January 21, 2007
"Ample provision" is a function of both funding and expenses

Saturday's Seattle Times applauds the educators' bogus lawsuit demanding that the state "fully fund" education:

the lawsuit is an appropriate tool to spur lawmakers into obeying Article IX of the state constitution, mandating that the state make ample provision for the education of all children.
Like every other inadequate argument for "adequate" education funding, the Times only demands more spending, without discussing how the money should be spent.

But as a recent UW study has found, much spending is wasted: "Rethinking Teacher Contracts Could Free Billions for School Reform". The lawsuit assumes that the judiciary may second-guess and redo decades of legislative appropriation decisions. Under the same theory, a reasonable judge could also rule that the correct remedy for ensuring that current spending equates with "ample provision" is to replace existing union contracts and counter-productive work rules, imposing accountability for results and performance-based compensation.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at January 21, 2007 12:35 PM | Email This
1. Teachers are overpaid for their part time job as it is... of course there are ways to save money or redirect it.

Posted by: Hinton on January 21, 2007 12:39 PM
2. I posted the link to Dr. Rozas' study on a prior thread. Let me repeat my mantra: the institutional structure is broken and cannot be fixed. The sooner there is competitin in education, the better. The thesis is this: For the same amount of money, we could get better results for more kids if there is competition in the education sector. A charter school district is a good starting point.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 12:45 PM
3. Sadly unbelievable.

An old college friend is a super in a district N of here and in his district, a beginning teacher with a wife and 2 kids makes such crappy wages that his kids get federally-subsidized hot lunches at school.

Translation: welfare for teachers' kids.

You don't DESERVE competition as long as we pay teachers such crappy wages. With whom are you going to "compete" in this scenario?

IF I were to give up my private sector job and go back to teaching, my sanity would be questioned by any impartial 3rd-party observer.

And now let the ad hominem attacks begin, with the rare substantive attempt to rebut.

Posted by: Jim on January 21, 2007 12:59 PM
4. "a beginning teacher with a wife and 2 kids makes such crappy wages that his kids get federally-subsidized hot lunches at school."

How much is the "beginning teacher" making?

Why does a "beginning teacher" have a wife and 2 kids?

I don't want to appear mean, but I think these questions are appropriate.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on January 21, 2007 01:25 PM
5. Thanks, Jim.

Gosh, none of us have ever heard that fact before.

What a shocker: teachers underpaid?? Who would have thought.....

Why, in the private sector, performance is rewarded. Who would have thought....

Why, in the private sector, incompetence results in termination. Who would have thought......

Oops, education in WA is a socialist wet dream where all according to their needs, belly up to the bar you stupid taxpayers, and dont pester us about results...

Jim, remember, tomorrow, report to work at WEA headquarters....and take your pills....

Posted by: Hank on January 21, 2007 01:30 PM
6. The problem with Washington public education is not the amount of money spent, and teacher pay is only fraction (check out how much your local superintendant & assistant superintendant(s) earn). The real problem is the majority of school funding is being leached away from students by State & local administration, less than 1/3 of education dollars get to the classroom with the students. Far too many expensive chiefs.

Another large drain is the amount classroom time required to be spent on subjects other than the 3 R's, and the fact that schools are allowed so few discipline options. Special interests are very active in the classroom.

Public education in Washington State is seriously broken. It dosen't need tweeked, it needs tossed out the window and started over into something that actually serves children and their education. Where classrooms and teachers are not DEAD LAST in a long, expensive funding chain.

There is actually alot of money dedicated to Washington education. The more you look, the more disgusted you will become at the amount of money spent and wasted outside the classroom.

Posted by: dl on January 21, 2007 02:18 PM
7. If you go to the Microsoft campus, you'll note that most of the buildings are architectural clones of each other. This is often the case at Boeing as well. Now, observe that every public school in Washington (elementary, middle school or high school) is a unique engineering and architectural project. Even when a school wins a major building design award, that plan is never used again. Thus, if there are 25 students to a class and we're spending $10,000 per student to educate, there should be $250,000 allotted to that teacher with some administration and building costs. Instead, Washington squanders all of their educational funding on building, "management" and Union waste. It's also why they fail so miserably--it's a business plan that no one else could afford to adopt.

Posted by: Walters on January 21, 2007 02:25 PM
8. The point is this:

1. Take the dollars allocated to the current education system and give those dollars to a different institutional structure like charter school districts in which every school is a charter.

