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Larry Sand
Contract on California « Back to Story

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I am an LAUSD teacher with a Master's Degree. I am taking salary point classes in order to improve my teaching. I am also doing this to improve my salary as I have not had a raise in 4 years but COLA has increased dramatically. I can not afford the high prices of a second Master's degree but I can afford the salary points classes that are more tailored to my actual classroom instruction such as GATE and using technology in the classroom. The premise of your article is ridiculous to state that a teacher trying to feed her family is a drain on the state budget with all the other examples of wasted tax payer money. If you add up the amount of hours I am not paid for outside the classroom grading and planning, I make less than 20$ an hour for that Master's degree. But I am not in it for the money. I love what I do. So I thank you for trying to balance the budget on someone else's shoulders.
By the way I haven't had a raise in years, so where is all this salary increase I'm suppose to be getting going? :-)
Mr. Sand, first of all if you want to jump on the merit pay bandwagon, which is so easy to do nowadays, why don't we level the playing field. First of all I want you to know I'm all for merit pay if the parameters are the same for everyone. First of all we all get the same number of students, 35-44. Second of all we do a diagnostic evaluation of all students and shuffle them into the various classrooms in order that each classroom has very close to the same "median" in ability level. Then we are allowed to teach the way we feel is the most appropriate approach for our students and not this new "robotic" approach that all teacher must teach the same material at the same pace which is being "crammed" down our throats. If these conditions can be met I'm more than willing to compete for my merit pay. Bring it on.
Maxine Waters is an idiot. Rush Limbaugh, with whom I rarely agree, said it best about Ms Waters: 'If not for affirmative action, Ms Waters would not be qualified for any job that didn't require her to wear a paper hat on the job'.
Giving teachers bonuses, salary increases, and tenure based on special professional classes is more of the same New Age touchy feely approach to give the appearance of professionalizing teaching.

Here in New Jersey, public school teachers are granted bonuses, raises and tenure based on time-tested old fashioned principles: if you are married to, related to, or sleeping with someone on the Board of Education, you get your bonus, your raise and your tenure contract.

Otherwise your one-year teaching contract is not renewed, or you are relegated to permanent substitute status.
By Whom and how will teacher quality be judged?
Comment on the comments. I am quite amused at the likes of Maxine Waters and her counter part Lee of Texas. Lee who thinks hurricanes should be given black African names, and Waters who joins the egregiously envious group of politicians who cannot stand successful women who are not bloodsucking congressional bigots. These women's fangs are showing as they claw away
at the elusive Tea Party and other Americans who are fed up with D.C. greed and who succeed in spite of being outsiders.
In asking a handful of teachers here in Washington State how important these workshops (???) are not a one was upbeat about them.
Larry is right on, and the unions are a bust.
Jacqueline O'Connor September 24, 2011 at 1:41 PM
I respect people who choose to teach although I realize those who do choose teaching frequently are not those making the highest grades in college. (Is teaching a fall-back choice?) What I do know is that no teacher (or a very darn few) can compensate for dysfunctional homes, particularly when these are female headed households. It takes two to tango and it takes two to raise a child and the fact that 75% of black kids are born to single mothers (40% of all babies born to single mothers, which should scare everyone) helps explain why 50% of black kids drop out of high school and lead in prison populations. So, tell Maxine Waters to face facts: the black "community" is dysfunctional and needs remedial education (although I agree with her about the Tea Party).
The absolute very bottom of the barrel is what is admitted into all these "teachers colleges" which are a farce and a self perpetuating cash cow anyway.Mediocre minds are the perfect recipe for a dysfunctional system of Marxist mass propaganda, the public school. It needs to be abolished.Read John Taylor Gatto's books to enlighten.
Albert Van Thournout September 24, 2011 at 8:28 AM
As a teacher (not in California) I agree with a good deal of this article; however, Mr. Sand fails to address just how 'effective' is to be measured when judging teacher performance. Give me a classroom of middle-class kids from solid homes where discipline is maintained, expectations are laid out, and education is valued, and I will prove to be a very effective teacher. Give me a class of students of mixed ethnic backgrounds, single parent families, lack of discipline and expectations, where sending a child to school is seen as a cheap means of day care, and I demonstrate to you that I cannot bring about the results of the first teacher. Attempts to measure through testing students have reduced education to preparation for taking a test. This does not work for teachers; worst of all, it does not work for kids.
Deciding precisely how to structure teacher salary rates has never been, and never will be, an easy process; but the article highlights how a difficulty can be turned into an absurdity when no one in higher circles is game to point out that The Emperor's New Clothes are a complete con.
Some questions could be; performance of, and for what? Whom is measuring whom, and for what? Is performance about improving learning and teaching environments, where teachers can develop and 'bring on line, the curriculum approach and method, and the pedagogical tools that would provide the means to successful learning and teaching in literacy and mathematics; is the intention to use our ideas collectively; creating learning environments where children are assisted to participate in creating a democratic space, and learn the language and skills of critical thought, which in turn, fosters a community of critical inquirers?