News

Teacher salary debate heats up

Is Mountain View Whisman's pay better or worse than other districts? It depends on whom you ask

The Mountain View Whisman School District is roughly a month away from negotiations with its teacher union on salaries, and both sides are already at odds.

Over the past two years, teachers in the district have sent a resounding message to the district: that the current salaries can't keep up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. Teachers made a passionate appeal to the school board during negotiations in 2014, and were able to score a 5 percent pay increase. The following year, teachers were given another 4 percent raise, bringing salaries to the current range of $50,199 up to $92,629.

But is it enough? It depends on whom you ask. Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph contracted with the firm Hanover Research for $38,500 late last year to study whether teachers are getting paid more or less than those in comparable school districts. The study found that teachers in the Mountain View Whisman School District are making thousands of dollars more than teachers in school districts with similar levels of local revenue, enrollment and socio-economically disadvantaged students.

Teachers in Mountain View Whisman have a minimum annual salary that's $2,369 higher than the average salaries of so-called peer school districts, and a maximum salary that's $3,780 higher. These peer districts include neighboring Los Altos Elementary and Sunnyvale, as well as some far-flung districts like San Bruno Park Elementary, Mark West Union and Ricon Valley Union Elementary in Santa Rosa.

To make the comparison just a little more complex, districts were given a different multiplier that adjusted salaries based on how much it costs to live in different regions in the Bay Area. Rudolph said this gives the district a better "apples to apples" idea of teacher compensation for other school districts. Mountain View was given a cost of living multiplier shared with San Jose, Sunnyvale and other South Bay cities.

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At the Jan. 21 meeting, Jonathan Pharazyn, president of the Mountain View Educators Association, called the district's comparisons of salaries "dishonest." Rather than compare Mountain View Whisman with neighboring districts that provide better teacher pay and directly compete for teaching talent, Pharazyn said the district's study sought out comparisons with districts in rural areas of Sonoma County.

Pharazyn said that San Bruno does not have a very good reputation, and teachers are going to get the impression that the district is going out of its way to lower the average to make Mountain View Whisman School District's compensation look higher.

"San Bruno has always had a reputation, going back to the 1980s ... of not being a very good district, and being on the low end of the totem pole," Pharazyn said. "If the district is looking to compare us to San Bruno, that's not a good sign."

Around the same time the district commissioned the teacher compensation study, the local California Teachers Association chapter released a spreadsheet showing roughly the opposite of the district's study. Despite two sizable pay increases in recent years, Mountain View Whisman remains in the lower end of the pay scale in the county. Most of the districts with lower salary schedules are in San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

The relatively low salaries, in tandem with the rising cost of living, have prompted many teachers to leave the district in recent years, according to Pharazyn. Last year, the district scrambled to replace roughly 50 staff members, pushing the total number of new teachers hired to 170 in the last four years.

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And things don't seem to be improving. At the board meeting, Pharazyn revealed results from a recent teacher survey that found 46 percent of teachers are considering leaving the district, and 28 percent are considering leaving the profession entirely.

"It's definitely concerning when you have those kinds of percentages," Pharazyn said.

Following the meeting, Rudolph told the Voice that teachers have said time and again that they can't live in the district on the current salaries. But he said it's important to put everything into context and understand that the district may not have enough property tax revenue to support teacher salaries the same way a district like Menlo Park does.

Following the 4 percent salary increase for the 2015-16 school year, former Interim Superintendent Kevin Skelly told the Voice in July that the sizable bumps in teacher pay are not sustainable in the long term, and may have to be re-assessed in the near future.

One unresolved issue brought up by the teachers union last year is the lack of a stipend for teachers with master's or doctoral degrees. Mountain View Whisman School District is one of only three districts in the entire county not to offer the additional pay for advanced degrees. Rudolph defended the district's position, saying that the stipend amount has been rolled into the salary schedule already.

At the same time, Rudolph said the district still has a responsibility to find ways to compensate teachers in other ways.

"Just because we're higher than average doesn't mean we don't have work to do in terms of working conditions and compensation," he said. "What we can do is, we can look at all of our benefits and think of ways to make this an attractive place to work."

