Tag Archives: Teacher Pay

Obama administration blocks Louisiana school voucher program

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

The Justice Department is trying to stop a school vouchers program in Louisiana that attempts to help families send their children to independent schools instead of under-performing public schools.

The agency wants to stop the program, led by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, in any school district that remains under a desegregation court order.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the agency said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to roughly 570 public school students in districts that are still under such orders and that “many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process.”

The federal government argues that allowing students to attend independent schools under the voucher system could create a racial imbalance in public school systems protected by desegregation orders.

Jindal — who last year expanded the program that started in 2008 — said this weekend that the department’s action is “shameful” and said President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder “are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools against the wishes of their parents.”

The Justice Department says Louisiana has given vouchers this school year to students in at least 22 of 34 districts remaining under desegregation orders.

Jindal called school choice “a moral imperative.”

Vouchers are a way of helping poor, minority students to get a quality education by letting them choose to attend better schools – any school the parents choose.

This lady from the Cato Institute explains in a 5-minute video why vouchers are a good thing.

A longer video featuring John Stossel is here:

You can learn more about vouchers below.

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Chicago teacher strike: average pay $71K, 80% of 8th graders not proficient at math

CBS News reports:

Thousands of teachers, parents and supporters marched through downtown Chicago on the first day of a school strike.

The crowd Monday afternoon stretched for several blocks and was expected to swell through the early evening and into the city’s rush hour. Some protesters carried signs that said “Chicago Teachers United” and “Fair Contract Now.” Others waved red pom-poms and chanted. Earlier in the day, thousands of teachers picketed around neighborhood schools.

[…]The city’s public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year. Both sides said they were close to an agreement on wages. What apparently remains are issues involving teacher performance and accountability, which the union saw as a threat to job security.

They don’t want to be held accountable for failing to provide outcomes for their customers, the children.

Why do you think they might fear being held accountable? Are they doing a poor job of teaching? Is that why they fear being accountable? Let’s see.

CNS News explains:

Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “meaningless checklist.”

[…]In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education administered National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in reading and math to students around the country, including in the Chicago Public Schools. The tests were scored on a scale of 0 to 500, with 500 being the best possible score. Based on their scores, the U.S. Department of Education rated students’ skills in reading and math as either “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient” or “advanced.”

[…]79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in reading. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 43 percent who rated “basic” and 36 percent who rated “below basic.”

[…]80 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in math. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 40 percent who rated “basic” in math and 40 percent who rated “below basic.”

Fire them all. Abolish the federal Department of Education. Make teacher unions illegal.

Education policy tutorial videos:

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Dept. of Labor: public school teacher compensation doubles average of private sector

From CNS News. (H/T Doug Ross)

Excerpt:

Public school teachers receive greater average hourly compensation in wages and benefits than any other group of state and local government workers and receive more than twice as much in average hourly wages and benefits as workers in private industry, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Public primary, secondary and special education teachers are paid an average of $56.59 per hour in combined wages and benefits, BLS said in the report released last week.

That is slightly more than twice the $28.24 in average hourly wages and benefits paid to workers in private industry.

In fact, according the BLS, the $28.24 in average hourly wages and benefits that private-industry workers now earn in the United States is less than the overall national average for hourly wages and benefits of $30.11.

That is because the overall national average compensation is dragged upwards from the private-industry average by the much higher wages and benefits paid to state and local government workers—who take in an average of $40.76 per hour, according to BLS.

[…]According to BLS, private school primary, secondary and special ed teachers worked an average of 1,560 hours per year—or an average of 155 hours more than their public school counterparts.

According to the BLS report, private school teachers were not compensated as highly as public school teachers. When private school primary, secondary and special ed teachers were added to the pool with public teachers, average hourly wages and benefits for teachers dropped from $56.59 to $53.87. The report did not publish the disaggregated average compensation for private school teachers alone.

The $56.59 average hourly compensation for an American public primary, secondary and special education teachers includes $39.69 in wages and $16.90 in benefits, BLS reported.

For each hour at work, according to BLS, the average American public school teacher is paid $4.78 in retirement and savings benefits alone.

The average private sector worker, according to BLS, is paid $1.02 per hour in retirement and savings benefits–or less than one-fourth the average hourly retirement and savings benefits paid to public school teachers.

