Sunday, May 31, 2015

Employment Fairness

 Matt posed a question worth discussing.
"$400,000,000 in extra spending... I think society is giving plenty.

Now let's see Ed MN match this generosity. No more tenure, steps, lanes, work rules, etc. Let's pay the highest wages for the most challenging positions. Let's have the most talented Teachers apply for those positions. Let's put the kids first, not the adult employees.

If they want to be treated like professionals (ie lawyers, engineers, accountants, etc) let's get rid of all these hourly employee distractions, contracts, etc Let's have the most gifted and most challenged receive the biggest rewards just like normal professionals do." G2A

The bigger question. "Is why the "professionals" you cite as being so superior to hourly employees are content with being treated as they are instead of demanding similar benefits to the "evil" teachers union. While its true that "misery loves company" I do find the masochism of so many in the "professional" set puzzling." Matt 
"I guess if I owned a business or hired someone, it would make sense to me to:
- pay them for the value they add, not their years or degrees.
- demote or terminate employees who choose to no longer add as much value. (it is not bad, they may just have a change in priorities as they got older)
- demote or terminate employees who are not aligned with the goals and vision of the organization.
- promote and reward the people who take on tough jobs, are passionate about the orgs goals and are very effective.

Would you do differently? If so, what?

Please remember that the above works both ways. People who are effective, aligned with the organization, work hard and continuously improve can be paid what they are worth very quickly. Also, they can change jobs to find a good fit for themselves without losing any income, and likely gaining." G2A
 Thoughts?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do teachers have some obligation to finance education not shared by the rest of us? Do teachers derive some special benefit from an educated populace which should be taxed?

--Hiram

John said...

I think the answers are no & no. Now what is your point?

Anonymous said...

So why should they bear more of the cost of education than the rest of us?

==Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Probably because so many of them pay taxes to the public schools and then pay once again to send /their/ kids to private school.

Laurie said...

I think if you want teachers paid differently than the status quo you should become a proponent of charter schools.

Here is an off topic link for anyone with time to spare. I found it interesting.
Video Replay-Bernie Sanders Town Hall Meeting
Warning, it might make some heads explode. I was going to go to Mpls this morning to see Bernie in person, but changed my mind when I saw that more than 3000 were planning to attend

John said...

I am a supporter of charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Probably because so many of them pay taxes to the public schools and then pay once again to send /their/ kids to private school

I already pay taxes to support one school system. Why should I pay taxes to support two or three, or maybe a dozen?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

How about this: Pay your taxes and let each parent choose ONE school for their kid, the one that best educates, by the parents' informed best judgment? Isn't that better than paying for two, as is now often the case? And charter schools, as Laurie uses the term, are still public schools, they just cost less than the other public schools (which is stupid, but...). What do you have against paying LESS?

John said...

"parents' informed best judgment"

Now what do we do with that significant group of Parents that are not even capable of getting their children Kindergarten ready? I think their judgement may be a bit weak.

jerrye92002 said...

We let them have the responsibility of, and give them the means to, select a pre-K program for their child. All they need to know is where these places are. And I sense a tone of judgment on your part that this "significant group" is everybody with fewer educational and financial resources than you. I look at it the other way, as judging each individual parent on ability AND effort, and I am rarely disappointed. Good news and bad news: parenting doesn't take a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Pay your taxes and let each parent choose ONE school for their kid, the one that best educates, by the parents' informed best judgment?

Because I don't want to pay for multiple school systems. How about this? I pay for one school system, and anyone who doesn't like it, can pay to have their kids go somewhere else? There might well be a tone of judgment on my part; I might very well disapprove of some of those school systems, but if I am not paying for them, why should my disapproval matter?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"Because I don't want to pay for multiple school systems."

OK, how about this, instead. Our "school system" is that we taxpayers pay into the state, and the state gives every parent a coupon good for a year's education, for each kid, redeemable at any school that will take the kid and the coupon. The parent MUST send the kid to some school. There's only one system, the same for everybody, and built-in competition to compete on price and quality.

John said...

Fixed vouchers will not work because "because kids are not all the same."

Numbers have probably changed, but the ratios are still probably close.
G2A Why Pay More?

