Tuesday, October 1, 2013



Long before I went back to school for a teaching credential, when I was 15 and half years old to the day, I got my California driver's permit in what was then and is still today a teenage rite of passage. Since then, I've had the good sense not to drink and drive, but if I hadn't that sense, a driver's license wouldn't have granted me a lifetime guarantee behind the wheel of a car any more than having my teaching credential should guarantee me a lifetime place at the teacher's desk in a public school classroom. We expect drivers to continue to drive responsibly as long as they get behind that wheel and we codify driving standards  for the public safety, just as we  require minimum competencies to practice medicine or to practice the Law and most other jobs that share a compelling public interest.  That's not the case with public school teachers. Year after year, thousands of derelict teachers are given what amounts to a license to deprive students of their constitutional right to an "equal" public education.

Underperforming Teachers
That is true thanks to five California statutes that make it practically impossible to dismiss even the most woefully underperforming teachers. For too long powerful teacher unions have kept thousands of inept teachers on the job, holding those teachers' jobs sacrosanct and the respective students' education hostage, subservient to a system controlled through political patronage. Beholden to unions and inured to the plight of California's public school children,  (a class of minors without legions of lobbyists in the halls of the Capitol), the State's education establishment effectively grants teachers an ironclad assurance of a job due to the practical impossibilities of dismissal. The aging, sclerotic and outmoded hiring/firing paradigm allows the people of the State of California to employ new teachers, but never to dismiss incompetent ones. This has strapped hundreds of thousands of public school students with underperforming teachers who fail to provide an education that is equal in quality to the education the majority of students get from  better-performing teachers and it has enabled private and  charter schools to thrive in the void left by bad public policy and worse public schools.

Parents want the best and most affordable education possible for their children and when they are confronted with a public school model in which the adult's financial interests trump the child's educational interests, they vote with their feet. The exodus from traditional public education is a harbinger of the need for reform, albeit the teacher quality issue is not the only factor that is driving down achievement in our schools, it is certainly one of the most important inhibitors of achievement. Increasing the quality of education at the school site is a multi-faceted process that begins, first and foremost, with quality teaching in the classroom. And it is of no small significance that updating teacher quality standards and employee dismissal laws are among the most financially feasible reforms that would have immediate  payoffs for student achievement in a state where already high taxation and vast state retirement obligations make it difficult to raise additional funding for education.

The Legal Sand Trap
Vergara vs. California,  a constitutional challenge of  five contested teacher employment statutes sponsored by the reform organization Students Matter, hinges upon navigating an old and established sand trap for education reformists. Apportioning responsibility to teachers for the academic outcomes of their students has been a long and slippery slope. Accountability of this sort is hard to pin down with any precision by researchers and administrators alike with little to no agreement on who's responsible for the widespread failure in large swaths of public schools. Lacking any hard and fast documentary proof for assigning blame, no court to date has found teachers individually culpable for their student's lack of progress.  

There's no shortage of research on the subject of  teacher performance relative to student academic achievement, despite the lack of agreement as to how to quantify the degree to which student achievement can be attributed to teacher quality. Nevertheless, everyone except the most hardened union voices agree on the point that there's surely some degree of responsibility for teachers, though there's no general agreement on the larger question of what constitutes academic achievement, that is, what it means to be educated in this society at any given school age. Is it standardized test scores, student grades or even, as some would dubiously argue, attendance as well as suspension and expulsion rates? (See a previous post "Are Suspensions and Expulsions the New Measure of Student Achievement?" on this blog.) It stands to reason that if teachers are important in a student's progress, they can be for the better or for the worse.

When unions parade out actors and other celebrities before the cameras to pay homage to teachers who've figured large in their lives, they undermine their own  credibility in court, for if teachers can be credited for their successes they also can be blamed for their failures. And they cannot have it both ways in the public's eye. Such stories raise awareness of the  fine work of all the excellent school teachers and that's a good thing. But such high-profile antics belie the legal stance of the unions vis-à-vis teacher quality and student performance, which is to deny any profound causality between the two, to confound any agreement on their relationship and to keep the argument mired in discord as hedge in court.   

In the meantime and to muddy the waters further, both teachers and administrators have criticized NCLB for its narrow focus on achievement and the way in which standardized tests measure it, a point that is well received in educational circles. NCLB critics make a good case for returning to a more holistic and creative pedagogy, one that doesn't apply only high-stakes testing as the litmus of what it means to be educated.  More nuanced instructional approaches and evaluative techniques are by definition less measurable and this would make it all the more difficult to quantify teacher performance. So the rejection of NCLB by the unions may have  a valid foundation in theory as well as practice, but it also plays to their hand by further obfuscating the relationship between teacher and student outcome.

Unions have other ammunition to perpetuate the seeming scholarly confusion over teacher quality. It is well-established that family life/socioeconomic factors are the dominant influences on a student projected outcome. That is to say,  a teacher's ability to exact progress is limited to within the confines of what a student brings to the classroom from home and the community or culture from which he derives. And it's undoubtedly true when viewed through the prisms of achievement and demographic statistics as surely will be demonstrated by the defendants at the Vergara trial. There's no argument that the majority stake in student academics is  the advantages or disadvantages a student carries with him to school. What professional or casual observer of student achievement can honestly expect a student without any advantages to academically outshine another one with every advantage, regardless of the quality of teaching? The intrinsic disadvantages are real, but doesn't that make reform schools all the more necessary? And given those disadvantages for some, what happens when these underperforming students are strapped with underperforming teachers at underperforming schools year after year? The results are compounded and catastrophic.

The union's position on teacher influence is based on the self-serving and cynical notion that all student underperformance is a function of the drag of low socio-economic factors and is virtually unrelated to teacher quality.  The union's answer to underperformance can be summed up in a word - poverty. But low SES Asians are an exception as they score much higher and that blows a hole in the poverty-only cause of low achievement. The union viewpoint is akin to that of a doctor's influence on a patient's health. The doctor can provide excellent care, but if the patient  doesn't have healthy habits the doctor is limited in her ability to prevent the kinds of health conditions that often stem from bad habits. Yet, the Asian example exposes that theory as questionable since not all low-SES students bring bad habits. Nevertheless, if  we conclude that it is impossible to educate some students due to social-economic factors, should we rethink the purpose of public education for our most underperforming students? 

The answer is a resounding no. The union position is untenable on its face. If it wants the public to believe teachers can do nothing to change what it considers to be a forgone and negative educational outcome for poor students, why are many schools  able to buck the underperforming trend?  They do so because of highly effective teachers and instructional programs. And how can teacher's claim to be universally successful if they believe in a strict interpretation of the predictive power of demographics? How can they be successful when their students fail?
With "value-added" measures of teacher effectiveness, measures that take various factors into consideration, teachers can be held partially responsible for relative academic progress within the context of each student's own abilities, and such an acknowledgement of accountability can be a driver of greater productivity.  Across the country districts have instituted enhanced teacher evaluations and have shown that it is indeed possible to craft evaluative tools that apply multiple strategies in ascertaining teacher quality, most of which include peer review (teachers reviewing one another) and spur student achievement, the ultimate goal. 

This doesn't stop critics of enhanced teacher evaluations who claim they allow teachers to be used as scapegoats in a blame game. They miss the point for ending LIFO. Having professional standards will strengthen the integrity of the teaching profession and give new and promising teachers an  opportunity to develop their craft while weeding out those who consistently fail their students.  Teachers  claim they already have professional standards, but that's like saying we have already have laws without any system of  enforcement.  It is essential to remove those who  habitually fail and to nurture the next generation of promising teachers. At present many newer teachers cannot remain employed due to LIFO requirements of law.  Having real standards and real consequences will motivate teachers to do their best and to seek improvement when necessary - to continue to hone their craft and employ best practices in order to maintain their good standing within the community of their schools for the benefit of their students, their colleagues and society in general.  The fact is that there's no incentive at present built into a system which effectively grants de facto fire-proof job insurance for the best as well as the worst teachers  and everyone in between.

Some legal observers maintain that Vergara must establish a causal relationship between teacher quality and student quality, something which has never been done at trial. Why is this obvious relationship between teacher and student so illusory? No one doubts the parent's influence on the child, but many students spend more time with their teachers than their parents.  To acknowledge that teachers are a primary influence on students is a no-brainer for students, parents and administrators alike, but somehow it's an impossibility for the courts to assess, as if the smoking gun of the derelict teacher is just a figment of the imagination of the whole school community. 

Trying to calibrate a specific degree of influence,  that is, documentary proof of influence, is the straw man in the debate over teacher evaluations. It's a game with no winner. The truth of the matter is that teacher influence on student outcomes is not quantifiable nor does it need to be in the strict sense.  How teachers impact students varies tremendously from school to school and person to person and there's no doubt that evaluating effectiveness is a difficult business. But why are we are attempting to drill down and assign a number to quantify quality, looking for a mythological Atlantis in the halls of Academia, while failing teachers stand out at their schools like sore thumbs?

No doubt courts see these issues such as teacher culpability through a very different lense than those of parents or  educators.  Former reformist litigation (Reed, Deasy) attempted to prove to the court that the constitutional rights of students are violated through individual teacher incompetence  and the courts have rejected teacher culpability for lack of evidence, ignoring the sore thumb or the legal "smoking gun". But this time around the plaintiffs have found another way around the sand trap of teacher accountability. For LIFO to be overturned their case depends on the success of this strategy.  

Hard-to-Staff Schools

The  way around this problem is to focus on teaching staffs rather than individual teachers, showing how seniority and LIFO exacerbate teacher programmatic quality issues at hard-to-staff schools by laying off better teachers and keeping the worse teachers, en masse.  The thinking goes like this: since underperforming schools typically have less senior teachers on staff  these schools are disproportionally affected by teacher layoffs due to the last-in, first out (LIFO) statute and when layoffs happen it is not uncommon for a huge percentages of such teachers to be dismissed, breaking the continuity of  the school's year over year instructional program. Such large scale layoffs are well documented to have significant negative consequences for students at the affected schools and there is no disagreement on the negative academic impact of those consequences. Moreover, the  consequences are not strictly teacher quality-dependent. For this reason Vergara may be able to convince the court of a different causal relationship between teacher and student quality, one of general staffing rather than an individual quality. And there are legal precedents that support the student rather than the teacher in the hard-to-staff school situation.

In addition, not only are low performing schools and their students subjected to constant staff changes, the revolving door also figures largely and detrimentally in retaining teachers in hard-to-staff schools. By making it difficult for new and successful teachers to maintain gainful employment as a result of LIFO, we are damaging the longer term prospects for quality teaching staffs in this state and we are doing that so  we can keep underperforming teachers on the job. To succeed at trial, Vergara must make hey of that problem which is profoundly convoluted and anti-student, particularly if faced with the uphill challenge to "prove" the teacher/student relationship.

The public accepts the idea that most teachers perform to acceptable standards and many excel, but at what point does the minority of underperforming teachers affect the majority? Typically teachers may work alone in the classroom, but schools are a team effort and weak teachers often break the link in the chain. One or more weak teachers, especially in succession, can cause a student years of delayed progress, according to recent research. Here the 80/20 percent rule is in effect. Sometimes a small group can have a large impact on the whole, for better or for worse.  This is often the case with underperforming teachers as they adversely impact the school as a whole.  Schools with larger numbers of such teachers are hit hardest of all.

Some have suggested applying the "50% rule" to remedy the hard-to-staff school problem. I'm no legal expert, but common sense tells me that constitutionality shouldn't hang on a fraction. Under that remedy, if 49.9% of staff remains intact, LIFO is discarded, but if the retention rate is above 50% LIFO  is preserved. In other words, one teacher more or less may determine whether the everyone is retained or removed by LIFO under such a scenario. Even more importantly, the 50% rate is instructionally arbitrary. Any teacher will tell you that a 50% layoff rate is extremely destructive to the instructional continuity at a school, though 80% is certainly worse and akin to a school consolidation, a near total staff replacement. An organization that replaces half of its staff is usually an organization that is failing, especially when such staff changes are commonplace.

It's clear that 50% rule is a strategic maneuver that when legally applied  might be an acceptable compromise in court for unions in strategic retreat from a potential loss of LIFO in its entirety, but when practically applied in schools it would be a less than effective tool for closing the revolving door,  maintaining instructional continuity and the development of interpersonal relationships forged through hard work between teachers, students and families. Codifying the 50% rule would end up institutionalizing a slightly-improved but ultimately less than adequate solution to underperforming school staffing problems associated with LIFO.  If we want to support underperforming schools it is necessary to maintain staff at those schools with as little turnover as possible and definitely at a figure far below the 50% mark.  Last-in first-out should be entirely discarded as constitutionally unequal treatment.


Legal protection for teachers to the detriment of students must end. Tenure and  LIFO reform are essential to raise student achievement in a state with the strongest employee protections and among the worst student  results.  Ask any parent if there's cause for debate on the teacher quality issue and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks teachers are not a major factor in the education of their children. Not burdened as researchers are with the exertions of assigning proportional influence through statistical analysis, almost every parent can tell a personal story of a "bad" teacher and in the vast majority of cases those  teachers are roundly criticized in the school community by students, parents, teachers and administrators alike.  

There really is no way to quantify the exact degree of ownership of individual educational outcomes and its unlikely there ever will be. It isn't the lack of an answer that deters us from meaningful reform, but the fact that we are asking the wrong question. We shouldn't be asking how to find a magical number that will quantify  a teacher's effect on her students, but what it is we can do to better that teacher's effect?  Not everything in this world can be proven, but most things can be improved.  If the justice system is held hostage looking for an impossible and fleeting proof, like a dog chasing its tail, then surely there is no chance to make the necessary changes that are staring us and the future of our students in the face.




Anonymous said...

Nathan Low does not represent anyone or anything but his own misguided and treasonous opinions. If you want to talk to a representative who supports our educators, please contact Dennis Kelly or Ken Tray. They support educators and understand teaching from the ground. They are not planted sellouts to make comments on Fox News and victimize hardworking educators. DO NOT claim Nathan Low represents us. Dennis Kelly is who you should ask these questions if you truly desire to support our educators.

Anonymous said...

Glad we could be your scapegoat instead of focusing on the real problems of poverty affecting our educational system. You will see, this will have no impact. It's poverty. Educators should be supported. You are blaming us for your own problems. 99.9% of the probelms in our schools are a direct result of poverty and poor parenting.

Anonymous said...

I think if you analyze it objectively and scientifically you will find that there are no underperforming teachers, only teachers with more challenging class populations with various life issues and challenges. It's pretty much poverty, not underperforming teachers.

Anonymous said...

