An Honest Cheat Sheet

Important data every citizen needs

Spending and taxes

About fifty percent of all general fund spending in California goes toward education.

In CA, between 2000-2001 and 2010-2011, 14,000 teaching positions were lost, but 4,000 administrators and Pupil Services workers (nurses, counselors, librarians, etc.) were added. Also, 14,000 classified workers (classroom aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, etc.) were added. See the numbers here.

Over the past four decades, per pupil spending in California has doubled. In dollar terms, Californians are spending $27 billion more today on K-12 education than they did in 1974 – and that is after controlling for both enrollment growth and inflation.

Teacher's unions constantly clamor for tax hikes. In November 2012 they successfully campaigned for Prop. 30, which raised income tax for some and sales tax for all. According to Richard Rider:

Los Angeles Unified School District claims it spends about $10,000 per student. In reality, it is really closer to $25,000 per student.

Nationwide, charter schools spend on average $8,864 per pupil versus $12,373 per pupil in conventional public schools. Read the study here.



Teachers and Students

Because of an archaic tenure system, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to rid a school system of one incompetent or criminal teacher?

The average teacher’s annual salary in CA is $69,324, fourth highest in the country. (That amount does not include the teacher’s health plan and a state pension plan.)

Nationwide, CA 4th grade students rank 47th in both math and reading.

Teachers in CA do not pay into the Social Security System, but they do pay into the state teacher retirement system. They pay 8 percent of each paycheck. But since the taxpayer pays the teachers, it is the taxpayer who pays this portion of the teacher’s pension. The “employer” then contributes another 8.25 percent. The employer of course is the school district which receives its funding from the taxpayer. The state (again the taxpayers) kicks in another 5.5 percent.  So it is the taxpayer who is paying for the whole thing. The taxpayer will pay one more time because the system is unsustainable unless the stock market doubles about every 9 years.

Teachers can pad their pay by taking useless “professional development” classes that can “earn” them an extra million dollars in their careers and retirement?

When teachers in CA retire, they can cash in any sick time they have not used. (Teachers typically get about ten sick days per year.) This means that if a teacher works for 30 years and retires with 180 unused sick days, they are credited with having taught 31 years. (180 days equals one full school year.)

Thirty percent of freshmen entering the University of California need remediation. Sixty percent of Cal State students need remediation and 90 percent of students entering the state’s community colleges need remediation.

From Professor Jay Greene: “The average ed school, we found, has a multiculturalism-to-math ratio of 1.82, meaning that it offers 82 percent more courses featuring social goals than featuring math. At Harvard and Stanford, the ratio is about 2: almost twice as many courses are social as mathematical. At the University of Minnesota, the ratio is higher than 12. And at UCLA, a whopping 47 course titles and descriptions contain the word ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘diversity,’ while only three contain the word ‘math,’ giving it a ratio of almost 16.”

It has been estimated that 5 to 7 percent of teachers should not be employed as teachers. In CA, there are about 300,000 teachers. If we use the middle number – 6 percent – that means that there are 18,000 teachers who shouldn’t be in the classroom. If each of these teachers has 25 kids in their class, that means 450,000 kids a year are getting an inferior education. (This is only counting elementary teachers. Middle and high school teachers have more students, thus can inflict more damage.) According to Eric Hanushek, “Assuming the upper-bound estimate of teachers’ impact, U.S achievement could reach that in Canada and Finland if we replaced with average teachers the least effective 5 to 7 percent of teachers, respectively. Assuming the lower-bound estimate of teachers’ impact, U.S achievement could reach that in Canada and Finland if we replaced with average teachers the least effective 8 to 12 percent of teachers, respectively.”

A recent study details an employment explosion in America’s public schools. Between 1950 and 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent while the number of full-time school employees grew 386 percent. “Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.”

After having spent about $180 billion since 1965, the federal government now tells us that Head Start doesn’t work. “There was little evidence of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group,” the researchers wrote in an executive summary.

Courtesy of the Broad Foundation:

Reams of statistics reveal that far too many American public schools are failing our students, teachers and parents, particularly in urban areas.

American students are not learning the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

  • Two out of three eighth-graders can’t read proficiently and most will never catch up. (NAEP, 2011) (NAEP, 2011)
  • Nearly two-thirds of eighth-graders scored below proficient in math. (NAEP, 2011)
  • Seventy-five percent of students are not proficient in civics. (NAEP, 2011)
  • Nearly three out of four eighth-and 12th-grade students cannot write proficiently. (NAEP, 2012)
  • Some 1.1 million American students drop out of school every year. (EPE, 2012)
  • For African-American and Hispanic students across the country, dropout rates are close to 40 percent, compared to the national average of 27 percent. (EPE, 2012)

To learn more, go here.


The Teachers Unions

Every teacher contract in the state has a provision whereby teachers who are union representatives get classroom time off each month to do union business? Sometimes the union pays for the sub, but in any event, the union rep is being paid by the taxpayer to do union business on school time.

It is the taxpayer-supported school district, not the teachers unions, that collects the union dues that teachers are forced to pay in this state.

In 2013-2014, The National Education Association collected $362 million in dues and spent $132 million on politics.

National Education Association and state affiliate revenues for 2012-2013 were almost $1.6 billion. No taxes were paid on any of this money.

The California Teachers Association took in over $183 million in 2012-2013 and paid no taxes.

CTA spent over $211 million on politics in 2000-2009, by far the biggest political spender in the state.

CTA spent 6.5 million on lobbying in 2011 – the most in the state.

In 2013-2014, CTA executive director Carolyn Doggett made over $400,000 in total compensation. CTA assistant executive director, James Thrasher made over $500,000 during the same period.

New Jersey Education Association President Vince Giordano’s yearly compensation is almost $500,000.

In 2008, Reg Weaver’s last year as NEA President he made $686,949 in total compensation.

Now retired, much of Weaver’s $242,000 pension is paid by taxpayers.



Download the CTEN brochure by clicking here.

Can you use a few extra hundred dollars a year? You teach in a state where you are required to pay union dues, even if you don’t want to be a member. However, you are not required to pay money that goes toward political activities. Go to our "Do you know?" page to learn how you can receive your rebate.

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