Monday, April 12, 2010

Statement from Superintendent Carlos Garcia regarding intent to declare an impasse with the United Educators of San Francisco (UESF)

“With a May deadline for layoffs rapidly approaching, the District is trying to reach an agreement in order to save jobs, and the Union is refusing to settle. In fact, UESF negotiators walked away from the bargaining table on Friday despite the fact that the District and Union were within range of an agreement on some of the economic proposals that could retain current class sizes and rescind hundreds of final layoff notices.

Regretfully, we have no choice but to notify UESF of the district’s intent to declare an impasse and request that the Public Employment Relations Board appoint a neutral mediator to help us overcome our differences.

By calling in a third party mediator, we are hoping to continue this conversation without confrontation and move toward a plan that gets us through this crisis.

Union negotiators are demanding permanent changes in the contract that have nothing to do with student learning, and which go against the needs of our most underserved children.

UESF wants the district to:
* Pay for picking up and distributing mail between schools and the Union headquarters (a legally prohibited practice);
* Limit the criteria used for teacher evaluations and require that any observations for use in teacher evaluations be scheduled with a specific time and class period (as opposed to a window of time which is the current agreement). This would restrict a principal’s ability to get a well-rounded view of a teacher’s instructional practices.
* Reduce the stipends agreed to in Proposition A for those teachers at our hardest to staff schools. (The District is committed to the goals of access and equity and this portion of Prop. A is critical to our most underserved communities. The District is leaving in all of the Prop. A teacher pay scale changes);
* Guarantee that no core substitutes will be laid off (the District maintains that permanent teacher positions must be a priority);
* Maintain additional daily prep periods for AP teachers that result in most of them teaching only four classes per day for full salary – a cost to the District of over $3 million per year. (In light of the economic crisis we are asking the Union to agree to suspend them for the next two years while giving the AP teachers a $1,500 stipend in place of the prep periods).

We are in a financial crisis of historic proportions. The District feels that it is much more respectful to save the jobs of our dedicated teachers and paraprofessionals rather than quibble over sentences in a contract that have nothing to do with keeping students first.

By calling in a third party mediator we look forward to creating a plan that gets us through this crisis together.”

246 comments:

  1. From UESF:

    Union Negotiators Walk Away from Bargaining Table
    ===============================
    After putting four furlough days and cuts to Prop A stipends on the table to achieve the reductions that the district says they need, the union had to walk away from the bargaining table after 5 pm on Friday, April 9, 2010 when the district refused to agree to simple improvements in the working conditions of our members.

    The district administrators admitted that the union had put up nearly the exact amount that they had identified as UESF's portion of the effort to close the funding gap.

    * But they could not grant paraprofessionals bereavement leaves for second degree relatives.

    * They refused to agree to changes to improve the treatment of consolidated teachers.

    * They refused to agree to daily prep periods for elementary teachers.

    * They refused to continue core substitutes who have served faithfully for more than a decade.

    * They refused to agree to publish the job descriptions of paras.

    How petty and arrogant can they be?

    The superintendent’s team, led by Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza, simply wants UESF members' money and have shown no respect for the members nor the bargaining team. They tried the same trick as last week, making an oral pronouncement at the end of the day. But the union demanded a comprehensive response in writing to its proposals before walking out.

    UESF put over $35,000,000 on the table. That is more than $6,300 for every member of the union. And the district will not even agree to simple non-monetary items as a show of respect, gratitude, and
    willingness to reach an amicable, negotiated settlement.

    The superintendent’s callous disrespect tarnishes the reputation of the administration. It is shocking after the union has made honest and open efforts to protect the members while responsibly contributing to thefilling of the deficit.

    Superintendent Carlos Garcia tried to greedily grab for more. His team immediately moved to add three furlough days to the end of the current school year, a thoughtless, mindless disruption that shows absolutely no concern for the classes, students, or teachers who are working to increase student achievement.

    * The superintendent has tried to change the terms of Proposition A without the union’s agreement.

    * The superintendent has refused money that the union has put on the table.

    * The superintendent has refused specific cuts to unnecessary consultancies highlighted by the union.

    * The superintendent has refused to disclose what he is doing with the $10 million slice of Proposition A that is under his control.

    The superintendent wants to continue business as usual with his consultants, lawyers, and pet projects, but expects every teacher and paraprofessional to pay for the gap in the budget.

    Tell the superintendent what you think of his behavior on Tuesday, April 13th. Join members of the bargaining team at 4:00 p.m. at Civic Center
    Secondary School (John Swett site) for a detailed explanation of negotiations so far, then march to the Board of Education to let your voice be heard.

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  2. The district is doing a great job with its PR to make the teachers and the union look awful. The union put 4 furlough days on the table. That signifies a huge compromise for the families who believe in the school district. Your kids are going to be home four more days than they already are during ths school year. What is the cost per family for four more days that the kids will not be in schoo - (financial and educational). I know what the cost will be to my family -4 days of pay. The district is not compromising. The union at least is trying. Other districts that have imposed furlough days have had more administrative furlough days than school days (ie. administrators work 200+ days but the kids are only in school 180 days). If they cut the administrative calendar by 5 working days, the work will still get done. Believe me. Come out and support the teachers who work hard for your children every day. Join the rally on the 13th to show the administration that the budget defecit can't fall entirely on the backs of the students and teachers.

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  3. Is there going to be a strike?

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  4. As a teacher in higher ed, I gotta say, it's madness not to allow prep periods. "Only" 4 classes a day, with even an hour to prep each, makes an 8 hour day before grading, setup and cleanup, lunch period and recess, planning new courses, and other teacher duties. And prep for a *good* class takes more than an hour.

    If this is indicative of what the supes think the teachers should give up, the rest must be equally ridiculous.

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  5. What exactly is the point of providing stipends for teachers in "hard-to-staff" schools when so many of them get layoff notices thanks to their low seniority? How does laying off a disproportionate number of teachers in these school show that "the District is committed to the goals of access and equity"? If you ask me, they've proven again and again that the exact opposite is true.

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  6. I love my children's teachers but isn't it also true that CA teachers are the highest paid in the nation?

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  7. No, it is NOT true that CA teachers are the highest paid in the nation. In fact, CA has some of the lowest salaries in the nation. Moreover, San Francisco teachers have some of the lowest salaries in the Bay Area. California has some of the most stringent teacher credentialing requirements, which means that teachers are more educated but make less money than teachers in other states. California teachers also work in a system that is 49th in the nation in terms of school funding. This means that California teachers make less than teachers in comparable districts across the nation, and have less resources than those teachers. I'll look for some stats and post them up here, but I wanted to respond immediately. The stats definitely point to stark inequities, especially the differences between states like New Jersey and New York, which have similar urban districts and school-age populations, and California.

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  8. What about this article???

    Cal's school spending low, but teacher salaries high

    California's per-pupil spending on its more than 6 million elementary and high school students is the nation's sixth-lowest, but its teachers have the nation's second highest salaries, according to a new compendium of educational data by the National Education Association.

    http://tinyurl.com/y7ks3f5

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  9. As a parent, I would rather see bigger classroom than to see furlough days.

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  10. I think teachers should be among our highest compensated professionals. It is our future they are responsible for. I love my kid's teachers too. And I think they should earn twice what they earn. What is Garcia's salary, around a quarter million, right?

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  11. As a parent, I'd rather see 4 furlough days than see class size increases in the younger grades. Small class size is important !

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  12. We aren't talking about "California" teachers, we're talking about San Francisco teachers. San Francisco has the second highest cost of living in the US, only Manhattan beats us. Our teacher salaries should be high.

    http://www.stlrcga.org/x436.xml

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  13. I'm not sure any of the things mentioned by the union should be deal-breakers. And the district shouldn't have put out such a negative release. The important thing is that the four furlough days will prevent layoffs and that the union appears to be OK with this. The rest of this is really not stuff that should lead to an impasse. Some of it sounds OK, like teacher prep time, and some of it a bit overkill (my goodness, "second degree relatives"?) Lock the district and union negotiators in a room with a mediator for a day and this will all be sorted out.

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  14. Garcia's salary is $255k, plus an $8k annual vehicle allowance, a $2.5k monthly housing allowance, and the one-time $30k relo and signing bonus he got when he came in. If he stays for five years, he and his wife will be eligible for lifetime health benefits.

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  15. If they were really minor issues as the union said, why would the union make a big deal on it.?

    And the district's PR is very specific, where the union's is vague. You can kind of match the issues between the two, and I have to say I am with the district.

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  16. New from UESF:

    UESF Calls for SFUSD to Rescind Every Layoff Notice Now!

    Join Teachers, Paras, Parents & Students at the Board Tuesday to Demand the District Puts Students First!

    Today the SFUSD sent notice to our membership and the media that they are attempting to push our contract negotiations to impasse. They did so without having ever rescinded a single one of the 811 teacher layoff notices they sent out in March, and without the promise to stop the para and CDP layoffs.

    UESF has put forward over $27 million on the bargaining table - every penny that the district has asked from us. And yet, the superintendent also wants to go after AP prep periods and to eliminate Core Substitutes. He's also just unilaterally decided that bilingual, math, and science teachers are not worthy of the $1,000 hard-to-fill yearly bonus in Prop. A. Next year they won't get it regardless of how negotiations finish. Garcia has decided that he will tell us what he wants and then take it.

    How's that for respect and partnership?

    Furthermore, the district has made no commitment to cut back on any of the 10% of their budget they spend on consultants (over $52 million per year). Nor have they offered a penny of their over-stuffed reserves (set for $47 million this year, and growing) to save a single job, or a cent from their portion of Prop. A (over $9.4 million).

    Enough is enough.

    It is time to rescind every one the teacher layoffs! And not a single layoff notice should go to a paraprofessional or a CDP educator!

    Join your fellow teachers, paras, parents, and students tomorrow to collectively tell the Board of Education to put our children first and stop the layoffs!

    We meet at 4:00 p.m. at the Civic Center Secondary School (727 Golden Gate Ave.) Rally @ 555 Franklin St. at 5:30 p.m.

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  17. All studies have shown that more instruction hours are more beneficial than smaller class sizes. This has been discussed many times in other threads.

    Also, parents must arrange day care for those furlough days, or take time off. So it costs more for the parents, with worse education.

    I know this is not political correct - but charging a very modest tuition would be the win-win-win solution. There are about 50,000 kids in public schools. If each kid pay $200 per year, that's more than the 8m/year savings which they are fighting about, and the day care/time off probably cost more.

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  18. 9:51, I understand that this is hard for some people to conceive of, but there are families that cannot spare $200 for "tuition." And just for the sake of argument, exactly what would you suggest we do with those children whose families cannot pay? You do realize that there are homeless families with children in SFUSD schools, right?

    I think I'm done with this discussion for now, I simply can't hold back the snark any longer. I mean, "not politically correct"? Really?

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  19. Re class sizes: Reduction works. Here's a factsheet with copious links:

    http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lvIXIiN0JwE&b=5127849&content_id={AF400C02-C1FA-4F26-A329-F67F5E362C82}&notoc=1

    There is a real lack of evidence about class sizes vs. instructional hours that comes down in favor of the latter, and what there is has problems (for instance, that it did not account for teacher readiness - when California adopted CSR, the state had far too few teachers and there were many new, uncredentialed teachers. Research demonstrates that experience does matter, so not accounting for this biases the data).

    Re Garcia's salary: According to a District-generated spreadsheet, he is actually up to just under $300,000. It's posted at sfbudgetblog.com - scroll down to find it.

    I agree that it's very difficult for me to accept UESF as the proximate cause of "going against the needs of our most underserved children", when it is SFUSD who has decided to lay off teachers disproportionately at schools serving those children, and SFUSD who cannot explain why 12% of unrestricted funds are rightly spent on consultants.

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  20. Ok - Sorry if I am not getting it. So are we saying that right now, everyone has pretty much agreed that class sizes will stay at 22 for K?

    Or is everything still up in the air?

    I am not hip to these negotiating techniques and trying to figure out my luck in round II. Thanks.

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  21. The union has agreed to 3 furlough days and class sizes have been scaled back to what they were last year. Every school received revised budget numbers that were significantly better than before.

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  22. I work for the district. Don, per usual, is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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  23. 10:22
    It is the union's senority stipulations that causes some schools to get the disproportionate layoffs of the teachers, not the district arbitarily deciding to do so.

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  24. @5:55:

    You forget: UESF does not send out layoff notices, nor pay teacher salaries.

    SFUSD does.

    SFUSD is the party who decides how to enact budget cuts.

    SFUSD is the party that sent out 811 teacher layoff notices.

    SFUSD is the party that has consistently refused to fully vet competing budget proposals, cut consultant contracts in a meaningful way, or even show solidarity with teachers by taking pay cuts.

