Thursday, November 21, 2013

SFUSD LYING ABOUT SUCCESS OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS



SFUSD has been hyping the success of SIG since the program ended in 2012-2013, last school year.  To be sure I was skeptical about this $45M grant from the get-go - what I considered to be an absolutely obscene amount of money to throw at nine schools over a 3-year period, especially with so little preparation time. That amount of money is more than the annual budgets of over 30 elementary schools combined. After having spent considerable time researching SIG during the first two years of the program,I commented repeatedly  on another blog, the SF K Files, about the waste, fraud and abuse that I discovered.  So, while I acknowledge I am not the most objective observer to comment on this $45M program, I also did a lot of homework on the subject.  I put this caveat up front so readers can review these results with that in mind. Of course, I believe that any bias I may have is not reflected in the numerical results or comparisons drawn. If anyone thinks otherwise I would like to know and please feel free to comment with any concerns. I'm not a statistician and is this not an in-depth analysis nor does this simple bread and butter statistical comparison require a higher level of  scientific procedure. We are simply reviewing the numbers based on information gathered from California Department of Education API reports.

Results

In short, what I gleaned from the API data was that 5 of the 9 schools did little to no better than the District API achievement averages  and three did worse. Nevertheless SFUSD's  review is misleadingly positive. SFUSD  pats itself on the back for a job well done though $45,000,000 in grant money for approximately 3,860 student participants did not raise achievement numbers in any significant way for most of the schools.


Method

The method of analysis I use  is simple. I compare the API of the last year before the start of SIG (2009-10) with the final year API (2012-13). Many of you know that the now defunct API index is a statistically adjusted achievement metric.  It is different from using STAR, an absolute metric, though individual STAR results provide the raw data for API.  That data is adjusted for statistical variants that would cause averaging errors. As examples, and there are many, new students are not included in an API because they don't figure in a school's growth and Students With Disabilities are not included as the kind and number of SWDs varies considerably between schools  and creates an apples to oranges comparison. Also, it should be noted that API has a subjective quality that gives additional weight to growth at the lowest quintile because that is where schools are expected to target remediation efforts and are statistically rewarded for doing so which handicaps the results at low performing schools for the better. This gives low performing schools a leg up and leans in favor of increased success when large grants are employed with the intent to focus on that lowest performing quintile. Also, schools in the lowest quintile typically show a potential for more upward mobility as there's more room to grow. Conversely, high performing students show less upward mobility in a sort of law of diminishing returns, if you will. In any case,  API results yield more favorable numbers than STAR test results. Since STAR is only assigned by individuals and grades, not to schools overall, and because of the adjusted quality of API for school-wide analysis and comparison,  API is a better tool than STAR and really the only tool, despite the preferential statistical treatment of lower performing schools.  

I would be remiss not to point out one problem with the STAR data used to create API. It has a Federally mandated test participation rate of 95% to be considered scientifically viable and  legal. Over the years few underperforming schools have met that target participation rate and the Feds  have looked the other way. Those of you who have reviewed STAR results may be aware of this participation rate issue. If you look at the results on the CDE's STAR site of high performing schools in SFUSD, invariably you will notice that participation rates are well over 95%. However, low performing schools often have much lower rates, sometimes as low as 80%. This is a variable that is hard to factor in, but the general rule is that test no-shows are low-performers. In effect, if rates were higher at low performing schools, it is likely that the results would be lower than they are. It's something to keep in mind and bears mentioning since it also handicaps results to favor low performing schools.

SIG was in effect for the school years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.  I compared the year (09-10) before the grant started with the year of the grant ended (12-13). This allowed for a comprehensive review since individual yearly statistics varied and the important numbers were how the schools started out versus how they ended up. Also, SIG got a late start in the first year and growth that year can't be compared correctly with the next in a year-over-year comparison.  Also, Chavez ES had its first-year tests invalidated due to some funny business during test administration.

The nine SIG schools are Bryant, Chavez, Carver, Muir, Buena Vista-Horace Mann, Revere, Everett. Mission and O'Connell. I will not be including Buena Vista Horace Mann in this analysis because that school became a K-8 and adjusted API data is not available.  Willie Brown received some SIG funding for school closure, though it is reopening soon. SFUSD favorably compared the SIG schools  to the other five schools in the two Superintendent Zones, Bret Hart, Drew, Malcolm X, Flynn and Marshall HS. Three of those schools actually dropped over the 3-year period which meant that SFUSD's comparison was really a joke. That is to say, it is easy to compare favorably to schools that lost ground (and rather ridiculous).  Below I have listed the nine SIG schools and the  five other schools included in the SZ. The names are followed by the 2009-10 API, 10-11,11-12 and the 2012-13 API. The BVHM numbers are not accurate apples-to-apples comparisons due to the merger of BV and HM.


DATA

 Name                  09,   10,   11,   12

Bryant               696, 701, 731, 703

Chavez              685, NA , 661, 690

Muir                  635, 689, 715, 731

BVHM*...........653,  682, 727, 748

Carver.............701, 701, 740, 755

Revere              655, 683, 753, 772

Everett              607, 638, 693, 728

Mission........... 625, 642, 639, 641

O'Connell........603, 594. 667, 656

****************************

Bret Hart           627, 650, 655, 648

Drew                  710, 609, 677, 665

Malcolm X         800, 790, 724, 711

Flynn                  706, 710, 738, 694

Marshall HS       758, 774 ,768, 783

Summary of Data

The obvious first conclusion that can be drawn is that the Bryant, Chavez and Mission results are absolutely awful with or without an investment in millions. Underperforming the District, their 7 and 5, and 16  respective point increases over the  3-year period are negligible and statistically insignificant. Small variations are statistical noise as school APIs experience normal random fluctuation year over year. Remember that these numbers do not represent a one year change, but the total change over three years making these results very disappointing indeed. These lowest performers I term Tier 3 schools.

In the second tier, are the very mediocre results of Carver and O'Connell which rose 54 and 53 points over the period. This is mildly above the overall district results, but only when the low quintile weighting is not factored in. These results also do not speak particularly well to the efficacy of the SIG grants, though the results are better than the abysmal improvement of three Tier 3 schools.

In Tier 1, are Muir (96 pts.), Revere (117pts.), and Everett (121 pts.). These schools far outperformed the other SIG schools with the possible exception of BVHM which was not included in this comparison and they represent the high point of the SIG program.  These schools showed steady gains over the period. Bryant, Mission and O'Connell did not manage to post increases in all three years and Bryant and O'Connell scores dropped significantly in the final year, which is very disappointing considering that the implementation should have shown the best results in that third and final year.

In regards to the rest of the five schools also in the Superintendent Zones that were not SIG recipients, their results were terrible in the main, especially considering that these schools were also given many additional resources, though not nearly so much as the SIG schools. Of the five schools three of them, Drew, Malcom X and Flynn actually dropped over the same 3-year period. The other two, Bret Hart and Marshall saw district- average size increases.  What does this say about the benefit to SFUSD of Carlos Garcia's and Richard Carranza's Superintendent Zones - a program that has been the District's highest priority?
Conclusions

The School Improvement Grant program over the 3-year period  produced very different achievement results among recipient schools. Three schools did very well, over-performing district averages, and three did very poorly, underperforming district averages. Two schools showed mediocre but around average  compared to non-SIG schools, thereby under-performing as SIG recipients.  One school was excluded from analysis. Approximately $12,000 -$13,000 was spent per student on average in the nine schools over the 3-year period, factoring in attendance. It is difficult to concur with SFUSD that the grant program was successful since at least half the schools didn't do any better than the district as a whole and some did considerably worse, especially considering the statistical benefits enjoyed by low performing schools, as  previously mentioned. Despite the extraordinarily large and unprecedented windfall funding that was SIG,  the costs versus results point to a very uneven intervention with more poor results than good ones. The fact that some schools outperformed while others underperformed speaks to poor implementation at the district level where  money totaling in the millions was spent on administration.