Some people really need jobs in this society and can't be judged the same way everyone else is. Not everyone really fits in to the corporate mold. There's a place for everyone in society. I think it's more important that some people, with a degree, intelligent, be given some freedom and assurances, they get less money, but are guaranteed a job. If you want to be able to get your kid's teacher fired just send them to private school, instead of badgering them to work harder you can work harder and pay for private school. It will be really bad for society if the teaching profession becomes one of mass firings. We need places in society where you can have a free zone, a free base, where you aren't judged and in fear constantly. Even imperfect teachers have some pride and value in their own way and add some good. They shouldn't be able to be fired on a whim. I do not agree with you that this will be a good thing. I agree with Kelly and Tray, not Low.

Anonymous said...

YZ said...

Scientific analysis is good.

I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

I read this post and nowhere did I see Don say Nathan Low claims to represent teachers.

You claim to hold an objective and scientific opinion. What is it?

So far your rationale for not firing teachers is people need jobs. People do need jobs, but that doesn't mean, to use one of Don's examples, that an incompetent doctor should perform your brain surgery.

Admittedly, I don't know much about this subject. I've got too many other things to do, including helping my daughter finish her homework in a couple minutes. What I do know is that she has had two terrible teachers in the past. Both of them did nothing but hand out busy work and neither ever corrected a scrap of it. They were utterly uninspired drones who should be kept as far away from the classroom as possible.

So I'll check back in to read your objective and scientific analysis.

Anonymous said...

I think that's one of the most horrible statements I've ever read, and you call yourself liberal? Rich kids in private school don't deserve a bad teacher, but kids in public school do, according to you? I shouldn't complain because I'm not rich enough to send my kids to private school and wouldn't choose to if I were? I believe in public school, but I also believe in teacher quality. It's a civil rights issue. We should fire bad teachers!

Anonymous said...

Nathan Low doesn't go far enough. LIFO should be discarded entirely at every school.

Don Krause said...

I can appreciate that 5:39 wants a job and one that has some security and a decent wage. But teaching isn't just a job. It's a profession and there are or should be professional standards. That is what separates professions from many other jobs. The question of the Vergara case is this: are there?

Anonymous said...

What if we passed a law that all fired teachers could work at DMV but at higher wages, at teacher level salaries, if they taught and have credentials, and we could increase the registration tax just a little to pay for it, and our schools win too? That way it's win win, except we pay a little more for our cars but that's probably good for the environment. Would that be a fair compromise?

Anonymous said...

It would be expensive. I think we just have to fire some people if they are incompetent. I don't think we should pass the buck onto another branch of government, and why should we pay them more just because they once were a teacher? There should be consequences to doing a bad job which will encourage harder work by teachers. Going to the DMV is painful enough already and this would cause resentment and worse work among the people working there now.

Anonymous said...

No time length would work Don. A teacher can be good for 30 years, then start being horrible. Tenure has to go, at least absolute tenure. It is a horrible idea.

Don Krause said...

But what does tenure mean if you have to pass yearly evaluations? That's my point. Tenure would no longer mean you cannot be dismissed for underperformance. I guess I'm not clear on what it would mean to be tenured if you can be fired.

Regarding the animosity directed to Mr. Low in the first comment I'd
just like to say that Mr. LOw is a law student with a background in education. He's not some voice of the opposition. Why the poster has so much antipathy for someone who is mostly on her side is beyond me. It really shows how intolerant and closed-minded you are. His point about compromising on LIFO, his "strategic retreat" as he calls it, is intended to preserve in the long run teacher benefits by giving a little ground in the area where they are likely to lose a constitutional challenge anyway. He also makes a good case for why a compromise would actually be a good thing for the profession in general by preventing the drain on newer promising teachers.

Really, 1:35, I have to say, you are really embarrassing yourself. We have some people here who are willing to discuss these issues and all you do is yell and scream -never a scarp of reasoning to support your views. Your whole POV is that you will do whatever Dennis Kelly says. You're a follower.

Why don't you actually read his paper instead of just haranguing him for no good reason. Get educated.

Don Krause said...

Nathan Low has make a detailed and informed analysis of the situation. It can be read in its entirety here:


And it is well worth reading whether you take a pro-LIFO/tenure stance or not. Low lays out the situation and makes some predictions as well as some suggestions.

As I briefly explained in my post, I do not agree with his position on the 50% rule or tenure. His conclusions are about 75% pro union, agreeing entirely with tenure and splitting the difference on LIFO. So I really can't stomach the rapid anti-union poster who claims that Low is a traitor. She reminds me of the police state mentality where if you say anything at all against the status quo you are sentenced to death for treason.

Low's LIFO conclusion is a legal compromise that is out of sync with the realities on the ground in underperforming schools.

Anonymous said...

"Glad we could be your scapegoat instead of focusing on the real problems of poverty affecting our educational system"

It's far more possible to see higher retention rates in lower performing schools and more dismissals in higher performing schools with longer more entrenched and, some might say, burned out teachers. Just the opposite of what @2:24 claims.

Anonymous said...

Don, when you are unified, when you are a union, you have to support your leader 100%. You have to deal with issues behind closed doors and be unified to the outside world. We have maintained absolute control of SFUSD and California Education for over half a century and achieved many wonderful things. Nathan Low spoke out of turn. He is a traitor. We have to deal with our issues behind closed doors and trust our leaders to deal with the outside public. We lose power if we divide. You say just read this, be educated about this, that is a code word for every teacher deciding for themself, and then we're 70/30, which has a power of 40%, vs. 100/0, which has a power of 100%. We can discuss privately, or in meetings, in an Intranet, among ourselves, but we are supposed to let Dennis Kelly and Ken Tray be our leaders. They are very open minded and we can discuss our concerns with them, but our votes, money, and volunteer work at campaigns must be unified for us to protect our rights against termination and mistreatment. That is why I say if you are looking for a quote or an opinion, ask Kelly or Tray. No one else has a right to talk on this matter representing eductors. Eductors are and must be unified. We must support our educators. You are trying a divide and conquer strategy against us and it will not work. Nathan Low is a traitor for publishing this outside the union. He should have gone to the leadership and gotten their feedback and permission to publish this. Believe me no one is happy with him. we are aware of him and he does not represent our point of view. We are unified against the likes of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Don.

When you said this "We have maintained absolute control of SFUSD and California Education for over half a century and achieved many wonderful things" were you talking about the district with the largest achievement gap and 8 times the rate of failing schools? Were you talking about the same state I am, California, a state with among the worst results in the country? If this is your idea of wonderful things,I can't imagine your failures.

About blindly supporting your leaders 100%, we know what that mentality gave us... WWII. No thanks and the sooner we get you and your ilk out of the classroom the better.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Don, it is wrong to allow her to make these statements on your blog. She's using you. You said "toleration and civility" right at the top of the blog header. Do her comments live up to that?

Don Krause said...

I'm not going to delete commentary just because I don't agree with it.

I have removed a few comments that I thought were way over the civility line.

Besides, the person or people who comment far left do represent a commonly- held perspective on the union side of the debate. I don't say that to insult the bulk of teachers, but let's face it, UESF leadership is pretty extreme.

So it stays. I'm not going to do to others what was done to me on other blogs. People have a right to their views no matter how stupid I think they are. I only hope that it doesn't drag down the discussion.

So let's move along.

Don Krause said...

AB 375 was resurrected from near death in committee and pushed through in a ploy to try and get a summary judgment to dismiss Vergara. The unions thinking was that they could call 375 dismissal reform and Vergara would be outflanked. This is so lame since NO ONE agrees this is reform of the dismissal process. So why did they try this? Simple. It's starting to dawn on the CFT and CTA that Vergara may win.

Anonymous said...

11:11, it is a wonderful achievement that we have created and maintained a haven from the all-consuming mindless statistical rat race most Americans suffer through daily, that there is a community where we can teach children to be loving and kind and care about human beings, embrace their humanity and help them be loving people unlike their parents who see their children as little more than accessories for bragging rights. These parents make me sick, my child made it into Lowell, mine made it into Lick, Cal, Stanford, SOTA. My child is so beautiful. Look how superior I am. Let's all march and chant Sieg Heyl to me because I am statistically better than you, my kids improved this year by 11.3% and yours only improved by 10.8%, even though my kids are nervous wrecks with no personality of their own wandering the streets looking for direction, with no love or decency or morals or humanity, but listen to my perfect daughter play the piano while she is dying on the inside, miserable and crying herself to sleep every night. I let her go on a date but told her she could leave at 6 and be back at 9 and made her come leave at 7 so she could memorize Chinese verbs and practice her violin routine and be better than my neighbor's daughter, plus I drove her and went into the same movie and watched her the whole time. And lectured her on the way back home in front of her date about missing a couple Chinese verbs. Let's fire teachers who don't get 11% improvement, 10.8 is not enough, we must feed the beast that is Corporate America.

We have achieved wonderful things because we truly care about the whole child and you can see by our voting America is getting more liberal, because we are teaching children to grow up and care and fight homophobia, bullying, racism, ego, greed, violence, hatred. It all comes from the schools. We don't care about your test scores and metrics. We care that children have a soul. And you can't fire us for not living up to your narrow, greedy vision and trying to replace yourself with evil little younger replicas of you, the parents. We are not Kumon. We are not scoring a beauty pagent or gymnastic trial, or math test, on points. We are embracing humanity. And we are all guaranteed to be able to remain a part of a loving community no matter what, and can never be fired and we are paid based on seniority so we have something to look forward to, and we have rights, and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing we have accomplished. I wasn't talking about your shallow test score international/state comparison metrics. That is what is hurting our children!

Anonymous said...

You see we create a hate free zone, and children prefer it as well. It is more of a comfortable learning environment. We have a zone where no one is ranked, judged, criticized, fired, hated, insulted or abused. If you start firing teachers, you change the whole environment and make it mean and hypercompetitive in a nasty way, like the rest of our corrupt society. Firing is an act of hatred, and our schools must remain hate free zones.

Anonymous said...

How can someone as hateful as you make school a hate-free zone?

Anonymous said...

what a moron she is

Anonymous said...

Lady, we live in an extremely competitive society. If you make your classroom unrealistically noncompetitive, there are very real consequences for the children and they are negative. This is why Asians do so well, they are competitive but in a quiet way which doesn't get discouraged by egalitarian teachers. They simply ignore your criticisms. If a kid doesn't do well on state tests, they simply won't be skilled enough to make a living which enables them to stay in San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

And that's what we have to change, and we are putting our money where our mouth is and making the classroom what will be the perfect society, fair, equal, nonjudgemental. If you start firing teachers and focusing on test scores, you change that. I say we should completely eliminate all tests and embrace all children. This may seem strange to you, but this is what we did before the horrible NCLB law. We should tell all children they are wonderful and their soul doesn't rest on some statistical measure but on their human dignity.

Anonymous said...

You are so disrespectful of parents it is truly a disgrace for you to be a school teacher. You are supposed to be partnering with parents to teacher their children, your students. Instead, you seem to think it is your duty to undo what parents teach their kids, particularly those parents who want their kids to work hard and be disciplined. No, you cannot have any of that. They need to be losers like you so they can get a job where the union takes care of them at the public's expense while they sit around the classroom and do nothing but proselytize children if they aren't taking off the maximum time.

I might have to change my moderation policy to include a bare minimum intelligence level to comment.


Anonymous said...

You know I am not a loser. I earn 82k a year and make another 30-40k in a side job in sales with the extra time after school, in summers and on days off negotiated for me by the union, sick days, personal mental health days, etc. I teach children to be smart and not be robots and to have feelings and to vote for social justice and care about their neighbor. I do undo a lot of the damage parents do, especially Tiger Asian parents. Many people go to great colleges and earn less than I do, I read the average Harvard grad makes 111,000, so I make more than that and went to SFSU, so I'm far from a loser. But I do have to teach kids common sense, the truth about politics, and to reject their parents' mindless competitiveness in some cases, and outright abuse in others. There are very few good parents in the Bay Area. Over a third are being physically or sexually abused, and another third are given huge expectations and forced to study inane things long hours against their will and are likely to commit suicide, and the other third, no one cares. Maybe 1 parent in 20 is decent, and that's just decent. So we have to make up for horrible parents and try to influence children in a positive way and help them overcome abuse. It is not pretty. I teach them the truth. The thing is, without public school teachers most kids would be nervous wrecks ruined by horrible parents. We don't have a lot of time to teach math and reading as we are spending most of our time undoing the immense psychological damage done by bad parents. You have absolutely no idea!

Anonymous said...

You said it all, parents who want their kids to "work hard AND be disciplined." Why would you discipline a child who is working hard to please you. And these parent's discipline really amounts to abuse. Basically, how can you partner with a parent who wants to discipline a child they acknowledge are working hard? You can't partner with parents you genuinely see should be reported for abuse. You can't even begin to discuss it with them. Most parents are horrible monsters who must be stopped or at the very least, cleverly subverted.

Anonymous said...

Lady I really don't understand you, you seem to most vehemently criticize those parents who are doing the right thing, teaching their children to work hard in school and read and turn off the TV. Where do you get these stats? Do you have anything to back up your rants? I believe some parents don't prioritize their children enough, but I'd say at least a good quarter of parents are very good and most are pretty good. Abuse is surely lower than 10% and probably far lower. When you say most parents are horrible monsters, that is insane! Your job is to help children achieve and learn to read and do math and be productive members of society. Even communist nations had great education systems, your idea that math and reading don't matter and are a sign of oppression is ridiculous. Reading is a pleasure and your life will be more full with it. Math is necessary to so many jobs and helpful to anyone. If you work against parents, you cross each other out. If you work with parents, you help each other. Your attitude is very insulting. I don't need you to teach my kids to be a different type of person that how I am raising them, I need you to help them learn the materials set out in the curriculum.

And why on earth are you critical of Asian parents? What is the only race that does well in school even when in poverty? Asians. The average African American in 12th grade reads at the the 8th grade level of the average white kid, with Asian kids equaling that in 7th grade on average; Asians study 13.5 hours a week, whites 5.5, others less, and you criticize that? Do you want to reform education by having children study less? Geoffrey Canada and most reformers focus on increasing study time. You are going to raise a generation of welfare recipients. Why work with your attitude? You're harder on Asian parents, who get their kids to work hard no matter their income, than you are on parents who abandon their children. I think you have truly gone off the deep end!

Anonymous said...

