Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Budget Recommendations Discussed

If you weren't at last night's meeting, you should read Rachel Canelli's recap in today's Courier Times.

In some ways the news of the budget proposal wasn't quite as bad as we expected - no gutting of educational programs, no drastic changes to the classes offered to our students, no elimination of extracurricular activities. But in other ways, last night's meeting was very painful. If the budget recommendation holds, there will be upwards of 65 positions eliminated throughout all levels of staff. No matter how fiscally responsible such a budget may be, there is nothing you can say that will give comfort to the staff involved or their families.

The bulk of the teaching positions being eliminated are a result of consolidating four 9th grades into the high school. Other teaching positions are being reduced through more effective use of scheduling and assignments. There are also support staff, middle management and cabinet positions which are being reduced.

I met with Dr. Muenker and Mr. Paradise today to ask a few questions and address some concerns I had regarding class sizes and program cuts. I had heard rumors and fears of class sizes jumping upwards of 35 students, but Dr. Muenker quickly reassured me that he does not foresee that happening. He was also confident that the vast majority of classes that students have today will be available next year (assuming of course there is sufficient student interest in the class).

Perhaps the best way I can summarize this situation is to say that the class your student is interested in will most likely be available to them next year, but it may not be taught by the teacher they might normally expect.

Another topic of particular interest to students and parents is a participation fee for extracurricular activities, which cost the district $1.6 million annually. The recommendation is that we recover approximately $250k in fees but an actual plan to do that is still to be determined. My guess is this will be a very tricky plan to implement as there are as many variables as there are activities themselves. If the board cannot come to an agreement as to how to recover these fees, we'll have to find another way to make up the difference.

The bottom line in this proposal is that it will cut our deficit by over $10 million, bringing the proposed tax increase down to 3.6% which is below the Act 1 limit of 4.1%. Not exactly a zero percent increase, but it's far better than the 12.5% increase we faced with the original $14 million deficit.

I'm sure you have many concerns about class sizes, staffing, extracurricular activities, etc. I strongly encourage you to bring your questions and comments directly to the board at our next meeting on Tuesday, May 5th.
.

49 comments:

Gabriel said...

From a budgetary standpoint this is a positive development. The budget was trimmed with minimal impact to the students' programs. Some tax payers will criticize you for not achieving a flat budget but they are not being realistic.

I am concerned about the educational impact of this budget with class size being a #1 priority. Ideal class sizes are probably in the 20+ student range but the current economic situation won't allow for that. We all would agree that 35 per class would be too crowded. But the range between 20 and 35 is great and I'd like to understand where we will fall in that range (on the average). I will try to attend the next meeting and ask that question.

Pianomom said...

Gabriel took the words out of my mouth. I'm sure we will see some good teachers go as a result of this but that is a sign of the times, but what will this do to class size. Perhaps Dr. Muenker doesn't foresee overcrowding, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. If next year's classes are too crowded will the district hire more teachers? Or will the zero tax bunch scare the board into just making our students live with it?

LivininLevittown said...

The teachers are getting a taste of what the rest of us go through every day. Maybe if they understood what it's like for most taxpyers they will accept the contract offer. The editorial in todays paper says the same thing Mr. Oconner and you should put that on your blog to.

JS said...

I still feel strongly against the whole "Pay to Play" issue considering a large majority of the $1.6 million dollar budget for activities goes towards paying advisers/coaches and officials. Remember the adviser/coaches salaries are part of the contract negotiations. They are listed so that everyone knows what they will get.

With that being said that same contract shows that nearly $900,000 of the $1.6 million is simply to salaries. I would be guessing that at least another couple hundred thousand goes towards officials for games.

I just feel extremely wrong about putting costs on the students (well yes, more precisely the parents) while the adults get to go on like nothing changes. In fact those adviser/coach salaries even go towards their pension. Cut some coaching/advising salaries and you'll have your $250,000.

Also one other question Mr. O'Connor. Did the district do an open interview for Superintendent? Or was Dr. Muenker just proposed because he was in place? If he was, why was no open interview process undertaken? Isn't it the job of the Board to find the BEST person, not just the Person who's there?

