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Steve Lunetta: In defense of school accountability

Posted: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

“People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins and in order to buy wins, you need to buy your runs.”

— Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in “Moneyball”

In the 2011 film about the Oakland As, general manager Billy Beane is forced to confront a cold, hard fact. His organization did not have the resources to compete with rich organizations for ballplayers.

Clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox stole his players by simply offering them more money.

In response, Beane had to create a new paradigm for evaluating talent that made his organization a winner yet cost-effective. He thought in terms of scoring runs, not hitting homers.

We see the results of his thinking today — the Oakland Athletics have the best record in major league baseball and have been contenders nearly every year.

Our education system could learn a lesson from Beane.

Recently, much noise has been coming from the education community about the Value Added Method or Value Added Modeling that is used to assess the effectiveness of teachers.

In a nutshell, Value Added Modeling uses a statistical tool to look at a student’s past test scores and estimate how that child should score at the end of the next school year.

The actual test value is compared to the estimate, and the increase or decrease is attributed to the teacher’s effectiveness.

Supporters say this normalizes out factors such as economic standing, race and innate intelligence.

Critics say that it does not account for things such as tutoring or significant life changes in the students’ lives.

Like Beane’s sabermetric system, Value Added Modeling is an attempt to evaluate talent and accomplishment to determine if a teacher has been effective.

A recent column in The Signal by Jason Stanford used such inflammatory phrases as “snake oil,” “junk science” and “10 pounds of hooey in a 5 pound bag.” Stanford appears to be singing the chorus of many in the education community.

Let’s look at this closer.

For the casual observer, it seems like every time we try to evaluate the effectiveness of education, educators immediately attack, calling such evaluations impractical and flawed.

Standardized testing is a routine target of such criticism. Tests like the SAT have been criticized as “racist” or “culturally biased” in the way they ask questions.

Frankly, I have never understood how solving a math equation can be “culturally biased,” but that is beside the point.

I think the real issue here is that people don’t like to be evaluated. Teachers don’t want non-teachers (or anyone) looking at their work and determining if they have been effective.

It is an intrusion and distracts them from their real job — educating kids. Or so they say.

Here is a hard truth: we all get evaluated. Business owners are assessed by their customers. Reviews are done routinely of employees.

It’s often painful but extremely valuable. Unless we go through this process, we never improve. We never identify areas of weakness (or “opportunity”) and seek to become better.

I am routinely reviewed and welcome it as an opportunity to obtain feedback on my performance. I have tried over the years to take the information and grow into a more effective manager of people and a better employee.

Teacher’s unions seem to be opposed, on principle, to this process.

Stanford goes on to say that unions played a big role in stopping much of the support for Value Added Modeling.

Well, isn’t that special? These unions are against an assessment tool for making overall teaching more effective and creating better-prepared students.

Much like the recalcitrant talent scouts in “Moneyball,” they were unwilling to listen to anything new that would make them more competitive.

Stanford further criticizes the Value Added Modeling tool by claiming that “teachers account for only 1 to 14 percent of the variability in test scores.”

Hogwash. A good teacher can change a child’s entire direction and attitude toward learning.

I have used this column in the past to point out amazing teachers in our local schools. For Stanford to make this claim is not only ridiculous, but offensive.

By his logic, if teachers have so little impact, let’s cut teacher salaries in half and eliminate benefits. We can hire high school graduates and give them canned curricula to read from.

For, as Stanford infers, the influence that a teacher has is minimal.

Is Value Added Modeling a completely accurate and effective tool? It’s hard to say, but what I have learned over the years is that we take new tools and improve them to make better choices.

Being evaluated is not enjoyable. However, we cannot let teacher unions eliminate the fair evaluation of whether our education system is being effective.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and stands in awe of Billy Beane. He can be reached at sluntta63@yahoo.com.

 

Comments

projalice11: Posted: August 14, 2014 11:20 a.m.

"In defense of school accountability"

In defense of letting the teachers educate instead of being overseers of discipline.

Maybe the parents should be evaluated and accountable for the behavior of
their kids.





hepnerkid: Posted: August 14, 2014 11:42 a.m.

Any time that a program becomes a bureaucracy, it losses it's ability to achieve. It then fills with middle management who have no real job so they are forced to justify there existence. These are known as drones. Our education system resembles a beached whale, large and flopping around but going nowhere.


tech: Posted: August 14, 2014 1:10 p.m.

"Here is a hard truth: we all get evaluated. Business owners are assessed by their customers. Reviews are done routinely of employees.

It’s often painful but extremely valuable. Unless we go through this process, we never improve. We never identify areas of weakness (or “opportunity”) and seek to become better."

Well stated, Mr. Lunetta.

The union education monopoly is an obstacle to continuous improvement that is the hallmark of organizations that pursue excellence. Outstanding educators that make a tangible difference in children's lives shouldn't be an exception. A system that discourages initiative and change is an "opportunity" for replacement.


Nitsho: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:06 p.m.

In defense of letting the teachers educate instead of being overseers of discipline.

Maybe the parents should be evaluated and accountable for the behavior of
their kids.

Yep. 100% agree.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:45 p.m.

Interesting conundrum. For years, education community has been saying to parents "just shut up and give us your kids. We know what is best. We are professionals."

Now, when things go sideways, we hear them say "Aaaah! Its the parent's fault that the kids are unruly and can't read."

Can't have it both ways.


emheilbrun: Posted: August 14, 2014 3:47 p.m.

From projalice11: ""In defense of school accountability"

In defense of letting the teachers educate instead of being overseers of discipline.

Maybe the parents should be evaluated and accountable for the behavior of
their kids."

From Indy, "I found the greatest thing you could do as a teacher was simply telling the kids ‘the truth’ based on the reality.

And when they the kids realize you are there to ‘help them’, you don’t have any classroom management issues.

See, projalice11, it's that simple...tell the kids the truth and let them know you are there to help them. And there you have it, you just washed your discipline problems down the drain.

Can I hear a bingo for Indy....accomplished business man; mechanical engineer, and educator extraordinaire!


Indy: Posted: August 14, 2014 5:07 p.m.

Lunetta wrote: A good teacher can change a child’s entire direction and attitude toward learning.

Indy: Yes, it all sounds so easy . . . . have you ever taught in a classroom Steve?

Sadly, our public education system has been under attack by republicans for decades.

When our k-12 student population grew by about 1,000,000 students over a 15 year period, our local legislators voted down tax increases to cover the growing population.

Then the student teacher ratio went higher and higher and make the challenges to teachers almost overwhelming.

Try going to a local high school and sit in one of the algebra classes . . . see for yourself what the teachers are up against.

Listening to a conservative partisan republican isn’t the source I would recommend you get your knowledge about public schools.

In any event, putting the futures of our kids in the hands of political ideologues is one of the primary reasons many of our public schools are failing.

Evaluation of teachers is still needed but it would help if the local Principals did their job in monitoring their staffs.

We also should see the demographic statistics of not only the students but the parents.

All of this bears on the ability of teachers to help the students.


tech: Posted: August 14, 2014 5:38 p.m.

Indy: "When our k-12 student population grew by about 1,000,000 students over a 15 year period, our local legislators voted down tax increases to cover the growing population."

But that's not current, is it, Indy?

CA Public School Enrollment Continues Decline
April 15th, 2013

Although California’s public school enrollment rose nearly 20% in the past two decades, it has been on a slight but consistent decline since 2005, in a reflection of California’s shrinking child population.

Approximately 6.2 million K-12 students were enrolled in public school in 2012, down about 2% since 2005, according to new data available from kidsdata.org.

Some counties have seen sharper declines, including Los Angeles County, where public school enrollment dipped 9% between 2005 and 2012. Some rural counties with small student populations shrank by as much as 32% during that period.

http://www.kidsdata.org/blog/?p=6353

Indy: "Listening to a conservative partisan republican isn’t the source I would recommend you get your knowledge about public schools. "

What, specifically, was the columnist incorrect about? What source would you consider more valid? CTA, NEA, etc., Indy? You never seem to take a position on that aspect. Here's your opportunity to tell us. --edited.


tech: Posted: August 14, 2014 5:40 p.m.