Asian parents don't care about their people. It's easy to sell out everyone else and make it as an individual or family. They would be nothing without the Civil Rights movement. All their success is on the back of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers and the black panthers? How many Asian Americans have been out spending their free time protesting the murder of Trayvon Martin and the Fruitvale massacre? Most are too busy memorizing verb tables or doing obscure math problems for hours. African Americans are incredibly altruistic and do not feel happy making it without bringing social justice to all their people and share their wealth. They are generous, care about others. I do not admire the greed, ego, pettiness and focus on test scores and individualism that I see in many Asians. Many have changed anc care about social justice and I greatly admire them, Sandra Fewer, Emily Murase, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Hydra Mendoza, truly loving and caring people who want to help everyone. But the "how can my kid get a perfect SAT Score and get into Harvard" Asians who don't know how to tie their shoes or what happened in the news make me want to vomit for hours. We're all in this as a team, all people, and you can't have justice and success for one without having it for all. I have a good job but I do not forget others. I am Trayvon Martin. I am every victim untill we have social justice for all!

Don Krause said...

It isn't your job to teach kids your politics. You are using your position of power and influence over children to get them to think like you - if you want to call it thinking. That is abusive.

As far as being a loser, people who go around telling strangers how much they make are pathetic. You talk about making kids whole, good and beautiful people, but you go around bragging about how much money you make? What's the difference how much you make if you're such a wonderful person? You're always slamming successful people, business people in particular. If making money makes you a winner why do you claim them to be losers? They make way more than you do. Or is perhaps envy?

Look even the Babylonians understood that learning to read and write leads to success.

You are welcome to comment, but you also need to stay on topic. If you keep spouting off on all these extraneous topics I will delete your comments. Say what you like within the simple rules of civility and toleration, two things you claim to know something about, although I haven't seen any evidence of that.

I welcome alternative points of view. You're a teacher so act like one. Say something intelligent.

Don Krause said...

You said, "Asian parents don't care about their people."

If I said African American parents or Latino parents don't care about their people you would call me a racists and you would be right because it is just bigotry to claim that all people are like this or like that. Your whole line of thinking is entirely prejudicial. I'm really having a hard time allowing you to continue on this blog given the vile things you're saying. I cannot allow you to use the blog as a vehicle to spread hate. This is a warning. There are plenty of other blogs that will welcome your brand of hatred from the left, right or otherwise. Hate is hate and you are a disgrace to your profession and to liberals in general. If you do it here again you will be wasting your time. You ought to have it in you to say something educated. I hope you do.

Anonymous said...

Lady, your point of view is sadly common but only among a small cadre of far left thinkiers. However, your job is to teach children of all lines of thought, from all backgrounds, to read and write, to do math, to have knowledge and to think for themselves. You are wrong to appoint yourself an extension of the revolutionary workers party. You in fact have no right to do so. It's negligence and you are hurting the future of children who may live in a world a little to the left or a little to the right of the one we find ourselves in today, but who will not live in a socialist paradise imagined by you. You are hurting their futures with your negligence.

Anonymous said...

Dude, she is a lunatic. I suggest you give her the boot as soon as possible.

Don Krause said...

You may be right but it's easy to start calling anyone a lunatic who disagrees with you. Let's give her an opportunity to improve. Try to teach her to be polite.

Anonymous said...

Not going to work.

AB said...

As much as it pains us to think this 'teacher' believes what she posts or that she actually works to subvert academic standards in the classroom we should not be suckered into her debate. She clearly does not agree with having standards or accountability and prefers to act like a playground bully towards those who do.

Removal of LIFO and promotion of standards and accountability within the teaching profession will help remove the few 'bad apple' teachers and elevate overall perception of the noble profession.

It is very difficult to expect accountability from our kids if they do not see it around them in their daily lives. This includes parents, government, bus drivers, and yes, teachers. This Vergera lawsuit is not a panacea to all that is wrong in society, it is one step, an important step, towards improving public school education.

Yes, our schools need more resources, our kids need to be allowed to be kids in a safe loving world, and many kids need help with basic life necessities. But kids also need good mentors and leaders and teachers hold the unique position whereby they can demonstrate good values by the way they carry themselves and teach our children. This includes advancing kids through the curriculum to achieve academic proficiency. Teachers that are not up to the task should be professionally developed, and if still not up to the task they should be removed.

Don Krause said...

AB and other readers,

First of all, as I noted at the bottom of the post, I revise these posts as I go along. This morning I revised the current post and I believe the newest version is a considerable improvement over the first, which was more of a draft.

I'd also like to thank you for participating on this blog and please spread the word if you would. As you can see I'm trying to run a blog open to all points of view, though "noteacher lady" is testing the limits of what I can tolerate.

As this is a relatively new blog I'm still working on how best to run it, including how to post and how to moderate. I also could use some lessons on how to share across platforms to increase readership. Regarding moderation, I'm not inclined to delete comments unless I feel I absolutely have to. That is not to say that anything noteacher lady writes has been worth a grain salt from either a rational or a moral perspective. But the worst part of her participation is that pro-reform people might take her views to be mainstream. I don't belive that is the case, though as someone pointed out it is representative of some extreme elements.

If others want to respond to her comments they are free to do so of course. But I don't know what the point is. Her views are so wildly extreme and irrational that I'd be hard-pressed to imagine that there's any sort of give and take dialogue possible. I would really welcome the teacher/union perspective that is more in the mainstream. We've heard what she has to say and it's all just dogma.

I entirely agree as I have said before that it is not worth responding to her unless she can come up with something sensible. Since this is a relatively new blog I'm letting it progress, but I've already warned her to stay on-topic. If she continues to fail to be civil and degrade the conversation I will end up removing her comments which is all I can do.

Anyway, thank you again for your participation.

Anonymous said...

You have to really be a teacher in the classroom to understand the union point of view and the importance of job security and freedom for all of us. As to the improvement of education, I just had to discipline an Asian girl in my class for telling an African American boy who forgot his homework that she always does her homework and her mom says she'll make a lot of money someday, and people who don't do their homework are losers who will be poor and go to jail. This boy often comes to school malnourished, tired, has been beaten by his stepfather, and his father is in prison for 5 years for a drug offense I can say most of my college classmates committed at one point or another, but were white so they didn't go to prison. Oh he had crack, the black drug, my college classmates mostly at some point had that amount of cocaine, the white drug, but scientifically they are the same and there is a 100/1 ratio in sentencing. He started crying and couldn't stop for an hour. This kind of insensitivity and trying to get everyone to be a robot like you and taunting kids has to stop. She didn't offer to help, or empathize, she was laughing at him. Usually the Asian kids in my classroom segregate worse than in South Africa, which is bad, but taunting is even worse. These kids need our love. Now according to your formula, I should be giving more math tables to the girl who has a life of wealth and privelege before here and try to get the traumatized boy out of my class so he doesn't lower my percentage, but in my heart, I know the right thing to do is spend time hearing and understanding his pain, even though it may not translate into test metrics.

Anonymous said...

I have filed several reports and the home was visited. The stepfather isn't actually married to his mother and doesn't live there, which is something many in wealthier communities cannot relate to. They couldn't even get a full name out of the mother. Today I'm filing a report on the girl, reccomending she be required to meet with a racial sensitivity counsellor before returning to my classroom. She made a bad situation worse. Some children need a shoulder more than a mindless multiplication table or spelling test. Some children need a lot more than that. Your problem is you assume every child has your privelege, and you are wrong. This girl is so wound up and competitive she can't empathize with people far less priveleged than she is. She has every math table and spelling list memorized but can't imagine a world outside her family and can't express herself kindly or draw a picture. Which is more important?

Anonymous said...

You are focusing on something you cannot control and can make no difference on and ignoring children who may be very successful and undermining their potential success. SHE'S RIGHT! This boy's dad is in prison, if he doesn't learn to do something differently, he will go to prison, it's as predictable as the weather. For all your time and focus on him, you haven't been able to convince him to turn off the TV and do his homework. If you praise the kids who do their homework and talk about how much money they'll make, you will encourage kids to work harder and see a direct correlation between current study/homework habits and future homework. Asians are the only group that does well when poor, and some other subgroups, immigrants from Africa, Russia, Arabic speaking nations, Poland, etc. You are really undermining success. You have things opposite. You should be focused on homework. If you can't convince him to study, you can listen for hours, you can give him a million hugs, he's still going to end up poor, and by your actions you are showing the other 28 or however many kids in the class a poor me story gets more attention than good old fshioned dilligence and hard work. Your morals and priorities are the opposite that these kids will face upon entering the workforce.

Anonymous said...

I meant future income.

Don Krause said...

Look, it is blatantly clear that noteacher lady is an incompetent teacher that needs a swift kick out of the teaching profession. It is also clear that she is a liar and morally decrepit. She thinks you should punish the child that works hard and shows discipline and reward the one who doesn't, as you pointed out. I understand that the abused child is going to have many problems and needs a shoulder and some sympathy. I worked at underperforming high schools before and I know about the problems many kids have. I am sympathetic to their plight. But that's all the more reason to get them on the right path. But her right path is collecting a welfare check for life and being a revolutionary.

She basically made a case earlier that Asian parents abuse their children with bad values and unfair expectations and too much discipline. So by her thinking she should be empathetic to the plight of these children who don't know better and are products of their parents just as the children of other races are products of their parents. But no, she doesn't offer a shoulder to these Asian kids. She punishes them instead. In any case, they are way smarter than she is and don't want her fake sympathy. They are smart kids who are rebelling against her childish and abusive teaching style.

Noteacher took the Oath to preserve the Constitution but she doesn't believe a word of it. She believes the whole country was stolen and that the old white men who created the world's greatest set of universal laws are just a bunch thieves. Can you imagine her in a classroom? .

She's a fraud so let's stop wasting our time.

"I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of
California, and the laws of the United States and the State of California. I hereby certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury underthe laws of the State of California that all the foregoing statements in this application are true and correct."

AB said...

Basic academic competency and a caring, compassionate, supportive environment are not mutually exclusive - why not provide both?

You know nothing of my background so inferring economic status appears to be more of an effort to be divisive than inclusionary, much like your constant statements on race.

I know from first hand experience how difficult it is to try to teach any subject when the students are ill-equipped, under-slept or under-fed, or otherwise not in a learning frame of mind. I have also witnessed the turnaround a good teacher can make by working with the student at their level and helping them move up to grade level.

From everything I have observed the public school academic requirements are not the least bit rigorous, and when you look at what many private school students accomplish you can see the potential all children posses. Ideally all kids would have unlimited resources and opportunities to enjoy the fullest spectrum of school-age experiences, but nothing you have presented is a reason for not achieving basic competency in core subjects, they are only excuses.

Mark Benioff just made a $2.7M donation to support technology in SFUSD middle schools. I believe this type of philanthropy (and hopefully lots more of it) will help our students reach a greater level of proficiency and acquire skills that will help them in life, but they need good teachers to help them get the most out these tools. We lost out on potential federal grant money because the union would not sign-on to teacher standards. We need Vergera to make sure this money, and any future donations, are not wasted in the hands of unqualified teachers.

Anonymous said...

Lady, how are you helping this boy and the other kids by taking "the maximum number of off days negotiated by my union" to go out and make extra money as a saleswoman part-time? They are stuck with a very mediocre substitute most of the time. If these kids get good test scores, poverty will be a one-generational thing, or a last generational thing. Many of these high scoring Asian kids you say are priveleged are in poverty, but they don't let it bother them, they fight and work hard and get out of poverty in a generation. You do not live up to your own standards. You are not maximizing these kids' ability to get out of poverty. Asians are doing it before your eyes and you are ridiculing and berating them. I bet you are one of those teachers who is anti-Lowell for some odd reason, even though 40% of the kids are in poverty and the test scorea are amazing and very few graduates end up in poverty, you seem like a teacher who would have some weird anti-Lowell attitude. You are not helping these kids at all.

Don Krause said...

The point of this blog is to promote high quality education through discussion and debate of education issues. It is not to try to convince some burned out incompetent diehard socialist idiot how to be a thinking person.

Anonymous said...

This is just a ton of money spent for no goal. This whole far left Dennis Kelly idea that poverty is impossible to overcome and the main problem is belied by Asian achievement in poverty and by the success of certain, though not all, charter schools. We need to spend more effort convincing kids to put in more effort and provide more tutoring. This $2.7 million will help. I hope he will hold public meetings and listen to comments from various parents and community members. He has some good ideas but needs to focus on the real issue, and it isn't poverty, that's a dead horse. A great example is available on how to overcome it and she dismisses it and makes it about class. These people are poor, you don't become priveleged because you study hard, they overcome it. Her way of thinking is just so backwards. It can be done, it's being done, and you choose to focus on being a social worker and not educating children. They don't need a shoulder, they need good habits and an education and skills.

Anonymous said...

DonK, great start to new blog. I enjoyed reading some of the older posts. The latest one is way too long and suggest editing down to size. But good stuff all around. What do think is going to happen? If LIFO is toast will local unions have to drop it? Not sure I understand the practical implications of this in the event it is victorious.

Anonymous said...

I am not Don but I believe if LIFO is toast, if we could pass a statewide ballot initiative or win the lawsuit, local unions would decide. However, this lawsuit could enable lawsuits for bad teaching which would force it to be eliminated everywhere, and a ballot initiative could insist it be eliminated statewide.

One suggestion I have for a ballot initiative is to pass a law saying any district can fire any teacher with a 50k severance package at any time if the principal and at least ten parents or 3 teachers agree and the teacher has had a verbal and two written warnings.

This sounds like a lot of money, I'd get jack squat. Most Californians would get JACK SQUAT! But now it costs an average of over 150k and close to 200k, plus much stress and efforts, to the point where most don't even bother. Also, politically it would be a disaster for the union to be arguing against it when most voters would get jack squat, and it would probably cause it to win.

We don't want to extend tenure to 5 years or anything, because many teachers are good for 25, 30, 40, then start being awful. Principals need that power. Also, a fired teacher should not be eligible for rehire at any other public school in California. It should be like a dishonorable discharge vs. an honorable one.

The big and annoying problem in discussing this with hardcore, diehard union supporters like the lady posting on this and the last thread so much is that she can simply say, the SF School Board doesn't decide this, it's state law, LIFO is state law. It hurts so many kids, and the U.S. would go from below average to near the top if this were fixed.

I have my doubts as to whether the SF School board would do the right thing after their lying to defeat Prop H and mismanaging so many funds, so it would be preferable if LIFO were forced out in some way, but at least if it weren't state law, which it is in hardly any other state, we could pressure the board to fight it and donate against the union control, as the union controls almost everything in SF in terms of how the schools are run.

50k wouldn't be cheap enough it would happen all the time, but think of it this way, if we had a 15% chance you'd be fired over an entire career, high by any other standard, we'd be paying $7500 per teacher career or $2-300 per teacher per year to eliminate the worst, improve standards, and force all to work harder and not have the attitude of taking every maximum day off and smug job for life LIFO for me mentality that this woman has. It would change teaching and politically, they'd look outrageous fighting it. 50k would be cheap compared to what we have now.

Don Krause said...

