Friday, October 24, 2008

Bergeson or Dorn

Article by Jessica Blanchard in the PI
On the race for SPI


Anonymous said...

This was posted by Ajax. I believe it is close to correct!

"This year Washington lost 54,000 students, an unprecedented number. Enrollment is back to levels not seen since Bergerson first took office in 1994. That's a loss of almost $500,000,000 in school revenue, nearly twice the enrollment of Spokane School District. This could affect about 2500 teachers, resulting in a 4% reduction; as well as, affect about 900 classified staff.

By failing to address curriculum properly, Bergeson has made it harder to get a high school diploma, she and her corporate network have made it impossible for most students to attend college and she has potentially created a serious loss of jobs in this state.

The more serious question is what happenned to those 54,000 students. And what might happen next year, if this is a trend. The economic cost of failure is a burden your state will live to regret."

By contrast, California has 6 times the number of students, enrollment grew from 5,467,224 students (95-96) to 6,312,102 students (05-06). Only in 2006 did student enrollment drop by about 10,000 students or 20% of Washington's decline.

If California had experienced a decline as large as Washington in a single year, California schools would have lost almost 850,000 students or 150% more than the entire student enrollment of Washington, resulting in a lost of around 85,000 teacher positions.

So Bergerson taking responsibility for screwing up the math portion of the WASL is the tip of a camel's toe compared to what Washington is facing in the next four years.

Anonymous said...

My bad - 850,000 students is closer to 90% Washington school enrollment. And 850,000 students is almost 52,000 teachers and 14,500 classified staff.

Now California is a different case, because it has the lowest teacher:student ratio in the country (about 30% lower compared to the national average.) A low ratio means more students per teacher.

It is surprising to enter a classroom in California containing 40-70 students. Unlike my experience in Washington with classrooms containing 20 or fewer students.

Don't teach summer school in California if you're claustrophobic or you can afford not to - its half pay and you have twice the number of students to teach. We are not a Title I school, yet we take the overflow from around the district, which is Title I. Don't figure. We also take all hearing impaired, visually impaired, and ambulatory due to state cutbacks. I think its a great school (students are happy), just a teensy wee bit crowded and the grass gets abused.

Here's the rest of a good article and where I found some 'good' statistics.

A score of 800 is an ambitious goal – “the equivalent to 70% of a school’s student body exceeding the median performance of students throughout the country,” the report said.

Since the inception of the Academic Performance Index in 1999, California schools have made steady, though not spectacular, progress. The latest results, released last week, showed greater gains by high schools than in past years, while elementary schools continued an upward trend.

The higher scores on tests geared to the state standards, however, were tempered by students’ less-than-stellar performance on national tests and evidence that vast numbers of California’s public school students are not proficient in grade-level reading and math.

The report notes that while most schools have improved their scores, few schools at any level exceed the statewide goal, and that low-scoring schools would have to sustain their gains for many years to meet it.

Along with its emphasis on accountability, California had increased its spending on education in recent years up to the onset of the 2001 recession. Starting from near the bottom among the 50 states, California climbed to about average in per-pupil spending.

According to the study, per capita spending on education leveled off about 2% below the national average.

Meanwhile, the state has 8% more school-age children per capita than the nation as a whole, so the money is spread thinner.

Compounding the problem of lower spending, California’s high standard of living means teachers are paid more, meaning fewer can be hired.

All these factors mean the state provides 25% fewer teachers than the rest of the nation, Rose said.

According to the report, California’s ratio of instructional aides to 1,000 students is about the same percentage of the nation’s as is the teacher-pupil ratio; for administrators it is slightly lower.

California lags far behind in counselors, 46%; librarians, 38%; and other support, 56%.

It led the nation slightly in the category of administrative support.

dan dempsey said...

Washington is also in poor shape as far as teacher : student ratio.

When I taught in CA in Bellflower at the secondary level the max class size was 40 and the average class size could not exceed 35 in a 6 period day that meant that teaching 5 classes capped the number of students served each day at 35x5 = 175.

Often the "Sheltered" classes were full so in your class of 35 to 40 students you might have 4 new students who spoke no English.

Was this the intention of Proposition 13?

Is this what Sanctuary City advocates intend?

Just wondering.....

Anonymous said...

In Washington the problem is inflationary - because the distribution of kids is uneven. So in Seattle for instance, the teacher:student ratio is less than in the outlying suburbs. Rural districts have it probably the worst because class sizes are uncomfortably small and I think they need to be energized.

Anonymous said...

California schools have their own set of problems, but I think Prop 13 put a cap on property taxes to help those who were retired and couldn't afford to pay increasing property taxes. Much as people in Washington who can't afford to pay taxes presently lose their homes. My family for one was forced out of their generational home by high taxes in Washington. Income tax is a progressive tax; property tax is not. You best get used to the Democratic party, they are going to be around for a while.