Don't get me wrong, Dr. Muenker is a good man. I just think that the District needs an outside view. Plus I think he has too much of a history with the District to be able to make tough choices and go against the Board when needed like Mr. Kadri did. In fact I believe that's why he was selected by the Board at this point (or at least portions of the board) because he does seem so amenable.

William O'Connor said...

Gabriel and Pianomom - your concerns for class size are well founded, and it's something we'll have to follow closely as the process unfolds. Sometimes plans look great on paper but fall apart in reality. Hopefully that will not be the case here.

JS - First, the issue of a participation fee (I hate the term pay-to-play): I don't know anyone on the board who likes the idea but the current economy forces us to consider all options. It's possible we may go to another source for the $250k, but right now this is still on the table.

Regarding the superintendent's job, the board consensus was that we not open up a search outside the district. Personally I'm a believer in conducting searches that include both internal and external candidates, but the board believed we were in a critical time where stability at the top spot was imperative. Having said this, even if we did conduct an external search I am almost certain the outcome would have been the same.

JS said...

I concur that it would have probably turned out the same because of the reasons I said above.

And if you (or others on the Board) don't like the term then you should tell Mr. Paradise not to use it as a heading in his post on the District website.

So if you go ahead with the "participation fees" then how do you deal with those that can't afford to "participate"? Now activities are only available to the more financially stable families? Economically Disadvantaged students are benefitted greatly (even more than wealthier ones) by activities. If they aren't involved with something at school, then they are more likely to find "other" activities on the street. I'm not saying it's a definite, but the term "at risk students" are used for a reason.

Keeping some students who can't afford to pay from participating in activities just to me seems downright wrong (not to mention possibly illegal).

sk.langhorne said...

I hope you can find money elsewhere because it's good for children to participate in these activities. Depending on how you structure the fees and what the amount is, these activities will see a decline in participation.

Add my name to those concerned about class size. Sadly there are no easy solutions these days.

William O'Connor said...

We haven't worked out the details of the plan yet, JS, but we do know we have to consider the financially disadvantaged. There will also likely be students who are not in that category who still cannot afford the fees. At what point do we actually turn students away? No easy answers here.

platypus said...

There was a flier circulating among parents a few weeks ago saying music programs for elementary grades were being cut. Based on your post, those appear to be wrong. Can you confirm what happened?

IrishFarm said...

Will next week's meeting be held in the auditorium again?

William O'Connor said...

Elementary music programs are still in place. I don't know the origin of the flier and cannot explain its content.

Next week's board meeting will be held in the Maple Point Auditorium beginning at 7pm.

Rebecca said...

Today's taxpayer is so frustrated that they don't even care about the quality of education. School budgets is the one thing they have some control over so they oppose every expenditure. I read online that in Kadri's new district in Connecticut they had a 1.5% increase and the people up there were upset.
Someone in government better figure out a way to fund education better than it is now because it's never going to improve as it is now.

sportsfan said...

Here is the latest directive to "save" money: Effective immediately, facial tissues will no longer be supplied by the district for classroom or office use. I know everyone is trying to find ways to save money, but this is a public health issue, especially now with the swine flu pandemic. We have children in close quarters in the classrooom. It's allergy season and, believe me, there are plenty of runny noses and sneezes going around. Can we afford toilet paper? Maybe we can save by not ordering the soft brand.

acs said...

So many people are hurting financially in the district. Now sadly teachers will feel some pain as well. Ask the people of flint Michigan if they think Unions have helped them. One generation got everything they demanded....the next cannot even find work in a bankrupt industry and community. The UAW's greed drove jobs overseas and competition ruled the day. So went the greatest Manufacturing Country in the world. Well you can't send teacher's jobs overseas but the Union is having the same impact. Further dumbing down the teaching profession with mediocrity, forcing job loss, and now driving districts into financial ruin. It will only be a matter of time before may Districts will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

KClarinet said...