2. The thesis is this:

1. Competition among the various schools for students would produce more efficiency.

2. Students would go to better performing schools and there would be a better educational outcome in terms of more students acquiring a basic education.

3. Reduced administrative costs would lead to higher teacher salaries, particularly if the emphasis is on teaching basic skills. If the principal actually runs the school with a board and is accountable for results (could be fired). Administrative costs could be reduced at the district level.

The unions and elites are scared to death of this proposal because:

1. They are invested in the status quo

2. An educated population decreases the supply of useful idiots, particularly in communities of color

3. This is a free market approach and threatens their idea of a socialist paradise like Cuba.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 02:28 PM
9. The primary job is to teach the kids. So the key to "adequate" is how well are the kids learning.

If we don't have a good measurment system in place and we don't stick to it, how will we ever know whether we have reached the "adequate" mark?

Throwing more money at the problem without a consistant way to measure student progress is useless and a waste of taxpayer money.

Do we have the right set of learning goals for our kids? Do we know how to tell if they have acheived the goals? Do we have measures in place to adjust when the kids fall short of the goals?

If we doubled teacher salaries today, would our kids all of a sudden be the best educated kids in the country?

Something else is the problem other than just money.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 21, 2007 03:07 PM
10. James Carville came up with the phrase "It's the economy, stupid" for the last Clinton campaign. It's the institutional stucture, stupid. We could bankrupt every government entity soon just building prisons. Perhaps, if there were actually schools that gave children a good basic education, we would need fewer prisons. There is not ever going to be enough money to fund the current public institutional structure. After elites and everyone else has fled, then support for public education will go with them. Many third world countries don't have public education systems, one of the reasons they are third world countries.

We are at a tipping point, the institutional stucture has to change and there has to be competition if public education in any viable form is to be saved.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 03:16 PM
11. In other sectors of the work force people are paid for an average 2080 hours of work per annum. 2080 hours with accepted vacation standards - not summer break, winter break, spring break, and those beloved "planning days" (to name a few non-teaching days) when the kids stay home. Ever seen a teacher who works 2080? Why should they expect a full-year's salary when repeatedly polled one of the top answers, if not the top answer for entering teaching, is "the free time."

Please don't barrage me with grading papers (often done by aides who should be helping kids with their reading and math), conferences, etc. There's always rhetoric about the "above and beyond" sacrifices teachers make. Often said - seldom seen.

I've known many teachers who work other jobs in their "spare time." I've known others who never have. The latter always seems to be more vocal about their financial "woes."

If teachers are to be paid commensurate with a 2080 work year then nurses, law enforcement, and firefighters - should start demanding to work the same annual hours as teachers - with no loss in pay. Heck, every worker should.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 21, 2007 03:19 PM
12. Here is the #1 albatross around the necks of Washington Taxpayers. It is hot off the press:

"Valuations are performed for all DRS-administered retirement systems on a yearly basis (October 1 to September 30).

The actuarial value of assets available as of the latest actuarial date, September 30, 2005, for all systems was $45,418 million. The accrued liability was $51,391 million. The accrued liability exceeds the net actuarial value of assets available for benefits by $5,973 million."

That's right folks, the Washington Retirement System is underfunded by $5.973 BILLION!!!!!!!!
Not my numbers.
Independent actuaries.
And that is as of 9/30/2005.
Nice Huh??
Should be on the front page.
$5.973 BILLION Underfunded.
States cannot operate under deficits.
This is the way State Democrats have shell-gamed around real deficits.
Underfund Retirements.
Why isn't the State Employees Union screaming?
This is as bad or worse than ENRON & WOLRDCOM.
They aren't screaming because they love the Gregoire massive spending plan creating more bureaucracy. Union feels comfortable taxpayers must pay someday. The ugly day of reckoning.

Rossi should be on TV about this shell-game.
Where is he?
Where are all of you??
Makes some of the other crap that is happening look like peanuts, doesn't it?

Oh and this report was as of 9/30/2005.
Do you really think it is BETTER today???

You don't get re-elected funding the Pension Fund though. Democrats want to spend more & more. Create Bureaucracy after Bureaucracy.
Eventually Conservatives will be elected to try & fix the mess. But it will be outrageously difficult.

Write letters to the editor on this one.
Bet they do not get published.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on January 21, 2007 03:26 PM
13. Where is the link to the Washington Retirement System Annual Report I am referring to:

$5.973 BILLION underfunded...and Gregoire wants more new spending?? How about taking care of her PAST obligations first??