I would be remiss not to point out that statistical comparisons are difficult for many reasons. Besides the bottom quintile advantage, the highest quintile sees the smallest gains year over year as it becomes more and more difficult to improve over-performance. So comparing districtwide averages gives a great  advantage point for point to the lowest schools. For example, a school above 900 is hard-pressed to raise a score by 30 points in a year but a low performing school  could easily see a similar point improvement.  The real gains of the SIG schools, especially the five Tier 2 and 3 schools was bad, indeed, considering the unprecedented funding made available to them during the last three years. So why is SFUSD gloating?

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

The bottom 5 on data were amazingly impressive. These children deserve support because they are poor. What you don't realize is that money gave them support that is not measurable on tests designed by white people and Asian big-business technocrats on math and "English". Many of these kids speak Spanish or Ebonics. Many are being abused in the midst of one of the most vicious and racist economic downturns in our history. Some are shot at, many have mothers forced into prostitution, not the traditional type but a guy or two they know has them as a "sugar baby", many sell drugs to weirdos or let their homes be used as gun or drug depots, some work in legitimate jobs only....for 90-100 hours a week because they are paid minimum wage and that's the only way they can afford SF...and nearly never see their children. Some of these women were abandoned by men, and if you look at the mothers and the kids, they're not all, as Don likes to think, black and Latino men, just look at these mothers and children with no father and you can readily see many of the fathers are white and just knocked them up, and ran off.

You see, the money has helped these kids in significant and important ways that aren't statistically measurable.

For some of these kids, having an adult to talk to, a counsellor, with a mother working 90 hour weeks or committing crimes and too busy to talk to them, at least gives them someone to care about them and talk to. In other cases, consultants have earned their salaries by organizing with charitable organizations. I know 3 who rounded up and scared out of SF a white man who was known to be going to the parks and molesting children, and the police wouldn't do anything, they scared him into moving away. This man was white and he was creepily hanging around parks and everyone knew what he was doing, but cops didn't care because the kids were poor.

Some of these conusltants and counsellors did a lot you are not aware of Don. In the midst of poverty, sometimes you need a friend to listen to how being hit on by old white men and beaten to a pulp by other kids for forgetting not to wear a certain color or screamed at or ignored by parents or not having any food in the house or heating in the winter makes you feel.

Having these people show up at their homes and giving them white flash cards and math quizzes is just about the last thing they need Don. They're just not at that level. But the $45 million helped children and created jobs for many poor minority role models who otherwise would be homeless and are now six figure consultants, someone for kids to look up to where there are few role models, so it did a lot of good. It did a hell of a lot better than giving some CEO a $45 million bonus and you know society does that a lot. It doesn't show up on a stat but it was money well spent!

Don Krause said...

May I ask you whether this post appeared on the blog homepage or did you have to click on the sidebar to see it? I am not seeing it posted on the homepage.

Anonymous said...

I see it on the home page. You may have an old browser.

Don Krause said...

I'll check it out.

I can't agree with your take even if I do agree that STAR and API are not comprehensive measures of achievement for all.

You have to have some accountability for government spending. All you've provided is third party opinion that it did a lot of good. How can you substantiate the good that it did?

Anonymous said...

Oddly I do think the teacher has a point, but you have to focus on test scores or you'll be permanently dealing with feelings and moods and desperation. Divorce comes from a lack of education, the educated rarely divorce with kids, they know how to analyze scientific research that it hurts kids and put kids first as their parents did for them.


But our school budget is harshly limited due to Serrano and the fund limit and a lot of other laws Don espouses very devoutly, I think we need to think outside the box on this but most in control think we shouldn't spend more than the state minimum ever.

So therefore, school funding should go for schools and we should use our incredible wealth to pay for tutoring and social services and these things. I even question spending so much on school lunches, I think we should tell the City, people need food, you need to pay for it, you are so cheap on our school budget we need to teach kids with this money. We should ask for food banks and the City Social Service Fund and Obama's Food Stamp fund to pay for that.

Anonymous said...

Don,

If there's something missing in your analysis it would be district achievement numbers over the same time period.

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

I just warned you about off-topic comments and you go right back to it as if you either don't care or didn't hear. You talk about being educated, but you can't follow a simple rule?

What is it that you don't understand about the idea of a topic? Your comments having nothing to do with the School Improvement Grants. Are you purposely trying to screw up the conversation or is the idea of a topic subject just something that you cannot abide or understand?
You are pushing me to the point where I will have to delete everything you write if you can't follow a few simple guidelines. You have our own blog go there if you find it too confining to follow without reverting to the same old talking points we've all heard again and again.

To matters worse I also warned you not to assign opinions to me that are untrue. You said I espouse revenue limits devoutly. First of all, there are no more revenue limits. Secondly, I didn't. It's just that you cannot understand the difference between explaining what they are and being a proponent of them. But I'm not going to go any further because I'm getting off topic.

If you want to comment on this blog you had better stick to the subject because I'm fed up. Really, dude, you got some problem.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know a thing about the school grants. Wow! Forty-five million. That's a chunk a change. It goes to show you that money can't buy everything.

Anonymous said...

Don, so what if they get the API to 900 for Chavez? What are they going to qualify for college? Who will pay for it? You? You Lieutenant Weinberg? That's right, no one. The kids I help, even if they get a degree they end up discriminated against in a white man's world! No one will pay for it and even if they do they'll face discrimination, racism, sexism, classism, glass ceilings, lies. So what's the point? I give them what they need. The truth! They can't overcome this racism and hatred by hard work! I know a black guy who had a 3.6 at UC Davis and an M.S. at the University of Phoenix and he made 130k for 6 years. He got accused of sexual harassment as a set up (this white woman has accused 6 men, all black, all ones she starts flirting with, all got fired, in 4 years, but the company always believes her) and theft, which was spending $20 on lunch from a petty fund he was told he could use by his boss who later denied it. He was an engineer.

Now, he can't get a reference, has been unemployed for a year, never gets angry, and when he walks around downtown, people lock their car doors, think he's a panhandler even though he's wearing a $1200 suit. He had a woman sprint away from him when he went jogging in Pacific Heights. He has a master's degree. He's 50 years old with an MS. He gets treated like scum.

You people are insane! It just doesn't matter said Bill Murray!

My students know they can't have social justice only for themselves unless they fight for social justice for all people!

Anonymous said...

I agree social justice is needed for all people, but if you look at the averages it does make a difference. There are lots of scholarships. A black person with a degree averages over double the income of one with just a high school education, an even larger diffence than that for other races. Same with Latinos, it's always at least close to double. That, staying married, and studying a lot make a difference. You are teaching badly if you teach them their grades and studying don't matter. I agree with you on raising minimum wage, unionizing Walmart and McDonald's, capping CEO pay and inheritance, all of it, I'm very liberal. I just don't agree with saying it doesn't matter. If you get Chavez or any school from 650 to 850 or 900, you are drastically increasing the future income of many, many children. We should spend on this, not social services work within the guise of SFUSD.

Yes, life isn't fair. There's nepotism, and much pay is based on corruption, not loyalty to shareholders, and our leaders have made far too little effort to actually make sure there's equal opportunity, and some Democrats are as bad as Republicans like Al Gore getting his lazy son into Harvard with bad grades.

But nevertheless, if the test score improves, lives improve. You telling kids they should watch TV and be lazy and try to create a revolution isn't helping them in the event that there isn't a revolution, which there probably won't be.

Do you think Hilary Clinton is really going to even guarantee healthcare for all paid by taxes like in Europe? Probably not, and she is as liberal a choice as we'll have in 2016. Maybe in 20 years but by then high school kids will be pushing 40. Education can help them no! I'd love to see a complete far left government that really pushes the living wage and equal opportunity and redistribution model, but it isn't likely to happen any time soon.

Teach kids in the real world, not the fantasy world!

Anonymous said...

Revolution will never happen if we listen to naysayers! You can't help the poor within the current broken, corrupt system which is what this SIG grant obsession over API scores is trying to do, make white liberals feel like we're making progress while they secretly move to Marin (Newsome) or go private (most of the rich here). David Campos has it right. We are two San Franciscoes now. Until we are one San Francisco, we will not have justice. SIG API SIG API SIG API. Commenting on that is buying into the ruling class view that our society is fair. That's why Jane Kim refuses to say the pledge. There is no justice for all. Not even close!

