Teacher files $1B class action lawsuit

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by SWAGA, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

  2. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Of course. This is the inevitable result of non-merit based pay scales championed by most teachers Unions. The employer (the "customer" in this case) sees no difference in value between older teachers and newer ones but they are forced through the wonders of collective bargaining to pay more for the older teachers. It's similar to knowing that you have to buy 2 identical cars but you must pay 30% more for one of them, naturally, you're going to be opposed to this. Thus they're going to search for "creative" ways to eliminate the "more expensive for no greater perceived value" option.

    Peace favor your sword,

  3. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    You seem to be in favor of "merit based" pay for teachers?

    So...let me ask this. Mr. Jones has the honors classes, his students score in the 75th percentile on all tests, and in the year he has them, they increase scores on a test...not the same test they took last year, but a totally different test with no actual correlation to the old test...by 5%.

    Mr. Smith has the lower end classes. Not one single kid he has scores over the 50th percentile, half of them cannot add fractions, combine integers with negative values, or even do the basic times tables with any speed. At the end of the year, they still do not score above the 50th percentile...but their averages went up 20%.

    Which one gets paid more?

    Based on every merit pay scheme I see, Mr Smith gets told he needs to do more professional development, and his job is in jeapordy.

    What about the PE and Music teacher? Do they get paid a base scale, with no merit pay available? Or do you reward the teacher who has a bunch of kids that are on the football team, or whose parents pay for private voice lessons, and tell the teacher in the inner city with 30% truancy that he needs to pick up his game or find another job?

    There's a reason the unions...which I despise...are against merit pay, and it's not just to protect old lazy teachers.:cool:

    The issue is...the measurements are all fatally flawed, and the playing field isn't level, in any sense of the word.

    I had two Algebra classes last year, one was honors, one wasn't. I got the honors class to pass year end tests at a 69% average, the other class was at a 35% average. And remember...the kids have no stake in the test. If they fail...it means nothing to them. We aren't allowed to use it in their grades, and the state isn't even sure what a passing rate is, they have to have a meeting every year to look at scores, and decide how to skew the curve. The first year we did it, the state insisted we were being too strict, and too many kids were "failing" it...so the "cut scores" were slid down the scale. See...the test has problems that are worth 10 points, and other problems that are worth 20 points or more, and in the end, there are about 900 points available, but the test is set to be extremely hard to ace, so we can differentiate kids. If Mary gets a 650-700 score...she's one of the best in the state.

    If the same teacher, who seems to be getting it done with one group, but can't get a slower group to meet the standard, and if the standard has wiggle built into it every year...why does anyone expect merit based pay to actually work?
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Pretty much, yeah. It's how I get paid.

    So you're asking me to defend a skewed and broken method for abstracting actual merit based on data points with well known flaws?

    Um... No. I won't defend that. What I was doing was explaining why this happened and why it was both inevitable and predictable.

    Pft. Biased "student evaluations" are more useful for determining merit, imo.

    Or are you asking me to develop a new system for abstracting the semi-squishy "merit/value" into a bean-counter number? I'd be glad to, but I'd expect it to take several months, require lots of man hours in research and evaluation, and not be free.

    But, of course, it's way easier to stay with the current system. "The devil you know" and all that.

    Peace favor your sword,
  5. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    Not a difficult system to figure out. Flat base pay scale, pay increases based on years of experience/ time in grade, remove the tenure system, educator evaluations based on merit with a sliding scale that takes in to account the variables ajole mentioned. Pay isn't affected by the evaluations, just the efficacy of the educator.
  6. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    Without evaluations, how do you determine the efficacy of The educator? That is really a tough call to make. Maybe letting Mr. Market determine the efficacy is the best way.

    The best way to solve the problems with determining how to best pay teachers is to go with a privatized education system like they have in some East Asian countries. Instead of kissing away money through higher property taxes, parents would pay tuition directly to schools.

    Schools would have to compete for students by providing the best value, both price-wise and testing-wise, to parents and students. Ultimately, the schools that end up doing the best will be able to determine their own merit-based pay systems, while, simultaneously, attracting the best students and teachers.

    People in East Asia aren't all rich, and they manage to turn out very diligent and successful students with a fully privatized education system. If they can do it over there, then we can certainly do it over here. Let the market set pay and cost scales instead of mindless bureaucrats. In the end, market forces typically yield superior results.
  7. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Well Kirk...if I were doing things that I had any real control over, I'd agree with getting paid more for better results, and less for poor results.

    But I don't have any control, in the end. I'm totally at the mercy of the teachers the kids had for the last 8 years, at the mercy of their parents who decide going shopping for a prom dress is more important than learning how to multiply exponents, at the mercy of a system that has decided to change the entire system of mathematics education, using an entirely new and unproven progression and order, and which has decided that the minimum acceptable level is being prepared for college...despite the fact that 70-80% of my students will never go to college, but will still earn enough to support their families and contribute to society.

