Teacher Strikes in the USA

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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby Parabellum » 04 May 2018, 19:36

Also, my brother is a teacher who can't afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in his area. I know from my own experience and from him that teachers are severely underpaid. It's horrific, really. I just wish we had a solution that involved correcting the other money problems as well. If that doesn't happen, I'm all for paying teachers a just wage, and I'd support a tax increase to that end.

I do think that textbooks should be funded by cutting other spending in education rather than by raising taxes. But that's more of a prudential judgment that will depend on the specific circumstances of each district.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby Jegpeg » 04 May 2018, 22:26

I am not in education but I think one of the reasons education is underfunded is the impact on extra funding takes time to bring in "income" and politicians are often only concerned with the next election. If a state put up taxes to spend on education by the time of the next election most of the people benefiting from the increased funding are still in school so the state has higher taxes but the benefits have not appeared (yet). This would make the curent politician worry about keeping their job.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby asudevil » 04 May 2018, 23:23

I'll start here and weigh in on a bit of backstory. In 2009 AZ state economy like most of the world took a hit. Because of that our budget for maintenance items like books/buses/buildings got slashed. We are supposed to be paid an inflation amount from the state. The problem is that the Republican Treasurer at the time (our current Gov. Ducey) thought that in order to balance the budget, they would just NOT pay what was required (by law) to the schools. Then after being sued by the schools (he lost) he still refused to pay. Then he decided to give us 70% of what he owed us...and made us get the voters to approve it. We got the voters to approve it...but the way he was going to pass us was considered unconstitutional (basically he sold land that we are supposed to use as our rainy day fun to pay off the money he refused to give us. So he was going to use our money...to pay us what he owed). By the way...we still haven't seen this money...and its a LOT of money.

SO, not too many teachers like Ducey.

And during all of this time, while district schools were getting 15% of the per-pupil money we were supposed to get for maintenance items...Charter schools were getting over 80%. So the districts had to get the voters to approve "over-rides"...which are basically extra taxes on the people of the district so we can fix buildings. Well higher income schools could afford this. Lower income schools fell apart. Because of this, money that we would get from the state for teacher raises (but don't HAVE to) would go towards keeping the buildings running. We were on a pay freeze for basically 7 of the last 10 years. While inflation and things went up. We kept the same pay.

But this all started because the state refused to pay what they had to. And they didn't have money because they have decided the best way to get a balanced budget...is by cutting taxes, and then complaining there is no money in the budget. AZ has some of the lowest property taxes and corporate taxes in the nation. Our income tax is super low as well. And Ducey runs as the "tax cut governor". So he cna't raise taxes to get money...but the concept of "trickle down economics" doesn't generally work...so there just isn't enough money to go around. And education is the easy place to cut from.

Ill get into Charter schools and some stuff like that later.

But that's a main issue that has been lingering in education for the last decade in AZ. A general contempt for public education from governor Ducey.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby asudevil » 05 May 2018, 00:53

So a little bit more backstory before I get to this actual strike.

There is a huge push to "privatize" education in Arizona. The Koch brothers (uber conservative both top 10 richest people in America) and the Goldwater institute (huge advocate for "school choice") want to defund public education and privatize it through charters and vouchers. Betsy Devos (Trumps Sec of Ed) also a huge fan of school choice.

So what are these. Well vouchers allow people to send money that SHOULD to to the state from income tax and divert them to private school tuition. So instead of paying the state your income tax. You can use that money to get a free tuition to private school. But you need to have enough tax liability (make enough money) to get this full credit. You can even have your friends all chip in and work together in order to get a completely free education. This supposedly was to help low income kids in failing schools get into private schools. The problem is 2000 is nothing compared to the 10,000 that a private education is. So where do low income people get the rest...they don't. Studies have been done proving that middle and upper class people use this vouchers to send kids to private schools which they likely would have done anyway even without the voucher. But it allows them to not pay income taxes while doing so. This has pulled a TON of money out of public education (and the general fund in general...which means less money for everyone). These vouchers and tax credits have to go through a 3rd party who gets to take 10% of the credit for "overhead". Currently the speaker of the house runs one of these 3rd party "clearinghouses" and a private school. So he is getting the great deal on both sides of this.

