Friday, December 3, 2010

Where a California Teacher Gets Schooled

There's no sport in debating most K-14 California teachers because it's just too easy. Sigh.

California Teacher 1: Interesting perspective however, why is the average salary of a CA teacher below that of a secretary of a private sector company. Why do education administrators who have less than 4 years of classroom experience earn 3 times that amount and fail to make good decisions about classroom teaching and materials? 80% of a school budget does not go to teachers. Mainstreaming in education has pulled funds in so many directions. The other factor people fail to see is that somehow we began printing materials and textbooks and interpreters for students who do not speak English and creating a system that allows children starting school in kindergarten to reach 8th grade without mastering reading, writing and speaking in English even though they have been in the U.S. for 14 years or more? The printing costs alone could change the funds for education! Why do teachers have to ask parents to donate facial tissue, loose leaf paper, pencils, copy paper, markers, crayons, color pencils, funds for class set of literature, and other supplies in nearly 50% of public schools nationwide? It is not true that half of the General Fund does not make it to education and if it were true, then we are not collecting enough taxes for anything (including education K-12 and beyond). Prop 13 killed funding for education a long time ago. It has been a steady decline of funding for public education and even the Lottery monies never really get to education as they were intended to do when we sold the idea of legalizing gambling.

Teacher 2:
I believe, from conversations I have had with [NAME], that she is basing her facts on both her own experience in the private sector and her experience in education.....

let's take what [California Teacher] said and break it down logically.

1. She said, the average salary of a CA teacher is less than [an average] private sector secretary. FALSE.

According to the teachers' own union, the average CA teacher makes over $64,000, and receives additional compensation in the form of pensions (usually after just five years) and full medical benefits.

Please cite reliable stats showing that the average secretary in the private sector makes over $64K and is eligible for a pension and full medical benefits. You won't find any such statistics because her statement is incorrect.

2. She said that canceling printing costs for ESL students would substantially increase funds for education. Really? With $40+ billion annually spent on CA K-14 education, it is highly unlikely that ESL "printing costs" are a major problem. Common sense says that textbooks and other materials are bought once and used for many years. I'd love to see total expenditures each year on ESL printing costs. My hunch is that [California Teacher] was scapegoating American citizens who speak ESL in an attempt to shift direction from the fact that 80 to 85% of CA K-14 education funding goes into the pockets of district employees.

3. She said, "Half of the General Fund does not make it to education." FALSE, unless you want to quibble over 48% vs. 50%. Total funding for K-12 education was projected to be an astounding $68.5 billion in 2008-09 (it appears that the teachers' unions were forced to make some concessions, lowering spending projections). In CA Fiscal Year 2008, about 48% of the General Fund went to California elementary, secondary, and higher education.

Again, people are entitled to their opinions, but not their facts. Isn't it sad how so many teachers don't know how to make a logical, fact-based argument?

Bonus: more here from Bill Baker, Editor and Publisher, The San Bruno Beacon.

Bonus II: Governor Christie also shows us how it's done. More here.

Update in April 2017: to sum her up, "You're bitter but well-read... go teach college." I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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