Saturday, November 19, 2005

Trapped Teachers

EdWonks weighs in on an issue I have long felt impacts teacher morale.

This was posted on The Education Wonks blog site today.

If Congress wanted to do something useful for teachers, maybe it could pass a law that would permit teachers who are currently shackled to their jobs by outmoded seniority rules escape from school districts that have toxic work-environments and transfer their seniority to districts that are dedicated to fostering a culture of educational excellence and high employee morale.

For a long time now I have noticed how trapped educators are by the archaic salary schedules. Once a teacher gets about 7 or 8 years under their belt, they are trapped for life in their current school district with few if any options. Due to their higher salary they are stuck with few if any school districts able to afford hiring them as a veteran teacher. This too leads to morale issues as teachers begin to feel trapped.

We used to hire a few veterans now and then until health insurance, utility costs and rising fuel costs compounded by dwindling state revenue came to be. As it stands now - teachers are stuck.

This is the trade off the unions accepted when they fought for pay that is exclusively seniority based.

Friday, November 18, 2005

"Return to Cinders....."

News Flash.....

Elvis was spotted at a recent Indiana Property Tax Control Board Meeting when the following comments were made by Member Maury Mills.

Superintendent Paul Garrison made a presentation stressing how the community and past boards had stressed only academic facility needs for 50 years, and now needed to address some special use space. Their building is a 1954 structure, with a combination gym/auditorium shared by all six grades. The superintendent noted that the gym could not accommodate all PE needs. Part of the project was for an auxiliary gym and a new track. After a facility study estimated a cost of $17 million, the board and administration cut the project to an estimated $8.3 million.

Member Mills asked for a breakdown of cost by each project item. He questioned the cost of the latex running track, and asked "are we all out of cinders?"

Nice Maury. I can only assume your grandkids don't run track or take PE there.

Ok... everyone do your best Elvis for me now....ah 1, and ah 2, and ah 3 and go.."Return to Cinders...."

Property Tax Control Board defines "local control"

Evidently Indiana's Property Tax Control Board has created the following operational definition for the term "local control."

local control (lo'kul kun'trol) 1. we the state, control the locals

Recent decisions by the Indiana State Property Tax Control Board, as well as comments by board members in the meetings, show an agenda that is so obviously political it is appalling. One school district went for approval of a 10 year construction bond issue and was only approved when they made it 18 years instead. The rationale? I can only assume the state board wanted to show they lowered the tax rates. Nevermind that it was a local decision and it would be paid with 100% local tax payer dollars.

Now...the community will pay more by borrowing over the long run. Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with either approach. We can also argue that it should be a user tax by spreading the cost over 18 years so everyone pays a little. The point is....WHO should make that decision? Political hacks trying to protect the governor from being accused of raising taxes? Or local patrons who pay the freight on the project?

local control (lo'kul kun'trol) 1. we the state, control the locals

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Impossible Goals and NCLB Failure

Jim Horn at Schools Matter points out the irrationality of NCLB and the ensuing cry for privatization that is sure to follow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

No Child's Behind Left


President Bush's top education advisor, Margaret Smellings, announced today that President Bush was rolling out a new education plan closely modeled after Vice President Dick Cheney's new torture policy.

Smellings stated, "For a long time we have been advocating that Vice Principals be given broader authority over handling detainees awaiting discipline in the office. Even to the point of torture with wooden instruments."

Smellings indicated the new program would be called, "No Child's Behind Left."

The plan will overturn state laws that have previously limited the use of corporal punishment and will give Vice Principals one more tool in the torturous task of determining who did what to whom and when did they do it?

Smellings sniffed, "If torture is good enough for the Vice President and the CIA it should be good enough for the Vice Principal and the CYA."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ain't America Great!

Where else but America could a prison inmate be elected to the school board. LOL