June 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

District's 'Teacher of the Year' laid off

by John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - As many as 33,500 teaching jobs nationwide have been lost since September, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Post. Sutterville Elementary School 6th grade teacher Michelle Apperson joined the ranks of those unemployed educators when she was laid off by the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Apperson isn't a new teacher, and she's not considered the bottom of the barrel. She taught at Sutterville for nine years, and was selected as this year's Teacher of the Year for the entire district. That distinction did not prevent Apperson's pink slip.

The district was facing a $43 million budget shortfall, which it addressed in part through cuts in its workforce – including teachers. A district spokesperson said the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law, and that the layoffs were based on seniority. Gabe Ross, the district's spokesman, called the situation "awful" and said, "It's another sign of how education's funding really needs an overhaul."

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Filed under: Economy • Elementary school • Policy • Teachers • video
soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. Rufus

    Maybe it's a union problem, or maybe it's that many of the kids attending the systems have parents who are in this country illegally and, therefore, are only taking money out of the system but aren't putting their fair share back in. Or both.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Steve_in_Denver

      Or maybe it is our scr3wed up priorities, where we strive to cut taxes for millionaires who pay 14% while we pay 20%, then spend what tax money we don't have on defense.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  2. Jack Myhogoff

    What's really at fault here? The tough but necessary decision to do a little belt tightening on the budget or a union contract that pays and rates you based solely on seniority?

    June 15, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • asdfq

      You could keep whole schools open for years at the cost of ONE fighter jet.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  3. Todd

    Ahh, Unions, Treat each employee equally... So when it comes to layoffs they get fired equally as well.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Steve_in_Denver

      Ahhh, republicans, unable to read: "the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law." Try again, Todd. Gosh, a short article and you still can't read it.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  4. JR

    People are saying to "expect more if Ronmey is elected". "More is guaranteed" if we keep what we have. Lets have some real change.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Steve_in_Denver

      JR, I'll pass on more bush economics. More tax cuts for romney (because 14% is just too much for romney to pay when we working stiffs pay 20%) and no spending cuts. Bush recession on steroids coming soon.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  5. DTO

    LOL at the comments that state "Pay stinks but that's life; if you don't like it then move". Well, if that happens, then who is going to teach the kids – the people who are not qualified or motivated to go do something else, somewhere else?

    Picture this recruitment add: Skilled, motivated workers wanted. 5 years college minimum, Master's Degree preferred. Must be an independent problem solver and directly handle customer (parent) service issues. Starting pay up to $40k.

    People need to wake up and stop saying "well, you're surviving / you make more than I do, so stop complaining". Sure, letting supply and demand rule (having teachers compete for increasingly scarce positions) seems tempting now because they have to work like the rest of us, will take what's out there, and will try really hard to be kept on, right?

    But, in the longer term, supply and demand will be exactly the problem. You will have college students saying "I'd really like to teach, but I just afford to do so when college is so expensive and other professions have so much more potential". What will we complain about then? That salaries are high because we are having to convince people to come to the classroom? That are kids aren't learning as well as they could due to a lack of (skillful) teachers? That your property values stink because your schools stink and no one wants to move into your area?

    A special LOL goes to the person who says that a teacher in CA tops out at $80k per year. I would love to see how many districts actually pay that amount, and what that teacher needs to do in order to get it. I know several teachers; two of whom have well over 20 years experience, work summer school and other compensable overtime, are basically top-scale, and don't see $80k.

    What do I see when contract negotiations come around? Administrators pointing the finger at teachers as the source of the problem, rather than supporting teachers, acknowledging tough times, and stressing cooperation.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  6. rika33

    Mitt should be happy – they got the memo and got rid of teachers. The less educated you are – the more likely you are to listen to Mitt.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  7. Klepak

    As Mitt Romney pointed out, this is just another example of "class envy / class warfare" Excellent teachers now envy other teachers who still have classes and the parents and kids are victims of class or classless war between the political dunces.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • unbelievable

      If you think this is an example of class envy/warfare you need you head examined. What this is an example of, is a school district not getting the funding it needed and having to lay off a teacher (in this case one that was the best they had)

      The contract stipulated it went by seniority, so either do away with that and make it merit based or give them the funding that is needed to avoid layoffs all together. This idea that other teachers are to blame or it's class warfare makes you sound totally clueless.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:12 am |
      • TJG

        I think you missed the point, unbelieveable – the poster was making a sarcastic joke using the double-meaning for class. This was about a teacher – "class warefare" . . . get it?

        June 15, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  8. msradell

    A perfect example of why we shouldn't let unions influence the government and public agencies. Rules like the one that allowed this teacher to be the one laid off are part of the Union System. You need is strongly support seniority as the only basis for determining who is laid off. They don't want any system where being better than the average gets E recognized! They strive for mediocrity. Wisconsin has started moving in the right direction, hopefully America will follow.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Chris

      You are a quasi-intellectual buffoon who has no idea what she is talking about. I teach in Texas, a right to work state where unions and collective bargaining are not allowed, and we have the exact same LIFO (last in, first out) system.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:04 am |
      • Joe

        A right to work state does not mean you cannot have unions, you can. And the union can still negotiate just cause, and seniority rules for the its membership.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Techclique

      And when they close the budget gap by firing all the long term teachers and hire new college graduate simply because it's cheaper, then what? While I agree seniority should not be the only judgement, it must be balanced with performance. Simply eliminating the unions will only place all the power in the hands of the budget crunchers, and they do not have our children's best interests at heart just the bottom line.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • john

      Your grasp of grammer speaks volumes to your intellectual capacity; keep drinking the Tea and watching Faux news.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Ohhh Nooo

      I would rather keep the unions and get rid of the worthless republicans that are trying to destroy our public schools..

      June 15, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  9. The_Mick

    Seniority isn't the only criterion. If she had certifications in needed areas where others didn't they could have held onto her while letting others with more seniority go. The first dozen years I taught I was on the the bottom the barrel in my high school's science department, but I was never in danger of being let go – or transferred to another school – if the student population fell because I had certification in Chemistry and then went back to school at night to get it in Physics. There are shortages in both areas. I then took the College Board courses to get certification in teaching AP Physics and Chemistry. People with more seniority than me who didn't bother upgrading their teaching certificates were the teachers who had to worry about being "excessed" each year.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • South Guy

      Hey Mick. She was teacher of the year. Something's wrong.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
      • TNPatriot

        Hey South Guy, Teacher of the Year is a popularity contest. here in Tennessee, most TOTY's are determined by radio call in shows.

        June 15, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  10. krippendorf

    Expect more of this if Romney is elected. We should be *spending* money on education and infrastructure NOW, to raise aggregate demand, put people back to work, and prepare our kids for a decent future. Instead, we get tax cuts for the wealthy and a bloated defense budget. Thanks for nothing, GOP

    June 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • E

      No, what needs to be done is overhaul of unions etc...who set these seniority rules, and good teachers are let go instead of bad ones just because they have more years in....what a crock of sh.t

      June 15, 2012 at 7:50 am |
      • jon

        So if you have 30+ years of employment that you dedicated your life to and hope to retire from, your saying they can get laid off so someone that has 5 years can have their job? I hope it happens to you so you know what it feels like to have everything you worked for your whole life be taken away. Your job, income, home, financial support for your children, healthcare,etc. Backstabbing employers like you are the ones destroying families lives because seniority means nothing and greedy profits mean everything.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • wakeup

      Krippendorf

      this is happening now – not in the future. Get your head out of your &^% and don't try to blame Romney – he is not even in yet !

      June 15, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  11. Sammy

    Not so many years ago when people were buying vacation homes, going on fancy trips, buying nicer cars, etc, I didn't hear anyone saying "Teachers make too much money and get too much for their retirement." Nobody gave a rats a$$ about teachers...they were the lower end of the food chain. All of a sudden the bottom drops out and now "Teachers make too much money and have it too good when they retire." I am sick of people saying it's the teachers fault because it is NOT. Unions need to STOP defending jack off's and start sticking up for those teachers who do their jobs and do them well. BTW...I am an educator.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Rick

      Just goes to show you why teacher unions have no place in education.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • halstevens

      Thanks for letting us know you are an educutor. It wasn't completely obvious from your post. Personally, I take no issue with teacher pay. It would be wonderful if it could be higher. It's the overly generous, and unaffordable pension benefits that I have a problem with. They are crippling our state and local governments.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  12. zaqaz

    If ever there was a way to underline the problem with not being able to retain good teachers and lose the bad ones, this story is "it".

    How pathetic.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • DTO

      I don't see their retirement benefits being overly generous, at least not around here. We seem to forget that your average working Joe gets a 7.65% retirement contribution (employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare) that teachers (as government employees) do not get. So, much of what you hear of as their "generous" benefits really goes to make up for what they forego by staying out of the private sector.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  13. Tom

    Teachers Unions are the #1 reason why good teachers are let go while others are retained simply based on seniority.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • David Smith

      Tom, re-read the article. She had taught at Sutterville alone for 9 years. Unions are not the problem here.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:50 am |
      • Norm

        "A district spokesperson said the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law, and that the layoffs were based on seniority."

        Maybe you should re-read the article. Who do you think wrote the laws? Unions and LIFO advocates. 9 years apparently wasn't enough.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:24 am |
      • Tom

        David Smith
        Tom, re-read the article. She had taught at Sutterville alone for 9 years. Unions are not the problem here
        ************************************************************************************************************

        I read this and I know how union rules work. See the part that says: " layoffs were based on seniority. " This is an union rule that doesn't allow anyone to be retained based on their ability to teach. Only seniority is considered for lay offs. This is in the union contract. My wife is a teacher and I have friends who have teachers who have told me that this is how it works.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • TNPatriot

        Tom, you exemplify ignorance with that comment.

        June 15, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • yonyo

      Please keep in mind some places have unions and some places don't. In my state which is right to work, they fire the expensive ones first, which automatically means the ones with extra degrees (like a masters) and more seniority because two inexpensive teachers are cheaper than one expensive one. If you have to balance your budget, making it through the year with enough instructors is a higher concern than the quality of teaching. Three people with master's and 20+ years teaching = 7 people with bachelor's degrees. And using their math, performance isn't the consideration. You aren't going to be forced to make a decision based on performance until your test scores go down.

      If it's a problem in unionized states that they retain solely based on experience, I do agree that there should be some way to pay based on performance. Maybe rescale the payscale, with 5% increases/decreases based on some sophisticated ranking system. Except that that would make good teachers a target budget-wise, unless the union offers some protection against that. I could also see why unions would vote against that though. It's stupid to retain based on seniority, but it's also stupid to fire based on seniority. Why can't there be some happy medium?