I won't even dignify the rest of ACS's comment with a response, but the part about "dumbing down the teaching profession with mediocrity" is unconscionable. We have perhaps the best trained teachers, most knowledgeable about education theory and techniques, that we've ever had; also, the most beset with increasingly non-instructional social demands and demands for accommodations of individualized learning needs that have made effective teaching infinitely more difficult than at any other time in our history. The budgetary problems brought on in large part by a financial breakdown that most of us didn't see coming, whether or not we should have, and by some of those demands in the form of unfunded but ever increasing federal and state mandates should not become an excuse to malign today's teachers as dumbed down or increasingly mediocre, whatever you may think of the part the NFT or unions in general have played in causing the current mess.

Gabriel said...

I'm not a pro-union guy ACS but even I take exception to your "dumbing down" statement about the teachers. As is the case with every company, employees range from underperformers to good employees to excellent ones. It's the same way with teachers, and you can make that same statement today or 20 years ago.

You're obviously frustrated with the union's negotiation tactics. So am I, and so are many in our community. But let's not tear down an entire, respectable profession in the process.

I do agree that the auto industry has suffered because of the union contracts, but these are contracts that management willingly agreed to. US auto makers have not been managed well for a long time, and there is plenty of blame to go around.

neshaminy4ever said...

You'll have better luck closing another school than you will trying to institute a pay-2-play fee. There is no fair way to do it, and you'll get significant pressure from the more influential groups, like football, to leave them alone. Better get your $250,000 somewhere else.

JS said...

You're probably right, but Football parents already pay a couple hundred dollars a year to the booster club right off the bat.

How else do you think they pay for 12 paid coaches when only 8 are paid for by the District.

I tend to agree that you may be able to more easily close a school than charge for activities. Charging for all activities (High School and Middle, both sports and clubs) will be an auspicious task with no real good way to do it.

An additional question...

Currently their are 6 Administrators at the High School. With the addition of both the Alt Ed and 9th grades will there still be an individual Administrator for both of those entities? If that's the case we will be spending almost $1 million dollars in salary (not even including benefits) for 8 people in one building. Seems a bit excessive.

KClarinet said...

Nearly 3,000 students in one building seems excessive.

William O'Connor said...

JS - For obvious reasons, I cannot comment on specific position consolidations. Those employees should hear about their job situation from the district, not from reading about it in a blog.

JS said...

I understand you can't comment, just want to voice the situation so others who read this are aware.

I also think we should be asking for some of our construction money back from contractors for doing sub-standard work. Have any Board member tour that building with someone who actually uses it and not an administrator and you'll find a host of corner cuts. (I do have a sinking feeling though that most of those cuts might have been approved by the administration to facilitate the "on time, on budget" claim)

Seriously the second biggest problem in this District, behind the teacher contract issue, is the fact that their are too many places where extra money is being thrown at issues just because that's how it has been done. People soon learn to not do jobs or do them correctly when there is cronyism and nepotism.

I mean, come on, there is no reason that they are already having to replace items and systems in the newly constructed parts of the High School.

acs said...

KClarinet, Gabriel, Please relax.
I am sorry I did not mean to offend sometimes blogging sends wrong tone. I am assuming you may be a teacher or administrator. Unfortunately for you both and ALL OF US, to defend the American Public Education as not being mediocre does not have credence or any basis in fact. It is only your fantasy wish.
I am not saying there are not great teachers, there certainly are. However, if we want to compare to business we need to do apples to apples. Business is measured on results.You succeed or fail. It is performance based. For education the only what to measuure reults is relative student performance globally.
Read below:
American Schools Are Failing

American schools are failing because they are not teaching their students how to read, how to do math, or how to do science.

