41

Oakland teacher layoffs: the breakdown

More than 500 Oakland school district teachers — temporary, tenured and probationary — will receive pink slips this month, according to a resolution posted on the March 9 school board agenda.

The list is staggering: 538 full-time positions, including 231 elementary school teachers, 41 English teachers, 45 social science teachers, 28 sixth-grade teachers, 25 P.E. teachers, 13 social workers, and the entire adult education staff.

“It will not continue in its current form,” spokesman Troy Flint said about adult education. “There will be adult education programming, but it will be continued through different departments in alignment with the strategic plan.”

Credentialed special education and bilingual education teachers would be spared from layoffs under this resolution.

As I’ve noted before, this is the first time in years that the school district has issued pink slips to large numbers of tenured, k-12 classroom teachers — a decision based on credential, subject and seniority. (Flint did not know exactly how many of the above positions are held by tenured teachers; those details might come out on Monday.)

State law requires school districts to notify teaching staff by March 15 if there is a possibility they will lose their jobs.

Flint said the district hopes to rescind some of the notices. In the meantime, he said, “We just have to cover ourselves because there’s so much uncertainty with how the state budget will finally shake out.”

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Oteach

    This list only includes teachers, and it includes ALL adult ed teachers. Will there also be a layoff of any of the four adult ed administrators (Director, Assistant Director, Family Literacy Program Manager and High School/GED Program Manager)? Just wondering.

  • http://www.eastbayconservative.com The Boss

    … So they’re getting rid of sixth grade? What’s the deal with singling them out?

  • oakie

    If OUSD didn’t layoff based on LIFO, there would be FEWER layoffs. If they determined who was let go based on performance, the lowest performing teachers would be gone, and overall the students would have lost far less than this system which is only designed to protect the oldest teachers, based strictly on hire date.

    Check out this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/us/05layoffs.html?hp

    The ACLU sued LAUSD “sued the school district on behalf of parents, saying that their children’s right to an education, guaranteed in the State Constitution, would be violated by the layoffs.”

    You see, they argued that the poorest students were disproportionately affect by the LIFO termination policy.

    The court decided that this was true. Of course, the teacher’s union is fighting this. They certainly know where there priorities are: not with poor school kids if you accept the court’s findings, that’s for sure.

    I don’t think this court action went far enough. Layoffs should certainly not be based on hire date. But if they had a Michelle Rhee in charge, they would get rid of the poorest performing teachers first.

    But oh, this is OUSD. We wouldn’t want real reform. But I sure hope the ACLU and other civil rights groups support some economically disadvantaged parents here and sue their a$$es. Now that would be fun to watch.

  • Steven Weinberg

    Sixth grade teachers are probably listed separately because most of them have the same credentials as elementary teachers (multi-subject) but they work in middle schools.

  • Concerned Parent

    If bumping ruins the middle school where our daughter is a 7th grader, I think we parents should sue the district. At our middle school, there are excellent 1st and 2nd year teachers. If they get replaced by lemons (tenured and ineffective teachers) the school will never be the same.

    Our school in August was already forced to receive two displaced teachers. In the case of one teacher, it was horrible how badly the teacher fit the needs of the students and the school. She threw things at students, called them dogs and could not learn their names. She is now out on medical leave draining the school’s diminishing resources.

    This is demoralizing and BAD for kids. If this happens in Oakland and across the state, there must be lawsuits and the archaic education code needs to be changed.

    Really sad to read this, Katy. There are tremendous 1st and 2nd year teachers in my daughter’s school and I’ll beg, borrow and steal to afford private school for my daughter if our middle school loses excellent History and ELA teachers.

  • chocolatesebastian

    I think there needs to be another review of Central Office costs and consultants. There also needs to be a review of administrator salaries (not principals), especially Central Office administrators and administrators on the classified scale. OUSD teachers and certificated positions like nurses, social workers and school psychs are paid at the lowest rates in the County when compared to other districts. Before cutting teachers adjust the salaries of Central Office administrators, classified managers and consultants down, so we are all sharing the burden of the pay inequities and the cuts. District leadership, classified managers and consultants should be compensated at rates which are equitable when compared with the teacher pay rates. That would demonstrate to teachers and principals that District leadership is committed to protecting direct educational services to students and also produce savings. If they leave because the pay is too low – that action speaks for itself.

