Friday, April 15, 2016

Is A Teacher Strike Coming to Sierra Madre Elementary?

 
Your kids might be getting a few unplanned days off from their classes, and soon. The reasons for so scary a prospect coming to our local public schools? Apparently labor negotiations have pretty much broken down between the PUSD Board of Ed and the United Teachers of Pasadena.

In an article titled "Teachers Union Reacts to Pasadena Unified “Final” Contract Offer," here is how the news site Pasadena Now describes the possibilities of some real "taking it to the streets" style labor action happening at Sierra Madre's taxpayer funded public schools (link).

A representative of United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) reacted angrily Tuesday to the latest contract offer presented to teachers by Superintendent Brian McDonald of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). The offer was sent to union members by email late Friday night, and then sent as an op-ed article to local media Monday and Tuesday.

The district and the teachers’ union have been at odds since 2014 and there has been little or no movement towards a settlement since then.

Emphasizing that “It is not business as usual in PUSD,” McDonald wrote, “This is a time of intentional change requiring full participation at all staff levels.”

McDonald’s proposal to UTP provides an ongoing 5 percent salary increase effective July 2016. The offer “also calls for a 3 percent salary increase of UTP bargaining unit salary schedules retroactive to July 1, 2015, and a 2 percent salary increase effective July 2016 for the next school year, according to McDonald.

“Based on funding from the state to be announced by the Governor in May 2016, teachers may also receive up to an additional 1.6 percent raise, bringing the total compensation up to 6.6 percent ongoing,” the Superintendent wrote.

McDonald added, “A majority (58 percent) of our teachers earn an average of $107,233 in total compensation, including salary, district-paid health care benefits, and district-paid retirement contributions. The annual salary of these senior teachers is $85,450, the average district cost per teacher for health care is $12,614, and the district-paid retirement contribution for that salary level is $9,169.

That $107,233 in total yearly compensation figure might seem like a lot to those working in the private sector, and most can only dream of making that much dough. However, we are talking government here, so any standards set in the marketplace obviously do not apply.

The article concludes with this only thinly veiled threat of a strike.


Wouldn't that be interesting? And just in case you are wondering how the PUSD teachers at Sierra Madre Elementary School are feeling about all of this, the answer is they appear ready and eager to hit the picket lines, and soon. This following letter also comes from Pasadena Now (link):


Anybody recognize the name of your kid's teacher here?

That bit about being able to "live in a community that we work in" does tug at the heart strings a little. Who doesn't want to call this town home? Plus that threat of quitting on the kids of Sierra Madre and taking their incomparable educational skills elsewhere will certainly send shockwaves through this entire community.

Well, OK. That might be a bit of an exaggeration.

That threat might not be based on monetary reality, either. If you compare the compensation figures discussed above by PUSD Superintendent McDonald with the median income figures of Sierra Madre, the numbers are not really out of line. Here are Sierra Madre median income figures, as supplied by the Los Angeles Times (link).


Based on those numbers I'd say that $107,000 in total compensation the PUSD offers many of its teachers looks pretty good right now.

More news on this story as it develops.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

71 comments:

  1. I see Laura Palmer's name neatly written there. I believe she is currently a candidate for Teacher of the Year in the PUSD system. Maybe this is why.

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  2. A Six Figure Package that includes Platinum Pensions, too!!

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  3. I have zero sympathy for these "teachers", given the overly generous increase they were offered. We should do like Reagan did with the air traffic controllers and fire every one of them if they strike. I'll be calling the Union tomorrow to make it clear that's a possibility.

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  4. If you thought the police union was bad, you haven't seen anything. Go to TransparentCalifornia and see the six figure pension your kids teacher will retire with.

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  5. The kids will get to watch a lot of Sponge Bob. They'll get to learn about marine life.

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  6. Like we have seen with the UUT and everything else, its never enough. The police union won't be satisfied until their guys all make $300K per year and retire at the age of 45 with a pension of 100% of their salary. Because of weak-kneed politicians, its not such a grandiose goal. The same with the teachers. Its not about the kids, its about the money.