Anonymous said...

Don is saying we need to spend money better to help the poor as if he is looking out for them. What he really wants is for them to spend more on the dot com multimillionaires whose kids go to Alamo so he doesn't have to spend what amounts to crumbs to him on a little assistance for his child. He only sends his kids to elite schools. Alamo, Lowell, Presidio, nothing but the schools of the rich and famous. He isn't saying they should spend better. He is saying they should send that money to Alamo. Don't fall for it! That's his point. Look, the oppressed aren't geninuses with $45 million spread over 22,500 of them, a measly crumb, after centuries of rape, murder, torture, theft and drug infestation by the CIA, let's take it away and give it to the rich. If he were advocating more money for the poor or even bettre results I'd listen, but he wants to say, you had your chance, it's back to the back of the bus, the slave quarters, the barrio, the ghetto, the factory, the brothel, the front lines in Vietnam and Iraq, the kitchen, the prison, the morgue. I say phooey on that!

Anonymous said...

Alamo deserves a basic level of funding. We need to attract people into public schools. We shouldn't spend way less. SFUSD is supposed to educate children. They don't need to make society equitable. They have nothing to do with prisons and wars and minimum wage and union laws. They should educate kids so they can get the best job possible. Do we pressure the DMV or police to solve social justice issues? There will be fewer social justice issues if the district spends the money effectively so that there is less poverty.

Don Krause said...

If you want to comment make sure it relates in some way to the topic of the School Improvement Grants.

Anonymous said...

In my view the School Improvement Grants have failed to do enough to justify their cause. I don't advocate eliminating them. I advocate spending on tutoring and parent mentoring for those schools. Require any kid under the average to show up for Saturday and afterschool tutoring at least 8 hours a week. Have a center open 8 hours on Saturday and 3-4 most evenings.

This will do several things. The tutoring, which can cost $20 an hour and be good quality college students, and pay hourly, no salary, no pay for anyone being sick, hourly like a restaurant you get sick you don't get paid that day no unions.

The tutoring will help the kids. Also, parents who want to do things on the weekend and are being lazy during the week about school will start making sure their kids are doing their homework so they don't get labeled and have to go to this, as parents will have to pick them up. Make it mandatory to pass to the next grade.

Also, parent classes, parent mentoring, will help. Teach them the difference between kids who read at 5 or 6 and 9 or 10, kids who study 15+ hours vs. 2-3, kids who read novels vs. watch TV, etc.

In these areas, parenting is for the most part TERRIBLE! Children then waste the one time in life they could have done well in life. Then it's too late and off to Fresno.

Don Krause said...

If you had even the slightest idea of what you are talking about or if you actually had read the post you would know that the SIG program is ended as of last year. So when you say you don't advocate eliminating them you are telling us that you are too lazy to bother to read - an extremely damning point considering that you are all about reading, studying and getting educated. In other words, you are a total phony.

Secondly, your opinion about the issue is meaningless since you are anonymous. Providing something to back your opinions wouldn't be. No body cares about another asshole opinion from cyberspace. If you could say something, some idea that made sense in and of itself, a view that had the power of its own well thought out reasoning, that would be different. But instead all you give us, and all you ever give us, is the same old worn out nonsense.

For example you can't just make up rules about what passes for school credit - like making afterschool tutoring mandatory to pass grades. if you had any understanding of even the most basic concepts of how a school works you would know this. You want an afterschool program that is a mandatory and will count towards grades and such, but that could never happen without rewriting all union contracts and changing many laws. But mostly it would add billions to he cost of education. That doesn't mean that having a longer school day is not a good idea.

As usual you're just talking out of your ass.

Anonymous said...

Don, in your opinion, what was the reason why some schools excelled while others failed? School demographic, implementation differences, staff quality?

Don Krause said...

I couldn't say, but it's a good question- one worth knowing. But how?

Anonymous said...

I think I know your conclusion Don. We shouldn't try to help the disadvantaged. We should give more money to the schools doing best, your kids are more needy for some reason than kids with single moms being raped by capitalist pigs for a "donation" and dealing drugs and being sent to prison while 60% of stockbrokers and dot com gazillionaires use cocaine and get away scot free. The kids of the people who wash your kitchens and trim your lawns and were slaves and dodged gunshots last week should get no extra consideration. Only your privileged kids matter. Only Alamo, Presidio and Lowell matter. Every one else should be poor and like it. You think I am no teacher but I taught a kid 2 years ago a better way to walk home in the Bayview, people thought I was crazy, an old white woman walking around the projects, he was having nightmares of gunfire. Another kid who kept walking the old way took a bullet to the leg a week ago. It wasn't in any newspapers. The Chronicle was too busy printing how wonderful the rich and famous are at their Nob Hill parties. sNob Hill. I bought a girl an MP3 so she could try to read, and sleep, without hearing her mother's lover of the night, probably for survival money, through a think wall ordering her to do humiliating things for a pittance, for crumbs. I taught a girl to lie under a car till the gunshots stop. I caught a girl selling her "free" school lunch for $2 to a homeless guy and giving it to her mom. Then she got suspended for "stealing" $20 from a Chinese boy who was bragging about his Chinese New Years and getting over $200 from all his aunts and uncles. They're not immune either. I had a Chinese boy who was starting to smell and it turned out he was living in his car because his dad lost the rent money on the "Raiders". I got him into Gambler's Anonymous. I had another kid whose dad was beaten to a pulp by police for making a joke, a black man who has never been convicted of anything but has been arrested 12 times. You have no idea what these kids are going through Don! Let's just give all the money to Alamo, Presidio, Lowell and the other elite schools, how about more for Grattan, West Portal, McKinley, Alvarado, West Portal, Hoover, Sunset, Feinstein, Lakeshore, you name it, but no more for the kids who are in poverty and face racism. NOT A CENT says Don the KING!

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

If you want to discuss ways to close the achievement gap write something reasonable and I'll start a thread. Send it to sfedblog@gmail.com. Write a comment that you have done so.
Then you can have a discussion of the education topic of YOUR choosing. Just make sure that it is reasonably well written and has information that backs up the main idea. I'll be happy to post it whether I agree with it or not. I have no intention of holding back the opinions of others whether in comments or posts. My concern it to avoid allowing the blog to be a free for all. I'm happy to have you both participate, but please observe the standard rules.

To respond to a couple of comments, you can make assumptions about what you think is my opinion, but they are assumptions. In fact, I didn't express my opinion about SIG. I reported the factual achievement changes as very mixed and generally poor, but with some excellent results as well. The results are clear for anyone to see and I pointed out that SFUSD spun it very positively, despite the facts. That is notable because SFUSD, a public agency, is lying about their results.

What I don't like is to see ed dollars wasted. That doesn't mean I'm against spending money towards closing the achievement gap. I entirely expect more money to be spent where more is needed.
But even one of the principals involved, Eric Sanchez, former Supe, said he had too much money, that he couldn't spend it all. They were giving away thousand dollar laptops to parents. They hired teachers to work at schools whose function was not to teach students but only to supervise other teachers, though they already had supervisors. They spent millions on administration of the grant, creating a whole new bureaucratic class of high paid directors and yet they failed to get a majority of schools to advance beyond a district average for the three years. But one of you blows off the test results because you don't believe in giving tests at all- ever. That rationale is that CEOs make too much money so why shouldn't we spend some on poor kids? I can appreciate that CEOs make too much but what they do in their private business boardrooms is not related to public federal school grants.


Here's an interesting article about SIG

http://missionlocal.org/2012/05/millions-of-grant-money-for-mission-schools-where-is-it-going/

AB said...

Are schools tasked with the responsibility of righting all social wrongs, of solving all of society's problems? No. Do these outside problems affect what happens at school and do schools need to be cognizant of these issues? Yes.

It is unfortunate that SFUSD chooses to play politics with their students lives - negligible focus on academic excellence but outsize worry about equity. I will accept that the intent behind SIG was altruistic in motivation but the results were not there. It is OK to try and fail, but you have to acknowledge the lack of success and move on. claiming SIG a success is intellectually offensive and a disservice to all SFUSD students.