  • Stakeholder

    Michelle Rhee hasn’t the foggiest notion of how to determine teacher performance.

    Of course, disadvantaged students and neglected schools are disproportionately affected by ALL teacher layoffs. Doesn’t seem in LAUSD, at least by that nytimes article account, that Villaraigosa, the American Civil Liberties Union or any other civil rights group involved with the lawsuit want to talk about why these schools are “saddled with high teacher turnover” and “difficult to staff and have a high proportion of inexperienced teachers” to begin with. OUSD has set a similar table with neglected schools, disenfranchised students, and disillusioned parents. And like LAUSD is, OUSD will just sit back and watch while the Rhee’s and the Villaraigosa’s pit teacher against teacher, teacher against parents to shift blame and alleviate burden from where it belongs.

    Teachers’ rights and students’ rights are a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit to the other. It is irresponsible of Jennifer Medina to write otherwise. Yes there is as much a need to protect the jobs of inexperienced teachers starting out AND wanting to return to schools difficult to staff as there is for the teaching lifers who serve as their mentors and models. But it’s disingenuous and dangerous to identify schools with the former as a problem and biggest casualty of layoffs, but then the solution to be protecting their jobs at the expense of the latter.

  • J.R.

    Stakeholder,

    Thank you for making it very clear what this is all about to you and yours. This is about(aside from money and benefits) “rights” and “job ownership”(AKA tenure and seniority). Let me tell you how the taxpayers see it, first and foremost the children have a right to a good solid education(good and great teachers alike)in a safe and nurturing environment(by extension the teachers do also). Students deserve teachers that are patient,dedicated and want to be there to make a difference. The level of entitlement toward continued employment regardless of performance is just shocking(no one should have a right to a job, it should be earned every day). Concerned parent is right, and I have witnessed the same thing in several districts. Enough with the lame excuses, we need to keep the best teachers, and the rest can find another profession. We don’t owe anyone anything(except the children).Think about that because things are changing all over this country and eventually they will here as well.

  • J.R.

    Stakeholder,

    Re: Michelle Rhee and teacher performance, in your mind anyone that opposes you doesn’t know anything(even college educated parents).I will repeat what I have posted many times before(without the detail). In many districts and schools PTA parents talk and they know who the substandard teachers are “year after year” the principal knows, and even the students know because these inferior teacher get an ongoing reputation for being substandard. The policy of LIFO has to be scrapped(and it will)the unions are getting in the way but the parents(taxpayer) have had just about enough.There is not enough money to cover all the teacher that we would like to have so we must insist that we keep the best performers.

  • Stakeholder

    Teachers are taxpayers, J.R. You and I agree that students have a right to an excellent education. That’s PreK-12 and higher education students. Definitely. Good and great teachers alike deserve along with the students a safe and nurturing environment. No one will disagree with you and me on that point. Students deserve teachers that are patient, dedicated and want to be there to make a difference. However, this “continued employment regardless of performance” is conjecture; pure hyperbole. No one has given teachers what they’ve worked hard for in credentialing programs, profession development, district and administrative evaluations, etc.

    Guess what…being underpaid, affordable within the constraints of RBB, working within a system designed for teaching to be an entry-level position rather than a career isn’t the model to sustain any of what you and I believe taxpayers want for students. What is made clear by you however, is that the “entitled” school district boards and administrations ought to arbitrarily play favorites and make schools, students, and teachers compete with one another to claim the whimsical “Best Teacher” award.

  • Oakland Educator

    One thing I’ve noticed about the numbers of teachers that the district is saying will potentially be released is that these numbers assume that sites only pay for teachers with General Purpose funds (long with now unrestricted Tier III funds). In most districts this would be the case, but in OUSD each site’s SSC is able to decide that a certain amount of categorical funding can go towards paying for teachers to further reduce class sizes below the contracted maximum level and for TSA (“coach”) positions. If most sites are following this trend (if they have the categorical $$), then the bulk of the final lay-off notices may go towards classified staff (which starts an ugly ballet of bumping of its own!) and not certificated positions.