And what do we get for overpaying public school teachers? ECM sent me this article from the Manhattan Insitute.

Excerpt:

If an out-of-control national debt weren’t reason enough to worry about America’s global competitiveness, here’s another. Virtually all education reformers recognize that America’s ability to remain an economic superpower depends to a significant degree on the number and quality of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians graduating from our colleges and universities—scientific innovation has generated as much as half of all U.S. economic growth over the past half-century, on some accounts. But the number of graduates in these fields has declined steadily for the past several decades. A report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation concludes that “bachelor’s degrees in engineering granted to Americans peaked in 1985 and are now 23 percent below that level.” Further, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 6 percent of U.S. undergraduates currently major in engineering, compared with 12 percent in Europe and Israel and closer to 20 percent in Japan and South Korea. In another recent study, conducted by the Conference Board of Canada, the U.S. scored near the bottom relative to major European countries, Canada, and Japan in the percentage of college graduates obtaining degrees in science, math, computer science, and engineering. It’s likely no coincidence that the World Economic Forum now ranks the U.S. fifth among industrialized countries in global competitiveness, down from first place in 2008.

Making matters worse is mounting evidence that America’s best students—kids we’re counting on to become those engineers, scientists, and mathematicians—have had a drop-off in academic performance over the past decade. A recent Thomas B. Fordham Institute study finds that the country’s highest-performing students in the early grades are losing some of that advantage as they move through elementary school and into high school.

The teacher unions want taxpayers to give them even more money, which no expectations of better performance. And Obama agrees.

Excerpt:

Our president agrees it’s a good idea. Obama took in more teachers’ union campaign funds than any other donor — $50 million in 2008. Not surprising, he touts pay hikes to teachers as his chief economic plan. “How do we pay them more?” he asked last month.

A quick search of the atmosphere around teachers’ salaries on Google News suggests he’s off base.

  • In Sudbury, Mass., teachers are expected to get an 8% annual raise.
  • Polk County, N.J. — in the same state where Gov. Chris Christie had to explain basic economics to an angry, six-figure teacher unwilling to accept a salary freeze — teachers will get step raises.
  • In Alameda County, Calif., unions are demanding the county drain its rainy day fund to pay teachers.
  • In Richmond, Va., Gov. Bob McDonnell has struggled to find an extra $1.6 billion for teachers’ pensions.

Oh yes, and don’t forget that the largest chunk of the stimulus package of 2009 went to “education.”

Yet educational output isn’t improving.

Why throw more money at a costly and unproductive system without demanding better results?

In reality, it’s like pouring public money into bankrupt Solyndra — money straight down the drain.

This is not good. We have to stop falling for the old canard that if you raise taxes to give the Department of Education more money, then it will automatically result in better student performance. It’s a lie.

Indiana voucher program offers hope to low-income students

From the Courier Press, news of the latest success for Republicans in their long war against public sector teacher unions.

Excerpt:

Kristy Wentworth of Evansville said she was never dissatisfied with public education, and her three children, who attended schools in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., were making good grades.

But when friends told her about Indiana’s new private school voucher program, she was intrigued.

After some discussion, Wentworth enrolled her children this year at Evansville Lutheran School, which is near her home. It didn’t take the single mother long to decide her choice was correct. Her children — who are in grades 7, 6 and 4 — are thriving at Evansville Lutheran. Wentworth noted the school’s small class sizes, and she marveled at the frequent communication she receives from her teachers.

“They come home from school excited, they leave for school excited. They can’t wait to get there,” Wentworth said. “(The school) encouraged them to sign up for Boy Scouts and volleyball, and on the first night they made the kids feel so welcome.”

Wentworth recently lost her job, and she said she couldn’t have afforded a private school without the voucher program, which proponents say helps overall educational achievement and closes achievement gaps along socioeconomic lines.

And these private schools help children to perform better in testing.

Can greater competition among schools help? That’s what state education officials are banking on. While scars from the lengthy spring debate over vouchers heal, they are encouraging local school districts to embrace the new environment.

Local nonpublic schools have courted voucher students. As of Friday, 114 were awarded to students in the EVSC district — the fourth highest number in the state.

