CA Gov. Schwarzenneger wants to shorten school year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sunshine*inc, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. sunshine*inc

    sunshine*inc Cohort

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  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I'm sure many are for this...you may not admit it here though! ;)
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I haven't really thought too much about it. It beats letting go of teachers, but they are doing that too.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Letting go or furloughing teachers is, I believe, a decision made at the district level in California. Chances are the length of the school year is a decision made at the state level.

    The Legislature's failure to act on the budget reflects some fairly usual stupidity in Sacramento, but it quite likely also reflects the ambivalence of the people of California: what are we all willing to cut in hopes of preserving the rest? That's a very big question and a very contentious one. And I for one am very glad to be neither in the Legislature nor in the governor's seat at this point.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    With all of the concern about how much is needed to be taught each year, wouldn't a shortened year only heighten that concern and stess?
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It would be grand if education in California could be spared - but, unless taxes are raised (and that's not politically popular, especially in a down economy), that seems improbable. So it could be that the choice is between letting some teachers go (which makes a few suffer so others go relatively unscathed) or spreading the suffering so that everyone suffers but no one suffers very deeply.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The article didn't give specifics (or I missed them as I skimmed through it.)

    Is he going to lengthen the school day, so the number of hours in school isn't changed? If so, then it might make sense. In a state as large as CA, I'm guessing lots of money is spent on AC in the south, and heat in the north. It means paying schools less for mandated services like taking attendance. And it means less pay for bus driver, gas for busses, less pay for custodians and cafeteria ladies and any one else who is paid on a daily basis.

    I would love to hear more about the specifics.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I would love to see the Legislature doing its job and making the hard choices, but that's even less likely, Alice.
     
  10. jspader02

    jspader02 Rookie

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  11. uclalum

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    I just watched the local news and it said that the gov is giving the districts the option of shortening the school year. It is up to each individual district to make that decision. The news said that the districts responded well to his recommendation.

    I say go for it! I don't think 5 days is going to make the kids suffer. I think it depends on the individual teacher and what kind of school they work at. I do not feel pressured to "get everything in" during the school day. We don't have "specials" like many other schools do so that gives me plenty of time to teach 4 subjects. We don't get prep time either so that's more time that kids spend in the classroom learning.
    By the time that the last day of school rolls around (June 22nd) the kids are so wiped out (and hot because of no AC) it's ridiculous.:2cents:
     
  12. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    We don't have enough time to teach the content as it is! My last school only gave me 4.5 hours with the kids, after recess, lunch and specials. NOT enough time! Vacations are wonderful, but so is less pressure and more time to be creative and have fun.

    I can see why they would do it in terms of money, but not in terms of the kids. But then they rarely do things for the kids.
     
  13. uclalum

    uclalum Groupie

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    I'm so curious as to what's going to happen. If only a had a crystal ball.:D
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I think cuts to ALL sectors are inevitable, frankly.
     
  15. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    Are they cutting instruction days or teacher days like setting up your class?
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    You know what would be helpful?? Cutting costs to things that aren't necessary. I'm sure there are lots of things (and maybe even positions in admin) that aren't really needed.
     
  17. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    True. Being on a block schedule, I already get a much shorter timeframe (and bigger gaps in between) than other teachers...but...if it will save jobs, then I say it's a better option than the alternative. And I don't just say this out of concern for my fellow teachers. Less teachers means a higher teacher-student ratio, and NCLB's mandate for smaller class sizes isn't worth the paper it's printed on when push comes to shove. The government's already offering waivers for what it deems as special circumstances, and I've already heard of some teachers anticipating as many as 40 students in each classroom as they have to take up the slack of those not replaced or dismissed.
     
  18. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I've already got 41 students in one of my classes! I imagine that's going to be the norm next year. :(
     
  19. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I was at a union rep meeting this week, someone was saying they think cutting the pay would be breaking all the contracts. Which would be a very difficult thing to do. I don't know how true that is.

    The amount the governor is talking about cutting right now is equivilant to 160,000 of us loosing our jobs, 25 days cut from the year this year, or our classes more than doubling. Crazy!

