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  • Posted by ISank 6 years, 4 months ago
    Very glad to read of this decision. I was disgusted a month into my first year teaching when my dept chair gave me a card and said fill it out, get it back to me. I had at that point in time never been in a union and was naive that you could actually be forced to be in the union, or leave.
    I would love to see tenure done away with, as well as a few other rules that protect bad teachers. The one rule that gets me is that administrators have to give a teacher 24 notice before coming in for an observation, basically ensuring a show and not everyday classroom activity.
    It's a fun and challenging job though, and I want my tax dollars back so I'll keep going for a few more years.
    Have fun!
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  • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
    The teachers union didn't see anything wrong with these statistics... 350,000 teachers... over the last 10 years, a total of 91 were fired for cause. Apparently, they do a "fantastic" job of hiring that is far and above (by dozens of orders of magnitude) better than what any other industry can do... Not...

    They need a Jack Welsh approach.. every year, promote the top 10% of performers, and fire the bottom 10% (automatically).
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    • Posted by $ blarman 6 years, 4 months ago
      That methodology was found to be extremely flawed. Hewlett-Packard used to use it every year in a process they called "rankings". What they found was that all it really did was pit teammates and coworkers against each other because each knew that if someone other than them succeeded, they themselves wouldn't be up for a raise. It took all the emphasis away from performing one's job and helping move the entire company forward as a result (where everyone benefited) and turned everything into a dog-eat-dog adversarial corporate atmosphere. You will notice that very few corporations employ this methodology today.

      Harvard Business Review actually advocates a very simple and effective method: make sure employees know what is expected of them and hold them responsible for carrying out those duties irrespective of what everyone else does. If they go above and beyond to bring something great to the company, reward them. If their performance is dragging other areas of the company down, fix it or let them move on. Most of all, make sure that both the employee and management are on the same page regarding employee responsibilities!
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      • Posted by IndianaGary 6 years, 4 months ago
        Concerning "employee responsibilities; I can testify that Microsoft has never done a particularly good job of making them clear, at least in the customer service arena. One was at the mercy of how good one's supervisor was at communicating and mine was particularly inept resulting in slow progress for her people. Most of them (myself included) either left the company or moved to a different job within the company at first opportunity.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          Hasn't Microsoft got a little fat? I'm in the technology industry, have been for 25 years, but even I switched to a Mac 3 years ago and only touch one of the 3 PC's on my desk under protest. Redmond really turns out some garbage these days... sales statistics show it... PC business down 5% last year, but Mac sales are up 12% year over year. Now Apple is targeting the healthcare industry dead-center (something I originally advocated by pointing out the Mac's power and superiority to Windows with imaging and graphic handling). Obviously... no comparison in the mobile device field. iPhone owns it.
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          • Posted by IndianaGary 6 years, 4 months ago
            Let's not get in to a PC vs Mac fight as it's not germane to the topic. I was focusing on how corporate culture directly affects (or infects, your choice) employee mobility within an organization and how my former company was not handling mobility particularly well because of its dependence on "stack ranking". The approach is not conducive to harmonious employee interactions for the very reasons that blarman identified. It creates an adversarial environment and pits teammate vs teammate.
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  • Posted by $ richrobinson 6 years, 4 months ago
    Excellent ruling. Not sure why it bothers me so much that the judge seemed to go out of his way to stress that he based his ruling on the fact that most under performing teachers were in poor and minority districts. While this may be true all schools should be able to remove teachers that don't perform. Hope this starts a trend.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
      It's simple, and very factual. Districts in California tend to be rather small, we don't have many "county-wide" districts, most are neighborhood area ones with maybe a dozen schools. The districts in the poor neighborhoods have a lower tax base and higher costs from vandalism & such. Even though their reimbursement rate per student is the same per day, their attendance sucks, so they don't get much from the state compared to a higher-income area (the disparity might be 50% attendance compared to 98.5% attendance). Simple, the poorer neighborhoods don't pay well, so senior teachers will want to be in the most desirable schools / districts for the highest level of compensation and the lowest amount of drama on a daily basis. When layoffs come around, they follow a "last hired, first fired" mentality, so the same teachers in the poor areas are also the lowest with seniority, and are the first ones out the door... so poor schools are very adversely affected, where high-quality areas may not lose anyone at all.