My understanding of the meaning of a Vergara win (on that statute)is that LIFO provisions would be nullified in collective bargaining agreements. Any district signatory to the union contract would have tremendous liability if it decided to keep LIFO after being ruled unconstitutional. And why would they want to? They would undoubtedly lower their costs and likely raise their achievement and the court ruling would be provide political cover.

As far as paying out a $50K severance as was suggested above, I don't know why any district would do that when they don't have to. That doesn't make any sense to me.

In any case, the ruling will be ultimately decided in the California Supreme Court.

As far as a ballot initiative, if it passed it would also end up before the CSC.

Anonymous said...

If the court decides, 50k would be unnecessary. FOr a ballot initiative, we had a fairly weak and minor proposal on tenure lose in 2006. We're going to have millions of dollars on TV about how we're attacking teachers. Maybe $10 million. It will try to seem mild, say there is another way in the works, but this proposal is too extreme.

Currently it costs about 175k to fire a teacher. Making it 50k would be affordable, and provide political cover. The union would look ridiculous saying you're attacking teachers by buying them out for 50k.

I don't think they deserve 50k. Fired teachers like that burnout socialist deserve jack squat. That was only an idea if it's done by ballot. It would make it win.

Don Krause said...

What do you mean that we are going to have $10M in TV ads? For what? What are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Every teacher in California will donate about $100 and it will be matched by other unions. You're looking at about 600,000 people donating 100 each, or $60 million. Some will go to direct mailers, some to TV and radio ads. That's how they defeated Arnold's measure to increase tenure from 2 to 3 years. You're going to get every Hollywood liberal, hypocrite Matt Damon who claims testing is horrible and puts his kids in private school but feels no teacher should ever be fired, Whoop Goldberg, James Edwards Olmos, Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, John Stamos, Jane Fonda, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts. They're going to lecture us and say that this was a good idea, but they already do this and there are mechanisms in place to help teachers get education and turn it around. They are going to say we are blaming teachers, attacking wonderful people who educate children, that we are evil, that we are just looking for a scapegoat and are confused and don't understand the impact of poverty.

If everyone who believes in making teaching a more high quality profession does not open their wallets and spend $100 to donate, we are going to lose, if it comes down to a ballot initiative.

If it's a lawsuit, it may be appealed.

The problem is, the union has so much money they are almost dictators on educational policy and it is going to be very tough to change this. It's like suing Microsoft, they can just appeal and appeal and appeal and hire so many lawyers. Or spend tens of millions of dollars villainizing those who want reform.

Look at all the whispers and rumors going around about Michelle Rhee now. It's ridiculous! But we have to be ready to fight. Matt Damon will be in every living room complaining we are only doing this because we hate teachers.

Don Krause said...

I'm not following. If you had a ballot initiative it would end up in court anyway. If the case wins and is upheld in the CSC there will be no measure on the ballot, no advertising, nothing. It will be a done deal. You are really confusing the issue.

I believe it was done this way to avoid the scenario of Arnold's measure with h unions plowing money into defeating it. This is a much better way to go. But if it loses it will be a huge setback.

You said, "If everyone who believes in making teaching a more high quality profession does not open their wallets and spend $100 to donate, we are going to lose, if it comes down to a ballot initiative."

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

Anonymous said...

It means the teachers are unified, and there are 300,000 in California. Every one will donate at least $100 to run ads villainizing the proponents of the measure, including Michelle Rhee. They defeated Prop H just because one person involved was anti-union. They spent nearly a million just in San Francisco. The 2000 race, both sides spent about $60 million each. In 2012 they both topped a billion. The money is ruining politics and the unions are as bad as the corporations. Another 300,000 burned out former socialist hippies will give $100 each. You'll have people saying how wonderful teachers are and how evil we are to blame and attack them, and a lot of people who are generally in favor of making it easier to fire teachers will individualize the issue and say, well, this goes too far. Just like many who strongly support neighborhood guarantees for neighborhood school attendence voted against Prop H because they got fliers in the mail claiming kids would switch in January, when in reality no kid would have even switched mid-year, it was a lie. They will lie about the measure, they will comb through it, line by line, and look for one weak spot like the one in the Death Star in Star Wars, no bigger than a Wop Rat in a T1 on Tatooine. They will spend tens of millions attacking that weakness, and villainizing Michelle Rhee for being anti teacher.

We need to have 600,000 people from all walks of life who have had a bad teacher donate $100 each and run ads of our own and explain we are for 85% of teachers, and we just think a few are not in the right field and are hurting children. If we don't, we will lose. Every actor everyone thinks is a hero will be in their ads, every hero you've seen in a movie for the past 20 years will be on TV saying we're attacking teachers. It will be very manipulative, a very dishonest scene.

The irony is we have nearly 75% support on this issue, but the union knows how to muddle, individualize, villainize and spend.

So it will be a tough fight.

And don't think tense of millions can't influence a judge either. Please don't be that naive. You have no idea about these so-called "judges."

Right now we feel good, we're going to force out the arrogant teachers who are missing maximum sick days and not focused and irrelevant, misguided old socialist burnouts, and hire top students like Norway. We are going to improve schools, improve education for the poor. Only later will we see ourselves villainized by every cinematic hero of the past 20 years in 30-second ads. Matt Damon is going to really come at us hard with his sidekick and all his cronies. They're all going to come after us with all they have got, with tens of millions of dollars.

If we don't donate, we will lose. If 50,000 of us donate $50 each, they'll outspend us 12-1, we'll be the villains and they'll be the heroes and the 73% of us who support changes to LIFO will become 41% on election day. This is what we need to avoid! We need to all be ready to sacrifice!

Don Krause said...

"It means the teachers are unified, and there are 300,000 in California. Every one will donate at least $100 to run ads villainizing the proponents of the measure, including Michelle Rhee."

What measure? There is no measure. It's in the court. You say we need to raise money to run ads. For what purpose? It will be decided in a courtroom not by the electorate.

What are you getting at? I just don't understand your point. I understand we agree that it is necessary to remove LIFO but I don't understand all this talk about raising money to defeat something.

As far as my being naïve, I don't think so, dude.

Anonymous said...

$60 million is a lot of money. Not a lot of judges will turn it down when push comes to shove. The question is, can they offer the bribe, transfer the money, and not get caught. I doubt it, but a million would do it with some judges. 3 with most. Everybody has their price.

As for a ballot measure, I think that's what it will come down to in the long run. Whenever ads run about teachers, nurses, firefighters, medical technicians, people tend to support them. Maybe it will be decided in the courts, I hope Vergara wins and is upheld. The union believes even if it wins, there are 3 appeals and more if they can convince a panel to consider another one, so they really only need to win once out of 4 or 5. The way the legal system is set up, if we lose once it's over, if they lose, they just appeal, and each appeal takes a year and a half. And where will we get the money? They'll have great lawyers, we'll have average ones. And eventually they'll be offered a bribe by some shady dude in a bar and drop out. The union's money goes a long way. This is a long shot. Our best chance is to get some rich people to help us with a ballot initiative and pool money together, $100 times 600,000 people. We all sacrifice a night on the town so our children can have decent teachers.

Don Krause said...

The Vergara counsel are world famous. They are the best. If you read the information I provided you wouldn't be making most of these statements. Controversial state ballot initiatives are ultimately decided in court. It isn't coming down to a measure as you claim. And as far as getting appeals, that does both ways.

These points are not well reasoned. They are kind of hysterical and cynical. I do understand why you'd be cynical.

As for brides, well, I don't know what to say.

Anonymous said...

Some end up in court, but most aren't overturned. A few have been if they're unconstitutional. This LIFO was state law put in after the constitution, so I don't think any judge will rule that LIFO is a constitutional imperative, as it's not in our constitution but is in later-written laws and is not in the constitution of very many other states, if any, maybe New York?

The point is, that crazy old hippy lady is annoying but her and her ilk are going to have more money than God to fight this, and we have to be prepared for that. We need to frame the argument because she controls the purse strings and has used them to control everything education-related for nearly half a century. That's scary considering what a nut she is, but it's basically true. Even Prop H got decided by people like her and it had nothing to do with the union.

Anonymous said...

I guess that wacko decided to take a walk.

Anonymous said...

I guess that wacko decided to take a walk.

Anonymous said...

It's scary to realize she probably has more power than all of us combined and then some. Those wacked out old socialist burnouts have controlled everything education-related for over 50 years and have taken us from a top state with top schools to near the bottom. How many lives have they ruined to save their own incompetent hides? We really need to fight them and help this lawsuit win.

Anonymous said...

I favor LIFO because it is impossible to make apples to apples comparisons of teachers. Using experience is the only surefire way to evaluate a teacher. It isn't right to remove the benefits of a military veteran to pay for another soldier. Why should an older teacher have to lose a job to make way for a younger one? Why not keep them all and put more money into education? That's the right and sane approach to this problem. It isn't teachers that are lacking. It's money.

Anonymous said...

There's only so much money and LIFO causes money to be spent inefficiently. For one, older teachers earn more under seniority regardless of if they are better or more effective. It is not a surefire way to evaluate a teacher; it is an idiotic way to evaluate a teacher. It removes incentives to worry about being evaluated if you automatically move up no matter what just by being there and not committing a crime. Seniority doesn't encourage teachers to stay in bed Saturday or Sunday to make sure they don't miss a school day and schedule vacation and personal days for Summers and winter and spring breaks, knowing minimizing or eliminating substitute days will improve test scores. It doesn't encourage teachers to stay late and tutor kids or give good advice to parents on homelife, knowing this will increase test score improvement. You can use improvement to make it more accurate. Not all teachers are the same.

If we're spending 82k to keep a mediocre burnout and laying off or not hiring a sharp, hardworking go getter for 45-50k, we're not putting our children first. Teachers should be able to keep their job if they work hard, obey, yes obey, the principal and managers (they blow off their bosses now because the union enables them to ignore many reforms), and are getting results commensurate with their peers. They should have to work hard to impress people. They should have to worry about what their boss thinks of them.

Teachers are not apples, they are very different. The difference between the top 10 and bottom 10% is a year and a half vs. a year of improvement. Teachers should strive to make the top 10%. Teachers should not be protected if they are in the bottom 10%.

We can't afford to waste any money. We can't ask tax payers more to hire new good teachers so bad teachers can be paid to push papers or sit in a rubber room. We need to spend every dollar in the way that benefits children the most. This is too important. LIFO has got to go. 30 kids are more important than one adult who isn't trying very hard.

Anonymous said...

Teachers will be guaranteed all the same employment rights as everyone else in this state, not more(as is the case now) and not less. Start thinking about what's best for the students. We have public education for their benefit, but some people believe it's more lile a jobs program.

Anonymous said...

I strongly oppose LIFO but I think teachers should have more protection than, say, an insurance agent. They shouldn't be able to be fired for opinions or because someone is playing favorites. However, it should be possible. Now, fewer than 1% are ever fired. You shouldn't just be fired because you're older, but as you get older, you should be better as you're being paid more, you should prove you deserve more by performance, not just years in. You aren't a kid anymore, if you feel a cold coming on, take DayQuill and stay in bed Saturday and Sunday instead of taking Thursday and Friday off and then going out with friends on the weekends, which many, many teachers do now. Absences are double on Monday and Friday, proving a huge percentage of absences are planned, not due to an unexpected unfortunate illness.

Teachers should have a little more protection, but not to the point where none are ever fired. You want people to plan a career in it, but know they may be under pressure from bosses, parents, politicians, new reforms, and have to embrace it or find other work.

There are some teachers kids and parents all say are horrible. There should be a way that if there are a certain number of complaints, they're terminated.

Don Krause said...

Brown just vetoed AB 375 which would have made it harder to fire teachers and given added protections to child molesters that teach- an absolutely sickening bill that wreaks of the worst kind of craven politics. It was resurrected by Rep. Joan Buchanan (D) looking forward to a difficult reelection in a couple of years and trying to get the union's support. In effect, 375 was an attempt to nullify Vergara. That ploy by the CTA was a long shot at best. After that loss now the CTA is looking at the real possibility of some very serious reforms if it loses Vergara.

The mood for reform is in the air with LCFF. Vergara has a decent shot at getting a favorable verdict in full or in part, though it is anything but a sure thing by all accounts.

The aftermath of a win will be evaluation reform by necessity. That is a tricky business and teachers deserve a very fair and accountable system. Across the country more rigorous evaluation systems are already in place so there are models to learn from. Again California is way behind the pack on this issue, particularly SFUSD which looks like a complete union stooge in comparison with LAUSD which has actually taken some steps towards evaluation reform under Deasy.

It occurred to me that all the discussion over dismissal has focused on the worst teachers, the ones that everyone can point to and say that's someone who should not be working as a teacher, the ones that stand out like sore thumbs, probably like noteacher lady. This implies that those who are a step up are in the clear. Do we really want to settle for mediocre teachers? Shouldn't we really try to remove any teachers that aren't at least good? If satisfactory isn't good enough for California students why is satisfactory or even worse good enough for California teachers?

Anonymous said...

That's great news!

Anonymous said...

I think eliminaing the worst 10-15% is so obvious and will make so much difference, it is a first step. Once we see how much better it makes education, obsession with the jobs program aspect of teaching will go down, and people will be more open to merit pay, laying off below average teachers, etc. It will change the whole profession. I agree, it's just that now, when you take the worst teacher at a school, the others see that and think, they have a job, I'm great compared to that, and it removes pressure to improve. Eliminating the bottom 10-15% is a first step. Hell, eliminating child molesters was a tough first step, this is the 2d step, but there are many more. We need to rethink the possible.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's just great. You get a few people to point fingers and that teacher is outta here! I wonder if you'd like getting fired because someone said you are no good at what you do? I think your blog sucks, can we get you fired from it?

Don Krause said...


Are you referring to this comment I made?

"the ones (teachers) that everyone can point to and say that's someone who should not be working as a teacher, the ones that stand out like sore thumbs,"

That's an expression. LOL

Anonymous said...

Don can't be fired from a blog he created. I think it's a great blog. I don't think it should be as easy to fire a teacher as a waitress or cashier or salesperson in Glengary Glen Ross, but it shouldn't be nearly impossible. It shouldn't require 8 steps and 2 years. Every teacher should have to do what their boss says, and try to impress parents, get good test score improvement, and work hard. That's life, working hard, impressing others, being all you can be, playing after a severe injury, coming into work even though you have a headache and are depressed and shutting it all out to work hard and please your boss, making that sale, getting that promotion, working all weekend to study to make sure you get that A and not a B, etc. If teachers have to work harder, they set examples for kids. Kids need to study 15 hours a week (Asians average 13.5 vs. 5.5 for whites, and look at the results, 35% more income than whites, 3.5 times as likely to make it to a UC as whites, 300 more SAT points on average, higher GPAs, 1/7th the murder rate of whites). Even 20-25. We all need to work harder and make America the best nation on earth again, as a team.

