Budget in a capsule: Teachers (surprise, surprise) get Prop. 30 $

Jan. 10, 2013

By Chris Reed

The 2013-14 budget that Jerry Brown presents today is being billed by the Los Angeles Times as transformative for its push to change school funding basics to help schools with struggling students who don’t speak or read English well and to reduce the categorical spending mandates that tie the hands of many school districts.

The former change is going to be opposed by the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers because they like the status quo — the fact that veteran teachers end up at schools in more affluent neighborhoods with more academically inclined students from two-parent households. As Gloria Romero has figured out but Assembly Speaker John Perez has not, the CTA and the CFT aren’t about social justice.

The latter change is going to be loved by the CTA and the CFT because the fewer school spending mandates there are from Sacramento, the more money can be channeled by union-run school boards to the compensation of adult employees — i.e., teachers, for the most part.

So expect the former to flop and the latter to succeed.

So what’s today’s real headline?

That Brown wants schools and pretty much only schools to benefit from the extra tax revenue from Proposition 30, getting $2 billion more than in the present budget, and that money will go to teachers.

This is exactly as I predicted a year ago on Calwhine in a column agreeing with this observation from Arun Ramanathan of The Education Trust West:

“The proponents of upcoming ballot initiatives argue that taxing California’s Scrooges will restore our education system, thereby restoring our best path to income equality. But anyone who’s spent any time at school board meetings knows that the interests of children – especially the children in poverty and their families – are down near the bottom of the list, after the interests of the adult groups who got the board members elected. Give districts more money and sure, they might restore school days, summer school, and intervention programs for our state’s millions of Tiny Tims – but only after they’ve finished satisfying pent-up salary demands, backfilling pension and benefit obligations, increasing their reserves, paying off early retirement incentives, and recalling employees by seniority.”

This wasn’t exactly a difficult prediction on my part. Once you understand that the main priority in Sacramento is preserving the compensation policies that award automatic raises to most teachers every year, everything is predictable. And yet many media saps still go along with the idea that teachers are all about “the kids” and accept the surface narratives put out by the CTA-dominated education establishment.

So I’m really looking forward to George Skelton’s observations on this budget. I need a good laugh or six.


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