Part of the Bay Area News Group

Protesters take rally to superintendent’s front lawn

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 10:34 am in Uncategorized.

Staff Photojournalist
photo by Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

Oakland Superintendent Tony Smith and his family weren’t home on Tuesday evening when the anti-school closure rally at Lakeview Elementary moved to his house. They didn’t hear chanting demonstrators demanding that he reopen the closed elementary schools or quit his job, though they might have seen a sign left on his front porch that he was ruining OUSD. (KTVU documented some of it.)

In an interview last month, Smith told me that some of that some of the behavior in Oakland that “passes as activism” is actually bullying. I imagine he would put a rally outside his home, where his two elementary school-age children live, in the same category.

Would you, or do you think that’s an appropriate and/or effective action?

OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint said today that many Oaklanders are encouraged by the district’s direction under Smith, “although they might not go to the lengths of protesting in front of people’s houses.”

“He’s not going to be intimidated into changing course because he knows what’s necessary to create a school district that’s sustainable and that will work for all students,” Flint said.

(Another plug for our online polls about the superintendent: Share your views on Smith’s leadership and on his community schools vision.)

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  • Yazstremski

    That’s just SO wrong. What if both of his young daughters were there? How scary for them. In my opinion it weakens the entire Lakeview movement. I completely understand their frustration, but that was just incredibly inappropriate. Leave his family alone.

  • Nextset

    We have only begun to see the collapse of government services in CA. Although we are aware of the problems with schools we should pay more attention to the collapse of public safety.

    The prisons are being flushed out into the cities. The county jails are in no position to hold the criminals “transferred” there by the state legislature. The unwanted cons are being dumped onto the streets of the cities. We see them wandering around with their possessions in backpacks and plastic bags. Many of these hobos are adult drug and alcohol babies previously housed long term in the prisons.

    The state hospitals no longer exist to contain the defectives and to prevent them from reproducing. The counties are now expected to keep the insane who seem to end up living in bushes, cars and SRO rooms. And they reproduce like feral cats.

    And the hospitals and emergency rooms – well as you get older you will see for yourself what’s happening there.

    So these protesters whining that their primary school got closed… get a life. They are about to have a LOT more important things to protest about after November. For now they would do well to start investigating homeschool options – online grade schools. They are coming.

    I don’t like any of this – I think we baby boomers in CA actually had a pretty good deal when we were 10 years old. It’s too bad 10 year olds in the bay area now have so much less, and so much less to look forward to.

    That’s life. People had better start getting with the changes. It’s not like any of us have a choice.

    It’s a Brave New World. You’d better start paying more attention to Caste. It’s going to get harder to switch.

  • John

    Can somebody please clarify why people are so up in arms about these closures? I’m legitimately confused as to why people think it’s so crazy to shutter failing schools when the district is facing low enrollment and significant cuts. I feel for the people living in the Lakeview district but let’s think reasonably..

  • J.R.

    John,
    Truth be told, many people are P/O’ed because their nearby babysitting service is closed(this does not include those true parents who really do care and are involved in their child’s education). If the so-called activists were really well meaning and cared about the children they would have been involved parents from day one. I will say it again: Parenting is a VERB! It is something that you do, and its all about action.

  • Jan

    All three of you, nextset, jr and John are so right. Their kids will adapt to a new school just fine. They really need to get a grip on reality. You can’t always get what you want!

  • Stacey Smith

    Protesting a school closure on a school property or at school administration is really, really different than going to someone’s place of residence and disturbing a family in their home – people who had nothing to do with the decision one family member made at their place of work. I too, cannot stop thinking of how scary that would be for young children. I respectfully suggest the anti-school closure protestors who did this crossed a line. I hope that they reconsider this tactic and move any further protests to OUSD administration and away from people’s homes.

