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Re: “Oakland Teachers Union Still Doesn’t Get It

By the way, if anyone would like to see all the fabulous non-administrative and "specialized education needs" (Gammon's words) that consultants like Siswin fulfills, I recommend that you visit their website (assuming that this blog permits URLs): http://www.sisk12.com/Default.aspx
Decide for yourself whether the millions of dollars spent on programs like these meets the "specialized" needs of Oakland's students. Since most of the needs fulfilled are clearly administrative, why do we need administrators, one might ask?

Posted by gcg on 03/04/2010 at 1:49 PM

Re: “Oakland Teachers Union Still Doesn’t Get It

To wcinvest: A teacher's job does not begin and end with the school day's bells, nor does it begin and end with summer vacation. Many teachers work well into the evening (beyond a white collar job's hours) in order to create lesson plans, grade, etc. They do not get paid overtime, either. What's more, very few teachers can afford to exploit their time off (i.e., vacation) given their rate of pay. If you beg to differ, I will ask you to switch jobs with an Oakland public school teacher and see if you are eager to do it, since it obviously holds such rich rewards, in your opinion.
To anyone reading Robert Gammon's coverage of this issue: What don’t the teachers “get,” according to Gammon? Does he honestly believe that OUSD teachers are ignorant of the budget crisis faced by the district? Perhaps the teachers have a more nuanced understanding of what caused it; this understanding requires reaching beyond the universal scapegoat of the recession. OUSD administrators have lavished millions of dollars on useless contractors who have offered nothing but simpleton’s pre-digested (and trademarked!) educational programs marketed by corporations in their efforts to eventually privatize education. OUSD administrators routinely spend more than half the district’s budget on—surprise, surprise—administrative costs. This overspending risks fines of millions of dollars levied by the state. OUSD teachers are miserably underpaid compared to other school districts throughout the state, and this drives quality teachers away; some classes are staffed *throughout the year* by substitutes. Sadly, there would have been more than enough money to give public school teachers the farthings they deserve had the district not decided that corporate contractors know more about Oakland’s students than the teachers themselves (who live and work where the students live). I would borrow his own glib expression and write that Gammon simply “doesn’t get it,” but I know that he is not an idiot; he is aware of these problems. He is supposedly a progressive journalist who would (I am hoping) rather get a root canal than pander to corporate interests. And yet for some mystifying reason, he continually sides with OUSD adminstrators and self-interested corporations like Siswin, deflecting this obvious, if peculiar, allegiance by claiming that OUSD teachers are somehow insulting hard-working parents by demanding a livable income. Gammon, will you stop ignoring the elephant in the classroom and finally confront these issues? This has absolutely nothing to do with the recession!

Posted by gcg on 03/04/2010 at 1:21 PM

Re: “Oakland Teachers Want 15 Percent Raise

I'm an Oakland resident, PARENT, and tax payer. I am not a teacher, although I am somewhat familiar with this debate.

Hmmm... 15% raise. Let's see... average teacher's salary is roughly $45,000 a year. By the third year that raise will amount to more than $6500 a year. Let's say OUSD doesn't hire consultants (gasp!). Divide that raise into $85 million, and you could offer this amount to more than 13,000 teachers! Of course, there are only a few thousand teaching in the OUSD, so maybe you could even provide heating in classrooms! Perhaps even dry erase boards! I realize, of course, that these are decadent luxuries during California's fiscal crisis. Students and teachers will just have to suck it up, as Gammon essentially tells us.

Plus, to reallocate this money, you would have to entertain the ridiculous belief that consultants' fees were wasted, when we can all see that thanks to firms like Kagan Cooperative Learning and Si-Swn, these are the halcyon years for the OUSD.

Judging by his rhetoric, it seems as if Gammon would rather have for-profit charter schools in Oakland. This would get rid of the teachers' unions, as well as those pesky "under-achieving" students who score too low on standardized tests!

Posted by gcg on 12/10/2009 at 10:22 PM

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