    Blaming seniority gives SFUSD an easy out. SFUSD is the party, after all, with a "Balanced Score Card" invoking the need for equity. They are also the party doing the most to destroy educational equity in the District.

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  25. 10:02,

    Snark all you want, but how much would four days of furloughs cost working families?

    The definition of "political incorrect" is that it would be snarled for not merit, but for being difficult for the poorer families.

    That's why I said as a parent, I would rather see bigger class size, other than the argument about education quality, that has the least effect on parents.

    I bet you don't snarl at the furlough days, which would cost about that much or more for a family with both parents work.

    Guess what, some of the parents already get furloughed at their own jobs (state employees, soon the city employees, and I know some private companies do that). If the furlough days don't match, that will be double damage.

    So, again, I am waiting for your snarl at the furloughs.

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  26. Labor contracts are negotiated (as we are seeing right now) and agreed to by BOTH the union and management. So it's not accurate to refer to "the union's seniority stipulations."

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  27. 6:58, I'm not sure I understand your point. If you're the person suggesting "tuition" for public schools, that's not a matter of being "politically incorrect," like making a faux pas at a cocktail party, oops! It's a misunderstanding of the very concept of public schools. The "tuition" for public schools is taxes, which we all pay so that those who cannot pay can still go to school. Those taxes should be higher, no doubt about it, but the idea is to make the *entire society* responsible for the education of the next generation's workforce (who will be paying your social security, if they're well educated enough to get jobs, whether you personally had children or not).

    You, however, are still free to make a donation of $200 or more to one of the district-wide funding links mentioned in the thread on PTA fundraising.

    Meanwhile, I'm so pissed at the government of this state, and many of its citizens, for not recognizing that education is a public good. It serves us all, directly as students or parents, or indirectly as employers, recipients of social security, beneficiaries of services, consumers, and so on. It's not something that should only be available to tuition-payers, or even taxpayers -- we need the entire population to be educated. We already offload the cost and labor of the first 5 years of child-rearing onto private families. We can't do the same for the next 12 or 13 and then turn around and expect an economy that will support us, a population capable of making informed political decisions, a global position of security and power, and so on.

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  28. Yet another example of a Teacher's Union shafting students by their rampant pursuit of their own self interest and their refusal to have their job performance critiqued as effectively as possible. I'm almost always on the side of the workers but in this case the teachers are in the wrong: decidedly in the wrong.

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  29. To a parent, education is education, whether public or private. When you remove all factors of politics, and if you look at the problem from purely pragmatic point of view, then everythings on the table.

    I wouldn't mind if PTA can fund the additional four days. However, I am sure to get some political correct snarls.

    And we are totally prepared to make donation into the PTA, even before the kid enters k in the fall.

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  30. If you think I'm wrong go ask your principal if s/he is got a revised and greatly improved budget with lowered class sizes. Ask your principal if the union agreed to the 3 furlough days already. Ask your principal where the District suddenly came up with 18 million.

    The anonymous person who "works for the district" but won't identify himself is another example of the why you can't use K files to be informed. Anyone can say anything. The truth comes out in the end.

    Anyway, everyone will find out for themselves what is the case.

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  31. The reason I prefer to increase the furlough days from 2 to 4 instead of laying off 800 teachers is to preserve teachers' jobs.

    It is incredibly disruptive, for example, to fire a 5th grade teacher and then replace him/her with a more senior 2nd grade teacher who has no appropriate classroom materials or experience teaching 5th grade. The classroom size studies vs. education hours don't take into account the disruption of having teachers play musical chairs from grade to grade.

    Increasing class sizes places all the burden on 800 teachers who are laid off. With furlough days the burden is shared among all teachers and all families. I am happy to take turns watching my kid's classmates on furlough days. I wish we could all pull together and share the burden to save teachers' jobs.

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  32. I'm with 8:57 am.

    The district's position appears more aligned with retaining permanent teachers versus UESF's.

    (Specifically, points 3,4 and 5 in the district's release.)

    From the UESF release:
    " But they could not grant paraprofessionals bereavement leaves for second degree relatives."

    I'm sorry, if UESF's top reason for walking away from a deal was paraprofessionals not getting a day off because their uncle died, then they're not paying enough attention to how seriously in the shit we are.

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  33. It seems like most of what the union wants does not cost a lot of money. What am I missing?

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  34. It's 8:57 AM again, I also forgot to add another point of disruption in increasing class sizes - not only will many teachers be shuffled into grades they aren't currently teaching, but others will be given split grades, which are obviously harder to teach well, especially without experience teaching splits and without curriculum that is designed for it. The extra furlough days would prevent new split grade classes caused by teacher layoffs.

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  35. 9:06,

    I can't agree more. I also agree that furlough days are unacceptable unless they fall on days already allocated as days not teaching classes (i.e. Martin Luther King day, Memorial Day, etc.)

    Teachers get more days off than almost anyone I know. They get every holiday. I am lucky if I get 10 days a year plus 2 weeks vacation. Yes, I and many others often work more than 8 hour days and do it consistently!

    No, we don't get bereavement time for second degree relatives.

    But we require that we have job descriptions, not that there isn't the caveat that states "and other functions as applied."

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  36. The union better realize that making arguments like this:

    " But they could not grant paraprofessionals bereavement leaves for second degree relatives."

    is insane. The district will easily win hearts and minds on this one.

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  37. Laying off XXX teachers may sound bad, but what about laying off bad teachers?

    First, during this whole thing, the parents have no say.

    For example, on the performance evaluation, union's stand is really they don't want to be judged at all. I don't know how the district does it....whatever way, it costs money. How about let the parents decide who the good teachers are? Ask the parents to send in evaluation forms. Get rid of the silly seniority layoff order. Layoff teachers based on performance, not seniority. (the union will never agree this)

    Second, some of the poorly performed schools can be closed. The students can be spread into other schools. Teachers still teach the same grade/class. No class split is needed.

    While I have real respect for the teachers, I am also realistic - in any schools, there are good ones and there are bad ones. The good teachers should be rewarded. The bad ones should be let go. I am sorry to say that union is all about protecting mediocracy.

    And in this case, if that "third party mediator" represent parents, things will get sorted out really quickly.

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  38. 9:06 am -- agreed, the reference to paraprofessionals being able to take off because a cousin dies speaks poorly for them. I would just reiterate what I said above. The differences don't seem that major. Both sides need to calm down and stop issuing statements and making threats. This is an unprecedented budget crisis we are all in. Both sides need to get locked into a room with a mediator for a day and this will get resolved. I think the best thing is to do the mediation very quickly -- this week. I think the mayor would be great for this. What about that?

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  39. Am I glad we have a parochial backup! We've been in an independent private we can no longer afford, and we were finally going to take the public school plunge. If there's a strike, we know what we're doing. Sorry for those who don't have that option.

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  40. Great UESF. Way to drive more families into private school. Way to make sure SFUSD has even less money. Stay at the table and work it out like grownups.

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  41. All of a sudden the union cares about paraprofessionals?

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  42. Ah, it'll be okay. This is a typical posturing stage in contract negotiations. No need to change schools or anything like that based on this rhetoric.

    Which is not to minimize the pain of the deficits this year, but you'll save much more money in public and your kid will be fine. I feel more for the kids who really depend on the schools for every inch of education and also a fair amount of food intake. Middle+ class kids will be okay and will turn out just as well as at parochial in the long run. Many of us will call in sick and head over to one of the science museums, or do the same thing via share-care with other working families.

    Now I'm hoping that any furlough days match up with mine!

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  43. We're self-employed. If we don't work we don't get paid. We can't call in sick.

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  44. 11:39,

    I am a consultant and get no sick days either. I get no vacation but luckily get holidays. So no love here.

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  45. The teachers need to realize in this economy they are lucky to still have jobs. Many people, myself included, have taken huge salary cuts or worse. No sympathy because the union wants days off for a dead uncle and don't want virtually any real review of a teacher's job performance. Seriously, the teachers need to sit down and shut up in this instance.

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  46. I double checked the info I posted earlier. It is correct. In addition central staff will have 5 furlough days. Last year's class sizes have been reinstituted and budgeted. Only 1st and 2nd year teachers will get pink slips.Of course the jerk who claims s/he works for the district and said I was wrong will not correct the mistake because it doesn't matter what anonymous people say. That's the problem with this blog. Too much misinformation and lack of accountability. It would make good data for a double blind study regarding habits.

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  47. The district spends more money than it takes in. Reducing all salaries (including teachers) by 10% would be a good way to start narrowing the gap.

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  48. Furlough days do not bother me because I do not use school as a freaking DAYCARE! What is wrong with you people?!

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  49. Talked with principal after drop off this morning. Looks like the information posted ealier is right. Budgets were revised and class sizes have dropped back down. Where'd all this money come from?

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  50. Some of us school as a place to educate our kids and how can they get educated if they keep reducing the number of days they go to school?

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  51. Yeah, sorry, UESF, but no love here either.

    Let's see how my employer stack up (10 yrs with same company)

    bereavement leave for second degree relatives: Not allowed

    pay increases: none the last 3 yrs.

    paid prep periods for projects: I'm on salary, so, no I work as long as it takes to get things done

    determine when I get reviewed: don't even think about it, employer gets to decide when, besides, no raises so no reviews at all

    pension plan: I have to contibute to 401K and IRA with my own money

    holidays: no longer paid, we were given additional 5 days PTO, we have to eat the 3 remaining holidays with our vacation or PTO

    This is how it is working in an industry with very little margins to begin with and no labor unions. Believe me, UESF, you're not doing too bad.

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  52. 12:26... I don't use school "as a freaking daycare", either.

    I send my children to school for an education and go to work to pay the bills. Should I really have to trade one for the other?

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  53. 12:26,

    You may have some way of ensuring that your kid is busy and watched during furlough days but many don't. Poor people and even working class people taking a day off can take a huge toll on their bottom line. Don't be such a snark just because you can handle the days off. I can but I still have empathy for those that can't. School isn't a day care but when you depend on it for certain days, you need to make other arrangements when they don't happen. It isn't always easy and bosses and the economy make things really tough. So lighten up and be thankful that you don't have a problem.

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  54. "It seems like most of what the union wants does not cost a lot of money. What am I missing?"

    9:06 here again,

    Going by the district release:
    Point (1), mailings, it sounds like can't be legally done by the district.

    Point (2), limiting teacher evaluations, I think the district was right to dig its heels in at this.

    Point (3), reducting stipends at hard-to-teach schools: fine by me if it means fewer teacher layoffs.

    Point (4) Core substitutes: Sorry, if it's a choice between subs and permanent teachers getting laid off, I'm afraid the subs take it on the chin

    Point (5) Reducing prep time for AP classes: again, if it's a choice between saving money here and shitcanning permanent teachers elsewhere, then AP teachers are going to have to suck it up.

    Similarly, I'm in favor of furloughs rather than layoffs. There are a lot of hard-to-staff schools and programs (e.g. immersion programs) in the district, and I'd rather see us retain than lose that staff.

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  55. Well said 12:44 and 12:45.

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  56. Teachers should be subject to performance evaluation at any time, not at some pre-reserved time. At other jobs you don't get to tell your boss, "Only observe me between 2:00 and 4:00 on Tuesday the 14th." I wish someone had caught the 6th grade teacher I had who spent most of the day working on her nails. What a waste.

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  57. Here, here, 12:37!
    You and I work in the same world (i.e. the real world)

    Teachers work hard. Do they work harder than everyone else in the world? Not really.

    I work for a nonprofit - I get no guarantees (and certainly not the summer off!) and if I don't raise the $$ to cover my organization, positions get cut, or I can't make payroll.

    I tire of UESF's overstated rhetoric.

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  58. I'm guessing that what teachers do is more important than what most of you here do. Why shouldn't teachers be compensated for such work?

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  59. Nobody's saying teachers' work is unimportant or that they should not be well-compensated. They are saying teachers should not get bereavement leave for distant relatives or be subject to less supervisor review of their work than other people.

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  60. Hmmm... feels like the discussion has turned into something that is no longer about what is best for teaching and learning and therefore what is best for the students but into who works the hardest, knows the best, has the worst conditions, etc. Sad that we are so easily drawn into these discussions and lose the focus of social justice and equity for the children of San Francisco.

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  61. Do any of you know how much paraprofessionals make???!! Bereavement leave would be a kind gesture for some very low income district employees. How much would it really cost the district?

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  62. Checked in with site council about Don's contention that class sizes were reversed as budgets increased. He was right! Why hasn't this been reported?

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  63. Interesting, according to the district class sizes will not be increased, yet they have not rescinded any of the 811 layoff notices they sent out in March. Why not?

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  64. If they want to "close the achievement gap" then the last thing they should do is have less school days.