  • Yazstremski

    Very interesting link to the Save Our Schools web page
    (highlighted above – moved to his house). Not sure what they are going to do, their demands are not reasonable and there is no way any of them are going to happen. What are these parents going to do? Are their children going to go to school in the park across the street when school begins in August? I just don’t get it and cannot condone their actions when they’ve decided to make this personal and go to his home. That is just making it worse. All 3 of the schools that the kids are being reassigned to (Crocker, Cleveland and Lincoln) are better than Lakeview. The kids will do great, they’ll adjust and be welcomed by new friends, teachers and the larger school community. Stop the hipocrisy…protect their own kids but frighten Tony Smith’s 2 young girls…not going to do anything but give them some bad press.

  • Adams Point Mama

    From what I’ve seen, there are only a handful of actual Lakeview parents involved in these protests — this issue has been hijacked by the Occupy Oakland crowd for their own political agenda. They don’t represent the community at all.

    As Yaztremeski notes, three out of the four schools that the Lakeview cachement has been rerouted to are 10s! Among the best schools in the state! Even the lower-performing fourth school (Piedmont Avenue) is a safe, welcoming and achievement-oriented school that I believe is on the rise. Lakeview was a 3. Very few neighborhood families sent their kids there — only 40% of 5th graders from Lakeview tested proficient in math and English.

    The protestors do not have the best interests of the children at heart. If they did, where were they before? Why didn’t they volunteer at the school, raise money for the school, work to help improve the school? It’s just part of their anarchist agenda. If you drive by any of the protests, you’ll see who’s really behind this — and aside from one or two people, it’s not parents of children in the OUSD.

  • TJ

    Sounds like something from Remember the Titans.

  • Allison Rodman

    This is so wrong! Tony and his family do not deserve this kind of dangerous action. I am ashamed of our community. This is an extension of the worst parts of the Occupied movement and I urge the community to stand up to such mean spirited and bullying behaviour. I was out of town when this occurred and feel remiss that I was not here to protect Tony and his family.

  • Committed Teacher

    Lakeshore was failing in many regards and they weren’t able to turn things around -I know a number of good teachers there, but it’s complicated….
    I would NEVER send my child to a school where they are exposed to the exhaust of cars on I-580 all day long. For that reason alone, the school should be closed.
    Taking the protest to Tony Smith’s home is despicable.

  • makeitgoaway

    In the 1996 teachers strike I recall marches to the Sup. and school board members houses. This is a long standing American political tradition in major political parties. Unfortunately, the Klan also did this and more…

    If the protestors were well behaved, and do not harass the Sup. then this comes with the paycheck.

  • Yazstremski

    @Make…
    Seriously…he is not an elected official, you say “political” about 3 times in your comment. This is not coming from a major political party. It’s a group of people with nothing better to do and they are making the situation worse. Very few of them are even Lakeview parents. Its an “Occupy Oakland” group and they had no interest in any of this until they was another place to put a camp and be a nuisance.

    FYI…all of their “protesting” and there is no one left down there, even the park across the street has been empty for 2 days. It is outright harassment and I would not call placing signs on his private property, chanting “resign” or a crowd ouside a home with 2 young girls in it ANYTHING but bullying.

  • GV Haste

    I remember back in the 90′s, they did the same thing.
    All the protesting teachers and others got into their cars, drove to the house of the then Supt.
    20 or 30 cars, on his street, honking, yelling, chanting.

    I lived 6 doors up the block.
    The thing the honking protestors never planned for were the neighbors. They came outside into the street, blocked the cars front and rear, stopped the whole procession and began banging on the hoods of the cars, yelling at the protestors.

    You should have seen the faces of the protestors.
    They didn’t know what to say. They couldn’t drive over the neighbors and couldn’t get out of their cars to make them stop pounding on the hoods.

    I’ve never seen protestors so confused, when “the people” turn on them. After 15 minutes of being trapped, they sculked out the neighborhood with their tails between their legs.

    A night to remember.

  • Nontcair

    Smith’s $265K salary merits a very LOUD public protest on his front doorstep.

    On what basis does Smith deserve to get paid that much? Please don’t try to justify it on the size on his empire.

    Once again we see why it’s a terrible idea to allow the government to pick winners and losers.

  • Super

    Non,

    As long as there are people like you involved in this or any other movement, the movement will never get anywhere. You are a voice of the vast, vast minority. If that appeases you, so be it. But you will never get anywhere, policy-wise.