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  7. Just in today's paper, it was revealed that an appeals court in California overturned the decision of a lower court that had said that tenure for teachers was not going to be allowed because it is detrimental to kids when you can't fire bad teachers. Being able to fire bad teachers would have been a huge improvement in the quality of schools, but no - that would make too much sense. The decision may now go up to the California Supreme Court for a final determination. As it stands now, its almost impossible to fire a bad teacher. The few that have been fired - I'm I'm taking about counting that on two hands - have cost millions of dollars to do so. Why would anyone want bad teachers teaching our kids? Why would the Democrats be in favor of that? Follow the money. The teachers unions contribute to the politicians and then the politicians return the favor. And the kids....Well, they are simply collateral damage.

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  8. Out of curiousity mod.....how much money do YOU make? I'm dying to find out....

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    1. No one should ever have to die like that. Please, go see a doctor. Do it for the kids.

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    2. Many now regard aspirin to be a wonder drug and a cure for many things. Best Buy pharmacy downtown has a quality generic that should help you get past any current health concerns.

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    3. I can answer the question as to how much the Mid makes off The Tattler.

      That would be zero. Nada. No state-guaranteed CalPERS or CalSTRS Platinum Pension or health plan.

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    4. That's not a fair question 7:08. He's not a public employee so he should make more than a public employee. Why? Because private employee.

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  9. I want a low pain non credentialed idiot teaching my kids. If teachers want to make a decent salary they should find something more important to do.

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  10. Teachers should be paid on a scale determined by their district's API scores. Using that criteria PUSD educators should be compensated somewhere in the $40,000 range.

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    1. The problem with this idea is that there is a direct correlation between API scores and the socio-economic levels of a given community. If I were a teacher under this scenario, I'd do anything to get hired in places like La Canada and South Pasadena and avoid PHS and other schools with children from poorer neighborhoods. Many--not all--of the conditions that result in low API scores are out the control of teachers in the classroom.

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    2. The problem is the educational apartheid that exists at this end of the valley. Economically privileged white kids go to private schools, everyone else goes to public schools. It is a disaster.

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    3. "educational apartheid" sounds so much better than "people don't want to send their kids to our crappy PUSD schools".

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  11. I think you are all missing the point with the teachers salary. Sierra Madre just upped the UUT to 10%, the teachers are not asking for enough, they should be asking for a 10% raise to keep up with the cost of living. The SM Tattler is not seeing the big picture here. How do you expect people to live on such small wages when cities keep taxing us so much. 10% raise for the teachers is more in line with their cost in Sierra Madre. Go teachers go.

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    1. Maybe all those Yes On UUT people can volunteer to help pay the utility taxes of teachers. That would be fair I think.

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    2. Maybe Prop 13 winners like Edward T Garcia, Chair of Yes On UUT, can pay the teachers' UUT. That would be ultra-fair.

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    3. Fast Eddie prefers that others play his taxes for him. Why in the world would could he be expected to pay for anyone else?

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    4. Be thankful for Prop 13. Without it most of us would be taxes out of our homes.

      That is what was happening before Prop 13 passed.

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  12. Only 6% of PUSD teachers make 107k and that is because they most likely have two positions (Athletic Director or other). You should check your facts before you post. If you want to see the facts check out the state website that shows teacher salaries. Also, why not talk to Union reps to get their input. Shouldn't your reporting be balanced? I'm sure Alvin Nash would talk to you. Then you could verify the facts.

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    1. Actually I quoted Superintendent McDonald. Check your reading comprehension. But if you want to get a more inclusive look at how PUSD employees are compensated, you can go here:
      http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/school-districts/los-angeles/pasadena-unified/

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    2. Hahaha the Tattler be fair and balanced? That's like saying the news media are fair and balanced.

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    3. The truth can only be found in UTP press releases.

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    4. Dear Cutie,
      It's a blog, yes, a blog!!

      Can you please tell me which media is objective & balanced. None of the mainstream media does real journalism any more.

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    5. 8:32, try to separate the articles (in which sources are cited and reasonable arguments presented) and the comments (in which people such as yourself let it fly).

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    6. Some of the most disruptive comments here are left by the same people who complain about them. The thought of this much freedom chills their bootlicker hearts.

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  13. How about all the retires on social security. We also need a raise. Maybe we can call it retires tax 25%

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  14. If you look up the salaries many elementary school teachers are making about $77k a year. Keep in mind that includes all the time off of summer, spring break, and winter break. Effectively I would say 12 weeks off. if you annualize that you are really talking about an annual pay of $95k plus pension and healthcare when they retire.

    Doesn't sound too bad to me.