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  65. 6:33 IS Don, sockpuppeting. Pathetic.

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  66. 12:37 reminds me of the fact that we're living in a plutocracy. The work conditions you describe would not be tolerated in most wealthy, industrialized nations. But instead of bemoaning the government policies that have gotten us in this spot or wonder how we should be working to change the situation to improve everyone's lot, the focus is on the fact that the teachers should realize they're "not doing too bad." So I gather the answer is to make sure they have worse conditions? It then becomes a huge race to the bottom. Meanwhile, the Meg Whitmans of the world enjoy the millions/billions that they've "earned" while being taxed at a 16% tax rate and complain about the "out of control spending" on state workers, while we on the bottom fight over the scraps. Just. Great.

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  67. 7:32

    Which world are you from?

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  68. I re-read the Union's position and I am with the district on this one. The Union sounds ridiculously petty with some of its main points being the paraprofessionals bereavement leave for second degree relatives and the lack of job descriptions of para professionals. This is why we will have a strike!

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  69. 7:44, I don't know which world 7:32 is from, but it's the one I live in too. Whatever 12:37's industry is (sweatshopping? lap-dancing? collecting cans for recycling?) it's hardly a model that should define work in the U.S. Either 12:37 has a serious skill deficit or this economy is in deeper **** than we can imagine, if that's a middle-class job.

    Come ON. Except for those of you who work part-time, in non-profits, in early childhood ed,or in a startup in which you expect to make more in the future, I bet ALL of you are taking home higher salaries than teachers. You don't get as many "holidays" (during which, surprise! Teachers are grading, prepping, and so on, not lounging about eating bon-bons) but I bet you get to space out for a couple of minutes on the job, take a bathroom break when you need one, close your door to work on a project, check in with another adult occasionally every so often, and other minor luxuries. I have taught in elementary ed, 4-5 classes a day -- it was the most backbreaking job I ever had. Harder than my other jobs as a janitor, housecleaner, secretary, ice-cream scooper, floral arranger, and college professor. I came home every day, prepped and passed out, then got up and did it all over again.

    And it used to be, back-breaking, boring, limited-paying, or high risk jobs carried job security and good benefits: teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters, garbage collectors, factory workers were taken care of. That's why you did them, not because you were going to get rich. If elementary and secondary ed. jobs are so cushy and well paid, why aren't people flocking to them? Why is the burnout rate so high? Why are fewer people entering teacher-ed programs? Why do people educated in fields like science go to the private sector, not into teaching?

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  70. Does Carlos Garcia have to risk "S.F. school on lockdown after shots are fired" kinds of risks at work?

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  71. Uh uh, that's why he gets paid so much.

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  72. I'm with 12:37. If I had to guess, I'd guess that 7:32 and 9:08 have union or government jobs. Unions only represent 7% of the US workforce, and there are definitely two worlds. Which one are you in?

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  73. If I have to hear the word sockpuppet I am going to scream. Wil you please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please stop it?

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  74. 10:44, you didn't answer some of the other questions. Are you allowed bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks without duty? Do you consistently bring home work on your days off, in the evenings, and take courses to maintain your credential on your vacation? Do you make less than a teacher?

    Whatever your answers, is it really a good strategy to attempt to pull civil servants down to the level on which you claim the rest of the country exists? Wouldn't it make more sense to organize and work for better benefits and wages for ALL?

    I just kind of have to laugh when people complain about taxes bleeding them dry. The reason we feel so parched isn't taxes, it's the fact that workers' earnings have remained flat, while the richest among us keep taking home more and more. CEOs now make something like 300 times the average workers salary, they used to earn no more than 50 times more. The top 25 hedge fund managers took home over $1 billion a piece last year, and we're going to bitch about teachers making $50k? Those 25 hedge fund managers = 500,000 teachers. Does that make any kind of sense to you?

    11:06 - sockpuppet!

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  75. 9:08 here -- not a government worker, not unionized. I make less than the median income for a household of four in SF, for my household of three. But I have decent healthcare benefits, a retirement plan, and job security. I can raise ONE (not two) children on this in SF. That seems to me to be the minimum of human dignity one ought to have as a U.S. worker with 23 years of schooling.

    Whatever 12:37's job is, as I said, it is not a model for what work should be in a developed nation. Just because millions are suffering doesn't make it right.

    So there. And as 6:25 AM said:

    10:44, you didn't answer some of the other questions. Are you allowed bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks without duty? Do you consistently bring home work on your days off, in the evenings, and take courses to maintain your credential on your vacation? Do you make less than a teacher?

    I have been a teacher in K-12, and I'm still waiting for your response about that, and about why, if teaching is such a cushy gig, people aren't rushing to enter the field.

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  76. Teachers have bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, and lunch breaks! They are just at pre-determined time slots.

    Plus, don't they get paid for the summer, spring and winter breaks? I believed that the real working days are about 36 weeks (out of 54).

    Sometimes I think I would love to be a teacher. I would be good at teaching, and although the pay is not that great, the vacation time makes it all worthwhile.

    Still, no matter what you think about the teacher's pay and work condition, it doesn't mean the union can ask for whatever. Everything has to be reasonable.

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  77. I know this is off-topic, but did anything happen at the Board meeting regarding approving Gateway's middle school charter application? I tried watching the meeting on the streaming video, but there was no sound! Grrr . . .

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  78. um, 6:53, there are 52 weeks in a year here in the world I live in. Not sure about where you come from... Teachers are paid for about 10 months of work, with paychecks often spread out over 12 months. There are not paid for 12 months of work.

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  79. Gateway middle school was approved.

    Yes - J.Kim, Maufas, Norton, Mendoza

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  80. "Yes - J.Kim, Maufas, Norton, Mendoza"

    Kim and Maufas being yes votes is a surprise, as was Wynns being on the nay side.

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  81. 8:01,

    Based on SFUSD instruction calendar, the summer break is 2.5 months long, spring break 1 week, winter break 1 week. The real working days are 9 months.

    Then the paychecked divided by 12 months - basically, that's what I said.

    So, if we want to discuss the teacher's salary, please keep in mind the salary pays for 9 months' of work, not 12 months. What other profession can have that?

    Also, the working hour is six hours of classroom time. Of course there is prep time and homework grading time. However, it is nowhere as "no bathroom break, no coffee break and no lunch break" as 6:25 would like you to believe.

    And any profession would require additional study after hours to keep up. That includes any profession which requires government certificate, and the ones which is highly competitive.

    We need to put everything into perspective. I would absolutely say we should pay the teachers more, _IF_ they deliver better education to our kids.

    The issue is on the union's stand that teachers should only be evaluated with appointment time. Sorry to say that it will only encourage mediocracy and it will be a race to the bottom. Good teachers will not do the extra work because they see their slacking colleagues getting the same evaluation and pay with minimum work. The state of public education is largely due to the disincentive for better teachers.

    For the bad teachers, with long vacation time and 6 hour working day, they are absolutely overpaid.

    Maybe that's why so many parents would take the 20K to 30K per year hit to send their kids to private schools. At least, in private schools, there is accountability.

    Having said that, I really really respect the teachers who worked hard for the kids despite all the problems in public education. I just hope the system would reward them (especially on pay).

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  82. Thanks, Don, for the information about the Gateway vote last night. This is great news for us as we've got a kid with mild learning issues and are thus looking for a smaller middle school atmosphere for 2011-12.

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  83. 6:40 AM asked: "I have been a teacher in K-12, and I'm still waiting for your response about that, and about why, if teaching is such a cushy gig, people aren't rushing to enter the field."

    Perhaps the union's seniority system that pushes young teachers out at the first sign of a problem? Perhaps the union's pay scale that pushes teachers to get a Master's degree to move up the pay scale? (As opposed to moving up the pay scale for doing a good job, teachers move up the pay scale for sacrificing their evenings and weekend to being a student. Are they becoming better teachers by doing this?)

    I do think that this is a good point: "The reason we feel so parched isn't taxes, it's the fact that workers' earnings have remained flat."

    Wages have been flat since the 1980s (when indexed to inflation). With few private sector workers getting a pension and having to contribute to 401(k)s and IRAs, but public sector workers not having to contribute, it's no wonder that we're seeing tension between public and private sector workers. Is it stupid to have workers fighting each other? Probably. But the unions don't represent non-unionized workers.

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  84. 10:11, I work in the public sector and we are indeed required to contribute.

    This is what makes me crazy: 6 hours of facetime is NOT a 6-hour workday, not with prep and grading. It's a 9-12 hour workday, depending on whether you've taught a given class before. Vacations are not off time, either: that's when you design new courses, do your professional development, and so on. This image of the 6-hour day is just crap.

    As to the holier-than-thouism of private sector workers: most US jobs used to be like public sector jobs. That was a good thing -- factory workers could own a house, send their kids to college, retire decently. There was an actual middle class.

    Finally, unions can't represent non-unionized workers; that's ridiculous. You don't like the conditions of your work, unionize or otherwise organize.

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  85. You don't like the conditions of your work, get another job.

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  86. I've worked in the private and nonprofit sectors. I have had great, good paying jobs, and jobs that I willingly took (in both sectors) that paid badly. I usually did it either for the experience or because I believed in the work I was doing.

    I've always worked more than 40 hours (in the nonprofit sector, I had many years of 70 hour work weeks - but I was an Executive Director and that comes with the job.) I also made less than $50K with no benefits. There was no one to unionize with or against! It was my choice, I gained a great deal from it and used that time to grow and improve the organization, the staff and my own skills.

    This is a hard discussion to be dealing with this week - I stayed up till 11:30 last night with my middle schooler as his science teacher told her students that their work was 'crap' and that they don't know how to write a research report. In the meantime, she didn't write down anything for students that said what the project was, what the expectations were, etc. So I basically spent the evening (after my 10 hour work day) 'homeschooling' my kid to get the project done.

    I couldn't help but wonder what his classmates who had non-English speaking parents or parents who were off working their second job did to manage this project.

    Then there is the other teacher in his strand who hasn't returned any graded work since January 6th to the students (grading period ends this Friday) so the kids have no idea.

    And this is an honors program in a highly desired public middle school.

    I've been a long time public school advocate, but seriously am questioning the system these days.

    Certainly not all teachers are as bad as what we have landed this year - in fact, I believe that the teachers both my kids have had to date far exceed what I had growing up.

    But the system is really broken - and everyone has a role in it: administrators, elected officials, teachers, teacher unions and parents.

    As I read the UESF pronouncements and the SFUSF announcements, it makes my blood boil as both have significant room for improvement. It's impossible to take sides - we just need to start over.

    And frankly, I'm tired.

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  87. The idea that teachers are badly paid and corporate employees make great money is overblown. My friend makes 85k in the Tiburon school district. The job is pretty cushy, and it's just 9 months a year - they go to Europe every summer for two months. She'll retire soon at 90% of her salary for life. Meanwhile, I have worked for about 80-100k a year for the last 15 years in the soul-destroying, always-on world of Silicon Valley (we're talking 50 hours a week very often, if you don't want to get fired on a Wednesday morning with no warning, which happens anyway whenever the company isn't doing well - I've been laid off three times already). There is no job protection whatsoever, and I have no pension at all, just a 401k worth less than it was in 2000. Really, few people are rolling in the dough here in the Silicon Valley tech world.

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  88. I don't know how or why the district decided to lower class sizes based upon revised and improved budgets given the stalled talks, but it is clear that the situation is fluid and could change yet again. In the meantime, the district has completely cancelled the school plan requirement (SPSA/)BSC and every school can use the previous year's plan. Given some of the changes and particularly as it concerns equity it seems a strange decision to cancel the BSC for the year. It puts the entire stratgic plan in question.

    Not only that, the ED Code is very clear 64001(g) in requiring an annual update. I have heard of some schools not complying with it, but I have never heard of an entire district adopting a policy that supplants the State Ed Code and the requirements of the School Improvement Act and the Consolidated Application.

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  89. To 12:10 PM: You've compared salaries, but not benefits. If you look at how much it costs your company for your health insurance versus how much it costs your teacher friend, you'll be shocked. Also for the costs of a pension versus a 401(k).

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  90. 12:45 - and your point is....?

    Are you saying private sector get more because it costs more to administer health care and 401K?

    I guess I'd counter that WE are paying public sector benefits - all of us. I'm happy to do so.

    On the issue of public vs. private sector workers/benefits/etc.:
    I do have issue that the average private sector worker in SF makes $82,000 (w/benefits) and the average City of SF worker makes $120,000 (w/benefits.)

    I'm happy for public sector to have better benefits and job security - but that has historically come with the trade off of a lower salary vs. the private sector.

    Teachers, especially new teachers, it would seem, seem to defy this paradigm.

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  91. The public sector DEFINITELY has better benefit/health care than private sectors - pensions (instead of self-funded 401K or IRA) and the best health care options available with vision and dental.