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on January 21, 2007 03:29 PM
14. Mr. Cynical:

Even if the newspapers would print the info, they won't. People don't read newspapers. You would have a much better shot at getting the info out if you contacted the Daily Show.

The old communist system had classes even though it was supposed to be classless, in more than one way. The Komissars had their special stores and dachas. The secular progressive ideology, like the old Soviet system relies on clueless masses to support the corrupt system.

The bungled trial in Chelan will prove to be a watershed for this state on a lot of fronts:

1. It is now almost impossible to prove election fraud

2. The school systems will get worse not better

3. A one party system will ensure very little economic accountability.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 03:36 PM
15. In many districts, supplemental contracts pay instructional staff for days they neither work nor attend "professional development" sessions. The report notes that professional development is often a waste, so what then is the payment for time not even spent on professional development? You can see the number of days for which personnel in each district are paid by looking at Tables 35 and 35B at this page on the OSPI web site. Some pay for "not time related" purportedly extra duties, and some pay for quite a few "time related" days. It's a lot of extra pay for teachers that is usually ignored (unless, for example in Marysville a few years ago, the district tries to require the teachers to do something for that money that isn't a part of their ordinary duties). Why not direct that spending toward better education?

Posted by: Micajah on January 21, 2007 03:38 PM
16. Mr. Cynical is correct about the unfunded retirement programs. Everyone makes fun of Alabama and Mississippi as being ignorant, back-water states. 10 years from now, entire college economic classes are going to be taught about the giant Washington State economic meltdown and how it happened.

Posted by: Doc-T on January 21, 2007 04:08 PM
17. WVH & Doc-T--

I agree it is very difficult for the average person to grasp the magnitude of underfunded liabilities like this $5.973 BILLION.
Especially the New Age Progressives who live for feeling good today.
However, the best you can do is try to explain.
Remember how the Unions went nuts over Ford & GM?
Why not this???
Because Unions & LEFTISTS believe the Government is never broke. All they have to do is raise taxes, raise taxes, raise taxes. They truly feel it is a bottomless pit.

The day of reckoning is right around the corner. If we cannot put a dent into this $6 BILLION underfunded liability in the best times like we have now....what will happen WHEN the slowdown occurs??
Gregoire should put ALL the Surplus into this LIABILITY...but she won't. She should also look into how this huge LIABILITY really occurred. But she won't.
The Liability occurred folks because of the Bureaucratic game of pension based on highest 2 consecutive years!!! You should see some of the Pension calculations. They are PUBLIC RECORDS.
Clearly bureaucrats pumped either MASSIVE OVERTIME (like cops to get those 2 HUGE years) or they promoted each other.
I thought the Evergreen Freedom Foundation looked into this a couple years ago. If not, they should.
Can you imagine how many people played the High 2 year game??? It would serve them right to have their names & the facts put on-line for the world & their neighbors to see. The Unions love this con-game.
The information is there.
Good luck.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on January 21, 2007 04:30 PM
18. Tyler #11

You are absolutely correct about the hours that teachers work vs private sector. The gap is even larger however vs firefighters, who average over 2700 hours per year - nearly double that of an average teacher!

And Jim #3...there are very few entry level jobs that can support a spouse and 2 kids! Cops and firefighters sure can't...neither can most bankers or accountants. That's why it's called "entry level" - becuase you're usually young and just starting out. Take a look at what the teachers are making after 5, 10, 20 years on a PER HOUR basis and it is a significant salary-well over $100,000 IF they actually worked 2000+ hours per year- which they DON'T! The simple fact is that there is no amount of money which will be enough to fix all the problems becuase there is no one size fits all approach to education. The good teachers (and there are many) know that they could command higher wages in a competetive structure, but they are all weighed down by the unions and the incompetents!

Posted by: suzihomemaker on January 21, 2007 04:41 PM
19. 1) Beginning teachers are underpaid.
2) Many, but not all, veteran teachers are overpaid. We have teachers earning $60+ an hour in salary/benefits.
3) All WA teachers are grossly overcompensated as far as benefits are concerned.
4) The Legislature's decades old plan of a state salary schedule doesn't do a damn bit of good if the unions are allowed to blackmail districts into compensating them beyond what the state requires.
5) Every time the state grants a COLA for the teachers it is too high. COLA's should be granted but basing that on the most expensive county and also not subtracting out the cost of increase of health care which is basically already paid for, has cost this state Billions of dollars more than it should have.
6) The legislature needs to pass a law allowing districts to more easily remove underperforming teachers.

