The Morning Report
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A quick digest of some of the opinion and commentary we’ve been reading:
• The usual suspects are still battling it out in the comments over who has the better ideas to save San Diego’s schools, this time in response to a video explaining how “last hired, first fired” teacher layoffs work. In the fracas David Cohen remarked that:
Teachers, students, parents — in fact, all public employees and consumers of their services — are going to be asked whether they would prefer to be shot or hanged. I advise them to opt out of that decision and let the blood fall on the hands that deserve it.
Later he adds,
Even if every criticism of how K-12 is run were correct, and even if we were to acknowledge that some aspects of teacher pensions, health care, and salary structure should be revised, the proximate and largest reason “children will suffer” is because their parents and adults in general prefer ideology to action and are caught in the “I pay too much” myth.
• The Silicon Valley Education Foundation lays out the implications of an appeals court ruling that allows Los Angeles Unified to follow different rules for laying off teachers at “vulnerable” schools.
Under the deal, 45 lowest-performing schools and those showing signs of academic improvement will be protected from layoffs this year. The district will set a cap on the percentage of teachers that can be laid off in the remaining schools. The practical effect will be that teachers with the same years of experience may get layoff notices in one school with lots of veteran teachers but not another school with less experienced teachers.
Commenter Michael Day makes an interesting point on that blog post:
Data shows that 33% to 50% of new teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years anyway. So many of these teachers you save from layoffs will most likely leave the profession. You have let go of the teachers committed to teaching while keeping many teachers that will leave.
• A March 6 article by Jeff McDonald in the Union-Tribune reports that county supervisors in San Diego “granted themselves authority to insert their own recommendations into what staff and community planning groups proposed” in the general plan for the county’s development. The article’s questioning headline — “County zoning overhaul tainted by politics?” — gives away that this is probably a bad thing. Commenters agree with vigor.
Contrary to what appeared to be the singular focus of your article, frankly a gross oversimplification of the issue lacking any context of the larger plan and process that is the County General Plan Update, the referral process, and the Board of Supervisors willingness to consider them, has absolutely nothing to do with political influence and money for campaigns.
• In East County Magazine, R. Perry comments on two adjacent fire departments, where one spends twice as much on health benefits as the other.
The continuing increase in the health insurance costs, rising faster than the rate of inflation, is a major threat to the ability of fire departments to maintain current levels of public safety. The City of El Cajon seems to have a good solution to rising health costs.
• The Los Angeles Times editorial board has a blog, Opinion L.A., which is similar to what we’re doing here in our Café San Diego “Voices” feature. It’s a vigorous, opinionated look at just about everything. Recommended!
Dagny Salas contributed to this article.
Items quoted here may be lightly edited for spelling, grammar, or style (such as using proper capitalization, removing extra exclamation marks, or fixing obvious typos). Send comments you’d like to have included here to Grant Barrett, engagement editor for voiceofsandiego.org: firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 550-5666 or @grantbarrett on Twitter.