The Apples and Oranges of the Chicago Teacher's Strike

The Chicago teacher's strike is about more than money; it's about charter schools, and their impact on education. This blog seeks to explain the differences between charter and public schools.

As of this writing, the Chicago Public Schools are on strike.  By the time you read this, that strike may be over, but the issues it has raised are important to the future of education. 

Many people want to oversimplify the teachers’ strike as one over money.  These people are conveniently ignoring the other issues at the heart of the strike, and I believe this is damaging to the way people talk about education in this country.  The strike is about so much more than that-- and to simply decide it’s about teacher greed is both ironic (Teaching is an overpaid profession now?  Really?) and ignorant of the very complex issues teachers deal with. 

One such issue is the emergence of charter schools, and their impact on public schools.  I could write a book (and I am) detailing the problems with such schools; but for the purposes of this blog, I’d simply like to point out some things that tend to be surprises to people when I have discussions about this very topic. 

This is not meant as a condemnation of all charter schools; simply a primer so that parents understand that these schools are not equal in terms of apples-to-apples comparisons with public schools, and therefore can ask informed questions before sending their child to one.  Not all of these facts apply to all charter schools, but these are concerns that any parent thinking of sending his or her child to a charter school should consider.

Let’s start with a “success” story: 

Geoffrey Canada is heralded as the champion of charter schools.  In Harlem, his Harlem Children’s Zone school has been featured as a successful school—one that President Obama himself has declared a model for the future—and was prominently featured in the documentary Waiting for Superman.  And the secret of Canada’s success can be whittled down to one bright spot: he has made education a commodity.  The wait list to get into his school is a mile long.

And that is one benefit that Canada enjoys that public schools cannot.  He automatically starts the year with a student and parental population dedicated to learning.  And, more to the point, he can dismiss any current student in favor of someone else on the wait list, should they not meet the school’s standards.  In short—and perhaps a bit cynically—Geoffrey Canada’s school is a success partially because he can literally discriminate; Not in any racial or sexist sense, but in an educational sense that public schools cannot enjoy.  If public schools had even a minimum GPA standard, or wouldn’t fear lawsuits for permanent expulsions of students who broke the behavioral code, they would instantly look better on paper due to the sheer nature of statistics.

But that doesn’t concern parents who are looking to send their kid to a better school.  In fact, if I were a concerned parent, I’d be all for that model, too.  Why I would give a damn about state and local policy, when the shortest route to success is placing my child in an environment where learning really is policy number one, is beyond my ability to negotiate.  

Unless, of course, if my child has a learning disability or speaks English as a second language.  Then it might affect me, because many charter schools do not have to accept them.  After all, a student population with a wide range of abilities will drag down their numbers. 

They present a bigger challenge.  Let the public schools deal with them.

Speaking of numbers, when you see statistics comparing charter schools and public schools, take them with a grain of salt.  Many charter schools set their own curriculum, and methods of implementing it.  Sometimes this is good, and sometimes bad, but it’s simply different—and that needs to be taken into account when it boasts about graduation and college acceptance rates.  

And, if they make that boast, the appropriate follow-up question would be to ask about statistics that show what happens to their students AFTER they get to college.

Another difference between the models involves the teachers a privately-funded charter school hires.  Most of them do not require a teacher to even be certified by the state for employment.  A simple bachelor’s degree will do.  And if you are a certified teacher, you need not be certified in the area you eventually teach, necessarily.

This means that the education your child is receiving is not necessarily one by a state-qualified teacher. And considering their much lower salaries than public school teachers, and that many of them might not be under continuing contract, they might quit at any time throughout the year-- and they often do, because teaching (believe it or not) is a really, really hard job.

How much does it matter that the playing field isn’t level?  It turns out that, once you open the discussion to a comparison with public schools, charter schools underperform despite their advantages.

A 2010 study by the Department of Education says, “On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress.“   They also found that—and this applies to our more affluent readers, “charter schools serving more advantaged students—those with higher income and prior achievement—had significant negative effects on math test scores.” 

