Behind push against truancy/absenteeism: unions’ money hunt

Behind push against truancy/absenteeism: unions’ money hunt

brochure04_MyCTAWhat is by far the single most important factor in how California government functions? I stand by my theory that I wrote up last year for Cal Watchdog:

Like Neo figuring out how life was coded to work in “The Matrix,” everything about California politics is much easier to understand once you realize that by far the top priority of by far the state’s most powerful group is protecting the interests of veteran teachers.

And what is their biggest headache?

The fact that in recent years, budget woes have prevented hundreds of thousands of teachers from getting pay raises except for the “step” raises most get for 15 of their first 20 years and the “column” raises they get for taking meaningless graduate coursework that doesn’t even have to be in the field they teach.

This is why school districts in recent years have been paying for routine maintenance with 30-year borrowing; why parents are being illegally pressured to pay for basic supplies; and why the CTA and the CFT went along with a change in school funding formulas that Gov. Jerry Brown says is about getting more money to struggling students but that unions believe can be manipulated to get more unfettered money to operating budgets to pay for pay raises.

So now comes a concerted push led by Attorney General Kamala Harris to crack down on student truancy and absences, and it’s billed as being about helping students succeed in school.

California is in the midst of a “truancy crisis” that needs to be stopped where it starts: in elementary school, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said Monday as she joined lawmakers to announce a package of bills to help the state better collect truancy data. …

If it’s not stopped at the elementary level, students are more likely to drop out of high school, and dropouts are more likely to end up in prison, Harris said. …

The bills would require the attorney general to issue a report on truancy each year, enhance truancy data collection to monitor attendance, require every county to create School Attendance Review Boards that issue reports on intervention efforts and require prosecutors to issue a report when charges against a parent or student are considered to enforce attendance laws.

Why criminalize student absenteeism? To get money

But if you go down further in the story, the real motive pops up:

Harris’ office released a report that detailed the extent of truancy and absenteeism in California schools and the resulting loss of $1.4 billion a year in funding …

In other words, $1.4 billion a year that could go toward teacher compensation.

Of course student truancy and absenteeism is a serious problem. But if it’s a dire threat to California’s future, why hasn’t it been targeted this way before? Because the teacher compensation status quo wasn’t that bad.

Now, after a few relatively lean years, the CTA and CFT want every last dollar they can get their hands on. If basic funding formulas depend on students getting to school on time, then dammit, school on time.

How do you do that? By raising thea prospect of criminal sanctions against parents if their kids are late or absent.

More evidence for the California Matrix Theory .

Like Neo figuring out how life was coded to work in “The Matrix,” everything about California politics is much easier to understand once you realize that by far the top priority of by far the state’s most powerful group is protecting the interests of veteran teachers – See more at:


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  1. Donkey
    Donkey 4 August, 2014, 16:30

    Activate the Prison Industrial Complex to chase down truants and their parents. The RAGWUS feeders will do anything for numbers, which translated into tax dollars in their pockets.
    How about the district buys a few drones with air horns to roust the parents and kids from their beds. They buy one large drone with bird sized mini’s attached that can be dropped at the rabbles door or window. Come on now, it’s all about the children and has nothing to do with the crappie system of learning and government at all, rightttt. 🙂 🙂

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  2. SoCalSteve
    SoCalSteve 4 August, 2014, 18:07

    Unbelievable! Even as noble an effort as trying to stop blatant absenteeism in our schools is painted as just another plot. It is wrong to be absent from school. It means you learn less, and it also wastes taxpayers’ money. But of course that doesn’t matter when you can cook up another Democratic “conspiracy.”

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    • Donkey
      Donkey 4 August, 2014, 22:11

      Maybe if the schools worked the kids would want to be there SoCalSteve, but what we have now at many schools is closer to “Lord of the Flies” than a learning environment. I read that less than 50% graduate from the LAUSD, that reads as a complete failure in the private sector, but not the RAGWUS. 🙂

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  3. Queeg
    Queeg 4 August, 2014, 21:31

    Maybe they do not come for the learning experience is wanting.

    We already know the food is bad for children…..why go somewhere daily that doesn’t work!

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  4. Brad Strong
    Brad Strong 13 August, 2014, 14:34

    Respectfully, this is a pretty absurd take. This package is focused on systems and supports to improve attendance, not on increasing criminal sanctions. In fact, the Attorney General and attendance advocates just helped pass legislation banning incarceration for youth adjudicated as truants (SB 1296 – Leno) which was signed by the Governor in June. Attendance efforts are about making sure kids are in school so they can succeed. Schools do lose money when children are absent (excused or unexcused) and it is a worthy reminder to elevate for for schools and communities that they benefit when they make the investments in the teachers, counselors, early warning systems and supports needed to improve attendance. I don’t believe raising the loss of $1.4 billion conveys the motive implied above.

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