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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cuts Will Hurt the Children

Reader calls for a neutral negotiator to represent students at the bargaining table where Capo Unified and the teachers union are looking for $50 million in cuts.

Regarding the article in the Patch, :

No pay cuts for teachers, 15 furlough days and increased class sizes – done behind closed doors with no public input. 

The only solution to "save the children" – vote for tax increases!

"About $18 million in cuts can be restored, Farley said, if the voters pass Gov. Brown’s November ballot initiative for temporary sales tax hikes and on increased taxes on those making $250,000-plus."

PARENTS:

Please do not allow this misinformation to be repeated. This is not a "tax on the rich." A sales tax is regressive and affects the poor more than all others.

Further this is not a tax on millionaires. This tax tax starts at $250,000. And finally, this tax increase will not restore anything to the classroom; two-thirds of this revenue will go to backfill the teachers' pension fund.

Absolutely disgusting for the California Teachers Association to further cut school days and increase class sizes and lobby for tax increases to backfill their own pensions; rather than take an actual pay cut so that children in can actually get an education. How sad for the children in CUSD and the future of our community.

There is no one sitting at the collective bargaining table that represents what is in the best interest of children. Parents should DEMAND a neutral negotiator, and request that all negotiations occur in public and be videotaped and put online. 

Our children need a seat at the collective bargaining table if we are to restore California's public education system to the high standards it was once famous for.

Parents in CUSD cannot even rely on the PTA to be an advocate for children. The power of the PTA comes from parents who trust the PTA organization to advocate from the position of “what is in the best interest of children.”

Although the PTA is chartered as an "advocacy organization;" it does very little to be "an advocate" on behalf of CUSD's children. Instead the PTA has become nothing more than a "fundraising organization" for the CTA. Parents have no where to go for unbiased accurate information which is necessary for them to make decisions about the education of their children.

The PTA has done nothing to help parents understand that it is the job of the union to represent its members at the collective bargaining table. The union, AKA your child's teacher, is not looking out for your child when it comes to contract negotiations.

That is why most of the $100 million dollars in previous cuts to the CUSD budget have come from the children ... and rarely from cuts to salaries, pensions and benefits. This $50 million dollar cut will is no different. 

Education is no longer about "the children." It is about "maintaining adult jobs" no matter what the cost to the future of our kids. 

Please read . Most teachers are still getting pay increases. Check out your own school and your own teacher to see why the children get less and less every year.

Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Considering how many times I've chastised you, CP, you should relate! Then again, you're still here. Patch welcomes posters of all viewpoints. We do ask that you keep your comments squarely on the topic and not each other. A much more productive conversation is possible without the insults.
LeAna Bui June 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM
BBQ - school districts and unions do not vote, taxpayers do. It is the job of the school district to educate our students. It is the job of the union to advocate the best deal it can for it's population (teachers). It is the parent's job to do the best he/she can for his/her child. Taxpayers vote. If the money is not getting to education as it should, we have only ourselves to blame.
bbq June 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM
LB, School districts and the unions have direct ties to Sacramento and should be the ones to go after the money the state owes them as it is $$$ for the teachers. The union represents the teachers and the $$$ they want from additional taxes is for teachers salaries and pensions. Period. The kids lose any way you look at it.
OC Mom June 11, 2012 at 01:23 AM
The Lottery Scam is just another example of the unintended consequences or the outright deceit in most of these propositions that end up on the ballot. People vote for these things thinking that they will help, when they end up hurting us further.
LeAna Bui June 11, 2012 at 01:53 AM
BBQ - I disagree. Kids lose when adults, including their parents, don't do their job.
bbq June 11, 2012 at 02:00 AM
LB, I really don't understand what you are trying to convey regarding "the parent's job." Are you saying it's the parent's job to vote for higher taxes???? I will say this - as a parent, one of my jobs is to feed my kids. If it comes down to feeding my kids versus feeding the teacher, I will always choose feeding my kids and so would you. That's why I will vote NO NEW TAXES!!!!!!!!!!! Our country has some potentially more frightening times coming upon us - inflation, additional housing crisis, additional unemployment, etc., and you want us to vote for more taxes? That would be sheer madness!
Yeparoo June 12, 2012 at 04:58 AM
PC Mama - the link you put up had an extra "I" in front, I just fixed your link. I don't believe the Brown Tax Initiative spells out a per pupil number. I think they leave the math up to you because ED funding formulas will offer different numbers. CUSD has been given a number to use if Brown's Prop passes. Not sure what you are referring to on the tobacco tax election spending. I would guess since that couldn't get over 50%, it doesn't look good for either the Brown Initiative or OCOF. Typically if those are polling less than 60% at this point they are low probability to pass at best. Im guessing money WILL NOT significantly flow to those propositions (except for the HJTF $).. My thought is the "big money" contest will be the "Paycheck Protection" Initiative. It has qualified for the November election, where the 2 tax propositions have not yet. http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_%22Paycheck_Protection%22_Initiative_(2012)
bbq June 12, 2012 at 09:00 AM
Hmmm..... why does that "Munger" name keep coming up in the links? Shelly??????
shellie June 13, 2012 at 03:34 AM
FYI, just to clarify, furlough days constitute a teacher paycut!!! 15 furlough days amounts to, significant paycuts. Increasing class size means more work for teachers (with less pay), and more hours at home. Seriously, just do it for a week and see how you fare... Our children are our future, and teachers are the facilitators to our future. Stop! demonizing teachers, they work hard and DO NOT get the respect or pay they deserve. They have taken paycuts, benefit cuts, more students--and funny enough, that hasn't stopped them, test scores continue to rise, because teachers teach, despite the backlash from ignorant people. Teachers teach because they love what they do and they embrace their career, a little more support would be nice.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Yeparoo, You raise an interesting point about Corporations avoiding taxes, so I thought I'd follow them out to a logical conclusion. No doubt California's budget problems would be a lot less if Apple were actually paying the 8.84% of the billions they've hauled in during the recession. (They currently have more cash than the US Government or most European banks.) Other corporations should pay the actual tax rate as well, of course. Meanwhile the discussion stays focused on individual income taxes. Most of the wealthy are paying around 15% unless they are completely stupid. Don't know what your tax rate is, but mine is closer to 30% than to 15%. Seems the wealthy and the Corporations have a sweet deal. Meanwhile we turn on each other like feral dogs and scream for the end of food stamps without a thought as to how many people will actually starve. We argue about the cost of a health care system that is a deadly joke for anyone who is actually sick in this country. We talk about cutting teacher's pay in an educational system is that is joke on the world stage. Your average Joe in the United States should be given a gun a birth and taught to shoot himself in the foot every single day of his deluded life.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Capo Parent, Your term "remain virtually untouched" means that they have actually been "touched." But just not to the level you think they should have been. So let me ask you a question. Do you agree to a pay cut at your job? Let's your Master, the CEO, Whomever, can't handle their job and profits go down. Will you gladly submit to a pay cut and having your pension...let me guess they already took away your pension didn't they?
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Dan, only the wealthy enjoy south orange county. The middle class have no friend the school district or unions. Most parents are too inept to see the truth. The poor kids and their families get ALL THE FREE THINGS. It's too late to help. Either get rich, get poor, or get out.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Yeparoo, Your priorities suggest you think short term. If you put education as your #1 priority, the crime rate will go down and you won't need to put Police and Fire before education.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 05:53 PM
OMG. Run! To Irvine.
Shripathi Kamath June 14, 2012 at 05:54 PM
The general public does better in rosier times than teachers. That is the structure of the teaching profession -- more stability in lieu for more modest incomes. It is not surprising that they want to exercise that aspect of their profession, stability. Has your utility bill shrunk because we are in harder times? No? Should the utility company take a cut in their fees? Or is it pay for what you get? Should it cost less to teach this year than last year? Now, there needs to be a serious effort paid to education costs and how best to go about it, but that is not a short term fix given that it did not arise overnight. That comes through negotiation and takes a long time. To expect to be solved in the midst of a crisis where revenues are falling is an overreach. To demand that all the pain be borne by teachers is basically going to worsen the problem.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 05:59 PM
California already ranks near the bottom for what we spend per student. We rank near the bottom for class sizes (large classes rank you lower). We have the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, depending on how well France is currently doing. We rank near the bottom in terms of literacy. My guess? The problem is A LOT larger than what this thread suggests or what Dawn's article suggests. Both completely miss the mark. We need to address a very simple question. "Why are the people in Mississippi more literate than the people in California?" How does a state like Minnesota outperform us when they have roads to plow and serious pot hole problems and the homeless which they can't ignore because of climate? How do the sparsely populated states with a small economy outperform us? (Those are all the same questions, by the way.)
