Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Tax Tuesday: Money Well Spent?

Betonwerksteinskulptur "Lehrer-Student&qu...Image via Wikipedia

As is my custom I will attempt to pull a tangential idea from left field, connect it to taxes and then rant a bit.
Happy No Tax Tuesday. The topic for today is the way our tax dollars are spent in education. I have read a few articles lately concerning teachers pay. All I can say is, "Show me the money!" As a veteran teacher in a large urban district, I have seen 15% pay cuts and 8% suicide contracts. What it boils down to is value services. If you don't think teachers are worth their pay. Vote to have it lowered. Mine was already lowered this year due to  budget shortfalls, by-the-way. Also, since education is about TEACHING the majority of the money should be spent on TEACHERS!

But, all that malarkey aside about teacher pay the real problem is the supposed ancillary positions and those chosen to fill them and the pet projects they fill. Schools need administrators. Schools need maintenance personnel.. Do schools need curriculum coaches? For LA Disunified each school that is program improvement must have a literacy and math coach. That's about $90,000 per position at 2 per school equals $180,000. For just 100 schools that is $18 million! Another of my personal favorites is the Drop Out Prevention Coordinator position and program. These people are given the nebulous task of finding students who have already dropped out (or might be in danger of dropping out)and induce them to come back to school and become good students. This program was inflicted on the district by a person who "encouraged" the then Superintendent to stop funding the intervention program that sought help students BEFORE they dropped out (as early as second grade) and instead to invest in the least productive group of students. He did retire shortly after instituting his program but, the damage was done and is still be inflicted on schools throughout LA. 

The last group I would like to take aim at is the nepotism and multicultural at all cost leadership that is leading the district on the downward path. Ask any teacher and they will tell you nightmare stories of administrators gone wild with avarice and capriciousness. It is no wonder considering the lack of integrity the upper levels of administration routinely demonstrate during hiring. In my local district an Assistant Principal was hired with the same last name as a board member. Scores of more talented and experienced educators were overlooked and ignored in the "selection" process. With little to no outside the classroom experience the lad was hand picked and placed. Others are "slotted" and placed without regard for experience, talent or ability. Again, many are not even allowed to interview. Principals are at the mercy of the petty political agendas of administrators climbing the administrative ladder. Who suffers? We all suffer because money and tax dollars are wasted by the decisions that affect teachers and students on a daily basis.

The point? Tax dollars are being wasted on politically correct decisions in leadership of schools and districts. This needs to stop!
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