Posted by: Doug on January 21, 2007 04:42 PM
20. dl,

Your facts are a bunch of garbage. 2/3 of our school budget is classroom salaries/benefits. That doesn't account for support services, highly capable, etc., supplies for the classrooms, computer labs, etc.

In fact, when you compare Principal salaries on a per hour basis vs. teacher salaries, you will find that the teachers are paid just as much, they just don't have as many hours. And the teachers are paid just a bit less on a per contract hour of work than superintendents.

Posted by: Doug on January 21, 2007 04:56 PM
21. Demanding accountability? That's crazy talk! It will never, ever happen. Not here anyway.

Posted by: H Moul on January 21, 2007 05:26 PM
22. Competition in the education sector will have a positive benefit for all involved, except unions, union leadership, socialist Democrats, WEA administrators, etc. and that's why the entrenched power structure fights so hard, and spends so much money advertising the problems as coming from a lack of "ample" funding, etc.

If we brought in privatization, the entire teaching structure could be changed. Instead of union seniority, good teachers could be paid based on their ability to consistently generate high student achievement results. Also, much of the wasted money could be put more towards each student and towards teacher salaries. Teachers are the "product" that schools should be offering, but instead, they've become a refuge of uninspired union jobs. To be sure, there are some good teachers in public schools, but many quickly become disillusioned by seeing those with seniority get more pay for doing a poor job. To get excellent teaching talent, we need to inspire a competitive system that rewards the best and brightest who decide to our their talent into education. As long as education is treated as a welfare organization that is the province of government, rather than a profitable enterprise, we'll continue to attract mostly marginal teaching talent.

Education needs to be reformed from Kindergarten all the way up through the University system. Tenure, Seniority and Unions must be replaced by healthy competition that turns education into another competitive industry based on performance.

Without competition, schools will continue to decline, no matter how much "ample" funding the receive.

Posted by: Jeff B. on January 21, 2007 05:36 PM
23. During the depression of the 1030's, the Great State (er, Soviet) of Washington defaulted on state employee's pensions. What goes around will come around. Heh heh.

WEA--shove it.......

Posted by: Hank on January 21, 2007 06:11 PM
24. im with suzi at 18--
no one asks the painful question: what about the support staff and hordes of mid-managers cranking out papers & reports? are they needed? bi-lingual, special ed, etc etc counselors & every manner of staff per school; positions unheard of not long ago. basically, too many cooks & layers.

few tax dollars actually hit the desk & teachers because they are absorbed by the huge silent class behind them. a class, i dare say, is probably not needed or could be outsourced for efficiencies.

dont say "it cant be done" because i was a first hand witness to private schools running on a shoestring WITH superior discipline and 30-40 kids per class to boot.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 21, 2007 06:29 PM
25. The public school system in Washington state does need to be reviewed to see if it could be made better. We do rank near the bottom of money spent per pupil, but studies are inconclusive as to whether that matters in regards to student preformance. As with most things in a capitalist society though, competition helps bring out the best in everyone and schools may be no different. Our current system is not living up to what we want it to apparently, so we should be willing to experiement with new ways to educate our children, including charter schools and voucher systems.

Posted by: Dan on January 21, 2007 07:04 PM
26. As long as there no accountability education system will be broken. The cost is a black hole of expenses. Money does not fix a broken system. There are many great teachers who care about their students. But the system is setup to cause them to be discouraged. Eventually they become like other teachers. Why should I work so hard to teach while others do nothing and get paid to do nothing. Go through the motions is all that is required in the current educational system. Accountability and desire to really teach should be rewarded. New Teachers have the love of teaching they lack the experience and those around them to help guide around the bumps are not present.

Posted by: David Anfinrud on January 21, 2007 07:08 PM
27. Washington state schools should reuse good school designs. It would save the state and school districts money by only having to pay a second royalty and not an entire new firm for designs. It would also shorten the time needed before construction of a new school could begin. It is a great idea whose time has come.

Posted by: Dan on January 21, 2007 07:12 PM
28. "It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry." --Albert Einstein

Posted by: Ken on January 21, 2007 07:27 PM
29. I don't think it's a bad idea that the state should fully fund education, but only if it's done right...

Here are a few things to change, some might be controversial, others are just plain common sense.