  • Oteach

    Here are a few thoughts from a long-term teacher:

    I keep hearing that somehow seniority = bad teachers, and that newer, less experienced teachers are better. When these newer, less experienced teachers start to become veteran, “senior” teachers, will they also be assumed to have less skill than when they began? This is just a very strange idea, that in teaching, alone of all professions, the practitioners become less effective with experience.

    There are many fine new teachers, but there are also many fine veteran teachers. In this case of massive layoffs, how do we REALLY determine who is a good/ effective teacher? Is it based on principal evaluation? I’ve had about 10 principals in 20 years, all with different biases, strengths and weaknesses. I’ve gotten good evaluations from all but one. I’ve seen good teachers get negative evals from principals because the teacher asked questioned something the principal didn’t want questioned. I’ve seen one teacher promoted to a TSA position over a more qualified teacher at the same school because the principal had a personal friendship with the chosen teacher.

    With so many different principals evaluating teachers, supposedly according to a rubric, but really quite subjectively, how do we really know that a teacher who is kept by a principal at one school is more effective than a teacher laid off by a principal at a different school?

    The problem is that there is no completely fair, absolutely objective test of good teaching. Seniority is not the ideal system, either, but it does lack bias. Student test scores will make it seem like hill school teachers are doing a better job than teachers in the flatlands. Report card grades are somewhat subjective, too. There is no one perfect measure.

    I’ve given 25 years of my life to this district. I’ve had some years that were better than others. I’ve had bad years followed by good years. Some years, maybe, some would have said I should have been laid off; followed by years where I really was at the top of my game. This year is not my best, but not my worst. Should I be laid off? I guess some would say so.

    Schools are extremely complex environments. Some studies show that the single factor most impacting student academic achievement is actually the home environment. Do many kids overcome homes that don’t support academic achievement? Sure. And many from very advantaged environments don’t do well. But overall, in the majority of cases, the parents’ educational attainment and income are the greatest single predictor of student academic achievement. Should teachers work to help those kids whose parents don’t have high educational attainment or sufficient financial resources? Absolutely. Can they always make sure every single kid succeeds? I really wish I could, but this is just not reality. Maybe some teachers do. But even the most dedicated, give-up-your-life-spend-a-ton-of-your-own-money-work-endless-hours-of-unpaid-overtime teacher sometimes can’t overcome other factors.

    But the real problem here is not the unions. The real problem is that we are fighting over crumbs and scraps while the banks get bailouts and the war efforts get funded mightily.

  • livegreen

    Regardless of the Academic issues, I can’t help to wonder if the OEA has been silent on teacher layoffs and School Cuts vs. Central HQ cuts because older teachers won’t be as affected? (+ might get a 2% pay increase out of the deal).

    If it’s not this, then what’s their excuse for staying silent on both issues, which are intimately related?

  • J.R.

    Oteach,

    Seniority is biased in and of itself, so that line of reasoning is faulty.The largest part of the budget is education, there is no denying that, and more money would not and has not improved things in decades. There is nothing that can or will be done about policies that have allowed generation after generation of irresponsible people to procreate in proportionally higher numbers(this is the root of the problem), this is what far left liberals wanted(welfare,section 8 and so forth on and on). There are crumbs and scraps left because we stupidly threw our money away on investments that gave no return(human capital). Businesses create meaningful productive work and wealth, governments (with few exceptions)don’t. I agree with you the prosecution of the wars were an expensive mistake(we should have focused on Afghanistan early on). War is an unavoidable fact of life with Mankind’s Godless greed,arrogance and entitlement. I have witnessed many wonderful teachers in different districts make their little corner of the world better(it’s not always about the time you give or spend, it’s about what you do while you’re there). I have witnessed many teachers who just didn’t care one way or the other, and that they are protected is what bothers me. We will never agree.

    Stakeholder
    As I have said before,your money comes from my tax money. All terms and conditions of raises, discipline etc. are laboriously laid out and adhered to, and checks are mailed irregardless if you do your job or not. If I don’t do my job I am gone, and I will be forced to look elsewhere upon my own initiative. I will have to do as I am told the way I am told and perform to the best of my ability while correctly completing the assigned tasks. There is no wiggle room for me. You know where your next check is coming from and I don’t, there is a world of difference(courtesy of taxes and the public sector).You’re welcome!