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Teacher salary debate heats up

Is Mountain View Whisman's pay better or worse than other districts? It depends on whom you ask

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 8:29 am
Updated: Mon, Feb 1, 2016, 1:02 pm

The Mountain View Whisman School District is roughly a month away from negotiations with its teacher union on salaries, and both sides are already at odds.

Over the past two years, teachers in the district have sent a resounding message to the district: that the current salaries can't keep up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. Teachers made a passionate appeal to the school board during negotiations in 2014, and were able to score a 5 percent pay increase. The following year, teachers were given another 4 percent raise, bringing salaries to the current range of $50,199 up to $92,629.

But is it enough? It depends on whom you ask. Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph contracted with the firm Hanover Research for $38,500 late last year to study whether teachers are getting paid more or less than those in comparable school districts. The study found that teachers in the Mountain View Whisman School District are making thousands of dollars more than teachers in school districts with similar levels of local revenue, enrollment and socio-economically disadvantaged students.

Teachers in Mountain View Whisman have a minimum annual salary that's $2,369 higher than the average salaries of so-called peer school districts, and a maximum salary that's $3,780 higher. These peer districts include neighboring Los Altos Elementary and Sunnyvale, as well as some far-flung districts like San Bruno Park Elementary, Mark West Union and Ricon Valley Union Elementary in Santa Rosa.

To make the comparison just a little more complex, districts were given a different multiplier that adjusted salaries based on how much it costs to live in different regions in the Bay Area. Rudolph said this gives the district a better "apples to apples" idea of teacher compensation for other school districts. Mountain View was given a cost of living multiplier shared with San Jose, Sunnyvale and other South Bay cities.

At the Jan. 21 meeting, Jonathan Pharazyn, president of the Mountain View Educators Association, called the district's comparisons of salaries "dishonest." Rather than compare Mountain View Whisman with neighboring districts that provide better teacher pay and directly compete for teaching talent, Pharazyn said the district's study sought out comparisons with districts in rural areas of Sonoma County.

Pharazyn said that San Bruno does not have a very good reputation, and teachers are going to get the impression that the district is going out of its way to lower the average to make Mountain View Whisman School District's compensation look higher.

"San Bruno has always had a reputation, going back to the 1980s ... of not being a very good district, and being on the low end of the totem pole," Pharazyn said. "If the district is looking to compare us to San Bruno, that's not a good sign."

Around the same time the district commissioned the teacher compensation study, the local California Teachers Association chapter released a spreadsheet showing roughly the opposite of the district's study. Despite two sizable pay increases in recent years, Mountain View Whisman remains in the lower end of the pay scale in the county. Most of the districts with lower salary schedules are in San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

The relatively low salaries, in tandem with the rising cost of living, have prompted many teachers to leave the district in recent years, according to Pharazyn. Last year, the district scrambled to replace roughly 50 staff members, pushing the total number of new teachers hired to 170 in the last four years.

And things don't seem to be improving. At the board meeting, Pharazyn revealed results from a recent teacher survey that found 46 percent of teachers are considering leaving the district, and 28 percent are considering leaving the profession entirely.

"It's definitely concerning when you have those kinds of percentages," Pharazyn said.

Following the meeting, Rudolph told the Voice that teachers have said time and again that they can't live in the district on the current salaries. But he said it's important to put everything into context and understand that the district may not have enough property tax revenue to support teacher salaries the same way a district like Menlo Park does.

Following the 4 percent salary increase for the 2015-16 school year, former Interim Superintendent Kevin Skelly told the Voice in July that the sizable bumps in teacher pay are not sustainable in the long term, and may have to be re-assessed in the near future.

One unresolved issue brought up by the teachers union last year is the lack of a stipend for teachers with master's or doctoral degrees. Mountain View Whisman School District is one of only three districts in the entire county not to offer the additional pay for advanced degrees. Rudolph defended the district's position, saying that the stipend amount has been rolled into the salary schedule already.

At the same time, Rudolph said the district still has a responsibility to find ways to compensate teachers in other ways.

"Just because we're higher than average doesn't mean we don't have work to do in terms of working conditions and compensation," he said. "What we can do is, we can look at all of our benefits and think of ways to make this an attractive place to work."

Comments

Interested Observer
another community
on Jan 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm
Interested Observer , another community
on Jan 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm
21 people like this

I don't understand why there is no longer a stipend for a Masters and/or Doctoral degree. There used to be such and it was still in existence even after the two elementary districts merged. When was this incentive to teachers earning higher degrees and becoming more specialized removed from the salary schedule? To my mind, it shows the district's lack of commitment to higher education.