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    1. True. What would they make if they worked the 45-50 hours a week (including late nigh calls, texts and doing work in the evenings) that salaried stiffs for 49 weeks a year? Sign me up!

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    2. Watch out, 8:34 - all that logic will interfere with the "Poor me" choir

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    3. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of the posters here couldn't last a week in the classroom.

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    4. Then teachers should get paid what military gets paid? That'd be a pay cut.

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    5. Not having much fun at your profession, eh 9:22? Little kids getting you down?

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    6. 9:22 am The posters here (not including me because I am a certificated teachers) are not trained to be a teacher. Just like a teacher could not last a week doing high rise construction, being an auto mechanic, being a captain of a ship, or performing surgery. Just be glad your doctor does not go on strike.

      I refused to join a union.

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    7. @9:58. I love my work. I teach at-risk youth at a continuation high school in Los Angeles. Teaching there is frustrating, heartbreaking, exhausting, exhilarating, meaningful and fun (some days, I experience all of these feelings and more). Some of our students do not succeed here, unfortunately, but others earn a diploma and move on to college or a trade. I wouldn't trade the experience of helping kids turn their lives around for anything.

      It is very sad to see so many vicious attacks against people who devote their lives to making a real difference in environments that are challenging, to say the least--it is truly disheartening. I also believe that anti-teacher rhetoric that pervades this forum and in society as a whole has the unfortunate effect of making teaching less attractive to the brightest minds (who usually end up choosing more lucrative professions in the private sector).

      Given all the vitriol here, I would end this post by asking each of you the following question: How are you making a difference?

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    8. 11:25, thanks for asking. My company gives 50 people jobs, 25+ of them made six figures last year. I lost count of how many employees' kids went to quality colleges because Mom or Dad could afford it. Not to mention the scads of taxes everyone paid so you had a salary & a guaranteed pension with COLA.

      There's way more but I'll sign off.

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    9. You've missed the point, probably intentionally. It has little to do with teachers or any of what you are going on about. It is the growing differential between public employee compensation and private sector pay. The constant demand for more from people who are relatively well off compared to everyone else is getting old for quite a few people. It all looks like an endless money grab by the entitled. Is that enough of a difference for you?

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    10. 11:25, your comment is the perfect example of one of the reasons some people don't give teachers the respect they deserve - you're sanctimonious.

      I too love my work, and it is, like yours, not for the faint of heart; but I don't walk around claiming that I am more virtuous than others, nor do I demand recognition for my talent and energy which are dedicated to the common good.

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    11. Unfortunately kids are being held hostage in this. That is the real tragedy.

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    12. Thanks for sharing, 11:25. What kind of positive difference are the PUSD teachers making in students' lives when the overall APIScores Are some of the lowest around and the high school graduation rate is poor? What of value have you taught these people? They are ignorant of the history of this country, they have not even the slightest knowledge of economics. They do, however, have great self esteem.

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    13. I like the idea of teacher merit pay based on API scores. Accountability coupled with rewards is a positive thing.

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    14. 1:58, sounds great in theory. In practice, it just reduces education to learning how to take particular forms of standardized tests.

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    15. @12:21--My daughter went to SME, SMMS, and is now a 9th grader at PHS. She has had some bad teachers, some good ones, and some outstanding ones. She is not ignorant of any of these things; indeed she is in the Law and Public Service Academy at PHS, and has a firm grasp on history, government, and economics. In the cases where she has had bad teachers, I have had to reteach the material. I, as a teacher, would like to see a better way to assess and when necessary, fire the bad ones--I agree that some really poor teachers get paid for a very poor job in the classroom (my daughter has had a couple of "train wreck" teachers. However, there seems to be this attitude here that all teachers are doing a poor job when that is not the case, not even close. Furthermore, API is not a good way to assess teacher performance (as an earlier poster noted) because low APIs are most often associated with schools that have students who come from less affluent areas. If you assess teachers by APIs, no one will want to teach in areas with the greatest need and the situation will only worsen. A lot of what ails the school is outside of the classroom, and teachers have very little control over these conditions. So, while I feel like I am a success if I can get a kid who comes to me with a 4th grade reading level to read at a 7th grade level, it is not going to look at all successful to those on the outside who rely upon APIs to judge the efficacy of a given program in an overall sense.

      I don't know what the solutions to the problems in the schools are, because there are so many structural issues in our society that contribute to poor student performance. I know one thing, though: demonizing teachers will accomplish nothing.

