you air it in the public hearing at one board meeting, then approve it at the next board meeting.

  2. Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

    Gary the Internal e-mail I was referring to is dated June 27th, 2012 and it is in regards to the Board meeting where Union elected Trustees would not allow minority Trustees to speak. If you would like to listen to the audio is is at the following link: http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/6-27-12/06-27-12RegBdMtg.mp3 Beginning at 17:59 at 27:05 Trustee Addonizio asks to make a comment and is prevented from doing so. at 59:44 Trustee Palazzo asks to speak and is also denied … Read More

    Gary the Internal e-mail I was referring to is dated June 27th, 2012 and it is in regards to the Board meeting where Union elected Trustees would not allow minority Trustees to speak. If you would like to listen to the audio is is at the following link:

    http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/6-27-12/06-27-12RegBdMtg.mp3

    Beginning at 17:59

    at 27:05 Trustee Addonizio asks to make a comment and is prevented from doing so.

    at 59:44 Trustee Palazzo asks to speak and is also denied the right to do so.

    at 1:04 Trustee Addonizio asks to make a comment and is prevented from doing so.

    It is almost so outrageous that you would have to listen to how our students are treated to believe that this is how budget decisions are made.

    If you have any thoughts on how CUSD can successfully get some educational improvements for students I would be very interested because right now when money is tight and the interests of employee groups are at odds with that of students … the students loose every time and that is really starting to be reflected in the academic performance of every student in the District across all demographics.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Dawn: It appears the meeting you reference was run according to appropriate Robert's Rules. I don't know the personalities involved and can't judge who was presiding. Again, it's all democratic. If the minority has public support they will get to be a majority. All school budgets predominately are based around personnel. It is the personnel who provide the programs. Without them there is no program. School personnel suffered a long compensation draught during the times of budget … Read More

      Dawn:

      It appears the meeting you reference was run according to appropriate Robert’s Rules. I don’t know the personalities involved and can’t judge who was presiding. Again, it’s all democratic. If the minority has public support they will get to be a majority.

      All school budgets predominately are based around personnel. It is the personnel who provide the programs. Without them there is no program. School personnel suffered a long compensation draught during the times of budget cuts, times that lasted seven years. You are not going to turn that around in one budget cycle.

      Children do suffer in CA’s schools and have for decades, aside from wealthier districts that is. The solutions you asked for might be as follows.

      1) When some legislation and/or initiative is put forward to make the tax increases under Prop 30 permanent, support it and work for passage.

      2) When some legislation and/or initiative is put forward to revise Prop 13, likely a “split roll’ to separate commercial from residential property, support it and work for passage.

      3) When some legislation and/or initiate is put forward to make passing tax increases a majority vote in the CA legislature, support it and work for passage.

      Well, you say, all of these proposals could well be as onerous and time consuming as moving an adequacy lawsuit forward. Yes. We in CA did not get into the school funding doldrums overnight and we will not get out of them overnight either.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary- the rules are anything but democratic. That is why I make public what has actually happened.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary states: "1) When some legislation and/or initiative is put forward to make the tax increases under Prop 30 permanent, support it and work for passage." Should I laugh or cry- We gave you Prop 30 the greatest tax increase in history - and where did that go- 80% to employee compensation increases to employees that are going to retire in the next three years. and .........we did that knowing that money could have been spent … Read More

        Gary states: “1) When some legislation and/or initiative is put forward to make the tax increases under Prop 30 permanent, support it and work for passage.”

        Should I laugh or cry-

        We gave you Prop 30 the greatest tax increase in history – and where did that go- 80% to employee compensation increases to employees that are going to retire in the next three years. and ………we did that knowing that money could have been spent to reduce class size ( 31.5 in transitional k and Pre K ???? really?) California is a State that is owned by public employee unions and paid for politicians. which is why this crap continues to go on. California is a democratically controlled so just own it when you have successfully ruined the lives of 50,000+ students in Orange County who are being punished simply because they live in a wealthy suburban school district where the parents just happen to be wealthy enough to pay taxes and then fundraise for a basic education for not only their children, but all the illegal ELL that you continue to import and steal tax money to support. Mark my words – Jerry Brown is going to go down in history as having destroyed the great public education system his father brought to fruition. Only a a mathematical moron would freeze revenues at 2008 levels and allow expenses to increase at exponential rates and then force ELL to be mainstreamed with the best and brightest Native English speakers, The gap is being closed because now our best and brightest are as dumb as the people that just walked across the boarder and are not only not fluent in their native language they are ELL.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Dawn: Putting aside your jingoism for the moment, it appears you have still to informed yourself beginning with "States in Motion" on this site. We can't just keep bantering about conspiratorial fantasies. Again. There are no educational programs without the employees that implement them. Employees need to be reasonably compensated. They have not received reasonable adjustments to compensation for seven years and now funding is available to do it. So do it. There are other issues that need … Read More

          Dawn:

          Putting aside your jingoism for the moment, it appears you have still to informed yourself beginning with “States in Motion” on this site.

          We can’t just keep bantering about conspiratorial fantasies. Again. There are no educational programs without the employees that implement them. Employees need to be reasonably compensated. They have not received reasonable adjustments to compensation for seven years and now funding is available to do it. So do it.

          There are other issues that need to be addressed; however, CA did not get into the inadequate funding of schools and other services overnight and will not get out of the mess in one budget cycle.

          There is no free lunch.

          • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

            Gary- If you start relying on fundraising to fund programs on a permanent basis what you have is fundraising for employee compensation. That is illegal because it deprives students going to schools in areas that cannot fundraise the same opportunity for a "basic" education as other students. That is in fact what makes this new Education Funding law unconstitutional and irrational. You say you want to provide a base level of funding and then give … Read More

            Gary- If you start relying on fundraising to fund programs on a permanent basis what you have is fundraising for employee compensation. That is illegal because it deprives students going to schools in areas that cannot fundraise the same opportunity for a “basic” education as other students. That is in fact what makes this new Education Funding law unconstitutional and irrational. You say you want to provide a base level of funding and then give more money to ELL, the Poor and Foster kids. However, unless the base grant is set at a level that is sufficient to provide a basic education for every student (not $7,002) then what you have is a law that underfunds every student that happens to live in an area with a high number of ELL, Poor and Foster Children. WHat makes it irrational is that you are depriving every child that lives in an area with a low percentage of ELL, the Poor and Foster Children irrespective oof a students individual wealth, race, or ethnicity. In English- the state law is OK with failing to provide ELL, the Poor and Foster children in wealthy suburban school districts because they feel the taxpayer there can afford to pay for the ELL Poor and Foster kids. What the State is forgetting is that it is the State’s constitutionally mandated to provide a basic education to every student, not for the taxpayer to be taxed twice for the same service. So what has happened is that people have figured this out and they no longer fundraise for a district foundation. They only fundraise for their child’s school. The result is that wealthy Districts are intentionally underfunded by the State, and now that taxpayers in those areas refuse to pay twice for the same service- you have created an educational district that has wealthy schools with what they need and poor schools with no services. Exactly what you were trying to prevent. To be honest- California’s new funding law discriminates against every student living in a wealthy school district because the law is designed to redistribute wealth- not to educate students. The law is a unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. To be constitutional, the base grant needs to be a sufficient amount to provide every student with a basic education. The base grant is set to low to pass a challenge on constitutional grounds. The ELL, poor and Foster Children in wealthy districts are getting no services because there is only money to pay the ever increasing employee compensation. Maybe the Common Core Math Problem that is to hard for the State of California is… how can you freeze revenues at 2008 levels if you want to continue to increase employee compensation every year? That math does not work but no one at the State level either understands that or is willing to admit that.

            • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

              Dawn: CA school funding isn't 'frozen," it is defined by Prop 98. In times of a budget crunch the legislature finds various way s to wiggle around Prop 98 requirements, but there does not appear to be any of that going on currently during a "boom" period, however long that lasts. Schools will receive full funding based on current law (Prop 98), which amounts to about half of the state budget. If the amount going to schools … Read More

              Dawn:

              CA school funding isn’t ‘frozen,” it is defined by Prop 98. In times of a budget crunch the legislature finds various way s to wiggle around Prop 98 requirements, but there does not appear to be any of that going on currently during a “boom” period, however long that lasts.

              Schools will receive full funding based on current law (Prop 98), which amounts to about half of the state budget. If the amount going to schools is too small that is a direct reflection of the sate budget being too small. The dollars will be distributed based on LCFF requirements, based on the same legal and Constitutional principles as ESEA, Title I, in place for decades. That is, extra dollars will flow to those with extra needs.

              Please note that the students in your district are not (though in some cases might be) the children of the employees. They have their own children whose welfare as parents they need to consider and their compensation needs to reflect those concerns too. For the last time, all school employees in CA I am aware of, had flat wages, or because of furloughs (as you constantly mention) reduced wages over the course of seven years. It is only right that the compensation of employees who provide all programs do some catching up now that funding has increased. Also, in this time of teacher shortages it makes sense for district management to work to make their districts pay schedules competitive with other local districts. All programs will depend on this.

              As the children in your district are the primarily the responsibility of the parents in your district and, if what you say is to be believed, class size is a major concern, then the reasonable course of action is to put a parcel tax in place to support class size reduction. Start passing a petition!

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              Gary- Your statement is a little dishonest - "Full funding based on current law"- under LCFF the State is planning to reach 2008 funding levels by 2021. So for CUSD the goal is to go from $7,002 ADA in 2014-15 to $8,500 by 2021. Prop 98 may require the State to spend additional monies on education in high revenue years, but it appears that in reality that money is being distributed in one time grants as … Read More

              Gary-

              Your statement is a little dishonest –

              “Full funding based on current law”- under LCFF the State is planning to reach 2008 funding levels by 2021. So for CUSD the goal is to go from $7,002 ADA in 2014-15 to $8,500 by 2021. Prop 98 may require the State to spend additional monies on education in high revenue years, but it appears that in reality that money is being distributed in one time grants as it was this year. A District cannot pay for on-going expenses with one time funds, so in reality there is a cap on per pupil funding that the District can budget for on-going expenses and it is limited to 2008 funding levels.

              Your statement that “all school employees” had flat wages for the past 7 years” is also dishonest. Step and Column salary schedule increases are compensation increases and those have continued throughout the past 7 years. I have shared with you that in CUSD the teacher salary schedule declined by 1.2% despite our district cutting $152 million from what was one a $473 million dollar budget. Employees did not share equally in cuts and in fact will retire at maximum compensation while class sizes remain large- facilities remain in disrepair and taxpayers are forced to fundraise for services that the State is constitutionally obligated to pay for. As an educated taxpayer – I will not vote to tax myself twice for a service the State is already obligated to provide. The State has adequate tax revenues to fund an adequate education for every student but chooses to spend that money on other things.

            • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

              Dawn: Money going into personnel operation is money going into programs and is entirely within the parameters used to justify Prop 30. You may not like it, as you don't seem to like many things particularly those who actually work in schools, but it is still true. Many districts up and down the state are reducing class sizes, which you assert is not happening in your district. That being said, your district is somewhat short of being … Read More

              Dawn:

              Money going into personnel operation is money going into programs and is entirely within the parameters used to justify Prop 30. You may not like it, as you don’t seem to like many things particularly those who actually work in schools, but it is still true.

              Many districts up and down the state are reducing class sizes, which you assert is not happening in your district. That being said, your district is somewhat short of being the center of the universe (a fact that doesn’t occur either for those from LA or SF) and really doesn’t reflect events statewide.