Man am I going to have fun with that quote. :-)

Anonymous said...

There's only one system, the same for everybody, and built-in competition to compete on price and quality.

Do we really want an educational monopoly? Do we really want coupon bearing taxpayers running all schools in the state? I just don't think that's a good idea myself. I am a public school supporter, but I also strongly believe there is a role for private education for those willing to pay for it.

--Hiram

John said...

Hiram,
Charters are public schools. Do you support them getting the same amount of funding as the status quo public schools?

Why or why not?

jerrye92002 said...

"Fixed vouchers will not work because "because kids are not all the same."

You are the one that insists that poor kids require more money to educate; I am the one that continues to point out that we already GIVE more money to the schools to educate poor kids, and that one indicator of how poor the academic results in any school district are is the amount spent per pupil-- the higher the spending, the lower the results. I can also show that spending is largely irrelevant to performance (statistically, a wide confidence level on the trend line).

So, I'll tell you what. Let us make the amount of the voucher equal to the current school formula amount for that district, which considers all of those "risk factors." It SHOULD be higher to incentivize private or charter schools to "steal business" (the "at-risk" kids) from the big-spending, big-failing publics.

The other thing you are overlooking is that the Legislature's proposal is to TARGET these vouchers ONLY to the at-risk kids, while the Governor insists that everybody gets the "free" pre-K but nobody gets a choice. He trades proven success for near-certain and highly costly failure. Does that make any sense to anybody?

Anonymous said...

Do you support them getting the same amount of funding as the status quo public schools?

I am not a huge fan of charter schools. But we are a rich country and seem able to afford them.

--Hiram

John said...

Jerry,
I am fine with the variable voucher concept if every school has to take and keep the kids just like the publics do, though it will be interesting see how they would break the broad formula down to the individual child.

Hiram,
Near monopolies are unlikely to improve until true competition forces them to. Please remember the Ford and GM cars of the 1970's. Thank heavens Honda and Toyota pushed them to improve their processes, efficiency and cars.

Now that was just cars, here we are talking about children who are being neglected and losing their chance at a wonderful future due to the failings of the Public Ed near monopoly. I will never understand why people who profess to care about the poor and unlucky children keep wanting to double down on the "old GM" model.

jerrye92002 said...

"I am fine with the variable voucher concept if every school has to take and keep the kids just like the publics do, though it will be interesting see how they would break the broad formula down to the individual child."

I was not suggesting that the current state aid formula, as incredibly complex yet woefully irrational as it is, would be broken down to the individual child. Part of that is the incredible complexity of doing so, and part of it is that the formula is based per school – that is, on "percent of free and reduced lunch" and "percent of English as a second language" in the student population. Besides, since this extra financial aid is based on all of these risk factors, there should be no need to require all schools to take all students [special ed being an exception, obviously, and we would finally have to put a price tag on individual special Ed students' vouchers]. Besides, two of the things I'm counting on are the increased parental involvement that the voucher empowers and demands, leading to better discipline, and a greatly increased ability of the schools to reject the vouchers of serious troublemakers, forcing the parents to pay more for a school geared for that sort of student. Combine that with the competitive imperative to offer a challenging curriculum keeping idle hands busy, and achievement should skyrocket.

We are discussing, of course, how much more money the State of Minnesota should be pouring into K-12 education, and my answer is "not one dime" until we start seeing some results, or at least some plans to implement proven strategies for closing the gap WITHOUT just pulling down the top performers or not counting the low achievers. In other words we are spending somewhere between "plenty" and "too much" with nothing to show for it. Time to have some of that funding come "COD."

jerrye92002 said...

"I am not a huge fan of charter schools. But we are a rich country and seem able to afford them."

Since charter schools educate at least as well as, and often better than, the public schools nearby, and do it for somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 the cost, we cannot only afford them, we should be "buying" them to the exclusion of the public schools. Just like Toyota beat GM on price and quality, so the charters and private schools are beating the publics. Gee whiz, if only we had free market competition in education.

John said...