Scott
Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm
Scott, Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm
19 people like this

The starting teacher salary needs to be $90-100k. It's obscene that this is a point of debate. We need teachers to be focused on teaching, rather than have their minds thinking about finances and rent constantly.

I pay $18k/mo in property taxes. If that's somehow not enough (wtf?), put a sales tax on the ballot. I'll vote yes.


Scott
Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 7:49 pm
Scott, Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 7:49 pm
19 people like this

$18k/year *ahem*


Los Altos teacher salary
Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Los Altos teacher salary , Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm
27 people like this

We have some AMAZING teachers and we have some FAR FROM amazing teachers. In my opinion it's about half and half. I have a child with a brand new (to MVWSD, not new to teaching) teacher this year who is HORRIBLE and it pains me to think she's paid anywhere near what my other child's teacher is paid.
We need an incentive for Masters degrees (why do all the teachers in Los Altos have them- just for fun?) and we also need a strict, easy to follow way for teachers to be measured for performance by both peers, parents, and principals- but not just principals because everyone is on their best behavior when the boss is in the room.
So, what are Los Altos teachers paid? They stick around.


Scott
Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 9:32 pm
Scott, Monta Loma
on Jan 31, 2016 at 9:32 pm
33 people like this

No, we don't need an incentive program. We don't need to micromanage teacher salaries. That teacher is new and receives a living wage because they are a human being. I'm not ok with bizarro stipulations on performance or some nonsense until AFTER you pay teachers enough to live.

These are not convicted felons. They are teachers. Pay them a salary that lets them focus on being great, and not worrying about making rent. After--and only after--do you get to have a conversation about performance and "firing" teachers, etc. (As if the majority of the people reading this article don't spend 90% of their career being mediocre employees.)


Tom
Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 1, 2016 at 6:13 am
Tom, Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 1, 2016 at 6:13 am
4 people like this

School districts in California are not given the authority under state law to establish or even propose to voters a sales tax. Trustees can propose higher property taxes - as has been recently duscussed - and capital projects can be funded through bond measures repaid through higher property taxes. If you want to change the source of funds, deal with the State Legislature, the Governor and perhaps propose a statewide ballot measure. How about taxing (Silicon Valley and off-shore) corporations? How much charging parents? Why should everyone pay for the schooling of the children of wealthy oarents who choose to not send their kids to private schools?


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 9:26 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 9:26 am
8 people like this

I will be looking forward to more community commentary as this process unfolds. The master's paper credential vs. the post-graduate college credit numbers was decided, in this district as credit numbers only (Dr. Rudolph's comment). You can argue about the "equivalency" of that or not, but that was a majority Board decision. I am also looking forward to Chris Chiang's 'Equivalent District' public spreadsheeting, like he did as a Board member in 2014.
- That was a bit odd or unusual, because his spreadsheet was not Superintendent Goldman sanctioned! - However, was it Open & Public and transparent? You BETCHA! As a private citizen, I hope to see Mr. Chiang and several other data wonkish comparative salary spreadsheets published in the Voice commentary areas. As a Trustee, I will study these as closely as I do the Hanover Research materials (and the MVEA teacher's union materials).

Mr. Chiang, as a Trustee in Closed Session cannot disclose how he voted in the past on Credential paper s. post-graduate Units - but he is perfectly free now - to opine to everyone his views and reasoning and 'how he would vote'.

Steven Nelson is a Trustee of the MVWSD, and these are only his own opinions


Geoffrey
North Whisman
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:29 am
Geoffrey, North Whisman
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:29 am
19 people like this

How do teacher salaries in this district compare to median household income in this district? How do teacher salaries in the other districts compare to median household incomes in those districts?

Percentages of teachers who are considering leaving the district won't be accurate because anybody can make idle threats just to give the union something to complain about.


Reality Check
Jackson Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Reality Check, Jackson Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm
12 people like this

Racking up extraneous credits does not compare to MA, MS or Ph.d, programs or NBCT credentials for teachers. Many credits can be earned by just attending conferences or completing training programs that demand no sort of testing of knowledge learned. That's like getting an engineering or medical degree by attending numerous conferences.