So how should schools address performance gap issues? Look to the data, find out what has been tried elsewhere, find out what has worked.

If kids are not prepared to learn in the classroom then maybe they need to be taken out of the classroom to learn. The school lunch program is an effort at addressing nutritional needs, dignity and respect can be taught in any subject or environment, math and language arts can be tailored to any audience. School can be an escape from the 'horrors' of a bad life situation and can teach skills to help kids cope, survive, and thrive.

Blaming others self-respect, effort, and success for lack of your own is a false argument.

Anonymous said...

But why is your focus on this, your outrage on this, why are you not protesting in front of corporate offices against the 1%? Why do you want to fire teachers? Surely, it could have been done better. But hind-sight is always 20 20. What will the effect of this be? Is your end goal to encourage better spending on this issue, or less spending?

AB said...

Finding more resources for education is an important, but separate topic.

My comment here is on smart use of existing funds. We need to be honest about the benefit of SIG in order to be smart about how we spend future grants.

As an aside - if we give our kids the gift of a strong education (math, english, science, arts, social responsibility) they will then be equipped with the tools to work from within the corporate power structure to effect change rather than just complain about it.

Anonymous said...

I've seen individual AA and Latino kids I've taught get scholarships to Lick Wilmerding, get into Lowell, get into a good University. None of them have fought for revolution. Once they have money, they basically just sell out. It's a nice theory, but it hasn't happened in my teaching experience. That's why I'm sour on the idea of solving problems for one individual. Give these kids some money and they forget where they came from. It's sad. Some face abuse so brutal, it's impossible, but for others, it's possible, but then they sell out.

Anonymous said...

I think you've hit the nail right on the head. Success on test scores for many minorities is a mixed blessing. You benefit yourself but will likely end up selling out your people and alienating yourself from the people you love. It doesn't have to be the case, but often a good test score is a gateway to not caring about anyone but yourself and your family and rich white people, and that's just sad. We've had cases of individual success, many, but we haven't brought up oppressed groups as a whole, as a team.

AB said...

If I understand you correctly ethnic minority students should intentionally do poorly on tests and in life so that they do not sell 'their people' out until the 'magical revolution' occurs and redistributes all wealth and opportunity.

Switzerland just voted against capping executive pay by a fairly decisive 65%/35% margin. Clearly the Swiss people understand fundamental economic principles.

I could support the next iteration of SIG if there was some empirical evidence of benefit. I'm open to any number of metrics (math, english, science, body fat - anything tied to student improvement is open for consideration), but there has to be accountability for money spent.

The first (and other) responses have claimed that the money helped in 'non-measurable' ways. The evidence says otherwise. Everything can be measured - even feelings or sentiment. The District chose an academic metric but failed to show causal benefit tied to the expenditure. What metric would you propose?

I cross checked the data underlying Don's assertion (trust but verify) and came to the same conclusion. SFUSD is so hell bent on being right about their social engineering they are unwilling to admit one attempt did not work as hoped and move on to another. It is this lack of intelligent leadership that rankles me most as the allocation of resources used to try to close the achievement gap impacts all SFUSD students.

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

I don't have much time right now, but just quickly....


9:39 -- --I've written posts on many different subjects since I started this blog in August. You can look at the archive. I'm not focusing on any one issue, though I am outraged (in reference to your comment) that so much SIG money was spent for so little educational outcome for most schools. I think it is entirely appropriate and absolutely necessary to test students on knowledge of content delivered and to be proficient at reading, writing and math at a minimum. Sometimes I get the feeling that you are trying not to educate your students, though I hate to think that's true. You seem to spend a lot of energy making excuses for failure and berating success.

AB, I appreciate your comments on this blog, not because I tend to agree with them, but because you can make a point and stay on-topic. Brilliant! Not to say that's difficult, but apparently some people can't do it. I like the discussion to have maximum flexibility so that one issue isn't strictly confined given the overlap of many education issues. But I also want to keep moving the conversation forward while others try to move it backward, making the same points they already made. I appreciate that you don't.

Re: the topic post ...SFUSD has become so politicized that leaders hardly ever discuss achievement and when they do they try to spin it in their favor. This was one of the points of my post. I think the results speak for themselves. Unfortunately, I don't see any news venues picking up on this. Am I wrong to conclude that SIG was not the panacea that it was made out to be? As for it happening again, there's no chance that we will see another grant like that in our lifetime. The question now is will the successful schools show long term results or will the benefits be as ephemeral as the money was?

Someone else asked the age-old question about closing the achievement gap. For decades, the question has been asked in every state, district and classroom across the country and no one has arrived at a policy answer. I don't really appreciate the question because mediocrity could be an answer, bringing the top down is not the answer for a nation or for an individual. We need to promote excellence, not just flatten out achievement. I'd rather see a big disparity in achievement with very high and low achievers than everyone at a mediocre mean. Without a doubt getting the bottom up should be a priority, but SIG was based on the four NCLB turnaround models that teacher unions hated as failed reforms and they fought tooth and nail against them in Title 1 Program Improvement. Yet they wanted the grants with the same reforms because grants meant jobs and jobs come before education. So as long as teachers think that jobs are more important than education, the lowest performers will be fighting an uphill battle. High performers will do well (up to a point) through their own initiative regardless, but low performers are not as resilient.


By the way, Obama's $800B stimulus was the source of SIG and that was borrowed money. The real cost of the program just for SFUSD is closer to $70M.

As for the comment about the 1%- that's is your issue not mine. If you want to profess revolution do it somewhere else. This is an education blog. In any case, I harbor no antipathy towards the rich or any other group or class of people. I try not to look at people as members of groups. That's dehumanizing and prejudicial at its core. You view on this is like a bad cliché.

Don Krause said...

Also, if you want to check the API numbers the easiest way is to go to the schools section on SFUSD's home page and then select the school and look at the highlights for the API results.

Anonymous said...

Don, I know the union leadership and the school board. That's what you don't get. We don't care that the test scores didn't go up, which is why that fact has not been in the Chronicle, which is why if you write a letter to the editor, they won't print it, and which is why it will not be on any TV or radio station. None of us care. We don't think we can solve all the problems of the world by raising black and Latino kids to try to act like Chinese kids. We know a few will, but most won't, it's not natural, it's not really natural for anyone. We want a way for all children to know they will have a nice home, healthcare, food, love, arts, leisure and mental health with a 35-hour workweek like in France, and they won't have to work obsessively. We have new technology, and we're using it all to benefit the few who control it, not all of us.

We saw a chance to help give pleasure and support to disadvantaged people and we used the money as such. We used it to create jobs for minorities, give money to minority and women-owned small businesses, give children hope, someone to talk to. We never for a second cared one iota about your ridiculous and petty matrices.

I read you and your puppets' posts all the time. Obama says the same things. NO I SAY! I want kids to feel they can watch TV. An hour of homework is plenty, I don't want every kid doing 4 hours a day and a full weekend day of homework like Mr. Lowell! I don't think it's mentally healthy. I want kids to learn at school, enjoy their free time, watch TV, read a book for pleasure maybe, and get enough sleep. Teenagers need 10 hours of sleep and Lowell makes them feel guilty if they sleep 7. That's unhealthy. Obsessing over test scores mostly based on genetics is mentally unhealthy. And insulting to those who fail.

I want to have no tests, zero. I want to help people at their core. The board agrees with me.

Look at the SFUSD board meetings coming up, look at their agendas. Are any discussing why the SIG money didn't raise test scores? Are any discussing how to get Latinos and Blacks to shrug off racist abuse and act like Asians? Are any even focused on improving test scores? API Scores? Has Dennis Kelly ever made a speech about how to improve reading, writing and math according to a white culture? Dennis Kelly controls every board member, the one disagreement was for show, they all love him like a brother. Like a father. Dennis Kelly rejected that way of thinking. His kids could have gone to Lowell and said hell no, I don't want to be judged like a prize pig, I'll go to Washington.

He taught at Lowell and hated it, he hated people like you and your friends, he hated the whole test score obsession! He hates test scores.

