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Teacher Pay Becomes Election Issue In San Diego Unified


Aired 10/25/10

San Diego voters will soon decide who should represent public schools in the northeastern part of the city.

— San Diego voters will soon decide who should represent public schools in the northeastern part of the city.

A teacher, a businessman, and an attorney are running for that seat on the San Diego Unified Board of Education. At issue is whether school workers' pay should be cut next year.

The San Diego Unified School Board asked teachers to take ten furlough days over the next ten years to deal with massive state budget shortfalls. In exchange, trustees promised to raise teachers pay at the end of those two years.

But critics say the pay raises combined with likely state-budget cuts will consume the district's entire budget.

Incumbent Katherine Nakamura, running as a write-in candidate, says it's time to rethink employee compensation.

“It is likely we are going to have to sit-down at the table and take another look at what our agreement is and open up the contract,” she said.

Nakamura has voted for teacher layoffs in the past. That's why the powerful teachers union is backing Kevin Beiser, a math teacher in the South Bay. Beiser says asking teachers to take unpaid furlough days is more than enough.

“Instead of holding the line they said, 'You know what? We're going to step up to the plate and we're going to do what's right so we're going to maintain class sizes.'” he said.

But businessman Steven Rosen says it's time the school board puts more pressure on labor unions.

“It is not just the teachers union, it is the labor union across the board. We're not cutting compensation and benefits. We’re cutting kids’ programs.” Rosen said.

The school board is under scrutiny for its relationship with labor unions. Some critics want to expand the five-member board to prevent special interest influence.

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Avatar for user 'oldschoolcool'

oldschoolcool | October 25, 2010 at 3:08 p.m. ― 6 years, 5 months ago

Amazing self serving greed of this Teachers Union. Again and again.

And they continue to lie to the Taxpayers and say the budget is the reason for their inability to function.
Everyone already knows the grotesque facts. The Unions have destroyed public education.
It quit being about the kids a long time ago.

Time to go private!

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Avatar for user 'cjgoldsmith'

cjgoldsmith | October 26, 2010 at 3:49 p.m. ― 6 years, 5 months ago

As a female teacher, I have benefited from the 'equal pay' protections of unions, but after that, I came to the conclusion many years ago that people are just now waking up to- unions are at the heart of what is wrong with education. As long as bad teachers can get equal pay as good ones, are protected from losing the job that they are self-selecting themselves out of, or union rules prohibit young talented teachers from getting competitive wages, mediocrity will be the standard in American public education. As an educator, I welcome the day when teacher compete to be the best because there are financial incentives.

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Avatar for user 'starfish'

starfish | October 26, 2010 at 11:46 p.m. ― 6 years, 5 months ago

There is a whole list of reasons I'm voting for Kevin Beiser for School Board.
It should be noted he is a teacher. Not just a teacher but Math Teacher of the Year.

He Helped turn around an under performing school--we need this kind of can-do attitude on the Board.

If you talk to his kids and their parents you'll find out he puts Kids first in the class room every day.

Kevin Beiser is a school teacher who will fight for smaller class sizes.

And Kevin Beiser is the only candidate endorsed by the President of the San Diego County Board of Education, President of the San Diego College Board of education and numerous other educators.

Visit for more information.

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Avatar for user 'Frankie'

Frankie | October 26, 2010 at 11:52 p.m. ― 6 years, 5 months ago

I wish I had a dollar for every blockheaded belief that unions are somehow killing off opportunities for American children to receive a decent free public education. It's just not true.

There is plenty systemically the matter with the way public education is conducted. You can start with classes that are too large for the task to be accomplished, followed by too little time on task for students, followed by wild variations in funding that is itself inadequate and unstable. Add to that a field that lacks high professional standards for education and certification of its practitioners and brings low pay once one is installed in a classroom.

Public education is the bedrock of our democracy, but we have not made it a national priority for reform since Sputnik -- and that was a long time ago.
We are overdue. Answers do not lie in demonizing the people who deliver the lessons or by going private, but in planning and executing positive changes in a good-enough system to make it great.

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