Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Simple math solves the San Diego school district budget problems

Often the simplest solution is the best and most workable.

The San Diego school district is facing a $122M deficit on a $1.1B budget.  They have 7,000 teachers and 118,000 students.  Instead of furlows or new taxes, I propose that each of the 7,000 teachers takes 17 students under their wing and teaches them year round.  The teachers will be paid $115.5k per year and the district will still have $168M to pay for 7,000 rental spaces for the year (at $24k/yr) and there will be no deficit. 

Can my plan work?  Let's do the math.
  • 118,000 students over 7,000 teachers is about 16.85. So 17 students per teacher. Check.
  • $1.1B minus $122M is $978M. Check.
  • 7,000 rental spaces at $2,000/month for 12 months is $168M.  Check.
  • $978M minus $168M is $810M. Check.
  • $810M over 7,000 teachers is $115,714.29.  Check.

There you go, people, no more budget problem, no more large class sizes, and no more bullshit administrators.  Students have buy their own books and bring their own lunch.  That's how it works in higher education, so you might as well get used to it now.

Also note that this plan removes the necessity to maintain large school campuses, and flows $168M into the local rental economy.

Now you may need a small number of administrators, say 100 or so, to manage the instructors and effectively gauge their performance, but adding in 1/70th of the number of employees won't reduce their salaries much.  And, you can add the evaluation procedure I came up with.

Here is how I would change the school system in order to evaluate instructors' abilities:
  1. K-12 changes to year round quarter system with no elevator (Students must take a comprehensive test to pass each grade).
  2. Test the students at the start of the quarter. No curves.
  3. Test the students at the end of the quarter. No curves.
  4. Evaluate their degree of improvement.
  5. Rank instructors from A to F.
  6. Send D instructors to retrain for a weekend every month of the quarter.
  7. Send F instructors to retrain for an entire quarter.
  8. Fire FF (2 Fs in a row) instructors. (No more tenure.)
  9. Send DF (D followed by F) instructors to retrain for an entire quarter.
  10. Rotate classes so all instructors are tested with all students.
  11. Repeat.

1 would prevent students who didn't know earlier material from being pushed into material they won't understand. 2 gets a baseline for every student. 3 establishes their new level of knowledge, and 4 documents their improvement during their studies. 5 ranks the net improvement of each instructor's students against the other instructor's statistics, while 6 & 7 try to salvage failing instructors. 8 eliminates bad instructors and 9 gives failing instructors one last chance to be salvaged. 10 and 11 ensure "good instructors" won't be "stuck with crap students."

You could also sweeten the deal by giving bonuses to AA instructors. This would take time, but continual review on a quarterly basis like this might work.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sunshine and Term Limits

I have two more ideas for amendments that, if implented, may help to prevent our government from becoming a totalitarian state.

An Amendment to Prevent Unread bills from becoming Law
No bill may become law if
(a) it exceeds 25 pages in length, including all amendments, or
(b) it has been available to the Legislature and the Citizens to read for less than 30 calendar days, or
(c) it has been modified by amendment within the prior 30 calendar days, or
(d) fewer than all voting Legislators affirm under penalty of perjury that they have read the bill in full.
An Amendment to Limit the terms of elected officials
Section 1 of the Twenty-Second amendment is amended to read:
No person shall be elected to any federal public office more than twice, and no person who has held that office, or acted in the capacity of that office, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected to that office shall be elected to that office more than once. This article shall apply to every person currently holding any office, but shall not prevent any such person from fulfilling the remainder of such term, unless duly replaced by Constitutionally approved means.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another amendment that will never get passed!

I had another idea for an amendment, one that would ensure growth in government is halted and small government is maintained.

A Constitutional Amendment to restrict growth of government:
1. No bill may become United States law if it is passed with less than unanimous consent of both the Senate and the House, and

(a) it includes in whole or part any tax increase of any kind.
2. No bill may become United States law if it is passed with less than unanimous consent of both the Senate and the House,  and
(a) it includes an increase in the national debt limit, or
(b) it includes borrowing on the credit of the United States, or
(c) it includes the issuance of bonds.

3. No bill may become United States law if it is passed with less than unanimous consent of both the Senate and the House, and
(a) it increases funding to existing federal programs, or
(b) it increases transfers of funding to state programs, or
(c) it creates new programs of any kind that require funding
4. A bill may become United States law if it is passed with a simple majority of both the Senate and the House, and
(a) it decreases funding to existing federal programs, or
(b) it decreases transfers of funding to state programs, or
(c) it ends programs of any kind that require funding.
5. Only Congress can pass laws.  No executive order or agency rule is law, or may be treated as law, or be enforced as law, except
(a) executive orders issued by the President of the United States in compliance with Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Of No Consequence

Politicians are politicians are politicians. Liberal left? Conservative right? Don't make me laugh. These guys are all the same. You think Republicans DON'T root for Democrats' programs to fail? You think Democrats DON'T root for Republicans' programs to fail? You're kidding yourselves.

Politicians care first, foremost, and only about themselves - their measure of success is how much power they can accumulate over others. If you want to understand how little different the left and right are, examine their economics. Economic freedom is the basis of all freedom - economic slavery is the basis of tyranny. The left and the right share a single economic theory.

This isn't new data - and people who sacrifice principle to the expedient by "voting for the lesser of two evils" are a part of the problem.

It really took me years to come to this conclusion - that politicians are all the same. The only difference is the special interest they serve, and in my opinion that is no difference at all. For politicians it is all about money and power; there isn't any underlying substance to them. They are hollow, morally and intellectually bankrupt; they are completely lacking integrity and conviction. They are quite simply the most awful of people.
When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence.
Gary Lloyd