    Those who complain about benefits don't know what it is like out there.

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  92. 12:45 here. My point is that public sector benefits are more expensive than private sector benefits. Why is that? Because the public sector benefits are better. A 401(k) is a worse deal than a pension (assuming that the pension provider doesn't go bankrupt). An HMO is a worse deal than indemnity insurance (with co-pays, restricted choice of doctor, etc).

    I think we agree here, though. I wonder what the UESF salary scale would look like if it included costs of health insurance and pension premiums...

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  93. Despite claims here, SFUSD has yet to rescind one teacher layoff notice. In years past, they have rescinded notices prior to the May 15th deadline.

    We are still at 811 teachers laid off, not just first and second year teachers (which is still, easily, five hundred or so - SFUSD's retention rates aren't very good).

    SFUSD's press release neglects to mention that they also demanded three furlough days on the current school year.

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  94. Well it's only April 14 - still a month before May 15th.

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  95. What's killing me is my son's 'awful' teacher (15 years of teaching experience, 4 years in the district) didn't get a pink slip but his 'fantastic' teacher (15 years experience, 2 years in the district) will probably have to go.

    There is no accounting for quality of teaching in layoffs - time to change this. For the most part, the senior teachers in my school agree - but can't get traction with UESF leadership on this issue.

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  96. The union is here to protect jobs, not to protect the quality of teaching.

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  97. 2:54, I hope you aren't suggesting that there are teachers making $120k in SFUSD. There are no six-figure teacher salaries in this district. Cops, firefighters, bus drivers, etc., can make that kind of money here, teachers definitely do not.

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  98. To 4:15, that's listed as "City Workers" and I imagine it includes salary, health insurance and pension contributions. I bet there are teachers close to that, and central administrators over that.

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  99. Hey 3:36, if the union wanted to protect jobs, they'd propose an salary and benefit cut that would affect all teachers, not just eliminating junior ones. The union doesn't want to protect jobs, just senior union members.

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  100. I pay more than $12K a year for health insurance for me and my kid (that is my contribution to the plan). What do teachers contribute? They talk about low saleries...9-10 hr days (by the way, that is a typical day for most folks)but I don't think they realize that their low saleries are offset by other benefits the rest of us pay for.

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  101. I'm a public school teacher (granted, not in the SFUSD) and I pay over $12,000 (out of pocket, my own contribution) for health insurance for my family of three. While I believe SFUSD teachers have slightly better employer benefit contributions than my peninsula district, SFUSD teachers still pay a good amount for their family health coverage.

    If you folks really want to go after the SF unions and complain, go after the SF city union benefits. Those are some mighty fine benefits and pay...

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  102. 12:37 Here (Sorry, not a lap dancer as 9:08 PM and 6:40AM – a former teacher - supposes)

    I work in accounting for a family owned company that picks up and deliver mail/packages from businesses. I make 50K/year and I contribute 22% of my salary to 401K. My employer took a big hit the last 5 years when the housing market crashed and we lost a lot of business. To prevent further layoffs/location closures and keep the 700 employees we have left instead of losing all 1000, we had to make some painful cuts, like suspending yearly raises and reducing some of the benefits. We have yet to recover, but I still have a job and not collecting unemployment like a lot of Nummi workers. Yes, the economy is that bad for some of us. Unfortunately for us, we don’t have taxpayers paying our salaries and we can’t just print paper money when we need it.

    If EUSD, doesn’t think that some of their demands sounds ridiculous to people like me (believe me, there are many of us out there), then I don’t know how we are ever going to solve this problem in the public school system.

    * Pay for pick up/drop off of mail between schools and Union headquarter : Why should this be the district/taxpayer’s responsibility?

    *Teacher evaluations scheduled at a specific time and class period: Seriously?? Does this make sense to anyone who is not/was never a teacher?

    *Guarantee no core substitutes will be laid off: Given a choice between substitutes and permanent teachers, I’ll have to side with the district on this one.

    *Publish job descriptions of paraprofessionals: The district should concede this one. This makes sense to me even though from my experience, I’ve had to absorb some extra responsibility when my department got cut from 4 to 2 employees.

    *Prep periods for AP teachers: Suspend for two years and a stipend instead of laying off, sounds like a compromise.

    Do I think teachers deserve higher pay than I do? Anyone who works hard deserves higher pay. My HS AP Calculus teacher (still teaches today), for instance, deserves higher pay. Best teacher I've ever had. My HS honors chemistry and physics teacher who did absolutely nothing, doesn’t deserve higher pay. My college professor (UC tenured) who reeked of alcohol during lectures and hit on his students, doesn’t deserve it. And yet, my bad teachers were/are protected from layoffs just as much as the good ones due to seniority. Does that seem fair? My child is currently in daycare so I guess we’ll see if I’ll be taking my lap dancing/sweat shopping/collecting can hard earned money (as the former teacher 9:08 supposes) to parochial in 3 years or hedge my bets in public school. Given a good choice, I would rather send my child to a public school and
    take the daycare/preschool money I’m spending now and put it towards Roth IRA and my son’s college fund.

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  103. To the Peninsula teacher at 5:10 PM, do you know how much your district pays for your health benefits? I'm at a private company, and they offer us a bunch of options (HMO, PPO, Kaiser). Out of my paycheck, I pay about $350 a month for my wife and 2 kids. The company pays $1200 a month. Most of the options cost about the same(~$1500 total), except for Kaiser which is about $1200 total.

    So I pay about $4000 a year, and my company pays about $14,000 a year. We have kind of high co-pays and deductibles ($20 and $500, I think). Health insurance is expensive, and I'm lucky that my company works to keep my costs down. We'll see how long they can do that.

    I wonder what the District's contribution is for a family of 4 (your district and SFUSD). I am surprised that you're paying $1000 a month at a public school district.

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  104. Wow! The disrespect for teachers is great! How sad!

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  105. 5:39, teacher "tenure" does not guarantee anyone a job. It guarantees the right to due process, the right to not be dismissed without cause. If administrators did their jobs and built their cases against bad teachers, they could get rid of them.

    The highest possible teacher salary in SFUSD is $82,000 (including the parcel tax add-on), for a teacher with a masters and 26+ years of experience. If they have National Board Certification, they will make another $5,000 paid as a stipend.

    Starting teachers with a BA and a credential make $50k; a teacher with a BA, credential, and 10 years experience makes $56,500 (again both including the parcel tax money).

    Teachers are not getting rich. In fact, to make over $60k, you either need 12 years of experience, or 7 years in and a masters.

    No these amounts do not include benefits, you'll have to do your own googling if you want that.

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  106. 6:00, I can tell you that for next school year for a family of 4, SFUSD pays $732.85 and the employee pays $945.55. That's for the Blue Shield HMO. Kaiser is somewhat less - $732.85/$628.44. The City Plan PPO is quite a bit more - $732.85/$1,809.91.

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  107. 12:37, that is precisely what is wrong. I wasn't saying you should be a lap dancer/can collector/whatever. I was saying that your conditions of work in the private sector should be better. I said it twice. You have an accountant's degree, I presume, and you deserve better . Not your fault, but why dump on teachers? Or the public sector, period?

    There are bad, bad teachers in the private sector too, often protected by tenure instead of a union. I sympathize with the middle-schooler's parent, because at a fancy private school I was told over and over again how stupid I was at math, until I actually was.

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  108. Don't mistake the anonymous posts you read here for some general perceived disrespect for teachers. This SF Kfiles is a blog where anonymity is a badge that lets you do and say what you please as often as you like. It doesn't suffice for opinions let alone fact. Look at the poster (supposedly from the district) who said I was wrong about the changes to the budgets and reduction in class size. By now everyone ought to know that every school got a much improved budget for next year. ( It could easily change again though) Anyone can say anything and the have no responsibility for their words.

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  109. I have a question. Perhaps Kate can start a new thread. What can you do if your kid truly does get a weak or burned out teacher? I have heard some sobering stories from friends whose kids are further along in the system and have had this experience.

    Please note: I don't want this to become a teacher-bashing thread. I just want to know what actions are appropriate when it is obvious a teacher is not teaching the kids effectively.

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  110. 7:49 pm from personal experience, complaining loud and hard on deaf ears...getting a teacher change is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

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  111. I think most of the posts appear frustrated with teachers not adapting to an economic crisis. I don't think anyone begrudges them a decent salary or benefits, it appears to me that the concerns is that their highlighted issues with the district are generally very small in comparison to the global financial issues and they should be willing to compromise, just as everyone else is doing in this difficult time.

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  112. The frustration is on union's refusal to allow teachers to be evaluated based on performance.

    It's extremely difficult to get rid of a bad teacher right now, and offen the performance has nothing to do with seniority. One bad teacher may be enough to ruin a kid's school year.

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  113. Peninsula public school teacher here --- aka 5:10 pm.

    My district contributes approximately $650 to my monthly family dental/health benefits. I pay another $1,000 per month. This is for a Blue Shield HMO and Delta Dental fio a family of three --- this is not a cadillac plan!!!

    While there are SOME school districts in CA where the benefits are very generous (as is the salary), the northern peninsula and SFUSD are not part of that group.

    FYI --- I am a teacher with 7 years of experience and a doctorate, and I make $56,000 per year teaching in a hard-to-fill area.

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  114. re: burned out teachers - I have a friend who is an absolute freakin' genius when it comes to reading preschoolers and getting them motivated. Her kid had a burnt out teacher last year. She said that she managed to change her entire attitude by the end of the year (my friend thought that the teacher was effective but in a beastly mood in general). She sent her anonymous notes with praise for the things that she had done right/well. She made sure that the class as a whole sent her flowers, cookies, things on her wish list, cards with sweet notes, etc. It was truly impressive to listen to her story - she found out through the grape vine that the teacher was going through a particularily rough patch in life. It's like getting anyone motivated and energized - going on the offensive usually provokes nothing productive but a little bit of praise and recognition can go a long way.

    Of course, I don't think this advice would be very effective for the teachers who shouldn't be teaching any more - the racists, the drunks, the drugged up ones, the temper tantrum chair throwers...oh the lessons I've learned from people.

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  115. "I think most of the posts appear frustrated with teachers not adapting to an economic crisis."

    Why are we so accepting that the burden falls on the middle class, and hold teachers in contempt for trying to hold on to what they have? I hope that the people complaining about how the teachers aren't sucking it up and accepting their lot in life will be first in line to advocate that teachers get pay back once the economy rebounds.

    It just pains me when people seem to be saying that because their personal work experiences aren't ideal, that means that another group also should be brought down. Things can ALWAYS get worse, and so long as we're advocating that another group suffers, it's just an endless cycle of racing to the bottom. I mean, instead of chants of, "I work 10 hours a day, so why shouldn't someone else have to work 9?" why aren't we asking, "Why shouldn’t we all be able to work 8?"

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  116. We had our PTA meeting tonight and heard from some teachers about the impasse. Previously, my impression was that both sides were being enormously petty: why not just agree on the big things and leave the smaller disagreements until later?

    But now I think I understand this a bit better: these are not just negotiations about what to do for the next two years. Negotiations required the District to open up the teachers' contracts for general negotiation -- everything that teachers agree to now will be in their contracts for perhaps years. So there is a lot at stake for both sides.

    Working conditions are important, and teachers are facing giving a lot up for the next two years and then having the "smaller" provisions (like class prep time) come around to haunt them for many years to come.

    By the way, the families that I know that have SFUSD teachers as the primary breadwinners are hands down the poorest, most cash-strapped educated families that I know. They also have some of the highest out of pocket health care costs.

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  117. We have two kids and have gone through eight different teachers in the SF public schools at a decidedly not-trophy-school. We have yet to have a burnt out teacher or one mailing it in. All the teachers have been really good and dedicated. I think our teachers are doing heroic work. The only problem we have had, which just started this year, is that, as class size increased this year, one of our kid's teacher's patience for the slow learners wore thin. Yes, the teacher probably could have done better, but I don't blame the teacher, I blame the budget cuts.

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  118. Don, you're the jerk. Please respect other posters opinions and stop with the name calling if they don't agree with you...and I'm not referring only to this thread. Oh, and stop complimenting and thanking yourself too under anonymous. That's disgusting. We know you have a vendetta against Carlos Garcia since he had you "escorted" out of the building, so cut it out. Stop influencing the rest of us who have a legitimate concern about our kids and stop with your fake issues. Try collecting stamps or something!

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  119. "But now I think I understand this a bit better: these are not just negotiations about what to do for the next two years. Negotiations required the District to open up the teachers' contracts for general negotiation -- everything that teachers agree to now will be in their contracts for perhaps years. So there is a lot at stake for both sides. "

    9:44PM, thanks for the clarification. Why didn't UESF say that in the first place? I think that would have helped reduce some of the frustration and confusion as to why UESF are walking out from negotiations based on these issues. Although, I still think teacher scheduled evaluation is ridiculous.