      For all the people complaining that teachers should take the cut with the rest of everybody, keep in mind that that's your children's education you're talking about. It's how prepared our engineers, inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, presidents, and doctors 20 years from now will be. Personally, I think if you can take 3 classes of 30+ 8th graders, who don't know the multiplication tables you should have learned in elementary school, teach them algebra, get them through state exit exams and improve the grade level they test at up to actually being in the 8th grade, then you deserve every penny.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  14. blessedgeek

    She will be hired by a private school in a wealthy district (or a wealthy public school district in another state) and good education will again be affirmed as being biased towards the privilege of the wealthy.

    June 15, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  15. mslisac363

    all states don't have a union thank goodness... On the other note we are having to let go needed good teachers, but spend high dollars on education to the illegals. The illegals here in our state is sueing the school system because they were not provided letters in spanish... Letters don't go out in Chinese, Indian... so why are we paying our tax dollars to teach there children english and to provide extra serves because they are behind on their school leval? So we fire people like this because we can't afford them?

    June 15, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • mslisac363

      excuse the typos!! lol looks like i could use this teachers services

      June 15, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • hahaha

      Them folks didn't even teach you how to read and write properly. You're probably from Texas.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:14 am |
      • hahaha.0

        *Those

        June 15, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • 5050

      Indian isn't a language. Someone this stupid couldn't possibly have a high enough income to worry about taxes. Maybe you should go back to school.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  16. Bobby B

    This is the country our banks and politicians have created. Sorry for the teachers but they are not as badly affected as other professions have been the last few years. Printers, carpenters and general laborers have been decimated. Unemployment has been sky high. The percent of people unemployed is a joke. The federal government flat out lies with it's statistics on unemployment. We are in this mess for a long time..........................

    June 15, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  17. 0rangeW3dge

    Well, just vote for Mitt, He'll get rid of the Department of Education and Energy and, uhh, the policemen and firemen, and ooops, he really means that he will hire more people but it will mean less jobs, errr, more jobs but a smaller government but we'll spend less money and the poor will have a safety net but it won't cost more more because we will lower taxes and abolish healthcare, but everything will be OK because we are going to hire more people to make trees just the right height and fix everything that "Obama" failed at, because he's divisive and a Muslim...

    June 15, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • cowabunga

      Republicans released their platform already, did they?

      June 15, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  18. tet1953

    Hey, we are spending plenty on teachers and schools and roads and bridges. Just not in America. Places like Iraq and Afghanistan, different story.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:50 am |
  19. Who me

    Don't put the run on the school district it's UNION rules which she is a member of, it is what it is.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  20. tk ellis

    Here is where the problem is...Most school systems look at their budget from the top to the bottom. They need to look at the bottom to the top. Teachers are in the classroom doing the teaching, other people are in support, so this would make sense. I know first hand in Mississippi the top take the cuts and the teachers are left alone. All states should be brought in line with each other. This way all teachers would be equal. They don't need a union at all, what they need are the poiticans and each state paas a law mandating these changes. Like several comments in this article; the money is killing education and good teachers.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  21. S Ramakrishnan

    Congratulations America, well done and keep it up. Soon you will reach top, sorry THE BOTTOM position in the world, bravo

    June 15, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  22. Rog

    It does not matter if it is unions or not. Teach in NC and teacher unions are not allowed by state law. I just finished my teaching career with being ask 5 times in the last year why I would not retire before now. Finally I was told that if I retired that 2 teacher would be rehired. After I made my announcement, the comment was made by the principal, " You are taking one for the team." I know 3 teachers that was informed that because I was retiring they would be rehired. The Superintendent then stood up and said that the district would not cut teachers, but my spot was not refilled. Now the number at the top of the article says 33,500 teacher jobs lost since September. Now how many more retired and their spot not filled? I put in an average of 60 hours a week for my kids. Just yesterday I put in a 14 hour day and will put in 80 hours next week. Will you do that for your job and then take one for the team. Last day, July 31.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • Educ8tor

      Rog, You've been teaching for how many years? Your grammar and punctuation are horrible!!

      June 15, 2012 at 6:55 am |
      • Schwarz

        We can absolutely agree on your comment. If we spend hard earned money on any product we are to get good quality.

        June 15, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • BobaFett

      I notice you didn't say how much you were paid. The top pay for a teacher in California with 20 years experience is over 80k. AND then a pension of around $40k/yr after 20 years, and even more after 25 or 30 years. Yes I said it, teachers have it good.

      By the way, if teachers were so underpaid, wouldn't most of them work summer jobs?

      June 15, 2012 at 7:08 am |
      • Angela

        1. Even without unions, the less senior teachers would go first because they are the easiest to replace. Try being 35 and looking for another job...no one would hire you because of your pay scale requirements. For example, I have been teaching 5 years but I have my Masters which means if someone else was up for the same job and had 3 years and no masters, they only have to pay them about 2/3 of my salary. I would never be rehired.
        2. There is no good way to evaluate teachers. You could have an administrator come in on a bad day and then down the line they would use that against you. What if you were out on maternity and no one got the chance to eval you? Do you go first? What about honors vs. remedial? Obviously the remedial teachers have more students, more behavior problems, lower scores...does that make them less of a teacher because all their scores are low or a good one since they teach the lowest? So far, laying off teachers at the bottom is still the best way, even if its not perfect.

        June 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
      • You're clueless

        Teachers have it good? LOL...what a fool you are.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Deb Baker

      The world is upside down. America: Let's stand up and say 'we're mad and we're not gonna take it anymore'!! I don't think much of unions in this country at this point in history, but I think a national strike among all American workers would send a powerful message to the self-serving bureaucrats who are running and ruining this nation.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Religion

      Wow you are a teacher and write like that? Intelligible.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  23. AGeek

    Excellent. Hiring and firing based on happenstance chronological order rather than actual demonstrated abilities. It's no wonder the US is heading into the crapper faster than #($*& through a goose.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • HenryB

      What a shame that you focus on the issue of seniority and not decry the awful cut in teachers instead. So disappointing to say the least. We know where you ideology lies.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:37 am |
      • Rick

        If cuts were done by performance rather than senority, the cuts would actually IMPROVE education. Don't believe it? Think about it for a second. Say you have a terrible teacher that does nothing, but has thirty students in his class. If he lost his job, other better teachers would split the students. Do you think the good teachers would suddenly become ineffectual simply because 5 or 10 new students were added to the 20 or 30 they already had? Of course not! Because they are good and dedicated teachers, most of them would put in even more effort, and try to keep the quality of their teaching the same.
        Cutting by senority on the other hand it almost certain to harm education. Some of the teachers being kept are terrible teachers, and will be given even more students to NOT teach.
        I wish the good teachers would work together, and force the unions to make changes that make sense, and take care of our children's future. I know there are many good teachers out there who truly do want the best for our children. It is time they acted like it.

        June 15, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  24. edward smith

    Report says 33,000 teachers have lost jobs since September. With the multi-millions of teachers nationally, this is less than 1% reduction. People in other occupations wish to be so lucky, particularly since the cutbacks in teaching positions have been a relatively recent occurrence. Despite this, the union contacts (in most cases) continue with pay and benefit increases built in.

    June 15, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • James Gantt

      A very powerful person once wrote: "The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out." And so goes the never ending spin of the GOP party line.... and you sir have swallowed it hook line and sinker.... BTW, its Hitler's quote

      June 15, 2012 at 6:12 am |
  25. Sheliah M.

    I believe America is FINALLY getting what it deserves. For years, business has been the "darling" of America. Education and teachers have CONSTANTLY been blamed for America's ills. For the past several years, the "darling" has all but CUT our throats and placed our economy in jeopardy. That's right...business is the culprit. Remember, educators TEACH business students, too. Apparently, the problem(s) with education MUST lie at the college or university level. While K-12 teachers are obviously doing their jobs, college and university teachers...are NOT. College and university professors make more money and do the least amount of work. Colleges and universities are producing selfish business cads who are too often responsible for developing the FORMULAS for laying off public school educators. They then blame the situation on "seniority" and the legislature (business developed the seniority model and many legislators are businessmen/women). Seniority was a sweetheart of the auto industry. If America doesn't watch out, it will return to those "good old days." Those days when Europeans were establishing colonies around the world, because their societies had broken down, disease was rampant and they were killing each other...during the Middle or Dark Ages. History has a way of repeating itself. However, there are NO MORE places to colonize on this planet! The frontline of K-12 teachers are under appreciated and rewarded in this country.

    June 15, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  26. No surprise here

    Seniority is a stupid way to cull the ranks. That it is "mandated by state law" makes perfect sense.

    June 15, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Aron

      I thought the seniority rule went out with useless unions. This means some ineffective teachers keep thier jobs and some of the better teachers are let go. If retirement eligible ones would actually retire as they should, if they can afford to, do it so we can keep some of our better teachers. I have seen too many older instructors stay on because they have no outside interests, hobbies or anything to do.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  27. T Klimchuk

    How do like those tx cuts now?No wonder the US is loosing its position in the world today When football is more important then science or math

    June 15, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • tgallant

      The problem is that the administrators can't do a budget.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:24 am |
      • Delve deeper

        No, the problem is that they're letting the wrong people go.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • EKIA

      The problem is not the tax cuts. The problem is that firing is based on tenure not merit. I'm sure there are some incompetent teachers who remained just because they had been there longer. Teachers should be judged solely on merit, not seniority. Our children deserve nothing less.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • EKIA

      "loosing" ? In a story about the quality of education? Really???

      June 15, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  28. Simeon Namore

    Want to see what a lack of teacher representation and collective bargaining can do? Have a look at Georgia–as a matter of fact, if you want to see where the right wing will take you in all matters, have a look at Georgia: the most bank foreclosures, the most bank failures, the most incarcerated per capita in the U S or in in any nation, among the lowest teacher salaries, outrageously high dropout rates, infant mortality to rival the third world. Never had a teacher's union here of any kind–that's taboo and "un-American.". Can't blame it on unions. Let's try putting the blame where it belongs–on a bunch of right wing political shills and other local evangelical fascists who systematically destroy everything they touch. I might extend that criticism to our U S Senators–Saxby 'the War Hero" Chambliss and Isakson " the Dog-Faced Boy"–neither of which has the intelligence of a cork–but all the moral fiber of a couple pimps.

    June 15, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • Apperson

      Wow! I am glad that this article stirred emotion from people. In my hometown, I did the original interview to bring awareness to two main topics- children are affected when we cut education, and in CA we can make a difference as citizens to vote for education. 25 percent of my school's staff got pink slips. They are good people who work hard for kids. I have taught for 13 years, 9 in this district. My district is trying hard to make ends meet, they do not want to hurt kids. The union is trying hard to protect good teachers at school doing what's right. My perspective and that of the reporter was to shed light on the subject and stir awareness. Thank you, for talking about education and kids. I do not know the answer to any of it, but I do know that being named Teacher of the Year in my school district is a great honor and I am humbled.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • Will

      This isnt a right or a left issue as some of the comments make it out to be. Its more about how people are chosen for layoffs. In the business world its far from perfect, and it the education system it seems equally dumb.

