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    In 2010, when San Diego Unified was in the throes of a budget crisis and staring down a round of layoffs, school board trustee Richard Barrera told U-T San Diego, “Pink-slipping disproportionately affects poorer schools – absolutely.”

    Now, that argument is the basis of Vergara v. California, a case that could blow up deeply rooted protections for California teachers. Barrera, who is now the leader of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council, which includes the teachers union, changed his tune when he testified in the case.

    Teachers see the policies that force the youngest teachers to bear the brunt of layoffs as the fairest possible, he argued. Replacing it with a system that requires administrators to make value judgments would erode trust as teachers vied for their spots, he said.

    Along with attorneys from the state and the California Teachers Association, Barrera pointed to San Diego Unified as proof that a district can succeed because of the current policies – not in spite of it.

    The case is the product of Students Matter, a group founded by Silicon Valley business mogul David F. Welch, a group of California students and a heavyweight cast of attorneys. They initiated the suit and claim the teacher protections violate students’ constitutional rights to equal access to quality education.

    California law makes it nearly impossible to dismiss a bad teacher once he or she has received tenure, they argue, and last-hired-first-fired layoff policies disproportionately impact schools in high-poverty areas because they’re more likely to have less experienced teachers. Layoffs at these schools, then, create more turnover and worsen the experience for students.


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    But Barrera said that because San Diego Unified has had a good relationship with its teachers union, it’s been able to avoid mass layoffs in the first place.

    In the grip of the budget crises, about 1,100 teachers were issued pink-slips in 2011, and all but 200 of those were rescinded, he said. And when 1,500 teachers were laid off in 2012, everyone was invited back.

    Josh Lipshutz, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told VOSD he found this part of Barrera’s testimony bizarre. “Look, nobody wants layoffs. But layoffs are reality,” Lipshutz said.

    “We’re not arguing that teachers should be laid off.  But in speaking with administrators we heard over and over that everybody knows who the worst teachers are. All we’re saying is that in a layoff environment, why would you not want to include those teachers?” he said.

    And avoiding layoffs in dark budget times also comes at a very real cost.

    At this week’s school board meeting, trustee and fiscal wonk Scott Barnett castigated the rest of the school board for promising teachers pay raises that it couldn’t afford and selling off real estate to make up the difference.

    Even though the district got money from Prop. 30, a voter-approved statewide measure meant to stave off drastic cuts to schools, San Diego Unified is facing a $100 million budget shortfall.

    “Guess what? The proposed hole is bigger next year than this year because of this board’s inability to have any semblance of control,” Barnett said.

    Holding Up San Diego as a Model

    Barrera said that the idea that layoffs disproportionately impact poor schools doesn’t capture reality.

    He said Central Elementary in City Heights, the school that Superintendent Cindy Marten once ran, is a good example of how a school can create a culture where teachers want to stick around.

    Barrera said a school like Central is possible because teachers share strategies for what works in the classroom. In other words, if a district were to try to measure which teachers were better, teachers might be afraid to share what works with a competitive colleague.

    “If we replace the seniority system – one which most people tend to see as fair – with one that teachers see as unfair or arbitrary, we’re going to dramatically hurt trust between teachers and their principals,” he said.

    Still, schools like Jackson Elementary in City Heights, now Fay Elementary, might say the problem is a little bit more serious. During the budget crises, high-poverty schools like Fay – which had less experienced teachers – were hit hardest by last-in-first-out layoff policies.

    In 2008, 24 out of its 26 teachers received layoff notices. Most of those ended up being rescinded, but in 2011, when 25 out of 27 teachers got pink slips – it was deja vu all over again.

    “The reality is,” Lipshutz said, “that once the pink slips go out, the damage is already done.”

    Teachers will often look for positions in more stable districts, and “it’s very discouraging to be treated as a number, to be told that you don’t have value beside your hire-date,” he said.

    Barrera doesn’t disagree. “That’s all the more reason that we need to do what we can to avoid pink slips and layoffs,” he said. “Pink slips are disruptive, yes, but what’s more disruptive is laying off teachers and having huge class sizes.”

    So What’s a Good Teacher?

    Barrera said the major hole with the Vergara plaintiffs’ case is that they never clarified what, exactly, makes a teacher ineffective. In fact, the defense led with that point in its closing brief.

    Of course, rebooting the criteria to measure teacher performance depends on whether the plaintiffs can persuade the judge that measures like test scores can be considered.