  • Turanga_teach

    Preach it, OTeach! There is nothing I can add to what you’ve already said.

    JR: I get where you’re coming from: I understand your anger. But what I don’t understand is the public mythology that bad employees in the public school system are A) absolutely everywhere and utterly to blame for everything and B) extraordinarily unique in that everywhere else has NO substandard anyone.

    Come on, folks–have you honestly never seen a qualitative difference in job performance between any two non-teaching employees who both keep their jobs?

    We can’t have it both ways. Either we as a society value teachers so very highly that only the best and the brightest do this coveted and lucrative job, or we have to accept that, every now and then, we might get something a little closer to what we actually pay for.

  • J.R.

    Turanga,

    I never said they(the teachers) were to blame for everything(nobody has said that)they are partly to blame(parents and admin as well), but if we don’t clean up the whole education system it will be hard to justify it. valuing kids at the classroom level on up is a two edged sword, that is where most of the money belongs,where a good part of the accountability belongs, and must be dealt with first teachers included. What it really comes down to is that if everyone were doing their job, it never would have come to this. Aren’t decades of underachieving enough? How embarrassing is it that many college students need remediation, many HS kids cannot pass the eighth grade level exit exam, and on and on?

  • J.R.

    to add, this is not mythology this is cold hard sickening fact proven by the data I just mentioned. Yes most teachers are good, but that isn’t enough because this is more than a job it is a public trust.

  • Gordon Danning

    Before people get too excited about what is happening in LA: It seems to me that the LA policy does nothing to ensure that good teachers are not laid off. According to the NY Times article, teachers at certain low income, etc, schools are immune from layoffs, regardless of how effective they are. Well, that is no better than saying that teachers with 20+ years in the district are immune from layoffs, regardless of how effective they are. How is that an improvement?

    That being said, layoffs based on performance would be fine with me, IF the district can come up with an adequate performance measure. The current evaluation system is highly subjective. Using test scores or “value added” would be fine IF the state comes up with tests that measure more than just thinking, and if they test all subjects (For the past 10 years, I have taught AP World History and Govt/Economics, none of which is covered on the state tests)

  • Oteach

    JR: I almost cannot believe that you actually wrote what you wrote ( “policies that have allowed generation after generation of irresponsible people to procreate in proportionally higher numbers(this is the root of the problem”). Unbelievable! And you have the chutzpah to talk about bias!

    Seniority, since it is NOT based on human judgment, such as evaluation, which is incredibly subjective, is completely unbiased. Which is not to suggest it’s the best system but it IS unbiased, unquestionably so.

    And HOW do we evaluate teachers who teach subject matter not measured by tests? And while I respect the rights of parents, I have encountered many with very strong but very uninformed opinions. Just because they’re parents does not automatically bestow great judgment. I’ve been pretty disappointed in decisions made by the parents of many students over the years.

    I would like to see a system that incorporates other factors, in addition to seniority, but, after 25 years, (and only in my 40′s, so theoretically with as many as 20 to go…), I’d like to see my years of hard earned experience factored in with considerable weight, not completely thrown out.

  • J.R.

    oteach,
    I have the chutzpah to talk about fact(although I know facts are uncomfortable for some).Experience does count(it’s importance varies by profession)and just not as much as you think.There have been studies that have shot this lie down. You try to position yourself as unbiased and fair and claim the system should incorporate other factors along with seniority, but the fact remains LIFO is 100%(that’s completely) biased toward senior teachers whether capable or not. I guess when kids start paying union dues, then you educrats will care.

  • Stakeholder

    What is happening in LA has nothing to do with better educating students, improving or ensuring equity in schools. It is about stripping people of their rights. Pure and simple. These districts get away with unapologetically eliminating counselors, librarians, teachers, security and clerical positions. Place aside momentarily the physical person occupying them. The conversation is being shifted towards educators fighting each other over the remnants of public education assignments. Who wins? The students? Teachers and students and their schools have given and have had resources and staff taken away from them for far too long, it is the systematic eradication of public education. And now to reverse this trend these districts ought to choose to come after teachers’ rights? And compromise the rights of parents and their students to have a quality public education? It’s exploitation of students and using the budget as a scapegoat to strip people of their rights, pure and simple. They are not interested in “why” and on “how” schools such as Gompers Middle School (which is documented in the nytimes article) and the implied middle school where Concerned Parent’s 7th grader attends (which I am INFERRING based on Concerned Parent’s comment but admittedly this example is unsubstantiated) is a revolving door for teachers and dependent on a disproportionate number of young, inexperienced teachers. Many of who are fine, new teachers, as both Oteach and Concerned Parent points out. But to protect Gompers’ staff, violating teachers’ rights is the answer? And the public is just supposed to be uninformed or misinformed and accept this conjecture? I think not. How about a proactive, long-term solution, rather than settling for the attrition that got Gompers, and schools of the ilk, in the position it finds itself.