      I for one think the entire teaching system in the US should be overhauled. It should no longer be done on a local level with local property taxes. I know, some of you will say hey wait a minute I want local control of the schools. I don't think local input is the problem. Its the wide swings in budgets that are a big problem. Local property taxes can swing widely and that has major and lasting impacts on the children. SO stop using that as a revenue source for this critical service.

      As for how teachers become teachers this country is messed up. We should as a society recognize a smarter set of kids benefits us all in the long run. So we should put more emphasis on getting people to commit to being teachers and we should better equip them to be teachers. Furthermore people who clearly are not cut out to be teachers shouldn't be getting teaching degrees.

      Last, but not least. Why with the problems our society is having with obesity do we cut out school recess? We should put that back in and just make the school day longer. That one little thing could potentially save our country BILLIONS of dollars over the next 30-50 years as the current crop of kids become adults and have all those health issues.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • DevilDogOz

      Atlanta's hometown airline used to have an advertising slogan; 'Delta is ready when you are'... Don't let the cabin door hit you in the rear end when you leave the state.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:21 am |
      • So you're a sore loser, eh?

        Buh bye. One less problem for the state of Georgia. Glad you're gone. You're an illegal, right?

        June 15, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • So you're a sore loser, eh?

      Just because we whipped your butt in football is no reason to spew baloney about Georgia.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  29. Jay G

    For those saying it's a state law and not the union's fault... umm.. why do you think it's a state law? The unions pushed for it from the elected leaders and told them if they wanted the unions support they better pass that law. Why do so many people choose to stick their heads in the sand?

    June 15, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  30. ironwolf56

    I'm sure those scores of redundant overpaid administrative jobs in the school district are doing just fine though huh?

    June 15, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  31. tardsarestupid

    Romney economics.

    June 15, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  32. Larry

    Congratulations youre teacher of the year thanks for staying dedicated to the students of our district for 9 years, youre fired

    June 15, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  33. junebug

    Unions are not the problem. It's state law (in this case).

    June 15, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • Aron

      It's two fold, most unions have a first in, last out clause and it is the unions to also protect slackers as well as those who work their butts off. The other side is , Yes the state rule sucks, and that is what you get when dirty, stupid politicians get involved in education. This should be stricly based on merit and accomplishments.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  34. duh

    Why is everyone blaming the union when the article clearly states:

    "the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law"

    State law is voted on by the local congress. I'm willing to bet that it's mostly full of GOP members...

    June 15, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • bigjohnhunkler

      Government workers and unions are treated the same. The longer you get paid that less likely you are to get fired. What you do is irrelevant...just how long you do it. Nothing matters to either of them except seniority.

      BREAK ALL UNIONS!

      WALKER FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!

      June 15, 2012 at 1:23 am |
      • Everett Mack

        While we are at it we can eliminate overtime, eliminate the 40 hour work week, eliminate the 8 hour workday, eliminate sick pay, eliminate holiday pay, eliminate safety proceedures, eliminate minimum wage, eliminate discrimination laws, etc etc etc; because all of those exist because unions faught for those things. Unions are on there way out, and you will be weeping in your wet diaper when they disappear.

        June 15, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • john

      republicans in california? dream on

      June 15, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Darrin

      Not from the area are you? If you want to make a comment bashing a group, ie the GOP, then get the facts right. California's legislature is, and has been for a significant amount of time, controlled by democrats. There is also a democrat in the governor's office. I never mind bashing a group that is responsible for doing something that is so clearly wrong, but I am offended by people like you that make statements that are so blatantly false. Making a statement against someone based on your your belief system when the facts are wrong is a poor way to go through life. This is what is wrong with this country – people do not bother to get the facts before they blurt out opinion, and unfortunately, vote.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:58 am |
      • me

        Mmmmm. Arnold was a democrat???

        June 15, 2012 at 2:43 am |
      • Libertine

        Perhaps, Darrin, you should follow your own advice before blurting out an inane sermon.

        Your post demonstrates either selective amnesia or post-rational ideology.

        For the past 31 years, it has required a 2/3rds vote of the California Legislature to raise any tax for any reason as a revenue stream to operate state government.

        The Republican Party in the California legislature has exceeded that 1/3 threshhold for all 31 of those years, effectively controlling the passage and contents of the annual state budget.

        Moreover, for the last 30 years, a Republican has occupied the Governor's chair in California for 26+ years of those 30 years thereby giving the Republican governor a veto-override proof power over ANY law passed by the more conventional 50%+1 passage margin enjoyed by all but 3 states.

        Finally, term limits for legislators in the state has made it virtually impossible to grow a legislature with enough political experience and savvy to run a state with the 7th largest economy in the world.

        Term limits were passed by a state initiative promulgated, promoted, and funded by the conservative ideologues in the citizenry in the state as a way around having a perpetually minority membership in each of the California legislative houses.

        Final fact: When all this folderol started unfolding in 1980, Californians funded its public K-12 education system 6th in the nation. Today it sits at 47th and has been there for quite some time. This is what 30 years of Republican control of the budget dollars, laws, and policies hath wrought.

        June 15, 2012 at 3:23 am |
      • sklein54

        You are correct. Everyone should get their facts right. California is not "controlled by democrats". Due to Prop 13 (1978) it requires a 2/3 majority to make any changes in taxes, and so there has been an effective stalemate for as long as I can remember. Needless to say, the Republicans have been the cause of that stalemate because they represent less than 50% of the voters and of the members of the state legislature, but because of the 2/3 majority requirement can effectively filibuster any change, which they have. So, in fact, the Republicans may not be the cause of the current problem, but they have done everything in their power to make sure that the problem isn't resolved.

        Unfortunately, California has too many people below the poverty line and as a result, does not collect enough tax dollars. California now ranks 43rd in per-pupil spending. We also have the fifth lowest number of state and local government employees per capita.

        June 15, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • Darrin

      @Duh – Not from the area are you? If you want to make a comment bashing a group, ie the GOP, then get the facts right. California's legislature is, and has been for a significant amount of time, controlled by democrats. There is also a democrat in the governor's office. I never mind bashing a group that is responsible for doing something that is so clearly wrong, but I am offended by people like you that make statements that are so blatantly false. Making a statement against someone based on your your belief system when the facts are wrong is a poor way to go through life. This is what is wrong with this country – people do not bother to get the facts before they blurt out opinion, and unfortunately, vote.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Neil

      I bet you don't know that the State House in CA has been dominated by Dems for over 12 years, and unions are the Dems biggest donors. So there is no way the Dems would sellout for money. It must be the GOP and their evil brainwashing machine they have in the back room.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • Mike

      duhh...in case you hadn't noticed California has been voting democrat since 1980 and your buddy Barack "the pied piper of Illinois" Obama is in the WH. So eat it this is a LIBERAL problem and LIBS have no solutions that ever work.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  35. Dawna

    I've been teaching for several years now. I was lucky enough to get my foot in the door right out of college four years ago. As far as unions go, I see (at least the one I belong to) it as both a nuisance and a benefit. Of course, unions keep teachers who shouldn't even be allowed near children in positions they shouldn't be. However, our union also protected us when our district tried to cut our wages while, at the same time, giving our Superintendent (who makes over $200k a year – nearly as much as the POTUS) a raise. I wish that there was a way to find a middle ground of both protecting effective educators while eliminating the ineffective.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Andrew

      No one cares!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • valoreem

      Well said!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • junebug

      There is enormous waste of funding in public education and other government agencies, that has nothing to do with unions. Unions have their issues, but wasting taxpayer's money is not even on the list. School districts waste funds on programs and tangible things, not staff. They are always understaffed, and the only ones who are overpaid are administrators.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • a

      You're a teacher and you don't know the president makes $400,000? That's pretty sad. Although it would be easy to sympathize with you about the superintendent's salary.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:25 am |
      • Dawna

        Sorry, you're correct on that one – I was thinking of our State's Governor! Not to mention our State Superintendent for Public Instruction.

        June 17, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  36. Damon

    As a teacher from the state of North Carolina, I would love to have a union. First of all, teacher pay gets spread over 10 months..one can choose to get 12 month pay...regardless, it is still the same. Secondly, here in the great state of N.C., teachers have not had a pay raise in four years, meanwhile, my health insurance has gone up....my deducatable has gone up..along with everything else. Lastly, the great NC state legislature decided to give all government employees a 1.8 % pay raise.....except for teachers.....We as teachers from the great state of NC need to walk out of class on the first day...oh by the way...they dont like unions in NC because it is a "yankee" thing

    June 15, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • tony

      Your writing is ver bad, sir!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • tony2

        ver bad indeed... ver bad

        June 15, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • tony

      To Damon: you are not possible a teacher since your writing left a lot to be desired.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:46 am |
      • junebug

        Tony: go back to ESL class.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:51 am |
      • tony2

        definitely not possible... not possibly possible...

        June 15, 2012 at 1:07 am |
      • Arcady

        You cannot critique a post when you don't know how to spell. The word is possibly.

        June 15, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • valoreem

      Damon, be thankful you still have a job. My husband has been laid off twice during this economical downturn and we have moved cross country twice. You at least have a job. Go ahead, walk off the job the first day. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of unemployed educators who would gladly take your place.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Cory

      Damon.....really? You are a teacher? I hope to christ you do not teach English, History or Comprehension of any kind.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • pogojo

      apply to teach at a private school, if your not happy find something new.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • bigjohnhunkler

      But seriously...you make > $40,000/year....That is kinda high for a glorified baby sitter.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:26 am |
      • Amanda

        @bigjohnhunkler please tell me you're being sarcastic.... If you aren't, then you really need to keep your mouth shut and return to whatever rock you crawled out from under.As teachers, we are not "glorified babysitters." In case you didn't know this, we are not only responsible for making sure your child knows how to read, write and spell, but also make sure they have a thorough knowledge of science, social studies and mathematics. While doing all of this, we're also responsible for everything else the student needs. During my time as a teacher, I had to buy clothes and shoes for several of my students. You know why? Because the parents, who are supposed to be raising the children, not me, would rather spend the money on their shiny new car, or on manicures, or on their alcohol, or drugs, or anything but their children. If you really think all a teaching career comprises is being a "glorified babysitter", then you sir, are an idiot.

        June 15, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • a

      deducatable – Hope you don't teach English. Maybe you are over-paid ??????????????????????????