We need to hold teachers to a higher standard, and that happens to no profession in which it is nearly impossible to be fired (tenure). Tenure and LIFO both gotta go. Good teachers deserve a job, they should get a warning, but if a principal thinks you're bad and parents think you're bad, you shouldn't have a job.

Anonymous said...

Teachers like that old noteacher hippy burnout commie should go. She punishes students who study hard and enables other kids to blame poverty and be lazy and not study evenings or weekends. She's terrible at her job. Would you support a system in which she has a guaranteed job? Did you read her comments?

Anonymous said...

So I'm a commie because I'm against people who have dedicated their lives to poor children being fired for a cheaper model, for no reason, without any due process, humiliated and forced into poverty or suicide? I accept that we have to make way less than most people, as the average person in the Bay Area now makes probably around 150-200k and most families earn 300k. Or more. And we struggle, live in poverty, and are humiliated and argued with. We won't attract teachers if we don't guarantee them they can't be fired. The quality will go way down and there will be turnover, no consistency, chaos. Pretty soon they'll have to hire without credentials, then without a degree, then without even a high school diploma or an ounce of sanity. It's happened in other countries and happened here in the 1800s. It could happen again. Teaching was always underpaid, but part of the return is, hey, we don't make 500k like a Wall Street hotshot or 200k like an average person, we make under 100k for the most part, but at least we get a big pension and know we can be sure we won't have to spend time in unemployment. Firing people you promised not to fire who no longer fit into corporate culture is unspeakably cruel.

Don Krause said...

What you're basically saying is that teachers earn less money in exchange for not having to work hard or well. That's total bunk and a real slap in the face to the children you claim to protect.

The overall public employee dismissal rate per year is about 1%.Annual public school teacher dismissals run at .002.
That's 500 times lower.

The Vergara case is about staffing in the very schools that you claim to protect. Because new teachers get 30 to 40% less pay than veterans, in recessions, when districts have to reduce staff due to budget cuts, under LIFO district must lay off 30 to 40% more teachers because they must get rid of the last in. This causes much more hardship for underperforming schools than for others because of the staff turnover. That's why Vergara is not only about quality it is also about equity. Students at schools with low seniority staffs are subjected to far more strains than elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

According to this 2013 Huffington Post article, the average household income (2 earners) in San Jose is 77,000, and San Francisco, which is probably close to that, is not as high, as San Jose was #1 and San Francisco was #2. This is where this insane jealousy and ranting comes in. A senior teacher's salary is more than the average of both married earners in a San Francisco household. The state average is under 60, plus you get to live in a great City. You're not that oppressed:

The median income for a household in San Jose was $77,000, which is well above the national median of $51,000.

The source of San Jose's relatively broad-based economic success is no secret. Just ask any one of the five million people who purchased a new iPhone 5 from Apple, a company based in nearby Cupertino. Sitting at the southern edge of Silicon Valley, San Jose has been a beneficiary of a surging tech sector that's remained strong while other industries, most notably construction, have struggled.

While said iPhone 5 owners may be able to tell you why the city is doing well, if they're trying to use their new smartphone for directions, they might not know the way San Jose.

Even though many individual San Jose residents have been doing well economically, the city itself is facing serious fiscal hurdles. Tight budgets have led to significant public sector layoffs, particularly in the city's police department. This shrinking of the city's police force, as well as decreased morale due to a recently approved pension reform measure that curtailed officers' retirement benefits, has been at least partially blamed for a surging violent crime rate in the historically peaceful city.

Two other California cities, San Francisco and San Diego, also came in the top five for median household income--both of which have been buoyed by surging technology scenes. Of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the country Detroit, Philadelphia, Memphis, Baltimore and Indianapolis had the lowest household incomes.

Despite the health of these coastal urban centers, California as a whole went backwards in 2011. Poverty increased by nearly a full percentage point as over 330,000 California resident slipped below the poverty line. The statewide median household income dropped four percent to $59,540.

Unsurprisingly, income inequality is high in California, as much of the state, particularly in the Central Valley region that was battered by collapse of the housing bubble and still struggles with both household poverty and increasingly dire city government shortfalls.

Last year, Vermont was the only state to see the incomes of its citizens increase.

On the whole, nationwide median household income decreased from 2010 to 2001; however, the poverty rate remained unchanged. The report did find the number of people in the United States without health insurance to decrease during that time period.

Anonymous said...

And that's the irony, noteacher lady. Don's plan is far more liberal than yours. You see, your plan keeps the poor Latino and African American students down, puts their education as a lesser priority than job security of incompetents and slackers. Don's plan prioritizes education for disadvantaged kids in a way which will lead to real income gains for them, not the senseless lottery and wasteful and dishonest spending we get now. We're the only advanced nation that spends more on the education of the well off than the poor in real dollars, and we're failing. LIFO is a huge part of the problem, and ending it a huge part of the solution. Parenting, hours studied, motivation, honesty, test prep and real game changers are also factors, but LIFO will make a huge difference. Don's plan will do more to help poor children than your plan ever will. Your professed liberalism is nonsense, it's the very opposite, you're severely hurting the very people you claim to speak for under the guise of liberalism. You give liberalism a bad name. You are a fraud!

Anonymous said...

Why are you attacking teachers for everything? Why are teachers your scapegoat? Are there any problems in America not the fault of teachers? Why do you feel the need to do this? What is the point?

Don Krause said...

The victim mindset on full display. No one is scapegoating teachers, depriving them of due process or driving them to suicide. The Vergara case can lead to hiring more teachers and a quality assurance system that will benefit students and lead to hirer wages for better teaching. Most importantly, it will lead to greater student achievement. It is perfectly appropriate and necessary to require standards of performance, particularly when it concerns the most vulnerable members of our society - our children. Not to sound cliché, but they are, after all, the future and we should not knowingly deprive them of opportunity by strapping students with failing teachers, even if the majority do a commendable job.

The Vergara solution is no panacea and it does not solve all the problems in education, but it is a major step forward.

I should add that nothing discussed here is my plan or as one commenter said, "Don's plan". I'm just an observer making comments like you and my only other contribution was to give testimony to the plaintiffs regarding my experiences with great teachers and not-so-great teachers.

I'm not sure what the comment about Silicon valley was about relative to this discussion. I presume it meant to look at wages. But I think the point as to how it relates to teachers was not made.

Anonymous said...

I posted about the wages. A lot of people, like the teacher who was posting she is unfairly paid, grossly underestimate the average salary and income in this neation. 100k still gets you into about the top 10%, 120k as a family. 60k is an above average income, maybe not for a college grad, but above average. He/she was saying everyone is making 200k and it's not true, average in San Francisco is under 77, and average in California is under 60, and nationwide under 50. You can always find someone richer than yourself to feel jealous about, but it came across as just silly. I agree with Don teacher pay would rise significantly if the bottom 15% were fired. A lot of people really resent the ironclad job guarantee and vote against funding for schools and unconditional across-the-board pay raises as a result, myself included. I won't vote for pay raises until concessions are made in other areas.

Anonymous said...

I make 130K per year.

I am an engineer working in Silicon Valley.

I have a Master's Degree in a STEM field.

My wage is slightly above average for a Silicon Valley engineer.

Like almost all Silicon Valley professionals, I *do* *not* have a pension. I expect to be working until I am 70.

Like almost all Silicon Valley engineers, I have been laid off more than once in the last ten years.

After the last lay off, it took me over six months and an intensive job search to find a new position. Again, that's the norm in Silicon Valley.

Like almost all Silicon Valley workers, my employment contract stipulates "employment at will". I can be laid off at any time for non-performance or an economic downturn of my employer.

I am intensively evaluated twice a year.

More than 35% of my income is taken as income tax each year (that's $45,000 per year in real dollars.)

I get three weeks of vacation per year, two weeks of which must be taken in August or December.

My situation is the norm for non-unionized professional workers working in the Bay Area.

I'd say it's time for the teachers union to show some empathy for the reality of workers who pay teacher salaries.

The exorbitant pay, pension, job security and benefits fawned upon teachers who do not perform their duty to provide good teaching cannot continue. Tay payers will demand a fairer deal with teachers.

Don Krause said...

Bravo 1:33. Welcome aboard - this board.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:33 that pensions and job security are exorbitant, but not pay and benefits. Teachers make less than half what cops do in SF and have to contribute to health care and cops don't, which is ridiculous. Teachers make over 70% what cops do most places. However, I blame the union and teachers for supporting it, for the public votes against increases in pay because they resent the ironclad job security that keeps bad teachers in their job. They don't police their own, as proven by Don's stat of 0.002 ever being fired vs. 1% for other government employees. They accept mediocrity. The truth is, 85% of SFUSD teachers are underpaid, but in a sense they deserve to be underpaid for so militantly supporting the other overpaid 15% and caring more about them than about the children they teach. When you support bad teachers, you lower the respect for all teachers, and you get bad karma for doing the immoral thing. When you want a guarantee, you hurt yourself if you would be good enough to keep a job. No one will ever fire a good or even decent teacher. Even though I do believe 85% are underpaid, I will vote against salary increases until merit pay, attendence bonuses and/or an end to LIFO / tenure are part of the bargain. Until said time, I'll vote right alongside Don, NO!

Don Krause said...

Teacher characteristics predicting high school student success

By Barbara DeLuca


"In no other industry is it more difficult to “get the wrong people off the bus” than in education, and some may argue that this is precisely the place where doing so matters the most. A Newsweek article reported that, due to the power of teachers’ unions, dismissing teachers because of poor performance can be a long and costly battle that school districts are not willing to endure (Thomas, Wingert, Conant, & Register, 2010). In recent years, some cities have attempted to weed out underperforming teachers; those efforts were unsuccessful. According to the Newsweek report, “In New York City in 2008, three-out-of-30,000 tenured teachers were dismissed for cause. The statistics are just as eye-popping in other cities. The percentage of teachers dismissed for poor performance in Chicago between 2005 and 2008 (the most recent figures available) was 0.1 percent. In Akron, Ohio, zero percent. In Toledo, 0.01 percent. In Denver, zero percent. In no other socially significant profession are the workers so insulated from accountability” (Thomas, Wingert, Conant, & Register, 2010, ¶ 6).
Moreover, the effects on student performance of having a poor teacher can create detrimental long-term results (Sanders and Rivers, 1996), and even negatively impact students’ future earning potential (Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff, 2012). In order to avoid the seemingly impossible task of getting the ineffective teachers “off the bus,” a study of what characteristics quality teachers possess could provide insight into how to identify the right people to “get on the bus.” While much of the literature confirms that teacher quality is central to student academic achievement, there is a lack of consistency in the existing body of research identifying the specific measureable teacher characteristics that affect student performance."

Google that title to read the whole paper.

BTW, those figures I used about dismissal rates were lifted from an article in a major publication.

Anonymous said...

Who are you to judge me Don? Do you know how many children I've helped in non-academic ways? Is everything just test scores with you? Sometimes for the oppressed surviving and coping is all you can muster. You can't study math and read books when you are terrified, abused, treated racistly by everyone around you, traumatized by divorce, around drugs, shot at, you just hope to have moments of happiness. You can't judge me. You don't have any clue what these people have been through. If I focus on math scores instead of what's really hurting them, maybe they'll get a better math run in the short run but they'll end up in prison because they aren't dealing with their traumatic issues. You need to reach people's souls and help them cope against overwhelming odds people of your level of privelege couldn't possibly fathom. Why are you unable to walk in another's shoes for even a second?

AB said...

If I understand you correctly we should not teach academics to kids who come from non-white, non-privileged homes because of all the other issues they are dealing with.

How the he!! are these kids going to break the cycle of poverty if they do not have basic skills? If kids don't learn basic english and math they will have almost zero chance of success in life. Have you seen the reports on the challenges faced by unskilled workers (ie fast food workers)?

Do you realize that you are essentially fighting to ensure the continued cycle of poverty? You are arguing in favor of condemning kids to a life of hopelessness.

Nowhere in Vergera does it say anything about not offering emotional and psychological support to students. You can still offer a friendly shoulder along with a helping hand so that kids can learn to cope with the world around them, so that they can acquire the skills and become empowered to make positive changes.

My kid attends SFUSD. I see our teacher investing significant extra time into 4-5 students who have various issues, and I see the payoff as those kids are acting out less and catching up to the class academically. She is a great teacher who does not fear Vergera. We need more teachers like her who can teach the academics AND offer support to kids who need extra help dealing with life and adjusting to school responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism produces winners and losers. There is no way a CEO is 1000x as moral or working 1000x as hard or producing 1000x as much as a minimum wage worker, but they are paid as if they do because they control the power structure and interlock on boards.

How can we ensure poverty ends for these kids? By not buying into the rat race. By increasing taxes on the rich, wealth taxes, progressive taxes, having a maximum allowable salary, high inheritance taxes, and tripling the minimum wage so all working people are not in poverty, and guaranteeing no one of any profession is ever fired so people know they have a right to a job and don't have to kiss up to a power tripper to keep their job.

Treating people as humans, not numbers and trying to denigrate certain types of labor as less valuable than others.

You people make me sick!

Anonymous said...

The world is not moving in the direction you want. I would raise minimum wage to 15 and cut CEO Salaries substantially, and I do think fines and force may be needed, I've heard for 25-30 years we need to do it but another way and it hasn't happened, it's been so long I don't think we can trust them to find another way, just like I don't think we can trust the union to find another way to ensure quality. I agree we have to limit inequality, but without any inequality, society would become lazy. We'd lose world standing. The truth is, if a 2013 kid works hard and becomes a good student and rejects divorce, creates a stable relationship, and works hard and says no to drugs, they'll earn six figures, have a family, own a home, travel, save, have a good life. If they reject school, don't learn, they will make minimum wage at best, and even in a socialist paradice scenario if they raise it to 15, you can't live well here for 30k, never have job security, probably not be able to have a home and family, or be driven out to somewhere much more boring and cheaper. A lot is at stake and it is competitive. It is morally reprehensible to enable failure. If you people had been firing the worst and working hard since 30 years ago we wouldn't see African Americans being forced out of San Francisco in record numbers. You're part of the problem, not part of the solution! You are the NoTeacher superhero, trying to create a world which does not exist for your own fantasies, and you call me sick? Us? You're hurting innocent children every time you call in sick when healthy to make a sales commission. You're greedy too.

AB said...

Yes, let's guarantee everyone can keep their job - no matter what: LIFO for all. That includes surgeons who maim or kill patients, pilots who fly drunk, bus drivers who text and drive (and crash), cops who beat up suspects (for their fajitas), and public school teachers who don't show up or teach academics.