The Chicago teachers know these things.  They know that there are good charter schools, and there are bad-- but it’s simply not fair to fund one type over the other as if they were on equal footing, and then belittle the efforts of one type of teacher while praising another.   

And if we are not going to measure charter schools by the same standards—whether they be enrollment, staffing, curriculum, or in terms of statistics—that we measure public schools by, then it is up to the parent to sufficiently and knowledgably investigate whether or not the institution they are sending their child to is a legitimate upgrade from a public school, or simply a tool for someone to make money by privatizing education.

That decision affects not only their child, but our society as a whole.

You can follow Patrick on twitter @PatrickInPublic 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

The original Bill September 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Just a FYI Shelley: There is over $60 Billion in the PERS fund here in Ohio. It is most certainly "sustainable"
MZ September 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Patrick, I have no animosity whatsoever. I don't get worked up very easily and tend to not get mad at those that don't agree with me. I have been both calm and rational for all my posts. As for your question, why not pay teachers like most people are paid? Use both quantitate measure (test scores, passing rate) as well as qualitative measures (surveys, observations, etc). This is how most employees get paid for their merit. It isn't always fair, but seems to work out quite well the majority of the time. Of coarse you would have to get rid of the union first. If the union wasn't present, base pay, benefits could be different for different schools. Perhaps inner city schools that may be more of a challenging environment would pay significantly more than outer ring superb schools (kind of like hazard pay). If the union wasn't present, teachers could also change schools much more easily if they weren't happy with their raises, classes, hours, etc... Nothing novel about the idea. Just let the free market take over. Again, not perfect, but perhaps better than what exists today.
Patrick Giusto September 23, 2012 at 01:04 PM
MZ- Ok, good. I was just trying to clear the air. Let's start with the good. I really believe that if you incorporated more admin and parent surveys and observations into a merit pay systems, teachers' unions would be willing to sit at the table and discuss that as a component. The quantitative portion is an entirely different story. If I teach 9th grade English, the kids don't take a state test at all. How am I paid? What if I teach HomeEc or Gym? If I teach 10th grade, they do-- but if they score well, can you really prove it was because of me instead of their previous nine teachers? When they take the test, are you giving me some sort of handicap for the students I have that have learning disabilities, an IEP and a Special Ed teacher who monitors their progress? How are they paid? What if-- and this happens-- students simply fill in ABCDCBA on the test because they don't care? Or if they don't come at all the day of? If we implement testing as a manner of competitive pay, doesn't it stand to reason that teachers would cease to do things like share lesson plans that work among their departments? Won't this encourage more cheating? It's sad, but it's going to happen in places. And it has. As I'm outta room, one more point: what made your best teachers so? Was it your scores on those tests, or did they transcend and make you a better person and more critical thinker? We need to address these Qs and more to get a fair and accurate system.
Debbie S. September 23, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Frankly, I have no problem with the PERS benefits. You've got to remember, for the most part, people who work in public service do so for FAR less than they could make in comparable jobs in industry. Over a decade ago, my husband (a district technology coordinator) was offered DOUBLE his school salary to go work for a bank doing the SAME THING he was/is doing for an Ohio school district. He stayed in education because he WANTS to be in education. Similarly, I know an engineer who serves us in ODOT who cold easily make double his salary going outside (engineering professionals are almost always in demand). Retirement benefits for public workers were set up to compensate them in some small way for those sacrifices. If public sector jobs were as profitable as some people on these comments seem to think they are, people would FLOCK to them. But when 50% of new teachers quit within the first 5 years due to low salaries or poor working conditions, there's obviously a problem. Now, am I in favor of public employee policies like double-dipping? Heck no! There are absolutely some reforms that could and should be made.