      June 15, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • a

      deducatable – Hope you don't teach English. Maybe you are over-paid ?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • a

      deducatable – hope you don't teach English.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Mike

      uhh...no wage increase in 3 years...my God how do you survive. Try no full time employment for 3+ years and call me. I tell you what I'll teach your class and take your paycheck. You can go find something else. I'll also be happy to pay the medical insurance co-pay, premiums, etc. as well. That way I can stop going to the VA, or wait! I can keep going to the VA but with insurance...wow I almost forgot I could do that.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • EKIA

      Privately employed people haven't had raises either. Teachers shouldn't have and neither should any other public employee. Why should you get raises when the people paying your salary don't. If you don't like it, go work at a private school or in another state.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:08 am |
      • firefightn15

        Yatzee!!! The economy cannot sustain in employers (government included) handing out pay raises, better contributing to healthcare premiums and retirement funds.....Many want to key on private business in general but that's no answer either. What happens if the focus is more specific to the healthcare and drug industries; that's where a few nails needs to be clipped!

        June 15, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  37. Juli

    How about eliminating positions like, oh, the instructional coach? There is no need to have someone on hand to tell the teachers how to teach. Then get rid of stupid audits like the one where people come in with clipboards to count how many times in a lesson the teacher says positive things. If you don't hit the mark, you're written up. How about basing principal salary on performance? Not buying new curriculum programs every two years? I used to work in a district that spent a million dollars on math text books, then decided 2 years later that they wanted to try a new system. How about we let the teachers decide what works for their students and stop paying for stupid training on things that haven't been proven effective in the classroom? The problem is not education. We have great teachers for the most part. The problem is the bureaucracy that surrounds it. In other words...it's the government's fault.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  38. Bob

    Come to Canada, we have lots of jobs available and are always looking for hard working enthusiastic teachers in our well funded and world class education system.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Juli

      Canada's only purpose is to be America's hat.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:05 am |
      • Dick Cheney

        That would explain Mexico.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:21 am |
      • junebug

        LOL. Funniest thing I've ever read on CNN.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  39. Babu

    At 9 years, she would have held onto her job if the the district was not implementing a divisive strategy. Gabe- did anyone besides those attached to seniority get skipped before Ms. Apperson?

    June 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  40. tallone

    Most everyone is screaming about teachers, how terrible unions
    are, venting their spleen without a clue what they are talking about.
    When children's futures and well being is involved, get off your soapbox,
    and figure how to help the kids. It's not always about YOU.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • J-Man

      The problem here is the unions. First of all a "teacher of the year" should never be laid off. If the award was given out correctly, every other should have been laid off first but the union wouldn't allow it. Also, if the district didn't have enough money they could cut pay or benefits and save money but the unions wouldn't have it. There was an article I saw on CNN a while ago where teachers (or their unions) were fighting for $200 an hour for overtime pay. The reality is teachers make fair money (not great) but only work 9 months a year. So for time spent they make great money. This is 100% the unions fault.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
      • gpmills

        Thoughts about the 9 month comment... a typical 40 hour work week equals 2080 hours per year... teachers actually work about 10 months of 50-60 hour work weeks (minimally) (which equals about 220 hours per year or approx. 42 hours/week for a full year position.)

        June 15, 2012 at 12:09 am |
      • Kristy

        J-Man, A teacher may only work 9 months a year (depending on the district or charter school) but we put in more hours outside of work that we don't get extra pay for. Some schools don't offer a prep period at all & an hour a day is not enough time to grade papers from 150 students, write up lesson plans and prepare materials. I can't speak for all teachers but I can tell you I put in an average of 4 hours of work each night outside of the 10 hours I was contractually required to be on the job at the last charter school (full-year) I worked at. The average American works 52 weeks X 40 hours = 2080 hours a year. My last teaching job 48 weeks X 70 hours a week = 3360 hours a year...at the same $40,000 a year pay rate. I can tell you I didn't get into teaching for money or time off, I did it because most of the teachers I had were horrible and I wanted to be better than that because the kids deserve someone who gives a $#!+. Unfortunately all the bad ones are still out there, not because of unions but because they're willing to stick it out and play the political games to keep their jobs at any cost. Those of us who want to change the world end up leaving for other employment. It is pretty sad when I can make more per hour selling lightbulbs at a home improvement store than by doing what I had loved.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:32 am |
      • Andrew

        Funny how they all claim to work so hard after their day is over but they never fight to get paid all those alleged extra hours... You knew what the job entailed when you went to school for it.. Grow up babies!

        June 15, 2012 at 12:49 am |
      • duh

        Perhaps you didn't read the article. I'll point out the part that's important for you:

        "the way teacher layoffs are handled is mandated by state law"

        100% the union's fault, right? Isn't NC a red state?

        June 15, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • svann

        It is state law that mandates seniority firing, not unions.

        June 15, 2012 at 1:14 am |
      • Everett Mack

        J-Man...you have no idea what you are talking about. I have a friend who is a teacher, and she is lucky if she works between 12 – 16 hours in a day and on weekends. They don't have 8 hour work days like the rest of us. When I found out everything they have to do it made me glad that I didn't become a teacher.

        June 15, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  41. David

    The concluding statement is ludicrous; clearly it's the stupid union rules that led to the best teacher being laid off. Can you imagine if private companies chose who to lay off based on seniority?

    June 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • F Schmid

      Many corporations do use seniority. You are in error.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • Karen S

        respectfully, I agree with your point BUT as far as I know private corporations do not have a mandate that requires them to do so...........

        June 15, 2012 at 12:01 am |
      • glennrobertg

        The country with the best scholastic standards is Finland! (?) They honor their teachers. We enjoy putting down everyone and certainly teachers are an easy target. Those who can,do and those who can't whine!

        June 15, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  42. 1ofTheFallen

    It's not about the money because the US spends more money per student than any other nation and we are ranked last. We rank 17th in the world behind every 1st world ranked country and many 2nd world countrys. This can only mean that our education is broken and needs to be overhauled and changed.

    We have lost our common sense because we keep repeating the same processes but expect different results.

    More teachers and money is not the solution. Only a lawyer without any science background would expect different results from the same unions who give them money but have destroyed our educational system.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Nevis

      How about questioning the parents who do not support the teachers? In many cases the parents refuse to come to teacher conferences, yet whine when they child falls behind. Teachers cannot work magic with unparented children. Nevis

      June 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
      • glennrobertg

        Yeah! Parents. When we had parent conference night the only ones to show up were parents of my A students!

        June 15, 2012 at 1:54 am |
      • Mema

        That is a lame excuse to blame the parents. While I was in school teachers actually taught and had basic requirements for students. Now these teachers allow any old chicken scratch paper written with a green gel pen to be turned in. And it gets a passing grade. I could not even read my step sons paper writen in orange crayola and he recieved a B for that piecw of work. Papers are turned in weeks late or allowed to be redone until they get a passing grade. Teachers are sending more and more work home and parents are becomming the teacher. Yet the work is less meaningfull. Kids are taught state tests half the year above other academic instruction. Kids rarely have to repeat a grade and are pushed through until they graduate. Parents these days both hold down full times jobs and hardly have time to spend hours every night being the teacher. Our educational system needs a serious overhaul.

        June 15, 2012 at 2:26 am |
      • Mema

        Why bother showing up when the student most likely will pass anyway. Whether or not they grasp the subject. Parents know this and so do the kids. Even if by rare chance they fail a grade they can make up a whole school year in six weeks. These days all you have to do is show up and turn in cr@ppy daily assignments and guess what, they pass! Truth is for years I spents hours a night helping my child to understand his work because the teachers didnt teach it. They write notes on black board then give an assignment. Over half the classroom time was spent on that assignment to try to avoid homework and the rest of the time they teach taks tests, so the school will look good at the state level. My teachers used to walk around the room and take note if a student was struggling then s/he would lean over and try to explain it better for that child. If several students had simular struggles then she would ask the class if anyone else was having issues. Go to a classroom today and see how many teachers do that. Heck they rarely look up a scan the room to see if anyone appears stumped. Unless there a test and now they look around not to assist but to catch someone cheating.

        June 15, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • dee gee

      Heh, you blame the unions for giving too much money to teachers... But all the teachers i know are paid crap for the amount of hours they work, so you theory doesnt ring true.

      Removing unions will do what for the education system other than save the govt money?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  43. lcleejr

    hopefully she does not remain unemployed. she can thank the republi-cons and their supporters. typical nut jobs laying off a teacher of the year. idiots.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  44. wondrcat

    99.9% of the comments made regarding this article know absolutely NOTHING about the teaching profession or how public schools are funded. As a public school educator for over 17 years, I can rightly say that if you're not a teacher, then for Pete's sake SHUT UP! You DON'T know what's going on. We don't have 'cushy pensions', we're nat a 'for profit' business, so when districts run out of money, it's NOT necessarily because they are living beyond their means. For the past 5 years the state has done nothing but take, take, take away from our budgets; we've had to supplement our classroom materials with our own money, without an increase in our own wages in my district for over 8 years. A public education in this country is the only product in this country that is FREE to the masses and yet everyone thinks they have the right to scream and complain about it without the faintest idea of how it works, or even their own responsibilities toward it . Many parents think they can keep their children out of school anytime they choose, pull them out early if they don't want to deal with the traffic, or if their schedule doesn't 'fit' the school's, you name it. Start paying for it, if you think you'd get a better one then! It'd be funny just to see how many of you could actually even BEGIN to pay for it! Otherwise, SHUT UP about it!

    June 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • minniesmom

      Amen, wondrcat!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Topdecker

      We do pay for school with our local taxes. Public schools are not "free".

      June 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
      • ANTHONY

        WELL SAID. PUBLIC EDUCATION ISNT FREE IT COMES FROM OUR TAX MONEY. MEDICARE SSI ETC ETC.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Jw

      Do you have a problem with laying off poor performance over seniority if a layoff were eminent?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
      • minniesmom

        Jw, Not at all. Why would anyone want an underperforming employee working in their workplace? It reflects badly on everyone. The place where I see the problem is with administrators who fail to properly evaluate underperforming employees.

        June 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • David

      Since I'm ignorant, I have a question: how much do you pay for your healthcare? Do you feel that is a better deal than what you would get in the private sector?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
      • Tia

        Teacher health benefits are not always "the best." Just FYI, and that is coming from a fellow Teacher who can totally sympathize with wondrcat. It is difficult when people who have not taught full time, in a public school to understand how stressful, demanding, and ingratiated our careers are. Please understand that the situation is so crazy at present and that is why s/he reacted that way.

        June 15, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Mark

      I am not a teacher but I do pay Federal, State and property tax therefore I have the right to comment. I am not getting a good return on my investment. The teachers Unions support mediocrity and do not award excellence. That said in fairness the teachers do have a tough time since they are no longer supported by parents. They cannot kick a youngster out of class/school, they have a terrible time giving an "F" to a student who has earned it and they must submit to a bloated system of US Dept of Education, State Dept of Education etc. Fire the Dept of Education (Fed and State), fire the teachers union. Use the money to hire and reward great teachers.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
      • valoreem

        "I do not get a good return on my investment" My husband says this all the time. We spend a lot on education but don't get great results.