    People that get paid a LOT more than teachers are developing these systems, and you and I can see that they suck...but they are still using them, and I think it's going to drive intelligent teachers out of the flawed system, or encourage them to cheat the system, in the same way the liberals think the business man cheats, by cutting corners, and by cutting losses.

    And in education...those losses are kids.:cool:

    It's not inevitable, nor predictable, there are ways of getting rid of bad teachers, but bad administrators can't, or won't, use them.

    But the typical government method to "fix" things is to add more red tape, add more management to oversee that red tape, and lose sight of the actual reason the system exists...to teach kids.

    And another thing...all of this is driven by a fallacy, a false premise driven by the left. The entire system is convinced, and has used the media to convince the masses, that there is a problem with education in America.

    But there isn't, really. The problem is that the measurements used to decide that are ridiculously flawed.

    We test 5 or 6 inner city districts and a few rich private school systems, and we test every single kid in each building.

    Then we compare that score to a score from another country. A country where they only tested the top half of students, where parents are still pushing kids to succeed, where X-boxes and sports barely exist...and then we say we are falling behind.

    It's BS. It's like comparing my football teams' 40 times and bench press scores to those of a private academy for football players.

    But it's the big lie, and America has bought it.

    Then, they start telling us that 90% of all jobs in the next ten years will require college, and the high schools must prepare ALL kids for college.

    That's utter baloney. It wasn't until the 1960's that America got half of its kids to just graduate from high school! Now we're supposed to get them all into college? Not a freaking chance.

    Not to mention...if everyone goes to college...who builds houses, drills for oil, fixes your plumbing, or cooks and serves your food at the restaurant?

    It's total and utter BS, it's mind control by the left, and even the right is so flummoxed by the catch phrases and BS data that they can't see the fact that the emperor has no clothes.

    Education is NOT like a business, and cannot run like a business. Children are not a product to be run through an assembly line to pop out like perfectly formed "citizens" with identical value. They do NOT start out as a raw material, or even as the same type of material.

    I'm just glad I only have a few more years left. I'll work my butt off for my kids, but I feel bad for all the kids that are going to be cheated by this system that's being foisted on them.:cool:
  8. Rachgier

    Rachgier Administrator Staff Member

    I think you misread what was written. Employment is affected by merit based evaluations, pay is fixed.
  9. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    I like that. Of course, gov't screws that up as well. All taxes in Utah get pooled, then doled out based on number of students, supposedly to level the playing field. Sounds good and fair, right?

    The problem is efficiency of scale. A small rural school only gets enough money to hire 20 teachers, so I have two math classes per grade, all kids are in them, and the smartest kids are in the same class as the 55% kids, meaning we go slower. Bigger schools have better differentiation, plus the ability to have Advanced Placement courses. So their top end moves faster, and gets farther.

    So...was it fair?

    But...poorer areas then get the worst teachers, as the rich areas can pay more to get the better teachers. Poorer kids get behind even faster, that way. In other countries...that's accepted. It's normal. But in the U.S., class action suits would force bussing, and redistribution of monies.

    Except some schools aren't in a city. If I want to send my kids to another school, it's a 30 mile trip one way. I like your business based approach...but it doesn't work well for all kids. Unlike business, sometimes choices do not exist, and shutting down the factory isn't acceptable.

    The U.S. isn't like Europe or Eastern Asia.

    Well...most of East Asia doesn't have 24/7 media inundation, freedom, or welfare.

    If we eliminate the ideas of equality, freedom, welfare, and then take away entertainment, and possibly use communism and corporal punishment to keep the masses in line...yep, we could do it just like them.:cool:

    But seriously...sometimes the market doesn't work. In business, you shut down the factory, tell the people to move and find another job.

    Education doesn't work that way. Society needs people farming and mining and living where they live. Schools need to be where the people are, but it costs more per kid to get equality for those in smaller schools. I don't have a track for my track team, we have one computer lab with 45 machines for 390 kids, while the next district 60 miles away has an artificial turf field and gives every student a laptop. That's how the market does it, even with some controls imposed by gov't. Without the artificial controls...I don't know what would happen, but I suspect rural schools would become a wasteland that taught welding, ag- business, and home-ec.

    Which of course is illegal, as the gov't says you MUST teach this that and the other.:rolleyes:
  10. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    I got that part, but as Ajole said, much of the students' performance hinges more on their own individual efforts and their parents' interest in their study habits. That is actually why I am not really a fan of using test scores as a way to evaluate teachers.

    One other thing that test scores do to school systems is to cause artificial GPA inflation. Take a look at many universities where they seem to have a ridiculously high number of 3.8 or higher GPAs. I know damn well that the students aren't all acing their tests like that. High schools can end up vulnerable to similar practices when test scores play into merit payments.
  11. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

    My wife at one point worked for a Hilton hotel.
    Not a shabby one either, hi end.
    You'd get a write up of you messed up somehow ( no matter how little) and they don't expire. Three write ups and you're fired.
    They managed to get rid of 9 employees over the age of 45 in one year.
    Bastard son of a bastard Morgan & Morgan wouldn't take the case.
    Next year the manager was replaced so it's like getting rid of all the witnesses and perpetrators.
    Clever corporate scheme.
  12. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Exactly right, SWAGA.