    Plaintiffs leaned on Harvard researcher Thomas J. Kane, who said black and Latino students in Los Angeles Unified were more likely than their white and Asian peers to be taught by the worst teachers.

    Kane reached his conclusion by looking at teacher effectiveness through a value-added formula, which measures improvements in student test scores over time.

    To be sure, value-added formulas aren’t universally accepted. Critics like education historian Diane Ravitch have railed against them for years. Another said they resulted in “mathematical intimidation” from school administrators.

    One problem, Barrera said, is that the scores appear objective, but fail to account for poverty, or other factors that influence learning. He said he isn’t opposed to all changes to the evaluation system, but they should begin a conversation about the real goal: quality teaching.

    “From a policy level, you think we’d start with questions about what’s working and how we could do more of that, instead of trying to force these blunt instruments in through the court system,” Barrera said.

    Lipshutz said poverty was a theme woven throughout the trial.

    “To us, that’s a red-herring. We don’t dispute that poverty is a factor in student learning,” he said. “The question to us is whether the laws that are in place are harming students and preventing them from getting the best education they possibly could. And we showed very clearly that the answer is yes.”

      This article relates to: Education, News, School Performance, Share

      Written by Mario Koran

      Mario asks questions and writes stories about San Diego schools. Reach him directly at 619.325.0531, or by email: mario@vosd.org.

      44 comments
      Scott Hasson
      Scott Hasson subscriber

      Teachers have become bad eggs because their union uses the money they take from members to fight against children.  When we stop the assault on our children and get back to educating children and ending ridiculous work rules that teachers use to take all they can from children....then and only then will children be able to get a fair education.  SDUSD is a broken employment center and the tenure and seniority rules only hurt children.  Nothing else matters but children!!

      Scott Hasson
      Scott Hasson subscriber

      It is time for tenure to be terminated and also to not let teachers choose where they work.  Taxpayers should be telling teachers where we need you, not the other way around.  The systems has shown it is broken, now it is time in this negotiations to do both of these and let the children be the receivers of the the education they deserve, not the best schools to teach in for teachers who have lost the reason they took this job.....Children is all that matter!!

      DDunn
      DDunn subscriber

      @Scott Hasson

      Not sure what your profession is, but to leave evaluation up to "the taxpayer" - does that mean the general taxpayer or specific educator taxpayers. It would be somewhat difficult and troublesome to consider non-educated/untrained individuals deciding any job fate. And somehow many actually believe that being a parent automatically qualifies as a professional educator. Sorry!!

      DDunn

      Scott Hasson
      Scott Hasson subscriber

      @DDunn @Scott Hasson  The taxpayers representative is the elected school board who appoint a superintendent to run the schools.  So as much as we think this SDUSD board is broken, this is who I mean by taxpayers.

      DDunn
      DDunn subscriber

      Seniority and Tenure (partial repost)

      Re: Teacher Evaluations - what is in place via State Assembly Stull Bill is quite adequate. It's the follow through by administrators that fails. Specifically, if an administrator finds a teacher as "needs improvement" or "not satisfactory", that administrator is required by contract to develop a plan (with a stringent timeline)  to bring the teacher up to satisfactory - and this can take up to 2 years, and few administrators actually know how or what to do. (see SDEA contract Performance Evaluations). Also, by contract, an administrator can opt for a Special Evaluation at any time - but the plan, timeline, and work involved is similar and heavy.

      Administrator evaluations also occur and with their own set of standards, schedules, and timelines. As well, they do not receive tenure and are up for rehire each year, however non-rehire rarely happens. However, teachers are never involved in an administrators performance evaluation. The system may have some correctable flaws, but without follow through and accountability any evaluations process will fail.

      And please, for all the teacher and union critics, the % of dysfunctional teachers is no greater than any other job, profession, or for any parent/ family structure.

      As for student/parent evaluation input. Next time you're out for diner with the family and get a "How'd we do" card from your server, hand it to your 10 year old to fill out. And for parents - your child is not the same child in class as she/he is at home...Sorry!

      DDunn

      scotthinsd
      scotthinsd

      @voiceofsandiego asking this guy about union members is like asking a tree if it wants to be cut down!! Just a poorly chosen person!

      scotthinsd
      scotthinsd

      @voiceofsandiego This is not about anyone but children. Barrera should have resigned when he became the new union goon on the block.

