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I can't argue with your logic, namvet. If Olympia goes after the most wealthy among us to help fund education, what could be a better response than to make our local kids pay for it through reduced programs and higher class sizes? The correlation is undeniable.
The more expensive options have already failed, barracuda. I don't hear pool supporters saying their goal is to spend more money. I hear them saying they want to do this thing right and serve as many people as possible within the constraints of the limited vision of many of those over 50 in this community.
My kids would have benefited greatly from the $8.7 million aquatics center that would have generated self-sustaining revenues. So for some of us, this $5.7 million plan is a let down, but certainly worth supporting.
Well, I can't find it either. I either imagined it or it is no longer there. I did find this, though: http://www.wwps.org/news/spotlight/2935-substitute-employees-shortage
marketinsider, the district is having a challenge filling positions now. On the district website (somewhere) is a video inviting non-certificated individuals to apply for substitute positions to fill the shortage. More and more, teachers are being asked to cover for other teachers due to a lack of subs.
In addition, I am aware of two teaching positions they had trouble filling this summer at Wa-Hi. One in English was only filled in mid-August when a talented young man came to the school's attention. Without him, they were discussing hiring a long-term sub to fill the role due to a lack of qualified applicants.
It used to be that qualified math and science teachers were sometimes scarce, but English teachers were abundant. That is no longer true. My understanding is that this is a statewide issue.
Here are a couple of relevant links:
Wrong link above. Sorry. This is the chart showing salary growth:
Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
While I'm not sure about which educational standards you are speaking of or how they are dropping, there is nothing inexplicable about the rising costs. Wages and benefits for teachers over the past 20 years or so have largely stagnated. The cost hikes are due to several other factors, which are quite explicable.
1) increased transportation costs, such as fuel
2) increased technological costs, such as computer labs, equipment maintenance, ink/toner, upgrades
3) increased onsite security officers and other security measures
4) special ed legislation requiring a significant increase in personnel, among other adjustments including the Americans with Disabilities Act...(this appears to be the biggest driver)
5) increased power costs
6) costs of increase in standardized testing development and assessment
As for teacher pay, here's a link showing the growth in pay. Clearly that is not was is primarily growing the cost of education per student.
This next article explains the increase in costs pretty well, while pointing out that Washington state's increases have been among the smallest in the nation:
Most of the time, the interests of teachers are also the interests of public education. The WEA supported the class-size initiative, for example, because having fewer students means teachers can focus their energies more intently on individual students. This means more job-satisfaction for teachers, but more importantly, it means kids have more opportunities for help.
Teachers are not competitors for resources with students. Even when teachers are seeking higher wages or benefits, if you are a believer in capitalism and the laws of supply and demand, then you recognize that the further wages slip, the less attractive a career in teaching becomes for the most capable people who have other options. The laws of economics would seem to show that better teachers will be attracted by better wages, which in turn benefits students.
It's not just wages teachers seek, though. I remember a statewide strike back in 1990 or so, when the sticking point to an agreement was decreasing funding for the arts and P.E. in the elementary schools. Research shows a clear correlation between participation in those activities and academic achievement. In standing up for teachers, the WEA was also standing up for students.
It's the same, too, with charter schools and rampant standardized testing, both of which have not shown to be effective in improving student achievement, but both of which are undermining public education. That's why most teachers I know oppose those movements.
kurtfr, you just made me literally laugh out loud with your final phrase. Thanks for doing the research. :)
namvet, teachers in Washington state do not have to join the union. They must pay agency fees to help cover the cost of the local that is negotiating on their behalf (whether they want a raise or not). The PAC contributions are optional, but I would think it is understood that the PAC monies will go to support candidates that support public education and public educators. That's just common sense.
How do you propose measuring the effectiveness and productivity of a teacher against the pace of inflation? Education is not a business. Do you want teachers to compete against each other, rather than to collaborate? Do you want teachers to fight the administration for the students from the best families, because the teachers know that their livelihood depends on test scores, and that their students spend 70% of their days in environments that are utterly beyond the control of teachers?
The idea of imposing a capitalist business model on education is fatally flawed. Improving student-learning is far more complex than making a toaster, and has significant variables beyond the control of teachers..
Why the antagonism toward teachers? The vast majority of my childrens' teachers have been good-to-excellent.
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