So charter schools. Charter schools are "public" but they don't have the transparency of actual district/public schools. They are privately owned and "not for profit" because the owners (and often their family members) take HUGE salaries. They frequently have a lot of low salary teachers who burn out quickly because of the extra demands. They don't pay into the state retirement system and so they run with very low expenses. Online charter schools are getting popular too where they don't even need to hire teachers and the same owner will operate 2/3 schools out of the same address allowing him to claim the rent on that building for all of them even though he only pays it once. Charter schools come in a couple different forms. Some are very high achieving where while they are "public" they have such high requirements and don't help special ed students or non English speakers. They are way more segregated than normal schools. These schools find high income areas and pull "top kids" from the local schools so that they can profit from them. The other type of charter school is even more sad. They are frequently under performing and often fail because schools just don't pay all of their bills. Charter schools frequently fail between schools years and sometimes DURING school years leaving students in their wake. The charter schools who fail get to sell off their assets to pay off their debts. Frequently these debts are to companies they themselves own. There is a lot of side dealing where you buy books from company A...desks from company B...rent land from company C...blah blah blah...and the same guy owns all of it. So they just straight siphon money from the public to their own pockets. There are some decent charters, but if you ever look into them...charters are SHADY. If you want a comedy (tragedy) version of it. Look up Jon Olivers piece on charter schools. Its terrible. So more than a few of our state legislatures own (or their families own) charter schools. And so they make sure the charters are taken care of so that they can still profit.

I get the idea that they want to have parents have choices...and if the charters were all good, then choice is acceptable. But VERY few charters are run for these noble reasons. They are businesses just like private prisons.

In the "raise" we just got. All the money is going to the districts and they can spend it as they feel is best. Charters will also get a chunk of money. The districts got some VERY clear transparency laws in place with the money to make sure they don't squander it. The charters never have to open their "books" so no one really knows where that money goes.

So that's the backstory of education in Arizona. Can you start to see why the general population of Arizona teachers feel we aren't getting a "fair shake" from our government?
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby bindlestiff » 05 May 2018, 01:04

Jegpeg wrote:I am not in education but I think one of the reasons education is underfunded is the impact on extra funding takes time to bring in "income" and politicians are often only concerned with the next election. If a state put up taxes to spend on education by the time of the next election most of the people benefiting from the increased funding are still in school so the state has higher taxes but the benefits have not appeared (yet). This would make the curent politician worry about keeping their job.

Imagine what could be done for teachers and students, not to mention other folks, if Congress had the balls to cut the Pentagon's hardware budget (not salaries or Maintenance or R&D) by even a few percentage points. Unfortunately, it won't happen, for the reason noted above.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby TheGrandWazoo » 05 May 2018, 13:06

Hi,
From my point of view the best solution would be F Bla S A Rum - Sev.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby NJLonghorn » 07 May 2018, 00:47

TheGrandWazoo wrote:Hi,
From my point of view the best solution would be F Bla S A Rum - Sev.


I think finessing spades shows more promise. Or a topspin lob.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby willie23 » 07 May 2018, 04:13

TheGrandWazoo wrote:Hi,
From my point of view the best solution would be F Bla S A Rum - Sev.


Yes but doesn’t Russia already control the Black Sea?? If you have any hope of taking Sevastopol you need to move an army to Armania first.

But in all seriousness, I can see where you are coming from. And I also see that you have more to say. So I’ll hold off and let you finish.
Let me just put it this way: I’ve got a long way to go...

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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby asudevil » 07 May 2018, 15:41

So Ill finish this up.

Another slap in the face for teachers last year was when a legislator told us that we all have second jobs to afford BOATS...yes you heard that right...all AZ teachers buy BOATS with their second jobs...not food or shelter...jerk.