You rail on about this. Nobody else cares! That's why you're never at a board meeting, I've never seen you, because no one ever talks about this crap! No one cares! We all agree the revolution is the way to go. We work towards it every day! Testing well is selling out, and you want to see high test scores as a guarantee enough people will sell out to prevent the revolution and keep you in the power elite forever!

Anonymous said...

You only get one chance to be a kid. You people want to take it away! You want to totally mind control everyone! You want every child as obsessed with their grades and test scores as every adult is with evictions and foreclosures and repossessions and being fired. You want everyone terrified at all times so you can control them like before the New Deal, like in '1984' by Orwell! Maybe we should also tell babies they can't eat if they don't recite their ABCs and tell old people if they don't walk a couple miles a day and volunteer to pick up garbage and tutor grandchildren to ace these tests that we will kill them off before their time, once they are no longer "useful". Maybe women should be killed if they don't produce enough children for the fatherland. Unless they're deemed unfit and sent to prison. You want a society of constant stress where life is nasty, solitary, brutish and short! In short, you want a fascist world! I and all of us who control the SFUSD Superintendent and Board of Education say phooey on that! Phooey on all of you people! None of you has any control over this. That's not just my opinion, that's a fact, that is why you are losing this fight and mad, because it is a fact that phooey on you.

Anonymous said...

It was Reagan who let the loonies out of their padded cells back in the 80's. Close the barn door!

Anonymous said...

This is a woman, ladies and gentlemen, who has absolute sacrosanct protection against ever being fired. No test score average or attendence record, no review by parents or principals (who give 99%+ satisfactory every year), no discipline from the union, no complaints by students who want to get ahead (the audacious sellouts!), nothing of the sort can ever deprive this woman of her right to teach 30+ children every year who will support us in our old age. According to the union, nothing is more sacred than guaranteeing this woman a job for life!

She is right, no one is writing articles about how effective the money was. No one is bringing it up at school board meetings. The Chronicle isn't addressing it. Jill Tucker hasn't made any deal of it.

This is what we need to work to reform. I even agree with her on some points about the abuse of the 1% (I'm not a communist but pretty much everyone in academia felt CEOs were making too much in the '90s and instead of responding with reform they've actually made it way worse since then, so yes, they did take it WAY too far to the point where I can't respect them when they say stay out of our business anymore, I won't fall for that anymore personally, you can fall for it and hope for slow change if you want), but honestly, any kid who improves their test scores will drastically improve their life. And her theories about those who fail at tests causing a revolution, come on, security guards and busboys are no more revolutionary than lawyers and politicians, we're all in a rut in terms of laws and systems. I think we need drastic educational reform. The board's job is to give a good education to children. It will improve their lives.

I think it's insane no one ever talks about study habits but it shows how politically correct we are as a City. One group dominates and we can't talk about it. It really is simple in a sense, any family that followed that model can have kids in great jobs in a few years. It's no more complex. That would solve it more than firing nutcases like CommieLady! Dennis Kelly hates tests because it would lead to some teachers being fired, the horror!

Anonymous said...

I read an article that said Ken Tray teaches at Lowell.

Anonymous said...

Ken Tray teaches at and hates Lowell and all it stands for. He has vociferously argued for making it another district school. He hates test scores and celebrates every year SFUSD does not fire a single teacher, and there have been quite a few. He has to teach somewhere to make a living, but he is not popular at Lowell among the other teachers, never shows up to a back to school or 8th Grader Night Event, never brags about it, just like I teach some kids who are annoyingly optimistic and see no oppression in the world and only care about themselves, Ken Tray teaches a lot. However, there are a lot of kids at Lowell who support the coming revolution. and a lot of teachers. Ken Tray teaches Lowell kids the truth about the world even if it makes him unpopular and some of them don't want to hear it and just want to be chearled into the bourgeoise.

Anonymous said...

That's dumb. Tray can transfer to another school if he wants. It's not like that's his only choice. I don't know him and I don't know you, but I'll say this''''in all likelihood he teaches AP civics and history classes at Lowell to avoid teaching remedial classes to dumb kids.

Anonymous said...

Ken Tray hates competitiveness and believes 100% that all pay, promotions, transfers and lay offs should be based entirely on seniority. He believes no references should be checked. He believes that no teachers should ever be fired. He said he celebrates with friends every year not a single teacher is fired. It's almost every other year.

Anonymous said...

God forbid SFUSD should check a reference to assure our children are in good hands! No, we can't have that!

Don Krause said...

I suggest that thinking people ignore the blowhards. Sometimes it's hard to let stand some of the ridiculous things said on this blog. But why bother responding to all the noise? I could delete it, but I want to allow the full range of ideas, even the far out ones. However, sometimes I do delete comments that are beyond the pale of acceptable behavior or rational thought. I only wish I didn't have to deal with this at all, but I guess that's part and parcel of blogging, especially when I don't turn off anonymous commentary.

Regarding anonymity, I assigned Noteacher that name, but I think it is time to withdraw it after some thought. After all, we all do believe she is employed as a teacher whether or not we think she actually teaches anything worth learning.

Because it is useful to be able to identify comments with individuals, I decided to rename her Phooey. It has a certain charm and less antipathy compared to the name Noteacher. I credit her with the inspiration.

But she did raise a good subject among the usual trifles. She said, more or less, that no one cares about the failure of the SIG. That is not true. I care and I know some of you care. And let's remember it also had its successes. But the reason why so little is heard on this issue is lack of interest in school issues in San Francisco. It doesn't sell papers because public school families are a small group. School issues are only occasionally reported on at all and because the media is part of the far left. I spoke with Jill Tucker many times about this issue. She claims to be impartial, but I don't think so. If she had even an iota of investigative journalism left in her, she would report on it. But don't hold your breath. If the SF Chronicle readership felt that the paper was not pro-left enough it would lose subscriptions. And that drives coverage.




Anonymous said...

Jill Tucker supports the revolution. She doesn't believe in what you believe in. She is more worried about kids being shot than getting a 93 or an 88 on a math test they'll never use or vocabulary test they'd be laughed at for using by their friends and family. She feels poverty is the problem, not tenure or unions or seniority. She doesn't like the Tiger Parent thing either.

Even if you're right about the Chronicle, the school board considers nothing but school issues. Why aren't they holding hearings on the effectiveness of the money after the fact? They had meetings before, boasting about how wonderful it would be. They knew the truth deep down, that money alone can't solve centuries of oppression and years of abuse. The school board is not holding any meetings on this subject nor will any media report on it.

No one who matters cares. No one with any power cares. I don't even care and I have no power.

Phooey.

Anonymous said...

You sure do claim to speak for a whole bunch of people. Are you all linked on the same brainwave? You probably drool over pictures of Dennis Kelly.


Anonymous said...

I really do not care how well other students do on tests, but I do care about the environment my child is in at school. If kids are not in school to learn perhaps they should not be in school so kids who want to learn can do so without all the disruptions.

However, I do care whether other students will be able to support themselves as adults and (hopefully) make a positive contribution to society.

Other than a few athletes and entertainers (who are effectively 1%ers) i do not know of many academic failures who have gone on to productive lives.

Just sayin'.

Don Krause said...

Ha! Except for Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Elton John, Princess Diana, etc.

But that's true and there are always the outliers - listed here for our amusement. Some people come into their own later. Some had LDs and lost interest or hope. Others lacked the tools or support. Others had no support at all. Kids need our help, love, understanding and that means a lot more than just pushing them forward like driving horses. It seems that the model for education has become the model for modern sports - winning is the only success. I reject that model wholeheartedly. Education is its own reward whether you become rich and famous or just an ordinary Joe and it has to be self-motivated to be lasting. I see from my own children the need to be far more understanding of them as people than as students. Developing a lifelong love of learning is not accomplished by testing them to jump the highest hurdles.

This obsession with testing and grades and competition is out of control. But in no way does that mean students shouldn't work hard and apply themselves or that testing their knowledge is not a part of the picture. But I want them to do much more than what happens between 9 and 3 at school and I'm not talking about 5 hours of homework. If you treat kids like assembly line workers, clocking in, doing as much overtime as possible and clocking out, don't expect them to grow up to be inspired. It's no different than people who work and have no life at all outside of that job.