Indy: "We also should see the demographic statistics of not only the students but the parents."

Care to expand on that?


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 14, 2014 6:45 p.m.

Indy: "In any event, putting the futures of our kids in the hands of political ideologues is one of the primary reasons many of our public schools are failing."

Because it has been working so well in the hands of left-wing ideologues and public service empoyee unions? LOL. Shot yourself in the foot on that one, sir.

Indy: "Evaluation of teachers is still needed but it would help if the local Principals did their job in monitoring their staffs."

Let's throw principals under the bus now too, eh? So, tests are flawed and school district management is incompetent. LOL

The public needs to know if their money is being well-spent on education. This requires honest evaluation and critical examination. Unions and liberals don't want this accountability because it goes against the mantra of "just spend more."

No. Let's spend smarter not larger.

Would love to hear Phil's take on this if it would not get him into trouble...


Indy: Posted: August 14, 2014 9:30 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Indy: "In any event, putting the futures of our kids in the hands of political ideologues is one of the primary reasons many of our public schools are failing."

Because it has been working so well in the hands of left-wing ideologues and public service empoyee unions? LOL. Shot yourself in the foot on that one, sir.

Indy: All I ask is that if you’re going to comment on my stuff . . . . please read it.

Why would republican legislators vote to cut taxes when the k-12 enrollment was increasing?

AlwaysRight wrote: Indy: "Evaluation of teachers is still needed but it would help if the local Principals did their job in monitoring their staffs."

Let's throw principals under the bus now too, eh? So, tests are flawed and school district management is incompetent. LOL

Indy: I found in my time of teaching the evaluation process was sketchy by the Principal.

They don’t spending enough time in the classroom to ‘observe’ the teaching.

AlwaysRight wrote: The public needs to know if their money is being well-spent on education. This requires honest evaluation and critical examination. Unions and liberals don't want this accountability because it goes against the mantra of "just spend more."

Indy: The problem you have is that you’re entrenched in the ‘anti-tax’ mantra that has become the primary talking point of the GOP.

Sadly, using it when the ‘demands’ for education are increasing only hurts the students.

AlwaysRight wrote: No. Let's spend smarter not larger.

Indy: Couldn’t agree with you more . . . .thus as the ‘demands’ increased, in one year the k-12 population grew by about 150,000 students net, republicans voted down tax increases to cover the supplies, additional teachers and facilities.

What is intelligent or smart about that, sir?

In any event, do you know what we spend per student per year in k-12 on a statewide average?


ricketzz: Posted: August 15, 2014 10:03 a.m.

Haha. You sent all the factories overseas to break the unions and ended up breaking the country instead. Unions still here; industrial base is gone.


therightstuff: Posted: August 15, 2014 10:18 a.m.

This is not original with me but I do not know the author or where I got it but it's a great tribute to public school teachers:

Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning. Not only that, I'm to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, behaviorally modify disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and T-shirt messages.

I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for guns and raise their self-esteem. I'm to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, how and where to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.

I am to check their heads occasionally for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of potential antisocial behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, and encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others.

I am to decide who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit crimes in school or who is possibly being abused, and I can be sent to jail for not mentioning these suspicions. I am expected to make sure that all of the students with handicaps are guaranteed a free and equal education, regardless of their mental or physical handicap. I am to communicate frequently with each student's parent by letter, phone, newsletter and grade card. I'm to do all of this with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45 minute plan time and a big smile, all on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps in many states.

And you want me to do all of this and expect me NOT to pray?


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 15, 2014 10:57 a.m.

Indy: The problem you have is that you’re entrenched in the ‘anti-tax’ mantra that has become the primary talking point of the GOP.

Sadly, using it when the ‘demands’ for education are increasing only hurts the students.

AR: No, sir. I want to spend money effectively, not ineffectively. Spending more does not correlate to increased academic performance.

A little story for you. Several years ago, the North Chicago School District went bankrupt. They were spending, per capita as I recall, about $12-13K per annum. They ran out of money by the end of the year and closed schools in early May.

The parochial schools in the same geographical area serving the same population with the same socio-economic status were educating students for $7K per anum. AND, obtaining amazing results- college scholarships, disciplined students/citizens, etc.

If I am a serious manager of resources, I take the money away from failed systems and invest the money in successful ones. I would rather pay $7K per student for success than $12K for failure.

Wouldn't you, Mr. Indy?


tech: Posted: August 15, 2014 11:19 a.m.

AR: The $7k annual figure correlates with the OECD average spending per student.


stevehw: Posted: August 15, 2014 5:19 p.m.

"The parochial schools in the same geographical area serving the same population with the same socio-economic status were educating students for $7K per anum. AND, obtaining amazing results- college scholarships, disciplined students/citizens, etc."

Might have something to do with private schools being able to boot out anyone that doesn't cut it, or not accepting them in the first place.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 15, 2014 5:29 p.m.

Take it the next step, Steve. And.....

(you are on the right track)


CaptGene: Posted: August 15, 2014 8:41 p.m.

steve: "Might have something to do with private schools being able to boot out anyone that doesn't cut it, or not accepting them in the first place"

I think you're right; the private schools don't have to put up with tenured union bench-warmer teachers, they don't have to hire them or keep them.

Look at that, we agree on something!


Indy: Posted: August 16, 2014 9:40 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Indy: The problem you have is that you’re entrenched in the ‘anti-tax’ mantra that has become the primary talking point of the GOP.

Sadly, using it when the ‘demands’ for education are increasing only hurts the students.

AR: No, sir. I want to spend money effectively, not ineffectively. Spending more does not correlate to increased academic performance.

Indy: One reason I come to these forums is to address comments like the one you make here.

Obviously, the idea that we need to spend money effectively has been known for 100+ years, ever since schools of management started teaching same.

We're constantly being told (for decades) that conservatives ‘know how to spend money’ better than liberals.

Yet, during the last 4 decades of my adult life, I don’t see anything productive coming from republicans other than the recital of the ‘waste and fraud’ slogan.

Where’s the action? Where’s the evidence that republicans spending money better?

In this case, any businessman knows that if you sell something for say a $1, two of them cost $2. But that logic escaped republicans who are ‘buried’ in the ‘anti-tax’ rhetoric that only hurts the students in this case.

When the student population went up in one year by some 150,000 net kids, the republican legislators here in SCV-land stayed steadfast in their opposition to raise taxes to educated the additional kids.

So the student/teacher rose to some 40 students per teacher, about the range we see in the Hart district.

This handicaps the teachers who keep seeing their ‘time per student’ fall . . . and thus the poor academic performance in k-12 dropping out more than 1 student in 4 for 30 years attest.

So stating the ‘goal’ as you did is all well and good yet nothing is done by republicans except crying about taxes ‘independent’ of the demands of the parents that are ‘promised’ quality public education by all politiicans.


Indy: Posted: August 16, 2014 9:46 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: A little story for you. Several years ago, the North Chicago School District went bankrupt. They were spending, per capita as I recall, about $12-13K per annum. They ran out of money by the end of the year and closed schools in early May.

The parochial schools in the same geographical area serving the same population with the same socio-economic status were educating students for $7K per anum. AND, obtaining amazing results- college scholarships, disciplined students/citizens, etc.

Indy: Yes, the teachers in catholic schools are often taught by Nuns that earn little or no salary.

So is your answer religious education?

And when the Catholic schools are 'full', they turn kids away . . ever seen that in public education? No.

Why? They just 'stuff' more kids per teachers then blame the teachers who tell you that once you get past about 25 kids per teacher, the quality drops off.

AlwaysRight wrote: If I am a serious manager of resources, I take the money away from failed systems and invest the money in successful ones. I would rather pay $7K per student for success than $12K for failure. Wouldn't you, Mr. Indy?

Indy: I would go far beyond your quick quip and understand the problem clearly.

I would reduce the student teacher ratios in public school areas till we find the ‘sweet spot’ here kids are helped based on their needs . . . not the assumptions you’ve made here.

Most people when they buy a car get more for more money. Yet that concept appears to escape you.

