Thursday, March 06, 2008

February 2008 California Educator Magazine

Idiocy in print, baby.

Let's just skim through the pages, skipping all the articles about teacher retention, and see what juicy morsels we can find, shall we? OH, let's also ignore the President's column this month, as shooting fish in a barrel ceases to be fun after awhile.

Here we go: Inflexible requirements impact would-be teachers. What would those inflexible requirements be? Why, more testing to ensure we have more than the dimmest bulbs become teachers. And you've got to love this comment from a CSU Fullerton student: "Because of these new conditions, fewer minorities may opt to navigate the system."

Why, exactly, is that? Are minorities not as strong-willed as whites? Are they not as capable? I'm curious why you think this is, Ms. CSU Fullerton.

And a UC Berkeley student is quoted as saying, "We should be making it easier for them (potential teachers) rather than harder." I agree with her about the problems relating to California's "5th year" of teacher education, and working at student teaching while not getting paid, but I don't agree at all that we should be making it easier academically for people to become teachers.

We turn to the next page, which is all about California's latest budget crisis and its impact on public education. What most people don't know is that education consumes approximately 50% of California's $100 billion state budget. So when I read that Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed $4.8 billion in education cuts in order to close a $14.5 billion dollar shortfall, my first response is "We got off easy." If he merely cut across the board, then education would suffer approximately half of $14.5 billion that must be made up, or well over $7 billion. The way I see it, things could be a lot worse since we're getting cut only $4.8. Then again, the state Senate Pro Tem has already said that he wants to increase taxes to make up the budget shortfall.

And then, the biggie.

You probably know the old joke. The three biggest lies in the world are "I love you", "The check's in the mail", and one I won't repeat here because this is a family blog. We need to add a 4th one for the teacher unions: "We're working with Congress to overturn the Windfall Elimination Provision."

The WEP is that section of law that penalizes people like me, who worked for years paying into Social Security but then came under state teachers retirement. Because of this pension, I won't receive all the social security benefits that I paid for. The idea behind the law is to prevent double-dipping (which I'd be doing)--but again, it penalizes those of us who worked in the real world before becoming California teachers.

I've discussed this before, and I've stated why this provision isn't going to be overturned. When the Republicans controlled Congress, it wouldn't be overturned because the Republicans won't do any favors for teachers--and why should they, when the state and national teachers unions are so anti-Republican? And when the Democrats control Congress, they won't repeal the WEP because it would be very expensive, would bankrupt Social Security even sooner than is predicted now--and why should they, when they're going to get the support of the unions and the votes of the teachers anyway?

If NEA or CTA or anyone else ever get that provision changed, I'll sing their praises and recognize them for doing something that benefits me. I'll acknowledge that in this particular case, they'd have done something that directly improves on my pay, benefits, or working conditions--the things labor unions should be focusing on.

But until that day comes, quit telling me what you're going to do for me. Shut up and make it happen, and quit just trying to blow rose petals up my butt.

And what would an issue of California Educator be without a mention of state senator Sheila Kuehl (Idiot-Santa Monica), who this time is sponsoring yet another socialized medicine scheme for California. About 40% of an entire page is devoted to CTA's support and sponsorship of this bill, while the other 60% is an advertisement for a credit union. The baseball player in the credit union ad, I wonder if he used any performance enhancing drugs. No, actually I don't, as I don't care if he did or not.

So that's our little trek through the mouthpiece rag of the California Teachers Association. I'm glad we survived another month.


The Vegas Art Guy said...

Sounds like your education magazine and the one in Nevada are pretty similar. I don't even bother to read it anymore, it's not good for my stress level.

Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,

Interesting quote:
"What most people don't know is that education consumes approximately 50% of California's $100 billion state budget."

What is interesting is that I find *two* separate numbers for our budget.

They are both here:

Note that we have "General Fund" expenditures as well as two other categories. The general fund is, as you say, spending about $50B out of a total budget of $100B on education (both K-12 and higher).

What *I* find interesting is that the state is spending another $50B per year (reduced, maybe, by $10B this year), so we have a total budget of $150B. Education is still *about* 45% (63B out of 150B), so it is hard to see how the budget shortfall can be closed without touching education. I figure that the $150B number is more real, as the money is being spent and eventually the state will have to come up with the cash.

We've got about 37M people living in the state, so this works out to *state* government spending of almost $4K per person. Or $12K for a family of 3 (census bureau says we average 2.87 persons per household).

Interesting numbers ...

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

I am glad I am not the only one tossing the CTA/NEA mags into the trash before I enter my house. I did buy a lifetime membership after retirement, well, because like it or not, you do get higher interest rates with NEA membership and it was only a few bucks at my retirement time. However, the trash that is sent each month is trash!

Anonymous said...

WEP (thankfully) will never get thrown out by either party because it's too expensive. I would agree that a review of the calculation method is in order, but its intent is valid.

It's shameful the way the California teacher's union misleads people when it preaches about repealing GPO. If the California teacher's union really thought GPO was unfair then it would insist that everybody in America be treated like a single income family.