Disclaimer for those who did not learn to read or think critically because of an incompetent LIFO protected teacher: The above comment is sarcasm.

Happy Friday y'all.

Anonymous said...


AB said...

Uh oh, union intimidation at work. I withdraw my 'Happy Friday y'all' - don't want to get whacked by a union thug.

BTW - Shouldn't you be out picketing in support of your BART union brothers (the dinosaurs who don't want to receive electronic payroll confirmation and would rather write longhand reports than submit them electronically)?

Anonymous said...

You're right, and that BART strike is also very ridiculous, making hundreds of thousands of commuters suffer to insist if you get overtime one Cinco De May which is busy due to a huge event, you have to hire all those people and give them overtime the following year even if there is no event and they're sitting around, so the union, not management, determines who works when and where based on worker preference, not actual rider need. She's right in recent years, AB, though only by 0.08% recently. We should meet, get organized, and change this, we need an organized opposition. But in the past 20 years she's right for the most part. I wish there were one union that represented the children. The lottery has been devastating for SF children, made some be moved to suburbs where they can't take public transit and are reliant on parents for rides and have less going on because the commute would have been devastating for the parents, kids have been put in private school and had to graduate college 100k in debt when they could have had no debt and gone to a public school a block from home which is at least as good as the private school, but they couldn't deal with the 2 hour a day plus commute to a school across town and danger at age 5 or 10 of such a commute(I know several in this situation). Most voters wanted to have neighborhood schools, but enough felt, new admissions should be by neighborhood, but kids shouldn't have to switch mid year, and the union spread that lie with money and beat prop H by 153 votes. At least 10 people told me they only voted against it due to the January Switch issue which was a lie and would never happen, so clearly the union caused an official no vote when over half of San Franciscans support a neighborhood guarantee for new admissions after sibling. Email me at floydthursby1941@yahoo.com and I will reply and we should meet and organize.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea how insane you sound?

Anonymous said...

Every society needs a way to keep people who don't fit in and are rebellious in line. Our society tries to buy off the progressives with a voice, shunt us off into teaching because they are concerned with quarterly profits, guarantee us a lifetime job to get us out of their way. If they fired us, we'd all be idle and would form a revolutionary front line and begin to expose corruption and greed and bring the entire system down. They didn't want that in the '60s so they kicked us to the side, into teaching, tried to buy us off but only bought a reprieve, to preserve their status quo. Before 1970 nearly all teachers were Republican and mostly conservative ones, not moderate, even in San Francisco and Oakland. We were misfits when we started. You can look it up, there were surveys done. It took a long time, but we are now the ones bringing up the new generation, spending more time with them than you do as most parents are working late nights and weekends and sleeping weekends and doing chores because they have rejected Jesus' redistribution and love and admonition to care for one's family in favor of selling out to the almighty dollar, to the man, so kids only get attention from teachers. And nearly all the income gains are going to 1%, even 0.1%, you are selling out and not even being paid, you working corporate types have gone from whores to free whores and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. We are raising a generation you are too busy to raise, and they will overturn this corrupt system and ultimately LIFO will not just be the policy for teachers but for every working person, eventually welfare will be seen as a well-deserved break and pay as well as work, as we can't provide work for all due to outsourcing and corruption and computer technology. We will care about all our people. Your children do not think like you do, which you'd realize if you people ever talked to them. You have neglected your parental duties and a new society is coming. The times they are a changing. I can't wait to see Bill Gates and Michael Milken and Ken Lay and Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby and Jeffrey Canada and Bobby Jindall and Sarah Palin and Martha Stewart and Warren Buffet and Nelson Rockefeller in prison. Going after educators? They will rue the day they did so.

Anonymous said...

Shallow end of the gene pool

Don Krause said...

So now noteacher is complaining that she's been forced into the teaching profession? That's noteacher for you.

Of all the teachers in San Francisco, I get stuck with her. But it could be worse. She could be one of my children's teachers.

I wonder if she understand that she is a living breathing example of why we need standards, real evaluations and dismissals.

Anonymous said...


AB said...

I am going off-topic because I flat out don't understand something and hope our 'teacher' or someone who genuinely understands this line of thinking can enlighten me.

Let's suppose for a moment that we can and do throw the evil, greedy, war-profiteering titans of capitalism (the 1%)in prison and guarantee lifetime employment for the honest, socially responsible, good people (the 99%). I don't understand how this new economic model will be supported, is there an economy somewhere where this model has successfully been put into practice or even an academically researched hypothetical model I could study?

I appreciate everyone withholding snide comments or inflammatory rhetoric to allow the 'alternative' among us to present a well-reasoned argument.

Don, I promise to get back on topic after this (hopefully) educational and enlightening sidebar.

Anonymous said...

I am not the OP but I understand it a bit. I don't think the entire 1% should be in prison, but if you look at their actions, they could just as fairly be in prison as the nearly 1% of people, 1% of adults, over 1.5% of males, in perison now. The 1% have shown very little concern with how anything which helps them will impact other people. Offshoring, it will save executives and profits, already double plus what they are in Europe and Japan and the rest of the 1st world, and will lower wages for the middle class. Do it. Fight Obamacare, it will save the rich money and help the poor, fight it. Private school, well it isolates the poor, who cares, my rich kid is the victim, the poor kids with single moms in the schools my kid would be a victim to go to aren't the victims that matter. It's our legal culture. The best can afford the best lawyer, who can make the rich seem like a noble liberal cause. Al Davis was the victim of government fraud even though he knew what he was doing moving the Raiders to Oakland, and took money in a lawsuit, tens of millions, which would have helped the poor in Oakland. Bill Gates and Microsoft, who abused power to gain a monopoly over new fields, were a victim of a judge who couldn't be bribed and ruled against them, so they won on appeal. Pollute Alaska? Spend millions on ads in the Wall Street Journal to make yourself look good even though your CEO was warned of the problem and was trying to save money. Encourage divorce because the rich can get away with it by buying tutors even though we know it will hurt 95% of kids whose parents divorce, do it, it's best for the 45-year old stockbroker who wants a 20-something trophy wife. Cut taxes for the richest 1% in 2001, even though we're getting more unequal and most of the money went to the best off, even though Paul O'Neill warned it would cause deficits which are still with us and now worse and even though there are far more important priorities and people who actually need the money, just do it, it helps the rich, they matter. Invade Iraq, knowing only 1 congressperson had a kid in the military and the poor will die and knowing we killed over 100 there before 9/11 than were killed on 9/11 and we'll kill a million more and spend a trillion, do it, it helps the rich. Let O.J. go free, he's rich, do it. Jerry Yang of Yahoo was sued and pressured to merge to create wealth for the rich few even though it would have caused 10,000 to lose a job and hurt the middle class. We are the only advanced nation who spends more educating rich kids than poor kids and we focus on the few who make it anyways, not the many stuck in poverty. Pass NAFTA because executives will make more and factories here shut down? Do it, it helps the rich.

I believe if you're a patriot, you're American first, an individual second. If you put yourself ahead of your country, you should go to prison and we should try to retrain someone in prison now at the job we create. This is abuse.

In the '50s the rich took pride in creating jobs, even to some degree in the late '90s. Lately, they just take pride in how much money they make. They raise housing so we all have to be their slaves.

We need a government that looks at how each policy and each corporate decision affects everyone, not just the most priveleged among us. Our society is so much more concerned for the rich than the poor. Our only concern is for the poor. Even SFUSD publishes the average teacher cost, which hides more money going to the top schools. We have become obsessed with the rich and barely care about the poor.

From the '40s to the '70s, we got more equal. Since then, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We should win or lose as a team, not as individuals.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is the OP here. Thank you for your support, you make some great points. I too am concerned with inequality, but I'm more concerned with job security. If Americans have to be afraid of being fired, it causes a lot of neuroses and psychological trauma and discomfort and humiliation, suicide, shame, disgrace, and disunity. I think a lot of these psychological issues are why I think some people are sickos.

I find a lot of measly, insecure, probably not very well-endowed mostly priveleged, self-obsessed, greedy white men are psychologically traumatized or damaged by some event early in their life and they feel that the pain they felt as a child, or when their prom date gasped, oh my gosh that's it, it's so small, or when their mother slapped them silly for interrupting her bridge game or book club, or when they fell in the mud as a little boy, will magically disappear if they can force society to fire teachers, to turn a comfortable job we have helping and serving innocent children into a cutthroat business in which we are terrified every time we are called into an office that we will be stripped of all income, pride, humanity and dignity, basically put us over a guillotine and chop our head off and laugh at our rotting corpse.
It's schadenfruede, it's laughing after an execution.

It's a mean way to try to deal with one's demons. It's hurting children and a simplication of a complex social ill. It creates more trauma than it solves. It's a butcherous approach like war. It's kind of like our economy, an idea that you can't win unless someone else loses, and that it's not a real win unless you humiliate and laugh at that person and maybe even physically beat them just for your own sick satisfaction. It's a cruel way of looking at the world, the little boy who wants to be like dad but can't so he uses a magnifying glass to burn live insencts and torture mice and laughs about it as if it's funny.

It isn't a way to move to a more just, fair and inclusive world. That's why I call such people sickos. You don't need to fire teachers; you need a psychiatrist. You need help, and a lot of it. You are not comfortable in your own skin.

Anonymous said...

I'm up early to get to school. You people try getting up this early you snobby trust fund multimillionaires! I'm actually going to do something for children. You barely even know your own. You're too busy blogging! And having sick fantasies of firing people!

AB said...

8:12 - thank you for stating what you see as the problem, but what is the solution?

8:32 - you seem to have a borderline obsessive anger and resentment towards a subset of society. Q1: If the current economic model is so horribly wrong what do you propose as an alternative? Q2: If you owned a business and had to offer lifetime employment to each employee what would you ask for in return?

AB said...

I'm curious to hear how people think teachers should be evaluated.

I believe student test scores, in context of the school, the district, and cohort improvement is one element. Using statistical analysis we can identify teacher success at raising core academic scores by tracking students over their school life and see which teachers have a longterm impact on student achievement. This discounts one-year bumps from teaching-to-the-test. This could be a component in determining merit pay.

I think peer or professional evaluation, if done right, is an important element. This would allow for many intangibles (social/emotional) to be included.

I do not believe that a threshold of parent complaints is appropriate. Parent feedback to the principal or district should trigger review - but I would hate to allow mob rule to enter the equation.

Because this is a personnel matter I do not believe these evaluations should be public record.

To me, teacher evaluation is not about ranking teachers against each other, it is ensuring minimum standards maybe through a "needs improvement/meets standards/exceeds standards" evaluation.

Any thoughts on other criteria? Should attendance, completion/graduation be factored?

Anonymous said...

Merit pay? It will never happen, ever! Dennis Kelly says NEVER! And he has never not come through on a promise to us. NOT ONCE! He even killed your anti-busing measure. Dennis Kelly will protect us from merit pay! That's abusive, that's making us feel stress. Stress is contagious and it will hurt the kids. All the kids will end up like the neurotic nervous eggheads about to break at Lowell. And teachers will act like that too. No way! We will shut this school district down and you'll all have to stay home for weeks educating your own kids if you try to include merit pay or the possibility we can be fired!

AB said...

Thank you for your intelligent, insightful, rationalized response.

You have done an excellent job of illustrating all that is wrong with the current union mentality - anti-progress protectionism at any cost.

You have also admirably demonstrated the need for 'better' teachers as illustrated by your constant repetition of rhetoric and slogans in lieu of critical thinking skills and your close-minded hate speech towards those you do not agree with.

Union leadership would be wise to muzzle its members from speaking publicly as your statements only serve to illustrate the absurdity of the position and hurt the cause.

Anonymous said...

Noteacher lady, what is wrong with you, seriously? The students who make it to Lowell are what's right with SFUSD, they study super hard even though 40% are on free or reduced lunch, something Dennis Kelly claims is impossible (overcoming poverty). When you say they're neurotic eggheads, are you pressuring your students to study less, to "not study too much"? In 2013, you have to study hard as a child to have a decent job as an adult. If every kid tried hard to make it to Lowell and studied 15-20 hours a week we wouldn't be behind most of the rest of the advanced nations. We would have zero poverty, we'd be ahead of other nations. You should be encouraging your students to do what the kids who make it into Lowell do. You are actually doing a disservice to children. You're hurting them if you criticize Lowell students in front of them. Everyone in society should work as hard as they can, at school, hobbies, work. Don't we teach that to kids, give it your all? And don't say Lowell students aren't well-rounded. They have, by over double, more extracurricular participation than any school except SOTA, which is #1 in extracurriculars because every kid is required to do an art as an extracurricular. # 1 on academics and # 2 on well-roundedness, plus Lowell students also volunteer more. It's a myth they are eggheads. They do more outside of school than other kids too. You are hurting kids if you criticize them for working hard.

Anonymous said...

They only do those extracurricular activities to impress colleges, not because they really want to. That doesn't make you well round-ed.

Don Krause said...

I have not been participating much on this blog lately, but I'm glad to see others commenting. I wish more thoughtful teacher voices would comment because, as I mentioned, Noteacher is not in the mainstream and as AB pointed out, she only does her pro-status quo colleagues a disservice with her hysterics.

I have been sidelined dealing with my younger son's school. They have not been providing the services in his IEP and I am spending a lot of time butting heads with them and having to do research.

Maybe, if I get the time, I can post on the subject of special ed services. Generally, I like to address the larger contexts of policy rather than individual cases. But perhaps I can work out an angle to express the frustrations of parents in dealing with SFUSD and special ed services.

If anyone wants to put up a post for a new thread (ed topic and position of your choice), please send it to me at sfedblog@gmail.com. and I'll take a look.

Thanks, Don

Don Krause said...

Excerpts of an article in the Daily Mail regarding a teacher strike in England a couple weeks ago.

'Teachers on strike are the enemies of promise': Michael Gove slams militants for putting ideology before children's interests

Michael Gove today condemned thousands of teachers who have taken to the streets during a strike in protest at changes to pay and pensions.
The Education Secretary accused 'militant teaching unions' of putting their own ideology before the interests of the children in their care. 'They are the people who are the enemies of promise,' he said.
The one-day walk-out by members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT affected schools in 49 local authorities in the East Midlands, East of England, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Rallies in Birmingham, Sheffield and Cambridge attracted the support of teachers from across the strike-hit areas, with many carrying banners calling for Mr Gove to be removed from his post.
Speaking at the Tory party conference in Manchester, Mr Gove said: 'While we gather here today the leaders of the militant teaching unions have called a strike.

