Scarier than Halloween . . .

Tonight the Superintendent sent a memo to the Board listing the effects if Prop. 30 and/or Prop. 38 don’t pass. It’s not good, and includes $10 million in additional forced closure (furlough) days this school year — school would end with a half day on Thursday, May 23 instead of a half-day on Friday, May 27–as well as $6.5 million in additional mid-year cuts. And then there’s 2013-14.

Though many school advocates feel Prop. 38 is better for schools in the long run (here is a more detailed comparison of the two measures as well as a fact sheet), the measure has never polled above 50 percent. Prop. 30 had polled above 50 percent until recently, but because of negative advertising the measure is now supported by less than a majority according to polls.  Though I have long advocated a “yes/yes” position on the two measures, with the reasoning that asking voters to choose between the two dooms both to failure, I think now during the stretch it is imperative that education advocates impress on voters who care about our schools that Prop. 30 must pass.   In other words, do whatever you want with Prop. 38 (I’m voting yes) but please, whatever you do, vote YES on 30. 

3 responses to “Scarier than Halloween . . .

  1. Based on RTTT funding prescriptions and the article, that $15 million couldn’t buy back many furloughs. Nor would it free up $15 million in funding – the Chronicle article states the money will be used for new programs. And some of these are programs and supplies teachers have real reason to doubt: technology that is new now becomes what schools are stuck with later. The most recent piece of District-provided technology (and I am generously calling anything that plugs in “technology”) in my classroom is an eighteen year old eMac. (And isn’t that $15 million for OUSD and SFUSD?)

    It is very hard for me to understand why unions should agree to untested, research-not-only-lacking-but-strongly-against methods of evaluation for members so the District can buy technology. There is no evidence that test-based evaluation means more than more tests for students (and more cheating in many Districts). Moreover, these are permanent changes for temporary money.

    I’m presently assessing my students on the newly-required assessment I’ve been using for years. I am seeing the growth that I expect and no surprises, which means my informal assessment is accurate. My students make and beat grade-level expectations every year. I have no fear of an assessment scheme RTTT outlines for my own job security. (Of course, I doubt Fountas and Pinnell would be the tool chosen for this kind of high-stakes assessment.) I do wonder at the desire of the District to demand more testing of my students while they cannot provide my classroom with better technology or even regular, working heating.

  2. I wish that were the case. I am clear-eyed about the problems encountered when test scores are used in ways they were never intended. However, in the past we have managed to come to agreements with UESF on this point and I’m discouraged that this time a line in the sand appears to have been drawn. That $15 million could buy a lot of instructional days . . .

  3. There is always Race to the Top federal funding if both the taxes fail.

    http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/S-F-Oakland-drop-bid-for-U-S-school-funds-3991884.php