MZ September 23, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Patrick, there are no perfect metrics. You can measure leading indicators and set goals like other salaried professions do. I wasn't implying test scores alone. I always had a mixture of qualitative and quantitative goals when I was employed. Let's say you are an engineer in a mfg. company. You are assigned certain parts and processes that you are responsible for on the shop floor. You don't have control over who is assigned to manufacture your parts. You might get e best, or the worst. That doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to improve the process. In this case, perhaps you would measure the timeliness of dealing with defects, the cost of rework, improvement ideas, etc... Again, there is no perfect metric but to simply say that nothing can be measured and taken with a grain of salt isn't wise. People need accountability. Your a smart guy. Are you trying to say that quantitative measure cannot exist in teaching? If all your students fill out random answers, I would ask why did that happen? If a person intentially scraps a part, I would wonder why as well. It could be the teacher or engineers fault, or it may have nothing to do with them. Either way, it shouldn't be ignored. My best teachers challenged me, engaged my mind, and therefore I learned more, and yes got better test scores.
Patrick Giusto September 23, 2012 at 02:19 PM
MZ- I guess I would argue-- and this may be idealistic of me-- that generally speaking our students are more important than a product that's produced. And I think that fundamentally speaking, teachers have a problem with reducing students to numbers, especially when the systems we use to measure them are filled with variables that are simply being ignored. But, to address your metaphor: wouldn't it stand to reason that, if company A was making something with "defective" parts, and a job came open at company B where that was not a problem, that you would leave company A and work for B? In my time as a teacher, I've worked in districts (as either a teacher or sub) in three different states, across all rural, urban and suburban designations. Each of those types of districts are dealing with student populations of varying backgrounds, but have problems unique to only their type of school. And, yes, I'm here to tell you-- and the comments on this blog are evidence of this-- rural and urban districts deal with parents and students who simply do not care about education. They see us as babysitters, and don't respect the institution. So, yes, there are plenty of kids who simply do not care. If I get that kid to change his mind, and take education seriously, how do you judge that on paper? Believe me, good teachers do not abdicate that responsibility. In Vegas, teachers literally have to go to the kids' houses to get them on test day. (more)
Patrick Giusto September 23, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Also, i would like to point out that (and this depends on your CBA, but I've never worked in a district that didn't do this) we are already evaluated in-person for our performance on several occasions. In my district, administrators do several walk-throughs and full, written observations during the course of a year. In those, teachers provide lesson plans with rationales and learning targets for what the kids are expected to be able to do each day. You cannot get tenure without renewal of your license, which includes the observation process, as well as getting certified by the state as a "Highly Qualified Teacher" and/or a Master's Degree and completion of a professional development program. So, it's not like that aspect isn't already incorporated into our jobs, and we're just doing our thing without answering to anyone. And that process can be refined, but it should be done so at a local level, not a state or federal one, where the community can dictate their own standards for what makes a good teacher for their population. So, again, I think teachers would be inclined to discuss a qualitative system, locally. Quantitatively, I'm not saying coming up with that system is IMPOSSIBLE, but our schools are worth a better effort than the ones I've seen presented in order to eliminate the variables I've outlined to make it a fair system. Otherwise you will drive teachers away, not bring them in.
Debbie S. September 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM
"Private schools typically do better than public," That's not borne out by factual, objective studies, Shelley. At least none that I've seen. Can you provide references for that supposition? As for the statements, "But the union won't allow parent volunteers & then complain parents aren't engaged. They cut arts & sports & close schools to pay contracts but no parents can read with the class, make art, file books, paint walls. Also, there is no policy preventing us [in private schools] from gifting money." I have never heard of a union blocking parental volunteers, just administrators or in some cases, stale teachers on a power trip who don't want nosy parents threatening their superiority in the classroom. And no school I know of - public OR private - refuses monetary gifts. The "they" you refer to as cutting programs definitely isn't the union - it's SCHOOL BOARDS making those cuts. Again, I'm no fan of unions, but I also think teachers get blamed for problems that are not of teachers' making. Teachers are in a hard spot because they have no choice but to join unions in order to teach in most brick & mortar public schools.