He said he recently challenged a union leader over the strike plans, and was told he should not worry because they were planning 'child-friendly industrial action'.
But Mr Gove hit back: 'There is nothing child-friendly about industrial action.'
Children lose a day of learning while parents are forced to pay for expensive childcare, he said.

A DfE spokeswoman said: ‘It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.’
A recent poll found that 61% of those questioned backed linking teachers' pay to performance - a key Government reform currently being introduced - she insisted, adding that the survey also found that majority of respondents were opposed to the walkouts or thought teachers should not be allowed to strike.
‘All strikes will do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession,’ the spokeswoman said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2440068/Teachers-strike-enemies-promise-Michael-Gove-slams-militants-putting-ideology-childrens-interests.html#ixzz2ia3JP8Kl
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Don Krause said...

API will soon lose its clout as shorthand for defining school success

October 23rd, 2013
By John Fensterwald

For more than a decade, the Academic Performance Index has defined the public’s perception of a school.

Parents relied on the three-digit number, tied exclusively to scores on standardized tests, to decide where to send their children. Realtors used it to set the price of homes near “good schools.” Superintendents judged principals by how close their school’s API came to the totemic “800.”

But now the API’s power – some would call it tyranny – is waning. In the near term, the API will be a husk of its former self and may disappear for a couple of years. Longer term, it will become just one of many gauges of school performance – demoted from sheriff of accountability to the rank of sergeant.

The passage of Assembly Bill 484, sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, on behalf of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, suspends most of the standardized tests that had been given annually from grades 3 to 11, with no timeline for replacing many of them (see accompanying story).

In 2014, AB 484 requires that districts give a preliminary or “field” test in the Common Core standards – new, nationally aligned learning goals the state is implementing – instead of tests on state standards in math and English language arts. A field test provides valuable information to the test’s creator – the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, in this case – but not valid scores for comparing schools or students.

As a result, for the first time since API was created in 1999, the State Board is likely to vote to suspend it next year. And the Board could decide to suspend the API again in 2015, on the grounds that there needs to be at least a couple of years of results from the official Common Core tests for math and English language arts before starting to judge schools by them.

These are the test components that made up this year's AP for elementary and middle schools (top) and high schools. CST stands for the California Standards Tests in various subjects. CAPA and CMA are acronyms for alternative standards tests that studies with disabilities take. Math and English language arts count the most, leading to criticism that the API has contributed to a narrowing of the curriculum. Source: API Information Guide, page 11
These are the test components that made up this year’s API for elementary and middle schools (top) and high schools. CST stands for the California Standards Tests in various subjects. CAPA and CMA are acronyms for alternative standards tests that studies with disabilities take. Math and English language arts count the most, leading to criticism that the API has contributed to a narrowing of the curriculum. Source: API Information Guide, page 11

Even before AB 484 scrambled the state standardized tests on which the API is calculated, the API was facing a makeover. It took Senate President pro Tem Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, two tries to convince Gov. Jerry Brown, but in 2012 the governor signed Senate Bill 1458, which requires building in other measures besides standardized tests into the API.


Don Krause said...

Starting in 2016-17, at least 40 percent of a high school’s API score must include indicators of college and career readiness, such as graduation rates, dropout rates or the proportion of students who graduate with courses required for admission to University of California and California State University. (The State Board will determine which factors to include.) SB 1458 allows non-test measures to be introduced into elementary and middle school API scores as well.

In a statement after the bill was signed, Steinberg cited what many educators and policy advocates had long concluded about the API. “For years, ‘teaching to the test’ has become more than a worn cliché because 100 percent of the API relied on bubble test scores in limited subject areas,” he said. “But life is not a bubble test and that system has failed our kids.”

With a point system of 200 to 1,000 points and a target score of 800, the API has been weighted heavily toward the results of state English language arts and math tests. Those two subjects comprised 90 percent of a K-8 school’s API last year, with social studies and science making up 10 percent. For high school, math and English language arts tests in grades 9-11 made up 45 percent of the API, with end-of-course science tests next at 23 percent, history and social science at 14 percent, and scores on the high school exit exam the remaining 18 percent. SB 1458 encourages giving more weight to social science and science tests in response to the widely shared criticism that a math- and English-heavy point system had discouraged K-8 teachers from making time for other subjects.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we fight the revolutionary war to not be judged by those evil people who had kings at that time and went around murdering millions of people in their other "colonies"? These are stuffy, crude people who think they're better than everyone else. Why should we try to be like them. They're trying to turn us on each other. We should unify. We should work with teachers, not against them. LIFO gives us comfort that we are part of a team and people will work with us, and we can't be victimized.

Anonymous said...

You really can't rate a school without considering poverty. To reverse the effects of poverty and reverse inequality and give a fair chance at success to those who have been previously excluded due to racism, classism, sexism and homophobia, they should really just give the schools the highest rating with the highest number of children in poverty, specifically non-Asian kids as they seem to do fine anyways because they don't deal with psychological issues at all and don't care about social justice or fighting oppression. That way these kids could get a good education at a top University, get connections and make a good income. It is unfair to give a bad rating to a school due to test scores resulting from poverty and oppression. Lowell should get the lowest score of all what have they ever done for the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

Lowell is an abomination! It is full of self-centered, greedy kids who look down on other schools. It turns middle school, a time where kids should be enjoying arts and sports and leisure, having fun, is that the f word now, and unifying in preparation for rebelling together as a team against adults and other oppressors, into a time where they selfishly obsess over paper and pencil box scores and try to learn new ways to cheat. It then deprives the best students from the schools that need them, and lets rich kids with egos the size of Mount Everest think they don't owe anyone anything, their parents, the disadvantaged, etc. Lowell has hurt this City for over 150 years! They should be ashamed of themselves! It turns potential humanitarians into self-obsessed greedy neurotic basket cases! One day one of those kids will go crazy and do something that makes them shut down the school but by then it will probably be too late! I agree about the API scores, they should give the highest scores to the schools, and kids, with the hardest obstacles to overcome and that way we can empathize with others instead of be nerdily and greedily obsessed with our own little shut off world.

Anonymous said...

Lady I really have no idea what you are talking about. Api is how good a school is academically not how poor the students are. This whole line of reasoning makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Nothing she says makes sense, ever. She's a moron.

Anonymous said...

Lady, Lowell is not a middle school. If you really were a teacher you would know that. You've just exposed yourself as a fraud. I guess the joke is on us.

Anonymous said...

I think she's saying kids are too competitive and focused in middle school due to the competition to get into Lowell. I disagree. I am a better parent by having to push my kids to get into Lowell. I get them tutors and work on their development at a key time. Most Americans don't really worry about it until high school and studies show parents who focus on grades and use their free time and weekends to improve their kids' academics from a young age, even 9 or 10 or even from pre-school, raise more academically successful children. Lowell forces parents to do what they should do anyways. KIPP forces them to focus in 5th grade. Anything that gets more kids studying from a younger age is a good thing, the more you study the better.

She wants to go back to the age where all kids were "doing fine.", from the white kids at 12th grade reading level in 12th grade to the black kids at 8th grade level, on average, in 12th grade, to the Asians a year or two ahead, all graduating together. She would send the kids at 8th grade reading level to Harvard because they "suffered poverty". Her techniques don't account for corporate productivity or human nature. They presume you could just put people years behind in corporate jobs and get the same results as if you put an MBA from a top school. I've heard this line of reasoning from some, it's insane but it's out there. They think because there's a little corrupt nepotism that's all there is, but that's ridiculous.

She isn't motivated to help kids excel on tests because she believes tests are meaningless and everyone should hug and worry about their psychology, not compete by reading and doing math. She's wrong and she'll drive us backwards.

Don Krause said...

While I agree with you in the main,11:26, it isn't strictly true that the more you study the better, especially when it comes to children. You are taking a strictly quantitative approach to the matter when quality is likely to be far more important. Even if it wasn't, you can't be a better runner or swimmer by running and swimming all day and night. It important to train correctly and to get proper rest. It is also important that training be something that is internalized as a positive experience, otherwise it can become drudgery and prove in the end to be counterproductive. My son is a fast worker and a very high performer, but I think the amount of homework that he is assigned every day is actually unhealthy and improper for a person of his age.

Anonymous said...

Efficiency is certaily a factor. Generally you can study harder but you can also study smarter. It's just that it is a contest, it is a skills challenge, so you rate someone higher who learns more. Generally if you study more you do better, but some are smarter and some more efficient and some more motivated than others. But it would take all meaning out of the numbers if they weren't based on performance and were based solely on how disadvantaged someone is, as that would make no sense and is just a weird, noble poor anti-achievement way to look at the world. In my view, we have to help the poor achieve high test scores, not give them points just because they are poor but help them get out of being poor. Poverty doesn't have to last a second generation if the habits of poverty are not passed down.

Don Krause said...

It does appear that the star test in its current form and api are on the way out to be replaced by something else, something not so cut and dry. And there's likely to be a couple of years with no state standardized testing at all in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

How will they do admissions for Lowell in the interim? What will they do? Will it be 100% grades? If so, 60.2% girls will become 65% for a couple years. Poor girls, lucky boys!

Don Krause said...

This below is a portion from the article I posted a few back. It looks like STAR and API will be gone for awhile in which case Lowell would probably use a similar test like CLA for admission purposes.

"...for the first time since API was created in 1999, the State Board is likely to vote to suspend it next year. And the Board could decide to suspend the API again in 2015, on the grounds that there needs to be at least a couple of years of results from the official Common Core tests for math and English language arts before starting to judge schools by them."

"These are the test components that made up this year's AP for elementary and middle schools (top) and high schools. CST stands for the California Standards Tests in various subjects..."

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. Maybe they could just make Lowell a district school by lottery so we stop having so many snooty Chinese kids insulting everyone else and looking down on them because they don't want to spend their whole life acting like nerds with their head in their book so they can make money while the ruling class kicks all the blacks out of the City and drives all the Latinos out of the Mission in dreams of an Aryan SuperCity. The Asians will be the last kicked out by the Nazi hordes, but they will be kicked out and are suckers for the opporession that awaits them. It is disgusting. Maybe this way we can unify and help the oppressed and abused like we are supposed to do.

It will be wonderful. This will make it like it was before, teachers judged only by years of valiant service, students judged by their humanity, no test scores, no API, no grades, no racism, no classism, no sexism. It will be wonderful. Before NCLB and it's attendent fascism we could focus on the whole student. Now everyone wants to judge everyone. To which I say, you can all judge me when you get to hell. We will not fall prey to your judgements. What right do you have to judge people you enslaved and stole land from and enriched yourselves by murdering? Oh white man, oh white man, please just leave us be, please stop stealing and raping and pillaging and judging. Please stop being condescending. You cut off our ears and say we are inferior because we cannot hear, you cut out our eyes and blame us for not being able to see, you refuse to teach us the alphabet and call us dumb, you refuse to feed us and call us lithe and unsturdy, you refuse to allow us to bathe and call us filthy, you are an abomination please just give us 40 acres and a mule and let us be. Harriet Tubman. Please do not rob us of our very corn and our very earth, General Santa Ana. Please do not steal us from the land of our ancestors, Geronimo.

Really Don, who are you to judge others by numerics you come up with? I think it's just disgusting.

Don Krause said...


Anonymous said...

Lady you are seriously confused. Your job is not to help the oppressed rebel, it's to teach all children, rich, poor, middle class, and everything in between, to have the tools to be able to earn a living, have a family, and be good Citizens. I don't deny that there is some internal good in learning, it's not all about jobs and money, but that's a big part of it, the economy, the more there is to go around for all, the better. Historically, we are at a high point in inequality, equality and inequality go in waves in America. We are at 1800s gilded age and 1920s levels, almost certainly a historical hight. Full equality will lead to no incentives, laziness, inefficiency and corruption and stagnation, which is why the Soviet Union collapsed. and if you get too much inequality, you get corporate corruption, nepotism, oligarchy, excessive greed, and most tragically extreme poverty and inequality of opportunity, which we have now partially because public school teachers can't be fired and private school ones can, but also due to other less fair reasons. Extreme inequality will lead to more people feeling it is unfair that opportunity is not equal for all children and concentration of wealth in a few hands and pay based on power, not actual employee value (CEOs are not producing 500 x what an average worker is, but they are being paid as if they are based on corruption) and if pushed too far, leads to a revolution like in Russia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Korea, etc. These nations had horrible situations but horribly unfair economies before which caused it.

The good news is we are producing a lot of wealth and Democrats are gaining every year due to demographics, immigration and more people being poorer and resenting the unfairness. They will probably win enough consecutive elections to stack the Supreme Court, raise the inheritance and capital gains taxes, institute an Alternative Minimum Tax for Corporations so no big ones pay no taxes, ensure hedge fund traders pay standard taxes, have a wealth tax which taxes all wealth at the same annual 1% as property, expand ObamaCare to be more inclusive and be single payer like the England / France /Germany / Canada systems which lead to longer lives with under 60% the GNP percentage cost, ensure low prescription drug prices, and increase spending on schools to the point where the poor get as much spent on them as the rich in private schools, just raise the percent until all children have equal opportunity and education.

This is almost a sure thing. The '20s were a high in inequality, the mid '70s with strong unions a high in equality maybe even going a little too far with 90% taxes or 70% later and easy welfare requirements, and with now 35 years later, a high in inequality. Going forward, society will do whatever it takes to become more equal and rein in the extremes.

But your history is off. California was part of Mexico for fewer than 20 years and General Santa Ana enslaved Indians into his army and was a pure white Spaniard who wasted countless lives in idiotic wars to enrich the Spaniards. The complaints about Native Americans and blacks are valid, but their best opportunity is a good education which LIFO is denying them. Skills matter. Sure we need to do things to cut the income of the rich and increase that of the poor, taxes, banning offshoring or taxing it so it's not profitable, perhaps direct forced transfers, unionizing Walmart and Fast Food and other retail, passing laws making it impossible to fire for unionizing and easier to do, many other things, a higher minimum wage for college grads, a surtax on income over a million to pay down college debt of those with lower incomes, per child tax subsidies, many other ideas. But education is key. We must improve it for all our children. More jobs require a degree. Offshoring/outsourcing need to be banned, but more jobs now require a degree and an education. You are hurting children with LIFO.

Anonymous said...

That's all well and good but I'm nearly 60 years' old working toward a pension. I've served children for 35 years and would have never taken this job if I could be fired like Don wanted, and I've sacrificed millions in pay over the years. What am I going to do if I get fired because the students I teach don't get good test scores because they are poor and abused? It's nice the nation will improve, but it's breaking a contract.

AB said...

The transition to Common Core and end of API coupled with Vergera presents an alignment of opportunity to create a new, more fully inclusive, evaluation process for both student achievement and teacher evaluation.