              Many districts seem to appreciate that the people working in the schools are the most important factor when considering “program,” and what is important to kids, and seem to be operating in good faith and living up to fiduciary responsibilities to support those people. Other districts are not. Enough said.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Ok, since this impacts nearly every school board in the state, I have to respond to this. I wont disagree that employees need to be reasonably compensated. Nor will I disagree that they have not been. However, I dont think that must mean it is the role of school boards to address that inequity (is this their fiduciary responsibility?), especially when it must come at the expense of other educational resources and programs (and before … Read More

            Ok, since this impacts nearly every school board in the state, I have to respond to this.
            I wont disagree that employees need to be reasonably compensated. Nor will I disagree that they have not been.
            However, I dont think that must mean it is the role of school boards to address that inequity (is this their fiduciary responsibility?), especially when it must come at the expense of other educational resources and programs (and before you try, no, raises for existing program providers is different than an increase in the number of programs or the ratio of the people who provide them).
            I am also kind of shocked at your contention that ‘[now that the money is there, we might as well do this],’ especially after prop 30 was sold as something different.
            To be clear, I’m not even arguing this is the wrong use, rather its a bad argument for why it is the right use. Arguments like this are going to make it less likely that an extension to prop 30, or something analogous, will happen. School boards need to weigh the alternatives. If they think teacher raises would help students more than a library or a psychologist or counselor, then thats what they should do, but not simply because the money is there, because it is their responsibility to make decisions that best help their students.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              When a majority your Board of Trustees is elected by the Teachers Union then you do not have Trustees that weigh how best to spend money- you have everyone conspiring behind closed doors to maximize employee compensation even if it is done so at the expense of what is in the best interest of students. This also extends all the way up to the State of California which is highly influenced by the Teachers Union. … Read More

              When a majority your Board of Trustees is elected by the Teachers Union then you do not have Trustees that weigh how best to spend money- you have everyone conspiring behind closed doors to maximize employee compensation even if it is done so at the expense of what is in the best interest of students. This also extends all the way up to the State of California which is highly influenced by the Teachers Union. Has anyone actually read the education laws and seen all the special exceptions that have been put into laws for 2012? Prop 30 was also a well planned collaboration between the Governor, our legislators and CTA otherwise you would not have had every school district in the State “ADVOCATING” for the passage of Pro 30 while remaining silent on Molly Mungers tax initiative which would have been earmarked solely for education and not placed in CA general fund to be used to back fill employee pensions. What a crime.

            • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

              It may or may not be true that everyone is in the pockets of the unions, however, that is a separate issue from what the responsibility of school board members is. During the recession boards made decision after decision over which they lamented and claimed went against every fiber of their being; saying they effectively had to because there was no more money. Now there's money. And now they get to make the decisions that … Read More

              It may or may not be true that everyone is in the pockets of the unions, however, that is a separate issue from what the responsibility of school board members is. During the recession boards made decision after decision over which they lamented and claimed went against every fiber of their being; saying they effectively had to because there was no more money.
              Now there’s money. And now they get to make the decisions that go along with every fiber of their being (well, except that its not really that much more money anyway).
              Not that it matters, but school districts spoke heavily in favor of prop 38. Most that did suggested voting for both, but its not true it was simply ignored. It was of course misrepresented by the authors of prop 30, but that’s not really surprising.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              In my District there was no mention of Prop 38 just Prop 30. I actually filed a complaint because it was all framed in the for of a threat to parents- “if we don’t pass Prop 30 students will have 18 furlough days.

  3. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Dawn: To avoid the "department of redundancy department" issues, let me refer you the the "States in Motion" article here on the Ed Source site that neatly sums up many of the education funding issues that bother you. Most of the charts provided deal with the negative impacts on school funding that began with Prop 13 and continue through today. If you don't like Prop 98, start a movement to overturn it. The taxpayers, acting as … Read More

    Dawn:

    To avoid the “department of redundancy department” issues, let me refer you the the “States in Motion” article here on the Ed Source site that neatly sums up many of the education funding issues that bother you. Most of the charts provided deal with the negative impacts on school funding that began with Prop 13 and continue through today. If you don’t like Prop 98, start a movement to overturn it. The taxpayers, acting as voters, put Prop 98 in place.

    School employee salaries were basically frozen at 2008 levels, if not cut via impacts of furloughs. With increased revenues, due in considerable part to the tax increases provided by Prop 30, in concert with LCFF school funding provisions, employees now have a chance to bring compensation up to more reasonable levels. Class size is an issue all over CA, and has been for decades. I don’t think your district is being picked on. It’s nice to talk abstractly about programs, but remember it’s the school employees who actually provide the programs in the classrooms and at the schools. I don’t know about your area, but in the Bay Area, real estate and rental prices are handicapping districts abilities to hire new teachers. School employees do have to live somewhere.

    School districts do have to submit their budgets for approval by the county offices of education. They have to demonstrate that they will remain solvent projected over 3 years. This includes any raises that may have been negotiated. As I’ve mentioned before, districts can institute early retirement programs that encourage senior teachers to retire earlier and open FTEs for newer teachers that represent a savings to the district. The early retirement programs, as part of the budget, have to demonstrate that, “amortized” over several years, report a savings to the district. Usually, whatever the early retirement incentive is, represent a cost that are a budget wash after two or three years and a saving for the next ten or so. Another benefit is, if properly constructed, the early retirement can allow for a phased retirement of personnel over the course of several years, keeping the savings if spread out more, and prevent large numbers of senior employees from leaving at once. A surge in retirements can cause upheavals and loss of critical experience and institutional memory. This was the basis of increases in STRS several years ago when it appeared too many “Boomers” might leave all at once and incentives were put in place to keep teachers passed the age of 60. This could be what you describe happening in your district. They may be encouraging teachers to stay, not retire.

    You are right to be outraged about school funding in CA. Again see the Ed Source article for why this happened. Also recall the state has many obligations, a number of which you might not like, that are critical for running a government that is as humane as possible. The education budget is around 50% of the entire budget. Spending in areas outside education are not that great either. The overall problem is a budget that is too small to meet the needs of the state and its people.

    Replies

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      Gary CUSD did an early retirement in 2012 that is costing CUSD $2.44 million per year- how many times can we do that? I can tell you that CUSD is not "Solvent" for three years. Like San Diego- these across the board raises for all employees is leaving CUSD with a structural deficit as well. The State has the money to adequately fund K-12 education if it would stop choosing to spend money that we … Read More

      Gary CUSD did an early retirement in 2012 that is costing CUSD $2.44 million per year- how many times can we do that? I can tell you that CUSD is not “Solvent” for three years. Like San Diego- these across the board raises for all employees is leaving CUSD with a structural deficit as well. The State has the money to adequately fund K-12 education if it would stop choosing to spend money that we are constitutionally entitled to on other things- like new entitlement programs, high speed rail and other things that do not benefit a single legal resident. Using our kids to get tax increases and then denying them adequate funding is going to harm a lot of students… every student in CUSD.

      • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

        I was under the impression that an "early retirement" program reduces cost for the entity that offers it because experienced employees with high salaries are replaced by employees paid lower salaries. Why and how is this "early retirement" costing CUSD money? Also, I am under the impression that now that California is getting more tax income that the levels called for in Prop 98 are more or less met, what with districts (or at least LAUSD) … Read More

        I was under the impression that an “early retirement” program reduces cost for the entity that offers it because experienced employees with high salaries are replaced by employees paid lower salaries.

        Why and how is this “early retirement” costing CUSD money?

        Also, I am under the impression that now that California is getting more tax income that the levels called for in Prop 98 are more or less met, what with districts (or at least LAUSD) getting more money through the regular LCFF process and getting “Mandated Cost Reimbursement,” part of Gov. Brown “paying back” the IOUs of the Great Recession (LAUSD got $329 million for 2015-16). If that is the case, shouldn’t this be reflected in CUSD’s budget?

        And where is CUSD’s 2015-16 budget? It is not in their web page (http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/BudgetNews).

        • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

          We budgeted $2.44 million dollars per year to pay for the early retirement of current teachers. We sis not hire new teachers we increased class sizes as we have every year for the last ten years. Now all of our teachers are going to retire at maximum salaries and we will hire new inexperienced teachers to replace them at 1/2 the cost and this money will be the 10% that will go to pay for … Read More

          We budgeted $2.44 million dollars per year to pay for the early retirement of current teachers. We sis not hire new teachers we increased class sizes as we have every year for the last ten years. Now all of our teachers are going to retire at maximum salaries and we will hire new inexperienced teachers to replace them at 1/2 the cost and this money will be the 10% that will go to pay for the increased employer contribution to CalSters and CalPERS by 2021. So as we can all very clearly see now – this was a scheme between the State government and the public employee unions that runs the State government; who conspired together to make sure every public employee retired at max compensation with absolutely no regard to the education of public school students hence California’s dismal academic performance. It is so dismal that the State intends to have no measurable outcomes for three years. Well – as an educated parent and taxpayer I am not going to take a chance on this unconscionable scheme to steel the future of the 53,000 students in my district. The Civil rights of all children here are being violated and because no not for profit advocacy organization will represent a “wealthy” school district we will chip away at this charade once civil rights complaint at a time. When you start misappropriating Federal funds to cover up a lack of state funding you have issue even the Great State of California can’t hide. This unconstitutional law is going to fall like a house of cards.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            What are the conditions of early retirement?

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Dawn:

            Accessing your provided link requires giving information to Google, which I think is likely a conspiracy.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              I do not understand this comment?

            • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

              Everything is a conspiracy to get the teacher union’s monkey off the backs of students.

            • el 2 years ago2 years ago

              More accurately, the link is not to a public document, but to an editable version of something.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Dawn: I can assure you that I do not know the particulars of events in CUSD; however, I do have a great deal of experience with districts budgets and what the requirements are for having county offices approve them. Unless you are suggesting that the county office in your area has not given approval to CUSD's budget? A district cannot submit a budget, including employees raises and/or retirement incentives, that would make it "insolvent." The district would … Read More

        Dawn:

        I can assure you that I do not know the particulars of events in CUSD; however, I do have a great deal of experience with districts budgets and what the requirements are for having county offices approve them. Unless you are suggesting that the county office in your area has not given approval to CUSD’s budget?

        A district cannot submit a budget, including employees raises and/or retirement incentives, that would make it “insolvent.” The district would have to show that projected revenues and savings due to retirements support the increase in compensation or incentives.

        Again, my experience shows that retirement incentives do show a “cost” for the first year or two. Then around year three they are a budget “wash,” because the costs of the incentive are recovered by the decreased costs of senior, more expensive teachers, leaving and the reduced costs of hiring less senior, less expensive, teachers being hired.

        So “all” of your teachers are going to retire at once? That should be interesting as I haven’t heard of that occurring before. Anywhere. Ever. However, if it does happen, and new teachers “at half the price” are hired that will be exactly the model I described to cover the “costs” of the incentive. There goes the “insolvency” issue.

        Your assertion that the district is doing some personnel maneuvering to cover the new dollars required for STRS is interesting. Districts all over are going to have to do something to accommodate the new costs. Luckily, Prop 30, for a few more years will provide some of that new funding or offset other costs.

        The problems with STRs can be traced, as I’ve said before, to the state failing to act to deal with STRS issues over time, taking its own “pension holiday” when the STRS fund was fat, and the machinations of the financial industry that caused the recession and punched a huge hole in the STRS reserves as well as the reserves of other pension funds. Wall Street has done great job in deflecting public attention from its own misdeeds and trying to put the onus on teachers, firefighters, and the police. Neither “max compensation” under STRS nor PERS is as cushy as you imply, except for the upper members of management. So there’s a conspiracy, huh? Well, when it comes to that there’s the Grassy Knoll, Obama’s “missing” birth certificate, and Area 51, and Ebola carrying child immigrants crashing the border. So what’s new?

        • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

          Yes- Gary- I am suggesting that the OCDE approves whatever the District gives them and in fact have internal memos from OCDE where a Fiscal Advisor that was appointed too CUSD sat at a Board Meeting and documented the fact that Minority Board members were silenced by Majority Board members and were not even allowed to make public comment on the record regarding passage of the Districts 2012-13 Budget. If you would like to have … Read More

          Yes- Gary- I am suggesting that the OCDE approves whatever the District gives them and in fact have internal memos from OCDE where a Fiscal Advisor that was appointed too CUSD sat at a Board Meeting and documented the fact that Minority Board members were silenced by Majority Board members and were not even allowed to make public comment on the record regarding passage of the Districts 2012-13 Budget. If you would like to have a better understanding of what is going on in this particular district I wrote an open letter to OCDE asking them to take a hard look at CUSD’s budget process.

          http://patch.com/california/missionviejo/open-letter-orange-county-department-education-board-trustees

          This link is to the Patch so that you do not have to go through google.

          Now, under LCFF OCDE is telling concerned parents that they have no ability to provide over site for 3 years. Parents have had no where to go to ensure that CUSD will spend money to fix facilities, restore programs that have been cut, to reduce class sizes. The only remedy left is to file OCR complaints on individual issues so that someone outside the State of California will intervene on behalf of students. It is that bad for our kids.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Dawn: You make various allegations about district activities and then say to verify that the allegations are accurate look at a letter you wrote containing those and yet more allegations. You mention certain county office and/or internal memos and do not make those available. It is difficult to make much sense of what you say under these circumstances. County offices are charged with making sure district budgets are sound and have various mechanisms available to insure the budgets … Read More

            Dawn:

            You make various allegations about district activities and then say to verify that the allegations are accurate look at a letter you wrote containing those and yet more allegations.