Anonymous said...

Don you are starting to sound like Phooey. Super liberal and anti testing. When you want to fight to be the best, obsessive intense work is bound to happen.

Don Krause said...

I'm nothing like Phooey which doesn't mean I don't think the overreliance on high stakes testing isn't true. And by the way, the whole testing regimen is being changed to reflect a more holistic approach.

Adults and children are not the same.

Anonymous said...

It's not holistic. It doesn't take into account volunteering or playing a sport or starting a club or writing an essay or joining a club or playing an instrument. It's academic, it's just probably fairer and more accurate and more thorough, but still academic. Holistic would take into account happiness and other factors. It's far from that. I favor the new approach but think missing a year was a botch job!

Don Krause said...

You can argue over the definition of holistic but Common Core is widely described as a more holistic approach with less drill and kill and more critical thinking. But we are talking about testing in core subjects, not how much time is spent doing community service, etc.

When you say that I sound like Phooney, let me say this ... I really find the guilt by association mentality anti-intellectual. We may agree that there is too much reliance on testing, but that doesn't in any way mean that I believe what Phooey believes, which is in no testing at all. Your inability to see any middle ground indicates that you need to step back and take a closer look at your own critical thinking and analytical capabilities - the very goals to which Common Core subscribes.

Happy Thanksgiving

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I agree, it will probably be harder to cheat on these tests and they will inspire more critical thinking, so in that sense it is more intellectually holistic. You make good points. These should be a more accurate judgement of a student and a teacher. The Atlanta scandal would be less likely with common core, not impossible but less likely. I like the idea of making a test more accurate. I worry about including other factors in the API score. I am not sure, but I fear it being something like the automatic 600 points everyone gets on the SAT without doing a thing, or the 99.5% of teachers who get rated as satisfactory. What if there's a factor for clean facilities and 99% get a 10 on that? This will make the API scores less different and less meaningful. I understand, Phooey believes in seniority and tenure being sacrosanct, you want to change that. I agree with you, not Phooey.

Anonymous said...

You're only testing how privileged and rich a child is according to most experts. I guess you can overcome it if you sell out and spend all summer memorizing definitions. Is that what we want our children doing? Phooey.

Don Krause said...

Sure, the wealthy do better statistically on tests. But it isn't because they are wealthy in and of itself. When it comes to learning there's no replacement or substitute for personal effort. It's because the rich typically have more learning opportunities with strong cultural pressure to achieve AND, necessarily, they take advantage of those opportunities - not simply achieve because the opportunities exist. Plenty of wealthy kids are failures in school. More opportunity doesn't equate with success, but there is more likelihood of it. No doubt the disadvantaged have far less likelihood to do better for many obvious reasons.

The SIG grant represented a singular opportunity to come from behind, and for a number of reasons not discussed here in depth it didn't pan out as some schools. Phooey would like us to believe, and apparently she teaches her students to believe, it is because the study of math, science, English and history is the false wisdom of the 1%. It doesn't matter that the vast majority of societies study much the same core knowledge tailored in part to their own regions. The fact that the USA is a multicultural society like no other does make the cultural component more complicated than most, but it is also more important to create a unifying vision to bind us together as a nation and as a people.

Now----Phooey wants more professional development so teachers can learn to be a better at how and what they teach and God knows she needs that help, but at the same time she rejects the idea that some students need to be better with their part in the social contract of public education because, ostensibly, they are victims of history and should not try to emulate the oppressor - a kind of boogeyman in her fantasy. She's all about giving excuses for failure, not providing the opportunity to overcome them. For lack of providing any meaningful education to her students, instead she espouses revolution - the final solution for envy. What a mentally lazy attitude. What a disservice to the future of her students. We should do everything possible to get the lazy out of education.

Instead of trying to get low performers to do better, she says the success of the so-called 1% is a corruption to be avoided. (She would have been a true loyalist in the Bolshevik revolution.) In other words, she helps her students to fail, supposedly so they don't sell out like the rich, but in reality to keep the poor downtrodden so she and her kind can continue to espouse revolution. Never in the history of the world has any country provided more opportunity for anyone to go from poverty to wealth, but we don't give everyone a job for life so that's not good enough. Make no mistake about it - she is a hard core socialist in the authoritarian mold. Someone like her has no business being a teacher and yet, here she is - maybe even teaching your children.

Ultimately, everyone, including the children of the wealthy, have to be individually responsible to learn. No one can do it for them. The fact that some students face more obstacles is a fact of life and that's why society puts more money into educating those children. How much more and under what circumstances was the topic of this post. Phooey has no problem throwing any and all money towards it because it is all a jobs program to her. She can't see anything more than the idea that the poor need help. Who, what, when, where, and how make no difference to her. Because I did ask those question she equates that inquiry with the idea that I don't want to help the disadvantaged. That is the socialist mindset. Do not question. Accept all governmental intervention and never express your individual opinion or, as she likes to say, YOU WILL RUE THE DAY! Phooey, do you have any idea how ridiculous you are? Yes, I know, I will rue the day I said that.

Don Krause said...


Regarding another comment and the API, it will not be back until supposedly 2016. By most accounts The Smarter Balanced MAPP tests will only account for about 60% of the API whereas it was 100%, weighted. What other parameters will be included is still undecided, but they could include many more holistic aspects of education from college readiness, to attendance to community service.

Anonymous said...

You rotten anti-teacher people will get your just desserts!!!!!

Anonymous said...

12:21, do you feel it was liberal or justified for 13% of SFUSD teachers to call in sick this past Tuesday before Thanksgiving?

Anonymous said...

Huh? what's liberal about calling in sick? No comprende, senior.

Anonymous said...

I read the first comment after coming across this blog on a google search.

The person said, " What you don't realize is that money gave them support that is not measurable on tests designed by white people and Asian big-business technocrats on math and "English".

What the hell? Censor this poisonous racist crap, moderator! Good post, bad follow-through.

Don Krause said...

I'm the moderator, but I don't do much moderating. I have on occasions removed a comment, but not very often. People are responsible for themselves. I could change my mind if comments get out of control, but if I tried to remove every crackpot comment, well.....

Anonymous said...

The union will argue that bonuses for not calling in sick or restrictions on it or requirements you actually be sick, or limiting personal days, is conservative, and they are liberal to defend it. I think they are hypocrites. It is not liberal to lie about being sick and have 13% not show up for work on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It hurts children. You should get no personal days without proving you need them. You have 70-80 days off most of us don't have. All Summer, about 55 days, 10 for Winter Break, 5 for Spring break and about 5 more. With that schedule, you should take doctor and sick days on your days off. If you're really sick, bring a doctor's note but 10 personal days, that's insane! The union is for that and the previous poster said we are anti-teacher. It's idiotic to just say you can't criticize it when teachers as a group do something horrendous which hurts children, and you are obliged to agree to everything they do or be anti-teacher.

It was in response to 12:21 stating: "You rotten anti-teacher people will get your just desserts!!!!!"

Don Krause said...

I agree with you in the main, but you seem to be implying that it is conservative to lie. Honesty and integrity is about character not about one's political persuasion.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I just mean to say that as a liberal, I feel ashamed of my persuasion and party when people defend, as liberal, 13% of teachers calling in sick on one day. Instead of raises they should give bonuses for attendence to cut down on the absenteeism and reduce the cost, and harm to children, of subs. Some people will act highly indignant at all criticism of teachers and attack anyone who says anything but all teachers are great as anti-teacher, and then look the other way when teachers do something clearly and blatantly immoral like take a day off they don't need for personal reasons and are not sick for, but just because they want a day off. You want society to give you more money as people are rich, but compared to some of these kids, you are rich, you have advantage. When you are willing to hurt them for a day off you don't need and lie about being sick, you are making your cause less worthy.

Anonymous said...

You're a liberal. Take a mental health day. You deserve and need it more than I do. I called in Tuesday. Would you fire me or deprive me of a much needed pay raise for taking a day Off? Do you know how much it would cost in real dollars if every teacher needed a doctor's note to stay home from work? Plenty.