      In order to "win" in California on stuff like that... you have to take an environmental justice, or income inequality approach. I don't agree with it as being the strategy, rather than just a simple "if you don't do your job, you are fired" justification... but its the strategy needed to win in a bleeding-heart state with retired bleeding hearts on the jury panel. Keep in mind, you don't see a lot of high-income / high-producers sitting on juries... (ever). Even if they make it through the initial selection process, you would never see them selected to be empaneled.
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      • Posted by preimert1 6 years, 4 months ago
        "Districts in California tend to be rather small, we don't have many "county-wide" districts, most are neighborhood area ones with maybe a dozen schools." Except the LAUSD is the elephant in the state with 700,000 students (72% hispanic, 9.6% black, 10% white)and over 45K teachers. By most accounts its also the most disfunctional.
        /wiki/Los_Angeles_Unified_School_District
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          Absolutely agree. The vast majority are for general neighborhoods of an urban area though. I think we have something like 15 districts or so (at least) here in Sacramento.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years, 4 months ago
      Because that's the only way to win anything in California. If anybody gets the idea it might help a causasian child somewhere it's out. I'm not joking about that... And, for the most part, the judge is telling the truth. Overall, I think this is a great development in California. Yes...students really do matter.
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      • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
        The interesting thing is about the 'caucasian kid' comment... many don't really have an idea how bad it is in some of these schools. My wife has a STEM foundation, and I've been with her to some of her talks. She's a latina civil engineer and advocates more science & technology learning for girls, and cites the problems she had growing up. Her parents refused to pay for her education, or even support her doing it (and wouldn't sign the parent-release on her student loan form) for college because "you don't need a degree to change baby diapers". She had a full-ride from NASA, it was the only way she was able to go to school. Her parents wouldn't even sign the admission forms, which at the time, required a parent's signature.

        The first time she was invited to a talk in a neighborhood like that, she had talked to NASA & aerospace leaders about getting old simulators for schools & such, and planned to do something like that, only to find out from the teachers that they don't really need anything like that - most of the kids come to school with lice, and few eat outside of the school cafeteria... anything she could help with in that area was welcome. She took up a collection from her friends and office coworkers for all the freebie shampoos & such on business travel and started giving it to them for their food shelf in the school where kids go and get what they need for home. I guess I can see the problem, hard to concentrate on math when you are scratching at the lice in your hair.

        We always like to blame the unions & such, and I do at every opportunity myself, but we have some larger societal problems going on.

        When I was in Dubai on business back in the 90's, I couldn't put my finger on it... but soon realized you can't make a "left turn" anywhere. You have to do 3 right turns around a block to go left. The reason being, there is so much regulation in their society, and the monarchy makes pretty much every decision, that people there are incapable of choosing for themselves at an intersection for example on the road. I think we're getting to that point now - the lack of personal freedoms is like a boiling pot with the mass shootings, outbreaks, etc. I think we need more rugged individualism, and more pioneering opportunities to let people go off on their own and explore like they did when we settled the new world. There are no new worlds, there are no more adventures... people that were loners by nature could really go off on their own.. now we're a little stuck with them.
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        • Posted by $ Temlakos 6 years, 4 months ago
          Let me guess: you would recruit those loners for a mission to Mars Send up a crew of scouts, plus a rover for each.
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          • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
            Why not? A few years back, Robert Zubrin (Lockheed Skunkworks) wrote a book, The Case for Mars, and advocated the "Mars Direct" approach, rather than the Battlestar Galactica style NASA mission. Instead of building a ridiculously large mothership to make a roundtrip to Mars (difficult because you have to catch up with Earth's orbit speed again), we make a one-way trip, live off the land like our ancestors did, and build a new society. Eventually after the resources are developed we can make trips in both directions more easily. This shrinks the cost from something on the order of half a trillion to like $20 billion (we borrow $40 billion+ a month on the deficit). Send small ships ahead that are unmanned with the equipment to extract resources from the environment, when they set themselves up and we know they are working, then start sending the people. Live in the ships at first, then build a dome/habitat, build a greenhouse, extract water from the soil (which we know is there) and fill the habitat with oxygen extracted from the sparse air so you don't have to wear a suit all the time. Believe it or not, there would be a lot of volunteers for that. We just tested laser-based data transmission and it worked fine, meaning we could put the Internet on Mars for most of the year (unless the Earth & Mars are separated by the Sun until we get some satellites in non-Earth orbit).

            You would be amazed at how stable their society would be when daily-survival is the primary duty rather than watching Kanye West & whatever.
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            • Posted by $ Temlakos 6 years, 4 months ago
              I don't doubt that the environment would focus everyone's priorities double-quick. But are you sure those people would be able to stay healthy, and would not have an insurmountable obstetrical-gynecolocial problem (babies growing too fast) if they subsisted in the one-third gravity of Mars? Would they not be better advised to build a beveled gravity wheel they could then spin to live in Earth-normal gravity? And how easy would it be to build that with a few Mars Direct crews, do you think?