    Our legislature recently made the law say we are to be "evaluated" using a ratio of 70% classroom evaluation by admin, 20 % test scores, and 10% "stakeholder" input.

    Evaluation by admin means some person in your building with a few days training on how to do the observation comes into your room a few times a year, marks down how well you met the criteria established...and that's it. The criteria includes things like having student work displayed, having the objectives on the board, and using good questioning techniques.

    It was set up that way to avoid the "good old boy" scenario. Of course...the good old boy is still doing the observation.:rolleyes:

    Unions like it because, if you are graded low, you can ask for another person to come observe. Of course...the next person is another admin, so chances are, if the fix is in, you're screwed.

    The test scores...utter baloney. Those with the best classes, win, regardless of ability. And what about the departments with no testing?

    Stakeholders...that's parents and kids. So, you catch Johnny cheating, he gets an F, daddy slams you on a survey, and your pay gets cut.

    It's a mess. I like merit pay as a concept. But I see absolutely no equitable way to make it work in education.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  13. bscar

    bscar Supporting Member

    And people wonder why home schooling is becoming popular
  14. histed

    histed Supporting Member

    Our new evaluation system is even more "interesting" than Ajole's - and less equitable. Observation based on ONE class - which takes weeks to plan - and more "projects" than you can imagine. Coupled with student performance on PSSA and MAP tests that have no meaning for students. In this week alone, there were 10 different sporting events that lead to early dismissals for students, an assembly that shortened every class that day by 15 minutes, PSAT testing that took 4 hours one morning and a series of IEP meetings that constantly interrupted classes. I've had parents irate because Susie is failing, but she's averaged missing 3 out of 5 days since September for sports. Like Ajole, I despise the union, yet, to date, I also fail to see how "merit" in any way shape or form measures anything fairly. It's a little like basing a dentists wages on how many cavities his clients get or a LEO's wages on how many convictions a prosecutor gets. Says nothing about how well the job is done or the dedication of the employee.
  15. histed

    histed Supporting Member

    No, I don't. One on one with both parties committed to achieving optimum end results has always been the best form of education. But that isn't always the answer either. In today's world, how many parents have the time to home school? How many are qualified to teach Algebra or Earth Science, much less Calculus or chemistry? And the kids still have to take the "standardized achievement test" - at least here.
  16. MaryB

    MaryB Supporting Member

    So quit teaching as a class and turn the kids loose to learn at their own pace! That what I did in junior and senior high school. I was given the textbook, homework assignments, when I was ready for a test the teacher gave it. I went through math almost twice as fast as the rest of the class and did the first YEAR of college calculus in one semester!

    The old way of teaching Johny to do addition at the same time as Suzy when Suzy is ready and able to do multiplication is outdated and way outmoded! Many kids in my small town now do online classes from home instead of busing 30 miles and they are all anywhere from 1/2 to a full grade ahead of their peers because they learn at their own pace. Online instructors are available via chat for questions.

  17. Liberty

    Liberty Shhh! Lifetime Supporter

    The problem is tenure, plain and simple. Look at NY and LA - they have teachers who screw up, so they pay them to sit in a room and NOT teach, rather than just fire their sorry asses.

    When I was in 5th grade in Kansas, the honors English class I took was during the regular English class - in a different room. We got the book like the regular kids and had to take the same tests, PLUS the Honors class, and I got an A in BOTH.

    When I was a sophomore in California, the workbook I had in 5th grade for the Honors class was my TEXTBOOK. I even quoted my teacher page numbers - blind. Easiest class I ever took because I'd done all the work 5 years earlier.

    When I became an adult - I moved. California education is, across the board, CRAPPY.

    YMMV if you had good teachers.
  18. MachoMelvin

    MachoMelvin Well-Known Member

    I know several families that Home School. Several of the mothers have a college degrees & do a very good job at it. But several didn't even finish High School. The Mom's are too LAZY to get up in the mornings to put their kid or kidz on the bus, so they decide to home school. One family I know has 3 kidz. Two kidz go to school with the Mom, as she works in the cafeteria. She leaves one 11 year old son at home to home school himself, because he has issues with some other kidz. So instead of giving him a "swat" on back side like my Mom did, he sits at home & watches "The Price is Right" & eats Pop Farts waiting on everybody else to get home? In fact I know a couple of families that do this!
  19. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    This is why I pay for private school.....
  20. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    Back in the '80s, it was just simply a given that if a kid came to school from Kaliforniastan, then he would have to repeat the previous year. That happened to every single transplant I knew.