    How you can advocate going to a person’s home and terrorizing him and his family, I will never understand. You are as bad, if not worse, than those you rail against. And that’s why you and those who advocate extreme measures will never have any influence of any significance.

    Please continue.

  • Nontcair

    You call-out a political appointee like Tony Smith for being a true 1%‘er — that is, a special interest beneficiary of a costly and extremely unwise government (political) policy — and right away a supporter of the status quo accuses you of advocating terrorism. As if I had advocated that OPD smash in Smith’s door in the middle of the night with a battering ram and haul off his pajama-clad family in handcuffs.

    Smith’s opponents need to be camped out on the (public) street in front of his house. As though it were Lafayette Park.

    The person who’s forced to pays taxes to support a special interest is as bad as the special interest.

    The person forced by the government to financially support a government policy which s/he disagrees with is as bad as the politicians who control the government.

    I see.

  • Super

    Go to his place of work. Don’t go to his home where his wife and children live.

    But as long as these are your movement’s tactics, you will never achieve your goals because the best you can hope for is support from the fringe, nothing more. Good luck with that.

    In other words, all your left with is ranting on the internet.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Remember this event. It signals the continued degradation of civil society. There is simply no excuse nor reason for this. These are people who claim to care about children.

    I believe they need to teach their children that even when angry, there are rules. Even when challenged, you do not stoop yourself.

    The personalization of disagreement is grinding this entire country to a halt and we are teaching it to our kids.

    SAD!

  • Nextset

    TheTruthHurts:

    The problem with your position about what other people should do is you (and those who think this way) continue to believe that other people are “like” you and do/think as you do. So you are easily “shocked”…

    The US is no longer a cohesive country thanks to the Kennedy/Democratic party decision in the 60′s to saturate the US with 3rd worlders in huge numbers. While the protesters in the photo appear to be white – even whites have been affected by the new norms brought into the country.

    So they are quite free to use whatever tactics they please in acting up and complaining. This is no longer the USA of the 1960s where there were rules you didn’t cross. Anything goes.

    Here we are only talking about disturbing the peace in a residential neighborhood – a crime not readily committed in 1960 and never tolerated. Nowadays if you go into an urban area and get into the slightest dispute while driving in traffic with the occupants of another car you may have guns drown on you or be bodily assaulted. Or maybe the same thing can happen any moment while in a movie theater or restaurant.

    You cannot have open borders on top of a 3rd world country and not become a 3rd world country – especially while trying to run a welfare nation.

    “I believe they need to teach their children that even when angry, there are rules. Even when challenged, you do not stoop yourself.”

    “They” are teaching “their” children to take what they want by any means. Other children are watching and making their own rules also. There is no money in the treasury to maintain public safety.

    Or public health for that matter, check out this article from today:

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/worst-tb-outbreakin-20-years-kept-secret/nPpLs/

    What do you think will happen in your public primary schools when this happens in Oakland? TB is here, coming in daily from Mexico. It’s only waiting for lax conditions to allow it to spread like a fire. We used to control immigration and use detention/examination facilities like Ellis Island to keep such things from happening here. No More. Anything Goes.

    The trends are clear. You are going to be shocked a lot in the decade to come and standards in the USA continue to degrade to Mexico City and Mogadishu standards.

    By the way, go see the new movie “Savages”. Great Movie. These things are already going on in the USA as the NarcoCartels establish themselves here.

    Brave New World.

  • Nontcair

    OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint said today ..

    According to SJMN, Flint makes about $120,000 per year.

    Now what’s all this talk about OUSD serving the needs of poor kids?

  • J.R.

    Non,
    Well, Flint could be the district spokesman/model, and public outreach officer. If he gets paid like two people, maybe he does the work of at least that many people. As I said before(and Carole Quan inadvertently backs up my point on this), when rivers of taxpayer money are flowing, who knows or cares about where a few million dollars go here or there in a big multimillion dollar enterprise?

    Did you ever notice how many school boards and Superintendents will tell you that admin salaries(near or exceeding six figures) are insignificant parts of the budget, and yet they let go dozens of librarians, Educational Paras, lunch workers etc?