I do not claim to hold the answers but this is the time to have this discussion, to consider options and push for a thorough and balanced approach.

The answer lies somewhere between a single data point (API) and no data point (as has been 'proposed' by LIFO advocate noteacher lady).

Don, maybe this is the next topic thread, people could post ideas, links to articles, examples of existing models.

I, for one, would like to know more about what is proposed, what the options are, what other alternatives exist.

Anonymous said...

And you cannot revoke a drivers license once issued no matter what.

And you cannot disbar a lawyer once admitted to the bar no matter what.

And you cannot remove a cop for the force no matter what.

I could go on for days but I prefer to evolve and progress, maybe discuss appropriate evaluation standards.

Anonymous said...

2:01 You may have a valid point. If your employment contract guaranteed LIFO then maybe you should be grandfathered and only hires under a new contract would be subject to accountability. But, check your contract, does it guarantee your assignment? I would rather pay your salary and benefits to stay home than have you in the classroom. Your UAW brethren had a similar guaranteed employment stipulation, even if there was no work. I believe it has worked out very well for them and their thriving rustbelt community...

Don Krause said...

The bulk of what appear to be Noteacher's comments are akin to a virus that has infected this blog. If I want the blog to be a venue for stupidity than I will continue to allow what she writes to be posted here. On the other hand, I do not require sign in so I cannot prevent her from posting nor do I want to. But any further ideological trash talk will be deleted. So unless she wants to waste her time, she should be advised. I want SF Edblog to be a place for intelligent discussion with respect for different rational opinions.

Anonymous said...

I agree Don. I think we should agree that schools should try to educate kids to get a good job, have a career and be good citizens, not start a revolution. Sadly I think a lot of teachers think like her. I've heard them discourage academic excellence, say just study an hour, who cares if you get into Lowell, etc. If they are being judged by test scores, no teachers will tell kids to limit their study time. It will align the teacher's goals with society's goals and the child's goals and the parents, at least good parents', goals, parents who noteacher despises.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you people on nothing! You are not the arbiter of right and wrong in SFUSD. Dennis Kelly is. He makes every decision including Prop H. I know he sometimes talks to a teacher who has done wrong and tells them in no uncertain terms, the pressure is too rough here, you are going to have to transfer to another school or we will take action. He's not only about protecting teachers. He has forced many to get extra assistance, receive counseling, take a sabbatical and even transfer schools. And not all transfers are only on seniority, if you think that you're crazy. In fact you are crazy we have already established that young man!

Anonymous said...

Maybe your god Dennis Kelly can give you some counseling.

Don Krause said...

Now the Department of Education has warned the California not to drop the STAR tests or it will lose almost half it deferral funding up to more than 3 billion.

Don Krause said...

By Sharon Noguchi

Related Stories

Oct 30:
•U.S. threatens to take $3.52 billion from California schools in testing dispute
•Document: Federal government letter to California education officials
Oct 2:
•STAR test dumped: Brown ignores federal threats, signs bill allowing new exams
Sep 3:
•Poll: California voters support more testing to assess students, teachers
Aug 29:
•California API scores fall, but Silicon Valley schools dominate state top tier
•Data Center: 2013 Growth API ratings for all California schools

Hesitating to fully embrace a nationwide campaign to bolster schools' accountability, California has turned up its nose at federal carrots and now wants a reprieve from Uncle Sam's stick -- an entreaty that has so infuriated the Obama administration that it is threatening to withhold federal money from the state's schools.

Despite ostensibly working toward the same goal to improve public education, especially for disadvantaged children, Sacramento has resisted the changes in school accountability and teacher evaluation sought by Washington.

On Tuesday, the state Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a bill that creates a new state testing regimen -- one supporters heralded as promoting more meaningful learning, and less drill and memorization. Known as MAPP, the exams will be field-tested by some schools in the spring.

But the bill -- expected to pass the Assembly and be signed into law -- will let California ditch its STAR tests, the mainstay of its school accountability system. For more than a decade, public schools each spring have administered the standardized tests, which generate scores widely used to judge the success of schools and districts.

Now that index may not be published for up to two years. And that puts the state in conflict with a federal requirement to test students and broadcast the results -- a requirement State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson would like to have waived for California.

But this week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a peremptory response: "A request from California to not measure the achievement of millions of students this year is not something we could approve in good conscience," it read. "Backing away entirely from accountability and transparency is not good for students, parents, schools and districts."

The reaction took state officials, who have been talking with Washington, aback. "I was a bit surprised at the timing," said state deputy superintendent Deb Sigman.

State officials argued that it's unfair and meaningless to use old tests to assess how students do on new material, or to publish results of the still-unrefined MAPP, or Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress.

If the dispute isn't resolved, it's not clear if or how much Uncle Sam could refuse to pay to California schools. While local and state taxpayers foot most of the K-12 bill, federal funds pay for key programs. For instance, of San Jose Unified's $286.8 million general fund, 5.3 percent comes from the federal government.

More than any of his predecessors, Duncan has pressed vigorously for states to hold schools accountable for student achievement and teacher improvement.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, center, answers students' questions during a tour of Emerson Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 9, 2013. Duncan's back-to-school bus tour also includes stops in Texas, Arizona and California. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan) ( Susan Montoya Bryan )

But California has resisted, despite the No Child Left Behind law, which requires states to bring growing numbers of students to proficiency or suffer sometimes-drastic consequences like school closures and takeovers. While most states recently have sought and won a way out of those federal threats, California was among just a handful that refused to seek a waiver of the law.


Don Krause said...

That's because to win the waiver, states had to promise to base teacher evaluations at least in part on student test scores. California, swayed by powerful teachers unions, has resisted incorporating standardized test scores into teacher evaluations.

In general, as they begin teaching the new Common Core curriculum adopted by most of the 50 states, school officials welcome the reprieve from publishing test scores.

"We need this year and all of next year prior to the spring of 2015 to fully prepare for these changes," said John Porter, superintendent of the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose.

In the spring, schools may voluntarily take either the English or math portion of the new MAPP exams. The state will pay for one, but not both, of the online-only tests.

A district wanting to administer both English and math will have to pay for the extra test.

Some districts, like East Side Union High in San Jose, would prefer to take both portions. "You would think that Mr. Duncan would want a large sample piloted to be sure that the tests are reliable," Superintendent Chris Funk said.

California could end up with one of the largest pilot tests in the nation. Many states plan to test only 10 percent of students while using their current standardized exam for the test of their students.

Many districts are still incorporating Common Core into the classroom. For example, Cupertino Union for a year and half has sent teams from each of its 26 schools to curriculum training, and to return to help train their colleagues.

"We are giving the gift of time to teachers and students," said AB484's author, Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, a former English teacher, referring to the hiatus from releasing scores. "We want you to focus on classroom instruction. I understand the pressure a teacher feels when she knows an assessment is coming."

Don Krause said...

U.S. threatens to take $3.52 billion from California schools in testing dispute

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Reinforcing its threat to punish California for dumping its old standardized state tests next spring, the U.S. Department of Education said that decision could cost the state at least $3.5 billion.

The state could lose $15 million it receives to administer a federal program for poor children, known as Title I. More critically, a letter sent Tuesday by Deborah S. Delisle, an assistant secretary of education, hinted California risks significantly more money from other federal initiatives, for the lowest-performing schools, English-language learners, disabled students, rural schools, migrant children and teacher training. Those totaled about $3.5 billion last school year.

The dispute between state and federal education officials boils down to whether students need to take standardized tests in English and math every year, and whether the public should be able to see those results. Federal officials say the law requires that, but California believes that's unreasonable.

State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said he was surprised that federal authorities would send a threatening letter. He and members of the California Department of Education have been meeting with U.S. officials about reconciling California's new testing regimen with federal law.

He characterized the talks as constructive. "I don't believe we are stuck at all."

The federal threat comes as California begins major changes to the way it teaches K-12 students. It has adopted a new standard for learning called Common Core, which is intended to offer practical and relevant lessons, teaching students to think critically and solve problems.

State officials said it makes no sense to use the old STAR tests, which were administered in grades 2 to 11 every spring, in the midst of a switch to a new curriculum. Instead, next spring schools will test-drive the Smarter Balanced test, which succeeds STAR.

The California Legislature decided that schools will only test students either in math or English, and the state will not release the results to schools nor to the public -- because the trial run is as much a calibration of the test as it is a measurement of student achievement.

That limited testing, the elimination of the STAR tests and refusal to release results has infuriated federal education officials.

Advocates for low-income students and school reform cheered the letter. "California is the only state in the entire nation that is choosing to violate the ESEA," the federal law mandating testing, said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the advocacy group Education Trust-West, based in Oakland. "As a result, the federal government is saying, 'Enough is enough; we have to react.' "

Taking a sample STAR test at San Jose High Academy, 2008. (Richard Koci Hernandez)

Don Krause said...

Other states, he said, have figured out how to meet federal standards even with changes to their curriculum. He said California is being cheap, saving money by dumping its state test, and paying for students to take just one of the two segments of the new, shared national tests.

Last month, on the eve of the Legislature's vote phasing in the new tests, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued an unusual warning that the bill would violate federal law. Testing helps keep schools accountable, he said, and publishing results provides parents and the public needed information about school performance.

But AB484, the bill promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown, passed easily.

If the federal government does withhold funds, the impact could be significant, said Stephen Fiss, superintendent of the Alum Rock Union School District in San Jose. In special education, for instance, federal dollars account for about 30 percent of the budget. "I don't know if we could survive the impact."

Still, he supports the Legislature's decision for a reprieve from high-stakes testing, giving schools needed time to develop curriculum and modify teaching.

Kirst said he will continue to work with Washington officials.

He noted that the federal government has never taken away money from schools. And, he wrote in a statement issued jointly with state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson, "We would hope and expect that they would not start now."

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775 . Follow her at Twitter.com/noguchionk12.

Funds the Feds threaten to withhold from state

A partial list of federally funded programs in California schools that could be vulnerable to the U.S. withholding funds:
$65.6 million -- School Improvement Grants program, for the lowest-performing schools
$155.8 million -- Title III of Elementary and Secondary Education Act for Language Acquisition, for English learners
$1.2 billion -- Part B of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, for special education
$1.3 million -- Title VI, Part B2 for Rural and Low-Income Schools
$133.5 million -- Title I, Part C of ESEA for migrant education
$265.7 million -- Title II, Part A of ESEA, for professional development and other support for educators

Anonymous said...

Is Sharon the person to call to complain?

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. It is being presented as a delay but we will never test children in this City or State again, every year we will find another reason to delay. It is not worth the money, it's blood money to harass teachers and make children feel bad about themselves for reasons beyond their control such as poverty and racism. Never again will a California child get something in the mail telling them their percentile. How must it feel to get a letter saying you are at the 15th percentile, you are dumb and deserve poverty, your government hates you, prepare for prison.

Black children in this City are essentially told, look at this statistic and test based on our culture, we the power structure won't let our children go to school with you and if they do, we will suspend you 11 x as much as whites to protect them, we will imprison them, we enslaved you and kept you away from us for centuries ha ha ha and now look at this paper telling you you are inferior. Mexicans we stole your land now look at this test which says you are inferior because you dare to speak Spanish and not become slaves to white habits. We will take money from your schools, keep you out of college, ridicule you, make sure you don't go to Lowell, and ultimately imprison you based on this number. Or as they say in Germany, VEE ARRE DZOOOPEEERIORR! Pretty soon there will be concentration camps for those who don't do well enough on these Fasco-Tests!

We say NO to testing. It is over. You can call it a delay if you want to make yourself feel better just like you probably think you will one day have neighborhood schools and a school board who opposes LIFO, but you are insane! We control everything, get used to it! Dennis Kelly is against testing and he decides, not you! Not just him, but the whole union statewide is against it. We will threaten to strike if you try to bring it back. No amount of blood money is worth telling society's victims they deserve their poverty based on a culturally biased, racist test. And Asians aren't falling for it either, the leaders are all against this testing.

You have been humiliated again Don. Get used to it! Why don't you and your fascist friends take up something more useful in your mothers' attics like video games or pornography or collecting Nazi memorabilia? Maybe that will be less frustrating for you and you can feel like a man again shooting alien spacecrafts or imagining poor abused women enjoy being exploited by sickos! You people make me sick!


Don Krause said...

Did you read the article?

You really make yourself look bad when you comment about an article you didn't actually read first. Lack of knowledge is your trademark. You're a lot like your students in that regard. I'm having a Gomer Pyle moment.

"State officials said it makes no sense to use the old STAR tests, which were administered in grades 2 to 11 every spring, in the midst of a switch to a new curriculum. Instead, next spring schools will test-drive the Smarter Balanced test, which succeeds STAR."

The new curriculum has new content and different methodology. They recognize that there will be a major disconnect if they teach content not on the test or test content not taught. That is the reason for the proposed delay of new the standardized testing which is aligned with the content. Since you would never subject your students to a test of their knowledge testing wouldn't be something you'd know much about, would you?

Anonymous said...

Has Dennis Kelly ever not gotten his way? Once? Ever? If you think it's a delay I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you. It's a delay until 2067, the hundred year anniversary of the Summer of Love.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Don Krause said...

If you think standardized testing is going away you are even crazier than I thought. I guess you've been teaching so long you forgot how to learn. It's called reading.

AB said...

This is shaping up to be an interesting battle with, unfortunately, a generation of students being used as pawns in a political tug of war.

I know a few SFUSD schools that are worried about the new tests. They are concerned that they do not have adequate computers to administer the tests and that their students do not have the necessary computer skills to take the tests.

From what I observed on my thirty elementary school tours last year the availability and quality of computer labs/tech centers and emphasis on keyboarding skills/computer proficiency varies dramatically across SFUSD.

I have to believe that this is a significant issue that will take at least two years to work out once the resources are in place. Simply stated: Without a commitment of resources to every school in the district (technology, staff training, student computer classes) the MAPP tests cannot be properly administered and will not reflect actual student learning.

I have to agree with the State that first year or two of test scores need to be evaluated to ensure they are an accurate reflection of learning. In the business world we do extensive testing before, during, and even after a program rollout. Presumably these tests have been vetted and focus grouped or sample tested. The State should administer both tests over a period (two-three years?) to transition, establish some baseline comparisons, and work out the inevitable kinks.

Unfortunately this is shaping up to be another big-government boondoggle (much like the current ACA launch) - top down mandates without providing adequate guidance, support or resources to test and rollout correctly. (Note: This is not a judgement on ACA or MAPP, just on the pitiful execution.)

I shudder to think what is going to happen at less resourced schools and districts (those without large PTA fundraising programs).

AB said...

Interesting article about teacher evaluations on SFGate today: http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Aspire-teachers-at-center-of-fierce-national-5039678.php#page-1