"I'm counting on are the increased parental involvement that the voucher empowers and demands, leading to better discipline, and a greatly increased ability of the schools to reject the vouchers of serious troublemakers, forcing the parents to pay more for a school geared for that sort of student."

Please remember that the Parents of most of the unlucky kids do not have money for school fees. What will happen if a large number of the schools give up on the unprofitable kids and expel them?

Will those kids sit at home?
Will traditional publics need to take them back?
Will we put the Parents in prison for failing to get their kids educated?

I will never understand this nearly religious belief of yours. "increased parental involvement that the voucher empowers and demands" Please remember it is not their money... It is just a ticket to a school of their choice... Kind of like open enrollment...

Anonymous said...

Since charter schools educate at least as well as, and often better than, the public schools nearby, and do it for somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 the cost, we cannot only afford them, we should be "buying" them to the exclusion of the public schools.

Charter schools represent additional costs to the system, with little if any improvement in overall achievement.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

I am counting on human nature. I have a "near religious belief" in that.
I think once a parent has a $10,000 check in their hands it is THEIR money and they are going to want to receive full value for it, and will tend to more involvement with how their kid is "using" the money. They are also required to now CHOOSE a school for the kid, something they never had the means and ability to do before, rather than being forced to send their kid to a school they know will fail him. That's empowering, and forces parental involvement simply because the choice must be based on /something/. Finally, having the parents choose the school forces the schools to compete, and to do that they must appeal to the parents, meaning the parents get involved like it or not, and the schools finally pay attention to the needs of their customers rather than having a monopoly in a captive market.

To your question about the unruly kids: first, I am counting on the increased discipline that occurs naturally with the parental involvement and increased academic content resulting from these voucher programs. The ability of a school to reject the voucher of those few kids still a serious discipline problem will put financial pressure on the parents to straighten the kid out to keep him there. If there are still substantial numbers of these juvenile delinquents, some private schools will spring up – similar to military academies, I suppose – that will specialize in this "market." I wouldn't be opposed to an additional state subsidy for such schools, if necessary; it's cheaper than jail.

What I'm trying to do is to find a way of spending the outrageous sums we now spend on K-12 education to actually provide as much education as possible to as many kids as possible, which is NOT what our current system does. Is it? How about we solve the problem for the vast majority of kids (with a new system if necessary) rather than putting off that solution because there may be a tiny few who are not helped by it?

jerrye92002 said...

"Charter schools represent additional costs to the system, with little if any improvement in overall achievement. "

Let's see. If we send little Johnny to the Minneapolis Public school nearest to his house, we pay $20,000 per year for his education. If we send him to the nearest charter school, we pay $10,000 per year for his education. So if we sent ALL those kids to charter schools, we would save $360 million every year. Please explain where all the "additional cost" would come from?

John said...

Hold it now...

"$10,000 check in their hands it is THEIR money"

Are you saying they can spend it as they wish on what they want?

Get Johnny in an $8,000 school and take a big trip?

"The ability of a school to reject the voucher of those few kids still a serious discipline problem will put financial pressure on the parents to straighten the kid out to keep him there."

Again, how will you apply this pressure? What will be the consequences if the kid is bounced?

What prevents the for profit school from booting any challenging kids?

John said...

Please remember that few to no kids in Mpls cost $21,000 per year. (G2A Costs)

Lucky kids cost ~$11,000
Unlucky kids cost ~$16,000
Special needs kids cost $20,000 to $100,000

Anonymous said...

Let's see. If we send little Johnny to the Minneapolis Public school nearest to his house, we pay $20,000 per year for his education. If we send him to the nearest charter school, we pay $10,000 per year for his education.

The problem is that that 20 thousand has to be replaced. So you are paying for two rather than one school.

--Hiram

John said...

"The problem is that that 20 thousand has to be replaced."

Hiram, Sometimes your logic baffles me. If the child is not there receiving an education, hopefully most of the costs will also not be there. Since ~80% of education costs go to personnel, and head count can be reduced as the size of the student body is reduced.

By your logic we should still be paying for RDale to be capable of educating 30,000 kids or whatever it was at its peak enrollment. Not the ~12,000 they currently have.

Anonymous said...

