Dan Walters: School advocates talk more dollars than sense – Press-Telegram

11/16/2011

…The California Budget Project, a liberal group that advocates for more spending, continues the money obsession with a new report contending that public education is being woefully underfinanced.

The CBP calls it “a decade of disinvestment” that has “left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy.”

The report, citing data from the National Education Association and federal agencies, declares that California is 46th among the states in per-pupil spending at $8,908 per year, nearly $3,000 under the national average; 47th in school spending as a percentage of personal income; 50th in the number of students per teacher, and so forth.

It’s a selective array of data, perhaps chosen to support a proposed tax increase for schools. It does not, for example, include the fact that California teachers are very nearly the highest-paid in the nation.

Moreover, it paints a much darker picture than data from other sources.

The Census Bureau, for instance, surveys all forms of school spending and pegs California’s per-pupil number at $11,588, just $662 under the national average and 27th-highest in the nation, not 46th.

And it’s much higher in some big-city school systems, such as Los Angeles Unified, which has more than 600,000 students, spends $14,100 per pupil and has about a 50 percent high-school dropout rate…
Read more here.

California’s Looming Fiscal Disaster: Sunlight and an Informed Public are the Best Disinfectants

Union Watch | by Larry Sand | November 22, 2011

With the state and various cities on the brink of insolvency, it’s imperative that the electorate become more informed and demand that school districts and teachers unions do their negotiating in public.
This past Sunday’s Los Angeles Times above-the-fold headline screamed “Voters back tax hikes for schools.” It was déja-vu all over again. As I wrote in September,

“… a poll which is biased and does not take into account the knowledge of the people being polled is misleading and dangerous. The public is led to believe that the responders are perceptive and knowledgeable, when in reality so many are not.”

(And I could have added that a poll that misleads or misinforms its respondents is the most dangerous of all; I’ll address that shortly.)

Click here to read more.  

Tune in tonight at 8p.m. PT or catch us on the podcast for tonight’s Gadfly Radio show, when Larry Sand is our guest and we discuss this story posted here below, and The Stull Act and Jane Does v. Deasy et al or intimidated parents who fear reprisal for suing for transparency, integrity, accountability and results v. the public education cartel of LAUSD and its two big employee unions, United Teachers of L.A. and the Associated Administrators of L.A.

Teachers’ Road Map to Nowhere by Larry Sand – City Journal

A new study shows deep flaws in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but the local teachers’ union will resist any meaningful reform.
25 August 2011

A major study on teacher quality makes clear just how sclerotic the Los Angeles Unified School District has become—but while the diagnosis and prescriptions are clear, the prognosis is far from certain. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 58-page report, “Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD,” was commissioned by the United Way and several civil rights groups and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While the report focuses on Los Angeles, many of its findings are applicable to other school districts around California, where collective bargaining agreements have hamstrung administrators and state laws supersede local policies.

Such studies are vital because…

Click here to read more…