Quality districts reward teachers for professional degrees from accredited colleges. What the teachers union won't tell you is that many teachers would like the easy path to racking up credits that, unlike professional degree programs, involves no financial investment in terms of a higher education degree on the part of the teacher.

For these and other issues regarding teacher qualifications and compensation we should look to districts in the immediate area, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Menlo Park, etc.

Regardless, the people of Mountain View must be prepared to pay far more in taxes if they want quality schools. Again, we only need to look to Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Menlo Park, to figure that one out.


Greg
Stierlin Estates
on Feb 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm
Greg, Stierlin Estates
on Feb 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm
7 people like this


If you want to do this accurately, break out STEM teachers as their own unit, and pay them accordingly.

Otherwise, our kids will be taught by the best mathematicians willing to accept less than half the salary they could make at Google.

You don't have that concern in the history department. History majors are a dime a dozen. You don't need to pay them the same as chemists.


Maria
Blossom Valley
on Feb 1, 2016 at 3:01 pm
Maria, Blossom Valley
on Feb 1, 2016 at 3:01 pm
14 people like this

Actually, history majors are outnumbered by business and accounting majors. Those are the dime-a-dozen majors.


bob
Slater
on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm
bob, Slater
on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm
23 people like this

I disagree with Scotts earlier comment. In most other professions, an employee is judged on their performance, and paid accordingly. I don't care if a teacher has a string of degrees to their credit, if they cannot effectively perform in the classroom that is the bottom line, to which they should be held. I would rather have a dropout who can motivate and inspire students to be effective learners. The system as it has evolved, is a formula for better pay, not for better students.


Maria
Blossom Valley
on Feb 1, 2016 at 5:17 pm
Maria, Blossom Valley
on Feb 1, 2016 at 5:17 pm
5 people like this

I guess then medical doctors would not need medical degrees either. You can be a high-school dropout as long as you can heal people. I think we've been down that road in this country already. Also, for teachers to move beyond the label of "employee" advanced degrees, publications and membership in professional societies all combined to earn the label "profession" and "professional". Right now they are all forced to be a member of a union. But the Supreme Court might have a say in that come June.


Patrick Neschleba
Monta Loma
on Feb 1, 2016 at 6:09 pm
Patrick Neschleba, Monta Loma
on Feb 1, 2016 at 6:09 pm
11 people like this

Some turnover is natural... but have enough turnover at a school, and it means re-teaching things like school culture, and core practices like site safety, security, and classroom behavior management (which can vary a lot across districts, and even specific schools). All of which takes away from instructional and administrative time that could be spent on other things... it's nice to see that both sides seem to be saying they want to fix the problem. That's a great first step.

Would be great if the Voice could also seek out City Council perspectives on this... they have a big role in the cost side of the affordability question.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Feb 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Feb 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm
16 people like this

I hope the School Board and teachers both recognize that they are both right.

The MVWSD teachers are right that it's very hard for teachers to afford to live near MV (as proven by the articles written about MVLA Web Link and PAUSD, Web Link two districts that both pay much more than MVWSD).

The district is right that MVWSD (a K-8) isn't funded anywhere close to a K-12 like PAUSD or a high school district like MVLA (state formula gives HS more funding), so it's impossible to match them, especially when communities like Los Altos and Palo Alto have parcel taxes well over 3x MVWSD.

All the energy spent on proving who is right should be spent on innovative solutions within the realities of MVWSD's resources.

For example, why not provide teacher housing at Cooper Park, that belongs to the district, but is ill suited for future school use? Provide housing to teachers based on their total family financial status and a lottery. Why not experiment with providing employee buses? Google and Apple provide buses to Danville and beyond, we could even try these with our current school buses, and some WiFi. The district has a tendency of shying from innovative ideas. When Youtube was first proposed to broadcast board meetings, the district thought it would be too difficult, but now it's standard.