1. All teachers are employees of the state, get rid of the teachers Union.
2. Design and define a state wide curriculum and implement it. There is no need to have the multitude of School districts and their own agendas, let alone their waste of administrative staff. For each teacher are more than 1 administrator/etc...that is ridiculous. Administration can be done by the state.
3. Make the teachers salary competetive based on education.
4. Create a salary structure where teachers pay is comprised of a basic salary based on level of experience and education (BS vs, MS, etc) plus an additional distribution based on location and family status. For example: A teacher in Seattle would get the same base pay, but get additional local add-on due to higher costs of living than a teacher in Ellensburg. If the teacher from Ellensburg moves to Seattle or Bellevue, his/her salary would be base plus the new local add-on. If you have a family and kids, the add-on would be higher than if not, etc. Many countries do this for their public service employees and I don't see a reason why not.
6. Get rid of the local school boards. Half of the people on the boards have no clue, the other half is just there to pontificate.

All this is easy to implement and would get rid of the various local agendas.

Posted by: Dutch on January 21, 2007 07:35 PM
30. Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen...

Posted by: The Firewalker on January 21, 2007 07:37 PM
31. It seems that New Jersey citizens have solved their taxing education problems...

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on January 21, 2007 07:38 PM
32. Teacher pay is not an issue, nor should it ever BE an issue.

These people, who took four years to learn a "skill" that is taught in one year in the various Master's in Teaching programs; presumably knew what the job would pay before they took it.

Thus, I am completely unmoved by the incessant whining and sniveling of teachers as to how much they are paid.

In fact, that they are paid at least enough, if not too much, can be verified at almost any school district web site.

How? Simple really...

Take a look at the job openings.

You would think that if the pay was so God-awful, school districts would have job after job open because there's no one to fill them... due to the so-called "low pay."

Look at your own school district's web site... and see for yourself.

SCHOOLS may need more money... but TEACHERS damned sure don't.

And at the end of the day... if teachers don't like what they're paid... then they should quit and go into something for the money.

But much more then that, how moronic is it to join in a field... to go thru a 4 year program (no matter how worthless it may be) without, apparently, knowing that the beginning pay is around $32K or so a year... a damned good wage for a 182 day per year job.

Teachers should vote with their feet when it comes to their career.

That teachers are NOT underpaid is proven by the fact that almost 100% of all certificated teaching positions in this state are full.

Certainly, if teachers WERE underpaid... that would NOT be the case.

Further, when one looks At the abysmal test scores and the horrific drop out rate... many of these "teachers" are lucky they get paid anything at all.

Posted by: Hinton on January 21, 2007 07:52 PM
33. Dutch:

I have to disagree with you on a couple of points:
1. All teachers are employees of the state, get rid of the teachers Union.

It would be very difficult to de-certify the union given the composition of the legislature. The case in front of the US Supreme Court might give some clues regarding future legal options.
A better option would be charter schools where there is no requirement to join a union.

2. Design and define a state wide curriculum and implement it.

The RCW defines basic education. That should be the standard for all schools. The problem is every population of kids is different, so schools should have the flexibility that charters allow:
These should be options:
a. longer school days
b. longer school terms
c. single gender classes
d. uniforms

3. Make the teachers salary competetive based on education.

Here, I disagree. Compensation should be based upon the ability to produce achievement in a population of children. Pay for results.

4. Create a salary structure where teachers pay is comprised of a basic salary based on level of experience and education (BS vs, MS, etc) plus an additional distribution based on location and family status.

Let competition determine this. There shouldn't be a set salary schedule. Let the individual charters determine salary and benefits.

As for New Jersey, third world countries often do not fund free public education which is one of the reasons they are third world countries. New Jersey is a text book example of a one party corrupt system where the corruption is so endemic that people look for horrible ways around the corruption and the entrenched corrupt system(s).
We all have a duty to be responsible citizens. I know that secular progressives have devalued the concept of citizenship, but there is a social compact. We should all be responsible to ensure that public schools give all children an opportuntity for a good public education. Third world countries often do not offer free public education and that is one of the reasons they remain in the third world. Corruption is the other reason and the fact that internationalists who are secular progressives on a global scale are moral relativists. They wink and nod at the corruption in third world countries. The current institutional structure does not work and more money will not make it work. Our duties as citizens, if we want a vibrant economy and strong political system, is to work for a system of free public education that offers a good basic education.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 08:05 PM
34. Do you notice that no one ever claims that the public school administrators are underpaid?