        June 15, 2012 at 1:08 am |
      • Neil

        I agree with most of your post. My wife and I asked our sons teacher for an evaluation of his skills to advance to the next grade. From 2nd to 3rd. We were told that the law does not allow her to advice us whether or not we should hold him back. It took me over 30 minutes of arguing with her to get an answer. Here is what she told us, "If he were my child, I would let him go on and re-evaluate mid year. I am forbidden by law to reccomend he be kept back because he completed all the work. He did not seem to understand the lessons, but he finished".

        We kept him back and have had zero regrets since. He's now in 12th grade. Doing fine.

        When I went to school, the teacher would have told my parents to keep me back until I understood the subject. Change the laws so a teacher can give an honest answer without fear of being sued.

        June 15, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • chubzilla

      I hope you don't talk to your kids like that.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • Mema

        Heck he shouldnt be talking to tax paying parents like that either. Ill quit talking when wondrcat can explain why our kids ARE being left behind. Not just here at home but across the globe. We pay taxes for an education of our kids that is 34th in the world. Well below even some third world countries.

        June 15, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  45. dd

    Professional people are laid off based on their position in the needed skills ladder. Labor union semi-skilled people are laid off by seniority rules. Your kids are being attacked by organized labor and you are letting it happen! Walker is trying to free Wisconsin from the tyranny of public employee unions. Wisconsin kids might get smarter! This is also why many companies hate unions. When times are tough they often have to lay off their best people further hurting the company causing more layoffs causing more productivity loss causing more trouble and more layoffs.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • FactChecker

      That is one theory, but the U.S. had a long history without unions and things were really miserable! History is not theory - it's fact.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • minniesmom

      dd, I work as a public school teacher in Wisconsin. There is no seniority rule here in Wisconsin. Teachers can get fired just like anyone else. They are not protected. This is a common misconception in Wisconsin. Ask your local school administrator if there is a law to keep teachers from being fired. There is no such law. In the public school where I work, there are no seniority rules and there never have been.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  46. Bob

    Gotta love the unions, NOT. Teacher of the year gets fired while some old hag, who s u c k s at her job stays because of seniority. "I've been doing things this way since 1954! Who needs training!" What a joke. RIP Union losers.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • cynderelli

      Apparently you didn't read the article....the way teachers are laid off is "mandated by state law", not the unions.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
      • Chauncy

        And who do you suppose pays lobbyists to help get these laws passed?

        June 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • Robert

        Unfortunately laws are the result of intense lobbying by special interests and passed with the support of legislators elected with the help of those same special interests (teachers).

        June 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  47. minniesmom

    There is no such thing as teacher tenure in the state where I work. Teachers can be fired just like everyone else. Teachers usually work hard wherever they are employed (public or private school). There are failures in the private schools, but the public doesn't hear about these because the private schools aren't held to the same standards as public schools. As a public school teacher, I can tell you that more than once my colleagues and I have worked very hard to "catch up" children who were home-schooled, went to a parochial school, or were schooled in the new online virtual schooling system. The parent(s) realized that the students were falling behind and sent them to public school so that the kids could "catch up". These students were out of public school by parental choice, and were returned to public school by parental choice when the private school system failed their children. People are quick to point out the failures of the public school. Please don't forget that the private schools sometimes fail children and the public schools are left to clean up the mess.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  48. Lowk

    Teacher of the year is just a popularity contest, it has no real merit to it.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  49. gclaheh11

    Sorry to hear that the Teacher of the Year was let go. I don't know the reason why she was let go; it could be for a lot of things. Maybe she teaches in an area where the whole department is getting cut-PE, art, music, or special ed. I imagine deciding who loses their job and who doesn't probably wasn't an easy decision.

    I know that this is going to sound like a stupid question, but I have to ask it. Why couldn't these school districts live within their means during times of prosperity and save their money so in lean times they wouldn't have to lay off anyone? Does the government allow their workers to do that or do they have to spend every cent they are given?

    Another dumb question–why do homeschoolers whose parents spend less per student than many public schools have the same test score results as public school students? Where does all that money go? Then schools claim that they can't cut costs. I think that is total BS. I think it is time for voters who pay for public schools to at least have a say on how the money for these schools are spent. It's not fair that only the person paid for by the government gets to decide how all that money is spent and yet everyone else foots the bill-not matter what the cost is.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Lowk

      They have to spend the money in the year it was allocated or they lose the remainder.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • fishingfool

      One main reason why home schooled children often – not always – do well is because the family is a vital part of the education process. Too many times, those who struggle in education do not have the support at home that values education. Thirty years in education allows me to say this with confidence.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • BooseyBoo

      State = government. Government = use (spend) it or lose it. Never give money back esle you will not get more the next year. It is really a sham the way it works.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Chauncy

      1. Good points on the whole section, etc being eliminated.
      2. Schools living "within their means" are facing budget issues because property values are down. Less property tax means smaller budgets. Smaller budgets lead to layoffs. School districts cannot create massive debt like the federal government.
      3. The public has a say by way of the publicly elected school board (in most areas; I can't speak for everywhere)

      June 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • just another mom

      homeschooling families don't have to pay for buildings, electricity, water, etc – they are teaching their kids at HOME where those things are already paid for. Homeschooling families also have a student teacher ratio that is not possible in most public school classrooms. A child that is the only student taught by a dedicated teacher is going to perform differently and for lower cost than a student who is in a class with 15-30 other children.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • duh

      Actually, if you count how much income is lost when a parent stays home to teach a child, that probably makes up the difference in the spending.

      Beyond that, I'd love to see the test score comparison of like students (student IQ / social strata compared to a comparable student home schooled).

      June 15, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  50. JOE

    Another one hits the unemployment line. Oh well.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • KEN0123

      ALL THESE "GOOD TEACHERS" SHOULD MOVE TO CHINA, AND TEACHING THERE!,..THEY WILL HAVE VERY, VERY BRIGHT FUTURES IN CHINA!,.WITH GREAT PAYCHECKS TOO!!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  51. David

    This story is propaganda to try and get rid of teacher senoirity, which will insure that teachers who make the most will be the first eliminated if the law is changed. It takes 5 years before you really know what you are doing in the classroom. Why don't we fire every administrator and start over? A lot of money could be saved by getting rid of administrators that aren't needed. If they ever go to vouchers I will start my own school and educate students better than what is currently done.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Enough Already

      In some respects I agree, fire adminstrators, and poor teachers, and make them pay the same costs the rest of us do for healthcare and 401k or 403B, rather than cushy pensions.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Lowk

      5 years? Good lord. That can't be right or the norm. Are teachers stupid or something?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Annie

      As opposed to the system where the 'teacher of the year' is laid off because someone, regardless of ability, effort, and results, is still employed because of seniority.
      Speaking only as a parent, I'd rather my children have the 'best' teacher... which may or may not be the most experienced (aka, with the most seniority).

      June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Chris

      When you say that it takes five years to really know what you are doing in the classroom, aren't you just spouting the same proganda that you railed against in the article-the only difference being that your propaganda is pro-seniority while you claim the article is anti-seniority?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  52. steven

    Any time funding needs to be cut, education is the target. Wonder if those that fired the teachers took a pay cut. Pretty soon we will not have any teachers because funding problems are not going away just by firing teachers.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Enough Already

      This is terrible, but not because of the cuts to funding, which are also terrible, but because union seniority was the factor that got this teacher laid off, not because she was a poor teacher. Disgusting, when will we realize that teachers unions and tenure are not good for our schools. We need to reward good educators and fire poor ones...

      June 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
      • mojojojo

        Seniority also happens in states without teachers unions. Last one in, first one out. If you have to cut a teacher, and two teachers credentials and evaluations look the same, then you see who has the seniority.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Chauncy

      I know many people who graduated with honors in the field of education recently who will never be given the opportunity to teach because there are no teaching positions. This is neither here nor there regarding unions or seniority, but it is a fact. I can only hope that this does not lead to problems further down the road. Today's bright new teachers will not have the chance to be tomorrow's bright experienced teachers.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  53. Snooky4sale

    They laid her off so she could start exercising before that tire around her midsection gets any bigger

    June 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • steven

      You really needed more teachers in your life.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  54. El Leon

    Geogirl, I understand your frustration. I am also an ESL teacher that works with foreign students that have to take English based exams. I love working with my students, but my merit pay is not up to the level of my fellow teachers who work with students with native language knowledge and have native history proficiency. They are the ones most schools reluctant to part with, leaving less knowledgeable teachers to work with the most difficult (knowledge wise) students.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  55. Matt Thornton

    They are cutting teachers instead of lawyers because nobody cares about lawyers and they want people to care.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Abzolut

      Really? You have to bash lawyers? Lawyers do a lot of good in this world and take a lot of crap.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  56. Joe

    That's why she was laid off rather than fired.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  57. Bernard

    Stop funding school sports. Athletes should raise their own funds all levels. Take that money and put it towards academics. I know it sounds harsh but have you looked at how much money goes to non academic programs. It wont solve all problems but it is a start.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • booskoo

      My school district spends $7,600 per student per year.

      Private schools will properly educate kids for $4,000 per year

      Privatization is the answer.. Particularly when you consider that few public school graduates can even read and write. They an wear their pants on the ground and play with their meat a they walk down the street.

      If you CANNOT read or write, Thank the Teachers Union.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • madrussian

        You obviously failed at the writing part.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • Dan

        Washington, DC spends $20,000 per pupil thanks to federal government funding and ranks last on national tests.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
      • Bill on da Shore

        And private schools can choose whom they accept. Public schools must enroll every child that strolls through the door. Private schools have no testing mandates and no accountability. They never have to actually prove they're teaching to any standard. Public schools are relentlessly assessed by sub-groups – did enough African-American males who qualify for special education pass the state math test? Guarantee me the raw materials and I'll guarantee you the final product.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • Cielo

        Private schools can ALSO decline to work with Special Ed students and WILL kick out unruly discipline children. So where do THEY end up? BINGO! Back at the PUBLIC schools where we are required to teach them, no matter the amount they require for their special needs or the amount of disruption they excercise every day in class. Quit bashing public schools and get some education on what we face each and every day BY LAW.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Chris

        Private schools properly educate for $4000 a year? What private schools charge that? Certainly not many in the northeastern US.

        Also, did you factor in the secular text books, special education services, and transportation being provided to the private schools free of charge by the public school system. It's easy to keep your costs down when someone else is picking up the tab.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
      • MadGOPer

        Wow, private school at $4,000 a year? Must be subsidized or something. In PA, average private elementary schools cost between 5,500 and 7,500 a year. The senior grades are between $7,000 and $9,000. And I don't live in a well to do area either... College is cheaper....
        BTW, if the tuition is really only $4k, then the teacher is making $10-12 an hour.... Not a living wage for the crap teachers go thru to teach your brats......