      Donald Kimball
      Donald Kimball subscribermember

      One source of teacher evaluations could be 4th grade teachers evaluating the 3rd grade teachers. The teachers in the next grade up get to experience the students from the lower grade, and can identify the better and worse teachers. Graduating seniors in high school could also evaluate their 10th, 11th, and 12th grade teachers. By that time, the graduating seniors have a good sense of the good teachers and poor teachers. Parent classroom volunteers can also provide teacher evaluations. In fact, Facebook groups organized around their specific schools have detailed recollections of the very best and very worst teachers.

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      @Donald Kimball  Indeed, the next-level teacher can be very helpful when determining if the previous teacher properly prepared his/her students.


      I'm not a big fan of using social media for evaluating anyone. People get into a very nasty mob mentality and people are far more likely to post negative things than positive. And do so in a public place- things get adversarial quickly and the employee has no defense.

      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      The goal is to get an objective evaluation.  How could you keep personal feelings, good or bad, out of this?  People would be inclined to give good evaluations to those who support their agendas, and punish those who disagree with them.  They'd be likely to give good evaluations to ineffective teachers who are their friends, and bad evaluations to good teachers who don't fit in to their social hierarchy.   Humans are very social creatures.  Politics needs to be left out of something this important.

      Matty Azure
      Matty Azure subscriber

      God bless the teachers.  All of them.

      Signed,

      School's (almost) Out for Summer

      Bob Eisele
      Bob Eisele subscribermember

      Why not treat teachers like the members of our armed forces. Five (or some number) years at school, then rotate them to a different school, chosen by lottery.

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      @Bob Eisele  May I answer this?


      Rotating employees every five years does not address the issue of quality and performance. It simply means that the employee is performing a great or poor job (usually somewhere in the middle) elsewhere in the system. Some other child(ren) has the benefit or the burden.


      I'd like to see employees retained, promoted or dismissed on the quality of their work. These are professionals, these are individuals, and they deserve the respect and dignity of being treated as such.


      I'd like to see situations where talented principals create work environments to which employees are attracted- they WANT to work for that person. I'd like to see principals held accountable for the performance of their team, and empowered to create the team that best serves students. Then reward them (management and employees) for their effort and talents.

      Bob Eisele
      Bob Eisele subscribermember

      @Paul M Bowers  

      I don't propose this as THE answer, only AN answer. We'd all like to see what you suggest. But the school system is a huge bureaucracy.  

      My suggestion spreads the experienced teachers across the district. It gives the new teachers a chance at an upper class school. And maybe for some of those less talented teachers, a little nudge over their tipping point.


       “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best”
      Otto von Bismark


      "Or the perfect is the enemy of the good."

      Keep up your idealism.Bob

      francesca
      francesca subscriber

      @Paul M Bowers "retained, promoted or dismissed on the quality of their work."

      How do you measure quality? 

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      Excellent question!

      Is it rhetorical or are you asking an actual management question?

      francesca
      francesca subscriber

      @Paul M Bowers It's not rhetorical.
        How would you measure quality of teachers' work?

      Joe Jones
      Joe Jones subscriber

      @francescaOh, please. You're simply fishing for someone to say "test scores" so you can pound the straw man into submission. So let's save some time and turn the question around, where it belongs--since you claim test scores don't work, how do YOU measure quality?

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      @Bob Eisele @Paul M Bowers  Understood, and if my reply sounded acrimonious or argumentative, I failed to accurately convey my message.


      Sorry...


      p

      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      Paul Bowers,  I like your idea of promoting teachers based on the quality of their work, but I bet you wouldn't like my idea about what position they should be promoted to.  

      I'd like to see the most effective teachers stay in the classroom--but have responsibility for several classrooms.  

      Each of those classrooms would also have a regular teacher who might be a young person on the way up, or an older person with many positive skills who doesn't quite fit the master teacher category.  

      There would be separate salary scales for master and regular teachers.  The former would be paid like doctors and lawyers, while the latter would have their salaries capped at a somewhat lower level than the current system provides.  The money saved on three or four regular teacher salaries would pay for the master teacher. 


      Also, the master teachers would provide professional development, saving schools the obscene amounts of money currently paid to vendors peddling the latest fad.


      I think a lot of political and personal misery could be avoided by reducing the responsibilities of ineffective teachers and giving them a master teacher rather than dismissing them.  Some ineffective teachers are very sweet and kind to kids.  And others are very connected to the teachers union.  Either way, trying to get rid of them would likely be disastrous.