Shelley September 24, 2012 at 01:59 AM
PERS comes from the paychecks of working people. Take a survey of average working people and ask them if they think that paying 100% of a retirement account for janitors & ward secretaries, etc is how they want their tax dollars spent. Re priv. vs pub schools: I can only go by the 4 private schools that I looked at for my child. All 4 had higher graduation rates, college entrance rates, and higher scores on those all important tests in math and science than Lakewood elementary. I only know what I have researched personally. My friends in Indianapolis, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Atlanta all found the same thing. $60 billion came from the working population when half don't make enough to pay federal taxes. So the people underemployed at gas stations and in retail stores trying to make ends meet should be paying for a luxury for every single public sector toilet cleaner? I don't think so.In fact, the Congressional Business Office proves you wrong also. In regards to your assertion that public sector jobs pay less. Only when you get past people with master's degrees, does the private sector catch up to public sector compensation. It's not even close.You are weak on facts, Deb! You've been faking people out all day here. And, yes, people do flock to get those jobs. It is easy to google the CBO. And show me a union that says its ok for a teacher to leave the room and a parent to fill in. Those warm n cuddly thugs! I'm done wasting my time with people who lie. I've got facts anytime.
Shelley September 24, 2012 at 02:22 AM
http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/pensions101 The Buckeye Institute page has many calculators. One is shows how retirement is figured for each state employee. There are around 340,000 of them to support forever with that 60 billion. It also compares your job in the private sector vs the same job as a gov't employee and it gives you what a high/low range of salary, benefits whether you are a clerk, attorney or teacher. Check your job on the calculator and while you're there see how much you pay in so they can retire at 30 yrs with a good salary and young enough to collect both the pension and a paycheck from a new career. Only in America, while others struggle and as this article started all of this teachers and schools could use that money. We so kindly reward every single government worker with a full free pension because, um, why???
Debbie S. September 24, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Shelley, There is no need to call me a liar, Shelley. The CBO data to which I assume you are referring (since you provided no link) shows that the lower your education, the better the public sector total compensation compares with private sector - this is true. But teachers cannot even receive certification without a Bachelor's degree and within a few years, they MUST obtain a Master's degree. So the longer a teacher is teaching, the greater the DECREASE in total compensation compared to private sector. This is antithetical to most people's perception of how wage progression should be for themselves. Can you honestly tell me that you expect to make a LESS competitive wage as you gain experience? That's what certified teachers can expect. Here are some links to back up what I am saying: http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/final_out_of_balance_report_april_2010.pdf and "Highly educated federal workers earn less than their peers in the private sector." http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/federal-pay-vs-private-sector-compensation/
Debbie S. September 24, 2012 at 02:45 AM
As for comparing public versus private, I simply asked you to provide links to your assertion that private schools (in general) are better than public. I guess you don't have any. I'm glad private school is working for your child and I'm not trying to dispute your clarification about your PERSONAL research in Lakewood, but your comments was more general than that. You can't compare with your friends in other states, because there's no standard across state lines. And if you were able to get test scores for the private schools you looked at in Lakewood (and verify that they were the same test given by the public schools), then kudos to you. However, here are some links of articles to support my assertion that your blanket statement about private schools being better than public schools doesn't hold water: "Apples and Oranges: Comparing Private and Public School Test Scores" http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/1173-comparing-private-public-school-test-scores.gs?page=all "Do Test Scores Prove Private Schools Are Better" http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/private-schools/do-test-scores-prove-private-s.html "Public Schools vs. Private Schools: New Study Says There Is No Difference" http://education-portal.com/articles/Public_Schools_vs_Private_Schools_New_Study_Says_There_is_No_Difference.html
Shelley September 24, 2012 at 02:45 AM