Anonymous said...

7:41, mental health days are an excuse for an immoral act. You probably feel you need just as many as are in your contract, am I right? Maybe needing a note would be excessive, but you're advising me to take a mental health day and implying something is wrong with me for calling people out on their dishonesty. If 13% call in sick, and 2% of Americans are sick on an average day, 11% are lying.

In my opinion, you should only take a day off if there is no other option, if you are actually sick. You get 70 days off the rest of us don't. Summer, winter, Spring, vague holidays companies don't honor. Is it too much to ask that you consider those your days off and come to work 180 days a year considering most of us come in 250 days a year?

I think we should have private detectives take pictures of people like they do people on disability. If they are caught at a cafe, playing sports, shopping, etc. on a day they are hurting children by sticking them with a sub so they can take a day off, then yes, this should be a firing offense. In fact, they should go to prison for fraud and be sued for fraud.

It is not moral under any world system of morality to lie and take a day off when innocent children are counting on you.

Your sarcasm does not hide that you committed an immoral action which hurt children.

When you talk about real dollars, what do you mean? The time it would take to go to the doctor's? The fee for seeing a doctor? Or the fact that it would force you to actually work unless you were sick and you couldn't work a second job like Phooey in commission sales? What are you referring to?

Are you concerned solely with the real dollar cost to teachers, or are you also at least somewhat concerned about the educational cost to children of many teachers taking a day off they don't actually need?

Yes, I think this abuse is so blatant, they should delay the raise a year and decide next year's only if lower absenteeism goals are met. 13% should never happen, not even once.

That's why I couldn't understand the union being so obsessed with eliminating the furlough days. If there are days everyone is mentally not focused and half assing it, then just take that day off and we don't pay for it. Even when they cut the 180 to 174, the last day they weren't focused, they were just going through the motions. Cut out that day, and only have days when over 98%, the national average, show up, and work hard, and the kids are learning. If there are days where many are sick, skip those, but you don't get the pay for those days.

Taking pay for a day you aren't really sick is the moral equivalent of stealing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you some and I disagree some, but I think most all of us would agree that calling in sick when you are not sick is morally reprehensible, particularly all teaming up and doing it on the same day. Good teachers care more about their students than themselves getting a day off.

Anonymous said...

Look, most of us can't survive on the base pay we get, so we have to take on extra jobs. Most commission only sales jobs, think credit card processing services, real estate, insurance, are done by teachers in their days off, which we must maximize to compete with every other teacher who is doing the same. It's hard to make enough commissions working 180 days out of the 250 a full time salesman will make, so we get the 70 days, minus a vacation, work a few hours each evening, and take off the maximum allowable under our contract to keep our jobs and afford this expensive City. Not all of us have trust funds. The extra 15 days a year are crucial to my survival. I've never worked more than 165 days in a year as a teacher. That's what the substitute budget is for and this creates jobs as well for subs. Phooey.

Anonymous said...

You're a liar.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Lying is always wrong. Anyone who calls in sick when they're not or takes a personal day they don't really need time off for is a liar and an immoral person. Phooey, you are making extra money on the backs of your students which, if you are to be believed, are poor.

Anonymous said...

Ya, she's all sorry for them, but when it comes to putting in her basic hours, she won't do even that. She should feel sorry for them with a teacher like herself in charge. Firing her is not enough. She should be compelled to do community service for every students she abused.

Don Krause said...

It isn't immoral, but it is bad behavior to take the blog WAY OFF TOPIC after being asked not to do so. If you want to be so high and mighty about behavior and good character, then show some yourself. How hard is it?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what else to say about the SIG scores. I think we all agree it wasn't money well spent and didn't do much good. I tried to agree with you but now you started questioning whether testing was valid and someone said we were rotten anti-teacher people and we'll get out just desserts. So I asked if they felt the 13% absenteeism was justifiable. I feel it is not and is a sign of a lack of full effort being made by SFUSD teachers and other employees, and that lack of dedication may go part way towards explaining how we spent a significant amount of money with very insignificant results.

I don't know what else I can say about the SIG funds. I just wouldn't post anything if that were the case.

Don Krause said...

SIG was an ill-conceived idea in the first place. Education is a long term proposition and it needs a long term structural solution that includes more money system-wide coupled with a longer school day, shorter summers, smaller class sizes, community schools with integrated wrap around services and, most importantly of all, teacher employment reform so we can be rid of people like Phooey who, as she stated on this thread, doesn't see the point of people of color going to college. And she has the gall to call others racists!

SIG as real reform was too short-lived and poorly managed. It wasn't real reform because it was unsustainable and provided no systemic change once the money ran out.

1:19, I understand that you have your specific issues you like to talk about and the achievement gap is the main one. SIG was the most concerted intervention to address the achievement gap even if it was not a workable solution since it requires funding that is unavailable. But what I believe to be the main problem with SIG is the fact that it didn't provide help to the majority of low performing students and only focused on a few at certain schools. This was blatantly inequitable at its core. It was done so that districts could say they have made progress. But what kind of progress is it when the majority of needy students get none of the opportunity at all?

1:19 Your first comment on this thread was to say that the SFUSD budget is harshly limited by Serrano. That's not true. What limits the budget is the low spending on education in California in general. You keep referring to cities that spend more, but it is only in a few instances and in very particular communities where the tax base is huge relative to the population and needs. It is true that those loopholes should be closed, but you want to open them more. Anyway, You have your facts wrong about San Diego and others. Actually, SFUSD spends far more on education than most other cities. And you keep referring to revenue limits when they are now defunct.



Anonymous said...

I agree about SIG. The fact is, San Francisco has a lot of discretionary money most Cities don't, 10k per resident, and finds a lot of weird things to spend the money on. It would be better off just cutting taxes than spending it on most of what it does spend it on. Some of it is ridiculous.

Don Krause said...

"San Francisco has a lot of discretionary money"

That is a wildly generalized statement that has no meaning as it relates to education funding. The real problem with providing more local funding to schools is that it is not equitable. Rich communities will spend more and poor communities and their students will get less. Serrano was intended to solve that. But some avenues for increased funding remained open like excess property tax districts and parcel taxes. And parcel taxes require a 2/3 majority which has always been a problem for most areas, not all. Categorical expenditures skyrocketed after Serrano because districts realized that equal wasn't so good when student needs weren't equal between them.

San Francisco may spend a lot of money on programs that you don't agree with and may waste a lot of it, but municipalities fund schools through property taxes controlled and administered by the State under LCFF.

You don't really grasp how schools are funded which is why you keep talking about the now defunct excess tax districts and how SF is so rich and deserves more. Go tell the Supervisors they should cut out the City's social programs and give that money to the schools. In your mind it doesn't matter that schools are a separate branch of government and get their money elsewhere. According to you, SFGOV should become a school funding agency with no representation on the BOE and focus on education because you say so.

You've got to stop it with all this nonsense. It's really childish.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they should get representation on the school board? I like the school board being elected separately. I don't think that should be a requirement for more money. San Jose and San Diego both put more money into the school budget without demanding a spot on the board or some other nonstarter. I agree, most cities just spend the mandated minimum, but we should be better than that.

Anonymous said...

It's taxation without representation. If you want the City to add money from it's general fund the Mayor should be able to appoint 3-5 board members to make sure the City is represented fairly and the money is not being mis-spent. The City is legally responsible for that money.

Don Krause said...

Hi 6:09,

Thank you. I'm not sure why 2:03 doesn't get it, but he's been saying the same thing now for years - that the City of San Francisco should fund SFUSD. He basically doesn't understand how schools are funded. And he's totally wrong about San Diego and San Jose. Municipalities appropriate money through taxation to run their governments, not to fund the schools which are separate governments. It isn't much different than saying Nevada should give California money. I agree with him that schools need more money and under LCFF they are getting more. SFUSD will be a winner relatively speaking under the new formula because of the concentration grants and almost districts are getting a larger basic grant.


2:09 idea is that schools are poorly funded so municipalities should make up the difference. All that's saying is, in essence, that we should go back to the times before Serrano when richer areas had rich schools and poorer areas poor schools. That's not to say that the inequities were entirely resolved by Serrano, but they had to make the system comply with the State Constitution.