Why? Well, you as a taxpayer have to pay more taxes . . . . for services in some cases you didn’t ‘demand’.

That’s the issue of having parents having the ability to send ‘unlimited’ kids to public schools on ‘fixed’ tax rates.

And rather than address that simple ‘P times Q’ issue that all businessmen understand, you jump into the same tire and worn out issue of spending ‘effectively’ that republicans never get around to demonstrating.

Why is that?


Indy: Posted: August 16, 2014 9:49 p.m.

Tech wrote: AR: The $7k annual figure correlates with the OECD average spending per student.

Indy: Why don’t republicans start ‘demonstration’ schools in Los Angeles inner city areas using that budget amount and ‘DEMONSTRATE’ that they can get the performance you insinuate.

What are they waiting for?

Why not ‘prove’ you assertions?

Why reference OECD nations where were talking about education kids here . . . not in other nations.


tech: Posted: August 17, 2014 12:32 a.m.

Indy: Why don’t republicans start ‘demonstration’ schools in Los Angeles inner city areas using that budget amount and ‘DEMONSTRATE’ that they can get the performance you insinuate.

As AR noted, parochial schools already do so in inner cities. No waiting required, Indy.

Many OECD countries are your favored social democracies. If they can do it for $7k on average, why can't the USA? --edited.


hopeful: Posted: August 17, 2014 6:17 p.m.

Indy wrote: "So the student/teacher rose to some 40 students per teacher, about the range we see in the Hart district."

For someone, who always accuses others of making up stuff, you sure seem to be just as bad! None of the high schools in the Hart School district average anywhere near 40 students per class. In 2013 (the most updated school accountability report currently on line), West Ranch High School had the highest average amount of students per class, with 29 for English classes, 31 for math classes, 34 for science classes and 32 for social studies classes. I bet that isn't that much different than when I was back in school in the late 70s, when California supposedly had one of the best education systems in the U.S.

Additionally, your assertion that additional money will somehow solve our education crisis in California K-12 schools also doesn't hold up when you compare the schools in Santa Clarita compared to other districts.

Did you know that California pays different ADA (Average Daily Attendance) fees to each school district? In the 2012-2013 school year (most recent I could find), California paid an average of $7,880 ADA for Elementary School Districts (Newhall got $7,362 and Saugus got $6,967). California paid an average of $9,075 for high school districts (Hart District got $7,844), and California paid an average ADA of $$8,528 for unified school districts (LAUSD got $10,045).

Clearly, our Santa Clarita school districts are doing something right, considering we are getting far less money than other state districts, while our High School Drop out rate is way below state average (Hart's average is 2.0, versus the state at 13.10, versus LAUSD, which is probably much, much higher than even the state average, but I couldn't find the LAUSD information).

LAUSD gets far, far more money per student than our schools, their teachers make more money and have better benefits that our teachers, yet their schools can not hold a candle to our schools. Obviously, throwing more money at schools is not the answer, no matter how much you try to make it out to be.


Indy: Posted: August 17, 2014 8:20 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy wrote: "So the student/teacher rose to some 40 students per teacher, about the range we see in the Hart district."

For someone, who always accuses others of making up stuff, you sure seem to be just as bad! None of the high schools in the Hart School district average anywhere near 40 students per class. In 2013 (the most updated school accountability report currently on line), West Ranch High School had the highest average amount of students per class, with 29 for English classes, 31 for math classes, 34 for science classes and 32 for social studies classes. I bet that isn't that much different than when I was back in school in the late 70s, when California supposedly had one of the best education systems in the U.S.

Indy: I’ve personally witnessed 40 kids per teacher in high school algebra classes. Have you been in one lately?

You might want to go ‘look’ for yourself in the ‘core’ classes.

And why do you suppose the public schools fell apart in the 70s when the taxes they got from property were reduced?

Hopeful wrote: Additionally, your assertion that additional money will somehow solve our education crisis in California K-12 schools also doesn't hold up when you compare the schools in Santa Clarita compared to other districts.

Indy: Of course money has a tremendous influence on kids learning.

When the student teacher ratios increase, the time for any individual help for students is reduced.

When does the student teacher ratio rise? Lower public school budgets with increasing enrollment.

When the k-12 public schools increased by almost a million students over 15 years to about 6.3 million, why did our republican legislators vote down tax increases to properly address the added enrollment?


Indy: Posted: August 17, 2014 8:28 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Did you know that California pays different ADA (Average Daily Attendance) fees to each school district? In the 2012-2013 school year (most recent I could find), California paid an average of $7,880 ADA for Elementary School Districts (Newhall got $7,362 and Saugus got $6,967). California paid an average of $9,075 for high school districts (Hart District got $7,844), and California paid an average ADA of $$8,528 for unified school districts (LAUSD got $10,045).

Clearly, our Santa Clarita school districts are doing something right, considering we are getting far less money than other state districts, while our High School Drop out rate is way below state average (Hart's average is 2.0, versus the state at 13.10, versus LAUSD, which is probably much, much higher than even the state average, but I couldn't find the LAUSD information).

Indy: I didn’t specifically mean the Hart District that has a good share of its students from higher income families but statewide.

So 40 kids per teacher here is different from inner city schools with parents far less able to help their own kids.

We wonder why poverty persist . . . and public education plays a key role.

Hopeful wrote: LAUSD gets far, far more money per student than our schools, their teachers make more money and have better benefits that our teachers, yet their schools can not hold a candle to our schools. Obviously, throwing more money at schools is not the answer, no matter how much you try to make it out to be.

Indy: Yes, when you compare the demographic statistics between the two areas, you realize why the results are different.

Here’s a link that shows the income levels per city in LA County: http://www.laalmanac.com/employment/em12.htm

So you conclusion about ‘throwing money’ is erroneous and misleading out of context.

Don’t you want to help kids through the state?


Indy: Posted: August 17, 2014 8:30 p.m.

Tech wrote: Indy: Why don’t republicans start ‘demonstration’ schools in Los Angeles inner city areas using that budget amount and ‘DEMONSTRATE’ that they can get the performance you insinuate.

As AR noted, parochial schools already do so in inner cities. No waiting required, Indy.

Stevehw wrote: "The parochial schools in the same geographical area serving the same population with the same socio-economic status were educating students for $7K per anum. AND, obtaining amazing results- college scholarships, disciplined students/citizens, etc."

Might have something to do with private schools being able to boot out anyone that doesn't cut it, or not accepting them in the first place.

Indy: So the kids that are not able to get into a parochial school are just out of luck?


emheilbrun: Posted: August 17, 2014 9:42 p.m.

From Indy, "I found the greatest thing you could do as a teacher was simply telling the kids ‘the truth’ based on the reality.

And when they the kids realize you are there to ‘help them’, you don’t have any classroom management issues."

So Indy, if that's the secret to classroom management, why the fuss about the number of kids in a class?


tech: Posted: August 17, 2014 10:05 p.m.

Indy: So the kids that are not able to get into a parochial school are just out of luck?

Simple. Opening the public school monopoly to tax dollar competition would provide market force benefits for public institutions as well. It's about the kids rather than the public sector union machine.

Let's do the right thing rather than politics as usual.


hopeful: Posted: August 17, 2014 11:06 p.m.

Keep digging, Indy. LAUSD high schools have an average student to teacher ratio even lower than West Ranch High School. And for that lower student-teacher ratio, along with getting more than $2,000 per student more than our schools, they have what drop out rate did you say, was it a 25% drop out rate?

http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/california/teacher-salary-in-los-angeles-unified-school-district/

Oh, and your comment about "witnessing algebra classrooms with 40+ students in the classroom - were you the permanent teacher in that classroom, or were you a substitute? Was it in the beginning of a semester BEFORE the school had the chance to hire additional teachers, so they could reduce the class size? What year was that, and what school/district was it at?




stevehw: Posted: August 18, 2014 2:26 a.m.

"Indy: So the kids that are not able to get into a parochial school are just out of luck? "

I didn't say that, did I?

I was pointing out that the comparison is probably not valid, that's all.

I do wish people would quit putting words in my mouth...


17trillion: Posted: August 18, 2014 11:24 a.m.

"I do wish people would quit putting words in my mouth..."