The claim is only that the teachers are underpaid.

So for every 160,000 school administrator that should be dumped,

You could raise 32 teachers pay by $5,000 per year

Without any tax raises

Without any loss

Without any effort

Posted by: GS on January 21, 2007 08:05 PM
35. Dan @ 27.

You make a very valid point. I was a boomer in a district that did just that. Matter of fact most of the state I grew up in did just that. Schools couldn't be built fast enough in those days. Construction speed and costs savings were incredible because of using standard blueprints.

Amazingly many of those same facilities are still standing and fully functional. No asbestos problems, no lead in the water pipes and no earthquake problems in an area that's synonymous with earthquakes.

Another fact of life is that as a boomer my class pictures show 30++ kids in my grammar school classes every year. Several kids spoke Spanish at home and immersed at school without bilingual instruction. Many kids were military brats and new faces arrived as old faces left throughout the school year. No teachers' aides. Teachers handled recess duty. No separate PE teacher, no music teacher except for one or two of the regular teachers who handled that job as other duties. No student days off or short days for "teacher planning," parent-teacher conferences, or similar "necessities."

Now we're living in an age where schools are being closed as those same districts demand funding for new construction - as in Seattle School District Prop.1 on the upcoming ballot.

My school was named and still is after a white, male heterosexual who prospered from the defense industry. That would never be allowed today and I'm surprised the school hasn't been burned down because of the name. Oh wait, the old school isn't in Seattle so I don't have to worry about a mysterious fire.

Oh well, we're also living in an era where kids can't have PB&J sandwiches anywhere near a school because of the dreaded peanut allergy. I guess there were countless peanut allergy kids dropping over in the boomer days but everyone was too ignorant and insensitive to notice.

My seven grammar school teachers were and still are my heroes. Plus they let us, actually made us, play dodgeball.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 21, 2007 08:06 PM
36. Dutch @ 29,

Much of what you suggest works in Hawaii - a statewide district that provides equally for all schools. A statewide district that has a wide variety of economic, social, cultural, and geographic issues to contend with. Now if they could only stop "Kill haole day."

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 21, 2007 08:16 PM
37. Tyler and Dutch:

I have to disagree with you about public school and school choice in Hawaii. A Hertiage foundation report says the following:

Hawaii offers little public school choice. The state has a weak charter school law. Hawaii has a higher proportion of students in private schools than most states.[1]

SAT weighted rank (2003): 18th out of 25 states and the District of Columbia

ACT weighted rank (2003): N/A

ALEC Academic Achievement Ranking: 44th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia


My goal is a publically funded system that is competitive and gives all children an opportuntity for a good basic education.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 08:36 PM
38. There are a few teachers masquerading on this site. It becomes obvious from those that are defending the pay of teachers by putting down that of the administrators. Or using inflated numbers. There is not a 1:1 ratio of administrators to teachers. The more accurate number of FTE administers to FTE teachers would be 1:14 or so.

Also, administrators are usually under contract for 33% more days and about 10% more hours per day than the teachers. It would be hard for anyone to prove to me that the average administrator is paid too much relative to the average teacher. Additionally, it would be hard for anyone to prove to me that there are too many administrators on average.

However, if you choose to get rid of local school boards, the end result would likely be the hiring of additional administrators for each school district or else a district that was run by and run for the local teachers.

Posted by: Doug on January 21, 2007 08:56 PM
39. Doug:

One of the beauties or curses of the Internet is one never knows who is out there. Seems that I am not agreeing with many this eve. What is the purpose of school boards? Are you really envisioning only the current institutional structure? Suppose there was a charter school district. Every school was a charter with control for most decisions including hiring and firing at the level of the charter. Charters could go out of business if parents and children did not attend. That is the situation in Belgium. Why does one need a school board?

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 09:05 PM
40. Teaching needs to become a bonefide, accredited 5-year degree, not just a one year gimme on the tail end of 4 years of partying and generally wasting mom and dad's money to get a meaningless degree in Communications or Art Appreciation. I know of too many teachers who, in their last semester of college, realized that they had no marketable skills and hung around one more year to get a teaching credential.

Posted by: Organization Man on January 21, 2007 09:16 PM
41. Doug, If I remember correctly, the entire Seattle region's private, Catholic school system operates with about 80% less "administration" than the public schools. They also consistently test higher for educational standards. Just as General Motors and Ford are having to get rid of wasteful middle management, school systems need to do the same. Those middle managers that get laid off or let go can find new careers as educational consultants in Oregon or become Amway representatives.