  • J.R.

    Here’s the clip of Carole Quan in action(with a cameo from the mayor):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lHEPOwKA_k

  • Nontcair

    The jobs of two people?

    The same website values Smith’s compensation package at $350,000!

    Smith should be able to speak for OUSD *and* himself.

    I get a little ticked off because so often when I read a media report about public education the article makes reference to some education bureaucrat with a (usually) ridiculous title who makes a 6++ figure salary.

    Once again we see a government bureaucracy working for the financial interests of insiders instead of the “public good” it was purportedly chartered to serve.

  • J.R.
  • http://www.thrivingstudents.org/47 Troy Flint

    @nontcair: Just for the record, I don’t make anywhere near $120,000 a year; I make well under $100,000. But if SMNJ (whatever that is) wants to give me a raise I’m all ears.

    The Tribune catalogs public salaries based on actual data, not wild guesses with no basis in fact. Here’s a link to their database: http://www.insidebayarea.com/salaries/

    - troy

  • Observer

    Hmmm. Actually Troy, you spoke too soon. on your own link with your package factored in, you do make almost $120k. My spouse and I are self-employed, family of 4. We pay out of pocket for everything granted you because of your job and it’s tens of thousands of dollars a year.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/salaries/bay-area/2011?appSession=871857043712&RecordID=&PageID=2&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=desc&CPIorderby=TCOE

  • J.R.

    Non,
    I was being somewhat facetious, and yet even as we write the taxpayer funded river of money in another California city is running dry.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Another-California-city-opts-for-bankruptcy-3697890.php

    http://www.fixpensionsfirst.com/calpers2012/

  • J.R.
  • http://www.thrivingstudents.org/47 Troy Flint

    @Observer – Yes, it’s true that cost of my employment- including the cost of benefits – is $120,000, but the post which began this conversation said that I “made” $120,000. I hope we can agree that in conventional language when you reference what someone “makes”, you’re typically referring to the salary they receive, not the total value of the employment package.

    In my case, the salary is $88,000, which is quite generous, particularly in comparison to the average teacher. I make no bones about that and feel fortunate for my position. Nevertheless, I do feel it is misrepresenting the issue to state that I make $120,000 as this would be assumed by most to represent salary and not total employment cost.

    Finally, while I don’t expect to convince anyone of my worth, I should note for the record that the media relations (spokesperson) role, is just one aspect of my overall duties in a department where two people (excluding the public access TV station) are responsible for communications for the entire district.

  • Nontcair

    SJMN: San Jose Mercury News (same source as #27)

    Why are defenders of the status quo always so eager to nit-pick a forum contributor’s subtlety? Anyone could go to that website (or #24) and quickly discover that the near $120K number is the estimated value of Flint’s *total* compensation package.

    It doesn’t make much difference to taxpayers whether public worker compensation is front-loaded (100% salary), back-loaded (100% PERS), or hybrid (sal+bene+pers); whether that worker is classified as a government employee or a contractor.

    What really matters to us is how much that worker is costing us in 2012 dollars. That’s an objective, standardized, cost accounting figure which we can use to compare apples.

    Since you brought up teacher salaries, those salaries are always quoted (low) using fuzzy accounting. I suppose for the political purpose of applying pressure to RAISE those salaries.

    Public school teacher compensation is based on a 180 day school “year”. Which is to say, a more objective salary figure would be closer to twice the published statistic.

  • Observer

    Troy–I and my spouse are both self-employed. We pay out of pocket for our health insurance to the tune of $1200 a month for a family of 4 with a $3500 deductible. We struggle to save for our retirement, but we do put something in to our account. Nothing like what the tax payers do for you.

    If we don’t work due to illness or vacation, volunteering in our kid’s schools, we simply don’t make money during those times. So we bust our behinds to make sure we can compensate for the time missed.

    I personally have no issues with public employees receiving good salaries, paid vacation and sick days, medical and life insurance. But I halt at retirement benefits. I’d rather you made a little bit more and were expected to plan for your own retirement like the rest of us poor saps (and for the record, both my spouse and I are college educated with graduate degrees).

