In general, education policy in California is on a different trajectory than many other states. No less a personage than Diane Ravitch has lauded my governor, Jerry Brown. Even though the Obama administration foolishly over-looked Linda Darling-Hammond, our state superintendent has highlighted her work, and appointed her to the state credentialing commission. With the departure of State Senator Gloria Romero after her failed bid for the state superintendent position for a sinecure at Parent Revolution the legislature seemed on a more even keel.
As I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, the Legislative Analysts Office had a sterling reputation for giving sound advice. My experience on the ARRA EETT debacle, showed them as uninformed, and out of sync — chasing after pennies in the hopes of getting quarters that would cost dollars. Money was diverted from classrooms to data systems in the foolish hope of getting RttT funding from the feds when it was CLEAR to everyone that the state would NEVER win the grant. It now becomes obvious that if we got the grants, we’d be spending multiples more meeting the program requirements. On top of not understanding the underlying financial issues of RttT, they pushed money towards data systems that the Governor is now abandoning.
I almost spit out my coffee as I read this article in the SacBee, State report recommends changes in teacher layoffs. While some ideas may have merit (moving the schedule for layoff notices so that it aligns with state budget deadlines), the report also includes this turd:
The LAO report also calls on districts to explore alternatives to seniority as the main criteria for layoffs, offering other guidelines for consideration, such as student performance, teacher quality, classroom management, teacher attendance and leadership.
It’s what I’ve come to expect from LAO, a sweeping policy change based on a very superficial understanding of the issues involved. This single sentence is full of assumptions both about lay-offs, seniority, and the alternatives and which are “good” and “bad” that shows they have little background on the issues. For that, I recommend this piece on the Shanker Blog which covers the issues nicely.