    Five days would be a cut in pay. It would be about a 2% cut.
    I would be worried they would just take our preperation days instead of school days thus all our set up time and close down time would be voluntary.

    I read over the article and it says they would extend the hours of the day in exchange for the cutting of days. So we would be working the same hours but be paid 2% less. The governor should be more straight forward and just ask for the pay cut if that is the truth. That seems like a slimy backdoor manipulation to me. I work in a district that accepted a pay cut several years ago, it took years for them to give any raise again, be very cautious about pay cuts.

    I was hearing on the news a group of people are trying to put on the ballot a measure which would stop the politicians' pay for every day in which the budget is not set past the deadline. I hope it gets on the ballot, we would be crazy not to put that in place. That probably would be saving the state quite a bit of money this year.
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Mine probably won't be a very popular opinion, but oh, well, here goes. Although I don't live in CA, I feel strongly that cutting the school year is a huge mistake. Even with lengthening the school day, that would be 5 (or however many) MORE days over which the students could forget what they learned before! At least in Louisiana, teachers already spend the first MONTH or more of school REVIEWING what students should ALREADY KNOW before entering their appointed grade levels. I have become a FIRM believer in year-round schools. The number of days is only about 3 more (at least here), but the kids don't have breaks for longer than 2 weeks at a time. Cutting the school year (OR LAYING OFF TEACHERS & SUPPORT PERSONNEL) is a stupid way to take care of fiscally irresponsible consequences. Cutting should begin AT THE TOP, which is where the fat always floats, anyway. JMHO Stepping off :soapbox: now.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    So do you want the state income tax raised, or the state sales tax? Or would you rather see the highways crumble, or less enforcement on the part of the Highway Patrol, or sharply increased fees plus lowered enrollments in the UC, CSU and community college systems? Or less regulation and more development on the coast? Or a reduction in public health and wellness initiatives? Or... fill in the blanks for any group in the state you can think of, and you can probably find someone to argue for it persuasively.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think the problem is that everyone is looking for a way to fill the void without being effected personally. It's not going to happen that way.

    As TG mentioned: cuts in every sector are inevitable. (And not just in CA, everywhere.) As to the education cuts, how should they be done:

    - Cut class time. Fewer movies, fewer review days-- whatever it mean, teaching the same material in less time

    - Cut professional time. Meetings, prep time, professional days-- any day that the teachers are there but the kids aren't.

    - Cut jobs. Contract or no contract, they can't pay teachers if they don't have the money.

    - Some other cut I can't think of at 5:24 a.m.

    But the cuts, in education and everywhere else, are inevitable. All those people who have spent months saying "The economic downturn hasn't hit my area yet"-- it's here or it's on its way. And it means tough choices that will effect everyone.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    And the same is true of every other sector.

    Cutting "administration" isn't a total answer, either. In the first place, the administrators will push back just the way the teachers have pushed back here on A to Z. I mean, golly, which of us is willing to admit to being cuttable fluff? In the second place, and very much more to the point, cuts that aren't properly administered will play out much worse and be much harder to recover from when the economy stops staggering so much than cuts that are properly administered.

    Or were teachers planning to step up and be administrators on the side?

    I'm not particularly fond of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but one can't deny the guy's brains, nor his willingness to buck his own party. Whether or not he's making the right decisions, I think he IS trying to be realistic about the enormity of what we're up against - and I suspect that he's trying to spread the pain in the interest of forging a consensus, or what passes for one.

    I wouldn't be in his shoes for anything.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And I think that that's where we, as a nation, are falling short in this crisis.

    Each of us sees how we're effected, and too many aren't looking beyond that narrow focus. Those in a position to make the decisions need to look at the big picture-- how to weather this crisis and still come out best after it ends. They need to look at all sectors and all contingencies.

    I would NOT want to be in those shoes!!

    And you're right too about cutting too many administrators. Those are the people with the most years in education-- cutting them from administration pushes them back into the classroom (and from what I read here, most teachers feel that their administrators wouldn't be all that effective back in the classroom.) We would still lose teachers, and have less effective teachers in place.