- American students rank 21st in science
- American students rank 25th in math
- 70% of American 8th graders can not read at an 8th grade level
- American students rank 21st in graduation rate

This is the report card no pun intended. Just facts. So now how do you defend this. I was being kind when I said mediocre. We are actually closer to the bottom of ranking among leading economies like us. I know there are other societal impacts however we have to compare as we can. We have been on this slippery slope for 30 + years and NON-MERIT based performance, demanded by UNIONS forever has "dumbed down" education. It can only be denied by those with teacher bias not objective observers. Just facts, I was not trying to insult anyone so I apologize. We all want superior education. We do not have it and more money and benefits for teachers is not the answer. Serious performance based pay that President Obama is insisting on is part of the the answer-charter schools are something he supports as well. Good luck with that. Unions elected him and Unions will not permit it. Hence, further "dumbing down" of the profession. Chancellor Rhee in DC understands this more than anyone. Please read what she writes about and her advocacy for performcance based teaching and charter school. She is an innovator fighting an uphill battle caused by the same union culture that destroyed American manufacturing. Sad but true.

KClarinet said...

ACS wrote:

Read below:
American Schools Are Failing

American schools are failing because they are not teaching their students how to read, how to do math, or how to do science.

- American students rank 21st in science
- American students rank 25th in math
- 70% of American 8th graders can not read at an 8th grade level
- American students rank 21st in graduation rate
You don't cite the source of your figures, but I'll accept that they come from some reputable source. Statistics, however factual, always have more than one possible set of meanings. They are numbers, which must be interpreted, and your interpretation isn't by any means the only one possible. In fact, the numbers you supply already represent a level of interpretation. They aren't the raw numbers. Some interpretive points:

First, one needs to know what measure is being used. I assume the comparisons are to other nations' school systems. How were the rankings in science and math arrived at? (More about reading and graduation rates below)

Second, many (if not all) of the 20 plus nations ahead of us in math and science screen students at a relatively early age to determine who gets to go on to more advanced schooling in the academic disciplines. This allows for more concentrated training than our far more diverse middle and high school population allows (with present funding levels). What students are being counted toward the statistic? The select ones in the academic high schools or all students in any kind of post-primary training?

Third, who is being counted in the graduation rate? Every person who reaches the age of majority? Every student who began school in the primary grades? Only those students who were permitted to enter high school? We not only encourage, we actually require, every child under a specific age (generally between 16 and 18) to attend our high schools. Who is included in the figures that represent the other 20 nations?

Fourth, what is an 8th grade reading level? There's no description on a stone tablet brought down from a mountain. And, again, who is being compared? Here every child is required to be in school at the age of 8th grade (around 14 years old). Whose 8th grade is being used as a criterion level?

There is another facet to this - one I have ranted about anytime I've had a listener on whom to inflict myself, until I've actually begun to bore myself with it. Increasingly since the 1980s, government, primarily Federal, has mandated that more and more resources be devoted to teaching the educationally challenged. Since little or no funding has accompanied these mandates, the money to satisfy them has had to come from local funds - necessarily at the expense of more able students who should be our schools' best "product." I believe in educating children with special needs to the best level of which they are capable, but so long as Neshaminy taxpayers need to foot almost the entire bill for it and resist additional taxes to pay for it, other children get less. NCLB is the most recent, perhaps culminating, development in this progression - every child, regardless of instructional needs, must pass a basic criterion level, "Proficient" on the PSSA. PSSA is a whole other topic, but the fact is that in Neshaminy nearly every minute that is scheduled for staff development is devoted to improvement of PSSA math and reading scores. The resources being consumed by this intense focus on improving the scores of below-proficient students (there is no recognition in NCLB for moving the upper end of the curve higher) account, in my opinion, for the waste of a good deal of talent at the upper end of the student population. One AP science course in 11th grade doesn't replace years of advanced study through all the preceding years for the very brightest, most capable students. In my opinion that's one very big reason why we rank low in science and math (and probably literature, though it's not measured in PSSA).

None of this has to do with mediocre or incompetent teaching.

acs said...

KC, These facts are very well documented but it not my purpose to educate youas they are accepted by ALL rational observers from Presidents, to the Secretary of Education as well as leading Educators. Seems only teachers and Unions protest the empirical measurements since they have opposed performance based laws. My friend I am sure you mean well and love the profession but sadly the low performance of our students in Public School is very much teacher quality related. Again rational normalized data prove it. You obviously have a computer so use google and do the research. If you can prove American PS education is superior in the world and so are the Educators involved I will withdraw. The facts I present are well known and accepted. This has been a National Crisis for 30 years,,,,where have you been? Neshaminy stands out because THEY rank so low compared to many PA SDs that pay very much less. Therefore we are paying excessively for very mediocre student outcome. I know my boss wouldn't do that--- would yours? Argue away...I am listening.