    As a public employee, you’d be wise to remember that “the public” will never, “agree that in conventional language when you reference what someone “makes”, you’re typically referring to the salary they receive, not the total value of the employment package.” Private institutions (Wells Fargo comes to mind) often offer very decent packages to their employees and they don’t even come close to what state employees receive. “The Public” sees your whole package and they see what it costs THEM. If you had to pay out of your own pocket for those perks that are denied most working people, you’d understand the faux pas you just made.

  • Nontcair

    #32, who self-identifies as being half of a dual private sector income household, wrote: I personally have no issues with public employees receiving good salaries, paid vacation and sick days, medical and life insurance.

    Astonishing.

  • Marcia

    This member of the public absolutely agrees with Troy Flint that most people view what people “make” as their salary . I regard what I “make” as the gross amount that shows up on my paycheck. Separately, my employer pays for my health insurance and a very small contribution to a 401k. That’s not part of what I “make.”

    I find it extremely misleading when an account of someone’s pay includes the person’s benefits package–unless that’s made very clear. Combining the two & not saying you’re doing so is, I think, an intentional technique to misrepresent what people are paid.

  • Observer

    @#34

    I’m no champion of the diatribe from some posters here, but…

    #21 quotes the exact same website Troy posts himself. Hardly misleading.

    #33
    Of course, why is that a shock? I believe all people are entitled to fruits of their labor beyond full bellies and a roof over their head. This means the right to be excepted when ill, the need for time off to rest and play, the right to attend to familial needs and an education for the next generation. “I” believe I have that right-why would my goal be to take it from someone else? It’s not unattainable, we’re able to develop in that direction and that if modern soceities don’t figure it out, we will dissolve into what Nextset’s says we already are.

    Yup, that and we need pension reform immediately.

  • Teacher

    Nontcair says “Public school teacher compensation is based on a 180 day school “year”. Which is to say, a more objective salary figure would be closer to twice the published statistic.”

    Are you suggesting that almost every other person in this country works 360 out of 365 days? If not, let’s use 36/52(weeks of the year), which is actually about 70 percent, not 50 percent.

    (While I do know many others also take work home with them, I do want you to remember that almost every teacher works AT LEAST 8 hours each week beyond their paid time … so that is another 52 days of work a year. And that works out to a total workload of about 46 weeks a year — a conservative estimate of what most teachers actually work.)

  • Super

    Observer, surely you are aware that pension reform is a significant local, state, and national issue. Pension programs are collapsing, disintegrating, disappearing everywhere. We do need pension reform. To call for it immediately is also desired, but completely unrealistic. But it will happen.

    Troy need not apologize to anyone. From my vantage point, he deserves every penny and more. I imagine this job comes with significant stress and long hours. At $88k/year and without additional income, it would be difficult these days for Troy to save for a 20% down payment on a house in a decent Oakland neighborhood where a 3/2 could easily cost $600k. How does one save $120k on such a salary? Would not be easy. The American dream is not easily attained in the Bay Area by working in the public sector. That’s too bad. But I’m glad we have guys like Troy working for OUSD.

    And the “total compensation” BS is a red herring. Nobody calculates benefits into salary. Come on people.

  • Observer

    How could someone making $88,000 save enough for a down payment for a house that costs $600,000? First of all, there are PLENTY of homes in “decent” neighborhoods in Oakland for less than that. (Oh—perhaps the neighborhood school isn’t a 10?). I do not know Troy’s personal situation, but I’m assuming you’re using the example of a single, professional in Oakland? Not sure why that person would be chasing the “American” dream of a family home. That is usually a couple which would mean they would have the dual income of over $170,000 a year.

    Anyway, you asked how. Well, there are plenty of moderately priced apartments in Oakland in very good neighborhoods. A basic Lake Merritt 1br/1ba apt can be had for $1100 a month with parking. After paying income taxes on that $88k, that leaves this person with about $60+k. Rent and other living expenses could be done easily for $25k, leaving $35k. This person does not have to save for their retirement or pay for insurance, so they could easily save $25k a year for 5-6 years and buy that family home. If they were partnered with a like-salaried professional it would be less time. You’d have to save, you’d have to budget. That was true 30 years ago and it will be true in 30 years. It’s also true that this is not necessarily everyone’s dream nor should it be.