    Is that the best we can do?
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Golly, I hope not, Alice.
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Just a few things about taxes in California. First of all, my state taxes pale in comparison to my federal tax bill. My wife and I are a couple of DINKS and in my opinion, we could easily pay considerably more in state taxes and it would not kill us. I'm sure there are millions more like us.

    Second, much of California's budget mess started when the vehicle license fee was eliminated. Part of the reason that Schwarzeneggar is governor is because Gray Davis reinstated it. The nice thing about the vehicle license fee is that a person could control how much they paid by driving an older, less expensive car or by owning fewer cars.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I agree, Sarge - but, rightly or wrongly, the members of the Legislature seem convinced that voting to raise taxes is political suicide.
     
  28. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    But, doesn't most of CA already have year round school? I may be mistaken about that...if so, I don't think taking a day off here or there in the year round cycle would really affect anything.
    Kim
     
  29. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    No, most of California is not YRE. Many are, but I'd say the overwhelming number of communities are still traditional.

    The problem was that YRE didn't really save that much money - especially in the CA central valley where it normal to have weeks of 100+ degree weather in a row.
     
  30. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    My school in Utah use to be year round. We have year round schools where there are large populations in the boundries. Our enrollment went down so we are now traditional. I think we only have about 12 year round schools left in the district. It costs money to air condition like you said Sarge and the janitor and support people work year round so there is their increased salaries too.
    I am sorry for all the problems CA is having, my daughter has applied to UCLA, guess she won't be getting in.
    Is Arnold's approval rating going down?
    Also Sarge, do you not pay any taxes on cars you own? We pay for the value and the age of our cars in Utah. Expensive new cars pay more than older, cheaper cars. Seems fair to me.
     
  31. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I understand that everything is going to be affected by the economic crisis, it's just that we are stripping away the resources to provide quality education. It's just a frustrating situation to be in. No, no one wants to lose their job, but teachers truly should be last to be cut. I mean, they are the ones who are in the classrooms educating the students. How many schools have not only a principal but several assistant principals? My last school had about 3 or assistant principals. Do we really need that many??? Maybe, maybe not, but we should definitely be looking at what our biggest expenses are. This is of course a problem that exists in any type of work place. The CEO won't lose his pay, but the "menial workers" most definitely will.
     
  32. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    And because the education of today's children are being effected, the outlook for the future doesn't bode well.
     
  33. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Amen to that!!:D
     
  34. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    My thoughts exactly!
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I agree with that to an extent. However, I know for my district we have a superintendent, 2 assistant supers, 3 executive P's and then the district is split into 5 regions where they have at least 5 administrators apiece. All of those people are making a lot of money and do we really need that many "chiefs".

    Then we have a ton of curriculum specialists - our curriculum changes every couple of years, so what do they do in the meantime really? Yes, I do belive there are teachers who would give their time voluntarily to have input into the curriculum, if it was more of a committee instead of a paid position. We spent almost $1 million this year on an initiative to promote literacy instruction. They came into the schools, did a 45-minute lecture- basically told us things we already knew, gave us some literacy posters and periodically will come observe us, serve as a resource, etc.-is that worth the price?

    I'm a very practical person when it comes to money. I watch my own administration purchase materials from vendors at exorbitant prices because they don't want to take the time to shop around. Paying hundreds of dollars in shipping on things that could be picked up from the store - but it's easier. We had a break-in over the holiday and several LCD projectors were taken. Our P said it will cost almost $1,000 per projector to replace it. You can get a cheaper model for $500 from a sale at Best Buy.

    My point is there are ways to cut corners that don't involve losing jobs. Examining budgets and ways to conserve funds rather than just doing what is convenient. To me education should be sacred in federal budgets, one of those things that should be last to cut, if at all. And that opinion doesn't come from the perspective of: I don't want to lose my job, but that we are educating the future of America and if we skimp on that, where are the problem-solvers going to come from. Just my :2cents:.
     
  36. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I'd say it's worth a lot more than :2cents:, Kindercowgirl!
     
  37. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Wow. Just wow. Vendors must really love your school. This is completely foreign to me, as my school always buys textbooks on discount from amazon and does everything possible to conserve money. I appreciate that.
     
  38. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    What exactly do the "curriculum specialists" do?
     

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