    OUSD SAVE ALL teacher positions. NO consolidations. Engage ALL teachers, invite ALL stakeholders to “Teacher Effectiveness” and such Task Forces.

  • J.R.

    Stakeholder,
    We’ve had decades of doing things the way they are, and it hasn’t worked very well. Why do you want to keep a system that is proven unnecessarily expensive with questionable results? Is this an education system or a jobs bank(courtesy of taxpayers)? It’s always about money and rights and never really about the kids, and frankly if it isn’t a mutually beneficial arrangement then I don’t see any point to it. If the teacher isn’t singularly focused on doing his/her job I would rather have someone who is.

  • Ms. J.

    If teachers’ rights and working conditions worsen, the whole system will suffer, and with it the kids.

    As it is public schools have taken on many, many more jobs than they were originally expected to do. People who go into teaching do not do it for glory or money. We do it because we love teaching, because we believe in public schools as one of the pillars of our democracy, because we want to give back to the community, because we like kids a lot, or all of the above. Not for money. Seriously.

    Now please don’t write back responding “oh yes the good teachers do, but not the greedy, gravy train riding majority” or other words to that effect. Those teachers are not the majority, they are the exception. Most of us are dedicated and responsible, and we do it because we care about the kids.

    Oh yeah, and we also pay taxes, so it’s not necessary for you to explain to us what taxpayers feel; we are taxpayers.

  • J.R.

    Ms.J
    When you are paid from tax money and you then pay taxes out of that, it’s more like a tax reimbursement if anything. Bottom line you and yours don’t mind paying more taxes because that is how you get yours, you would just love for citizens to be paying more than half their earnings in taxes because that’s a bigger “Golden Pot” for you. It’s all a great idea until you run out of other peoples money!

  • Concerned Parent

    @Oteach and @JR

    the real problem IS the unions. the real problem IS also the corporate lobbies and the health and military industrial complexes. it’s an ‘and’ instead of an ‘or’. unions and corporate lobbies are the same thing – they are both special interests subverting democracy.

    workers deserve protection and rights, but it has gone way too far in education and the democratic party gets elected to office because of these stinking unions. it’s all dirty. repubs and demos alike. what a joke of democracy.

    it is EASY to distinguish between good teaching and bad teaching. let me repeat that: it is EASY.

    you go into a good teacher’s classroom, and kids are engaged and learning. you go into a bad teacher’s classroom, and kids are tuned out and or bouncing off the walls. test scores are easy to parse too: VALUE ADD. c’mon, Oteach….just subtract!

    several OUSD principals are MORONS and this confounds things a lot. agreed. the district should get rid of these ineffective principals and the district should take a serious look at its nepotism both in central office and at sites.

    tenure and job ownership is horrible for everyone. i disagree that bad teaching is hard to tell from good teaching. everyone in my daughter’s school knows who the effective teachers are and who the ineffective teachers are.

    yes—ousd principals range from incredible to moronic. i wonder if the pay is an issue. a 1st year AP in Santa Clara makes more than a principal in her tenth year in OUSD.

    also – teachers often think they know who is a good teacher in their school. how do teachers know? they spend how much time observing instruction of other teachers? NONE. a teacher’s view of another teacher’s effectiveness is based on what then? lesson planning prowess? or how well they speak on topics in meetings? c’mon!

    let principals do their jobs: evaluate and support teachers, and key personnel decisions. if our principal could hire / fire anyone she wanted, the school would be incredible.

    tenure is ruining public education. charter schools are the next chapter. school districts, if they can’t deal with tenure, will go extinct.

    and as a nation, if we can’t shut down these corporate and union lobbies, we’ll end up with multinational companies calling the shots instead of elected officials. they already are.