    Public employees need to get used to the fact that the public is going to scrutinize how much they really cost taxpayers.

  • Super

    I’d quibble with some of your statements and estimates but that’s not really the point. The point is that $88k plus benefits is not an unreasonable salary, particularly given the cost of living in the Bay Area.

  • Observer

    It’s reasonable and generous, not unreasonable. It’s also reasonable—even in the Bay Area—that someone bringing home $90k a year should be expected to contribute to their own retirement.

    The reflection that only neighborhoods where the starter home costs $600k as “decent” is enlightening.

  • J.R.

    True total cost is less deceptive than using average pay because there are many people working less than full(ex)FTE.1 FTE.5 FTE 1.0 . I don’t have the numbers but I would love for someone to dig them up. BTW, a decent house in a decent neighborhood can be had for far less than $600K. If we are going to delve in exaggeration, than a meaningful discussion will be difficult.

  • Marcia

    People, why are we attacking the few people left who DO have real pensions instead of being mad as hell that we DON’T have real pensions??

  • Nontcair

    The standard work week in the US private sector is 40h x 50w. That’s ~250 work days, plus 10 paid vacation days (plus assorted paid holidays). It is common (and reasonable) for such salaries to be quoted at *weekly* rates.

    A simple x52 calculation provides a pretty accurate annual figure.

    I’m guessing that a public school teacher’s nominal work day is <= 7 hours. We don't credit "professional" employees for the "extra" time they voluntarily put in at home or by coming in on weekends.

    The point is that teacher salaries only *appear* low due to politically motivated manipulation of statistics.

    A $50,000 per year teacher works about 36 weeks (as you stated). To a reasonable approximation, that teacher is actually making $72,000.

    Guessing again, but I believe a public education administrator, district spokesperson, etc works a more “traditional” work year. By that measure the $88K spokesman is making just a little more than the teacher, and the difference could possibly be attributed to the differnces in length of work day, the number of paid holidays, and so forth.

    Again though, what really matters to taxpayers is our real, discounted, current TOTAL out-of-pocket expense (sal+ben+pers).

    As for your believing that public employees are entitled to some sort of professional-level minimum wage, that is politicizing labor. In the real world, wages are a function of supply and demand, with premiums awarded based on objective measures of productivity. Not on what you or some elected official believes workers *should* make.

  • Gordon Danning

    Montclair:

    You say that “[i]n the real world, wages are a function of supply and demand, with premiums awarded based on objective measures of productivity. Not on what you or some elected official believes workers *should* make.”

    That is not entirely true. Governments often intervene in markets when markets fail to produce the amount of specific goods and services that society deems equitiable or socially optimal. The production of K-12 education is one obvious example — consumers are not free to choose whether to purchase a K-12 education, but rather are compelled to do so. (Similarly, car owners are compelled to purchase insurance and smog checks). Moreover, education has massive positive externalities, so that, were it left to the market, the market would produce an amount of education that is far less than that which is socially optimal.

    So, it is poor economics to argue that it is inappropriate to set teacher salaries at a level higher than that set by the market. (Note: This is not say to whether the current level of teacher salaries is either above or below what is socially optimal).

  • Nontcair

    Talk about politicizing labor!

    Once again we see someone wanting to use public education as a *political* institution. In this case, to use it to set a floor beneath teacher wages and to “fix” what he perceives to bw a flaw in the law of supply and demand.

    How and when did public education acquire such a grand mission? Indeed, that one seems to trump public education’s original mission to teach kids how to read.

    Optima?! The problems of public education can be solved through intelligent application of matrix algebra.

  • Gordon Danning

    Montclair:

    I thought I took pains to make clear that I was not expressing an opinion re the propriety of current teacher wages.

    To clarify, if the provision of education were left solely to the market, there would be no such thing as a free education. Instead, as is the case with most products, only those who could afford an education would get one. In other words, the market would produce far fewer “educatiins” than it does now.