The link I provided above specific for Ohio. Here is the CBO, both are non partisan newspapers unlike the far left NY times. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/42921 This shows you need a doctorate to see a higher compensation in the private sector. There's 2 unbiased sources to your 1 biased. I'll call them untruths if you prefer.
Debbie S. September 24, 2012 at 02:46 AM
*comments WERE more general
Debbie S. September 24, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I hadn't seen that post when I made my comment. The Buckeye Institute is classified as libertarian leaning. http://politicsunspun.com/?page_id=79 Oh, and public school teachers haven't been retiring with just 30 years of work for over a decade. 35 years is the norm and with the law change this year, that number just went up again. My husband will not be eligible for full benefits until he has put in at least 38 years.
Earl Elevant September 24, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Sounds like Adam only cares about $$$$ and power...and can't stand that he doesn't have either, yet teachers do.
Shelley September 24, 2012 at 03:19 AM
That was all in regards to the PERS for all argument. I feel it is unjust, I didn't say teachers should not get it. Re-read if you think that's what I said. Trying to do many things at once here you are lacking my full attention, sorry. For teachers, I think they need to cut the union cord and they would be better appreciated and well taken care of. Good teachers rise to the top as leaders of the new groups and salary and benefits comparable to the amount of education, amount of time worked, paid time off earned and weighted by importance such as we regard the medical field. Teachers are important and there should be no room for mediocre. I think teachers could demand more respect and compensation without the busloads of drum beaters speaking not-so-eloquently for them. That is who we see right before we hear tenure and reluctance to reviews then the PERS cherry on top. When people hide behind that, it seems as if they have something to hide. I have 3 teachers in my family and they are very bright. Oddly enough their children are not in public schools. I would love to see teacher panels replace school boards. What I meant by the volunteerism and gifting note is that we should clear out the people keeping the parents from the teachers as much as we can to increase understanding and open the lines of communication. It's good for the kids to see that too. They should see parent/teachers unified in their messages.
Shelley September 24, 2012 at 03:54 AM
A washington post article? Those public schools include the wealthiest public school systems that we do not have access to. So to compare what we have access to versus private school, the scores are higher. I subscribe to Playhouse Square and sit next to a Shaker Heights teacher. In our dreams would our children have an education as luxurious as those children have. I am speaking only of Lakewood OH and locations similar to us. In districts where the median income is closer to a $million public schools make private school look unnecessary. I am not naming the 4 schools so you can find other things you think are wrong about them. I will tell you 2 of them were Catholic. Check the grad & college rates etc that I quoted for Catholic vs public school around Cuyahoga County. I checked them and am satisfied already. The one test in common between pub & priv was the Iowa. My child scored 99 in Reading Comp, Spelling, Math as did a friend in public school. He was moved to an advanced program. It is the regular curriculum in private school. Private school takes Iowa's in grades 1, 3 5. Public took in grade 2 and allowed re-takes for those having "bad days" so how accurate is their data?
MZ September 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Patrick, I would assume that if you had a convert (or several) that went from not caring about school to caring about education there would be several measureable indicators. I am pleased to hear that you have multiple qualitative reviews throughout the year, which is a good thing. I wonder what difference it makes since CBA likely doesn’t allow pay for performance. Certainly those teachers with a "calling" to the profession will do their best regardless, but what about the teachers that haven't been "called." I would have to assume that the union and the CBA protects them. You had asked about my experience with “good” teachers that made an impact in my life. I replied. I also had many teachers who weren’t “good”, some that were terrible and clearly phoned it in. I couldn’t tell you the percentage, but in my experience it was closer to 50%-50% than 80%-20%. It appears to me that there are two challenges, rewarding and encouraging the “good” teachers, and dealing with the “bad” ones. Based on personal experience, I tend to look at what works in the private market as a model, all be it an imperfect one. Raises and promotions on one side, no raises, improvement plans, and terminations on the other.