  • J.R.

    Concerned parent,
    I have to admit, you are absolutely correct. We have let the extremists in both parties have way too much power, and it has hurt us.Unfortunately the lust for money and power is a great obstacle(too great for most people).

  • Gordon Danning

    Concerned Parent:

    I think you understate the difficulty of determining which teachers are effective. Student engagement is great, but there is a more important question: Engaged in what? There are many teachers in this district who are engaging, but whose classes are the antithesis of rigor; hence, students learn very little. Or, in an Economics class, they hear about the evils of capitalism, or give presentations on “what to do about poverty,” (ie, give their opinion) but never learn basic supply and demand. Or, they go an entire year in a high school English or history class, and write maybe a single “paper” — usually a 5-paragraph essay that is more a report than even an attempt at analysis. Yet, if you walk into their classrooms, all the students are “engaged” – they are making posters, or powerpoints, or other, frankly, low middle school work.

    PS: Please note that I have felt free to criticize my colleagues in a public forum. Why? Because I have tenure. So, “tenure” is good, because tenure simply means that a teacher cannot be fired without good cause. It is perfectly possible to keep tenure, but redefine “cause” to include “students regularly score in the bottom 1/5 on value-added assessments.” Would you support something of that ilk, rather than the complete elimination of tenure?

  • livegreen

    We don’t even needto resolve good vs bad teachers in Oakland to save money. If OUSD only brings Central HQ costs down we would b able to avoid any teacher layoffs (which, keep in mind, is going to result in larger classroom sizes). Wonder how this will help student retention? Esp in Middle Schools which have been told to cut $400,000!

    $400,000! How many teachers is that? And Central HQ doesn’t want to share the burden. And the OEA isn’t making this has big an issue as a Gang Injunction which doesn’t involve ONE student?

    What r the priorities of BOTH the OEA and Tony Smith when these r the proposals THEY are, respectively, allowing without a fight or giving us?

    You all can continue arguing ad hominum teacher evaluations and taxes, but right now we have a bigger and yet simpler problem at hand in Oakland, that you all are ignoring by constantly repeating those same conversations. The fact is if OUSD asks schools to take such big cuts at Schools things are only going to get worse.

    Instead: -Ask your OUSD Board members what they r doing to get OUSD HQ to reduce it’s expenses far below the approx 45% they’re at now; -If the School Board won’t do it ask City Councilmembers to do what they can; -Ask Teachers what the heck the OEA is doing to protect their own teachers (where’s the OEA Press Release? Still waiting!);
    -Why’s Tony Smith concentrating on cutting School budgets and increasing class sizes, instead of a DT bureaucracy that eats up 45% of the budget and incurrs state fines along the way?

    Apparently if PTA’s don’t start writing and asking, who will?

  • Ms. J.

    J.R.,
    Golden Pot? What? Are you quoting something? Or are the quotation marks ironic? Do you even know? Are you implying that I (among other teachers) want taxes to be higher so that I will make more money? (Do you even know what you intended to imply?) I want taxes to be higher so that we can maintain reasonable conditions in schools, notably lower class sizes. I am not interested in this “Golden Pot” to which you so cleverly (or bizarrely) allude.

  • J.R.

    Ms.J
    In short, as long as the monetary tax river flows I think you would be satisfied with status quo babysitting(highly paid babysitting of course). There is always that nice pension at the end of the rainbow “The Golden Pot” and all you need to do is stick around(keep breathing) and not exert yourself too much and the taxpayers will take care of you until your time comes.You’re welcome!

  • J.R.

    Livegreen,
    I’ve already covered this but bureaucracies are like a pyramid scheme(the longer you have been in it the higher you go with more pay higher rank), and consequently the people on top make the decisions, and they are not going to lay themselves off, it just won’t happen.

  • Gordon Danning

    J.R.:

    How odd that you assume that Ms. J “would be satisfied with the status quo babysitting[.]” I guess that is how you would act, since you seem to assume that is the norm. Or, do you assume yourself morally superior to Ms. J, whom you have never met?