    Long ago, our society decided that such an outcome would be both inequitable — because poor kids would not get educated — and suboptimal — because society would be better off (including vastly richer) if more kids were educated. That is called a “market failure.” In such circumstances, the government must intervene in the market. None of this is my opinion. Rather, it is high school-level economics and is no more controversial than the law of supply and demand itself.

    Thus, the fact that most goods are produced by the market and most workers paid according to supply and demand (except for minimum wage laws) says little about whether it is just or poor policy to pay teachers a wage above that that would begenerated by the laws of supply and demand.

  • Nontcair

    “Our” society. Really.

  • Nextset

    Gordon Danning: I don’t see any education going on for poor kids in OUSD and similar districts.

    None.

    I had dinner last night with a School district employee – not OUSD. She mentioned that there were 30 white kids in the large high school she worked at. We wondered what was wrong with those families. She said Algebra was required even though half of the students were not suitable for an algerba class and simply failed the class continuously until “graduation”. The school felt forced to continuously re-enroll these failures because it was a “required” course. It doesn’t occur to them to just ignore stupid regs since the kids in question can’t ever pass the class or the tests.

    Prole students flee the schools constantly (the campus has no perceived value to them) but when they do the school reports them to welfare and their parent(s) welfare grant is cut. The kids are produced by the parent(s) to get the grant restored and immediately the child flees the school again. I have no problem with that concept. The school is a place of humiliation and inappropriate placement, a dangerous place filled with gang soldiers. Her school is designated for the principal gang in the area, their adversary gang members go to another high school. This segregation is crucial because gang members are more than occasionally ordered to attack and kill rival gangsters and may not refuse to do so. The schools have accordingly been segregated by gangs. This is another thing you will not see on the school webpage, along with the Herpes rate.

    At least in the gang issues the schools are no longer trying to be PC and expect everybody to get along.

    These urban public school districts stopped educating years ago. Only those who want to believe can be fooled anymore.

    So I am not voting for any tax increases for more of the same of this. I believe the time has come to close these districts and widely disperse the urban chillun into independent schools, with no civil service employees. I’d use the districts to keep the records for the independents so they can go in and out of business as needed with the student records and test scores maintained by the government. Perhaps allow the districts to administer standardized testing so the schools cannot rig their scores.

    Brave New World.

  • Gordon Danning

    Montclair:

    “Our society” – well, that is the inference I draw from the fact that the voters in Calif voted to spend 40% of state spending on K-12 education, and that said spending has long been the single largest category of state spending in California and, I’m sure, every other state.

    PS: If it makes you feel any better, even if public school teachers’ salaries were set by supply and demand, they would almost certainly be higher than those of private school teachers, as well as most workers with equivalent education. That is because the supply of public school teachers is probably “lower” than that of private school teachers and other similarly educated workers. (But, not as “low” as the supply of prison guards or police officers, to name two other sets of public employees).

    I hope that makes you feel better.

  • Nontcair

    Democracy = 50% + 1 = mob rule = uncivilized society. Maybe that equals *your* society since you obviously agree with the policy.

    The reason there is a perceived problem with the supply of public school teachers is because there is a perception among some people (some of whom even contribute to this forum) that:

    1) public school teachers *must* have a minimum “education level”
    2) all kids *must* go to school
    2a) from about the ages of 6 to 16
    2b) for about a minimum of six hours per day,
    2c) for about a minimum of 180 days per year

    IOW, the “shortage” is a natural consequence of the political policy of protectionism for the public education unions. Is that what you meant by “our society decided ..”?

    Without such political interventionism the number of parents seeking education services for their kids, as well as the number of teachers required to provide such services, would be drastically REDUCED.

    Of course some people consider a rational expression of consumer preference to be “sub-optimal”. Perhaps such individuals would also like to see the US government optimize the number of American-made autos and fast-food burgers purchased each year?

    As for your hunch that the market price of public school teachers is actually *greater* than what they’re now being paid, I find that very questionable. Back in my day, Catholic school teachers were Nuns who did a pretty competent job for VERY LITTLE money.

    But how should I know? The Sisters never taught us economics.