The cheapest way to retain our teachers is free, it's to build a culture of respect and reverence for our teachers. The district and its teachers should unite in their view that our teachers deserve the very best, more than what we can ever possibly give, and we will creatively do our best.


bob
Slater
on Feb 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm
bob, Slater
on Feb 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm
7 people like this

Dear Maria, Comparing doctors to teachers is a bit of a stretch. The doctors and nurses I know all command respect by displaying a high degree of professionalism. Furthermore, doctors who respect their profession dress in a professional manner which automatically sets them apart. For a beginning, if teachers wish to be thought of as professionals by the general public, perhaps dressing up to the title would be a good beginning. If teachers now lament a lack of respect, they need only look in the mirror and ask, do I look like the professional I think I am, or the janitor. We set the stage for how others see and treat us. If you look and act professional, the public will reciprocate and treat you as a professional. You set the tone for how others see you.


ivg
Rex Manor
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm
ivg, Rex Manor
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm
5 people like this

If teachers can't afford to live here (which I'm sure is true if their salaries start at $50k), and we don't want to pay more taxes (who does?), maybe we should just build more to drive down the cost of housing.


Johnatan
Rengstorff Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm
Johnatan, Rengstorff Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm
10 people like this

Teachers need to be compensated with the same salary that teachers from Mountain Los Altos view High School, Cupertino and Saratoga.
Example:
Teacher salary from Mountain View Whisman $50,000 to $77,000
Teacher salary from Mountain View Los Altos $77,000 to $120,000
Teacher salary from Saratoga $79K to $130k
Custodian Salary From Mountain view Los Altos High $56,000 to $68,000

Teacher from MVWSD get less pay to satrt that a Custodian from MVLHS


Voter
Sylvan Park
on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:32 am
Voter, Sylvan Park
on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:32 am
7 people like this

Once again, MVWSD management have demonstrated their lack of judgement and fiduciary responsibility by spending a large sum of public funds to commission a clearly flawed salary survey. If you are concerned about losing your valued staff members to the competition, anyone could tell you, watch the competition. Teachers are most likely to move to another local district in Santa Clara Valley between San Jose, and up to Redwood City, but the experts were not commissioned to survey the competition, just "peer" districts that would require teachers to uproot their homes and lives. That money would have been better spent on hiring an Instructional Assistant to help a child with special needs.


teacher
another community
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:26 am
teacher, another community
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:26 am
11 people like this

the comment from the person about teachers just racking up credits to go to conferences - that's not how it works.

There are professional growth units which can move a person on a salary schedule and there are stipends which rewards people for the degrees that they have earned. MVEA is arguing for the latter. They want teachers who have pursued Master's degrees, Doctorates and/or have become Nationally Board Certified with a stipend that is outside of the step and column salary increases.

If we expect our educators to push the idea of being life-long learners, then we might also reward them by pursuing the ideal we are pushing on students.

Finally, for anyone paying attention, California is facing a severe teaching shortage. This school district continues to have extremely high unrestricted reserves. If they want to compete with other school district IN Santa Clara County, then they have to compensate fairly (which means putting teachers in the middle of other school districts within the county) and work on making teaching conditions better.


Old Steve
Rex Manor
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:57 am
Old Steve, Rex Manor
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:57 am
13 people like this

Anybody who has objectively looked at MVWSD's reserves understands that the multi-year projections already adjust for the end of the parcel tax, the end of state-wide taxes supporting education, and the required changes to the District's pension fund obligations. Further spending down reserves will then require PROGRAM CUTS (Teacher Furloughs) if all of the above contingencies are not resolved. MVLA and Saratoga, like Palo Alto, are community funded districts that will always have more money than MVWSD.


Parent
Slater
on Feb 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm
Parent, Slater
on Feb 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm
16 people like this

We technically live in the Technology Capital of the world! Google, Apple, Facebook,etc.. all these companies are surrounding Mountain View. We have probably the most smartest technical brains in the area. How come our schools are CRAP! Why is it so hard to pay our teachers reasonable livable salaries?? They may not right code or develop apps but they are teaching students who may someday change the world for the better.. They deserve Mountain View livable wages!!!!


Parent
Slater
on Feb 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm
Parent, Slater
on Feb 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm
3 people like this

right code = write code... multi-tasking fail on my part


Phil
Rex Manor
on Feb 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Phil, Rex Manor
on Feb 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm
12 people like this

Humm, the city will pay the assistant city manager 225K per year and not provide a living wage for teachers???... sounds like they really don't care about the quality of education for your children... all they care about is just making themselves rich.


@phil
Bailey Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 4:49 am
@phil, Bailey Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 4:49 am
4 people like this

Technical point Phil. The city does not pay teacher salaries. The elected members of the school board , not council members oversee their salaries.