So last year Ducey gave the teachers a 1% raise and made it sound like it was a huge deal. This wasn't built into the long term budget, so most districts had to pay it out as a 1time bonus stipend (400 bucks or so) because the following year there was no way to know if he would still fund that 1% raise. This year in February (ish) we were told we would again get a 1% raise (he bragged about it as 2 since he had given one the previous year...but they weren't going to compound, so it was really just the same 1% again)...but again it wouldn't be in the base, so we knew districts would have to pay it as a stipend. Ducey continued to talk about how lucky we were to get raises, when at the same time, inflation is generally pegged at about 2%...so our "big raises" didn't even keep up with inflation.

The redfored thought started right around that time. We were asked just to wear a red shirt on Wednesday's to raise communal awareness of how we are all in this together. We started doing walkins at the schools where we would gather out front of the school with signs to ask Ducey to adequately fund our schools and then go to class.

Right around the first walkin Ducey came up with his 20 by 2020 plan. But he was going to take money from colleges, developmentally disabled programs and other services that help lower income families. Also the legislature said that they weren't going to give us that raise. So even though he had promised it...he has no actual power to make it happen.

Then we had our walkout and yes, we relatively got that 20 by 2020 raise but it was funded more sustainably and we never would have gotten even that much without the walk out.

The biggest issue here is that the RedForEd movement had 5 "demands"...the problem was that we ordered them incorrectly because we always listed raises first. We also used the adjective more...when we should have used enough (enough funding, enough pay, enough salary...etc)

The 5 demands were

Increase teacher pay by 20%
Competitive salary for classified staff (secretaries, security, bus drivers, etc)
Increase education funding to 2008 levels (that's right...we are below where we were a decade ago)
No more tax cuts until we are AVERAGE in per-pupil funding
Permanent salary structure (because many districts freeze teacher pay for years when the budget gets tight from the state)

Even with the walkout...here's what we got.

Ducey is bragging about every teacher getting a 20% raise. However, that money goes to the district to do with as they wish (not terrible...but annoying). The bigger thing is that he funded enough for 20% raises based on the average teacher salary in Arizona. So some districts that have higher wages will only see enough funding for 15% raises. Also, he defined "teacher" as teachers with a roster as teacher of record. So all the people who are on the same pay scale as teachers because they have a teaching certificate but aren't CLASSROOM teachers...don't get this funding. So librarians, counselors, speech pathologists, curriculum coaches (to help low achieving students), curriculum specialists (to help mentor teachers), elementary specials (PE, art, music, spanish, etc), most elementary special ed teachers (cause they do small group pullouts) all don't see any of that money from the state. So the districts have to take the money and spread it out over all of these employees.

Also, he gave back 100million in funding from the DAA (remember this was cut 1billion dollars since 2008 because of him siphoning off money and never restoring it...but we should be grateful for 10% of it). That money has to be split between every school (2000 or so). So 50k per school. That money is supposed to help with the classified raises. It also goes to buy books, buses, building repairs, technology and anything else the school needs. That 50k isn't going to last long in any school. So that 20% "raise" from teachers is going to be split to buy some of this stuff too because our kids NEED it.

So that's why we walked out...and what we got. It's still not nearly enough...but he won the PR battle because he gave us raises. But the STUDENTS who need the money (per pupil spending) still got the shaft.

Just so you have an idea about HOW much our students get screwed. In 2015 per pupil spending in AZ was 7,489. The national average is 11,392. So our kids are 4k less than average. Which means we spend about 2/3rds of average. That's PATHETIC.

Anyway...hope that answers your questions for why we walked. Ill be happy to answer any questions and when I have time, Ill go back through and answer any that already popped up.
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Re: Teacher Strikes in the USA

Postby Parabellum » 07 May 2018, 15:47

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of that. We non-Arizonans don't get that level of detail relayed through the media.
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