        June 15, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • Hannah

      So that the costs of helping troubled teens can increase? There needs to be cuts made somewhere BESIDES schools – both academic and the extra-curriculars. It's the sports, the arts, the clubs that help keep kids off the streets and give them something to do besides find trouble. I think it'd be great to make it mandantory for high schools to choose an extra-curricular each year. Just one, meet once a week minimum. I think it would be great in helping keep kids on track and out of trouble.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • laytonhamblin

      Yeah then we can have more obese kids that still won't do well in school. All those kids that would have been going to practice after school can now go smoke pot and get into trouble.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • valoreem

        laytonhamblin, they are smoking pot anyway. Even the athletes. After school activites guarantee nothing. Ask me how I know 🙂

        June 15, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • laytonhamblin

      By all sports do you mean college too? Because football is the only sport at most colleges that is self sustainable. Football makes a profit and that profit goes to fund the other sports. Maybe it would be a good idea to take all their athletic scholarships away too. That would really help get more people into college that wouldn't have the means otherwise. Just because you got picked last for dodge ball doesn't mean you should hate on people that didn't.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Josh

      Yeah, cause that's enough money to rehire these teachers.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Upset in Cali

      So many schools have already cut all extra-circular activities. Which is a mistake in of itself. I knew plenty of kids in high school who probably didn't care about learning, but if they didn't keep a C-average they couldn't participate in sports. If you take that away now you have kids you can't even get interested in school and you have traded one problem for another.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  58. dowdotica

    all i can say is thank the obstructionist, the income tax cheaters, the tea baggers, the likes of Rush, Beck, Hannety, o'riely and other brainwashing factions, uh...thanks to guys like mittens, eye of newt, MR. Bush. hmm, who else...uh...a balless grid locked congress. thanks the boobs in sacramento, partucularly the rebumblicans who get paid to obstruct. boy i am sure glad my last kid graduates monday. she be be th elast of a dying breed, you know those kids with 4.4 gpa's who thankfully had good teachers such that they could get into a good college. which by the way is now like 200% more costly then it was a decade ago. Yup! welcome to the new America, 3rd world educa all the way!!!! sad, sad, sad.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • brownsclown

      You forgot to add President O'Bummer. His skillful leadership has also been a major contributor to this mess called the U.S. Economy.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
      • El Leon

        Well, put the blame where it belongs. The current financial crisis started BEFORE Obama took office.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • booskoo

      Poor parenting and worse teachers are to blame,.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
      • El Leon

        Being involved in education for 30 years, I have to say that the LACK of parenting is the most serious of the reasons our educational system has gone down the tubes. The other is the elimination of capital punishment which puts the teachers at risk.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  59. Deb

    Government regulations play a significent role in this shortfall. The economy is bad all around, less revenue coming in. But schools are forced to jump through so many hoops, accounting for every penny, and keeping statistics in so many ways it makes your head spin. No wonder bureaucrats account for 30% of the schools budget. Let up on the regulations and let teachers do what they need to do. On the flip side, why are teachers eligible for full retirement after only 20 years? I sure would have loved to retire at age 42 or so!

    June 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Bill on da Shore

      Where are teachers eligible for full pensions at 20 years? It takes 30 in any district I know of.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  60. Perceptron

    Shall we add this to the list of why our kids are getting a 3rd world education at 1st world prices?

    June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • LindaLou

      Let's add it to the list of how the unions are obstructing our ability to make the right cuts. I'm not anti-union. They've done a great deal for all workers, not just union workers. But they refuse to budge on seniority and pension negotiations, which causes us to gut education while they preserve their status quo.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  61. Goducks73

    Excellent, fire the best and keep the worst...now I know why American kids are dumb as a doorknob.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Perceptron

      huh? you type to fast

      June 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Don

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Should read "...now I know why American kids are as dumb as doorknobs." It never ceases to amaze me how the most illiterate are the first to call someone else stupid.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • amused123

      Ross' assessment is correct, it is indeed AWFUL. However, it's not the funding that the overhaul; it's the whole *(&^^(!! system. Beginning with the lawmakers, then school boards.
      --
      Gabe Ross, the district's spokesman, called the situation "awful" and said, "It's another sign of how education's funding really needs an overhaul."

      June 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  62. CarlosI

    Unions or not, school districts are run like regular corporations such that the CEOs can run the business into the ground and still walk away with record salaries and record bonuses. So poor financial planning at the top results in lower employees paying the price. Same thing goes for state governments. Poor planning on the legislature's part results in cuts in education spending while the politicians always seem to keep their jobs.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  63. Scott

    I don't want this to come out wrong, but if you are not in the private sector, and you get your pay check from tax dollars, you always run the risk of being let go.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Max Bramell

      You run the risk of being let go in the private sector too. Or have you not heard of all the layoffs lately?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  64. ihatefanboys

    HA HA HA HA , thats hilarious !!!! The irony of it is too much LOL

    June 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Max Bramell

      I don't think you know what the word irony means.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
      • Johnny Gee

        Irony – (n) A knee made of metal.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Upset in Cali

      It might be irony – if she's staunch union supporter. Notice her layoff complied with STATE LAW, which mandates only seniority be taken into account. Everyone on the left talks about how unions protect people, but they protect only the people the unions want to protect and to heck with the rest, including an outstanding teacher who based on merit was acknowledged by her peers. Good Job NEA – way to keep the best interests of our chlldren at heart – oh wait ...

      June 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
      • Geogirl

        On the other hand...if we go with merit pay, I'm out. I teach the lower level group. Why? Because I'm really good at it. I love my students. They are really smart but due to language barriers and their special needs, they have a difficult time getting "proficient" on the state exams. So....merit pay would actually penalize me for doing what I do best!

        I am thinking we need to get away from state testing and maybe have students show what they've learned through both testing and portfolios. Millions have to be spent on testing materials by the schools and we are being told to teach to the test. What about the love of learning and critical thinking?

        June 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  65. John

    When I looked at my town's expenditures, I was amazed that the school district had over 30% of its budget dedicated to administrative and non-teaching functions before you added in the 20% transportation and heating costs and special education costs. The general student's allocation of expenses (class supplies, teachers salaries and benefits, and payback of notes for school construction) was less than half the school budget. Some level of sense needs to go into what services are mandated.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • geggyg

      So you think should try to learn sitting freezing cold, or stifling hot classrooms. Maybe in winter they can bring blankets to wrap themselves in , or in summer wear swimwear to try and cool down. You also seem to have a problem with special ed costs, you you think its wrong for schools to pay educating blind , deaf students , student with other disabilities or learning difficulties . What would you do with these kids keep them uneducated . locked in basements out of sight of society???, very compassionate

      June 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  66. Michael

    Maybe if America would cut it's Prison Funding, and spend more on our Education, this wouldnt happen! America soends more on inmates than our kids!! What kind of message does that send? As a Kid growing up in Texas, we were told we were the future, and I still believe that our kids today are our future, so why do we cut out the people who teach our kids and steer them into the future? Makes no sense!!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • pattha

      ah yes, lets under fund the prisons more. Each time it has happened that is when the states have to start either releasing criminals early or giving probation for offenses that normally require incarceration. More criminals out on the streets sounds like a great idea, Michael.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Upset in Cali

      You say we spend too much on prisons – and I agree. I have two proposals that might help – one make prisons more self sufficient. Teach prisoners work skills and force them to use them. We shouldn't be sending stuff to china for cheap labor – we need to bring back the work camp prisons of yesteryear. Second, we need to revisit the drug laws in the this country, consider removing federal laws against marijana and replacing it wth a tax. Communities that don't want drugs in their community can pass their own laws and penalties, but then they would choise jail or schools at their level of spending at least. Also, lets limit the number of appeals to people on death row and speed up the process. Maybe some are innocent – but I really don't believe that. There are ones caught in the act or those that confessed – we need to spot spending money housing them anywhere but a pine box!

      June 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  67. WDinDallas

    "...that the layoffs were based on seniority."

    That is why we need to abolish public unions!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Scott

      @WDinDallas We need to abolish unions because teachers are being laid off in record numbers? Go back to your cheap whiskey.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
      • laytonhamblin

        I think he meant we need to be able to lay off crappy teachers and keep the good teachers. You either didn't read his comment or maybe you didn't read the article.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  68. kj brat

    Arizona did away with seniority within the teaching staff a few years ago. When I was a beginning teacher I was riffed a couple of times because I didn't have seniority. Now in my last lasts of my teaching days I don't have seniority, the district can replace me for any reason-like you are at the top of the salary schedule. Most districts don't value the experiences that a seasoned or veteran teacher brings to the classroom.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  69. markus

    Ahhh yes, teacher unions. They talk like they care about the kids, but when it comes down to it , it is all about them (the teachers) and their retirement.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Nate

      Isn't that true about every union? And what are teachers supposed to do; not try to make a decent living?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  70. Willson

    Just another reason to hate unions and why they should be abolished. Doesn't matter how good you are, everything is based on seniority. Teacher of the year gets laid off and I'll bet there are some teachers keeping their jobs that are the worst teachers in the district. I hope she finds another job quickly.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Jango Davis

      Screw you numbnuts. She's being laid off because of tea party losers like you who don't want to pay any taxes and have been forcing local governments to slash their budgets to meet yoru fascist agenda.

      If the Unions were strong, this woman would still have a job.

      Welcome to America folks, where if the TEa Party takes over it won't matter how good a job you do, if you get tax payer money in any way for any reason you're a target for the tea party toc rucify, and then like the patehtic cowards they are, blame it on the other guy.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • markus

        I thought America was all about working hard and succeeding, not being taken care of by the taxpayers. 30 years of working in the private sector with no union "protection" and I managed to do fine.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
      • chuck

        Unions only benefit those at the top.

        The other you describe, is socialism, fool.

        or perhaps it was the democrats and their free trade, sending jobs overseas.

        it doesnt need overhaul, as much as our government needs it first, then the rest will.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • pattha

        I'd rather keep my hard earned dollars than have it given away to all the welfare queens supported by the 53% of us who pay do pay income taxes. Why don't we start cutting there? How about cutting community centers? Someone will always cry foul you can't cut that. Well the reality is that the economy is in the tank, unemployment is too high, property tax revenue (which is where most districts pay for their schools to begin with) are way down following the housing fiasco and there just is not enough money to go around. When you can't pay the bills you gotta start cutting somewhere. Unfortunately for this district it is with the teachers.