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    16. I think that everyone has had this experience in their lives, they have had excellent and horrible teachers. The kids and parents are figuring it out without any problem, yet the administration seems incapable of determining which teacher is good and which one is not. The solution of the administration is to protect the poor teachers on the expense of the great teachers, ruining the reputation of all.
      The solution lies in solving this integral problem in each school, in other words, better self-governing. It has nothing to do with good or bad neighborhoods.

      So, how do the kids and parents figure this out? They know who taught them something and who did not.

      It will never be just one criterion (like API score or good grades of the students), but a number of criteria that determine which teacher is excellent, which one is in the middle pack and which one should be fired.
      As you explained, it is a great success for a teacher to bring a kid from 4th grade reading level to 7th grade reading level in one year. So, we have a measure at what level a student was at the beginning of the year and at what level the student was at the end of the year. Great. Use it. Take the average of the entire class and give a score to the performance of the teacher, in each class he or she teaches. Get a principal teacher to sit in the class to evaluate performance once in a while (unannounced). Get student and parent feedback. Maybe take some additional criteria that teachers feel are important. Take all of this into account to form an overall score per teacher. Within each school, determine which one has the highest score, an acceptable score and an unacceptable score. This is what determines the salary increase and who should be fired. Of course, teachers with more experience should have a higher score and thus higher salary, but they may not, if they have always just met the minimum criteria but not more.
      This would be very fair to the good and great teachers, it would eliminate the bad teachers, and thus be better for all kids. This approach would rescue the reputation of teachers in general, provided that they also eliminate the bribing of the teachers by forbidding them to receive any presents from kids or parents.

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    17. Right on 10:29! Good for you for refusing to join a union. You have the right to work!

      This collective bargaining business should be banned. How dare these people think they have the freedom of assembly.

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  15. Median household income and total compensation for the highest earners are 2 different things.

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    1. Thanks for spinning!

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    2. How do you compare community income averages with teacher compensation? I know the "median income" thing is unpopular with govt employee union types.

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  16. Last month the district was training subs to fill in for teachers on strike.

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    1. How much will they be paid? Will the UTP call them scabs?

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  17. Off topic

    Just received a call from the Green Building program in Sierra Madre.
    There is NO such program sponsored by the City.
    It's a SCAM, just like the IRS and Microsoft virus calls.
    Hang up on these scammers.

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  18. Hey Mod,
    Any word on the FPPC complaint against Yes on UUT? Has Nancy Walsh called you yet?

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  19. I think the Pasadena Now reporting is mostly spin. We are getting a nice show about how the Board of Ed and the teachers' union are in this big fight of the decade. But in the end the BOE will back down and cough up the cash. They just need to give people the impression that they fought back first.

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  20. I don't know why teachers spend their own money or work overtime without compensation. They can't be fired because they don't buy their own supplies can they?

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  21. Yep - I recognize some signatures and I support these hard workers.

    Give me a break. The Tattler goes after librarians and now teachers. Seriously? Can't you find some alternate targets more deserving? It's really not hard.

    Pay them more. I wouldn't want to be in a high-demand classroom with 35 kids for one hour, let alone 6 hours. How much do prison guards earn? I guarantee that teachers and librarians have had a more positive impact on our children than almost any other profession.

    Maybe go after nurses next?

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    1. So you hate kids, right? The way you describe them here you'd think they're animals.

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    2. You might want to rethink the teachers serving a prison population comparison...

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    3. 12:53 if you support those hard workers, why don't you send them a check? You didn't? I know why. You want everyone else to pay.

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    4. I happily write checks to support public schools.

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    5. How do you feel about a teacher strike?

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  22. No, 12:53 doesn't hate children. What is expressed is the fact that teaching is hard beyond belief. No one who has never been in the classroom with 35 or 37 or 45 students can begin to under stand what teaching is all about.

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    1. How easy do you think life is for most people?

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  23. Go ahead and strike. I'll be the first one to cross the line.

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  24. And if you picket in my town. Expect us.

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  25. Laura Palmer? Apparently you didn't watch David lynch's twin peaks on tv. They filmed her funeral at Sierra Madre cemetery. That's kinda genius, actually.

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  26. Never forget, never forgive.April 15, 2016 at 11:20 PM

    you gotta lot of nerve Lisa. Yolanda. Susan. You picket. I would LOVE to revisit what you did to my kids. Give me a reason. I dare you.

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