So says the guy who repeatedly calls me a Christian. Do as I say, not as I do. Typical lib.....


therightstuff: Posted: August 18, 2014 12:09 p.m.

"""I do wish people would quit putting words in my mouth..."""

OR...take responsibility for your words when you don't like the way they look when they are said back to you.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 18, 2014 12:16 p.m.

Indy- you keep saying "40" as the student-teacher ratio based on your own empirical observation. Your number clearly does not match hopeful's recent data on classroom average (which was very well done, hopeful!).

You need to understand the concept of sampling error. Let me explain. Because you see one observation does not mean that your observation holds true in all circumstances or is even representative of the vast majority of the population set.

Just yesterday, I saw a black widow that was colored brown. She had a red hour glass on her underside so I knew what I was dealing with. If I use your logic, I would have to conclude that all black widows are brown. Which really makes their name confusing.

Or, possibly, she was dusty and was really black. Regardless of the reason, this is a sampling error since my empirical observation was based on a limited sample and not representative of the poipulation.

Therefore, you cannot observe one classroom and say that all classes are at 40 students, sir.


stevehw: Posted: August 18, 2014 12:17 p.m.

My apologies for that, 17. I was, in fact, mistaken.


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 1:16 p.m.

Indy wrote: "Don’t you want to help kids through the state?"

Yes, I do want ALL kids to thrive, yet I don't think throwing more money at our bloated government programs, including tax-payer funded schools, is the answer. I think much of the problem stems from family dynamics, where either 1) parents are working so hard and too many hours, so there isn't a parent in the home to ensure the kids excel in school and stay out of trouble, or 2) cultural beliefs that have parents pulling their kids out of school, so the kids can work and help provide for the families, 3) parents, who believe that it is solely the teacher's job to teach, so the parent turns over all education responsibility to the schools, 4) parents, who refuse to learn English, and therefore, no English is being spoken in the home, and sometimes 5) parents, who don't want to take on the most important job they will ever have, which is raising their children to be productive members of society.

Now, I am not saying that our entire education crisis is due to parent/family dynamics, but as a former teacher, who worked at a Title 1 school, I have personally seen how parents have a much bigger impact on student success than our government wants us to believe.


philellis: Posted: August 18, 2014 1:37 p.m.


Would love to hear Phil's take on this if it would not get him into trouble...

Sorry, just got back from vacation. Accountability is a good thing and is practiced in the Newhall School District. You can't be successful in what you do without it. I'm not sure about WIndy's comment about growth in class size. During the late 50's I remember class sizes of 30-35 students. We are well below that now. Remember to take his comments with more than just a few grains of salt - sometimes a wholes shaker isn't enough.


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:19 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Keep digging, Indy. LAUSD high schools have an average student to teacher ratio even lower than West Ranch High School. And for that lower student-teacher ratio, along with getting more than $2,000 per student more than our schools, they have what drop out rate did you say, was it a 25% drop out rate?

Indy: Can I get the link of information the student teacher ratio that you’re addressing?

And is it reasonable to compare a school like say West Ranch with say Jefferson HS in LA?

Did you look at the income statistics I linked to?

The state of CA on average was dropping out about 1 kid in 4 . . . but has recently gone to ‘only’ 1 in 5.


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:22 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Oh, and your comment about "witnessing algebra classrooms with 40+ students in the classroom - were you the permanent teacher in that classroom, or were you a substitute? Was it in the beginning of a semester BEFORE the school had the chance to hire additional teachers, so they could reduce the class size? What year was that, and what school/district was it at?

Indy: It was during the middle of the school year.

And I was ‘observing’ the teacher and the class.

It was a Hart District high school.

I really suggest that you go see for yourself.

The ‘required’ algebra classes have to set ‘every’ student so the class sizes are larger but that demographic issue doesn’t help the teacher or the students.


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:26 p.m.

Stevehw wrote: "Indy: So the kids that are not able to get into a parochial school are just out of luck? "

I didn't say that, did I?

Indy: No, I quoted your comment but should have noted your other note:

“Might have something to do with private schools being able to boot out anyone that doesn't cut it, or not accepting them in the first place. “

So I agree with you . . . Catholic schools can’t accommodate the total students.

Likewise, their teachers are paid for less . . . and as you noted, they can be more selective in the kids they teach.


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:29 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Indy- you keep saying "40" as the student-teacher ratio based on your own empirical observation. Your number clearly does not match hopeful's recent data on classroom average (which was very well done, hopeful!).

Indy: It would helpful to the students if you read my ‘entire’ posts and then quote them in context.

AlwaysRight wrote: You need to understand the concept of sampling error. Let me explain. Because you see one observation does not mean that your observation holds true in all circumstances or is even representative of the vast majority of the population set.

Indy: The reality is that we’ve known statistical methods for decades yet many of our public schools in poor areas are not helping the students.

Is that the correlation you’re trying to assert?

But how do you feel about this: That’s the issue of having parents having the ability to send ‘unlimited’ kids to public schools on ‘fixed’ tax rates.

How does that work out for you?

Remember, we’re talking about kids not spiders . . .


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:32 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy wrote: "Don’t you want to help kids through the state?"

Yes, I do want ALL kids to thrive, yet I don't think throwing more money at our bloated government programs, including tax-payer funded schools, is the answer.

Indy: When the student enrollment increases, should the school build new classrooms to hold the additional students? (or as we see here in the Hart District, provide more 'portable' classrooms)

Should the districts hire the teachers to staff those classrooms?

And who’s going to pay for same including the additional books and utilities?


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:43 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: I think much of the problem stems from family dynamics, where either 1) parents are working so hard and too many hours, so there isn't a parent in the home to ensure the kids excel in school and stay out of trouble, or 2) cultural beliefs that have parents pulling their kids out of school, so the kids can work and help provide for the families, 3) parents, who believe that it is solely the teacher's job to teach, so the parent turns over all education responsibility to the schools, 4) parents, who refuse to learn English, and therefore, no English is being spoken in the home, and sometimes 5) parents, who don't want to take on the most important job they will ever have, which is raising their children to be productive members of society.

Indy: I understand the concerns in these areas.

When I taught high school, for the ‘meet the parents’ night, I got about 3 or 4 parents per class of 30+ students I had. So yes, parental involvement is important.

What I found is that many of the parents of my students didn’t speak English and thus may have felt awkward . . . since the LAUSD didn’t provide me with an interpreter.

And this result was made more interesting since I had the students ‘create’ a flier for their parents where they signed same advising them of the night I would be there.

As far as working parents, I saw perhaps 5 to 10% of the kids held out often to work.

With respect to the parents helping with the teaching, I know from my own parents they were not fit to teach me trigonometry, geometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, or other areas where the ‘teacher’ is qualified to do so.

So it’s great to assert that parents ‘might’ help their kids but it requires parents ‘trained’ in these areas which many kids including me had no help at home . . . that’s why it’s important you visit the required algebra classes . . .

As far as parents who ‘refuse’ to learn English, I see that as well in my own personal life where relatives, usually older, don’t know English either. But overall, I had less than 10% of the students who couldn’t speak any English . . . I was lucky to have a teacher assistant that was bilingual and helped me greatly for several of my classes. In the other classes, I had to ask other students to help me.

For kids that didn’t speak English, I found books that I used for them written in Spanish that addressed the subject matter I was teaching to the others . . . at my own expense.

So I don’t know if it’s completely Ok to judge parenting per se with educational training. The fact that the kids in my classes attended every day for the most part indicated their parents did send them there for help.


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 5:57 p.m.

Indy, I already gave the link to the LAUSD schools. On this particular link, you can see what the student-teacher ratio is for each LAUSD school. In fact, when you look at the link yourself, you will see that according to the information, Jefferson HS has a student-teacher ratio of 19-1, which isn't close to your assertion that it is 40-1. You can find ALL the Hart District school information by searching each school's on-line SARC reports, but since you seem to have a problem finding accurate information yourself, I have provided the West Ranch Link for you: http://www.hart.k12.ca.us/files/docs/SARC/2013/West_Ranch_High_School_20140201.pdf

And Indy, I am willing to bet that I have spent much more time in classrooms, and on school campuses than you have. My guess is that IF you actually observed an algebra classroom with 40+ students, it was prior to when West Ranch and Golden Valley High Schools were built...way back when the Hart District was debating whether to implement a multi-track school calendar, similar to what the Newhall School District had at the time...