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  120. "This SF Kfiles is a blog where anonymity is a badge that lets you do and say what you please as often as you like. It doesn't suffice for opinions let alone fact."

    The previous message is a classic case in point.

    Mr. Garcia never had me escorted out of the building as you say. Ain't free speech grand? I will clarify it so even you can understand. I was escorted out for not wearing a badge because the Media department did not want to answer the question as to why they were editing the content or a privately funded blog while working at the district. This was an uncomfortable question for them. In the meantime I have been back to the lair often.

    I realize that in your zeal and enjoyment in slinging insults facts are of little consequence to you, but they are the difference between opinion and defamation. You don't have to wear your issues on your sleave. Show a little discretion. Your behavior is ugly and thoughtless.

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  121. Being a bit fed up "she who enjoys to insult", I have posted an example of what can be read on her own blog.

    Moggy Mania.

    "I wasn't in the best of moods already recently, for a number of stress-related reasons, but this just really has my hackles up. I actually flamed the last reporter that wrote on the topic, though I noticed that this time the Chronicle chose somebody else to do the mudslinging. (Warning: the below post is very sarcastic at points.)"

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  122. It just pains me when people seem to be saying that because their personal work experiences aren't ideal, that means that another group also should be brought down .... so long as we're advocating that another group suffers, it's just an endless cycle of racing to the bottom. .... instead of chants of, "I work 10 hours a day, so why shouldn't someone else have to work 9?" why aren't we asking, "Why shouldn’t we all be able to work 8?"

    AMEN! We really should not forget that the 8-hour day and the concept of the weekend were brought to us by unions. Unions, when they are strong in an area or sector, lift all boats in their fight for family-friendly working conditions, family wages, and the like. The "union difference" is what built the middle class in this country.

    And yeah, teachers are hardly raking in the dough OR benefits. I have a friend who teaches and whose husband does as well. They have three kids. They are doing okay, but only by being very frugal. This is a fight to keep teachers in the middle class. Not upper-middle, but barely middle in some cases. Not only do they deserve this as a whole, but our kids do better with stable, happy teachers. Teachers are THE difference in learning--much more important than class size or # of days.

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  123. 9:44 I agree, but as I understand it this is sort of a seperate agreement for two years for these items, they are not in the permanent contract which is up to be renegotiated next year. SFUSD is objecting to putting language in the permanent contract in an "extra" bargaining session. I also agree unions have given us much and deserve props, but they rightly in most times, have to make sure they are protecting people so that is their common way of doing things. It just may not be the best for this situation since nothing the district is asking for is permanent, only bargained and agreed to for the next two year.

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  124. Don, I haven't actually posted anything on this thread, (until now) and your insistence about attributing every negative comment made about you to me is bizarre.
    I hardly ever post on sfkfiles, and when I do -- it isn't to comment about you.

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  125. Thanks to those who spoke up on behalf of teachers. Why investment bankers get taxpayer-funded bailouts and continue to make huge bonuses for crappy performances, while teachers take it on the chin, is beyond me. Yes, public school teachers from K-16 are barely hanging onto the middle class (though college profs. in the sciences tend to be the exception). And that is a bloody shame, for the students and for society.

    Let me speak to this:

    "I still think teacher scheduled evaluation is ridiculous." While I don't think this should be a make-or-break issue, it's not as frivolous as it seems. I do evaluations of graduate instructors at a UC. I always inform them as far ahead of time as I can when I am coming (and if I can, I let them choose a date), so that they can adjust their activities accordingly. There are some things that would not be useful for me to see -- for instance, draft workshops, student presentations, or in-class writing exercises. What I want to see is the teacher in action, in a mix of lecture and discussion, and not every hour of the classroom is spent that way -- or the class would be boringly repetitious. Allowing teachers to schedule their evaluation days ensures that the evaluator is going to see something that usefully illuminates the teacher's engagement with the material and with students.

    I'm also not sure about the 2-year plan. Cuts made in "emergency situations" have a way of becoming permanent. They have at the UCs.

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  126. Parents want teachers to face the reality that they need to tighten up their belts for the next 2 years because it is their kids that are suffering as a result of the teachers threatening to strike over petty issues, which will hurt the students. That said, I do think prep time is important so if the Union wants to improve their PR campaign drop the other petty nonsense like bereavement leave twice removed and stick on a point that parents might actually agree is worth fighting for.

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  127. Parents want teachers to face the reality that they need to tighten up their belts for the next 2 years because it is their kids that are suffering as a result of the teachers threatening to strike over petty issues, which will hurt the students. That said, I do think prep time is important so if the Union wants to improve their PR campaign drop the other petty nonsense like bereavement leave twice removed and stick on a point that parents might actually agree is worth fighting for.

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  128. Why so much hatin' on this Don guy?

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  129. 11/14 @ 6:29 p.m., those figures are for working 9 months of the year...so, lets see, a starting salaried teacher who actually worked 12 months a year, would make 74.5K, for lets be generous and assume a 10 hrs day, that is almost $29 per hour, seems pretty good to me. Its more than say a starting salary for physical therapists who have graduate degrees make.

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  130. Teachers deserve a living wage...

    ...but the union needs to let the district fire the incompetent ones.

    Every year, my kids (middle and high school students) have had one class with a lazy, thoroughly incompetent teacher. A teacher who knows that he/she cannot be fired and will be employed by the district until death do him part.


    One woman (middle school math teacher) regularly took Thursday and Friday off. Another (history) gave the students a reading assignment from their textbook each day and then sat back and played video games on his computer.

    Parents complained. One got forced out. But he was merely transferred to another school.

    The teacher's union has a bad reputation among parents because these bad eggs come to mine when we think of the union.

    The union's strict adherence to the senority principal and absolute protection of its incompetenet numbers should end.

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  131. 7:23,

    Evaluating a researcher (graduate instructor) is different from evaluating a classroom teacher. In community college, CSU and UC, the students get an evaluation form at the end of semester. The students( and parents for small kids) know the best, not someone who come into the class for two hours, and certainly not at appointed time.

    To the union supporters, unions did great job improving the working condition of American workers, but they also helped to drive some great American industries to ground (for example, automobile).

    Parents were fleeing SF. One reason is the stupid lottery system, the district is to blame, but will be changed next year. Another reason is that there just aren't enough quality schools. It seems that the union has no interest in helping the school district to improve the quality of education. Again, I am talking about the sticky point on evaluation.

    In my opinion, the union's objectives should include helping the employer to provider the best service to the customers. In this case, they should help the district to deliver the best education to the SF kids. Guess what, if middle-income parents stay in the city, the city prospers, generates more tax revenue, has higher education budget, and the teachers will get paid more and will get better condition.

    It is still a free market, even in term of where a family choose to live. No matter whether you work in public sector or private, the best interest of the employees is to have a successful employer.

    It just seems that the union is self-defeating with their actions. As a parent, and the customer of SFUSD, I am with school district, strongly on the evaluation issue.

    If SFUSD offer the best education in bay area, I am sure most parents here would be completely on the teachers' side.

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  132. 9:11,

    Great job. I think many parents are on the side of the teachers. However, teachers need to also understand the general public. Really do you need to have days off if your uncle died? I didn't get a day off when my mother died. I am a consultant. I took over a week on the chin for taking time for me and my family. No, we are not on a race to the bottom but teachers also have to understand where others are coming from. They have a pension! I have nothing but Roth IRA and a 401K. At this time, I don't even really have a 401K since the company I contract out from doesn't provide it. I just have it from old companies I worked at. Sucks but it is a job. Those are the kinds of things that teachers and the union have to keep in mind when they are bargaining at time of horrible economic time.

    That being said. I really would love teachers to be paid more. I want them to have great benefits. I also want them to have to work year around and the pay adjusted accordingly. We are no longer an agrarian society. We need our children to learn all through the year. This way teachers would get paid more. We can still have a couple of weeks in the summer for vacation and the two weeks of winter break. I think that would be great.

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  133. Auto companies drove the US auto industry into the ground with terrible decisions--focusing on big cars and trucks with bad repair records for years instead of innovating. They also opposed universal health care for years, and traded promises of lifetime employer-sponsored insurance and pensions in return for wage concessions. This came back to bite them--and the workers--years later with the rising costs, while companies in other countries were not burdened with those costs.

    There are lots of union companies in other countries that are doing much better than our industry. They are not burdened with our high health costs because their more centralized and not-so-much-profit driven systems deliver better health care at a (much) lower price than our employers and employees have to pay.

    The original labor peace of the 50's and 60's--build cars that your workers can afford to buy--wasn't a bad model. The short-term profits model of the last 30 years, combined with growing health care and pension liabilities, and then add in the cars no one wanted to buy when gas prices spiked, is the issue.

    The standard union-bashing line is easy to swallow by now, as it has been pushed down our throats for a generation now. I'm not saying unions are perfect, but the auto industry crash is way more complex than "workers drove the companies into the ground."

    On balance, we in the middle class would do well to support unionization. It is what created us. Lots of countries don't have a viable middle class, and they are unstable, violent, poverty-stricken places. As the other person said--the eight-hour day, holidays, the weekend, an end to child labor, workers' comp, social security, medicare, and finally the middle class--all brought to us by the unions.

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  134. 11:24,

    I am not against union. I am just pointing out the best interest of union is to make sure the employer prosper. Anyone working in any kind of Capitalist society would know that, but this is lacking in union's agenda.

    Maybe teaching can not be outsourced to other countries, but parents certainly have options to move to other cities or use private schools.

    Union vs employer is not a zero sum game. Whether in auto industry or education, the pie can actually shrink if employer+employee cannot provide satisfy their customers. If the pie shrink (in this case, middle class families continue to leave the city), schools will be closed and jobs will be lost.

    Seriously, if all the SF schools have API of above 850, do you think we will even have this discussion? Which side do you think the parents will be on?

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  135. It is possible to acknowledge the significant contributions of unions to our labor system - especially over the past century - while still acknowledging that there are areas in need of significant improvement as the world around us has changed.

    The dogmatic mantra that I hear out of SEIU and, now, UESF, doesn't speak to the reality of the world the rest of us our living in right now.

    I, too, agree that teacher should be paid more - but that, too, would require a professionalization that the UESF hs never embraced. They believe a teacher is a teacher is a teacher.

    If they truly believe this, why don't they advocate for principal seniority in placement for administrators? (Hint: because like teachers, not all principals are equally capable, productive or talented.)

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  136. Regarding the auto industry's demise:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/403/nummi

    For those of you that are This American Life fans, listen to this recent episode about the history of the NUMMI plant in Fremont. My husband and I listened to it and it really made me understand two key things:
    1. Detroit had it's head buried in the sand for most of my life - terrible marketing choices.
    2. The auto workers unions disfunction and antagonistic culture was equally to blame.

    As is usually the case, everyone is a little bit right (or in this case, wrong.)

    I encourage everyone to listen this episode - on the best TAL episodes I've heard.

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  137. 9:11 I agree wholeheartedly. I am a paying customer and I can choose to spend my time and money I pay now for daycare/preschool at a parochial or donate to the public school my son will attend. I prefer the latter because it would still be less money than private but without better service, you can't blame me wanting more for my buck. The district and UESF need to work together and come up with a plan that's best for it's current students and draw future students in who's parents are watching all this unfold. All I see is bickering over who is spending a bigger piece of the pie and who's more to blame. They are equally to blame.

    11:57AM, thanks for the link. The strange part is, I didn't need to know anything about the history of the NUMMI plant to realize union and auto makers are both equally to blame. Sounds strangely like like SFUSD and UESF.

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  138. "Why so much hatin' on this Don guy?"

    Long story: he used to post on the SF Schools listserve, and got caught posting multiple "I think Don is really great" posts from the same IP address. Risibly, he claimed it was because someone else accessed his router. So he got kicked off the sfschools.org listserve for sockpuppetry. And then goes to the SFUSD offices because he thinks someone on the blog is employed at SFUSD and he's trying to get them fired. So he's got a grudge against the district, also.

    About 15% of his posts are useful, a few excellent.

    But most are myopic, inaccurate or misleading, and many pursuing his own grudges or hobby-horses, even bizarrely when his own position has won (e.g. on neighborhood schools: hello, the new system is strongly neighborhood school based). It doesn't help he's thin-skinned; a bad combination for a busybody, really.

    No, I'm not Moggy, Don.

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  139. 11:51, UESF doesn't advocate for principals at all, principals have their own union which has nothing to do with UESF.