    Ms. J EXPLICITLY said that she would use extra money to lower class sizes. If you want to argue that most teachers want extra money, fine. But lay off the personal attacks; they make you sound like – well, lets just say you make Charlie Sheen look good.

  • J.R.

    Gordon,
    The record speaks for itself, numbers don’t lie and excuses don’t fly(the records are there for all to see). I meant what I said 100% to whomever it applies to, (and they know who they are)so if it doesn’t apply to her then she has already figured that out and it wouldn’t bother her. The kids aren’t just incidental here they are the reason a teacher has the opportunity to do what they do(If anyone doesn’t feel that way, I promise you we won’t shed a tear when they leave the profession). If you haven’t got the message or are oblivious that taxpayers have had enough, just pay attention to the news. I am only sorry that the good teachers are caught up in all this negativity, it’s a shame.

  • gordon danning

    JR:

    Don’t you think you would have a better claim to the moral high ground if you were to take responsibility for your actions? Your original post explicitly referred to Ms. J, yet now, instead of being a man and apologizing, you claim that you were referring to someone else.

    But, of course, you don’t have to; it’s your funeral.

  • J.R.

    Gordon,
    I stated that I meant what I said, I never backtracked, if she(or anyone is defensive then it must bother them for personal reasons(whoever the description fits, I don’t care). It is what it is, and I won’t back away from it. Once again the good and dedicated teachers have my sympathy, for the ride is about to get really rough(even for you). There is also a spike in retirements coming(pension tsunami)so it only gets worse from here for the taxpayer.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Um, all the talk is about seniority?

    How about the fact that 10 librarians and 10 art teachers are being cut?

    That class sizes are going to go through the roof?

    That morale among those teachers left in each school is going to plummet?

    That kids will forever have learned the lesson that when it comes to fancy cars or well-staffed schools their society chose the former?

    That 231 elementary school teachers who CHOSE this underpaid, overworked profession are going to be handed a note saying “you might want to look for another career” this week?

    Have some perspective on what is happening.

    Nobody has seen anything like this since Prop. 13.

  • oakland teach

    Thank you Crankyteacher. I am most likely going to be one of those teachers and I am still trying to figure out the chance that I will be without a job next year.

    Is there info on how far up you need to be on the senority list to be safe?
    I’ve been with OUSD for 4 years.

    The only thing my principal is saying is that she doesn’t know who will be teaching my class next year. Does that mean a teacher with more senority might take my job?

  • Ms. J.

    J.R.,
    I am not defensive. I am reflective on my own practice. As a teacher, as a parent, as a banjo player or a hiker or whatever I do, I try to improve. I think this is an important way to be. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done my best and sometimes I feel I haven’t. In the former case I feel proud; in the latter, I feel bad and then try to improve. If someone is spending a lot of energy telling me I’m no good, I try to figure out why, separate out the truth from their own psychological issues, and make the changes necessary.

    But to put aside the personal part–I feel offended by your attacks, whether they are meant towards me or not, because I feel solidarity with the other people who spend their days in schools, trying to serve children and their families.

  • Starshaped

    J.R.,

    If I were a babysitter, I’d be paid more. 25 kids x $10 an hour x 7 hours a day x 5 days a week. I’d make more in one week than in two months of my regular salary. Plus, I’d have no lessons that I had to teach. No tests to give. No report cards to fill out. Freedom. I could sit them all in front of a tv set all day and have it entertain them while I get this wonderful golden pot of money. Yeah!

    Does anyone want to get into the highly paid babysitting racket with me?

  • J.R.

    Starshaped,
    That line of reasoning is well known, and it seems to make sense(at first glance), but it does not work that way these people get a fraction of what teachers do. Day care providers YMCA,Kindercare,puddles(who also change diapers BTW make 10-12 dollars per hr.)max.Teachers make $35-45 per hr or more in most bay area districts with more vacation time(summers off) and better hours and benefits. There is no comparison(although the good teachers do deserve these perks).

  • J.R.

    Starshaped,
    If it is so bad, you have the freedom to change careers(might be an improvement for the kids and for you too, who knows), and there will be all those new teachers that just got pink-slipped ready to step in(I take that back, the union has the system politically gamed and they would never allow that to happen)there is too much tax money riding on this. Oakland has too many small schools and teachers anyway(partly because people are leaving and taking the kids with them).