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 6:20 p.m.

Indy wrote: "With respect to the parents helping with the teaching, I know from my own parents they were not fit to teach me trigonometry, geometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, or other areas where the ‘teacher’ is qualified to do so."

I never said that parents should "teach" the students. However, if parents aren't able to help their children themselves, they don't need to just sit there and do nothing. Parents can and do call their child's teachers, they can make arrangements for the child to get "free" extra help. There are a lot of ways that parents can make sure their kids get the help they need, but many parents don't make their child's educational success their priority.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 18, 2014 6:28 p.m.

Phil- if you don't mind me asking, how are teachers held accountable in the NSD? Is it purely in-class staff review and evaluation or is there a testing component?


philellis: Posted: August 18, 2014 6:48 p.m.

Reviews are not limited to teachers. It would make evaluations easier if there was valid and reliable method based on testing.


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 9:16 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy, I already gave the link to the LAUSD schools. On this particular link, you can see what the student-teacher ratio is for each LAUSD school. In fact, when you look at the link yourself, you will see that according to the information, Jefferson HS has a student-teacher ratio of 19-1, which isn't close to your assertion that it is 40-1. You can find ALL the Hart District school information by searching each school's on-line SARC reports, but since you seem to have a problem finding accurate information yourself, I have provided the West Ranch Link for you: http://www.hart.k12.ca.us/files/docs/SARC/2013/West_Ranch_High_School_20140201.pdf

Indy: I appreciate the links but I’m somewhat puzzled since the ‘average’ can be somewhat misleading.

When I taught, I had about 33 to 36 kids per class and the stats show that school having about 25.

And I did think the Hart stats for WR are revealing in that for their science classes in the 12th grade, they show about 36 kids per teacher.

I know the last article I saw in the Signal re: Hart District was a maximum of 39.

So I appreciate the stats but again, I would suggest going for yourself to see the ‘required’ algebra classes and see how many kids are in there . . .

Hopeful wrote: And Indy, I am willing to bet that I have spent much more time in classrooms, and on school campuses than you have. My guess is that IF you actually observed an algebra classroom with 40+ students, it was prior to when West Ranch and Golden Valley High Schools were built...way back when the Hart District was debating whether to implement a multi-track school calendar, similar to what the Newhall School District had at the time...

Indy: That very well could be true . . . since I go back 10+ years . . .

But I’d like to see your responses to these questions that related to funding and ‘demands’ for seats by parents:

When the student enrollment increases, should the school build new classrooms to hold the additional students? (or as we see here in the Hart District, provide more 'portable' classrooms)

Should the districts hire the teachers to staff those classrooms?

And who’s going to pay for same including the additional books and utilities?


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 9:19 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy wrote: "With respect to the parents helping with the teaching, I know from my own parents they were not fit to teach me trigonometry, geometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, or other areas where the ‘teacher’ is qualified to do so."

I never said that parents should "teach" the students. However, if parents aren't able to help their children themselves, they don't need to just sit there and do nothing. Parents can and do call their child's teachers, they can make arrangements for the child to get "free" extra help. There are a lot of ways that parents can make sure their kids get the help they need, but many parents don't make their child's educational success their priority.

Indy: As I noted, my ‘meet the teacher’ nights were very poorly attended.

And the issue with language was not doubt in play.

But what types of parental outreach should we proceed with to address your concerns?

Should attendance at the ‘meet the teacher’ be mandatory?

I have to take the position that the parents are looking for the schools to provide the educational expertise to help their children.

I agree that motivation is key . . . but for kids that don’t get that, do we just abandon them as we do now?


Indy: Posted: August 18, 2014 9:25 p.m.

AlwaysRight,

You like to critique me here but from what I see, once you’re presented with questions, you simply ignore the ones you I guess don’t believe support your beliefs or positions.

For funding of our public schools, this question is key: That’s the issue of having parents having the ability to send ‘unlimited’ kids to public schools on ‘fixed’ tax rates.

Anybody that runs a business can’t survive buy offering their customers unlimited products at a ‘fixed’ price.

Why do you think that’s supposed to work in a public setting?

Why don’t our leaders grasp this?

When we see conservatives grandstanding ‘less taxes’, why don’t they address the consequences of same?

Why don’t they address the ‘demand’ issue?

Sadly, they just ignore these the same as you do . . .

And even sadder, the media lacking any professional management expertise just fails to really do what I consider professional journalism by asking such questions.


tech: Posted: August 18, 2014 10:10 p.m.

Indy:You like to critique me here but from what I see, once you’re presented with questions, you simply ignore the ones you I guess don’t believe support your beliefs or positions.

An interesting example of projection, that.

Indy: For funding of our public schools, this question is key: That’s the issue of having parents having the ability to send ‘unlimited’ kids to public schools on ‘fixed’ tax rates.

Did you ignore again the metric I previously provided, i.e. public school enrollment is down statewide and in L.A. County due to a declining birth rate? Isn't state reimbursement based on attendance per student? Seems you're enamored with the concept of a per child tax for education and no doubt other environmental reasons.


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 10:11 p.m.

Indy - the situation is not as black and white as you try to make it out to be. Do I believe the state should automatically build more classrooms when student enrollment increases? No! I would rather each city post the amount of "open desks" they have at each public and private school, then have a lottery, where any interested student could fill that seat (even at a private school), using the ADA the public school would have received had they had the open space. Yes, this means that some tax-payer ADA would fund private schools, but that would only happen when the public school is full. But, on the other hand, that would mean that taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook to fund building costs that one day wouldn't be needed when enrollment eventually goes down again.

Why should taxpayers pay to build classrooms, hire new teachers, and pay additional utilities when schools within the same city, regardless of whether the open seats are at charter schools, public schools, or private schools have seats available in classrooms that have too few students?

Oh, and although I previously agreed with your 2-child tax benefit standard, I would go one step further...I am more and more in support a flat tax, where there were no write offs for anything (which would hurt me personally, but I feel this would be the best for the U.S. as a whole). I would probably also support the concept that if people chose to have more than 2 children, their flat tax would increase to pay for the services needed for those additional children.


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 10:18 p.m.

Indy wrote: "When we see conservatives grandstanding ‘less taxes’, why don’t they address the consequences of same?"

Indy - conservatives have been trying to come up with alternatives to taxes for years...the problem is that people like you aren't listening....or you think only your big government ideas will solve all our problems.

Think outside the box for a change...stop trying to put everything into black and white!


hopeful: Posted: August 18, 2014 10:28 p.m.

I would like to add one more suggestion: rather than only allowing ADA to go to open seats at charter, public or private schools (when the local public school is full), I would also suggest letting ADA go to recognized/tested and proven Home School programs as well.

Yes, not everyone is able to home school their children, but Home School has come a LONG WAY from what it was. As long as there were controls to ensure the children were being well educated (which would not be hard to do), there is no reason to withhold ADA from home schooling parents.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 19, 2014 12:13 p.m.

hopeful's comments are wise and well-reasoned.

Phil- you said the magic word that trips up everything: validate. It is very difficult to create a predictive tool for the future. Any group (teacher's unions) that disagree with the outcome will attack the tool as "unreliable" and "unvalidated" since there will always be variability in predicting future events.

[I find this very funny since there is no "control" that can be used for a future event, making it impossible to "validate" a result]

Common sense would say that we test the kids at the beginning of the year, test them at the end of the year with the same test, and then measure what they learned. This would be how effective the teacher was at teaching the source material.

But, that is not so simple, eh? Other things impact learning such as economic status, innate intelligence, culture, and (dare we say it?) race (or race-based cultural differences).

So, to compare two 4th graders, one in Santa Clarita and the other in Compton, would not be fair, correct?

Why not look at a kid's past performance as predictive of future performance? If a kid generally learns 40% of the source material in grades 1 thru 3, shouldn't we expect a similar performance in grade 4?

