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Money also matters [How CA's landmark law to reduce class size was a disaster for poor students]
| Feb 20, 2002
| Anthony York
Posted on 03/24/2002 3:02:05 PM PST by summer
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Another issue being mentioned by FL Dem gov candidates, but not being discussed in all its ramifications, in light of lessons learned from CA.
posted on 03/24/2002 3:02:05 PM PST
There is a proposed constitutional amendment in Florida that will likely be on the ballot this fall mandating lower class sizes in Florida. Like the bullet train amendment, this one has a good chance of passing due to the ignorance of the uninformed electorate.
To: Real Cynic No More
I agree; it will probably pass. But if candidates are going to mention it, they should discuss it in full. They don't.
Also, in FL, local school districts have a lot of power -- just as we saw in the Nov 2000 election with local canvassing boards.
Right now, every school district in this state COULD raise teacher salaries, if they wanted to, and COULD lower class size, if they wanted to. Consequently, it seems disingenuous to lay this problem at the door of the governor of FL, whoever it may be, because he or she can not mandate to school districts every single thing they do or don't do.
I happen to believe the answer to many problems in education will be solved by technology. Eventually, there will be a televised delivery of all instruction, K-12, free to all FL residents, and more children will be educated that way, via tv and home computers. And, like the chefs hosting the myriad of food shows now on the Food Network, some teachers will be "stars" too. This is truly the way I see it happening in the future.
FL voters may actually agree smaller class sizes are more desirable, but they will not pay a cent more in taxes. And, any politician who suggests that will have a very short political life in this state.
posted on 03/24/2002 3:20:34 PM PST
What this article doesn't mention, is a reason for school budget shortfalls: Dramatic increases in energy costs!
Now, think for a minute. What California State official is most responsible for that scenario?
The program also exacerbated the state's teacher shortage, and forced districts to eliminate things like libraries and computer labs -- even playgrounds -- to fill the additional needs for classroom space.
Yep, some districts sacrificed everything on the altar of the latest fad. They were never forced to sacrifice anything at all, the program was never mandatory. I wonder what the next big fad in "publik edukation" will be.
posted on 03/24/2002 3:39:27 PM PST
We can only guess....
posted on 03/24/2002 3:43:24 PM PST
That is not even a word.
LOL...Perhaps the writer meant: "non-whatever"
posted on 03/24/2002 3:46:06 PM PST
Hmmmm....Davis? Just a wild guess....
posted on 03/24/2002 3:46:49 PM PST
Sueport publick edgekation!
posted on 03/24/2002 3:55:12 PM PST
Governor Bush does --
posted on 03/24/2002 4:06:34 PM PST
I think I have seen that word ( uncredentialed) used infrequently in school publications here in California. Normally the word used (according to my wife ) is noncredentialed!
Another issue for the California election.
The program also exacerbated the state's teacher shortage, and forced districts to eliminate things like libraries and computer labs -- even playgrounds -- to fill the additional needs for classroom space. Yep, some districts sacrificed everything on the altar of the latest fad. They were never forced to sacrifice anything at all, the program was never mandatory. I wonder what the next big fad in "publik edukation" will be.
This article is mostly junk. If you aren't familiar with California education funding, you would think that the "poor" schools had less money than the other schools. That isn't so because the schools aren't locally funded any more. The state doles out money per capita with federal money going to title programs which are more prevalent in poor areas so poor schools actually get more money than others.
The real problem with poor schools is that they spend much more money on repair/replacement of vandalized and stolen property, police patrols on campus, expensive but useless teachers because they're the only ones willing to go in there and that's the only jobs they can get and administrators that are on their way to a good job.
The kids and their parents are the problem and a 12 foot, #10 chain-link fence with razor wire is the answer.
Yes, this should be an issue. Sounds like a mess right now.
posted on 03/24/2002 4:59:16 PM PST
To: IncredibleHulk; jimtorr
IH, I don't know if you read the entire article, because I think some of what you are claiming is inaccurate:
"Districts had to pay for new facilities or construction or new desks, that weren't covered by the state," said Brian Stecher, a senior social scientist at RAND Corp., one of the supervisors of the independent analysis of the state's class size reduction program. "And there were hidden costs because the reimbursement they received from the state for lowering their class size was in many cases less than the cost of hiring a new teacher and setting up a teaching station. So districts reported to us that had to take money from other areas to keep the class size program going."
Details of just how much districts are spending to pay for the class size reduction program are hard to come by; but it's a cost that many say they can no longer afford. The era of soaring budget surpluses is over in California, and public school budgets are also taking a hit. As districts scramble to find ways to save money, some are opting, reluctantly, to eliminate the caps on class size in the early grades.
But, you are correct about one thing -- and, that is how many financial incentives exist to get teachers to go into the worst schools in CA, like the ones in inner city CA. It is amazing how much they are willing to pay teachers there, and how much more they will pay for, say, a Nationally Certified Teacher. Yet, oddly enough, all the money in the world would not induce me to teach there, after I read the online diaries of several teachers who tried teaching there, and left. Teaching in those schools sounds like nothing more than a major migraine headache everyday, with vandalism, teachers worrying about their cars being stolen, violence in the schools and other serious problems. Sorry -- who needs that much grief in a day to day job.
posted on 03/24/2002 5:05:34 PM PST
I meant to type: ...inner city LA....
posted on 03/24/2002 5:06:16 PM PST
And, BTW, two other thoughts occurred to me as I read those teachers, becaue frankly, those teachers were grateful to get out of those schools with their lives intact. Why are things so out of control in LA, so near to Hollywood -- and all the celebs who have all this time to complain about Fl schools, but no interest in what happens in their own backyard? Also, some of those schools sound like a great place to station some National Guard members -- not teachers. We did not train to be in the National Guard. We trained to be teachers. Maybe the solution is to train National Guard members to be both guards and teachers. And, they can show up to teach in full military uniform and guns. Seriously. Because those kids sound like they fear nothing and no one.
posted on 03/24/2002 5:17:58 PM PST
...those teachers' diaries online...
posted on 03/24/2002 5:18:26 PM PST
From first hand experience, I disagree with any claim that class reduction is not a very important advantage for students, even in high socio-economic communities.
My children, now 5th and 7th grade, have been in the 20-student classes since my oldest was in 2nd grade. I have done a lot of volunteer work in the classroom. The benefits of a small classroom outweigh the costs, even if it means cutting other programs. Until you have tried teaching in a class of 20 second graders, and compared it with a class of 32, you have no basis for comparison. It's like night and day, and worth whatever $ it costs.
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