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Board Meeting Summary - 2/21/2024: The Union is Bad at Math; Our Students are Bad at Math

The Teachers Union Declares: Let Them Eat Pizza!

The Carlsbad Unified Teachers Association (CUTA) signed a 3 year contract in June 2023, complete with a 5% raise made retroactive to July 1, 2022 (i.e. bonus + raise). 3 months later, they reopened negotiations to ask for more money, despite an ever increasing state budget deficit and dire predictions for school funding next year.

Before the Board Meeting, CUTA told their members that CUSD was only offering them a 1.9% raise, and implored their members to show up to the meeting to demand more. They even hosted a pizza party in the parking lot to convince members to come.

Perhaps almost 100 members showed up to listen to the CUTA President and Bargaining Team Chair demand that the Board not "cut" their giving them a 1.9% raise. Huh?

But wait, it gets better! In the next breath, the CUTA President also demanded that CUSD lower class sizes, which are as high as 45 students at our high schools. Just one problem - both of these things cost money, so they have to pick one, as I discussed here:

Which one will they pick? When they negotiate behind closed doors with CUSD, out of sight of the public, we know exactly what they'll say: they'll take the money.

100 teachers showed up to demand a bigger raise. How many showed up for our kids?

Mid-Year Progress Report - "Lying With Statistics"

This is a mid-year progress report on the LCAP ("Local Control Accountability Plan"), which essentially reflects the Board's academic and other goals. Each year, the District Staff sets miniscule goals for improvement (2% growth in math proficiency from Fall to Spring) that are almost impossible to miss. As you can see below, these tiny goals aren't going to get our students anywhere close to success anytime soon: only 40% of high school students are proficient in math! Assistant Superintendent Nye tried to explain - without any evidence - that these scores are low because students don't take the tests seriously.

Notice anything else? The overall District proficiency in math is 57.2%, mostly due to the much higher proficiency (and growth) for elementary students. Why? Well, one reason is they spent $800,000 on special intervention teachers only to help elementary students improve their scores.

Given the overall scores, should CUSD be more concerned with the proficiency of elementary school students or high school students? Let me help answer that by including the slide from the meeting with Goal 1:

Did you catch that? Ensure student growth "so they leave TK-12 ready for college/career." Why are they focused on helping elementary students with higher scores instead of high school students with far lower scores who are about to "leave TK-12" and are supposed to be "ready for college/career?" No clue.

This wasn't the only thing wrong with the presentation. A few slides down, Trustee Vurbeff asked about a large discrepancy in the number of students in certain demographics (like Hispanics) who took the Fall STAR Test (2,222) but didn't take the Winter STAR Test (1,871) - a difference of 351 for just this sub-group!

Assistant Superintendent Nye attempted to explain the discrepancy with a wide variety of excuses - that some students might have been absent (351 on ONE day?), and that students who were deemed proficient in the Fall - like students in AP English - do not take the Winter STAR Test for ELA (English Language Arts). This was also a lie.

Ironically, during the board meeting, I received an email from CUSD with my son's results from his Winter STAR ELA test results - even though he is enrolled in AP English.

What's happening here? Are students being left out of the test to make sure the numbers show growth? The Board should be very concerned with this discrepancy, but unfortunately the majority of the Board trusts the staff (or might be fine with them manipulating statistics?) and is happy to accept that these miniscule goals are being met. After all, they have to justify the DEI Plan they passed and the significant academic goals they claimed we could achieve!

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