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Old 04-06-2003, 09:45 PM   #1
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25,000 Teachers Laid Off in CA

California's schools to lay off 25,000 staff
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
06 April 2003


California may fancy itself as the fifth largest economy in the world, but when it comes to funding its school system it is a calamity.

Across the state, 25,000 primary and secondary school teachers – 20 per cent of the total – have just been notified that they will be out of work from September.

In each of the state's 1,000-odd school districts, administrators are contemplating, reluctantly, the wholesale dismemberment of programmes, from music to art to PE, as well as the dismissal of nurses, librarians and cleaners.

Class sizes, which were successfully reduced in the go-go 1990s to as low as 20 to 1 in the primary grades, look certain to expand again, with some scenarios suggesting 40 or 50 students per teacher in certain classes.

The reason for this is simple: the state is broke. Because of the depressed economy, the bursting of the dot-com bubble and a tax code that makes state revenues excessively reliant on personal incomes rather than property values or corporate profits, California is facing a $35bn (Ģ22bn) budget shortfall this year. Education accounts for roughly half of state spending, so schools are where the pain is being felt first.

It would not be so calamitous if Californian schools were not woefully underfunded already, ranking 41st in spending per pupil out of the 50 states. New York state, for example, spends $4,000 more per child per year. There is simply no fat to cut, largely because of a statewide tax revolt in the 1970s that capped spending for social services, sabotaging America's former leading school system.

"Let's cut the rhetoric of 'Leave No Child Behind' [President Bush's campaign slogan on education] and 'fess up to the reality that all children will be left behind," said John Deasy, superintendent of the relatively successful Santa Monica-Malibu school district in southern California, which now faces the loss of more than 200 teachers.

States across the country are suffering their worst budget crisis for half a century, and few are receiving help from the federal government, which is pouring funds instead into counter-terrorism, the military and tax cuts for the wealthy. Anti-war activists like to call the education crisis in California an instance of "domestic collateral damage", holding the White House at least indirectly responsible.

But California's own political leadership is also to blame. Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, is infuriating even his own party by refusing to contemplate substantial tax increases and handing out favours to campaign contributors, notably the prison guards' union. While the schools sink into oblivion, Governor Davis is insisting on building a new death row unit at San Quentin prison. The price tag: $220m.
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Old 04-06-2003, 09:56 PM   #2
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If you wonder how California got in such a mess, California can be summarized in three numbers: 21, 28, 36

During Davis' first term:

California's population has increased by 21%

State revenue increased by 28%

State spending increased by 36%

He is classic tax and spend democrat - except his spending doesn't provide a tangible benefit for the general public. With one of the highest state income taxes, California suffers from a bloated, ineffective government.


I am sure we would hear a lot more about this if a Republican was in the govenor's office.
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Old 04-06-2003, 10:26 PM   #3
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This English guy is a little excited. While many districts are in the shit, my district has RIFed no one. And remember, Reduction In Force (RIF) notices had to be given out by March 15. That doesn't mean everyone RIFed loses her job. I sincerely doubt that any elementary classes will go up to 40 or 50 kids per class. The unions who bargain contracts with each individual districts are not going to stand for that. Our district had to go from 29.5 to 1 to 30 to 1 to ease the problem, but that's a loss of only 17 to 18 teachers in a 30000+ student district. And those will be covered by retirements and resignations. I also doubt my district will raise the primary ratio from 20 to 1 to 40 to 1. Maybe up to 25 to 1.

All that considered, the situation is bad. It will only change if the voters and parents here decide to let their legislators know that prison construction should be a secondary concern right now. I doubt that will happen, given the amount of fear being generated by our federal government.
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Old 04-07-2003, 05:46 PM   #4
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Let's face it. This is the face of postmodern America. No one has money; not even corporations. America can't be run like a corporation; as we can see, they all just spend themselves silly in the good times (WorldCom bought MCI for $35 billion....and took on a $30 billion debt to do it) and declare bankruptcy in the bad. Our government can't just declare Chapter 11 and wait for a stronger country to buy us out.

Our school system is screwed up. Do you think a Republican is suddenly going to make things better? As we can see, I think all 50 states + DC have pretty atrocious school systems with inadequate facilities, resources, and teachers.

We need to figure out what we want and find attainable situations, not live in a fantasy world where we can have top-notch services while paying lower taxes every year. Nations that have good school systems also have fairly high tax burdens.