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      "but I bet you wouldn't like my idea about what position they should be promoted to. "

      Hey, now don't be so hasty there, missy! : )

      I have no objection to such a plan for those employees who've proven to be assets to a school, and deserve the additional skill development and mentoring. I think it's a very good idea, and demonstrates contemporary management techniques.

      Tim ONeill
      Tim ONeill subscriber

      The Vergara lawsuit claims that seniority based layoffs negatively discriminate against children of color. A valid critical commentary or report would show how this claim holds water in ANY school district in San Diego County over the past several years when schools have been hit by budget cuts of 25% or more.

      The fact of the matter is that there have been none. All the union-haters should consider this in their world view and perhaps question the motives of the plaintiffs in this case.

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      Supporting change does not make one a "union hater" any more than supporting the status quo makes one a "student hater".

      Escalating the rhetoric rarely helps promote conflict resolution- or was that not what you had in mind?

      Unions exist where management is perceived to have failed, and unfortunately will often go too far in their singular dedication to its members.

      LIFO, in any organization, has benefits only for low-performing employees. High performers will always be in demand, regardless of the duration of their service.

      Those less-experienced arrive with fresh energy, trained in contemporary methods and concepts. More experienced employees are able to bring maturity and hard-earned wisdom.

      Employees should be retained on performance- keep only the best. Why would anyone set up a system to do otherwise?

      Tim ONeill
      Tim ONeill subscriber

      "Using them to feed public union greed", huh? Please be a bit more specific in your retoric.

      Teaching assignments (school, grade level, subject assignments) are regulated in each school district collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the local teacher union in that district, not regulated by state law, which this lawsuit addresses.

      The vast majority of these negotiated agreements places seniority as a subordinate criterion to many other factors such as subject matter credential, and most notably the opinion of the school principal. In other words, seniority, in most cases is NOT the determining factor with regard to a teacher's assignment.

      It is true that some teaching assignments are more difficult than others. It may also be that vacancies occur more regularly at schools with such assignments, but for a variety of reasons. Some of the "best" teachers work at these schools; sometimes they don't. Are you suggesting that the "best" teachers be limited in their options as to where they would choose to work?

      francesca
      francesca subscriber

      @Maura Larkins If you taught in the Chula Vista School District, then you are probably more realistic about the idea of using test scores to evaluate teachers.  When children have not mastered English, their test scores don't really reflect what they have learned or know. 

      Maura, Do you have an objective way to measure whether teachers are doing an effective job?


      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      No, Tim, Mr. Jones is not suggesting that tenured teachers be limited as to where they work. He is simply suggesting that tenured teachers tend to use their seniority to get out of--and stay out of--schools in low income areas. In fact, I must say that I did notice during my years in Chula Vista Elementary School District that teachers with high seniority tended to snap up the job openings at schools in high-income areas.

      I think that the success of children should not be subordinated to any goal at all that the teachers union might have. 

      It doesn't matter what the reason is that CTA has refused to allow any real progress in evaluating teachers--whatever it is, it's not a good enough reason. The fact is that the current system of principal evaluations is a joke, and it's part of the reason so many kids are failing to get decent educations.

      I had a principal who came in fresh to the school, not knowing that I had been given all the lowest-achieving students in my grade level because I was also given the English-learners and it seemed to make sense. I was perfectly happy with the situation.

      The new principal must have looked at the students' tests before sending them in to be scored, because he wrote on my evaluation that I had low student test scores!

      In fact, when the scores came back, they showed that my students had made one, two, three or even four years progress when they were with me.

      That principal was highly regarded because he was highly political. But, strangely, he eventually retired from the district in the middle of the school year. He got another job, so obviously he wasn't interesting in actually retiring. It sometimes takes a while to figure out how bad some principals are. This would be less of a problem if principals weren't in charge of evaluations.


      I once heard former CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett pointing out to CTA affiliate presidents that if they didn't improve education, they would become irrelevant. CTA would be wise to come up with an evaluation plan pronto. What's your plan for teacher evaluations, Tim?

      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      Tim,

      Are you calling Richard Barrera a "union-hater" for saying, "“Pink-slipping disproportionately affects poorer schools – absolutely”?

      I don't think the charge would fit, since he is the CEO of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council.  