    To 9:11, 7:23 clearly stated that they do evaluations of graduate instructors at a UC. Students may fill out evaluation forms at the end of a course, but those are not the same as a formal evaluation based on observation. There are plenty of reasons that student evaluations are not valid, the main one being that students who are getting good grades rate high, the ones with poor grades rate low.

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  140. 11:51, UESF doesn't advocate for principals at all, principals have their own union which has nothing to do with UESF.

    -----11:51 here
    I am aware of that but my point is that UESF thinks all teachers are the same but do NOT believe all principals are the same.

    Also, UESF wants teachers to have the right to approve or reject a principal at their school, so they clearly believe there are differences in quality among principal candidates.

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  141. Or maybe a UC student might actually have a valid opinion or constructive feedback for an instructor?

    I find it interesting that some completely discount feedback from students (or parents, for that matter.)

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  142. This is off the topic, but it is well-known among college profs that to get good student evals you either need to be an outstanding instructor or have significant grade inflation. When a friend was up for tenure and needed good student evals in a particular intro course, he initially lamented "but, I've already dumbed down the class." He subsequently claimed he was "handing out As as if they were free candy" which seemed to do the trick.

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  143. Seeing that teacher's health coverage is basically on par (or below) the private sector, what's the pension like? I've heard that public school teachers don't pay into Social Security (nor do they get payouts). Do they have a 401(k) or an old-school pension? Something other than SS?

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  144. 7:23AM I stand by my statement that teacher scheduled eval is ridiculous. As someone pointed out, at UC's, graduate instructors are evaluated by students and UC administrator(?). As far as I know, parents and students don't evalute in K-12 (correct me if I'm wrong). If that's the case, it's not the same thing. I would think (and hope) that the evaluations I gave regarding my UC professors back in college were given some considerations in addition to the the UC's. Since this is not the case in K-12, it makes sense that evaluations are not teacher scheduled. I just don't see what the big deal is about unscheduled teacher evals.

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  145. Re teacher pensions, check out this week's article in the SF Chron:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/04/12/bloomberg1376-L0TTX31A1I4H-10.DTL

    Yes, they have a defined-benefit pension (good!) and gave up wage increases at the bargaining table to get it, but it may be severely underfunded (very bad!). Look at the buy-downs accepted by the auto workers in recent years.

    No doubt there will be a push to get teachers to accept 401(k)-type plans in the future. Think they'll start offering market-rate wages alongside?

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  146. 2:43,

    Most academic classes in college are graded on curves - using statistics methods, a % are graded A, a % are graded B etc.

    So, no, an instructor cannot give everyone A to get better evaluation.

    And, the eval form is anonymous and very detailed. Students rate the instructor on many aspects, from knowledge to delivery.

    My opinion is that K-12 teachers should be evaluated in similar fashion, with certain weight given to the standard testing scores and student background. I don't believe in "No Child Left Behind" which give the scores too much weight, and I believe teachers at poorer neighborhood schools should be encouraged.

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  147. Here's pension article specific to California.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/29/business/la-fi-calstrs29-2010jan29

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  148. 4:41 - if parents and students start evaluating teachers in a way that can effect their job security, expect to only hear any bad news about your children on very rare occasions, probably from teachers who are about to retire. I've had to tell parents that I was seeing x, y, or z problem with their child and they don't always react well. If my job depends on keeping parents happy, I would be irrational not to do everything I can to make sure they think things are a-okay all the time. Please consider the unintended consequences of what you propose.

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  149. 5:08

    Exactly! How true! Parents don't want to hear any bad news. Just give junior an A and the parents are happy.

    Here's a true story. I'm a math teacher and I've had students transfer into my class from low-performing districts in California. The students were consistently given As in their previous math classes, yet now in my class, they are only earning Cs (at best). The parents become hysterical and angry. Clearly the problem is me...

    Fortunately for a teacher like me, we do have objective STAR tests which have consistently shown that the student is performing at a much below proficient level. However, the parents have chosen to ignore that piece of data in the past, focusing instead on the As their child earns.

    From these exxperiences I have learned that to keep parents happy, all a teacher need do is give junior an A. I still won't do it, but I understand why some teachers would decide that it is the easiest thing to do...

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  150. 7:23 here. Student evaluations do count. But with everyone, not just graduate instructors, they are counterbalanced by an evaluation from a teacher with more experience at a higher rank. When you go from untenured to tenured, or tenured to full, you get a visit from a senior colleague. You are allowed to confer with that colleague to find a date that makes sense: not the day of your midterm, for instance, or the day your students are doing small-group breakouts.

    What this means is that at least part of the evaluation of someone as a teacher comes from actually experienced teachers (imagine that! not 19-year-olds without even a BA!). That solves for low evaluations from students who are cranky because they didn't get an A just for being special, and other such delights that show up in student evals.

    Public school teachers deserve that minimum of dignity, it seems to me.

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  151. 4:41, I'm afraid your response to 2:43 is woefully ignorant:

    "Most academic classes in college are graded on curves - using statistics methods, a % are graded A, a % are graded B etc.
    So, no, an instructor cannot give everyone A to get better evaluation."

    Not true in the Humanities and Social Sciences, at all. You can give out as many As as you want. Fear of bad evaluations does indeed produce grade inflation, and the more precarious the instructor's position, the more likely it is.

    "And, the eval form is anonymous and very detailed. Students rate the instructor on many aspects, from knowledge to delivery."

    True, but in what universe is a college student qualified to rate an instructor on knowledge? Or, for that matter, on effective delivery of an educational experience, as opposed to being entertaining? All they can really evaluate is customer service. And that's not what education is.

    "My opinion is that K-12 teachers should be evaluated in similar fashion..."

    Um, that's crazy talk. Can you imagine 3rd graders rating their teachers on knowledge ("she really knows her fractions!") or delivery ("I love it that he wears a clown nose!")?

    The people who can best evaluate teachers are other teachers, preferably those with more experience, viewing classroom sessions and/or student work presented in a holistic assessment like a portfolio. Not students, not parents, not even standardized tests.

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  152. 9:29pm, I like your post. I'm a teacher. I teacher a severely impaired classroom. Most of my students can't speak. They like to twirl the strings on my sweatshirt and they like it when I pick them up and spin them in the air, but I'm not sure that would carry much currency in a teacher evaluation. I do think teachers should evaluate other teachers, and I love the idea of portfolios instead of standardized testing. I consistently score "outstanding" on my evaluations...but I get no feedback on how to improve my practice, and to me the evaluation is meaningless as my principal has no idea what goes on in a special ed. classroom. In all of this uproar about teacher evaluations, we never talk about how to restructure so they can be useful for teachers.

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  153. "The people who can best evaluate teachers are other teachers, preferably those with more experience, viewing classroom sessions and/or student work presented in a holistic assessment like a portfolio. Not students, not parents, not even standardized tests."

    This is not necessarily true. Just because the instructor knows the subject matter quiet well, doesn't mean that they can effectively teach it. I've had some UC professors who published brilliant books in their field of expertise but they dislike the teaching aspect of it. They rely on the teaching assistants to cover the subject in more detail during sections and couldn't be bothered to hold office hours. Not everyone was like this, of course, but they do exist. This is why I think both evaluation from student and knowledgeable colleague is necessary for a more accurate assessment in the college level.

    I do agree, however, that parent and student evaluation in the K-12 level might be counter productive (especially K-8).

    Btw, 7:23, doesn't professors have their schedules laid out before the quarter/semester starts? It's pretty much the same schedule year after year. Can't you obtain the schedule from your colleague and plan your evaluation visits accordingly? Your reasons for having scheduled visits for graduate instructors in the UC, doesn't make sense to me. I must be missing something.

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  154. moron said:

    "he thinks someone on the blog is employed at SFUSD and he's trying to get them fired. So he's got a grudge against the district, also."

    I'm not a religious man, but that's what is called bearing false witness. They should pay you a hollywood salary for this crap.

    And S and M goes on:

    "About 15% of his posts are useful, a few excellent.

    But most are myopic, inaccurate or misleading, and many pursuing his own grudges or hobby-horses, even bizarrely when his own position has won (e.g. on neighborhood schools: hello, the new system is strongly neighborhood school based). It doesn't help he's thin-skinned; a bad combination for a busybody, really."

    I hope you are enjoying yourself. To actually say something that you know something about would take work and you wouldn't be able fill your flaming quota. You're another anonymous person who goes around creating an online identity and character for me as you please. Why don't you get your own identity to play with? You can be that person you always wanted to be, but just couldn't somehow get the guts.

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  155. "Btw, 7:23, doesn't professors have their schedules laid out before the quarter/semester starts? It's pretty much the same schedule year after year."

    No, it changes every quarter. True, I could plow through each of 35 syllabi in the first week of the quarter, pick the class for which I wanted to surprise each instructor, and then disrupt their class (visitors are a distraction, especially for the youngest students). Instead, I let instructors know when I think is best for me to come long before they write their syllabi, and advise them that I am hoping to see lecture/discussion and to adjust their syllabus accordingly. I also ask for a lesson plan 24 hours before I visit so I can see the difference between their intent and the outcome, which I consider crucial. That would not be possible with unscheduled visits. And I recommend that they let students know a visitor will be present so there is no disruption and so students know that it is the instructor, not them, who is being evaluated. Again, that seems like a minimum of professional courtesy to both instructors and students, and a maximum way to ensure that what I am watching will produce the most useful evidence.

    And for what it's worth, with the very beginning instructors I actually see more not-so-good teaching with decent-to-good student evaluations than the other way around, and the average grades for the class I observe tend to be a bit high. Thus part of what I am there for is to counsel instructors on effective pedagogy, not on just pandering to students out of fear. By creating a climate in which my job is to help novice instructors grow, rather than to feel overmonitored and stigmatized for not being perfect, I truly believe I have improved graduate instruction.

    Performance evaluation has to be done in good faith by people who are themselves teachers, with professional respect and an emphasis on communicating a teacher's strengths and weaknesses and guiding him/her to resources to help. I guarantee that surprise visits by professional evaluators looking for reasons to fire or demote teachers will not produce better teaching, just bad morale and pandering.

    As to brilliant UC profs who are mediocre teachers, blame the emphasis on research over teaching (teaching counts for very little in the promotion process). This isn't an issue in the public schools. And for what it's worth, yeah, I think maybe bereavement leave for second-degree relatives is something the union ought to consider giving up.

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  156. Looks like in Oakland, the parents have had enough. Walked out and picketed because the district would not remove a bad teacher because it takes two years to get through all the red tape. It is ridiculous that a teacher can lock up a kid or tell them to "shut up" in 3rd grade and still be able to show up to work every day. The union should be ashamed to have such a member. People on this board talk about evaluating teachers, giving them pre-warning..what so they can be the teacher they are not, the some 100+ days a year. There may be some teachers more effective than not but those that have anger management issues or are making litte effort should just be gone. I am leaning towards the idea of video monitors in the classrooms of those teachers who receive parental or other complaints. Then the union and the district can see for themselves and the teacher can know they are being watched.

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  157. No, you don't ask 3rd graders to evaluate teachers. However, parents know very well how the kids are doing.

    Why are teachers afraid of being evaluated by parents?

    The child's difficulties would be understood by the parents very well (unlike other teachers). A parent of disability child would certainly know how difficult the teacher's job is.

    And when the child is in middle school and up, they certainly can evaluate the teachers themselves. If you have a MS or HS kid, you certainly know that. "Mr. A doesn't explain well." "Mrs. B's class is very interesting." "Mr.s C is so boring that half of the class is asleep." Seriously, if your kid is not learning, you WILL KNOW IT.

    And for different grades, the questions would be different. Nobody said the evaluation form must be the same.

    The arguments against teacher evaluation are just minor points using extreme cases to counter. None of the issues raised cannot be solved.

    Look at how private schools handle their teachers. Their teachers don't even have to have credentials like in public schools. It all comes down to how well they teach. If the kids (as a collection, not a few individuals) don't learn, the teacher is out. Neither school, teachers, parents, nor students have any problem with that.

    However, first, we should establish that teachers should be evaluated and bad teachers will be let go. This should apply to bad economy times (instead of layoff based on seniority), but even when the economy is good, there should be a way to get rid of persistently bad teachers.

    Second, good teachers must be rewarded. I am not just talking about test scores. It should be a combination of factors.

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  158. 11:46
    Get help. Quickly.

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  159. <>

    I totally agree. Sounds like the procedures for firing a teacher ought to be changed. But evaluation is a separate thing, and do you think a "surprise" visitor would be any more likely to see that behavior? Not likely. Nor are hidden cameras a good idea. You can't make a policy designed around one bad apple and apply it to everyone as if they're already criminals. It creates a climate of mistrust and low morale.

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  160. I think every class should have webcams so any parent can view any class their child is in at any time.

    And administrators could also observe the teachers, whenever they wanted to.

    If there is nothing to hide, what would the objection be?