Admittedly, there are things that impact individual learning such as changes in family status, changing maturity level, and socialization. But, on average, these factors would probably even out over a population of students.

Where does that leave us? You guessed it. Value Added Modeling.

Does this mean that teachers will tend to "teach to the test"? Yep. And why not? If the source material is the intended curricula for the grade level, is this such a bad thing? I don't think so.

Yes, I hear the arguments for "teaching kids how to learn". In my opinion, I think kids pick this up on their own and don't need to be taught this skill. It also becomes a haven for experimental or inefficient teaching methods that do not strengthen the education of our children.

I would question the value of classroom evaluations. When I was a teaching instructor, I would audit classrooms and everything seemed fine. I would find out later from students about the actual behavior and practices of the instructor were different than what I observed.




AlwaysRight: Posted: August 19, 2014 12:21 p.m.

Indy- it is impossible to deal with all the rabbit-trail issues that are mentioned in your posts. We need to focus on the main issue and leave the trails for another time.

The fundamental issue is this: we must find a way to educate children in a cost effective manner. If two education paradigms exist in the same area and each serving the same population demographic, would it not be worthwhile to understand why one succeeds with far less money spent while the other fails with far more money spent?

I would think that this would fascinate your inquisitive mind. If we can drop the politics, I think much can be learned.


Indy: Posted: August 19, 2014 9:20 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy - the situation is not as black and white as you try to make it out to be. Do I believe the state should automatically build more classrooms when student enrollment increases? No! I would rather each city post the amount of "open desks" they have at each public and private school, then have a lottery, where any interested student could fill that seat (even at a private school), using the ADA the public school would have received had they had the open space. Yes, this means that some tax-payer ADA would fund private schools, but that would only happen when the public school is full. But, on the other hand, that would mean that taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook to fund building costs that one day wouldn't be needed when enrollment eventually goes down again.

Indy: At least you’re upfront and actually post something tangible to discuss versus the standard ‘quick quip’ ‘you’re an idiot’ liberal nonsense.

In any event, your logic is somewhat flawed in that your assumption is true that school seats will be ‘filled up’ if the increased enrollment is not accounted for in building new classrooms to hold the additional students for public schools.

And this ‘anti-tax’ approach works well with your advocating of ‘private schools’ . . . many of whom don’t accept ‘all’ students.

I’m not sure if the k-12 student enrollment will ‘decrease’ per se . . . . but that’ information is ‘out there’ in the ‘birth’ records that could be used by politicians to see in advance the future enrollments by at least 5 years . . . something to look into.

In any event, you still ‘skip over’ the issue of ‘increasing demands’ an whether we as taxpayers can ‘afford’ the demands we place on government.

So you agree that the current premise of offering ‘unlimited’ seats per family on fixed tax rates is flawed?


Indy: Posted: August 19, 2014 9:47 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Why should taxpayers pay to build classrooms, hire new teachers, and pay additional utilities when schools within the same city, regardless of whether the open seats are at charter schools, public schools, or private schools have seats available in classrooms that have too few students?

Indy: Here again, unless we start giving vouchers to students, public schools are the only option for those parents that cannot afford ‘private’ schools.

As we see today, our high schools were built with the thinking you assert in that the school population will someday go down . . . thus the ‘portable cities’ if you will that spout up at our local high schools . . . though I’ve yet to see any portables removed.

I looked over at the Hard District but couldn’t find any enrollment statistics . . .

Hopeful wrote: Oh, and although I previously agreed with your 2-child tax benefit standard, I would go one step further...I am more and more in support a flat tax, where there were no write offs for anything (which would hurt me personally, but I feel this would be the best for the U.S. as a whole). I would probably also support the concept that if people chose to have more than 2 children, their flat tax would increase to pay for the services needed for those additional children.

Indy: We’re on the same page here . . . ‘demand more, pay more’.

The flat tax per se isn’t the solution since it doesn’t address the ‘income advantages’ of the wealthy . . . a better approach would be to eliminate the ‘child tax’ credits.

But a better approach is for our ‘leaders’ to get ‘real’ with the public . . . . thus the issue of the ability to send unlimited students on ‘fixed’ tax rates.


Indy: Posted: August 19, 2014 9:51 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: I would like to add one more suggestion: rather than only allowing ADA to go to open seats at charter, public or private schools (when the local public school is full), I would also suggest letting ADA go to recognized/tested and proven Home School programs as well.

Indy: From what I understand, students not in the seats don’t get the school their ADA funds for that day.

As far as home schools going, I’m not a proponent of same . . . but I’m not against it either.

Hopeful wrote: Yes, not everyone is able to home school their children, but Home School has come a LONG WAY from what it was. As long as there were controls to ensure the children were being well educated (which would not be hard to do), there is no reason to withhold ADA from home schooling parents.

Indy: I understand your position . . . but don’t see it becoming reality.


Indy: Posted: August 19, 2014 10:03 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Common sense would say that we test the kids at the beginning of the year, test them at the end of the year with the same test, and then measure what they learned. This would be how effective the teacher was at teaching the source material.

Indy: Yes, that will work but what about the kids five years behind grade level?

AlwaysRight wrote: But, that is not so simple, eh? Other things impact learning such as economic status, innate intelligence, culture, and (dare we say it?) race (or race-based cultural differences).

So, to compare two 4th graders, one in Santa Clarita and the other in Compton, would not be fair, correct?

Indy: Kids born to poor parents are sadly left to that reality . . . . this is why poverty persist.

Throwing in the towel using the ‘blame the parents’ approach is self serving politically and doesn’t deal with the reality the kids face.

AlwaysRight wrote: Why not look at a kid's past performance as predictive of future performance? If a kid generally learns 40% of the source material in grades 1 thru 3, shouldn't we expect a similar performance in grade 4?

Indy: And why is that?

AlwaysRight wrote: Admittedly, there are things that impact individual learning such as changes in family status, changing maturity level, and socialization. But, on average, these factors would probably even out over a population of students.

Indy: Yes, as we’ve seen with the dropout rate being about 1 kids in 4 for the last 30 years . . . so you’re just reciting the problem with no solution.

AlwaysRight wrote: Where does that leave us? You guessed it. Value Added Modeling.

Does this mean that teachers will tend to "teach to the test"? Yep. And why not? If the source material is the intended curricula for the grade level, is this such a bad thing? I don't think so.

Indy: For basic skills I agree . . .

AlwaysRight wrote: Yes, I hear the arguments for "teaching kids how to learn". In my opinion, I think kids pick this up on their own and don't need to be taught this skill. It also becomes a haven for experimental or inefficient teaching methods that do not strengthen the education of our children.

Indy: So you dismiss why public education even exists . . . and simply ignore the reality that kids born to bad parents are thus ‘screwed from birth’.

AlwaysRight wrote: I would question the value of classroom evaluations. When I was a teaching instructor, I would audit classrooms and everything seemed fine. I would find out later from students about the actual behavior and practices of the instructor were different than what I observed.

Indy: Yes, this is a problem . . . but indeed the ‘kids know’.


tech: Posted: August 19, 2014 10:10 p.m.

Indy: As we see today, our high schools were built with the thinking you assert in that the school population will someday go down . . . thus the ‘portable cities’ if you will that spout up at our local high schools . . . though I’ve yet to see any portables removed.

CONTENTS
The Demographic Research Unit, California Department of Finance, prepares projections of California public K-12 graded enrollment and high school graduates by county.

HIGHLIGHTS
State Enrollment

Over the next ten years California will experience a growth in public K-12 enrollment of 0.7 percent to reach a total of over 6,264,000 students. This growth will result in an additional 45,800 students by 2022-23, occurring mostly in secondary enrollment. Elementary enrollment is expected to remain fairly steady with a slight uptick by 2022-23 as births continue to remain flat contributing to a lower forecast for the 2013 series.

County Enrollment

The largest increases in county enrollment by 2022-23 are expected in Riverside (over 70,000 students), Kern (over 30,000 students), and San Bernardino (over 23,000 students). The biggest declines in enrollment are expected in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Overall 39 counties will gain public K-12 enrollment and 19 will have lower enrollment or show no change by 2022-23.