But I think we're contented playing politics as usual, consistently electing politicians who are more interested in popular rhetoric than actual solutions. I see the same old finger pointing is here again. "It's Gray Davis' fault." No, it's America's fault, and the question now is whether or not you are willing to accept meaningful solutions to this problem nationwide.

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Old 04-07-2003, 11:57 PM   #5
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Well, then there's that.
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Old 04-08-2003, 02:44 AM   #6
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i think it'll take some time for americans to get used to a relatively "poor" america though.
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Old 04-08-2003, 05:41 AM   #7
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Ya what Melon said

Seriously, as passionately as I hate Davis I do have to agree that he's not entirely too blame. We've been falling down hill for years. But sometimes I really have to stop and wonder what the hell he's thinkin'.
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Old 04-08-2003, 05:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Let's face it. This is the face of postmodern America. No one has money; not even corporations. America can't be run like a corporation; as we can see, they all just spend themselves silly in the good times (WorldCom bought MCI for $35 billion....and took on a $30 billion debt to do it) and declare bankruptcy in the bad. Our government can't just declare Chapter 11 and wait for a stronger country to buy us out.

Our school system is screwed up. Do you think a Republican is suddenly going to make things better? As we can see, I think all 50 states + DC have pretty atrocious school systems with inadequate facilities, resources, and teachers.

We need to figure out what we want and find attainable situations, not live in a fantasy world where we can have top-notch services while paying lower taxes every year. Nations that have good school systems also have fairly high tax burdens.

But I think we're contented playing politics as usual, consistently electing politicians who are more interested in popular rhetoric than actual solutions. I see the same old finger pointing is here again. "It's Gray Davis' fault." No, it's America's fault, and the question now is whether or not you are willing to accept meaningful solutions to this problem nationwide.

Melon
Lets face it too that this fucking Democrat is partly to blame.

It is so ridiculous America has money for a new death row and not for education. Why donīt you just all kill yourself now instead of doing it slowly and suffering.

30, 35, 40 students per class are a horror to every teacher. teachers are not able to get anything across. In a class of 20, there will be 3 or 4 who constantly disturb; but those can be controlled - in a class of 40 there is chaos.

The ideal figure would be even lower than 20, between 12 and 15 students would be perfect. And it would be possible to finance it. Its about priorities.

This weird democratic clown doesnīt seem to have democratic values. So put him out of office.
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Old 04-08-2003, 05:55 AM   #9
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Oops sorry I forgot "homeland security" (costs me a laugh, tell me when have you been attacked except of Pearl Harbor and 9/11?) is the top priority. Pay for letting your sons die on the battlefield instead of good education, an investment in the future of your children.
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Old 04-08-2003, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
This weird democratic clown doesnīt seem to have democratic values. So put him out of office.
I'm sure Arnold Schwartzenegger will be so much better...

Again, I see this as a nationwide problem, not a governor-specific problem. In case no one has noticed, we're in a recession. Do tell where this money is supposed to come from, considering how much people will gripe if taxes are raised. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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Old 04-08-2003, 10:10 AM   #11
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Its the same out here in NYC. They are once again cutting the budget but instead of teachers, they are closing 8 fire houses to save $11 million. One of those fire houses is a block away from my house.

Its a tough time here. Like California, we aren't getting money in because of the recession and its even worse because of all the 9/11 crap. But when did a good education and public safety get pushed so low on the list?
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Old 04-08-2003, 11:15 AM   #12
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Normal

Not every state is in the same deficit condition as California. We have plenty of sources of money - the problem is that it is spent on every special cause that offered support to Governor Davis.

Can education be improved nationwide? Yes.

Is every state in the same hole as California? No.

Davis' true priorities show clearly by how he (and the legislature) spent tax revenues. Education was not a priority.
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Old 04-08-2003, 12:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


I'm sure Arnold Schwartzenegger will be so much better...

Again, I see this as a nationwide problem, not a governor-specific problem. In case no one has noticed, we're in a recession. Do tell where this money is supposed to come from, considering how much people will gripe if taxes are raised. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Melon
Donīt ya touch Arnold Schwarzenegger! You spelled him wrong btw. Heīs the best. His mother makes apple strudel.

If education is Cali budget and defense is nationwide budget, thatīs not my problem, hey, you have to change your country - just donīt tell me youīre in recession and the money isnīt there with the huge defense amount the pentagon and the big five get stuffed into their asses every year.
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