Scott
Monta Loma
on Feb 3, 2016 at 8:46 am
Scott, Monta Loma
on Feb 3, 2016 at 8:46 am
19 people like this

The solution is probably additional property taxes. Also, don't open yet another school until existing teachers are paid appropriately.


Respect Teachers Already
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm
Respect Teachers Already, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm
11 people like this

@Los Altos teacher salary
"... we also need a strict, easy to follow way for teachers to be measured for performance..."
Describe a strict and easy way to measure performance of humans teaching humans in such a dynamic environment and you will win a nobel prize for sure. I notice you didn't include the word "fair" anywhere in your suggestion. I guess fair wouldn't allow for easy?

As Scott said: "These are not convicted felons. They are teachers. Pay them a salary that lets them focus on being great, and not worrying about making rent. After--and only after--do you get to have a conversation about performance and "firing" teachers, etc."


@Geoffrey
"Percentages of teachers who are considering leaving the district won't be accurate because anybody can make idle threats just to give the union something to complain about."
No poll about 'feelings' will be completely accurate at determining motivations, but I guess cynicism can be used to make sense of things to those who refuse to do the basic math highlighting the core living salary issue at debate here.


@Greg
"If you want to do this accurately, break out STEM teachers as their own unit, and pay them accordingly."
And for those elementary teachers teaching *all* subjects including STEM ... ?

"Otherwise, our kids will be taught by the best mathematicians willing to accept less than half the salary they could make at Google."
You are aware that teaching is not the same skill as application right? I don't think Google is interested in getting people to teach others how to do basic math, they want people who don't need to be taught advanced mathematics and can already apply it. They are different, equally important skills.

"You don't have that concern in the history department. History majors are a dime a dozen. You don't need to pay them the same as chemists."
Kids who aren't aware of history will make wonderfully well-rounded voters, won't they? And, of course EVERYONE uses classroom-level chemistry in their daily lives. I mean, I can't count the number of times I've wondered about how many moles of water I need to make pasta. Exposing students to all subjects, and doing it well, is important - not every kid will be interested in pursuing STEM careers. You never know which subject a student could end up MAKING history in. By the way, just how many dedicated chemistry teachers are there in MVWSD with its elementary and middle schools?


@bob
"In most other professions, an employee is judged on their performance, and paid accordingly."
So as I asked "Los Altos teacher salary", just how would you measure performance? What would you pay an entry-level teacher with no performance to judge?

"I would rather have a dropout who can motivate and inspire students to be effective learners."
Sounds great. Motivation will solve all problems! We don't need people who have been trained to identify and adapt instruction for various processing disorders, just give 'em to Motivation Joe. He doesn't know a lick about subjects we need him to teach but he can sure get kids wound up about learning. Most kids will be just fine with Joe and Wikipedia, right? Seriously now, motivating students is important. So is motivating employees. How do you think the district and the community is doing in motivating teachers through this time of tech-generated, regional inflation?

"If you look and act professional, the public will reciprocate and treat you as a professional."
In many professions people are given respect simply because of the title they've earned. "Teacher" doesn't seem to be one. But I guess we should ask teachers to stop using personal funds to buy supplies from Oriental Trading Co. or Lakeshore and instead spend their money on a trip over to Stanford Shopping Center. I've known doctors who dress well and miss obvious cancer diagnoses, I've known nurses who are required to wear scrubs because a part of their day may include changing into clothes that aren't soiled with a patient's bodily fluids. The teachers in MVWSD I have seen wear clothes appropriate to their position: comfortable for working with kids all day and approachable so that parents aren't intimidated by them. I have never seen a teacher dressed in such a way that they could be mistaken for a janitor. Before you said pay is judged on performance and didn't include dress. Are you saying that how they dress should be included in performance evaluations? A checkbox for whether they wear Jimmy Choos or Ferragamos?


@Christopher Chiang
"...why not provide teacher housing at Cooper Park, that belongs to the district, but is ill suited for future school use?"
Who is going to pay for and perform the duties of landlord? Will the units be built to support teachers' families or would they be discriminated against? How many teachers' families can be housed there? What will you do with the teachers who don't win the lottery? How long can they reside there before you boot them out? How will this address the attrition problem going forward as more and more teachers retire or leave and increased numbers of replacements need living accommodations? Wasn't this "living in the projects" in the 70's? The district doesn't have the best record of dealing with facilities issues anyway. Better to simply give teachers cost-of-renting allowances tagged to some local housing index but even that has issues.

