- "Staffing Surge" study released - Questions and Answers on Charter School Policy
= = = = = = = = = = Staffing Surge
A study released today by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice shows that from 1992 to 2009 student enrollment increased 19%, but staffing levels for schools increased 34%. The largest growth was in non-teaching staff, which grew 43% or more than twice the rate of student growth.
Washington public schools employed 100,310 full time equivalent employees in 2011-12 for the state's 1,004,198 students, or one full time adult for each ten students.
I took the opportunity to assemble some other cost increases which are "surging" from 1992 to 2009:
Average Administrator Salary up 63% Average Classified Salary up 54% Average Teacher State Salary up 47% Average Levy-funded Teacher Salary Enhancement up 145%!!! Insurance Benefits up 150% Total Funds Per Student up 89% Levy Funds Per Student up 152%!
= = = = = = = = = = Questions and Answers on Charter Schools
We've been getting much interest in our "Informed Voter Guide," and I've taken many questions about the nature of charter school policy. I ended up writing a Q&A which addresses most of what people are asking.
East School has closed one middle school, Mountain View, and is planning to close East Valley Middle. The superintendent has told the public that the buildings are "truly falling down". The district reports that Trent Elementary needs minor renovation. Trentwood, Otis Orchards, East Farms Elementaries and East Valley High School need major renovations. Are East Valley students learning in a safe environment? He has NEVER told the community what part of these buildings are failing or falling down. Where does the maintenance money go?
By now you should have received your ballot asking your vote of approval for a "replacement" levy (tax) to support your local school district. You are being told that this merely "replaces the existing School Programs Maintenance and Operations and Technology Capital Projects levies that expire this year."
The brochure for West Valley School District says the money goes for teachers, textbooks and curriculum, transportation services, facilities repair, cutting edge technology, reduced class sizes, vocational education, parent access, music, art & drama, athletics, intramurals and co-curricular programs. They state that this levy “funds the difference between state allocations for school funding and the actual cost of operating our schools.
The current education budget is now $13,600,000,000 ($13.6 Billion) state wide. This is more than enough money for K-12 Education. Our schools, for this year and next year, will receive an additional $356,000,000 throughout the state. This is an increase of $88 per pupil enrolled. What we need to look at is waste, abuse and mismanagement of this 13.6 Billion dollars!
Washington Policy Center’s Public School Accountability Index rates the quality of more than 2,075 public schools across the state. The Index is based on data compiled by the State Board of Education’s 2011 Achievement Index, using results from the 2010–11 school year.
The purpose of the Index is to determine whether and to what extent school officials are fulfilling their paramount duty to provide a quality education for every child residing within the borders of the state. The Legislature stated:
The SBE [State Board of Education] has responsibility for implementing a statewide accountability system that includes identification of successful schools and districts, those in need of assistance, and those in which state intervention measures are needed.
For the past two years, the SBE has been working on accountability, and on January 15, 2009, it adopted a resolution to develop an accountability index, work to build the capacity of districts to help their schools improve, establish a process for placing schools and districts on Academic Watch, and continue to refine the details of the accountability system.
America’s education system is in crisis. Test scores show us that students across America are performing at levels far below their peers overseas. In addition to test scores that aren’t up to par, graduation rates are shamefully low. There is no doubt that America’s students deserve better.
In a rapidly changing world, our students are not being taught the basic knowledge and skills they need to succeed. It’s time to get to the root of the problem.
America’s teachers unions — particularly the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — are the most organized and powerful voices in education politics. These unions continue to block reforms needed to improve our nation’s schools by putting their focus on teachers rather than on the students they teach.
Our education system is in desperate need of reform and it’s time we stop letting teachers unions stand in the way.
School superintendents are telling lawmakers that reducing the school year by five days will fix their budgets, report theEverett HeraldandSeattle Times. This shows that they care more about increasing and maintaining the pay of school employees than about providing school days to children.
American students already receive so much less learning time than students in Europe and Asia, that they lose out on an entire year of schooling: FromThe Economist:
The Washington Education Association (WEA) has called for a “Day of Action” rally in Olympia on November 28th, the first day of the Special Session of the Legislature. Teachers and public school employees are being urged to leave their classrooms to attend this rally and deliver a “budget cuts hurt kids” message to legislators. A Week of Action is planned for this week (11/14), with teachers across the state wearing “These Cuts Hurt” buttons, and the WEA placing editorials and ads in newspapers across the state claiming that school budgets have been cut.
Despite cries about hurting kids, the state education budget has not been cut. Education spending has increased by $789 million compared to the last budget, rising from $12.9 billion in the 2009-11 budget to $13.7 in the 2011-13 budget.
This spending boost includes teacher salary step increases, pension and benefit increases, student enrollment increases, $62.2 million in new programs, $92 million for full-day kindergarten, and the start-up costs for spending $300 million to implement a new test for Washington’s students. Reductions of 3% and 1.9% to the highest paid administrators and teachers, respectively, were included in the 2011-13 budget, but many districts were able to avoid imposing these reductions and reduced other areas of local spending instead.
Growing up in public school, I was the teacher's pet. I enjoyed homework, studying, and learning in general. I idolized my teachers, and felt happy in a school environment. So it's no surprise that I went to college to become a teacher. My first day of student teaching, I stepped into my assigned school and smiled. It just felt right.
A decade and many schools later, my views have changed dramatically. I now have two children, still work as a teacher, and am firm in one decision: when their time comes, I refuse to send my children to public school. Here's why:
1. Discipline- My children would be assigned to an elementary school with legendary discipline problems, behavior issues, parental uninvolvement and routine violence. A teacher's day revolves around gaining control of her class, with academics coming last.