Here's LCFF in a nutshell:

The 2013–14 budget package replaces the previous K–12 finance system with a new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). For school districts and charter schools, the LCFF creates base, supplemental, and concentration grants in place of most previously existing K–12 funding streams, including revenue limits and most state categorical programs. For county offices of education (COEs), the LCFF creates separate funding streams for oversight activities and instructional programs.

The 2013–14 Budget Act provides $2.1 billion for school districts and charter schools and $32 million for COEs to support the first-year implementation of the LCFF. Until full implementation, however, local educational agencies (LEAs) will receive roughly the same amount of funding they received in 2012–13 plus an additional amount each year to bridge the gap between current funding levels and the new LCFF target levels. The budget projects the time frame for full implementation of the LCFF to be eight years.

The LCFF includes the following components for school districts and charter schools:
Provides a base grant for each LEA equivalent to $7,643 per average daily attendance (ADA). The actual base grants would vary based on grade span.
Provides an adjustment of 10.4 percent on the base grant amount for kindergarten through grade three (K–3). As a condition of receiving these funds, the LEA shall progress toward an average class enrollment of no more than 24 pupils in kindergarten through grade three, unless the LEA has collectively bargained an annual alternative average class enrollment in those grades for each school site.
Provides an adjustment of 2.6 percent on the base grant amount for grades nine through twelve.
Provides a supplemental grant equal to 20 percent of the adjusted base grant for targeted disadvantaged students. Targeted students are those classified as English learners (EL), eligible to receive a free or reduced-price meal (FRPM), foster youth, or any combination of these factors (unduplicated count).
Provides a concentration grant equal to 50 percent of the adjusted base grant for targeted students exceeding 55 percent of an LEA’s enrollment.
Provides for additional funding based on an “economic recovery target” to ensure that virtually all districts are at least restored to their 2007–08 state funding levels (adjusted for inflation) and also guarantees a minimum amount of state aid to LEAs.

Don Krause said...


San Jose Unified’s General Fund is funded as follows:
1. The Revenue Limit, which is a combination of local property taxes and state support, provides about 62% of the District’s General Fund revenue.
2. The state government funds a further 35% of revenue for Class Size Reduction, Mandated Cost Reimbursements, Transportation services, and various targeted state grants. The state lottery is included in this amount. The lottery provides less than 2% of all General Fund revenue.
3. The federal government provides about 8% of funding, primarily for No Child Left Behind and Special Education.
4. Other local payments comprise about 5% of the total, including grants and donations from foundations, businesses and individuals and school fundraising activities

Anonymous said...

OK, but San Francisco gets over 50% more tax revenue per person and has fewer children in public schools. On what statistical basis do they get more money per public school student? Under the new formula, how much more per pupil will SF get? Will it be distributed or there be a per school minimum, or will most funds be diverted from popular schools to Superintendent Zone schools? Will the money go to salary increases across the board, or to other initiatives?

Don Krause said...

You are 40 years behind. It doesn't matter what the tax revenue is per resident. That was the whole point of Serrano and the resultant legislation. Schools became state funded to create equity (sort of).

I can't answer the other questions in terms of dollar amounts. But urban districts are big winners because they will be getting more of the supplemental and concentration grant money. Of course all this is happening gradually over 8 years, I think. As for the other questions, the state leaves it to the LEAs to distribute funding to school sites. There are accountability requirements that the money goes to its intended purpose, but the specifics won't be available until March. In any case, SFUSD will have much more discretion and your concern about schools getting funded appropriately is valid. Right now, of course, there's the Weighted Student Formula. Hopefully, they will use the extra cash via that formula. If not, they would be withholding the money in order to allocate under some separate agenda, like the Superintendent Zones. The problem with that is too many needy student at non SZ schools don't get the assistance they need. Since the basic grant is going up, hopefully at least that portion will be part of the WSF.
But this is a really big issue because a school district with a radical agenda now has more discretion than before when so much funding was restricted.

Anonymous said...

The teacher's union is pushing for 30% over 5 years, across the board, not tied to merit, not tied to attendence (13% absent the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 7% daily average absence), not tied to test scores, just across the board. I am deeply offended by the idea that this historical windfall will be spent in a way which makes no difference on the achievement gap, teacher quality, test scores or the quality of education we provide children. I think with the 13% scandal, any raise should wait an additional year, contingent on the number being lower next year.

Don Krause said...

There is no cash windfall. At present this is just a redistribution of dollars. There is supposed to be a gradual increase over 7-8 years before full implementation, but right now they are hoping to restore the 2007 levels of funding. However, districts like SFUSD with high needs students populations over 55% will likely see increases, depending upon how much over 55%. Districts like Fresno with 92% high needs get huge increases.

There was a compromise drawn before the bill was enacted to lower the supplemental and increase the base grant in a nod to the suburban districts which would have sustained large losses without it. Even as written the State will have to provide additional money, what they call economic recovery payments, to some suburban districts so they won't go below 2007 levels.

Many critics of LCFF say that the huge concentration grant goes to many illegal aliens. There's truth to that, but these are children who are going to remain here and we need to educate them, regardless. The problem is that we don't have sufficient money to educate citizens and now we are spending more on non-citizens.

The other main problem with LCFF is that it doesn't require that districts spend the money where it's needed. It shifts decision-making to boards so they have become much more powerful. With a board like the one we have you can be sure that the Superintendent Zones will get fully funded and that other students will get the shaft. Make no mistake about it, this is the largest single issue facing SFUSD and its public over the next few years. I expect to see much of the additional money allocating directly by the district rather than by the schools sites. It isn't good. I will have to write a post about LCFF and SFUSD.

Please see next comment below.


Don Krause said...

Getting to know the Local Control Funding Formula

by Richard A. Carranza


You have probably heard about the new state funding plan, called the Local Control Funding Formula, coming to public schools. There will be many important conversations over the next several months about school and district budgets. These conversations are most productive when we start with some shared understanding, so here are a few facts to get started.

Not a cash windfall

This isn’t exactly a windfall. In the first few years, state funds will help restore our funding to 2007 levels. While we’re grateful, what we really need is a whole new level of funding that matches that of other big states such as New York or New Jersey — these states allocate almost double the amount per student when compared to California. The fact that California will begin allocating funds it withheld from schools during the recession is good. But it is coming in small drips over the next few years, and it goes away if the economy slows down again.

More funding to serve needier students


With the new LCFF, we will start to receive more funds than some other school districts because the San Francisco Unified School District has a high percentage of low-income and English-learning students. As pioneers in site-based budgeting and using what is called a weighted student funding formula, allocating more to serve English learners and low-income students isn’t new to the SFUSD. But with the LCFF, we hope to continue to designate more resources for services and programs that serve our highest-need students.

Don Krause said...

I suggest you read this article:

http://edsource.org/today/2013/its-a-deal-brown-top-lawmakers-raise-base-funding-in-finance-formula/33350#.UqCsvel3syV

Anonymous said...

That's interesting because I worked at Chavez for a full year in a long-term temporary teaching position and the director of the school maybe walked into my classroom one time, and seemed to have little concern what was going on except by what was heard by rumor. The coaches they hired under those grants, well one decided his job was to run the state testing program and stopped coaching me at all. I happen to know Chavez was doing some great things though with literacy under the literacy coaches and specialists they hire though, and reading levels were rising as a result of that training that I received at Chavez. You may not see that looking at test scores, but we see it with their reading level and reading comprehension tests (F & P level). Specialists were working directly with students and I was also doing guided reading with students daily in the classroom. They focused on literacy but Math is a disaster at that school. I had a overall bad experience working there (I was there as the teacher was on maternity leave), and the school was very unorganized. I was treated rudely, and the directors never trained me about the school, at all.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of weird stuff on this blog. If you ever worked as a teacher, you would know why they take more sick days. I've worked in maybe 15 didn't types of jobs, and teaching is the hardest job I've ever had. More is demanded of teachers than you could possibly imagine. They are also exposed to more germs, so you have no proof when they are sick or not. It's extremely stressful, and people are only people and have their limitations.