Posted by: Walters on January 21, 2007 09:22 PM
42. Organization Man and Walters:

Hess and others have researched the teacher characteristics which produce achievement in their students:

1. Graduation from a rigious curriculum college
2. Deep knowledge of the subject matter they are to teach

So, Hess has a competitive model for certification instead of the state certification which is the model now. Last time I did the research, there were no studies which showed a direct link between teacher certification and achievement in a population of kids. Hess' model is:
a. Graduation from an accredited college
b. Pass a test of subject matter knowledge in the subject(s) the teacher is to teach
c. Rigorous background and criminal check

A lot of private schools operate on leaner budgets and produce better results.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 09:31 PM
43. "accountability for results and performance-based compensation"??? ....you mean like everybody else in real life has to do?

Posted by: Michele on January 21, 2007 10:05 PM
44. Jim @ #3:

Did this school distinct hide the wage scale from this person who can't raise two kids on such "crappy wages?" In other words, everybody's eyes are probably wide open when the contract was signed. This B.S. about signing the contract and then bitching about the "crappy wages" is complete B.S.

Anybody who is a "beginning" anything doesn't make very good wages. It takes years to move up the pay scale. If you are a beginning CEO you make less than a CEO who has years of experience. Might I suggest that the person who has two kids and is making the "crappy wages" either: #1. Quit and get another job more suitable to his needs and wants. Or #2: Have his wife get a job. Everybody I know has a wife that works with the exception of one and they make sacrifices to keep her home with the one kid. And he doesn't cry about the "crappy wages". Oh, did I mention? They are conservative.

Look, having children is a financial decision. How many can you afford and when can you afford them. Sounds to me Jim like he got the sequence mixed-up. He got the kids before he could afford them. I don't think that the tax payers should have to support his bad life decisions. I know that the taxpayers sure didn't support mine.

The one thing that will cure this problem of "crappy wages" is to go to an all voucher system. The Christian school where my sister works has satisfied teachers and the tuition is less than the 10K that public schools now say is woefully insufficient.

Posted by: G Jiggy on January 21, 2007 10:19 PM
45. G. Jiggy:

1. Florida had a wonderful voucher plan which allowed students from failing schools to attend other schools, many of them parochial. The kids were succeeding and the Florida Supreme Court outlawed the voucher program. True to secular progressive ideology, they would rather have all fail than allow some to succeed.

2. I don't see a problem, but you know the ACLU or some group like that would be all over a voucher program like velcro. Many parents in voucher programs have used vouchers at religious schools because their kids have succeeded. Catholic and Lutheran schools as well as some Jewish schools have a history of taking in disadvantaged kids and educating them. Many students are not of the faith of the school. For many parents it is about getting a good education for their child.

3. There is also a problem of capacity of good schools. Even if one has a voucher there has to be a school to use the voucher at. That is why I propose a charter school district where every school is a charter. This is primarily neighborhood based, but kids in failing schools have preference at successful schools. There also might be limited vouchers as in the Florida plan. Public sshools are the school of choice for many kids. As a society, we have to make them work. A competitive model where schools are allowed to fail, but children are helped to succeed is the best model.

Posted by: WVH on January 21, 2007 10:58 PM
46. Dutch @ 29 said:

"Create a salary structure where teachers pay is comprised of a basic salary based on level of experience and education (BS vs, MS, etc) plus an additional distribution based on location and family status."

What?? Ridiculous. *Nobody* should be paid more because they chose to have children. Pay should be based on duties, responsibilities, education, etc., NOT on family status, which has NOTHING to do with the work performed.

Posted by: FlyingFingers on January 22, 2007 08:45 AM
47. WVH @ #45:
I really don't care if the schools are Charter or private, corporate or whatever. I think that the concept of having the money attached to the student and the student can go where he/her pleases is the most important aspect and what I think will work best. It is OUR money that they are giving back to us, we should be able to spend it on the school we wish. I really don't see what the problem is with that concept because the Seattle School District will let a student go to whatever school they wish, if there is room. Trouble is, they are almost all bad schools so the few good ones are packed.