            You mention certain county office and/or internal memos and do not make those available.

            It is difficult to make much sense of what you say under these circumstances.

            County offices are charged with making sure district budgets are sound and have various mechanisms available to insure the budgets are based on sound numbers.

            The “conspiracy” you allege between the union and district to wait until the district’s finances under LCFF/Prop 30/Prop 98 are clear before finalizing negotiations sound very much like common sense. Did you want them to come up with numbers not based on reality?

            Suddenly [sic] the realities of the teacher shortage are hitting the national, as well as state, stage. If it is true that your district will soon be needing large numbers of new teachers, and demographics suggest that is true all over CA, then you may well come to appreciate the fact that the district has negotiated (what sounds like) a competitive salary schedule. Districts without that will struggle until the credential pipeline ratchets up to speed again. You are not going to get the “programs and reduced class sizes” you say you want without adding personnel. Personnel that currently are in short supply.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              The internal e-mails are posted at this link: http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2012/11/internal-e-mails-orange-county-board-of.html Gary- How is the public suppose to be involved in budget discussions when contracts are being negotiated behind closed doors and are not passed in a timely manner? This just proves that despite the fact that LCFF is based on LCAPs and parents involvement- there is no parent involvement. We are completely excluded from the process and the result is that the quality of education our students are … Read More

              The internal e-mails are posted at this link:

              http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2012/11/internal-e-mails-orange-county-board-of.html

              Gary- How is the public suppose to be involved in budget discussions when contracts are being negotiated behind closed doors and are not passed in a timely manner? This just proves that despite the fact that LCFF is based on LCAPs and parents involvement- there is no parent involvement. We are completely excluded from the process and the result is that the quality of education our students are receiving is declining rapidly.

              Gary- I know there is no recourse except a law suit to challenge the State in Federal Court so I pulled my child from public school. I started the blog to make documents public for the families that are still working on issues. There is a need for institutional knowledge regarding employee contracts and budgets so it has all been published both on my blog and in the local patches and everything is written with links to documents in Board Agendas and with Board Audio attached if any one cared to really understand how California’s Public Education System is hurting every child who happens to attend a Charter School or happens to live in a “wealthy” area. If you think our ELL, Poor and Foster kids are getting the services they need – they are not… neither are the students with disabilities. You cannot educate a Child for $7,002 now and $8,500 by 2021 it will be unthinkable.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            It was already shown in LA that county oversight was negligent. This is Dawn’s point in CUSD. Gary is a bought and paid for company man. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              If anyone has any other ideas of recourse besides a long and drawn out law suit in Federal Court – please share.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Dawn: OK, I read the memos. I fail to see what's so "incriminating" about them. They mostly relate to events in 2011 and 2012 re dealing with the economic/budget crisis that all districts dealt with. There were many CA districts with budgets "on thin ice" during this period. It seems your district is/was dealing with declining enrollment too, which means declining funds. You highlighted some areas for some reason. One of the statements related to the district running … Read More

            Dawn:

            OK, I read the memos. I fail to see what’s so “incriminating” about them. They mostly relate to events in 2011 and 2012 re dealing with the economic/budget crisis that all districts dealt with. There were many CA districts with budgets “on thin ice” during this period.

            It seems your district is/was dealing with declining enrollment too, which means declining funds.

            You highlighted some areas for some reason. One of the statements related to the district running deficit spending. This is not at all uncommon, particularly for districts in declining enrollment. Remember the budgets need to project solvency over three years so districts make adjustment over that time frame to insure a qualified budget.

            All in all the memos show a healthy and ongoing dialogue between the county and district. It could be putting the retirement incentive in place, with projected retirements, was one of the adjustments the district was making to maintain a solid budget projection over time.

            One telling remark is from the lady at OC Off of Ed who advised the district finance person to submit a budget that emphasized “accuracy over early release.” That related to a “past practice” issue, in collective bargaining, of coming to agreement in June. So, as I stated, they were waiting to see real budget numbers from the state before bargaining and agreements (a TA), and then submitting a budget. Again, that’s quite a while ago and prior to Prop 30 and LCFF implementation.

            District, as well as union, bargaining proposals are posted publicly for a time defined by law under CA’s “Sunshine Laws.” Then the local board has to provide time for public comment on the proposals. That’s the public access. If you want more influence you need to contact board members, support someone else for the next election, or run for the board yourself. This assumes you have a public constituency who agrees with your views. There are various public/parent committees required under LCFF you and try and get appointed to that make budget related recommendation to the local board.

            Recall that ESEA, Title I, is a federal program that sends extra funding to schools to support certain defined disadvantaged students. Basically the same concept underlying LCFF. For decades, CA sent fewer funds to disadvantaged districts and that was egregious and that was a civil rights violation. You will struggle to have the OCR determine the reverse is true. That CA underfunds education is well known. It is, as I’ve stated, closely related to Prop 13 and other restrictions on CA’s revenue stream. (See “States in Motion”) This is a question of “adequacy” which has not done well in CA’s courts.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              Gary the deceit and dishonest and the blessing by OCDE and the state goes on year after year. Do we have laws governing public disclosure or not- if you look at the codes and statutes they have been written to address one year at a time... for example - teacher pensions will vest even if instructional days drop below 180 days. Go back and read the education code it is a joke and only the … Read More

              Gary the deceit and dishonest and the blessing by OCDE and the state goes on year after year. Do we have laws governing public disclosure or not- if you look at the codes and statutes they have been written to address one year at a time… for example – teacher pensions will vest even if instructional days drop below 180 days. Go back and read the education code it is a joke and only the special interest could get such exceptions written.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              Gary - did you happen to notice that you can no longer have a public hearing and a vote immediately after- do you want to know why? Because it implies that you are only allowing people to speak to make every thing look legal - but the decision has already been made in closed session. There is no time for Trustees to digest what has been said and then maybe have a member of … Read More

              Gary – did you happen to notice that you can no longer have a public hearing and a vote immediately after- do you want to know why? Because it implies that you are only allowing people to speak to make every thing look legal – but the decision has already been made in closed session. There is no time for Trustees to digest what has been said and then maybe have a member of the public change their mind. The system is rigged on behalf of employees and at the expense of students. Wait and just watch how bad academic performance becomes when the GREAT state of California actually decides to measure and repot on how ileterate and unprepared for college or career every child is that has gone through the public education system. It is the liberal democates in education that are creating the greatest inequity in our lifetime. You keep promoting that every student is entitled to a college education then your policies make them to stupid to even read or write much less achieve the minimum math skills of Algebra II to graduate. You want people to be stupid so they will continually vote to give more of their money to the State. Well – that will never be me or the children I raised,. And I cannot tell you how absolutely pissed I am to have to pay taxes (outrageous taxes and fees ) to California so they can waste my money providing new entitlements to people who are not in this country legally and then pay for private school tuition to get a basic education for my child when the State of California is already constitutionally obligated to provide a basis education to EVERY child. The state is not entitled to deprive every child in a charter school or wealthy area of a basic education simply because the current governor or State legislators would like to redistribute wealth rather than comply with the State’s constitution.

            • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

              I meant to say the law was changed to say that teachers pensions will vest even if instructional days drop beloe 165 days - that would be the number of instructional days students would have had if the parents and taxpayers had not voted to pass prop3- - that is actually black mail - if you stupid votes don;t pass prop 30 your kids will get 165 days of school instead of the 180. We … Read More

              I meant to say the law was changed to say that teachers pensions will vest even if instructional days drop beloe 165 days – that would be the number of instructional days students would have had if the parents and taxpayers had not voted to pass prop3- – that is actually black mail – if you stupid votes don;t pass prop 30 your kids will get 165 days of school instead of the 180. We actually have letters written by California Universities stating that they will not be able to admit as many students if taxpayers don’t agree to pass prop 30. Notice how no letters were written from public educational institutions about Molly Mungers education funding initiate???? Well that is because her funding would have gone to education and not the general fund. I have enough documentation to prove that the California education system engaged in political advocacy which is strictly prohibited.

            • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

              Dawn: The pension "investment" you talk about means teachers get a full year of STRS credit based on whatever the "full year" is. The pension amount would still be based on some calculation of their earnings in the final year(s) they retired. It is not the teachers who control the state budget. Teachers also did not help create the huge recession that resulted in the education cuts of the last few years, that was the financial … Read More

              Dawn:

              The pension “investment” you talk about means teachers get a full year of STRS credit based on whatever the “full year” is. The pension amount would still be based on some calculation of their earnings in the final year(s) they retired.

              It is not the teachers who control the state budget. Teachers also did not help create the huge recession that resulted in the education cuts of the last few years, that was the financial industry. Do you hear of those folks having their golden parachutes reduced? Teachers don’t set the number of days allowable to be considered a full year, that is the state legislature.

              So why should teachers pay more of a penalty in compensation or pensions for decisions that are not theirs to make?

              And you repeatedly mischaracterize “student furlough days.” Yes, the students miss a day of instruction, but teachers and most other employees lose a day of compensation. Districts would save little money just keeping students away, the savings in furloughs are all about keeping employees away.

              You appear to be looking for conspiracies and other wrong doing where there isn’t any. The “evidence” you have provided in memos and transcripts amount to nothing.

              You charge that employees are getting a great deal at the expense of the students. Again, without the employees the kids get nothing. Without employees there is nothing to provide.

              As you point out CA already shortchanges the schools and the kids because of lack of adequate funding. The funding only comes from taxes. You want more funding? Then you want more taxes. There is no “free lunch.”

              Your proposal that CA only fund things the way you want them funded is pretty dogmatic. You once suggested I get outside the circle of educators to understand what’s going on in the world. Well, I suggest you get out of Orange County to see how out of touch with the real world that little island of right-wingery is.

  4. ann 2 years ago2 years ago

    I try to read Edsource regularly and look forward to reading comments because so many viewpoints are represented. However within the publication it seems the opposite. How about having or hiring journalists who represent views other than the education establishment in Sacramento? You know the fourth estate and all that jazz?

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Ann:

      Great idea. Why they could put all kinds of stories from the Fourth Estate together in one printed (or online) format and call them…let’s see…how about newspapers?

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Ann, Ed Source gets a large portion of its operating budget from Bill and Melinda. Isn’t that nice of them, such selfless philanthropists helping out the children through their promotion of education? And if you’ve never seen a puppet show with talented marionettists, I highly recommend the Common Core stories.

  5. SD Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

    The disconnect between the SBE's goals with LCFF and the LCAPs and the reality, particularly for those of us with children in the classrooms, would be laughable if it weren't so tragic for students. And since no one asked the non-district employees down here how things are going, here are some concrete examples for Mr. Kirst from the trenches of the second largest district in the state, San Diego Unified. "Local control" translates into the … Read More

    The disconnect between the SBE’s goals with LCFF and the LCAPs and the reality, particularly for those of us with children in the classrooms, would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic for students. And since no one asked the non-district employees down here how things are going, here are some concrete examples for Mr. Kirst from the trenches of the second largest district in the state, San Diego Unified.

    “Local control” translates into the district and the collective bargaining units (primarily the teachers’) making the decisions. In San Diego Unified, “local control” means that employees get retroactive and future pay raises, despite the fact that this creates a structural deficit of $34.6 million in the district’s 2015-16 budget and creates budget shortfalls of $94.7 million in 2016-17 and $119.4 million in 2017-18. All this doesn’t bode well for new programs and services to improve student outcomes, which generally involve additional expenses, not less funding. (Fortunately, the teachers’ union wanted K-3 class sizes reduced to 1:24, so our students are luckier than Capistrano Unified.)

    So despite receiving considerably more LCFF funding for 2015-16, it largely ended up at school sites in the pockets of the employees, not as increased programs and services for students. For example, the district on average halved the amount of “LCFF intervention funds” given to schools–these are funds school sites receive on a per pupil basis for students who are LI, EL or FY–effectively reducing both “local control” (the school site being closest to the classroom) as well as the support services for these students at the school sites. In fact, most sites have already lost their English Language Support Teachers due to 11th hour budget reductions in June 2014 (although a few will be funded by the district).