lyn September 24, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Debbie- I'm not a teacher, not married to a teacher, so I may not know as much about a teachers retirement as you. That being said, isn't it true, though, that a teacher CAN retire NOW after 30 years, with no minimum age, and receive FULL benefits? And, that teachers, if they had waited until they had that magic 35 years, they received an enhanced benefit - where they can receive MORE than the regular 66% of their final average salary? Also, when you say your husband won't be eligible for full benefits until he has put in 38 years (because of changes taking effect in 2015?), that will still be MANY years before ANY person in the private sector can receive full benefit - I'm assuming him to be 60 years old when he retires with full benefits and 77% of his average final salary as a pension.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Samuel Clemens: I relly don't care how hard you wrok. Getting more pay in America does not come from Hard work , but comes from affordability and Competiton. You could demand all you want, but the People must be able to Afford it. Like everything else we buy. So , go teach and get your $500,000 or $200,000 or whatever you Demand from a private school. Or build your own public school and see how many people could afford your rates. You see Union rates are not affordable by any household today. Unions are only used by Force. Your wages come from TAXES. Taxes on individuals and businesses. Forced taxes on ALL individuals, whether they have children or not. Whether they send their child to be taught by you. Public schools are unnecessary for many people. Because, people have alternatives , your Pay is NOT a real indication of what you are demanding. My auto is a negotiated PRICE, just like your wages. If I HAD to buy my Public service automobile that was priced at double the rate Paid somewhere else, then I should be unhappy. Therefore, let those who choose private school costs exempt from paying your exhobitant Teacher value. It's that simple. See how much you can demand from those who want to use your Public teacher schools. I bet YOU LOSE.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Pardon my spelling, I am just back from vacation. I do not have time to re-type or proof read. But, my points should be clear.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM
UH Resident: If you really want to make things "clear", why not stop collecting Taxes from those parents who still want to send their children to Private schools. It's always been that way. There were private citizens always sending their children to their own local schools. They paid their Teachers to teach their children. They did not ask childless couples to pay for education not needed. Our Laws ask for "FREE Public Education". (And that is the Problem) Why is everyone around Paying higher and higher forced taxes for "Free Education". Now Unions have made it "FREE UNAFFORDABLE EDUCATION", dancing and dancing with words like "Professionals", when nothing you do is "Professional" 1) Professionals Bill their clients for hours worked. Professionals do not charge by how valuable a clients "House" is. 2) Professionals work all 12 months in a year. Many over 3,000 hours. 3) Professionals travel could be enormous. 4) Professionals Buy and Own their own Places of Work. 5) Professionals don't have build in Guaranteed contracts with COLA's 6) Professionals build up a client business, constantly changing 7) No Professional retires at ages 55-58. 8) Professionals all pay for their pensions far below what a teacher commands. UH Resident --You are no Professional in the smallest way. So stop self-evaluating your value.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Apples and Oranges are what this topic is about. Now it is not about what type of school is better. Apple= Private school Oranges= Public schools. They both are fruits. People who like apples should pay for it. People who like Oranges should pay for it. Taxpayers should pay ONLY for those who cannot afford the Orange. Free Public education should be for the needy and poor. It should not compete with the Private schools by using Union Wages. The people should be the ones who decide the teacher make-up and if there are non-union wage workers willing to make teaching a "Vocation". then that is what should be "Free". No free stadiums, free condoms, Morning after pills, or free swim pools, auditoriums--. Just Free education. Only to those who cannot afford an alternative education. Get your Tax returns out to prove you need a "Free Public Education" and stop expecting your neighbors to support your childs Public education paying wages in excess of $100,000 or about $13,000 annual cost to each child. WE NEED MASSIVE CHANGES IN THE COST FO THIS "FREE" EDUCATION LAWS. Those changes need to be made so our union teachers have some Pay maximums imposed. Otherwise, Let you all be warned that you will be paying RENT on your home that you own. That rent will be thousands of dollars assessed TAXES.