"Why not experiment with providing employee buses? Google and Apple provide buses to Danville and beyond, we could even try these with our current school buses, and some WiFi."
Because teachers aren't tech workers and MVWSD isn't Google. How do you spread out classwork in a bus to grade? Does it have onboard copiers and laminators? What happens if the bus is caught in traffic and you have 15 teachers who aren't able to be in their classrooms on time - can the sub pool absorb this? Who will pay for teacher's extended child care? What about when the bus is late taking them home? What are you doing to their families (teachers are allowed to have them in this century) by requiring them to keep bus schedules? What about afterschool meetings, evening school events... are you ready to make allowances for those? What happens when fuel prices rise? Some districts allow you to take a half-day to go to a medical appointment. Not as easy to do if your doctor/dentist is in Tracy. Will the district give teachers the other perks Google gives like free lunches and dinners, free child care, free laundry services, etc.? Yeah, no. This is not a way to attract new teachers to the district: come work in Mountain View and we'll give you enough to live in the center of the valley ... rather Central Valley.

"The cheapest way to retain our teachers is free, it's to build a culture of respect and reverence for our teachers."
Your suggestions are to either keep teachers in a lottery-based commune or in some far off community. These are not equivalent discussions to broadcasting a meeting on Youtube. As you well know, MVWSD does not have the deep pockets of Apple or Google. While *respect* is a nice goal, it doesn't pay bills. It won't help buy supplies for classrooms. It won't pay for childcare. It won't pay for student loans and ongoing education. Respect can start with agreement that teachers are being priced out and the local funding sources are needed until the state collects more from, and contributes more to, expensive areas.


@Patrick Neschleba
"...it's nice to see that both sides seem to be saying they want to fix the problem."
Well said.

It would be nice to see more vocal support for their efforts instead of hearing from those who just want to put their head in the sand until the teachers disappear. This is like watching people who have been told they had treatable cancer four years ago complaining that they don't understand why it's metastasized and they only have a few years to live.

It's hard to respect a community that doesn't respect its educators and other members of the community that we will be losing because of uncontrolled tech-driven housing costs.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2016 at 8:22 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2016 at 8:22 am
4 people like this

@ teacher from another community / National Board Certification/ not the same as a Master degree certificate. I've read some extensive economics research on teacher effectiveness. National Board Certified teachers. These teachers have a statistically significant better result helping their students achieve more on curriculum standards test (narrow academic achievement). This effect is not apparent for those teachers who have Masters or PhD (or EdD) certificates.

The same research, showed conclusively that more teaching experience also highly matched better student academic achievement. At least for the first 6-10 years of experience. This research couldn't really separate the 'older-wiser-better' effect from teachers accumulating post graduate education classes, or Professional Development or even post graduate degree diplomas.

Would a teacher acquiring a Master Degree in Educational Administration equate to a classroom teacher that was more effective in helping student academic achievement? What is the research data?

These are just personal opinions, SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD


Teacher
another community
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:00 am
Teacher, another community
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:00 am
10 people like this

As a MVWSD teacher, I will not be staying in the district for long, My combined commute is almost 2 hours per day on top of a full day teaching. The kids deserve better. The teachers deserve better. The district where I live pays better than MVWSD does and yet has a far lower cost of living. Information about salary schedules is easily found on the internet and it is frankly insulting that the district spent over $38,000 on a "study" that compared MVWSD to San Bruno and Santa Rosa and found them comparable to our district. The attempt to pass off these as comparable districts is laughable and insulting to any professional teacher who has more than two brain cells and access to a search bar.

There is a distinct shortage of young teachers that stick around in this district. The older, better paid teachers are doing ok, in part due to owning their own homes and being locked in to a mortgage that is maintainable. What does the district plan to do when all of these teachers retire? There are far better places to work, in order to achieve work-life balance. The teacher shortage is only going to become more critical as teachers leave the area in droves.


Name hidden
Sylvan Park

on Sep 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm
Name hidden, Sylvan Park

on Sep 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

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