        June 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
      • Upset in Cali

        Jango – how much personal debt do you have? Whatever it is, add $100,000 that's what you owe after you consider federal debt unfunded federal liabilities, including ACA. Now, if you'd like to tell me that it's the tea party's fault we have no money, because a poltical group that's been around for 3 years is sick of spending – I'd be happy to explain to you how ignorant and misguided that viewpoint is. We have been spending more than we take in for too long, and the debt is the result – its time for us to reverse direction or perish. State and local governments don't typically take on operating debt, but some have – and others have played shells games with their books to appear debt free, but they own money too, usually to their pension funds.

        Unions create unemployment and economic inefficiency. They have cost jobs in the US in two ways – first, via a labor floor meaning businesses would prefer to hire more people for slightly less money – but in many cases would pay more in wages overall – and secondly by resisiting other workforce changes and downsizing that have left companies only with the choice to move overseas instead of operating in the US.

        Keep singing the praises of the glorious unions, – but remember – you reap what you sow.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Crocker

      Seniority should be considered. And don't be so quick to condemn unions. It was the formation of the union that helped the common worker from being used up by industrialists like Rockerfeller and friends. In those days, the worker had NO rights and was basically worked to death. If you didn't buy your stuff from the company store you were not long from the unemployment lines. Unions turned that around – at great cost. So don't be so quick to condemn something that is part and parcel of how this great nation came to be.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
      • liza jane

        Thank you Crocker for clearly stating the value of unions.

        June 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • pattha

        I commend the unions for the great changes they engendered in the past; but they need to face reality. Is it really better to say we won't take wage cuts, and increases to our portion paid for benefits and force employers to fire workers than to agree to some concessions and keep everyone employed. Sure they all might have a little less take home pay but it everyone would still have a job and an income. But no can't compromise on anything. My dad and his friends at UAW used to brag about how they had more money than they knew what to do with and the union got them more because it was their job to keep asking for more regardless of what it did to the bottom line of the companies. Dad said at union meetings they used to spend a lot of time trying to come up with more things to ask for at contract negotiation time.

        June 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • Upset in Cali

        @ Crocker – the unions are part of our past – yes – so are the disenfranchising of native americans, slavery, Jim Crow Laws, the horse and buggy, and the Model-T. Would you like to bring all those things back? The items I listed were decidely wrong, no longer fitting with society, or became obsolete – unions served a constructive purpose – now they serve a destructive purpose – if Rockerfeller comes back from the grave, we can ressurect the unions at the same time.

        Also, in repsonse to your wal-mart jab, I believe you haven't been to Wal-mart before – haven't you met all the grey-haired greaters – they are plenty senior!

        June 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • Crocker

        Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. The reason Wal Mart has grizzled seniors acting as greeters (they aren't senior employees time wise by any stretch of the imagination) is because they cannot survive financially. So back to work they go for a non union minimum wage without benefits.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  71. L Berry

    My daughter and her husband are both school teachers. When they started teaching they complained about how older teachers went to the break room and complained about how stupid the students were. They both loved teaching and tried to do their best. Now, 12 years into teaching they both are active union members and go to teachers break room and talk about how stupid the kids are.
    They are now both active liberals and love Obama and his "change". They can't define what he changed, but their unions tell them to vote for him, and to sell him to the kids. So they are active in classroom gaining future Liberal voters. We can't have Church and Government, but we can have all the liberal teachers working to get Obummer re-elected.
    BTW they are both heavy into "Organic" foods. And woe be it who challenges what a real Organic food is.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • WhatNow

      It sounds like you don't like your kids that much. How sad for them.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Errogant 2

      Wow, what a great parent you are badmouthing your child in public.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Jonny

      This is obviously a contrived response with the sole purpose of furthering a narrow-minded, finger-pointing political agenda.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Jango Davis

      You raised your daughter you idiot, blame yourself.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Upset in Cali

      @ L Barry – my sympathies. Maybe some day your daugher will wake up. Unions are corrupting and brain washing – people need to start challenging every union – the ones that truly serve their members will surivve, but those with twisted agendas will only change if their members rise up and demand better of them.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Larry L

      It's good your children weren't home schooled...

      June 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  72. CarlosI

    There is a district in Texas who brought in a superintendant in at a higher salary. He in turn brought in one of his chronies from his old district who was making $85k. She is now making $185k doing the same job as in the old district. Many of the staff he brought in all got trememdous raises. They haven't started their jobs yet to prove their worth. In the meantime, they continue to lay off teachers. What a crock!

    June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Christine

      I lived in south central Texas for a couple of years. This is just another example of the Texas good 'ol boys club.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Jo

        Same thing in FL. The superintendent is running for re-election. The youngest member of the school board has served on the board over a decade. I moved here from OH, on a military move. They are telling me that they can't afford to follow my son's IEP from OH. Legally, they can't change it. They got $9.2 million for being an A+ school. They spent it re-sodding the football field and buying new iPads for a Kindergarten class. They can afford that, but they can't afford a ESE specialist for my ASD son, they can't afford to send him to a school he is zoned for, and they can't afford to pay teachers a decent salary... GMAFB.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
      • CarlosI

        That.s right. And it all starts with his highness Rick (opps!) Perry.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • WhatNow

      Perhaps we should go higher...In Jan. 2011, Gov. Perry officially retired, although he did not disclose that fact until Dec. 2011 in a personal financial disclosure filing for his presidential campaign. In January Gov. Perry began collecting his pension of $7,699, or $92,388 annually while still being paid the governor's salary of $150,000, which teachers are prohibited from doing by the law Perry signed. Maybe the school administrators are just a small fish in a big pond.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • CarlosI

        Let us not forget that the taxpayers are footing the bill fof him to live in a mansion because he and his wife don't want to live in the remodeled governor's mansion. So taxpayers are footing the bill for two mansions.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  73. Chris

    School districts are WAY to top heavy. Start with getting rid of the over crowded "administrator" positions, the coach positions. 40% of my property taxes goes to the school board.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  74. Dark Poet

    I remember when the teacher of the year in my high school won.. the reason why she won... She let her honors students which comprised of 2 school board members kids goto McDonalds during class instead of being at class and grab her breakfast...she would show up to her first hour class late usually 2 days a week from oversleeping.. her husband caught her cheating on him with a former student that same year ( hence why she was always late to her first hour class) .. not all "Teacher of the Year" teachers are good teachers... maybe we are missing more information about this teacher

    June 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  75. Cynthia Anderson

    Maybe someone ought to be looking at the State of CA Dept of Education – aren't they they ones who right the policies? Perhaps their policies need to be updated by "Teachers who are getting laid off." Win win!

    June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • scarf

      I love people who criticize the Dept. of Education because they "right" the policies. 🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Edwardo

        How write you are!

        June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  76. me

    How about we cut the sports

    June 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  77. Ricardo

    There's enough money IF you eliminate pensions in Favor of a 401k program like the private sector has.

    Too many teachers and other government workers hire on, not to teach, buy for "putting in their time" till they can sit back and do nothing officially.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Joe

      you're a liar. nothing like a 401K after the last wall street meltodown

      June 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Upset in Cali

        Joe – sure 401k's lose value, but how do you think pensions are paid for? with magic beans? No – they are placed in the market by private equity companies and managed (sometimes poorly) the only difference is that if the accout does poorly an individual 401k holder feels it – the other way the pension issuer makes up the different – this is not the PE company, its the school board. Worse yet, some governements didn't have all the money to put in that they should have – instead they acted like they put money in – placing an IOU instead – which is why many are in even worse pickles. It is another example of government debt, excessive spending, and lack of fiscal responsibility undermining us all.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Patiat

      You might have done something like that, or at least that might be the way YOU think, but I personally know six public school teachers, and not a single one got into that line of work for that reason.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • JMan

        there are teachers that do that patiat. As there are teachers like your friends that don't. Problem is one bad teacher is a lifetime of payments.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Joel

      @Ricardo – must public sector employees earn much less over the course of their career that they would in the private sector, so pensions and other public sector benefts are what allow us to get people to actually do these jobs. I'm sure leaving in any part of California on a teacher's salary isn't easy.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • JMan

        not so Joel. Private school teachers make very very little. You may be referring to a position like engineer which if the position was contracted out would be cheaper anyway. Also yes public sector may pay low in dollars but the benefits are double the private sector.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Janice

      Have you looked at how your 401K is doing lately? We've all been forced to give up pensions and feed money into a stock market system that few of us understand and none of us control. In truth, we should be demanding better protection for our hard earned funds; not vilifying those who actually have some level of security.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • WhatNow

      In many states, like Texas, teachers must contribute to their retirement fund.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • veggieconquistadora

        We have to contribute to our retirement at my school district, too. I love how people think us teachers don't deserve (the small) salary we do get. If only non-teachers realized how many sleepless nights we spend worrying about whether or not our kids ate dinner that night, whether or not they were safe that night... If only non-teachers realized how much of our OWN money we have to spend for supplies... If only non-teachers realized how many hours we work without pay to make great lessons for our students, to help them with their personal problems (some of which no adult should have to ever deal with), to communicate with our parents to help our students succeed in school and in life... Maybe then people wouldn't demonize us so much. Also, keep in mind that in some places, you HAVE to be in the union – you are not given a choice. They just deduct the money from your paycheck – and it's a lot of money.

        June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  78. Ray from Austin

    Wasn't there an article just recently about a teacher who the district has been trying to fire for years but can't because of the unions but you have someone who is teacher of the year and they just get laid off like that?

    June 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • lindaluttrell

      Sadly, there was. Apparently she's STILL employed! Way to say thank you for a teacher...give them an award and then show them the unemployment lne! Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  79. Ron

    Funny how the Republicans are anti-education just so Corporations can have cheaper labor. God forbid someone EARN a Masters Degree and EARN a descent salary. Never thought Republicans would try to enslave whites as well, looks like they are.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Chris

      Typical liberal idiot

      June 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
      • dee gee

        Heh, a logically fallacious comment that adds nothing to the debate whatsoever.

        Try again sans the ad hominems and generalizations.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
      • Simeon Namore

        Typical goosestepping maggot.

        June 15, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Retromike

      This is so true. It's not about color. it's about cheap labor.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Mike

      Wow. How about Republicans are anti-welfare. They feel that funneling billions into social service programs and raping education funds to accomplish that, is wrong. Republicans understand that creating baby factories who birth as a vocation is far less advantageous than stimulating business to grow so hiring can take place. Obviously two views you ardently, vehemently disagree with. Looks like the public funds spent on your education were a waste.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  80. oscar

    You have to go way back when the GOP rulled with Bush Jr and they came up with so many disasters. then it was the Govenors like the one from my state of indiana who took away 3% of the tax revenue just for our education to give it to rich employers in the capital like chase bank, should i go on they gave them a tax break while breaking the backs of teachers an letting our kids be left behind if you want change you must have some cohoines to ask for change if you dont just vote for Mitt and dont cry

    June 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Jim

      Where is the punctuation or is this just one big run on sentence? Thanks Oscar for that example of another kid left behind.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Jk

        Nice...idiot like you focuses on punctuation instead of the issue...very nice....(is that enough punctuation for you?)