      Also, the ACLU sued the Los Angeles Unified School District based on the devastating impact of teacher layoffs on poorer schools.  Are you calling the  Los Angeles ACLU "union-haters"?


      Maybe you should stop with the name-calling and try to come up with a solution to the problem.

      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      Thanks for asking, Francesca!  I think observations are the single most important source of effective evaluations, and they should be done frequently by people from outside the school district (to avoid school politics).  

      Dennis Schamp and Scripps Dad and I had a somewhat detailed discussion recently on what should be observed; you can see our discussion at the bottom of this April 28 VOSD story:

      The Case That Could Blow Up Teacher Tenure

      The two main things we discussed as needing to be observed are:

      1) What is the teacher doing?

      2) What are the students doing?

      Non-professionals could be used to make superficial observations.  It would be up to professionals to evaluate the data and follow up with their own observations.

      Scripps Dad says he's been involved in a good teacher evaluation program.

      Also, student test scores would only be helpful after a number of years of gathering data about a teacher's performance, and even then, research shows that these scores are reliable indicators only for the top 10% and bottom 10% of teachers.  The other 80% of teachers tend to get extremely variable results.

      I do not think evaluations should be used to determine employment.

      Instead, I think they should be used to identify the most highly effective teachers and to help average and below-average teachers.

      I believe that the most highly effective teachers should then be given responsibility as master teachers to direct the less effective teachers and to give supplemental lessons to students, and to give training to their fellow teachers.  This would be cheaper and more effective than bringing in ridiculously expensive outside vendors to do training.

      I would expect master teachers to be paid like doctors and lawyers.


      ScrippsDad
      ScrippsDad subscriber

      @Maura Larkins

      I agree with almost everything you say. The pay equivalency for teachers vice doctors and lawyers is a bit of a stretch for me.

      Both lawyers and doctors have the equivalent of PhD's and not Masters degrees so there is a difference in education and training. I have a MS and would not equate my abilities to a PhD in the same field or my MS to a Juris Doctor or Medical Doctor.

      And, regardless of degrees, the proof is in the deliverable so even a PhD in Education (which my dad actually was) vice a newbie with a Masters should not have compensation based solely on their degrees but on their ability to teach, reach their students, manage their classrooms, and be effective in all the things we have discussed as part of a teacher evaluation.

      Finally - as good stewards of our children and quality and effective teachers, they should be highly compensated (within the District General Fund budget) so children's programs are not disproportionally sacrificed.

      francesca
      francesca subscriber

      @Maura Larkins I agree with most of what you suggest.  Even though observations can be subjective, I think frequent evaluations by a variety of professionals could be very helpful to teachers.

      I had a vice-principal who emphasized that when she observed she was there to help improve student learning.  She made very useful suggestions and there was never a sense that she was out to see if we were good or bad.

      But when I see the countrywide effort, by those who want to turn public schools into private businesses for profit, I start to question the sincerity of those who talk about evaluations, teacher tenure, the "Great Leaders Act" in Indiana, Right to Work states where the union protection has been stripped away...the absurd Vergara case, orchestrated by one, multimillionaire from Silicon Valley, David Welsh, who has spent over two million dollars, dragged half a dozen innocent children into court to testify against their teachers, very much like the original witch trials in Salem...When I see so many think tanks, crafting laws..read about ALEC..and their laws written to destroy education...trigger groups and phony parent groups like Up4Ed..I know the effort, made by sincere parents who want the best for their children has been hijacked for profit.  

      All of the above have two goals.  Destroy the teachers' union, the biggest contributor to Democrats, and make profit for the greedy by privatizing education.

      Maura Larkins
      Maura Larkins subscriber

      My goal is to lure some people away from careers as doctors and lawyers.  I want some of those highly able people in the classroom.  Paying them well is the way to do it.

      Musicians and actors and ball players and computer/Internet prodigies are rewarded with huge amounts of money for doing a job that is highly valued--even if, like Bill Gates, they lack college degrees.  Why not value the most gifted teachers for what they can do?

      To afford higher salaries for master teachers, I would cap the salaries of younger teachers and journeyman teachers at a somewhat lower level than the current system provides.  The money saved on three or four regular teacher salaries would pay for the master teacher. 


      Also, the master teachers would provide professional development, saving schools the obscene amounts of money currently paid to vendors peddling the latest fad.