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  161. I think every home, office, retail location, etc., should have webcams so everyone can see what everyone else is doing all the time. If no one is doing anything wrong, what objection could there be? Okay, we won't put them in bedrooms and bathrooms.

    3:06, we'll start with your place of work.

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  162. 4:05,

    If I am a private tutor, teaching your kid English, math,piano or whatever, I would definitely make webcam available to you or any parent. And you definitely have the right to demand webcam viewing.

    - (not 3:06)

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  163. I think webcams in schools are a great idea.

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  164. Nothing like moving the prison state right into our own classrooms and workplaces! That's kind of how the Stasi saw it too. Spy on your neighbors, because after all, if they're not doing anything wrong, why should they object?

    California. Where the democratic civic sphere comes to die.

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  165. no, it lets us see what our kids are doing

    only parents of children in that class would be able to 'view"

    I don't see what is wrong with that

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  166. It brings "helicopter parenting" to new levels of absurdity, is what is wrong.

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  167. 6:59 and others, totally agree, see nothing wrong with web cams in public school, it is public and parents have a right to walk in at anytime, why not log-on. Of course, I think viewing should only be limited to current parents and administration. Why not? I'd volunteer funds for my school. sBy the way, for you skeptics, I know many a place of employment that has them and I would be fine with one in my office because my work is above rebuff everyday.

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  168. Do you mean "beyond reproof?"

    Big Brother apparently now has a red carpet rolled out for him.

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  169. Only bad/lazy/insecure teachers would be against having web cams in their classrooms.

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  170. When parents take an interest in their children's schooling, they are disparagingly called "helicopter parents". But then you have teachers whining all the time about how parents do not take an interest in their children's educations.

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  171. Wow, good thing parents will never get their webcams. Think about it. Only parents will have access? So you think all parents are perfect models, that there aren't parents who abuse children? If only that were true. You think there aren't parents with relatives, partners, friends, dates, etc., who could easily gain access? And of course siblings would never misuse the system.

    Here's one reason it will never happen - parental rights. Yes, the right to NOT have your kid's image used in any way outside of your control. There are typically some number of kids in any class whose parents refuse to allow any sort of media access to their children. That means that their pictures can't even be used in PTA publications. You think they are going to allow their children to be broadcast on webcams?

    There are so many reasons that this is a terrible idea, but thankfully we don't have to spend too much time listing them all. Suffice it to say that it just won't happen, and let's move this conversation back towards reality and the issues at hand.

    Maybe someday you'll be able to have a tracking chip and camera implanted in your kid, at least until they are 18 (or until they sue for emancipation), and you'll be able to sleep at night. Until then I guess a cell phone with GPS is as good as it's gonna get. Sorry.

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  172. Thank you, 9:06 PM. I mean, c'mon -- web cams?? Seriously, that's so ridiculous it's worthy of a Catherine and Kent-type spoof. We're outraged that paraprofessionals get time off to attend their uncles' funerals (or whatever), but we're going to spend that money on some sort of Big Brother monitoring system? Wow.

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  173. Ok,ok - the webcam discussion is really only theoretical.

    Meanwhile, I just emailed the principal at my son's school that the grading period just ended and it was the second one where a teacher returned NO graded tests, homework or assignments - NONE (this is a 7th grade honors class!)

    This is after the first six weeks of school, he had them watching movies 2x week while he was downing Dr. Pepper and chips in class. And that just scratches the surface (he hadn't issued textbooks either.) He eventually issued the textbooks, but seems to have slipped into a coma or something. He lost two letters I put in his office mailbox, then claimed my son lost it. Seriously, I have a list a mile long.

    Thank heavens the parents took the time and energy to keep the administration informed - but not sure to what end.

    Oh, and he won't be getting a pink slip so he'll be back next year.

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  174. Thus, the argument for webcams is made.

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  175. 11:49, what school? That's terrible.

    Why is there not a "RateMyKidsTeachers" like there is a "RateMyProfessors," a for-profit public rating system about college profs, or "Angie's List," a rating system about services? I think there's one for high schools called RateMyTeachers," but I mean something for parents. If nothing else, parents could check it and avoid the low-rated teachers if they possibly could.

    I'm not against parents evaluating teachers; I just don't think that should be part of the professional evaluation process -- too great a possibility of teachers pandering or younger students' comments being misunderstood. But I do think parents have a right to be warned, and a parent-to-parent rating system might have a shaming effect as well as giving parents some information.

    There you go, a money-making opportunity for someone to seize, unless it already exists.

    My Captcha for this, oddly, is "myrates." A sign that I'm silly for giving this billion-dollar idea away for free? (Just kidding).

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  176. 9:06

    You should just say that you don't want webcam and based on your reasoning, nobody can have it, and thus nobody should ask for it.

    11:49

    This is a real story from principal of a turned-around school. The students are mostly from working class families, over 60% in free/reduced lunch, yet API score in high 800. Basically this is the kind of school you want for all SF neighborhoods, and much of the turn-around happened after the principal joined this school.

    When he just started, one of the teachers was transfered from another school which was closed. She had 15+ years of experience, and always has "excellent" evaluation at the old school; yet it was obvious to him that she cannot teach, and wouldn't listen to advices.

    He had to clearly document all parent complaints for one whole year(withou encouraging parents). With that, eventually at the second year he got the district to send in an evaluator, who agreed with him. Finally she was let go.

    Unfortunately, 15+ years of non-teaching at 20+ kids per year. It takes persistant parents and a principal with guts to get rid of a bad teacher.

    11:49, please keep on letting the principal know, not just orally, but in written forms. Talk to other parents, ask everyone to do the same. Just hope your principal is strong enough to do something in the future.

    And watching TV twice a week? That's exactly why the evaluation should not be appointed time.

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  177. 7:32, unfortunately your story doesn't match up with the legal requirements to dismiss a teacher for unsatisfactory performance. I refer you to the California Education Code, Section 44934:

    "Upon the filing of written charges, duly signed and verified by the person filing them, with the governing board of the school district, or upon a written statement of charges formulated by the governing board, charging that there exists cause, as specified in Section 44932 or 44933, for the dismissal or suspension of a permanent employee of the district, the governing board may, upon majority vote, except as provided in this article if it deems the action necessary, give notice to the permanent employee of its intention to dismiss or suspend him or her at the expiration of 30 days from the date of service of the notice, unless the employee demands a hearing as provided in this article."

    and to Section 44938(b):

    "(b) The governing board of any school district shall not act upon any charges of unsatisfactory performance unless it acts in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) or (2):

    (1) At least 90 calendar days prior to the date of the filing, the board or its authorized representative has given the employee against whom the charge is filed, written notice of the unsatisfactory performance, specifying the nature thereof with such specific instances of behavior and with such particularity as to furnish the employee an opportunity to correct his or her faults and overcome the grounds for the charge. The written notice shall include the evaluation made pursuant to Article 11 (commencing with Section 44660) of Chapter 3, if applicable to the employee.

    (2) The governing board may act during the time period composed of the last one-fourth of the schooldays it has scheduled for purposes of computing apportionments in any fiscal year if, prior to the beginning of that time period, the board or its authorized representative has given the employee against whom the charge is filed, written notice of the unsatisfactory performance, specifying the nature thereof with such specific instances of behavior and with such particularity as to furnish the employee an opportunity to correct his or her faults and overcome the grounds for the charge. The written notice shall include the evaluation made pursuant to Article 11 (commencing with Section 44660) of Chapter 3, if applicable to the employee."

    This is not to say that your story is false, only that the teacher in question was not fired, but almost certainly transferred to another school (think "Lemon Dance"), thanks to the principal's failure to follow the proper procedures to have her removed from the system.

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  178. I don't think webcams are realistic options. It costs too much and some parents will not agree to it. I do know parents who doesn't want pictures of their children published. As much as you have responsible parents, you also have irresponsible ones who will provide webcam access to people who shouldn't be given access.

    Unscheduled evaluation makes the most sense to me. I still don't understand what is objectionable about it. I understand professional courtesy but I also think that evaluations should be unbiased and free of any conflict of interest. If, as an evaluator, you ask your colleague to show you their best face forward, you might actually be doing a de-service by not being able to both provide positive affirmations on what's working as well as address areas in their teaching that needs improvement. I guess my question is, what exactly is the point of an evaluation? Is it to assess for promotion/raise purposes only or it is also to provide feedback to the teacher on what needs improvement as well as praise them for the good job they are doing. If feedback is not given to a teacher (in K-12) as someone here suggested, then maybe, that's what need to be changed not that it should be scheduled.

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  179. 10:32

    You think parents would be told the complete legal procedures at the tour? It is a two-year story told in one minute.

    I am not naming the school exactly because people like you, who focus on the minor details and completely miss the moral of the story.

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  180. This is just depressing. Good teachers should not care when they are evaluated because they know they are doing what they are supposed to and the bad ones need to go. Until the teachers collectively recognize and support firing the bad teachers without a multiple year process in which many kids suffer, then I see no reason why any of them should get additional benefits.

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  181. I'm a teacher. This thread is making me feel quite frustrated; there are so many factual inaccuracies. Unions (all unions) are formed to protect workers. Yes, those unions unfortunately help a few bad workers along with good workers. However, the idea that teachers' unions are to blame for the retention of bad teachers is inaccurate. Teachers CAN be removed if they persistently score poorly on evaluations. Principals conduct these evaluations. If the principal does his/her job appropriately, takes the time to evaluate the teacher, gives them an honest score, then the teacher goes through remediation (to improve teaching-which is sometimes all that is needed, especially new teachers), or, if they continue to score poorly, are removed. See how the burden for removing a poor teacher rests with the principal? And rightly so, as the principal is that teacher's direct supervisor. However, parents and students run into problems when there is an ineffective principal. When that principal fails to listen to parent feedback, pay attention to aberrant patterns of behavioral issues or test scores (note the use of aberrant-expect lower test scores at high needs schools), or properly evaluate teachers-in other words, DO THEIR JOB, then yes, poor teachers remain in their jobs. A school with a teacher that watches tv, eats chips, plays computer games, or any other atrocious behavior while they are supposed to be teaching is a school with an ineffective principal who is not doing his or her job. Please, stop blaming the union. Also, please note that many paraprofessionals make barely above minimum wage, yet do very difficult work. They don't get paid vacations (like teachers). If the union is pushing for second-degree relative paid bereavement days, then I support that.

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  182. When we get finished playing cowboys and indians can we have a real conversation about what constitutes good teaching rather than just classifying everyone as good or bad. How about the high percentage of middling teachers who are adequate, but not stellar. Shouldn't they go, too?

    The largest single expenditure/program in California public school history was the Class Size Reduction Act. One of the problems with CSR is that it required far more teachers to implement. This led to a reduction in teacher quality as suddenly there was a massive shorteage of teachers. Kind of like Obama's healthcare will result in a massive shortage of doctors with 30-40 million new patients.

    School districts had to hire anyone who walked through the door back in the mid 90's just to get a warm body. Quality suffered tremendously and the problem has persisted through the present dating back to that time. This doesn't explain all the problems with education but it is one factor and it is raraely discussed. Most people just think CSR=better.

    In addition 2 or 3 unruly children will destroy the learning environment for the rest, but when classrooms are free of such problems good teachers trump class size any day. Ask any principal in a school that takes learning and class control seriously and they will tell you they'd much rather have one stellar teacher teaching 40 kids then two "bad" teachers teaching 20 each.

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  183. Thank you, 2:21. The parental disrespect for educators here is terrible. Please be assured that not all of us think you should be followed around with webcams.

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  184. 12:44, minor details like due process? Like the difference between doing his job as an administrator to permanently remove a bad teacher, and doing just enough to get that teacher dumped on yet another school?

    You are retelling one side of a story that was obviously framed by its originator to make him appear responsive to parent complaints. You think he left out getting the support of the school board to fire this teacher for the sake of brevity? I think that if he had done so, he'd definitely want parents to know he went the full mile to do what was right.

    I suggest you go back and ask him for the rest of the story.

    Regarding evaluations, the main reason they are scheduled is to ensure that the evaluators will be able to observe meaningful events. If the Kindergarten class is in the middle of their free choice play time, there won't be much, if any, teaching to observe. As it is right now, I've never had a principal that wanted to do anything but a scheduled observation.

    And Don, way to raise the bar. Now we won't just aim to get rid of the "bad" teachers, we'll shitcan all the "pretty decent" ones, too. Who in their right mind would want to become a teacher in an atmosphere more reminiscent of an Inquisition than education?

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  185. 10:52

    what the Ed code says and what actually happens are hardly ever the same

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  186. I have a high respect for teachers and that is why I would like to see a more robust effort by all involved to free the classrooms and their students of ineffectiveness in order to strengthen the profession and spur student achievement.

