By Donna Westfall – November 8, 2018 – 3 minute public comment to the School Board:
First of all congratulations to the incumbents, Angela Greenough and Jamie Forkner on their re-election.
Now, it pains me to have to come down here and give y’all a tongue lashing.
However, when my sister graduated from Los Angeles High School in the 1950’s, California’s public education system was ranked #1 in the nation. Today, depending on which site you go to, it’s ranked about 44th.
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. THIS IS INTOLERABLE. THIS IS A BROKEN SYSTEM AND THINGS NEED TO CHANGE.
I’ve been asking around trying to find out how things went from great to awful. This is what I found out. This School Board is one of about 1,000 in the California School Board Association. If you were all to band together and agree on demanding our state legislature change things, then things will change.
Here’s what I have determined needs to be changed: I’ll preface this on my own experience as a mother of three. Public schools had children that were unruly. This hindered learning. When our children attended private school, their education was excellent because they had excellent teachers and administration dealt with disciplinary problems. They did not allow it to continue. When our financial situation changed and we had to send our youngest to Santa Barbara Jr. High, I attended her classes and counted about 20 minutes spent by the teacher correcting disruptive children. She couldn’t teach.
Here are a few suggestions to get things turned around.
#1 – YOU MUST DISCIPLINE UNRULY CHILDREN. I understand that the schools receive money for daily attendance. The higher your attendance figures the more money you receive. EXCEPT, you can no longer expel or suspend children. There are no disciplinary measures. That’s problem #1. If you don’t have rules that are followed you can’t teach. Money should NOT be tied to attendance. That’s the wrong measuring stick.
#2. You must have measurable goals for teachers to attain. If they cannot, then they lose tenure. Having tenure and the assurance of lifelong employment after two years on the job is ridiculous. Nobody should have a lifetime job. Because there’s no incentive for bad teachers to do any better and there’s no accountability, there should be no tenure. #2 Get rid of tenure.
#3. Offer bonuses to the good teachers and fire bad, ineffective teachers. If teachers can meet their goals, and children are testing higher than the national average then give that teacher a bonus. If they’re just there to babysit and collect a paycheck, get rid of them. I understand it takes an enormous amount of time and money to get rid of a bad teacher. That’s ludicrous.
#4. Cut the Union down to size. Reduce their power. Unions were needed where there was gross abuse. Nowadays, there’s more and more money going for union bosses and less money going for our kids. If our tax dollars all go to ever increasing salaries for administrators and our children are failing in their education the tide needs to be turned.
#5. Common Core. Is this working? I think not. Remember, you have an obligation to help turn things around. A responsibility that is not to be taken lightly in educating our children and a responsibility to use our taxpayers dollars wisely.
So, to sum up, do NOT settle for the status quo because you are doing a disservice to our children for not educating them, stupid children become stupid adults; and you’re doing a disservice to the taxpayers for wasting our money.