JS said...

Actually I think we would rank high in Literature (though I don't know how you could measure it).

The reason? Literature contains an element of creativity. Something that the U.S. excels in because we include Arts and Music as instruction to a large portion of our students. As dozens of countries try to catch up to the creativity shown by students educated here in the U.S. by adding general Arts and Music classes to the curriculum, we so often hear of those as the first cut in the U.S.

I agree that there are too many unfunded mandates. I believe there also has been an unprecedented increase in the amount of students included in those "special education" programs. I would love to know what the total statewide numbers for IEP's are for the last decade. I'm guessing they've dramatically increased.

The reason? Because it is easier to classify a student and use that as an excuse than either admit the student needs better control (from the parents) or is becoming to much of a problem (for administrators).

How many times do you think we can tell children "it's not your fault" before they think anything and everything they do has no consequences? Teach them responsibility and focus (starting at home) and we'll save millions on less "special education".

KClarinet said...

To ACS (with apologies to those who have gotten tired of reading our long posts, which many may have stopped doing),

Well, you’ve basically told us (me) you’re right because “everyone” knows those numbers to be true. Your reply shows no interest in answering the questions I asked, but I’d like to try. I actually want to take up your challenge to research the stats myself, although it may take me well beyond the life of this discussion, when whatever I find will really matter very little to anyone but me. But, for the sake of saving me from having to completely re-invent the wheel, I’d really appreciate knowing where those specific numbers you quoted came from. I know you didn’t invent them out of whole cloth. Your source would at least be a starting point. 

I’m perhaps going to surprise you, though, by saying that with respect to your overall complaint about the output of public schools over the past thirty years or so, I’m at least partly in agreement with you. I think my schooling in the 1950s and 1960s was, in fact, more thorough than the schooling students in more recent years have received. I just strongly disagree that the difference is in the competency or dedication of teachers, most of whom I think do as much as they can. I had some pretty awful ones when I was a student. I had some really excellent and deeply inspiring ones. And I had teachers who were perfectly competent but dull, unexciting and, in my dotage, largely unmemorable. Probably not much different from today. But the learning terrain was so much less cluttered with political and social agendas, by all the obstacles I described in my second point (“There’s another facet to this…”). There have also been philosophical changes, some at the level of state and Federal government and enforced by legal mandates, some at the level of local school administration, changes of emphasis and distribution of resources, that have in my opinion blurred the focus of much of the curriculum. Meanwhile (at the risk of beating an already dead horse), most recently, NCLB has forced the whole system to veer so far in the direction of trying to teach every student toward “Proficiency” on the writing and math PSSAs that most other areas of learning are being strangled, cut off to an unprecedented degree from both funding and instructional time.

These changes, and the possibly destructive consequences they’ve brought and may yet bring, have, again, little to do with incompetent or undedicated teachers. The primary area of disagreement between you and me, in the end, is over whom to blame for disappointing results. Unfortunately, the contract impasse, the failure to meet AYP of three of the district’s small subgroups, and the worst economic crisis to rock the U.S. (and the world) since the Great Depression, have all come together, and made an easy sell of blaming the teachers and their union (and unions in general), essentially, for all of it.

Now, please help me get started by pointing me toward the figures you counted off in your post the other day. Thanks in advance. 

march said...

Here is something to think about concerning NCLB and PSSA. Next year, the 8th graders will be spending 4 weeks in April to take the PSSA. Week one: Math and Reading, Week two: Writing, Week three: Science, and Week four: Make-up tests. If our government thinks that students will do well on a test that takes one month to give, they have another thing coming. All time and energy is wasted on preparing our students for the PSSA, while my two children, who are advanced, waste their time on test prep and taking the test. Schools will shut down for the month of April, with no homework being given.

