A recent Chamber of Commerce piece strongly supported Davis schools and Measure E. However, one point made was that furloughs affect businesses through parental absences from the workplace and reduced productivity. Also mentioned was the financial burden on parents who have to hire child-care providers or miss work.
They also pointed out that furloughs are a negative for the students, who lose teaching and learning days. The impact of this is beginning to be evident in Davis test scores, which lag peers in the Sacramento area.
The University of California had a serious financial crunch a few years ago and furloughs equivalent to 5 to 10 percent salary cuts were given while UC made budget adjustments. However, essentially no classes, lectures, labs, tutorials or office hours were missed or unmet by teaching assistants, lecturers or professors. The furlough days were taken on non-teaching days — if at all.
Surely, theDavis Teachers Association should allow teachers to at least vote on taking furlough days on some of the many other days during the year when they are not teaching, so as not to disadvantage students and parents. Most Davis teachers truly earn their pay and benefits, and do a great job, and most parents are thankful and involved.
The Sacramento Bee has reported that no Davis schools scored among the top 15 local schools, a new development: “Davis schools are seeing test scores fall,” “Davis schools still rank high, but lag peers” (Sacbee.com, Jan. 19, 2012). I recall we used to see five or six of our schools ranked in the area’s top 15 or 20. Also in the above piece: Davis saw three of five of its top schools fall out of the top 10 percent statewide Academic Performance Index scores. In general, Davis schools “had high overall ranking, but low similar-school rankings.”
Most parents feel the Davis schools are very good and that test scores do not accurately reflect the abilities of the students or the teachers. Nevertheless, I hope candidates and the elected school board will look at these issues.