              I'm not sure Dr. Zubrin thought that concept through. He might perhaps have thought the one-third gravity would be more healthy because it would feel better. But eventually you want a colony where someone could stay for a synodic year (the time for Mars to come back to alignment with Earth) and then return without breaking his bones with every step on Earth.
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    • Posted by LetsShrug 6 years, 4 months ago
      When I heard this yesterday that was my reaction as well. Like he had to use that as a crutch to get his point across. If you're not first and foremost thinking about the poor or minorities then your goal doesn't have validity or something. It's only fair if they benefit the most, otherwise it's inequality.
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      • Posted by $ richrobinson 6 years, 4 months ago
        Think this will happen in AZ.?
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        • Posted by LetsShrug 6 years, 4 months ago
          AZ teacher unions are not like other states, this is a right to work State (I hate that name by the way, 'right to work' wth? I need to research where that came from) they already have performance based appraisals and they don't get tenured.
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          • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
            "Right to Work" outlaws required-union membership... however, in union-positions, it's usually more "BS" than legitimately different. California is actually right to work as well, if you are an employee of a public agency under a bargaining agreement for example, you can "opt-out" of union membership, but you still have to pay your "fair share" of bargaining costs... in my observation, (SEIU 1000 for example) that discounts the membership cost by $1.00 a month (out of like $100 / month) and the person is 'not a member' of the union and doesn't get whatever protections... and supposedly their money is not used for political contributions... (more BS obviously).

            I looked up the statistic for Arizona. In the last 3 years, state-wide, 0% of teachers (probationary or with seniority) have been fired. 0.

            In comparison, 9.8% of teachers in a private school system are dismissed for cause or performance on an annual basis (nationally).
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            • Posted by LetsShrug 6 years, 4 months ago
              I know that it means you don't have to join a union, but why the name "right to work"? It sounds like some States don't have the right to work...it just sounds stupid.
              I agree, there's not much firing of teachers going on in public schools.
              Also, the article mentioned 'the real problem with public schools" but they NEVER EVER discuss the REAL problems and no one seems to notice that that goes ignored. I'm so done with government schools...and all the people that work for them too.
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              • Posted by robertmbeard 6 years, 4 months ago
                In the earliest days of push-back against unfair state laws requiring union membership (and subsequent confiscation of union dues) as an absolute condition of employment, people fighting for employment freedom of choice decided to use the label "Right to Work" to describe the law change being advocated. Of course, liberals reject any kind of freedom of choice that does not match their ideology.
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            • Posted by $ Susanne 6 years, 4 months ago
              The California Civil Service Closed Shop Bullpucky for rank and file is nothing but a legally mandated racket to keep easy money flowing into the unions (and give nothing in return). If that's not a Balph Eubanks/Wesley Mouch scam, I don't know what is.

              The happiest moment in my career with them was when I made management and could tell the unions to take their "fair share" thievery and go pound sand. They "forgot" to take me of their rolls when I promoted... and made me fight like hell for almost a year to get my 5 months worth of stolen dues back from them.

              Hell, they worked harder to keep their illegally gotten gains than they ever did when I was forced to give them part of my paycheck every month.
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              • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
                Actually, it's easy money that flows to the union, then to democrat campaign donations... So, it's a forced-funding of one party (and one-party rule here) with taxpayer provided resources.

                Break the union, and it breaks the liberal stronghold.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          Hard to say... California used to kind of lead trends like this that eventually happen nationwide... but Colorado and Washington went for that recreational pot-smoking stuff... and California shot it down every time it's been attempted.
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  • Posted by NoMoreObama 6 years, 4 months ago
    About time! When I was becoming certified to become a school principal, I learned that the Los Angeles created a special condition related to school evaluation. (Schools are evaluated every few years by the State. A 'failing" school does not affect the entire school district.) In the case of Los Angeles, EVERY school is tied to the evaluation of single school. Fail the school and the entire district fails. That's why LA schools always pass their evaluations.
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  • Posted by RevJay4 6 years, 4 months ago
    Finally a break in the stranglehold which unions have in keeping incompetent teachers in schools, maybe. I'm not holding my breath that this decision will last through the higher courts.
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  • Posted by $ straightlinelogic 6 years, 4 months ago
    Not to spoil the party...well actually I am spoiling the party, but this ruling was by a judge appointed by the last Republican California governor, Pete Wilson, so the judge is probably a Republican as well. He is interpreting California law. Would anyone like to bet me that this decision will wind up in front of Democratic appellate judges and get reversed on appeal?
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    • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
      Well, first, Pete Wilson was NOT the last California governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger was (about 7 years in office preceding Jerry Brown).