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 06:01 PM
This article may be of interest to those carrying on the discussion here: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/who-do-school-furlough-days-hurt-the-most
Shripathi Kamath June 14, 2012 at 06:01 PM
"Cuts will hurt the children" Well, Duh! Cuts hurt, the problem is that they'll hurt someone. This entire tussle is jockeying to hurt one group or the other. Without taxes, no matter what you do, you'll hurt the children. You can lay off teachers, and you'll hurt the children by having a worse teacher:student ratio. You can cut school days, which too will hurt the children. You can cut teachers' pay which will still hurt the children since teachers will not be motivated to try their best. If you feel that the teachers are ineffective to begin with, good luck getting new ones, considering there is no incentive for anyone to be an educator. The silliness is using permanent short term measures to fix a long term problem. A tax increase hurts, but gives us time to fix the long term problem. Without one, we will cut, and the kids will suffer. "NO TAX INCREASES" is not a solution, because the status quo is that we do not have these taxes, and we are in trouble. I am yet to see a solution that will work, even if it is to be draconian. It is like saying, "NO DRIVING ON THE SIDEWALK" as a way of dealing with increased pedestrian fatalities
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Pacific Coast Mama, Even been in a South Central L.A. School? The poor people don't get anything. Even down here where you say we are wealthy, I was operating on the technology level of chalk when I taught at Saddleback and UCI. It's far too late to help. The rest of the "advanced" world is far more, well, advanced than us.
Yeparoo June 14, 2012 at 06:19 PM
@ Dan Avery - I understand your point of view. But I keep public safety #1, Fire & Emeg #2. You really don't think about the ABC's with a gun to your head or your house on fire. Look at the the issues in Iraq during nation building. It was impossible to have children going to school if the bad guys roam the streets with guns. Need cops to keep the peace. Even in Mexico this last year, some of the cartel gangs that were prior military threatened teachers with extortion if they don't hand over a portion of their salary. They literally killed and exhibited the bodies of teachers in front of schools. I realize these are extreme examples. But you need to have the sheriff in town or everything goes sideways. By the way, back in 1995 when OC was bankrupt the county tried to sell the tax payers on passing a tax to prevent layoffs of Sheriffs and Fire Fighters. The tax measure failed and the county didn't lay them off and put on their big boy and big girl pants and figured out how to move forward.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Psssst Shri, The answer, or solution, to our problems in education is easy. Read Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Education for Critical Consciousness. The real question isn't how to fix the problem. The real question is "why don't we fix the problem?"
Yeparoo June 14, 2012 at 06:26 PM
@Shri - Lots of generalizations. This one's not in the abstract. Let's just say economic gravity has trumped economic levitation this time around.
PC June 14, 2012 at 06:28 PM
From Deborah Kenny. "Absolutely the schools are in chaos," Kenny said, "and we need a revolution in how we teach our children and what we expect of them. We need an absolute transformation and the only way that's going to happen is if we elevate the teaching profession, so we need to get rid of anything that stands in the way. That includes all the union work rules that get in the way of teachers being treated like professionals. Right now teachers are treated like factory workers, but you have to have an incredibly passionate, dedicated and smart teacher in front of every kid.
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Yeparoo, Your examples of Iraq and Mexico show what happens when you don't educate, thusly proving my point. Let's see...1995,,,oh yes...the dotcom bubble wandered in about the tail end of 95 and changed the situation drastically by generating revenue that was, gasp, taxed...so the county's "big boy" pants are luck, pure and simple luck. Not a real long term view as we're right back here only this time it'd education rather than public safety. If we spent our time truly educating people, rather than just babysitting them until we think they deserve a degree, that guy wouldn't be putting a gun to your head in the first place. Again, in the sort run people will break into your home and put a gun to your head. But in the long run... I'm sure you remember The Misfit's famous line at the end of Flannery O'Connor's story, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." One could apply that line to oneself if one so chose.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 06:48 PM
No new anything! It's too late!
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Capo Unified has had decades to fix this and it's only getting worse. Only fools have hope. We have dysfunctional districts and greedy unions. Nothing new will work. Nothing old works.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Shellie if they would only come down to the lowest common demonizer it would help the kids. The district cannot move forward, and it can't go back either.
Yeparoo June 14, 2012 at 06:57 PM
@Dan Avery - Sorry, education doesn't start before safety. Go back and study Maslow's hierarchy of needs. My guess is you don't have children. Trust me, it all changes when you do. I appreciate and am not diminishing the role of education to help it's citizens to elevate their standard of living. I feel more comfortable sticking with my order out of fear. Maslow's hierarchy of needs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs 1) Physiological needs 2) Safety (The police) - Personal security - Financial security - Health and well-being - Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts 3) Love and belonging 4) Esteem 5) Self-actualization (Don't think this one is going above #2 any time soon) 6) Self-transcendence The dot.com bubble did help. But the major difference was on the spending side of the equation and the selling of assets. But glad you brought up what I'm guessing is the perceived wealth effect of the dot.com. Why isn't the current stock market rise having the wealth effect impact Bernanke thought it would? I mean, we are mortgaging my children's and unborn grandchildren with unforgivable debt. http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5Egspc+interactive#symbol=%5Egspc;range=my;compare=;indicator=volume;chartt
Dan Avery June 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Yeparoo, The problem with your "My guess is that you don't have children," gambit is that it's a logical fallacy. It sets up this select group, those with kids, who magically have everything changed for them and become more knowing because of it. In reality, however, everything changes for everyone regardless of if they marry, have children, etc. It's called life. Changes happen. We all have the same chances to gain wisdom. You're practicing "exclusion" when you argue by using those tactics, but they don't really further your point that safety must come first. A childless woman can be just as selfish and put their safety first over the well-being of society just like you can having had kids. Meanwhile, the things like crime that make us feel less safe are still tied to economic and educational forces. In other words, drop outs tend to live in the lower economic strata and they tend to create more crime than those with an education living in the same economic level. The reason for this is simple. They weren't taught how to think critically and so they really can't "see" any alternatives. Of course, that is overly simplistic, but there's a word limit imposed in the comments.
Yeparoo June 14, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Ok Dan Avery - You win. Go cash your chips in and collect the free egg and steak breakfast.

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