If the child is not there receiving an education, hopefully most of the costs will also not be there.

Well, no. The marginal costs of educating an additional child are minimal, basically the cost of moving one more chair into a classroom. When a school district loses a child to a charter school, it takes a significant financial hit.

Downsizing a school district is a pretty difficult problem, but it isn't the problem we are facing now.

--Hiram

John said...

Excellent. Then when they get more kids we do not need to give them the full $20,000 since the marginal cost is so small.

If they need more money when they add kids. They can get by with less money when they lose kids.

Anonymous said...

If they need more money when they add kids.

The system establishes a huge financial incentive to add more kids. That's just as true for charter schools as public schools. This system provides huge opportunities for corruption, which some charter schools have proven unable to resist.

They can get by with less money when they lose kids.

That's the downward spiral. Just as when they gain kids, they make more on the funding formula than incur additional costs, when they lose kids, they lose far more money than they save. Any significant loss of students can be financially disastrous for public schools. These are reasons why some public schools advertise and otherwise engage in promotional activities both to attract students and to keep the students they already have.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"Please remember that few to no kids in Mpls cost $21,000 per year."

Sorry, but your citation applies to Dist. 281, not MPS. And $20,000+ PP is what the MPS system itself reports. Granted that is skewed, as you point out, with SpEd students getting more, ELL/At risk in the middle, and "regular" kids at the bottom. Not fair, IMHO, but that's another subject. And again, keep in mind, State Ed funding is strictly "per pupil," with the only distinction being a roughly 2:1 difference in the amount allocated for high school vs. elementary, plus the overall additions for PERCENTAGES of ELL/FRL/SpEd.

Plug in any numbers you want. The point is that charter schools are cheaper and often better; it makes no sense to spend more than necessary and "the system" should be adjusted to reap this cost-effectiveness.

jerrye92002 said...

"Are you saying they can spend it [the voucher "check"] as they wish on what they want?

I am saying that human nature will react to that check as if it WERE their money, even though it can only be used at a "recognized school." (Some definition required. To me an online school is just as good or better, as is home school.) I also like the idea of the voucher being the same, regardless of school, with the extra money retained by the parent. This would encourage price competition among schools (there would need to be some state-required quality standard to prevent "warehousing" kids of the few irresponsible parents), and would also enable more people to home-school, "paying" Mom or Dad to stay home and teach.


"Again, how will you apply this pressure? What will be the consequences if the kid is bounced? What prevents the for profit school from booting any challenging kids?"

Remember, parents are still required by law to send their kids to school. They will be required to spend their voucher on a "school." If the kid is threatened with expulsion, the parents will have to find another school (by law) that WILL accept the kid and the discipline problem, and that school may cost more. This gives the parents a financial and complexity incentive to get the kid in line. And that is only a last resort after the ordinary discipline problems are greatly reduced and the enhanced discipline policies have been exhausted.

What prevents the for-profit (or non-profit, or public, remember) school from booting the challenging kids is that your "business" is to turn these challenging kids into success stories that will draw more parents to your school, and that if you deliberately kick these kids out of school just for academic underperformance, you LOSE that "customer" and the money they bring with them. Besides, you assume that this will be done to improve their competitive position and draw more business, but at least for some considerable time to come, the competition will be the public schools, and they are already winning that competition.

Once more, I think you are looking for niggling little problems with a proposed solution while ignoring the massive problems with the status quo. Back on topic, don't you think that having funding follow the student would let teachers, especially good teachers, to be paid more?

John said...

"charter schools are cheaper and often better"

As usual, I have not seen any conclusive data either way and I think who the school serves has as much or more to do with better results than their methods.

Hiram,
No one likes shrinking, it is much more fun to grow. The reality though is that we only pay for 1 school per child.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie has often complained that her charter school receives less funding and, I believe, you have confirmed that. Laurie has also said that, considering the student body, her school is doing as well as the public schools, while private schools (with some differences but a similar demographic) do much better. I think the schools demographic mix definitely matters in absolute comparative terms (i.e. against the state average), but schools with "better" methods can get much better results than public schools with the same demographic. It is a main objective of the MEA to obscure that reality at every opportunity.