High School Graduates

Graduates are expected to decrease in the short term to a low of 402,000 in 2016-17 but rise to 424,000 by 2022-23. The biggest increases in graduates are expected in Santa Clara, Kern, and Riverside counties, each of which will have over 2,000 additional graduates in 2022-23, while graduates in Los Angeles County are expected to decline by around 10,000 over this time period due to declining enrollments.

http://www.dof.ca.gov/research/demographic/reports/projections/k-12/


Indy: Posted: August 19, 2014 10:10 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Indy- it is impossible to deal with all the rabbit-trail issues that are mentioned in your posts. We need to focus on the main issue and leave the trails for another time.

Indy: I agree that the fundamental solution to education is just put a qualified teacher into a safe and well stocked classroom with a student teacher ratio consistent with the educational background of the students sitting in front of the teacher.

But that strategy isn’t in play today and hasn’t been for my entire adult life.

AlwaysRight wrote: The fundamental issue is this: we must find a way to educate children in a cost effective manner. If two education paradigms exist in the same area and each serving the same population demographic, would it not be worthwhile to understand why one succeeds with far less money spent while the other fails with far more money spent?

Indy: That’s what I’ve been talking about . . . but the idea that kids are like ‘widgets’ is why the public education remain lost in ideology recitals of both parties.

AlwaysRight wrote: I would think that this would fascinate your inquisitive mind. If we can drop the politics, I think much can be learned.

Indy: Like it or not, politics has become more important that reality.

We can’t even get people to understand that when enrollment increases, that requires more money.

But even more important, most of the legislators of both parties have been ‘raised’ in each party’s respective political machine thus we’re left in our current predicament.

And for you personally, it’s amazing that you opened a post about me saying (words to the effect) ‘I totally disagree with everything Indy says’ . . . and then go on with your recital.

As long as you stay locked into your conservative ideology mindset . . . nothing will change.


tech: Posted: August 19, 2014 11:17 p.m.

Indy: We can’t even get people to understand that when enrollment increases, that requires more money.

Enrollment has been declining in L.A. County for over a decade. Applying the same logic, should funding decrease?


emheilbrun: Posted: August 19, 2014 11:33 p.m.

http://lang.dailynews.com/socal/lausdpayroll/

When you compare the salaries of lausd truck dispatchers to that of lausd secondary teachers you will see one of the many problems and why higher taxes does not translate into a better education. In 2007-08 truck dispatchers were making over $71,000 a year. Secondary teachers...some more, but most much less. Sheet metal workers...$72,000 a year. It goes on and on...yeah, funding is an issue, but the far bigger problem is how the funds are used.


hopeful: Posted: August 20, 2014 12:53 a.m.

Indy, I just don't understand how you can miss so many points that I, and others have made. I think you need to go back and reread some of the posts here, and reread again and again until you see that some of the questions you pose were already answered, and some of your assertions have already been proven false with factual information provided in the various links.




Indy: Posted: August 20, 2014 4:20 p.m.

hopeful wrote: Indy, I just don't understand how you can miss so many points that I, and others have made. I think you need to go back and reread some of the posts here, and reread again and again until you see that some of the questions you pose were already answered, and some of your assertions have already been proven false with factual information provided in the various links.

Indy: I think your intentions are good but you lack the ability to see beyond your own positions.

When somebody disagees with you, that doesn’t mean they don’t grasp your points.

You’re a home schooler so it appears and thus feel that any taxes you pay to ‘educate’ ‘others children’ is somehow a criticism of government of ‘we the people’.

As I’ve noted here several times, I’m working on ideas to ‘isolate’ the libertarian market fundamentalist from our basic government services and allow them to ‘go it alone’ as they wish.

In any event, I’ve noted the problem with ‘average’ student teacher ratio data and you just ignore that . . .

I even gave you can example from the LAUSD where it showed my HS to have 25 kids per teacher and I had more than 30 in each of my classes. You ignored that too . . .

In any event, you noted that you probably spent more time in the classroom than I did . . . but I’ve spent more time running businesses and have seen the ‘bigger picture’ that results when political ideologues try to manage government with ‘ideology’ versus just basic budgeting principles.

You seemed to get the idea that more kids require more facilities but then get into some discussion about mixed enrollments with private or home schoolers?

And finally, the ADA issue you ignored that as well . . . if no kid is in the seat, the district doesn’t get the ADA money . . . for that student for that day.


AlwaysRight: Posted: August 20, 2014 6:40 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: Yes, I hear the arguments for "teaching kids how to learn". In my opinion, I think kids pick this up on their own and don't need to be taught this skill. It also becomes a haven for experimental or inefficient teaching methods that do not strengthen the education of our children.

Indy: So you dismiss why public education even exists . . . and simply ignore the reality that kids born to bad parents are thus ‘screwed from birth’.

Whaaa? Not seeing how you would draw this conclusion, sir. The point is simply this: teach the source material and the kids will pick it up. How they do it is a skill they will build on their own.

As for your casting of poor people being "screwed", we conservatives believe that people should be judged based on what they do, not who their parents are...


Indy: Posted: August 20, 2014 7:30 p.m.

AlwaysRight wrote: AlwaysRight wrote: Yes, I hear the arguments for "teaching kids how to learn". In my opinion, I think kids pick this up on their own and don't need to be taught this skill. It also becomes a haven for experimental or inefficient teaching methods that do not strengthen the education of our children.

Indy: So you dismiss why public education even exists . . . and simply ignore the reality that kids born to bad parents are thus ‘screwed from birth’.

AlwaysRight wrote: Whaaa? Not seeing how you would draw this conclusion, sir. The point is simply this: teach the source material and the kids will pick it up. How they do it is a skill they will build on their own.

Indy: If teaching is as easy as you assert, why the poor results?

Oh, kids of differing background have varying levels of parental support?

By ignoring that has contributed to the poor performance of our state’s k-12 system.

Can we get more parental outreach to help the parents help their kids?

No . . . no money available.

AlwaysRight wrote: As for your casting of poor people being "screwed", we conservatives believe that people should be judged based on what they do, not who their parents are...

Indy: Your comment demonstrates why conservatives are the greatest threat to public education in America.

First, you dismiss and ignore the challenges the poor have.

And this follows suit since many religious conservatives blame the ‘poor’ for simply being ‘poor’.

And thus ‘judging’ people who haven’t the tools or help to succeed, well, that’s just outrageous.

If that’s a conservative position, again, we can see why we’ve made little progress in helping the poor in CA get a good education.


hopeful: Posted: August 20, 2014 9:33 p.m.

Indy, you must be going off the deep end! I have never home schooled my children, and in fact both of my kids went through public school from kindergarten through 12th grade.

You imply that you KNOW that algebra classes, or classes in the high school level have 40+ students, based on what you observed more than 10 years ago, and you also throw out the data that was provide because YOUR class had more than 30 students, but that was more than 10 years ago as well.

You insist that you know more than me, and pretty much everyone on this site, because you owned (past tense) a small business, yet you admitted that your business FAILED. Your CSUN business degree didn't seem to help you that much with your business, nor has your big-government beliefs gotten you very far.

So, rather than sit there on your self-created, paper throne, I would suggest you actually pay attention to other people on this site, who clearly are more successful than you.


tech: Posted: August 21, 2014 9:41 a.m.

"Indy, you must be going off the deep end! I have never home schooled my children, and in fact both of my kids went through public school from kindergarten through 12th grade." - hopeful

But… but… but… that's the label that came out of Indy's desk dispenser! Surely you understand that you must have a label, hopeful. :-D


Indy: Posted: August 21, 2014 7:57 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy, you must be going off the deep end! I have never home schooled my children, and in fact both of my kids went through public school from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Indy: You wrote: “Yes, not everyone is able to home school their children, but Home School has come a LONG WAY from what it was. As long as there were controls to ensure the children were being well educated (which would not be hard to do), there is no reason to withhold ADA from home schooling parents.”

Reading this makes it appear you did . . . and I’ve never met anyone talk about home schooling without doing it . . . but you’re not, you’re not.