    In fact, the San Diego Unified district operations with respect to priorities and budget decisions is largely the same as it was before there was an LCAP (e.g. the district sets its preliminary budget in late January/early February, months before a draft LCAP is crafted), despite “LCFF presentations” and “LCAP meetings.”

    In addition, there is very little authentic “accountability” under the LCAP. It became very difficult to determine how students were performing and whether there was an achievement gap the moment the state decided to suspend standardized testing (the CSTs) and left the decision to the school district. And with the advent of SBAC testing came the realization–not surprising–that students weren’t prepared and wouldn’t do well. So if all students are doing poorly, does that mean there is no achievement gap? Mr. Kirst has been quoted previously that he believes it will take several years before the SBAC test scores are an accurate reflection, and the state has gone so far as to suspend any evaluation of schools (e.g. API) in the absence of actual metrics for student achievement. But if we can’t measure schools because of the lack of good data, then what, exactly, becomes the metric for student achievement in the LCAP? In San Diego Unified, they aren’t even putting the SBAC results into the LCAP (why measure something that makes student outcome look bad?). Instead, they are using limited concrete metrics, like DRA scores for elementary students, and largely “soft” markers, like attendance rates in TK, Kinder, and first grade, high school graduation rates (talk about too late to make a difference!) or whether students took an AP class as a junior or senior in high school.

    For those metrics that do have direct measures, the goals can sound a lot more lofty than the reality. For example, the goal for third grade reading proficiency is baseline + 10%. But that translates into 10% of the already low 48.5% to a goal of 53.3%. And once a baseline becomes high, the goal switches to a flat increase–e.g. with graduation rates at 87.9%, the goal is not 10% more but “2 points” (presumably that’s 89.9%). When current baselines so low in most areas measured and incremental change hovering around 2-5% per year, how many decades will it take to bring students up where they need to be to be successful?

    The folks who have the most vested interest in student success–the parents–are largely marginalized by our district. For all the talk of “parent involvement” and it being one of the LCAP areas of priority, it feels more like the district is checking off the “parent involvement” box rather than really valuing parent input. For example, the district’s LCAP Planning Team is largely district employees with a sprinkling of “invited” parents, many of whom are too green to be able to be effective advocates or are afraid to be too outspoken for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with the district and/or of a negative impact to their children. In particular, the English Learner folks not only have to overcome language barriers, but are also largely too naive and disorganized to have the voice they need to advocate effectively for their children’s needs. The lack of interest in genuine input from the public (including parents) was particularly noticeable when speakers were allowed just 60 seconds to respond to the 80-page draft LCAP (after waiting four hours for the chance to provide input).

    There is one ray of hope, however. Under the LCAP, the district now needs to generate data, and for the first time in the years I’ve followed district operations, it is genuinely and publicly tracking students–albeit with metrics that are largely “soft” and don’t measure whether students actually made a year’s worth of growth or understand what they were taught. If metrics and expectations would be better defined by the state, then there is hope that outcomes would improve for students.

    Fundamentally, while Mr. Kirst and the SBE might have several years for school districts to get everything from Common Core instruction and testing to the LCAP working effectively, don’t forget that children in school now have only one opportunity for their education. The state is going to have to work a lot harder and a lot faster to create authentic accountability measures to make sure that we don’t let millions of children slip through the cracks while everyone works to figure things out.

    Replies

    • ann 2 years ago2 years ago

      You should run for school board. You are very well informed.

  6. Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

    LCFF should not be used for across the board raises. It makes no sense to pay more and reward incompetence for the same low level of experience.

    Class size reduction should be forbidden at district schools. With districts finding fewer teachers applying it would just force them to hire even more incompetent people, like the disaster in the 1990’s where districts were forced to hire anyone off the street.

    Class size reduction only works in a charter school environment.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Parent Good time to bring this up as the news today features various articles relating to SF's district having trouble hiring enough teachers and this is strictly related to high housing costs and/or teacher pay too low to deal with housing costs. Now SF does have freakishly high housing costs, but that just a reflection of the fact that CA has very high housing costs and very high cost-of-living (#2 of 50 states) in general. Much … Read More

      Parent

      Good time to bring this up as the news today features various articles relating to SF’s district having trouble hiring enough teachers and this is strictly related to high housing costs and/or teacher pay too low to deal with housing costs. Now SF does have freakishly high housing costs, but that just a reflection of the fact that CA has very high housing costs and very high cost-of-living (#2 of 50 states) in general. Much is made of CA having relatively high teachers salaries, but a number of studies (RAND Corp for example) demonstrate that in terms of “buying power” CA teachers salaries rank the lowest of all industrialized states and only about average for the nation.

      So all of above demonstrate how it is entirely appropriate that LCFF funds go to make of flat or declining teacher pay after almost a decade of teacher compensation neglect.

      Frequently arguments are tossed out that money in education accounts for very little. This is a gross distortion of statements made by one of the most famous education researchers and one of the most comprehensive sociological studies done, ever, in the nation: The Coleman Report. Coleman said that of all the factors related to differences in school achievement that school spending was not the #1 factor. He said parental income was # 1 with school segregation being #2. Note that today we have economic disparities as a key electoral focal point, as the disparities and wage suppression is worse now than any time in decades, and economic and housing policy has created segregated schools at a rate likely worse than that driving Brown v. neither Coleman nor any other legitimate education research has ever tried to make the specious argument that education spending “doesn’t matter.”

      Such arguments also neatly [sic] sidestep the fact that the nation’s highest performing schools systems spend the most per child and the nation’s lowest performing states spend the least per child. It is also worth noting that those high performing states have the highest percentages of unionized teachers in the nation.

      It is also with noting that, to a significant degree, the school segregation problem is currently being driven by charter school proliferation. Check the UCLA Civil Rights Project on this. The segregation is not just economic and racial, it is also based on charters using various methods to underserve special needs students. Parents are exercising “choice,” and just like after Brown v Board, the choice is to put their kids into less diverse environments. This violates what the US should stand for in too many ways to recount here.

      Some well researched actual school reforms shown to work, and shown to work with disadvantaged students especially well, are reduced class size, enough staffing to allow for teacher collaboration time, and a full range of specialists and support personnel (aides, librarians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, administrators, classified supervisory staff–a partial list) all cost money. having CA;s school spending among the nation’s bottom feeders for decades, while simultaneously getting some of the most difficult to educate students in nation and in far higher numbers than the rest of the nation, has resulted in CA’s schools, in non-afflunet areas, being handicapped in appropriately meeting students’ needs. Needless to say, CA has the fewest teachers per student (aka, highest class sizes) with fewer of the needed support specialists in the nation. All directly ties to low per student funding.

      It is gong to talke major changes in CA’s revenue stream to built the capacity to active the state’s goals in meeting the needs of all students.

      Again you make a statement: “Class size reduction only works in a charter school environment,” that is totally unhinged from what is known about charter performance v. regular public school performance. I would assume being constantly called on this would be frustrating. On the other hand highly ideological people never seem to find being called out on misstatements as being too uncomfortable. Luckily, as charters are now under regulatory scrutiny for alleged illegal actions blocking teachers’ unionizing tow things are likely to occur: 1) charter performance will improve as the work environment improves due to collective bargaining; and, 2) the proliferation of charters generally will decrease as the private sector charter management firms find their incentives to start charters that harvest public dollars that should be going to program and teachers will be curtailed.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        The truth is, the pay is very high for those who are least likely to leave and have been there a long time. They would not be likely to quit teaching if pay weren't so high. People with over 20 years on the job won't leave. It should be flattened to attract new teachers and based on productivity. San Francisco can attract a lot of people because most teachers have 2d jobs, and … Read More

        The truth is, the pay is very high for those who are least likely to leave and have been there a long time. They would not be likely to quit teaching if pay weren’t so high. People with over 20 years on the job won’t leave. It should be flattened to attract new teachers and based on productivity.

        San Francisco can attract a lot of people because most teachers have 2d jobs, and sales jobs in SF pay more due to the thriving economy. Most teachers work 15-20 hours a week in real estate sales, selling credit card processing systems, delivering for food delivery companies, or in other sorts of commission sales. Therefore most make six figures all told. If they stay married, a big if, you can live very well.

        San Francisco gets a huge tax base. They should put general funds into education. They falsely assume because the amount is set in Sacramento, they are off the hook in terms of pressure to spend more, but many communities spend general fund money on education. San Jose, San Diego, Pleasanton, Manteca. If SF spent 1% of it’s general fund on education supplements it would come to 1500 a year per student, a huge difference. We should spend less on the homeless, which is impossible to solve, and more on schools.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary- The State of California has record high revenues ($113 billion this year). So remind me why taxpayers should put up with an education funding law that freezes K-12 revenues at 2008 levels by the year 2021? In 2008 State revenues were $102 billion. If revenues are going to be frozen at 2008 levels then the State should be mandating that expenses "employee compensation" should also be frozen at 2008 levels. Instead average teacher compensation in … Read More

        Gary-

        The State of California has record high revenues ($113 billion this year). So remind me why taxpayers should put up with an education funding law that freezes K-12 revenues at 2008 levels by the year 2021? In 2008 State revenues were $102 billion.

        If revenues are going to be frozen at 2008 levels then the State should be mandating that expenses “employee compensation” should also be frozen at 2008 levels. Instead average teacher compensation in CUSD has gone from $95,000 per year in 2012-13 to $108,000 per year this year. CUEA is expecting a 2% salary schedule increase into perpetuity and at the same time there has been no class size reductions- no facilities maintenance and no restoration of cut programs. In the latest Board agenda parents are being told that there is no budget to refresh technology and that each school site will determine when it is time to refresh; and the cost will come from parents donations and fundraising… I guess we will see that Williams schools will never have new technology while schools in more affluent areas will have whatever they need.

        Freezing funding at 2008 levels given the tax revenues in 2015 is disgraceful.

        The reason every district is giving across the Board raises is to make sure that employees that are retiring soon will retire at max salary (which is everyone in CUSD); then the District will hire a brand new staff at 1/2 the cost (already starting to happen this year) and leave students with brand new… inexperienced teachers… in class sizes of 40… in facilities that are falling apart… and when the state finally gets around to measuring academic performance again, CUSD will find that the achievement gap is officially closed – every student will be equally uneducated and equally unprepared for college or career.

    • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

      Wow, as someone whose kids benefited hugely from class-size reduction in urban public non-charter schools, I'll just pick my jaw up off the floor long enough to say that's a minority opinion (that class-size reduction only works in charter schools), and one never heard, ever, anywhere, by anyone who has spent time or had kids spend time in school (student, parent, volunteer, teacher), unless their kids are in schools with small classes and they're … Read More

      Wow, as someone whose kids benefited hugely from class-size reduction in urban public non-charter schools, I’ll just pick my jaw up off the floor long enough to say that’s a minority opinion (that class-size reduction only works in charter schools), and one never heard, ever, anywhere, by anyone who has spent time or had kids spend time in school (student, parent, volunteer, teacher), unless their kids are in schools with small classes and they’re only talking about other people’s kids.

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      Dear Parent- Normally I would agree with you , except class size increases have been used for the last ten years to provide compensation increases to employees. I do not exaggerate - at PTA meeting we discussed reporting the class sizes to the fire department but in practicality where would we put these kids so that they did not loose instructional time????? What if the fire department actually came in and closed a classroom for having … Read More

      Dear Parent-

      Normally I would agree with you , except class size increases have been used for the last ten years to provide compensation increases to employees. I do not exaggerate – at PTA meeting we discussed reporting the class sizes to the fire department but in practicality where would we put these kids so that they did not loose instructional time????? What if the fire department actually came in and closed a classroom for having 36 kids in a 20:1 classroom. It got so crazy- that CUSD started to spend money to remodle classrooms to hold more children… combining 2 20:1 classrooms just to avoid paying MORE teachers so that OLD teacher could retire at a higher rate. Employee contract negotiations are always about what is in the best interest of students…. maybe we should have just hired more teachers at a lower pay scale than pay existing teacher more????

      • Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

        When the large classroom reduction happened in California in the 1990' they had to hire tens of thousands of teachers right off the street, they weren't all credentialed and you couldn't be picky as a district. These teachers are still around. If you had a good teacher then you were better off, but it wrecked California education overall. I think the legacy of these poor teachers (that can't be fired) … Read More

        When the large classroom reduction happened in California in the 1990′ they had to hire tens of thousands of teachers right off the street, they weren’t all credentialed and you couldn’t be picky as a district. These teachers are still around. If you had a good teacher then you were better off, but it wrecked California education overall. I think the legacy of these poor teachers (that can’t be fired) in addition to newer teachers being more interested in a charter environment were the primary reasons for massive charter growth in California.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Parent: As Linda Darling-Hammond said in her book (about the 'flat world" of education), if you were looking to design a class size reduction (CSR) program that would have difficulties you can just look at what happened in CA. The crux of the problem was the Governor at the time who had to devote more dollars to the schools, under Prop 98, then he wanted to. Being a Republican he never wanted to devote more money … Read More

          Parent:

          As Linda Darling-Hammond said in her book (about the ‘flat world” of education), if you were looking to design a class size reduction (CSR) program that would have difficulties you can just look at what happened in CA. The crux of the problem was the Governor at the time who had to devote more dollars to the schools, under Prop 98, then he wanted to. Being a Republican he never wanted to devote more money to schools and this was just about 5 years after CA had dropped below the national average in spending per child. So, he gritted his teeth and sent the money, but he tied it to a CSR program that had to be implanted NOW or give ip the money. No time to bring teachers up to speed on appropriate CSR strategies, no time to expand facilities so that classes didn’t have to be taught in gyms, libraries, and even bathrooms. In a word, no time to ramp up the program at all. That being said within a year or so the new teachers that had been hired were developing skills and gaining experience and, all in all, turning into fine teachers. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest otherwise. At about the same time CA’s schools began to experience an influx of second language and disadvantaged students that made the school’s job even harder. Then came the next generation of cuts, the gradual elimination of CSR, and the biggest class sizes in the nation and with per student funding, in cost-of-living weighted dollars, near bottom of the 50 states. There are many factors that have severely stressed CA’s schools, but after the first year or so, CSR was nothing but an advantage to students who had an opportunity to experience it.

          If you would take the trouble to get some information (it likely won’t hurt) you’ll find that charter schools have an extremely high teacher turnover rate and that new teachers abandon them as soon as they have an opportunity to get a regular, unionized, job in a normal public school. There is increasing pressure on charters to organize unions, and if that happens, the personnel churn at those school might decline. On the other hand, the private sector management firms that push charters may be disinclined to do so once charter teachers start getting hours, wages, and working conditions comparable to their regular public school peers. Therefore, it is likely their spread will decline precipitously.

        • ann 2 years ago2 years ago

          This is not an unimportant fact. That was in 1995? Is that right? Those teachers make up a good portion of the current stock and were more indoctrinated than trained (note: I don’t think edschools are worth a damn and may in fact be our second biggest hurdle, ELLS being our number one challenge)

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Ann: No, LD-H's "The Flat World and Education" came out around 2010. It remains very, very, contemporary and worthy of note for those serious about education policy. A number of the teachers at that time were trained, depending in ed school, in the data driven, pacing guide constrained, scripted curriculum handicapped, NCLB dictated conventional wisdom of the time. Recall, it was a Duncan proposal to rank education schools based on the test scores produced by the students … Read More

            Ann:

            No, LD-H’s “The Flat World and Education” came out around 2010. It remains very, very, contemporary and worthy of note for those serious about education policy.

            A number of the teachers at that time were trained, depending in ed school, in the data driven, pacing guide constrained, scripted curriculum handicapped, NCLB dictated conventional wisdom of the time. Recall, it was a Duncan proposal to rank education schools based on the test scores produced by the students of the teachers the ed school graduated. Concerns about “professional” survival drove some in ed schools to make bad choices.

            On the other hand, many of the ed schools tried to impart some real meaning of what it meant to be a teacher as well as sound, research based, pedagogy and instructional strategies to the new corps of teachers. (I say this based on the fact that a couple of times a year I went to the conventions of the college teachers of education to hear what they had to say.)

            Needless to say, many of the new teachers went to districts, particularly if they were disadvantaged districts, where the demeaned, test-based accountability, orthodoxy was the mandate and where students were denied access to a well rounded curriculum.

            The ELL and disadvantaged student populations are indeed our greatest challenge in the schools, as they are in the schools of every other state and nation. More than that those kids present a huge challenge to our national vision of what opportunity means in the US. That being said, I hold to the fact that we must have the kind of schools we need for the kinds of student we have. In terms of national policy, I fall back on goal #1 of Goals 2000: Every child shall arrive at school ready to learn. Notably, politicians, policy makers, and many (if not all) on the political right as well a centrists (neo-liberals) dropped that goal like a hot potato once it became clear that they might be held accountable for reaching that goal.

  7. Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

    Step and column pay schedules ensure that extra money will not increase student achievement.

    When a teacher has no incentive to work harder than their peers everything goes to the lowest common denominator.

    I am guessing that LCFF will widen the gap of student achievement between non-unionized charters and unionized districts.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      I agree 100%. That is the first thing we should change after Vergara is confirmed.

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Parent: You obviously don't know much about charters. There is no evidence whatsoever that non-union charters outperform unionized regular public schools. In fact, the evidence suggests charters underperform regular public schools about 2 to 1. You've been reading advertising again and not the research. But, you're a civilian. What else is expected? In fact, if you look at the highest performing states in the US, in measured achievement, that are all high spending and highly unionized. The … Read More

      Parent:

      You obviously don’t know much about charters. There is no evidence whatsoever that non-union charters outperform unionized regular public schools. In fact, the evidence suggests charters underperform regular public schools about 2 to 1. You’ve been reading advertising again and not the research. But, you’re a civilian. What else is expected?

      In fact, if you look at the highest performing states in the US, in measured achievement, that are all high spending and highly unionized. The lowest performing states are low spending and outlaw teachers’ collective bargaining rights.

      What can be asserted with some authority based on the data, is that you may not be able to draw a causal relationship between teachers’ unions and high academic achievement (though some studies do), you can assertively say teachers’ unions do not prevent high achievement.

      And your assertion about the uniform salary schedule are baseless. There are some very high performing districts in CA that have the same step and column uniform salary schedule as low performing districts. No “lowest common denominator” in those high performing and affluent areas.

      Interestingly the high performing districts hire teachers from the same teacher preparation systems as the low performing, operate under the same rules about probationary teachers, operate under the same layoff procedure mandated by statute, and operate under the same dismissal procedures mandated by statute. Those high performing districts operate humanely, smoothly, and efficiently. Management there do their homework and their jobs professionally. You will not hear them whining about how the law handcuffs them.

      What most differentiates low performing public schools (and charters as well) is that they have high rates of teacher turnover and, because of that, the remaining teachers tend to be newer and have less experience.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary - you start every comment assuming that no one is as educated as you. Well I beg to differ- please do not underestimate the education level of parents... especially those who truly want their children to have a better life then they had. You need to spend some time with people who are not educators- you are all starting to be "in bread" you have no thought other than "group speak". Read More

        Gary – you start every comment assuming that no one is as educated as you. Well I beg to differ- please do not underestimate the education level of parents… especially those who truly want their children to have a better life then they had. You need to spend some time with people who are not educators- you are all starting to be “in bread” you have no thought other than “group speak”.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          You got that right, Dawn. Here Ravani wants us to believe that more money and more unions are the drivers of more achievement. Yet, when it behooves him Ravani claims that socio-economics are the primary drivers. Right now he's making the case that teachers make the difference because it also behooves him for the sake of argument.Yesterday or the day before he said, in effect, the opposite - that teachers have … Read More

          You got that right, Dawn. Here Ravani wants us to believe that more money and more unions are the drivers of more achievement. Yet, when it behooves him Ravani claims that socio-economics are the primary drivers. Right now he’s making the case that teachers make the difference because it also behooves him for the sake of argument.Yesterday or the day before he said, in effect, the opposite – that teachers have a comparatively minimal effect in relation to SES.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            So true. I’ve never seen Gary have one opinion against the union. That’s impossible if you are open minded, no one can agree with any organization 100%. It’s just too automatic to take seriously.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Dawn: Trust me on this: I am well aware that most people are not as well informed on education issues, nor have the close to 40 years of experience, that I have in the field. This, in part, is why I take the time and trouble to comment here and/or write articles on education subjects. Though out of the classroom since 2008 I still feel the compulsion to teach, though as experience in the classroom showed … Read More

          Dawn:

          Trust me on this: I am well aware that most people are not as well informed on education issues, nor have the close to 40 years of experience, that I have in the field. This, in part, is why I take the time and trouble to comment here and/or write articles on education subjects.

          Though out of the classroom since 2008 I still feel the compulsion to teach, though as experience in the classroom showed me (and particularly some experiences with the media and public) not everyone has a compulsion to learn.

          You can lead a horse to water, but if you want him to swim on his back (which is what a great deal of learning is all about), you’ve really got to be persistent. And so it goes.

      • ann 2 years ago2 years ago

        I hate it when folks cherry pick facts. There are both good and bad charters. Its notable that the largest Charter Organization have been advocating to shut down the non performers, many of which are not independent and Gary doesn't care if they close either since the teachers are part of CTA. The state (and districts) continues to resist enforcing the actual intent of the law which is to take away charters when the students … Read More

        I hate it when folks cherry pick facts. There are both good and bad charters. Its notable that the largest Charter Organization have been advocating to shut down the non performers, many of which are not independent and Gary doesn’t care if they close either since the teachers are part of CTA. The state (and districts) continues to resist enforcing the actual intent of the law which is to take away charters when the students don’t at least show improvement. But lots of charters do indeed out perform other schools particularly for our most difficult to educate students, poor, minorities, ELLs (many students are in all three categories).

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      No amount of money will increase student achievement except perhaps around the edges. SIG proved that, just as decades of T1 and categorical programs failed to measurably increase student achievement. That said, I have no problem with step and column increases as long as continued employment is predicated on a reasonable yearly review process, though I would weight it on performance rather than have set adjustments. Just as teacher or in-school impact on achievement is … Read More

      No amount of money will increase student achievement except perhaps around the edges. SIG proved that, just as decades of T1 and categorical programs failed to measurably increase student achievement. That said, I have no problem with step and column increases as long as continued employment is predicated on a reasonable yearly review process, though I would weight it on performance rather than have set adjustments. Just as teacher or in-school impact on achievement is measured around 14%, only the other 86% of individual, family and community influence on student achievement can really make a difference on whether a student will succeed in school. In no way does that downplay the importance of high quality teaching. It’s only to say that we shouldn’t expect miracles from teachers who cannot be expected to solve society’s problems. Many reformers are pushing solutions that should collectively be called the “Stand and Deliver” school of reform.

    • Todd Maddison 2 years ago2 years ago

      Can you imagine how quickly education would improve if we cut the entire school district administration's pay by some large amount (call it 20%), then put a bonus program in place that paid out 30% if they met objective academic achievement goals - measured using standardized tests...? It's not hard to design compensation plans that incentivize performance, the private sector does that all the time (I've done that myself several times for large companies.) … Read More

      Can you imagine how quickly education would improve if we cut the entire school district administration’s pay by some large amount (call it 20%), then put a bonus program in place that paid out 30% if they met objective academic achievement goals – measured using standardized tests…?

      It’s not hard to design compensation plans that incentivize performance, the private sector does that all the time (I’ve done that myself several times for large companies.) It’s just general human nature to focus your energies on things that get you “more of what you want” in some way – often money.

      Teachers should get a taste of this too. I’m sure the entire plan could be made revenue neutral “if no improvement happens overall”, and if overall improvement DOES happen – as measured objectively – then for one parent I’d be happy to pay more towards it.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        I agree, with bonuses for not missing a day and performance. Our schools would improve fast with this type of compensation plan.

        • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

          There already are bonuses for not missing a day.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Not in SF, teachers can miss 11 days with no loss of pay. 11 days missed when you work 180 plus a few prep days is atrocious. I'd be embarrassed. Maybe one year, you have some medical tragedy, but many miss 11 days each year. You have Summer, Spring Break, winter break, to go to the DMV and for doctors and dentists. Many just take days off because it's in … Read More

            Not in SF, teachers can miss 11 days with no loss of pay. 11 days missed when you work 180 plus a few prep days is atrocious. I’d be embarrassed. Maybe one year, you have some medical tragedy, but many miss 11 days each year. You have Summer, Spring Break, winter break, to go to the DMV and for doctors and dentists. Many just take days off because it’s in the contract. There is no bonus for missing 0 days. Or for any number of days missed.

            • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

              Do you know what bonus means?

            • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

              Floyd, you get bonus points if you come up with the correct answer to Navigio’s question. You should be embarrassed even if you don’t miss work. Learn how to write a logical sentence that makes some sense. It might not convince any one of what you have to say, but at least you might have a chance of doing so.

            • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

              I believe instead of a 12% across the board raise, in San Francisco, it would have been more cost effective to give a 6% raise and a bonus slightly higher, 9%, for all teachers who miss under 3 days and 5% for those who miss 4 or 5. The cost would end up the same because many will still miss 11 days. Instead of all getting 12%, those who save the district money … Read More

              I believe instead of a 12% across the board raise, in San Francisco, it would have been more cost effective to give a 6% raise and a bonus slightly higher, 9%, for all teachers who miss under 3 days and 5% for those who miss 4 or 5. The cost would end up the same because many will still miss 11 days. Instead of all getting 12%, those who save the district money on subs would get rewarded with more. From what I understand in SF, there is no bonus payment for missing 0 days. I think if you knew that when you missed that first day, you lost a chance at a huge bonus of perhaps 4k, and with the 6th day you lost a chance for 2k, you’d really think about it getting towards Summer. You’d think, am I really that sick, do I really need a mental health day to go see a movie. And you very well might end up missing far fewer days. The absentee rate in SF is actually higher than that for private industry or for students. That is horrible. People in private industry may need to go to a doctor or dentist or DMV. Teachers have enough free days in Summer, Winter, Spring that others don’t have, so they should have a far better attendance as a percentage. I believe kids are damaged when teachers call in sick when they aren’t. Under current SF policy, you don’t have to even call in and say you are sick. You can just say I want today off, 11 times a school year. Many take days off they don’t need, which hurts children.

            • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

              Floyd, teachers have a higher than normal incidence of sickness because they are exposed day in and day out to hundreds and thousands of children. This is a fact that is universally acknowledged, except by you. That doesn't mean some teachers don't abuse sick time like some employees everywhere. I think your constant comments on this issue fall on deaf ears for the simple reason that teachers get more exposure to illness than most others. … Read More

              Floyd, teachers have a higher than normal incidence of sickness because they are exposed day in and day out to hundreds and thousands of children. This is a fact that is universally acknowledged, except by you. That doesn’t mean some teachers don’t abuse sick time like some employees everywhere. I think your constant comments on this issue fall on deaf ears for the simple reason that teachers get more exposure to illness than most others. Giving teachers monetary incentives just to show up for work is a far cry from advocating for higher teacher quality. You’re wasting your time saying the same thing over and over.

            • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

              I support those incentives too. Lock step pay, LIFO, Seniority, all are terrible ideas. Anyone starting a business would be insane to set up pay that way for their employees. How anyone ever thought this would be a good idea I find truly and utterly amazing.

      • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

        Hahahah So let me get this straight. We're going to tell employees of an already severely under-resourced system that they will not get any additional resources, instead we're going to cut their pay and this will incentivize them to spread themselves even thinner and in the process will significantly improve their overall output? When was the last time one of your 'incentive plans' for the private sector included cutting the pay of existing employees by 20%? Did … Read More

        Hahahah

        So let me get this straight. We’re going to tell employees of an already severely under-resourced system that they will not get any additional resources, instead we’re going to cut their pay and this will incentivize them to spread themselves even thinner and in the process will significantly improve their overall output?
        When was the last time one of your ‘incentive plans’ for the private sector included cutting the pay of existing employees by 20%?
        Did you suggest tying one arm behind their backs too? Or taking away their computers? Or slashing their tires in the parking lot?
        When you implement ‘incentives’ that reward one employee for the performance of not even another employee, but of people who don’t even work for the company, then what happens is people migrate to situations where those non-employees happen to do best, completely independent of the behavior of either of the two employees in question.
        This reminds me of the Florida law of a few years ago that would have based custodians’ performance partially on the scores of the students in their school. Maybe you’d like Florida? 🙂

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          The average teacher would receive the same income under this scenario, but due to the differentiation the average teacher would work harder and miss fewer days, which would be fair and benefit the children.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Could achieve the same thing by lowering class sizes. And that might even help kids.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Todd- normally I would agree with you. However - when you cut $152 million from a $432 million dollar budget and still give employees a pay raise every year- I can assure you the District has cut every possible thing to preserve employee compensation Our Administration is so lean that they cannot even respond to Public Records request ,,, they do not even have time to submit honors class submissions to the UC Honors class … Read More

        Todd- normally I would agree with you. However – when you cut $152 million from a $432 million dollar budget and still give employees a pay raise every year- I can assure you the District has cut every possible thing to preserve employee compensation Our Administration is so lean that they cannot even respond to Public Records request ,,, they do not even have time to submit honors class submissions to the UC Honors class Board so we are one of a very few Districts that have no honors classes that will give credit to kids applying to the UC and Cal State system. Trust me Administrative costs are not the issue for CUSD.

  8. Mark 2 years ago2 years ago

    What is not mentioned nearly enough (in fact rarely) is that the LCFF was based on local control as a civil rights issue. It was meant to be an effort to close the achievement gaps between targeted students and others. As the governor said, "equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice." We talk about local control way too much (because we all like local control) and talk too little about the call … Read More

    What is not mentioned nearly enough (in fact rarely) is that the LCFF was based on local control as a civil rights issue. It was meant to be an effort to close the achievement gaps between targeted students and others. As the governor said, “equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.” We talk about local control way too much (because we all like local control) and talk too little about the call for social justice imbedded in the LCFF. It is only given passing comment in this article and not mentioned at all in a recent paper by Fullan. We need to reignite to conversation to always include the primary purpose of LCFF: it is a call for social justice with the vehicle being local control.

    Replies

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      Mark - You are correct- everyone should go back and read San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez The landmark Supreme Court Case defined when it would be appropriate for a Federal Court to review an individual State’s Education Funding System to determine the constitutionality of that system. Source: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/411/1/ In Rodriguez the Court specifically stated a law would be determined to "Discriminate on the basis of wealth" if all students who, irrespective of their personal incomes, … Read More

      Mark – You are correct- everyone should go back and read San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez

      The landmark Supreme Court Case defined when it would be appropriate for a Federal Court to review an individual State’s Education Funding System to determine the constitutionality of that system.

      Source: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/411/1/

      In Rodriguez the Court specifically stated a law would be determined to “Discriminate on the basis of wealth” if all students who, irrespective of their personal incomes, received inadequate funding simply because of where they lived.

      Wow! That is right on point-

      California’s LCFF law deprives EVERY student (irrespective of their individual wealth, race or ethnicity) of their constitutional right to a basic education simply because they happen to live in a wealthy area. To be constitutional the law would need to have a base grant that was sufficient to provide every student in the State of California with the FREE and ADEQUATE education that the California Constitution guarantees. A law that Discriminates based on wealth is a violation of the 14th Amendment to the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution.

      The law needs to be challenged in Federal Court.

  9. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Actually closing "achievement gaps" is going to mean closing the gaps between safe and supporting communities for children with those who live in unsafe and-non-supporting communities, closing the health care gaps including dental and vision care (we have a start with ACA), closing the safe and affordable housing gap, closing the quality child care and pre-school gap, and closing the living wage gap for parents and for family stability. CA has a lot of work to … Read More

    Actually closing “achievement gaps” is going to mean closing the gaps between safe and supporting communities for children with those who live in unsafe and-non-supporting communities, closing the health care gaps including dental and vision care (we have a start with ACA), closing the safe and affordable housing gap, closing the quality child care and pre-school gap, and closing the living wage gap for parents and for family stability.

    CA has a lot of work to do in all of these areas. Brookings, for example, looking at wealth gaps concluded my old home town, San Francisco, had the widest gaps in income inequality than any other city in the nation. Looking at “children’s well being” ( the cumulative effects of gaps listed above), the highly respected Annie Casey, Kids Count, report find CA to be 41st of the 50 states. Not very good, but also right around where CA’s school spending per child ranks in typical years. What a coincidence [sic] !

    The LCAP and LCFF will help level the educational playing field after decades of a very un-level playing field. That’s a start. Of course we then have to think about bringing CA’s spending per child up to the national average or better in dollars adjust for cost-of-living so that it actually reflects what can be paid for in services in CA. Of course, education spending currently takes up about 50% of CA’s budget and you have to leave something for roads, water, other infrastructure, and other social services. So that means–adios to Prop 13 as we know it–and other permanent changes to taxes. And the changes are spelled UP.

    And then there’s the fact that the “achievement gap” can be detected the day kids arrive at schools. Research indicates both advantaged and disadvantaged kids learn about the same rate during the school year, but starting behind means you have to catch up more. This means extra resources have to be directed at disadvantaged kids in school, but also that the bulk of the “gap” needs to be addressed outside of school.The gaps affecting kids before they get to school. See a partial list of the gaps that need closing in 1st paragraph above.

    All in all, to simplify the topic, this is about dealing issues related to poverty. The US, wealthiest nation on Earth, has nearly the highest child poverty rates in the industrialized world. CA, wealthiest state in the union and 7th largest economy in the world, has the highest percentage of children in poverty in the nation.

    (This is interesting. The two points above are ones I state often. Many of the commentators who spout conservative dogma at the drop of a hat never seem to want to tussle with those facts. Just what is the excuse for the US having some of the 1st world’s most severe child poverty? Huh? I’m sure Hoover, or some other righty think tank [sic], must have come up with some Swift-like “modest proposal” to rationalize it.)

    LCFF has begun the process of redistribution of school dollars from those who have to those who don’t (except for the real “haves” in basic aid districts as far as I know), but overall, the real solutions are going to require a redistribution, aka investment, on a scale of the Marshall Plan from wealthy to the poor. That will be the start of really closing the achievement gap.

  10. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Michael Kirst- "A comprehensive look at local plans will be crucial given the new funding formula’s emphasis on providing school districts and charter schools the discretion to consider their own local context, personnel decisions and student circumstances in identifying goals and determining how to achieve them." It is a fallacy to conclude that every district needs to set it own educational goals to meet local contexts. There's a presumption in LCFF which says all … Read More

    Michael Kirst- “A comprehensive look at local plans will be crucial given the new funding formula’s emphasis on providing school districts and charter schools the discretion to consider their own local context, personnel decisions and student circumstances in identifying goals and determining how to achieve them.”

    It is a fallacy to conclude that every district needs to set it own educational goals to meet local contexts. There’s a presumption in LCFF which says all districts are different with a unique set of circumstances. All the reading I have done on Ed Source and elsewhere leads me to believe the opposite: the vast majority of districts have similar sets of challenges and that they vary primarily only in proportion to one another. We have state standards for the purpose of educational goals and volumes of state and federal laws already provide structure for district responsibility towards student groups and their needs as well as employee management. LCFF’s premise that districts are different is not supported by evidence, but is accepted as fact to deflect from the real reason for LCFF: to get the state out of compliance business. The effective deregulation of education is likely to increase district variability of student outcome, not decrease it. As much as the State may prefer collaboration to compliance, it is state government’s role to ensure every district adheres to the California constitution and the statutes and that students get their constitutionally protected educational opportunity. If it doesn’t do so the alternative is to turn the courts into the sole arbiter on a district by district basis, an unworkable and irresponsible alternative to state’s mandate to create and enforce law. By abdicating its traditional role the State uses the courts in a frivolous manner. LCFF makes district efforts less about good management towards reasonable goals and repurposes it to create and sell goals to the local constituency, the effect of which is to thoroughly politicize local education.

    The “comprehensive look at local plans” is predicated on a flimsy notion – that the public is ready, willing and ably qualified to dig deep into the nuts and bolts of district budgets, management practices, educational needs, employee issues and a panoply of insider baseball issues when in truth it is ill-prepared for this task. This isn’t local control. It’s chaos. This is giving districts massive new authority under the guise of a extraordinarily weak public review process called LCAP, the results of which amounts down to district dog and pony show with minimal actual participation. I wonder – did Michael Kirst participate in an actual district LCAP process or is this all theoretical for him?

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      And what ever happened to California Collaborative for Educational Excellence? The whole state has implemented CCSS over the last year, but CCEE, a single small committee, is dithering about trying to figure out just exactly what Kirst and Brown had in mind for them. What a pathetic excuse for even minimal oversight.