        June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Ricardo

      Oscar, I suggest you put your messages through a spell checker.

      Way too many government workers out there – and always keep in mind that ONLY the private sector pays taxes. Government workers pay "pretend taxes" from the wages they receive which are 100% paid by private sector
      Employees and Employers.

      Maybe we should just tell Chase to take their business elsewhere (Canada?). We don't want their tax money – right?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Jk

        pretend taxes? You make me laugh.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • JMan

        taxes are pretend JK in terms that there are no new dollars injected into the system just taxes handed back to your employer to redistribute.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • WhatNow

        Ricardo...You forgot to add that they earned wages by teaching your children how to read and write. It is a job and some of us even think teaching is necessary.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  81. JT

    Rebecca you are exactly right! Many qualified teachers leave college with the hope of getting a job only to not find one available while student numbers continue to rise. I know several people that got degrees in education two years ago that are still trying to find a job. The jobs are given to the teach for america students instead of the qualified applicants due to the fact that the federal government paying for the salary of the Teach for America teachers (highly unqualified and ineffective) while laying off the local teachers because the district pays their salary.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • riley

      Can't new teachers apply for TFA? I did apply at TFA but do not have an education degree. Ultimately decided not to pursue TFA.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • BC

      Teach for America teacher salaries are paid by the school district, not by the federal government. A large amount of TFA's funding is privately contributions, not federal subsidy.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  82. beez

    I love seeing all of you libs rant and rave about this. Yes I am sorry she lost her job. Yes it is the unions fault. Don't make joining a union mandatory get rid of unions, or at least strip them of alot of their power. Unions have priced Americans jobs overseas. Not a republican or democrat.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Mike

      I am no fan of unions, but I think they need to make a comeback, as companies are treating workers like crap and taking advantage of them in these dire economic times. If you research history, you will see why unions came into power, as the rich ruled and workers had no rights or recourse. I agree that unions became greedy, but now the companies are greedy, earning record profits, but still laying off workers to improve their bottom lines and be able to declare bigger dividends. The rich better watch out, as more of the middle class become poor, there will be a revolt!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  83. wolfpackbob

    America's educational system is based on cronyism. Every knows it. IT IS ENTRENCHED. Good luck changing that when it is the only game in town unless school vouchers can finally be used to focus on merit and the welfare of the children.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  84. Anti govt

    Lets get Obama out of office an start fixing the problems in this country. Oh wait, that's impossible. All politicians are crooked and only out for themselves. We are screwed and our children will pay for it because of these greedy a holes.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Casca_01

      What does the President have to do with it? Education is a state responsibility.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • watchingyou

      Yep, get rid of the government and all of its agencys, no wait, who will pay you welfare, who will protect you, who will provide your children with an education? Think before you speak. While our government needs an overhaul, without it this country would be even worse.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  85. Maynerd

    Republican's hate an educated America, they would prefer worker drones which is why you see so many jobs outsourced to other country's.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  86. Maynerd

    It's getting to be that all the young new teachers want to see or kill off all the older teachers in order to get a job. It's funny, with all the work and sacrifice put in by the "older" generation, the young ones want to reap the benefits without paying their dues.

    The Republican plan of "middle class " America killing itself off appears to be working.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • stevem7

      The 'Maynerd' plan of the Middle Class all being supported on welfare funded by Maynerd doesn't seem to be working either.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • watchingyou

        Wow, where do I sign up for the middle class welfare? No wait, I am at poverty level and still do not get welfare. So who are thise middle class people getting welfare? I love people who just spout off without facts.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • ironwolf56

      Actually a lot of us younger generation are sick and tired of the lazy boomers who sit in their cushy jobs doing absolutely nothing but collecting about 3 times the pay we do and sitting on their little free paycheck nest egg so that my generation can't get jobs.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  87. EVALUNE BROUSSARD

    Vote OBAMA 2012!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  88. Concerned Teacher

    I am lucky that I am in a very stable district that is actually adding teaching jobs; however, I am concerned about issue at hand. There are too many administrative positions eating away at available district money. Within the school I work at there is a teaching "coach" in my specific discipline that received somewhere around $80,000 this past year (double my salary, and I have a master's degree), and he/she has admitted multiple times that she is not sure how to be a resource to teachers. Over this past year I received one e-mail from this individual with 4 to 5 internet links about teaching methods, this was supposed to be the coaching aspect I believe. I think this is a pretty major error within the allocation of resources. What is worse is that there are numerous of these "coaches" around the district.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • texas teacher

      Funny, we have one of those too. Helps about as much as yours.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  89. Tony

    Instead of culling from the bottom of the pay scale to cut cost, schools should be culling from the top. Too many chiefs making TONS of money while all the blame goes to the teachers who make the least to begin with. The entire system is broken, cutting jobs isn't going to fix it.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • The Truth Teller

      Not to mention Tony the ones that they decided to keep may even be the worst teachers in the world ! How about the ones who work in the front office like the Administrators , those folks aren't worth anything anyway besides setting on there butts and collecting a check !

      June 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Alex

      Treat schools like sports teams. Who makes more the pitching coach or the guy who throws a perfect game?

      I knew the school system was screwed up when a principal under investigation for mismanagement was DEMOTED to a teacher.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  90. New Gawker

    More corrupt unions. Unions leaders friends kept their jobs for sure even if they're terrible teachers.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • David

      Over half the states do not allow school unions and those states have the same problems. The real problem is a worldwide recession caused by greed. Greed from people in government and business, people that believed the "experts" that their homes were worth much more, companies that think moving their jobs overseas was a good thing, the schools that waste money on sports and high paid administrators. There is plenty of blame to go around but no one will take any of the blame.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • Chris

        This. A thousand times, this.

        June 15, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  91. Michelle

    I am a teacher in Southern California and I, along with many others, feel the same way about how teacher layoffs occur. So many teachers who SHOULD be in the classroom are no longer there simply because of senority. I have just lost 5 teachers at my own school this year who are not just wonderful teachers, but wonderful people. All too often, teachers are "trapped" by districts because most districts only take 5 years of service from another district. Teachers who switch districts after 5 years lose too much pay and it makes it virtually impossible to leave. After seeing too many good teachers laid off over the last few years, the impact on our students is plainly obvious. Much of the problem is the system, however, parents and teachers need to continue to be advocates for our children and stay vocal at the state level. The uncertainty of what is to come is scary to everyone, but without the concerted efforts of those affected, nothing will change except the quality education that our children need and deserve. The economy has hurt everyone, but unless our government decides that education in California needs to be a priority, more qualified teachers will be laid off, leaving our children to a sad and uncertain future.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • JMan

      And the problem you point to is a UNION problem. They negotiate for seniority therefore effectively screwing younger better teachers.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Willis

        The seniority system was established to combat the "good ole boy" spoils system. The county in which I live does not have a seniority system. Layoffs were based on who was friends with (or did favors for or was related to) whom. I'm not claiming that straight seniority is the answer either but it is the process that many administrations and labor representatives agreed to utilize in order to eliminate corruption in the process.

        June 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  92. JR

    This isn't the teachers union's fault. While they may have rules that indicate layoffs based on seniority, this was an avoidable "firing". You always hear about cost savings from school districts coming in the form of ending programs and laying off teachers. Where are the Administration cuts? How many of these district administrators took a 5% pay cut to help the district? I can't believe there's not more outrage at increased class sizes that come as a direct result of cuts like this. Cutting the jobs of teachers does nothing to help the children and everything to ensure that district administrators still "get theirs."

    June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  93. Dave

    Really people? The source of the problem aren't teacher's unions – the source of the problem are all the nasty, greedy jerks who'd rather let education be cut instead of giving up their new SUV and paying a little more in taxes per year.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  94. Ben

    Wow, awesome. Too bad their hands were tied by state law, because states always know best.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Norm

      Rest assured that it was the unions that wrote that law more than the state.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  95. joey shabadoo

    the teachers union is necessary, but BOY does it need some serious fixing.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  96. Andrew

    What needs an "overhaul" is the state law that mandates layoffs based on seniority. Empower the districts to decide which teachers get laidoff. Get rid of the bad teachers and keep the good ones.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • btldriver

      So how do you propose this selection process be made? Based on an observation by someone who may or may not like you? Maybe your teaching style and the observer's teaching style are different so you get a bad review and then you're out of a job. At least with the seniority layoffs, it isn't personal nor is it favoritism or a good ol' boys club.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • MNTony

        Isn't that the condition for most workers? My job security is entirely in the hands of people – not a process – which frankly forces me to be thoughtful about maintaining relationships, doing quality work and showing my worth.

        June 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  97. Ben

    Another reason to dislike teacher's unions. I'm sure just about every party with a stake in this would prefer to lay off less effective teachers rather than base it on seniority, but unions prefer seniority since those are the people that have given them the most money for the longest time.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  98. t3chn0ph0b3

    If you care about your kid's education, don't vote for Romney. If he gets in office, losing 33k teaching jobs will be a drop in the bucket. Class sizes will double and your child will get lost in the shuffle.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • ljs2178

      You're not intelligent. I can tell.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • junebug

        People like Romney would send their children to public schools over their dead bodies. He doesn't and won't care at all about funding for public education - k thru 12, and beyond.

        He's the worst kind of hypocrite. I wonder what Jesus would say about his path to amassing such grotesque personal fortune? And how condescending he is to others...

        June 15, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • chuck

      he created private businesses and jobs in the sector, what has obama done?

      thank you

      June 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Upset in Cali

      The federal government shouldn't be paying a cent into funding education. Reagan's biggest mistake was forming that Dept of Education – its created layers of red tape and that's one reason schools have more adminstrators. Romney or Obama – it shouldn't matter – education should be managed at state and local levels where parents have ready access to bring about change. If we lose teachers under Romney it just means Obama hired a bunch under temp stimulus money that was a short term waste at the cause of long term pain (more debt).

      June 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  99. Anoymous in CA

    Once again, a silly union rule where layoffs are based on senority and not merit. Union pensions and benefits are causing a deficit requiring layoffs but union rules protect the oldest workers and not the best. This results in more inefficiency as a result of the unions and continued budget crisis. Make joining unions MANDATORY so things like this do not happen. It's a shame.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Crocker

      So what's your solution? Wal Mart? Where folks with seniority are laid off because it's cheaper to hire new workers with less benefits? If that's your solution you can keep it.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  100. Rebecca

    What a shame. We keep heaing more and more about needing qualified teachers. Then when we get them, we fire them. Awesome job, America. Best wishes to Ms. Apperson. I sincerely hope she continues her career in a district that appreciates her.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
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