KClarinet, I agree with you wholeheartedly that energy and resources are being wasted on students who do not do well and will never do well on the PSSA. Students have IEPs for a reason and when IEPs do not match testing they will not succeed.

The "dumbing down" of education is not the fault of teachers but can be blamed on parents, administrators, and politicians. Parents scream about their kids getting low grades but don't want them to work for the grades. My child sits in classes with students who could care less about education, the fault is the parents. Somehow, my children are able to do well in school and succeed on standardized tests, this is because I have made education a priority. I am sick and tired of the public bashing teachers when I see the problem everyday in my children's classmates. My daughter complained every day of "stupid" kids in her 7th and 8th grade classes who did nothing but destroy her education, this is a problem with parents not teachers.

acs said...

I am too tired to write more. I said in my earlier remarks that there are other societal impacts. These are cultural and it is true that many US parents are not engaged in education. However to deny teacher quality as an significant contributor is missing a big piece of the puzzle and it is not teacher bashing to accept it. Teaching is not a meritocracy it is a job for life. This lack of performance based measurement is coincident with the rapid deterioration of US in global student performance.
We need complete overhaul of our PS system but unions protect status quo.
Also there really are not a lot of people that read this Bolg regularly so not too many to bore.

William O'Connor said...

ACS - NOW you're getting insulting :-( This little ol' blog averages over 250 hits each day. Not bad for a word-of-mouth site that has only periodic updates. You may also be interested in knowing where some of the IP addresses that click here regularly belong to . . . Neshaminy SD and the surrounding school districts, the Bucks and Montgomery IU's, the Tech School, Harrisburg State House, and even one down in Washington DC.

Just because people don't post on a blog doesn't mean they're not reading it. I'd even bet that more active Neshaminy citizens (the ones who go to meetings, who volunteer, who vote) visit this blog daily as compared to the Courier Times site.

Maybe you'll get a bigger, better rise out of people on other sites and you're certainly welcome to take your opinions wherever you want. But if you're trying to reach the people who really care about this district, this is the place.

acs said...

Bill, Sorry no harm intended. Just seems like same cast of characters always. I apoligize because your blog is great.

finance-101 said...

Lot's of different opinions on who is to blame for poor education (which I don't think is the case in Neshaminy). But if U.S. education is slipping, who is to blame.

Please rank the following 1 to 7 as to who is most responsible for our children's educational performance.
They are not in any particular order, but I am hoping everyone picks the same #1.

Federal government
Neshaminy teachers
Neshaminy School Board
Other students
Parents
State government
Taxes

William O'Connor said...

I shouldn't have reacted so strongly, ACS, but I guess I get a little defensive about this blog sometimes. In the past I used to get many, many more posts every day, but I did not require registration then. Since requiring registration, the number of people who post comments has dropped.

I do have 20-25 people who stop by to add their comments periodically. Quite a few of them (to the best of my knowledge) are PTO moms who want to be more involved in Neshaminy, but they often shy away from commenting more frequently because they don't like the nastiness that sometimes follows a heated exchange (I get a few emails about that sort of thing every week). That's why I try to keep the conversation civil.

I want this to be a place for free and respectful exchanges of ideas. It's useful to the readers and, quite frankly, it's very helpful to me (even though I don't necessarily respond to every comment).

Thanks!

Gabriel said...

Interesting poll. Here's my take:

Federal government - 4
Neshaminy teachers - 5
Neshaminy School Board - 6
Other students - 2
Parents - 1
State government - 3
Taxes - 7

Pianomom said...

Federal government (1)
Neshaminy teachers (4)
Neshaminy School Board (5)
Other students (7)
Parents (2)
State government (3)
Taxes (6)

KClarinet said...

Please rank the following 1 to 7 as to who is most responsible for our children's educational performance.
They are not in any particular order, but I am hoping everyone picks the same #1.

Federal government
Neshaminy teachers
Neshaminy School Board
Other students
Parents
State government
Taxes
But you left off the most important one: the student him/herself.

LivininLevittown said...

Please rank the following 1 to 7 as to who is most responsible for our children's educational performance.