Officials with the EVSC, meanwhile, point to recent academic progress, its network of community partnerships aimed at meeting students’ most fundamental needs and classroom innovations.

Delaware Elementary School, which is in the same neighborhood as Evansville Lutheran, has made strides in several areas in a short period of time, said Heather Ottilie, parent of a Delaware third-grader.

Delaware is in its second year as an EVSC “equity school.” Along with two other schools of similar socioeconomic demographics — McGary Middle School and Evans School — Delaware is free to have longer school days and longer school years and has more leeway in curriculum and rules. The three equity schools all showed gains on the spring ISTEP.

Ottilie said Delaware has placed heavy emphasis on independent reading. Other innovations include the use of netbook computers and iPod Touches in classrooms, world language instruction and new learning programs such as LEGO robotics, which emphasize problem-solving skills.

“I love it,” Ottilie said. “Everything is hands-on … the kids aren’t just doing worksheets.”

What is the conservative plan to help the poor? Is it wealth redistribution? Does that even work? Or is there a way to produce better results for the poor through free market capitalism? Those who advocate big government never bother to ask these questions. For those who take the time to study economics, the answer is clear – what works to reduce costs and raise quality is choice and competition.

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Must-see videos on education policy

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Homeschooled student about to enter law school at age 16

Reggie sent me this story from WSU Today.

Excerpt:

A 16-year-old student from Union, Wash., will soon become the youngest person on record to graduate from Washington State University.

Kayla Heard could talk at age one and read at 18 months. She started first grade at three, graduated from high school at ten and began community college at 11.

Kayla was home-schooled and is earning her social sciences degree though WSU Online.

“My parents felt it wouldn’t be good to send me to a campus at such a young age,” she said. “I appreciate their decision, mainly because online studying has given me quite a bit of flexibility in my schedule.” Kayla and her family will attend the May 7 commencement in Pullman.

Kayla’s mother said she knew her daughter was different early on.

“When she was a baby, she respected paper,” Marlyn Heard said.  “She didn’t tear it or put it in her mouth. She would look at a picture or writing like she wanted to know what it said.”

When Kayla was seven months old, her mom laid out flash cards with numbers and letters.

“In two months she knew them,” Marlyn said. “She would pick the right ones – before she could speak.” Kayla could print letters at three and write in cursive at four.

At the age of two, Marlyn said, Kayla realized that all the presidents of the United States have been male. She looked at her mom and said, “I’ll be the first female president. And I’ll defend the rights of children.”

Kayla graduates with a 3.71 grade point average. She’s already passed a law school admissions test, and will spend the summer filling out law school applications.

“I’m interested in pursuing a degree online in international law,” Kayla said. “I have a passion for traveling and learning about foreign cultures.” She wants to work abroad, possibly in Hong Kong, and she plans to “visit a plethora of foreign countries” before settling down.

Kayla spends her spare time singing in church, playing piano and guitar, and reading and writing. She also stays in her room a lot, Marlyn said. “We call her cave girl.”
Are there other brilliant members of the Heard family?

“I have relatives who are scholars, but not like Kayla,” Marlyn said. “And my son is more like a normal kid. He’s 12. When he was a baby, he put the flash cards in his mouth.”

This is what I expect from homeschooling families.

Homeschooling is not something that the secular left is OK with. The secular left doesn’t want parents to have a big influence on their children. The secular left is not OK with the generally traditional moral beliefs of the parents. They don’t want some families to be different from other families. They want everyone to be the same, even if that means that the public schools make everyone equally crappy. If homeschooled children today expect to homeschool their own children tomorrow, then they better set goals to get into the university and have an influence on public policy. Because there are forces at work who want to take homeschooling away, no matter how well it works.

Somehow, we have gotten the idea that our children are not our responsibility, and that God will not hold us accountable for the children we raise. I think that’s wrong. Why are we all so anxious to lower the bar for ourselves and lower expectations? Why don’t we look at children as serious projects worthy of our attention and RAISE the bar for what we expect from them – and help them all the time so that they can achieve it? You can’t make a succesful child like this without giving them care, attention and guidance – letting them see downfield where the challenges are so they can make the right moves NOW.

Must-see videos on education policy

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