    What makes a good teacher? If students are inspired to learn, regardless of their level, they will work harder. That makes a good teacher. How do you evaluate inspiration? Not by test scores, but through the input of all those who are affected by teacher quality. Yet students and their parents and guardians have no input under the current process. All the district does at present is ask on the feedback form if you thought your child's teacher did a good job. What will they do with this information if your identity is unknown?

    There is no litmus test as standardized testing/ merit pay proponents would claim. But there is a need to have testing for some baseline understanding of student progress.

    If you want webcams in the classroom (which I don't support at all and think is frankly ridiculous) then we should have webcams in every meeting of the downtown leadership where decision-making goes on that effects all children district wide.

    As for my point on middling teachers, I was trying to provide some context to the good/bad dynamic. What is good? What is bad? Is sort of good good enough? Should test scores be the determinant? Should teachers pat each other on the back with in house staff-evaluations? Can parents be involved in evaluation? What about evaluating the SOISs, the supervisors of principals who rarely make the effort to go out to schools and see with their own eyes what is going on or to talk with parents, teachers and students?

    I wasn't saying get rid of the mediocre or if that is what I implied that isn't what I meant. Obviously, everyone can be stellar, but everyone ought to be able to improve their game if administrators do their job. I can't figure out what it is they do do. What I do know is that there is too much administration of everything except what has to do with raising student achievement. That is what we are here for - students, parents, teachers and leadership.

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  187. 3:04, I don't understand. Is your point that it's acceptable to ignore the law?

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  188. I'm the parent with the middle schooler with the string of back luck in teachers this year. We really hit the duds (and I have and continue to document it along with a number of other parents) , but I will emphasize that overall, we've usually had excellent teachers throughout our SFUSD experience. That has made me more comfortable taking on the few teachers that are serious problems.

    Prior to this year, with two kids in the public schools for most of the past decade, there have only been a handful of what I'd consider "problem" teachers - but that handful can be very damaging to children who are less fortunate than mine. This year, I'm taking on the situation because some of these teachers have hidden behind teaching kids whose parents are less able to advocate for their own children.

    Another example - a consolidated teacher who had been teaching at a low performing school for almost 20 years (i.e. dance of the lemons) teacher came to our school while my daughter was in 1st grade. He was legendary throughout the district as a problematic teacher - the principal new about it (she'd taught with him at the same school years before) and several parents who were sFUSD teachers also knew about this teacher.

    In the first two weeks of school these things happened: He forgot to take the kids to lunch - twice. He forgot to take them to recess at least as many time. He lost 3 kids at a fire drill. He asked the parents what the homework policy was and what the kids were taught the prior year. He told some kids (my daughter) they were the 'good kids' and that the others were the 'bad kids'. He wrote a note to my daugher that said, "Deer XXXX" instead of "Dear XXXXX"

    Needless to see, we were alarmed. Talks with the principal led to her urging us to document these thinks - saying (with a wink) "I really need this type of information."

    As it was elevated and brought to the union's attention, the UESF rep noted that maybe this teacher just "wasn't a good fit" with our school.

    Of course, the next question would be "exactly what school WOULD this person be a good fit for?"

    At about 6 weeks, with parents literally taking notes in the classroom and taking it up with reps at 555 Franklin, this teacher was persuaded to take a leave of absence. We were told he planned to retire at the end of the year (he never put in his paperwork to do that.) He was angry about how much the 'parents run the school.'

    The principal made it clear that she had little ability to do much about it - quickly- without significant documentation from parents.

    He later tried to come back to the school, which caused yet another uproar. I was told he eventually retired.

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  189. 4:56 here again.

    Of course, one has to wonder - in this case the system eventually worked. But it must be noted that it took the significant time and effort of middle class parents to do it. When I hear how some think parents shouldn't weigh in on teachers, I find it ironic that the only way poor teachers ever get address, in my experience, is through significant parental action.

    And believe me, I'd certainly rather spend my time supporting, helping and advocating for the overwhelming majority that are good.

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  190. 4:56's story is very similar to the story I told earlier (I wonder what 2:44 would say now).

    Bad teachers are extremely difficult to remove. Parents must document everything, and must be organized to move the issue to higher up. The system is set up this way and it works the way it was supposed to. However, the system was set up with the teachers' interest as the primary, not the kids.

    Those bad teachers are the reason why the society lacks the due respect for teaching profession. Again, if all SF schools have API or 850+, parents do not need to worry so much about lottery, what do you think the respect level is?

    I know there are teachers reading this blog, so I am going to ask, do you think all your colleagues can teach? If not, what kept them there? Don't blame parents for being skeptical when you know full well there are bad apples in the profession, and the system is not designed to filter out the bad ones.

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  191. I'm a middle school teacher. In the 20 years that I have been teaching (both in SFUSD and in the suburbs), I have only seen one truly bad teacher. He taught in a hard to fill area and he was AWFUL. He could not manage the kids at all. The teachers at my school complained LOUDLY about this teacher, because it affected our ability to teach when the students spent the prior period walking all over that teacher. He was not renewed, and that was the end of that. He never got tenure.

    Yes, there are plenty of teachers that don't work very hard. But, I can't really say that they are bad teachers --- maybe a little lazy. But often this type of teacher is LOVED by parents because they only give As and Bs and very little homework. The fact that they do not have the greatest test scores is eclipsed, as the teachers in the prior and latter grades pick up the slack in educating the kids.

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  192. to the middle school teacher 6:26:

    I guess I'm compelled to ask: How do you KNOW if your colleagues are doing well or not?

    I'm a middle school parent that had an opportunity this year to do an observance day as part of a group of teachers, students and parents at our school (was part of a facilitated day as part of a grant that included a consultant, etc.) We reported back to the teachers at the end of the day what we observed as part of an equity exercise.

    What struck me most about the day was how many teachers said that they'd been colleagues/partners in the school with other teachers for 10 or 15 years but had actually never seen their peers in action - had been in meetings (planning, prof development, etc.) year after year, but never seen their partner in front of a class, or with students teaching. This was a big part of the discussion that afternoon and result was that teachers wanted to arrange so that they could do more of this.

    I came away struck by how solitary the teaching profession is (or is at our large middle schools.)

    I learned and grew professionally by having many opportunities to observe my mentors and peers, and by getting constructive feedback from mentors, peers and clients/customers/constituents.

    I'm hoping that our school will really work to do this for our teachers to help them - they wanted it (and judging from my own experience, many teachers need more feedback and development that can be gained from collaboration and observation.)

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  193. 6:36 middle school teacher here.

    True, as a teacher in this economy, you are almost never in another teacher's classroom. When there was more money, you may have release time (subs covering your classroom) in order to drop in on other teachers. Unfortunately, that and most professional development is not happening right now. It is very solitary.

    My comment about how other teachers are doing is partially antecdotal and partially based on test scores. If you consistently see test scores drop after a certain teacher, it doesn't take much to figure out that great teaching is not occurring in that classroom. Also, at the middle school level, students talk quite a bit about their teachers, so you know which teachers give homework, are easy, etc... In addition, we have a data system that allows us to see all prior grades and test scores for our students, so trends are easy to spot.

    And, of course, there are no secrets in most schools. Gossip travels fast.

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  194. I'm a teacher!

    The teachers at my school are good. At this point, I've seen over half of them teaching in their classroom at least twice for extended periods. And of course, I see everybody managing their classrooms at assemblies, see posted work, hear interactions in the hall, talk to parents who have several children at the school, and so on.

    In my experience, low-quality teachers who don't care (as opposed to new teachers having a hard first year or a teacher who is dealing with a major personal crisis and not at the top of his or her game for a month) are poisonous to a school climate. At an elementary school, it only takes one individual to destroy collegiality, disrespect students and parents, etc. A school where teachers avoid the staff room and hide out in their rooms for fear of running into such a teacher cannot have an environment of collaborative practice.

    Teachers are capable of making such a person feel less welcome. I've seen it happen. While the teacher may go on to teach elsewhere, given the reluctance I see from many principals to go to the hard work of documenting the rare but serious low-quality teacher it's not a terrible strategy.

    Also, I dispute the idea that teacher quality remains low because of CSR. It's certainly true that early on CSR caused a shortage, but SFUSD has not had the same struggles that other school districts have had (except in its hard to staff schools/hard to fill positions, perhaps, but even those schools have almost entirely fully-credentialed staff, and currently SFUSD is laying off those teachers anyway).

    Similarly, at a high-needs school, 20:1 with two okay teachers is going to be better than 40:1 with one stellar teacher because the affective and academic needs of the students can simply not be met by one adult in a manner that can be sustained.

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  195. The teachers I know want time to observe each other and collaborate, but unless you are in a STAR school with funds provided for subs to cover release time for grade level planning meetings and classroom observations, it almost never happens. As 9:01 stated, there is no money in the budget for such activities. I agree very much that collaboration and classroom observations are important for teacher development. I taught in a STAR school several years ago, and when I was moved (through consolidation) to a non-STAR school I had no idea how much I was going to miss working with a grade level team.

    I think one of the most effective ways to improve schools and teaching would be to facilitate teachers learning from each other. Right now, at many schools each classroom functions like it's own little fiefdom, and the environment becomes more about competition than collaboration.

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  196. "Those bad teachers are the reason why the society lacks the due respect for teaching profession."

    I see. Given that there are bad accountants, software engineers, realtors, doctors, and construction workers out there, I am very hard pressed to believe that. Society does not value teachers because teachers are mostly women, especially in the early grades, and paid badly (which comes first, the chicken or the egg, I cannot say). Women's care for children, whether it be parenting or teaching, is not valued in U.S. culture in way that count: money, decent working conditions, and positive media portrayals. So if you're a mom,at least, you ought to feel solidarity with teachers. Referring to a term upthread, "helicopter parents" are not parents who view teachers as allies in the education and growth of their child -- they are parents who want to micromanage their child's success and see teachers as service people.

    Anyway, I am a teacher, and it is indeed a solitary activity in a way it need not be. The fewer classes we have, the smaller they are, the more time given to professional development, peer observation, and evaluations done in the spirit of professional respect, the better teachers we can become. I love the idea of the observance day that 8:38 PM described -- and I bet the observations were scheduled -- and the mix of feedback from parents, other teachers, outside professionals, and yes, students. At its best, teaching is a collaborative endeavor with endless possibilities for growth. But to make that happen, we need a culture that respects the work we do and advocates for the conditions we need to do it well.

    My kid goes to a preschool with those kind of working conditions for its teachers, and the teaching is astounding.

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  197. 7:45

    The difference is that with any other profession, there is a system which get rid of bad ones. It is called a free job market. That system encourages the best effort, not seniority.

    When was the last time that you see any doctor, lawyer, software engineer, accountant judged by seniority instead of job performance (outside the government system)?

    In most professions, if you cannot perform, you starve. That's the same way for teachers in private schools.

    And are there any union for software engineers, doctors, accountants, and lawyers? I know there are unions for public employees, and guess what, I have no respect for the goverment as a working institution. However, when I get older, I would love to get a gov job.

    For most parents, we don't have the option with private education. All the discussion here won't be relevant in private schools, because that will be free market at work.

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  198. Some schools has strong PTA and it helps to fund dedicated PE, art, and/or music teachers. So the regular classroom teachers can have the period free, right? And the he can sit in coleague's class to observe, right?

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  199. 8:02, you seem to have a problem with the public schools, but what is it that you want? You forget that there is a system for weeding out bad teacher, it's called their probationary period. In CA, for the first two years a teacher can be dismissed at any time, for any reason. If principals are doing their jobs they should catch most of the "bad" teachers before they are granted tenure. Perhaps you think people are gaming the system? Working their butts off for the first two years so they can slack forever after? I can't counter that kind of cynicism with anything but my own anecdotes that I have never seen such behavior.

    Keep in mind that teachers do not have the same opportunities for advancement that are available to other professions. A teacher is a teacher is a teacher. A few teachers become "master teachers" and work with other teachers to help them improve, but at least in SFUSD that is a very weak system. There are no master teachers at my school. Unless a teacher wants to go into administration, there are no promotions. Compare the salaries of "software engineers, doctors, accountants, and lawyers" to what teachers make. There are reasons that teachers have increased job security. If you take that away, don't be surprised when the quality of people willing to teach declines. There are trade-offs that anyone in any profession accepts. Doctors and lawyers work long hours, but they make a lot of money. Would they work the same hours if their pay were halved? Unlikely.

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  200. 8:20, no, it doesn't always work that way. Most often the art, music, and P.E. teachers that are hired do not have the credentials that would allow us to leave them in the classroom unattended, so we have to stay in the room. Our Prop H P.E. program is based around the idea that the teachers are being trained to run their own P.E. classes when the Prop H money goes away, so we have to stay for those, too.

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