There have been a number of rulings in voucher states have cured the church and state argument. I actually think that the ACLU could be shamed into largely dropping the argument is it is framed properly. That being that the biggest population effected by bad schools are minorities. They are the least able to migrate to better schools on their own (why they aren't up in arms about this already is a mystery to me). Support of bad, bright future ending schools is supporting the 21st century version of the plantation.

The capacity problem is only where there is a good school. Bad schools don't seem to have that problem. Anyway, once the market detects the shortage of good schools, better/good schools would quickly come on line either by new creation or improvement. The market works faster than any state agency. In reality I don't think that there is/would be a capacity problem. Student populations in cities have been shrinking for decades and there are plenty of empty buildings that could be leased. Teachers would flock to well run schools but they might have to quit the union first.

Having the money attached to the student is the only way to break the back of the liberal indoctrination camps that our schools have become.

Posted by: G Jiggy on January 22, 2007 10:04 AM
48. ... also IF there was reliable demand for better schools they would be started. The demand would be generated if there were funds to support them. This would be created by reliable funding of these schools through vouchers.

The following article is about single-sex schools, but the bit I found such a ringing endorsement of Seattle schools is:

"Add in our consumer culture accustomed to a zillion choices -- education included, particularly in Seattle, with one of the highest percentages of private-school enrollment"


Posted by: Right said Fred on January 22, 2007 10:50 AM
49. G. Jiggy:

I agree with you that the $ should follow the student. I don't agree with you that the ACLU will ever be shamed by any of its actions.

The secular progressive ideology is ingrained in many communities of color. The only thing I can theorize is follow the money to some "leaders" pockets and that will give some clue as to the direction they give their followers. Better education and more inividuals who are successful as business people will begin to change the political dynamic.

Posted by: WVH on January 22, 2007 11:09 AM
50. WVH:
It seems to me that as of late, the progressive ideology that minorities follow (I hesitate to say "secular" as a great many minorities are religious) seems to be breaking down, if only a bit. Community "leaders" aside, regular folks are starting to question what the schools are doing to their kids. There was a group back east who was very involved with Charter schools and vouchers as the cure to their poverty . . . and they are right.

I have long thought that when minorities get on board as to the dismal shape of public schools and how vouchers/charter schools are the fix, the problem will be cured.

Ironically, that the schools are turning out functional illiterates, dependant on the state, by the boat load saves them from the rational, analytical and clear thinking that the subject requires to make the move to a voucher/charter school style, free to choose, education.

Posted by: G Jiggy on January 22, 2007 01:18 PM
51. WVH@ 37,

Take a deep breath and clean your specs. I wasn't addressing "school choice," rather pointing out an example of long established attempt at statewide funding. A system that was initiated with the intent to ensure equal funding of schools regardless of location. Equal distribution of State and Federal dollars. When it was implemented the intent was, to cite a very small example, that if a classroom(s) in the wealthiest part of Oahu got a globe a classroom(s) in the most remote part(s) of the islands got the same globe - and so on.

Jumping to availability of alternative schools and productivity of Hawaii's schools are interesting points but not in line with my reply to "Dutch." Plus let's face it - some parts of the U.S. just can't have charter schools - unfortunately it's logistically impossible.

However alternative schooling in Hawaii is an issue that anyone interested in private schools should be watching very closely. That's due to the recent decision by the infamous US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding admission policies at King Kamehameha Schools. That case is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 22, 2007 01:34 PM
52. G. Jiggy and Tyler:

You are right. A lot of those of color are beginning to question the orthodoxy. I still say it is secular progrossive. I just heard a report that a civil rights group in DC is linking with abortion supporters. I also heard a report that I am trying to track down that Clinton and Carter are going up against the Southern Baptists saying their theology is a bit too strict. I say secular because although most Blacks that I know and grew up with are deeply religious, faux leaders and faux church leaders like Sharpton and Jackson teach a secular view of the Gospel. This is not the Gospel taught by TD Jakes and Creflo Dollar.
This is beginning to change, my doctoral research totally changed my thinking.

I can agree with you that Hawaii may provide equal funding. The point of the report is the schools are not very good, so like Washington, there is a high private school population. My point is this, public schools should be of sufficient quality to give children the opportunity for a good basic education. The best critics are parents and they have voted thumbs down in Hawaii and are voting with their feet here as well. Equalization is just one part of the equation. I don't see how there is going to be a good public education for most without competition. If you have ideas, then I'm sure the ed leaders want to hear them. In Hawaii, equal dollars means equal mediocrity.

Posted by: WVH on January 22, 2007 09:33 PM
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