      Second, appointment to office by a governor in California doesn't necessarily mean much. In the case of the judgeships, they would be presented as a short list to pick from from the Judicial Appointments Advisor and would probably have the endorsement of the AG, and letters of recommendation from law schools, etc. AG is an elected constitutional office, as is the Lt. Governor, and has no bearing on who the sitting Governor is.

      The Governor's staff reviews the application and if acceptable, moves it to the State Bar judicial nominees evaluation committee... which is a pretty left-leaning group, if the candidate gets a high rating from the JNE, it moves back to the Governor for consideration for appointment.

      In a state as large as California, there are not a lot of coattails appointments kinds of things I don't think... there are over 200 state agencies, and most managerial-level positions are appointments, with a work force of about 220,000 (not including teachers & law enforcement/fire obviously). A safe bet would be something like 10,000 appointments... but I looked & couldn't find the number. You wouldn't have coattails for all of that, so most are just grandfathered from the previous administration.

      An interesting note, my wife's uncle is Cruz Reynoso, a previous Supreme Court Justice during the Reagan governorship. Interesting guy to talk to. Has some interesting stories about pre-Presidential Reagan and was fairly fond of him (despite being very liberal) until Reagan's people argued the ketchup case before the Supreme Court of California... (Reagan argued that a ketchup packet in school lunch met the "vegetable" requirement for school lunch nutritional requirements, Cruz laughed it out of the court room). We talked about the appointments process once, unlike the federal system, it's pretty hard to get nominated out of the blue - the vetting process is pretty long.
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      • Posted by $ straightlinelogic 6 years, 4 months ago
        I stand corrected on Wilson being the last Republican governor, but if you want to take the other side of the bet, I still think this decision gets reversed on appeal.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          If you look at recent judicial decisions actually... the Supreme Court overturned established union bargaining agreements with public workers as being 'nullified' when the legislature only approved reduced pay for the workers during the recession. Using that as a precedent... they may also agree that nullifying teacher tenure may also be in the public interest. Education is pretty awful in California... we're the 8th largest economy in the world, and we are slugging it out with Mississippi and Alabama for the bottom of test scores in the United States. It would be hard to find anyone other than a teachers union wanker that would agree with whatever they are doing is working. The teachers union has another problem... they have dramatically under-funded their own pension plan.. by most estimates, its underwater by about $70 billion, with most agreeing its really like $200 billion because so many districts don't pay into social security, that if the teacher didn't do anything before being a teacher, they don't qualify for Medicare, so they are completely dependent on state/pension healthcare into perpetuity... http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-teach.... An interesting sidebar there... the California Teacher's pension (CalSTRS) owns Bushmaster Rifles... Lock/Stock & Barrel... literally... oops... they forgot that when the libatard media beat the crap out of the company in the media...

          Realistically, California has a 12% income tax rate, we have "low" property taxes... but our values are gigantic, so 1% of $700,000 is still $7,000 a year in property taxes... around 9% sales tax... something like 50 cents on the gallon for gas tax... Capital Gains taxes... by most estimates, with federal and state, we're in it for about a 60-62% marginal tax rate at the upper end, there is no room to raise taxes to fix the education problem. Education already gets 50 cents on every tax dollar.. or well north of $50 billion a year and we spend more per-pupil than anyone. So to fix the problem, we need to start swapping out the people at every level.

          The union fought deviously to keep this out of the court system, they knew what would happen if a reasonable person takes a look at this bullshit. I think this is the first of many decisions that don't go their way, actually.

          Also, by most accounts, Schwarzenegger was better to unions than Jerry Brown is.. the public unions are presently rejecting anything he offers them versus Schwarzenegger was able to usually work out the differences and stay in budget. Jerry is just mandating by fiat, then ignoring the differences and sending it to the legislature. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/03/6454967...

          Reality... they don't have a friend in the governor's office either I don't think. He's happy to take their money, but they didn't get what they thought they were paying for either, nor does he have the room in the budget to do anything.
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 4 months ago
            " we're the 8th largest economy in the world, and we are slugging it out with Mississippi and Alabama for the bottom of test scores in the United States."

            Well, keep slugging. I'm sure you can beat them to the bottom if you just hang in there... :)
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