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Mary JO: If the constitution states common schools, would that include Free Lunches, Auditoriums, Sports Facilities? What is Education. Also , if "taxation" is the means, one would ask --How much taxation? Who would teach? At what Cost? That is all missing and that is why the "unions" have entered and taken over a cost insesitivity to their out of range wages. The constitution cannot legislate their Assembly to "bankruptcy" So Let me offer that "Taxation" could be on the basis of Residents "Incomes" rather than their assets (Homes etc) STATE Taxation of all incomes is much fairer than HOMES TAXED. Think about it!!!!! All of our Public school education costs would come down if our Teachers and their unions were funded solely from State taxation.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Shine your Apples and Shine your Oranges. Place them on your Union priced Fruit stand at $5 each or maybe $10 Each. Just don't expect anyone to pay that price , if the fruit stand down the street sells them for $2 each. (unshined) Public unions that provide "ANY SERVICE" that is offered privately should not earn their wages by taxation on ALL. Only users of a public service should pay for it. Society should have a separate fund for needy and poor to pay their Education 100% , in full. there should be no union intimidation for anyone desiring a teaching position in our Public Taxed schools. Every Resident supports the schools and therefor every resident should havean equal opportunity to TEACH at that school. I say , remove the union representation at ALL public schools. Let them be paid a maximum of Average Residents wages and bebefits within the community. All Teachers would therefore make a wage based on Society's ability to pay. That means Raises when society gets raises, and "DECREASES. when society gets major decreases. This Job & benefit Guarantee for life Mentality must be Destroyed. It is a one way ticket to Bankruptcy. (Google Cities in Calif--Stockton-- San Jose--San Bernadino--Harrison Penn) ALL bankrupted--All unions faulted)
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Debbie: You just don't get it. Ask or look up your Public School annual budget reports. 1) take--Total Revenue $xxxxxx and divide by # students in school district. This gives you the Per student cost of Education. Do this for 5 years back 2012 down to 2007. Now Revenue will be different each year and spending will be different. I would ask you to note how the Revenue increases. (Of course the biggest increases came in 2000 to 2005) That is the extra higher taxes paid in from the Taxpayers/Businesses etc. So 100% of Teacher Salaries come from The Peoples Taxes. Anytime Teachers need more for their Pensions, it comes from raising Tax revenues. The Rates or Home values. Unless your school district actually charges a Tuition per student without any Taxes being assessed. As far as Schools expenses. I would guess 65% to 75% of the Public school expenses are Teacher and benefits costs.
PaulRevere September 25, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Debbie finally said what I wanted to hear: She said "Teachers have to join the union to teach" Well, that is what should be changed. Many Taxpayers supporting the Public schools become teachers and they should have equal rights to teach in the school their parents paid taxes on for many years. That equal employment is missing , if unions force membership. The whole cost of Public schools will come down , if a "Right to Teach" law was enacted. I say Residents should vote such an act in. Just like they vote for school boards and rate changes. Our Public Educators should actually represent non-union and union workers. That is fair, since society has both work forces. Our students will also be freed from a one sided mentality.
Lynda Zielinski October 01, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Patrick, Thank you so much for this valuable and informative essay on educational choices today. You are a brave man for writing in a public forum like this. In my view there is no more important job than guiding, teaching, and being a role-model to children. Sadly, some commentators here do not appreciate the importance of education, or, more specifically, they are only concerned about one aspect: funding. They hold no higher values evidently. Where is their empathy and concern for children? Doesn't every child deserve a good school led by caring well-qualified professionals? This was certainly our country's goal at one time. As a nation we manage to find the money for what our leaders feel is important--rebuilding Iraq, comes to mind. Please Patrick, write your book on education! By the way, I would be happy to read and critique a draft should you have a need for a reviewer.
Victor Mooney October 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Patrick: I agree---research would be a breeze--just use the union line--right out of "Solidarity"---SAS---could be a big book with all that Barbara Striesand---maybe it will sell---Lynda would buy one. You could ignore the money, energy, wasted and spend your energies touting the great job you guys have done, educating our children. Don`t forget to mention the great test scores, drop-out rates, and collegiate failures. Your arguments didn`t fly here--but who knows, Lynda has a lot of friends. Thank You for your kind attention!


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