Sunday, October 12, 2008

281 Referendum YES281 : Competitive Wages and Test Scores

One of the hot topics that is continually raised by the "vote no" contingent is the "high wages" earned by the district employees. Typically this is tied to the poor district performance with regard to schools meeting the "no child left behind / AYP" criteria.

As for the wages, we all realize that the market sets the wage level, not the school district. If the school district wants average to above average employees, it needs to provide average to above average compensation. (wages/benefits) Simply, we tax payers get what we pay for...

As for the latter, "no child left behind / AYP" is a very good concept for driving accountability that is inherently flawed. Many of the best schools in Minnesota have failed to meet the criteria, especially those with a diverse student population. Typically these schools have not been able to overcome the challenges provided by impoverished, non-English speaking and special needs students. Ironically these districts need more funding to overcome these community challenges, yet the punishment is funding reductions. Also, these communities have the hardest time passing operating referendums due to the lower income neighborhoods being resistant to additional costs.

Finally, please dig deeper into the test results. The test results for students outside of these categories are equivalent or better than most districts. As for the impoverished, non-English speaking and special needs students, their programs need funding increases, not cuts, so please vote YES on Nov 4th.

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