Hopeful wrote: You imply that you KNOW that algebra classes, or classes in the high school level have 40+ students, based on what you observed more than 10 years ago, and you also throw out the data that was provide because YOUR class had more than 30 students, but that was more than 10 years ago as well.

Indy: As we see in the numbers reported that you gave me, the student teacher average ratio don’t fit the ‘core’ classes.

So I’d suggest you visit a HS core class and see for yourself.

Since my time in the classroom, the enrollment has ‘flattened’ but the dollars per students has fallen 10% from over $10,000 per student per year to about $9,000.

Falling budgets don’t help the districts lower the student teacher ratios.


Indy: Posted: August 21, 2014 7:58 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: You insist that you know more than me, and pretty much everyone on this site, because you owned (past tense) a small business, yet you admitted that your business FAILED. Your CSUN business degree didn't seem to help you that much with your business, nor has your big-government beliefs gotten you very far.

Indy: What I find is that most of the conservatives here are lacking in basic business, budgeting, economics and management, areas that I excel in . . . their ability to see beyond their ideology is weak and is on display . . . you should just look closer.

But from what I see from you, you’re stuck on this ‘anti-government’ mantra that simply dismisses what government can do.

I also wanted to note that your repeating ‘techs’ version of my business that doesn’t map to the reality even if I’ve told him so many times . . . but he, like you, repeat things and just start believing it. My business didn’t fail . . . but if you believe somebody like Tech that can’t even admit to his educational background, go ahead . . .

Hopeful wrote: So, rather than sit there on your self-created, paper throne, I would suggest you actually pay attention to other people on this site, who clearly are more successful than you.

Indy: Finally, many business people are ‘successful’ but lack basic knowledge of economics, budgeting, and management.

Indeed, they can hire that talent but it doesn’t mean they possess it.

I can see that . . . but apparently you can’t grasp that.

The more these self-appointed ideologues agree with each other, the farther they get away from the reality.

In any event, it’s important that people like me address your conservative ideology beliefs and contrast same with reality. That’s going to continue.

And you can choose to read my posts or not as you see fit . . . but when I see ideology recitals put forth as reality, they will be challenged and corrected.


Indy: Posted: August 21, 2014 8:01 p.m.

Tech wrote: "Indy, you must be going off the deep end! I have never home schooled my children, and in fact both of my kids went through public school from kindergarten through 12th grade." - hopeful

But… but… but… that's the label that came out of Indy's desk dispenser! Surely you understand that you must have a label, hopeful. :-D

Indy: Yes, when I read your response I realize the work I’ve left to do here . . .

But again, what type of educational background do you have or not?

And why are you afraid to disclose same?

I’ve you some credit for not ‘lying’ about it . . . by not even addressing it . . . but it’s puzzling.


emheilbrun: Posted: August 21, 2014 8:57 p.m.

Indy, your business failed. You had to let go of all your employees. Most had to rely on welfare. Some became homeless and that's why you are so sensitive about funding of entitlement programs. Lacking immediate job prospects, you turned to teaching at a time when districts were filling teaching positions with individuals that were lacking a credential.

You have an inferiority complex and see yourself as a big fish in the small Signal online pond. Did I leave anything out?


hopeful: Posted: August 21, 2014 9:41 p.m.

Indy, I personally read what you posted about your business, so what Tech has possibly stated doesn't have any bearing on what I mentioned in my post. You went into detail about how you ended up doing R & D, accounting, marketing, shipping, and pretty much EVERYTHING it takes to run a business. Then, you acknowledged that due to what you described as illegal competing interests, you had to close your business.

From the information that you willingly volunteered, it was easy to see that your business was AT BEST a one to two person operation before you had to close your doors. You didn't sell your business; you lost your business. If you were such an expert in business, your business should not have failed. If you were so smart, and have learned from all those economics books you keep telling us you read, then you should have figured out a way to invest your money, so you wouldn't be forced to work at your age.

Actions speak louder than words...you blather on and on about theories, but your theories haven't worked for you, so WHY should any of us assume that you know what you are talking about?



Indy: Posted: August 21, 2014 10:02 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Indy, I personally read what you posted about your business, so what Tech has possibly stated doesn't have any bearing on what I mentioned in my post. You went into detail about how you ended up doing R & D, accounting, marketing, shipping, and pretty much EVERYTHING it takes to run a business. Then, you acknowledged that due to what you described as illegal competing interests, you had to close your business.

Indy: That is correct. You’re taught during the MBA studies to do what is termed the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

At that point in time, the investment and time wasn’t worth the ‘return’ on same.

Why would I want to waste previously garnered assets if the chances for further gains were limited or nonexistent?

This is why the MBA course includes a topic for ‘strategic planning’.

Hopeful wrote: From the information that you willingly volunteered, it was easy to see that your business was AT BEST a one to two person operation before you had to close your doors. You didn't sell your business; you lost your business. If you were such an expert in business, your business should not have failed. If you were so smart, and have learned from all those economics books you keep telling us you read, then you should have figured out a way to invest your money, so you wouldn't be forced to work at your age.

Indy: Indeed, the ‘selling’ was precluded for the exact same reasons that I closed it.

And indeed I’m no longer working . . . . thanks again to planning and foresight and using the techniques ‘taught me’ at CSUN.

But you keep asserting that I ‘lost’ the business . . . which I guess is true based on the circumstances I faced . . . . but why spend every last cent for an endeavor that showed less and less promise?

If I was selling hula hoops . . . and the market went away . . . that’s just business.

I went on for another twenty years doing other things . . . and finished with a six figure salary.


Indy: Posted: August 21, 2014 10:03 p.m.

Hopeful wrote: Actions speak louder than words...you blather on and on about theories, but your theories haven't worked for you, so WHY should any of us assume that you know what you are talking about?

Indy: Yes, the old ‘theories’ criticism . . . sounds good but that’s not the reality here . . . business practices that provide for a successful operation are ‘well known’. The fact that many political ideologues don’t know them is why their allegiance to that ideology so threatens our future.

And your lack of business knowledge is reflected in your comments . . . I was smart enough to leave an industry before it got any worse . . .

But it’s interesting the efforts you use to ‘dismiss’ me . . . all part of the standard character assassination strategy that conservatives use to dismiss somebody they disagree with.

Then as you noted, you assert ‘WHY should any of us assume that you know what you are talking about?’ . . . something I’ve heard here from ‘every’ conservative!

In any event, as I’ve also noted repeatedly, I’m not here to change the mind of conservative ideologues. I’m here to provide context and contrast to the failing conservative principles that jeopardize our ‘common future’. I don’t expect agreement. But I do want other ‘guest readers’ to realize that the conservative ideology recitals here . . . well, there’s lots more to consider before marring yourself to policies that have shown not to work.

That’s the conundrum of the ideologues . . . even when shown it doesn’t work, their ‘pride’ won’t let them let it go . . .


hopeful: Posted: August 21, 2014 10:37 p.m.

Indy - I thought you said you were still working not too long ago. When did you retire?


tech: Posted: August 22, 2014 12:34 a.m.

Indy: I also wanted to note that your repeating ‘techs’ version of my business that doesn’t map to the reality even if I’ve told him so many times . . .

Indy: But you keep asserting that I ‘lost’ the business . . . which I guess is true based on the circumstances I faced…

I've never asserted anything contrary to what you've disclosed yourself, in the past and per the above, Indy. As unreal independently confirmed, we both have excellent memories. Given the volume of the… stuff you write, I can understand your difficulty in maintaining the integrity of your storyline.


therightstuff: Posted: August 22, 2014 1:48 a.m.

Indy: """I’m here to provide context and contrast to the failing conservative principles that jeopardize our ‘common future’. I don’t expect agreement."""

That's like saying "I'm here to proclaim that the earth is flat. I don't expect agreement." duuhhh....

Of course, nothing can top Indy's finest hour:

Indy: Posted: July 30, 2014 5:29 p.m.

"""I’m sure Jesus would be as disappointed and ashamed at a media outlet like Fox deceiving and poisoning our political discourse . . . as I am . . ."""

That's the best post of the year. Indy, please stop deceiving and poisoning our political discourse.



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