      You might be interested in this story from the Wall Street Journal about the highest-paid teacher in Korea: The $4 Million Teacher

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324635904578639780253571520?google_editors_picks=true&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887324635904578639780253571520.html%3Fgoogle_editors_picks%3Dtrue

      Elmer Walker
      Elmer Walker subscriber

      More likely his change was based on who pays his salary rather than his opinion. follow the money!

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      The head of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council sitting on the other side of the bargaining table from the teachers Union.

      It is no wonder the school district finances and actions are so dysfunctional and end up being all about the adults.

      Paul M Bowers
      Paul M Bowers subscribermember

      Well, I'm shocked. 

      Shocked, I tell you. 

      That the man who's the leader of the San Diego Labor Council (www.unionyes.com!) would place the priorities of labor over those of  students comes as such a suprise.


      And here's a nugget: "“If we replace the seniority system – one which most people tend to see as fair – with one that teachers see as unfair or arbitrary, we’re going to dramatically hurt trust between teachers and their principals,” he said."


      I have to give him credit- he didn't actually say the system is fair. He didn't say the system was good. He didn't say the system served children. He didn't say the system allowed for best management practices, he didn't say the system discourages high-performing employees by rewarding low-performing employees with guaranteed jobs. He didn't say any of that.


      He said that most people tend to see it as fair.


      But it's not.

      Dennis
      Dennis subscriber

      James, Bill, Allen and Jim, it was so wonderful seeing you at at the Padre game last evening for teacher appreciation night.


      Only a fool would believe that poverty and home structure is not vital to a child's education.


      Find a good student and you will find a good family.



      Joe Jones
      Joe Jones subscriber

        @DennisBrilliant truism, Dennis. Anybody can teach good students from good families. While I realize your point is to distance union teachers from abysmal classroom results, what you've managed to do is devalue the impact of good teachers. Which is a wonderfully perverse way to defend the seniority system.

      shawn fox
      shawn fox subscriber

      @Dennis  Bologna!  You are speaking in absolutes, which is a red flag.  Are you suggesting that every good student must come from a good home?  If so, that is preposterous and laughable.  Plenty of good students have divorced parents, and/or abusive situations yet they are still good students.  Maybe they could be even better with a good family, but that doesn't mean that they are not good students.  An outstanding teacher is a leader who can motivate students to see the value in being educated. A teacher that is full of excuses is probably not the most outstanding teacher.

      Joe Jones
      Joe Jones subscriber

      Goodness knows we wouldn't want administrators to make value judgements about their workforce. That might hurt their feelings, which is why all Americans companies use the seniority system. Except, well, 99% of them. But those companies are the exceptions.

      James Weber
      James Weber subscriber

      The union's war on the children continues.

      Bill Bradshaw
      Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

      San Diego schools are  a model for WHAT again, Mr. Barrera?

      Allen Hemphill
      Allen Hemphill subscribermember

      "But Barrera said that because San Diego Unified has had a good relationship with its teachers union, it’s been able to avoid mass layoffs in the first place."

      Of course there is a "good relationship" -- the school district is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the union! Sometime there may be some tension when there is a lack of communication as to how high to jump, but a few barked orders appears to clear things up easily.

      There is really a dearth of representation of the taxpayer.

      francesca
      francesca subscriber

      Thirty years ago, the San Diego school district placed teachers according to experience, making sure that there was a balance at each school of new teachers, those with over ten years of teaching and those with more than twenty-five at each school. Good in many ways, including providing tenured teachers to help the new ones.

      If this were put in place again, it would solve Barrera's concern , having schools like Fey, with their entire staff pinked slipped and no familiar face for children to return to in the fall.

      This would also allow the school board to vote to issue the pink slips needed and balance the budget, like we did thirty years ago. It would take care of Barnett's concern about ending up with excess teachers.

      Good teacher, bad teacher, get rid of tenure, value added...a lot of political babble.

      True, new teachers cost less and that's my guess about what's motivating the Vergara vs. CA lawsuit. 

      Since a new contract is about to be negotiated, balancing staff experience makes sense and puts the children first. 





      Allen Hemphill
      Allen Hemphill subscribermember

      Everyone in the Western World gets evaluated by their managers, except teachers.

      Why? Because teacher DNA is different, and better, because the teachers work with children.

      That's why!

      Got it?

      Allen P Hemphill
      Allen P Hemphill

      Everyone in the Western World gets evaluated by their managers, except teachers. Why? Because teacher DNA is different, and better, because the teachers work with children. That's why! Got i?