Federal government 5
Neshaminy teachers 1
Neshaminy School Board 2
Other students 7
Parents 6
State government 3
Taxes 4

TFR1984 said...

My votes are as follows...
Federal government: 6
Neshaminy teachers: 2
Neshaminy School Board: 4
Other students: 7
Parents: 1
State government: 3
Taxes: 5

acs said...

Federal government: 5
Neshaminy teachers: 1
Neshaminy School Board: 4
Other students: 6
Parents: 2
State government: 3
Taxes: 7

Can't buy success with money. Neshaminay proves it.

Wing Man said...

Federal government 7
Neshaminy teachers 3
Neshaminy School Board 5
Other students 4
Parents 2
State government 6
Taxes 1

neshaminy101 said...

Federal government-6
Neshaminy teachers-2
Neshaminy School Board-3
Other students-7
Parents-1
State government-5
Taxes-4

KClarinet said...

But if U.S. education is slipping, who is to blame.(As I read your post, this is the question on which your poll question seemed predicated.)

Federal government 1
Neshaminy teachers 5
Neshaminy School Board 6
Other students 7
Parents 4
State government 2
Taxes 3

IrishFarm said...

I don't think it's a question of blame or praise. It's a question of who has the most influence, or at least that's where I think Finance is going with this.

Federal government (7)
Neshaminy teachers (5)
Neshaminy School Board (6)
Other students (2)
Parents (1)
State government (4)
Taxes (3)

I am true believer that if parents are reinforcing what is taught to children during the day, students will get a good education. You can pump all the money you want into resources, buildings and teacher salaries, but if the parents aren't kicking some butt at home, then none of it means squat. That's why I ranked parents as #1 and fellow students (who are a reflection of their parents' emphasis on education) as #2.

swelle said...

You raise some interesting points IF. My votes are --

Federal government 7
Neshaminy teachers 2
Neshaminy School Board 4
Other students 3
Parents 1
State government 6
Taxes 5

Jose said...

Federal government 2
Neshaminy teachers 1
Neshaminy School Board 5
Other students 7
Parents 6
State government 3
Taxes 4

Newbie said...

Interesting survey. Can't wait to see what the final results are.
Federal government 6
Neshaminy teachers 2
Neshaminy School Board 3
Other students 4
Parents 1
State government 5
Taxes 7

I Must Be Living in Jersey said...

Today's PC society won't allow us to hold parents responsible for anything anymore, so the decline in education is caused by Agent Orange, free radicals, and Swine Flu.

For the benefit of those who don't believe in PC:
Federal government = 5
Neshaminy teachers = 3
Neshaminy School Board = 2
Other students = 4
Parents = 1
State government = 6
Taxes = 7

I shifted more emphasis to Federal Government because of NCLB, which has had a real impact on education the last few years (I'll leave it to you to debate whether the impact has been good or bad, or both).

JS said...

After several votes (Living in Jersey was the last posted when I totaled) here are the average points. I know this won't be posted until after the Board Meeting tonight, but figured I'd put my past education to test.


Federal government = 4.76
Neshaminy teachers = 2.8
Neshaminy School Board = 4.23
Other students = 5.15
Parents = 2.23
State government = 3.8
Taxes = 4.84


Parents and Teachers, followed by State government (definitely didn't expect that one), then School Board and Federal Gov and Taxes, then Students at the end (which I agree is the least affective to a students education).

I also agree (and would bet it would come in first) that we should include the student themselves.

march said...

Please rank the following 1 to 7 as to who is most responsible for our children's educational performance.
They are not in any particular order, but I am hoping everyone picks the same #1.

Federal government-3
Neshaminy teachers-4
Neshaminy School Board-5
Other students-7
Parents-1
State government-2
Taxes-6

finance-101 said...

Thanks everyone for responding to the survey. I was hoping the majority would think PARENTS had the most influence, and that's what we got. Also, good point by IrishFarm about "Other Students" being a reflection of their parents. Sometimes we don't give that enough importance.
One other thing I was looking for, which no one mentioned.
Parents not only are influential on our kids but they also VOTE our school board candidates into office.
Or DONT VOTE, which is usually the case.