  11. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    Personally, I think the lessons learned will derive almost exclusively from the local plans. One important thing to understand will be just what kind of impact this freedom has on the manipulation of funding sources internal to a district. For example, lausd explicitly dedicated a huge block (half?) of s&c grants to special education under the idea that those students and unduplicated ones were largely the same. Other districts have not been as blatant but … Read More

    Personally, I think the lessons learned will derive almost exclusively from the local plans.
    One important thing to understand will be just what kind of impact this freedom has on the manipulation of funding sources internal to a district. For example, lausd explicitly dedicated a huge block (half?) of s&c grants to special education under the idea that those students and unduplicated ones were largely the same. Other districts have not been as blatant but have achieved the same thing in a different way. For example using s&c to fund services that are identified as for a specific unduplicated group, but that were previously covered by special education funding when those students were also in that group. This is probably an even more problematic approach because it gives the appearance that lcff targeted funding is going to address a specific type of student’s needs.
    While I dont want to debate whether these things are appropriate, I do think the obfuscation is a problem if the goal truly is local accountability or even merely involvement. And I think there are ways this could be at least partially solved. If we are not going to place many restrictions on state-level compliance vis-a-vis strategy, then at least we can require better accounting. I think all LCAP expenditures should include previous funding source, as well as a statement of whether this is something ‘new’. There is going to be no way to ‘learn more about how these local processes are fostering a cycle of continuous improvement’ without better understanding of what is actually happening.
    I also believe the template should include a one-page breakdown of LCAP spending by goal (both base and s&c, and then by year as well–this last one is important given one of the differences in the new template was the separation of the yearly goals, something that makes it much harder to ‘see’ yoy priorities). Our LCAP this year is almost 250 pages, and numbers are scattered about in an almost incomprehensible manner. There is no reason a summary cant exist (I know because i’ve made my own for our district).
    I also believe LCAP expenditures need to be explicitly tied to the district budget, both in the LCAP and the budget. This would require a bit more work than just the template, but an addition to the template would at minimum be required (accounting code reference in LCAP even?). Currently there is usually no way to know where to look in the budget for an LCAP expenditure, assuming its even broken out in the budget. The board members approving these do not even have the ability to do this, so the claim that local school boards ‘must adopt and oversee plans’ is not a good argument for the plans’ viability in this regard.
    That said, I appreciate you taking the time to provide this update.

  12. Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

    Thank you, for a helpful overview that aids in understanding and perspective.

  13. Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

    Raising the Base Grant to a level that provides a basic education to EVERY student ($9,500) and then providing additional funding for the poor, ELL and Foster kids would make education better for ALL students. This law is written to punish all students who happen to live in a wealthy area. What services are the poor, ELL and Foster kids in CUSD receiving at per pupil funding of $7,002 per student?

    Replies

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Dawn, how can the all-important goal of closing achievement gaps, of which we hear so much here, be attained if your privileged students are allowed to soar academically through adequate base funding? If you go back a couple of Edsource articles, for example, you will find an article mentioning the goal of closing the achievement gap between foster and homeless youth on one hand and regular (your privileged) students on the other hand. Please consider what is … Read More

      Dawn, how can the all-important goal of closing achievement gaps, of which we hear so much here, be attained if your privileged students are allowed to soar academically through adequate base funding?

      If you go back a couple of Edsource articles, for example, you will find an article mentioning the goal of closing the achievement gap between foster and homeless youth on one hand and regular (your privileged) students on the other hand.

      Please consider what is often involved in a typical foster/homeless youth situation, though details of actual cases are confidential in California and do not ordinarily become public. The student is often abandoned by one parent who suffers drug/alcohol addiction problems and is in the care of another parent who suffers severe mental illness and/or drug/alcohol addiction problems. The custodial parent may be off and on meds to control mental illness, and off and on illegal drugs/alcohol, and may be committing various crimes. The student may suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, a very daunting problem. The parent’s mental illness, like some, may be quite heritable. The student may be moved by the parent from county to county, drug house to relative, and occasionally be out of school living in a car at a campsite with the parent, and in and out of foster care as well.

      With all this in mind, please consider how difficult it is to ensure equality of achievement between the foster/homeless student example that I have given and your privileged students, and how easy it would be for the gap to unfairly widen if your privileged were allowed to soar academically. Consider the academic sacrifice of your children a small price to pay for this egalitarian utopian-ism. You may argue that California needs to focus on promoting highest achievement by gifted students to meet the needs of medicine, research, science and industry. But that is what H1B visas are for, with an occasional homeschooler sneaking in the backdoor.

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Andrew Stated: "Dawn, how can the all-important goal of closing achievement gaps, of which we hear so much here, be attained if your privileged students are allowed to soar academically through adequate base funding?" Andrew how can you make the statement that adequate base funding is being provided when the average per pupil funding is around $9,500 and the national average per pupil funding is $11,400. This new education funding law is not about providing adequate … Read More

        Andrew Stated: “Dawn, how can the all-important goal of closing achievement gaps, of which we hear so much here, be attained if your privileged students are allowed to soar academically through adequate base funding?”

        Andrew how can you make the statement that adequate base funding is being provided when the average per pupil funding is around $9,500 and the national average per pupil funding is $11,400.

        This new education funding law is not about providing adequate funding for “EVERY” student in California. This is about writing a law that re-distributes wealth. This law does close the education gap… because now the majority of students (white- asians- all native english speaker are performing equal to english language learners. We have made everyone equally poor in math and english language arts.

        California’s LCFF is unconstitutional because it deprives every student in CUSD of an adequate education simply because they happen to live in a wealthy area.

        Really- How can the state of CA limit K-12 revenues to 2008 levels when the State of CA is taking in record high tax revenues. In 2008 the State budget revenues were 102 Billion – Now 2016 they are $113 billion. The State of CA steals $200 million per year from Capistrano Unified leaving our students with $152 million in budget cuts from a $450 million dollar budget. Average class sizes of 36 students to teacher ( many classes have over 40 kids per teacher). $800 million in facilities needs ($44 million in the budget for repairs) Over crowded classrooms and believe it or not- the latest Board agenda stated on the record that technology needs to meet common core technology needs would be based on individual school site donations. The lack of adequate funding has the District engaging in all kinds of illegal activities so that the teacher will remain equal to their piers as the highest paid in the nation.

        • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

          The base grant is just over $7,000 per student with that expected to increase to $8,500 by 2021. Forever unfunded. The goals to make the children of legal taxpayers equal to people who just walked across the boarder. We are all suppose to be equally uneducated and equally poor.

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Dawn:

      To achieve your goals you are going to have to advocate strongly for higher taxes on the wealthy, on business, and for revision of Prop 13.

      Welcome aboard!

      • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary-

        We have record high revenues in CA-

        Why is the state limiting K-12 education funding to 2008 levels (102 Billion per year in tax revenues) when in 2016 we have record high revenues of $113 billion.

        The state does not need more revenues- the state needs to choose to spend record high revenues on services to legal taxpayers rather than create new entitlements to people who entered this country illegally and are entitled to nothing.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          Dawn, the Ruling Class does not want to spend on things which would provide equal opportunity. The rich want to rig the game, pretend their kids are well rounded and discriminate in elite college admissions, and make sure their kids get into top colleges and get top jobs without having to work as hard as the top high school students are doing. It's not a perfect system for them, but it's close, they … Read More

          Dawn, the Ruling Class does not want to spend on things which would provide equal opportunity. The rich want to rig the game, pretend their kids are well rounded and discriminate in elite college admissions, and make sure their kids get into top colleges and get top jobs without having to work as hard as the top high school students are doing. It’s not a perfect system for them, but it’s close, they keep most down by lack of opportunity and keep most hard working Asians and others out by discriminating or calling them narrow, let a few black and Latinos in to appear fair, and buy off the smartest whites and Asians by making them lawyers and paying them way more than most people to support and advocate mostly for wealthy corporations and individuals after arguing for the poor and dispossessed in college.

          If they truly spent enough to give the masses equal opportunity, they would lose their position. Remember, they decide who is worth what and their decisions have given 100% of the economic increase in the US since 2008 to 1% of Americans, those at the top.

          They let in illegal immigrants because that helps them, gives them cheap labor, in the short run. They make sure the poor don’t rebel by having 10 times the percentage of people in prison as in the rest of the 1st world, Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. Singers, actors or artists who speak out are either co-opted or given spiked heroin.

          If they wanted equal opportunity they’d provide tutors for all those who fail to be advanced or proficient starting in 2d grade or even earlier. They don’t. They spend on pretending there is opportunity. We have less class mobility than “socialist” Europe and the rest of the first world. They’d spend enough to make sure wealth doesn’t increase opportunity. If they ever have revenue, they’ll find something else to spend it on. That’s why they made sure to cut schools as the lottery allowed it. The union fights for their narrow interests in denying kids an opportunity to break out of their poverty and are pawns in the game of the ruling class. They pretend to be liberal but no American institution is more conservative in terms of keeping the poor and dispossessed in their place. A few wealthy people rebel against this, but most go along with it. Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush both want to maintain the status quo. She endorsed the union 18 months out. Trump and Sanders are both riding a wave of rebellion against the status quo, though Sanders appears to be more genuine.

          Welfare quiets those who might complain. Fake opportunity quiets those who might complain. Opportunity costs them more. True equal opportunity is a huge threat to the status quo. These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

      • Tom 2 years ago2 years ago

        Gary, I could argue that California has the highest income tax bracket, the highest payroll taxes, the highest sales taxes, highest gas taxes, etc and raising taxes more is not a permanent solution nor is it good for jobs and the State ecomony. A better argument is to point out that historically when CA has had budget surpluses the politicians still do not fund schools adequately because CA has so many … Read More

        Gary, I could argue that California has the highest income tax bracket, the highest payroll taxes, the highest sales taxes, highest gas taxes, etc and raising taxes more is not a permanent solution nor is it good for jobs and the State ecomony. A better argument is to point out that historically when CA has had budget surpluses the politicians still do not fund schools adequately because CA has so many other “needs” to spend money on. A current example is our governor Brown (part of the “Ruling Class” per FT’s comments below) who has a dream to spend at least $68 billion on a high speed train that by most accounts is a hugely expensive boondoggle. A question for you is, Mr. CTA, why isn’t your organization fighting him on this? After all, your underfunded pension and health care accounts could sure use the money. Hey maybe CTA and PTA could join forces and stop the choo-choo train boondoggle?

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Tom: Yea, you can argue all kinds of stuff, but it helps when you stick to reality. For some reality, you might check out an report here at Ed Source called "States in Motion" that has a number charts talking about CA's education spending. A number of the charts relate to the severe handicap on adequate school funding that resulted from Prop 13. If you look at CA's overall tax burden, in cost-of-living weighted dollars (reality based), … Read More

          Tom:

          Yea, you can argue all kinds of stuff, but it helps when you stick to reality. For some reality, you might check out an report here at Ed Source called “States in Motion” that has a number charts talking about CA’s education spending. A number of the charts relate to the severe handicap on adequate school funding that resulted from Prop 13.

          If you look at CA’s overall tax burden, in cost-of-living weighted dollars (reality based), you find taxes are about at the national average. If you look at all taxes, not just sales and income, you find CA is about 12th in the nation. Having the 2nd high cost-of-living/cost-of-providing-services in the nation and a revenue stream considerably below that creates considerable budget problems. You could even call it a “structural deficit.”

          CA’s economy is currently doing rather well with increasing state revenues (not enough though). This is after taxes were raised with Prop 30. So the tired argument about the negative effects of higher taxes just doesn’t fly. It’s that reality thing again.

          Recall, that in the face of dire warnings about the economic doom that would result from Clinton raising taxes he’d did it anyway. The results were the greatest economic boom in the history of the US. W, on the other hand, cut taxes particularly for the wealthy and the deficit ballooned and then the entire economy collapsed. Those who don’t learn from history…and so on.

          The schools are funded based on Prop 98 and come under the general budget of the state. The bullet train is not in that category and does not directly impact schools.

          The state teachers’ pension system does not include healthcare. Some districts do. Take that up with the district management and board people who negotiated it. Better yet, advocate for the kind of national single-payer healthcare that every other major industrial nation has and the issue goes away.

          To the extent the pension system has issues they are related to the state’s inaction and underfunding over time. That being said, the biggest hole was punched in the pension system by the recession created by misfeasance and malfeasance of the financial sector and individuals who walked away with huge bonuses after crashing the economy and sometime their own companies. Look up the LIBOR scandal sometime.

          I am not “Mr. CTA,” and wasn’t even Mr. CFT (CA Federation of Teachers), though I was a CFT state officer for 25 years. I currently serve on the CFT Educational Issues Committee.

          Other than the few exceptions noted above you really nailed it.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            4. California > Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income: 11.4% > Total state taxes collected: $115.1 billion (the highest) > Tax burden per capita: $5,136 (6th largest) > Income per capita: $45,254 (15th highest) California has the highest number of ultra-wealthy individuals — people with a net worth of at least $30 million — in the country. Individuals making $1 million or more per year paid 13.3% of their income in state income tax, the highest personal income … Read More

            4. California
            > Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income: 11.4%
            > Total state taxes collected: $115.1 billion (the highest)
            > Tax burden per capita: $5,136 (6th largest)
            > Income per capita: $45,254 (15th highest)

            California has the highest number of ultra-wealthy individuals — people with a net worth of at least $30 million — in the country. Individuals making $1 million or more per year paid 13.3% of their income in state income tax, the highest personal income tax rate in the nation. The state also levies the highest gasoline tax of any state, charging customers 52.5 cents per gallon. Even the state’s sales taxes were quite high, with the average combined state and local sales tax rate of 8.41%, the eighth highest in the nation. California also had one of the highest poverty rates in the nation that year and spent $69 billion on public welfare, by far the most of any state.

            Read more: States With the Highest (and Lowest) Taxes – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/04/02/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-taxes/#ixzz3ivXXiBkv
            Follow us: @247wallst on Twitter | 247wallst on Facebook

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Ravani said, "So the tired argument about the negative effects of higher taxes just doesn’t fly." Gary must be right. How could the amount the government removes from the private sector have anything to do with reinvestment of capital and economical growth? In fact, since taxation has no negative economic effects the government should remove all the economic growth with 100% taxes. That way we can have a thriving economy, more jobs and ample … Read More

            Ravani said, “So the tired argument about the negative effects of higher taxes just doesn’t fly.”

            Gary must be right. How could the amount the government removes from the private sector have anything to do with reinvestment of capital and economical growth? In fact, since taxation has no negative economic effects the government should remove all the economic growth with 100% taxes. That way we can have a thriving economy, more jobs and ample tax revenues to support increasing entitlements in perpetuity. And since the tax burden has nothing to do with economic growth we should expropriate all capital from the private sector for the government. And we can run our cars on fumes.

            • Tom 2 years ago2 years ago

              It is hardly worthwhile to even read The Great Educator Gary's responses because he is so bias. He did at least tell everyone his association with the California Federation of Teachers. No wonder so slanted. I wonder if he would tell us if that is a paid position? Tell us the truth that is. That guy is obviously not using all the facts and makes ridiculous, unfounded economic and … Read More

              It is hardly worthwhile to even read The Great Educator Gary’s responses because he is so bias. He did at least tell everyone his association with the California Federation of Teachers. No wonder so slanted. I wonder if he would tell us if that is a paid position? Tell us the truth that is.

              That guy is obviously not using all the facts and makes ridiculous, unfounded economic and cherry-picked arguments all in support of centralized, government control of the economy. In that system, the party elite get all the goodies, and Gary has some I can assure you. He should try and get onto Bernie Sanders election committee.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Tom: You are continually abusing what is known as "the slippery slide" in propaganda techniques. That is, you assert that if you start at point A you inevitably end up at point Z e.g., If you enact policies that reduce the child poverty rate in the US so that it is not among the worst of all industrialized nations, then the US government would be controlled by Stalin and his minions. Social Security has done wonders to … Read More

          Tom:

          You are continually abusing what is known as “the slippery slide” in propaganda techniques. That is, you assert that if you start at point A you inevitably end up at point Z e.g., If you enact policies that reduce the child poverty rate in the US so that it is not among the worst of all industrialized nations, then the US government would be controlled by Stalin and his minions.

          Social Security has done wonders to reduce the rate of abject poverty for seniors, widows, orphans, and the disabled. It needs some tweaking of its revenue base, like making all incomes subject to SS taxes, but it is considered one of the great socialized programs in US history. Likewise with Medicare. ACA (Obamacare) is rapidly developing into the same category of massive success. None of these success has made the US any worse off, or undermined it as a working democracy. Not that that is well understood in some quarters, recall the Tea Party lady: “Keep your government hands off of mu Medicare!”

          As I keep saying, read the “States in Motion” article on the Ed Sources site. Just plug it into the site search engine above and look at the school funding issues in CA and how Prop 13 undermined what was once a great school system for all of its students. I keep saying it, but obviously people won’t do it, because the truth might set them free from their ironclad ideological positions and that would be uncomfortable. It’s one thing to accuse someone of “cherry picking,” actually somewhat silly with actual information a mouse click away, but it’s something else (self-delusion?) when you decide to ignore the whole cherry orchard.

          The irony is, I suspect most of the programs proposed by someone like Bernie Sanders would actually be of great benefit to most of the people who adamantly reject him. One of the “wonders” of politics is that the right has been able to convince so many people to think [sic] and vote in ways that undermine their own self-interest.

          • Tom 2 years ago2 years ago

            While I agree that social security has helped a lot people, it has also been abused by taxpayers and politicians. I don't have lot of time to argue with you, but it is widely reported SS ran a 71 billion deficit in 2013 which is the fourth year is a row of deficits. The Disability Insurance Trust has had a tremendous increase in disability claims in recent years (because it is easy … Read More

            While I agree that social security has helped a lot people, it has also been abused by taxpayers and politicians. I don’t have lot of time to argue with you, but it is widely reported SS ran a 71 billion deficit in 2013 which is the fourth year is a row of deficits. The Disability Insurance Trust has had a tremendous increase in disability claims in recent years (because it is easy to qualify and there is a lot of fraud Gary) and will remain solvent only for two more years! Just a click away as you say. The fund itself is full on IOU’s because to many politicians, of both parties, use it as a piggy bank for spending on things that keep them in office – votes and campaign contributions.

            It’s interesting that you use older citizens and the medicare example as something essential, while ignoring the history of Prop 13 which was widely supported by older citizens because governments were raised property taxes so greatly that their fixed incomes could not keep up! Led to a citizen revolt and rejection of unsustainable government spending. Still have that today – just look at the unfunded CalSTRS pension obligations, and CALPERs.

            • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

              Tom: You recall when W was going to use his "political capital" to turn SS into a privatized defined contribution plan? Had to drop that particular idea because, to the deep chagrin of conservatives everywhere, SS happens to be a little bit of socialism that the American public reveres. Same for Medicare, and soon to be followed by ACA. Wouldn't the elderly have been in great shape during the economic and stock market crash of recent years? SS … Read More

              Tom:

              You recall when W was going to use his “political capital” to turn SS into a privatized defined contribution plan? Had to drop that particular idea because, to the deep chagrin of conservatives everywhere, SS happens to be a little bit of socialism that the American public reveres. Same for Medicare, and soon to be followed by ACA.

              Wouldn’t the elderly have been in great shape during the economic and stock market crash of recent years?

              SS funding has had issues before. The solution was to increase the revenue stream. A solution that was bipartisan, something seemingly impossible to achieve with the current dogmatic majorities in the House and Senate no matter how badly the American people need it. The solution, once we get some reasonable people in Congress, or enough pressure is put on the current denizens (“Keep your government hands off of my Medicare!” HaHa), is to take the current “cap” of income subject to the SS/Medicare tax–currently around $120K as I recall–and the funding issue is solved. No matter how hard Rush and Faux flog the base those people know what is good for them.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Tom:

          BTW: I retired from the classroom after 35 years in 2008. I retired form my position as an officer with the CFT as of April of this year. You are getting all the benefits of my experience and study gratis. I’m sure you are very grateful.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Tom: Let's go through this one more time, slowly. You are aware that CA's school funding per child is below the national average. Again, I know you have a resistance to liberally biased facts, but check out the "States in Motion" report on this site. (And this being one of CA's periodic revenue boom-years the numbers are fluctuating.) For a couple of decades very solid analysis has shown that, because of cost-of-living factors, when you "weight" the … Read More

          Tom:

          Let’s go through this one more time, slowly. You are aware that CA’s school funding per child is below the national average. Again, I know you have a resistance to liberally biased facts, but check out the “States in Motion” report on this site. (And this being one of CA’s periodic revenue boom-years the numbers are fluctuating.)

          For a couple of decades very solid analysis has shown that, because of cost-of-living factors, when you “weight” the dollars for what they can actually buy in services, CA funding per child near the bottom of the nation, in fact, sometimes last in the nation. An example is, that NY pays about $235K per student for 13 years of education (K-12) and CA spends about $132K. NY’s kid’s have a district advantage over CA’s kids in the services schools can provide in services.

          So CA’s school funding is about 50% of the state budget and yet remains, in those cost-of-living weighted dollars, near last in the nation. Is it your contention that the remaining 50% of the budget, for all other services, and in cost-of-living weighted dollars suddenly cause CA spending and tax revenues to surge to the top tier of the 50 states?

          Hint: The answer is–NO. CA’s total spending, based on CA’s revenue, in cost-of-living weighted dollars is low compared to the other 50 states. Because of the impacts of Prop 13 and other business tax loopholes CA’s tax revenues are quite low. Personal income taxes, which most people feel the most, are relatively high. At one time CA business taxes supported much of the state’s services but that balance has shifted so that individuals pay relatively more than business does currently.

  14. Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

    With the passage of the State’s new Local Control Funding Formula Law, accountability and oversight shifted from the State and County Office of Education to the local school district. The State and County office of education will not intervene unless a District fails to show improvement on the LCAP across multiple subgroups in three out of four consecutive years. For students, that means there is no intervention from the State or the County until there … Read More

    With the passage of the State’s new Local Control Funding Formula Law, accountability and oversight shifted from the State and County Office of Education to the local school district. The State and County office of education will not intervene unless a District fails to show improvement on the LCAP across multiple subgroups in three out of four consecutive years. For students, that means there is no intervention from the State or the County until there has been an accumulation of comparable data on the new LCAP for three years. Students currently entering High School this year will have no relief until their senior year. That is to late to make a difference for these students.
    The new law places an onerous burden on taxpayers and the public to read long LCAP plans (73 pages), to find and identify errors, to attend a Board meeting and speak on the record to notify the District and Trustees of the errors, and then to follow up to see that the errors have been fixed. Even if errors are fixed, the County Office of Education will only take action when there are three years of data that can be used to see if the District is meeting its stated goals to improve education for students.

    The Capistrano Unified School District chose to give across the Board compensation increases to every employee rather than spend the money on reducing class sizes (the stated number one goal on the LCAP.

    Under the five stated goals on the CUSD LCAP very few measurable outcomes were met to accomplish the Stated Goal: See: http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2015/07/lcap-annual-review-how-did-cusd-do-in.html

    The LCFF and the LCAP are a tragedy. If the State’s new education funding law was truly designed to provide a basic education to every student, the base grant would be a minimum of about $9,500 per student. To set the base grant intentionally low with a goal of meeting 2008 levels of funding by 2021 when the State of California is receiving record high tax revenues proves that the sole purpose of this law is to redistribute wealth from wealth, not to educate students.

    The law is unconstitutional because it deprives EVERY student (irrespective of their individual wealth, race or ethnicity) of a basic education simply because of where they live (a wealthy area). That is a violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and California’s Constitutional obligation to fund a basic education for EVERY student (not just the poor and English Language Learners).
    T

    Replies

    • Parents News Opinion 2 years ago2 years ago

      I agree with you Ms. Urbank. Also, I as a parent, do not see that it is beneficial to get involved in helping public education. I will join P.T.A. and that's about it. I do greatly look up to you. You speak well (write well). You make sense in what you are making parents aware of. If you go back to another Ed Source article,,you wrote an open letter on your … Read More

      I agree with you Ms. Urbank. Also, I as a parent, do not see that it is beneficial to get involved in helping public education. I will join P.T.A. and that’s about it.

      I do greatly look up to you. You speak well (write well). You make sense in what you are making parents aware of.

      If you go back to another Ed Source article,,you wrote an open letter on your school district. I wrote you that maybe your school district can do a parcel tax to mandate and pay for class size reductions–please read what I wrote for it may greatly help the children and all other stakeholders in your school,district.

      Thank you again brave and intelligent parent for all,you do in helping children in education.

      I ask that you ask Mr Tom Torlakson and speak to Mr. Kirst about you being asked as a parent to serve on the BLUEPRINT FOR NEW SCHOOLS group which is set up by Mr. Torlakson (see edsource article).