Sunday, October 24, 2010
Full article found here:
The issues of teachers being graded and paid on performance has been on my brain lately. There have been a few examples in the news lately that I've noticed. Most notably Gov. Chris Christy of New Jersey going against the teachers union on the issue (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303550904575562712354459830.html?KEYWORDS=chris+christie).
Why is this such a big deal to people? Why shouldn't teachers be graded on their performance and paid accordingly? Why should education be seen as exempt from normal practices?
The original article of this post was in regard to professors "profitability" for their respective universities Awesome idea if you ask me. Why? I'm not totally sure why I like the idea so much, other then it is more knowledge about the situation, and allows companies er colleges to make wise decisions. Some oppose the idea though:
"This new emphasis has raised hackles in academia. Some professors express deep concern that the focus on serving student "customers" and delivering value to taxpayers will turn public colleges into factories. "
Why are students not considered customers by academia? Why should academia be above the law in how they treat their consumers? Why the snobbery so commonly seen?
Is there a fundamental problem with colleges being run as corporations? If they were to be run as a business then teaching is the primary revenue generation, with research and (hopefully) resulting royalties providing additional income? Why is this considered such a sin? Really, I went to PSU and graduated because I desired the education, I paid/invested in it as a long term product I would use for the rest of my life, I was the consumer in the equation, and could have left or stop supporting the business at any time
Thoughts? Why would a corporate model not work? Research is motivated to find and develop products or knowledge, so colleges would continue to fund it (much like GE, P&G and General Mills do to develop knowledge)
What do you think? What objections are their from outside academia? What comments are their from inside academia? What do you think of your education and how it might have been affected if a corporate model was employed?
Friday, October 22, 2010
Knothole at SF Giant's ballgame: Pretty cool idea and thing to do in SF. Easy way to see part (or all) of a game in a unique way.
It'll Be a Sad Christmas if Wyoming Can't Rustle Up Some Ornaments
Apparently each state takes a turn to send a tree and 5000 ornament to Washington DC. Montana is having troubles. It has only 109 people per each ornament needed, and their short. On the other hand the $100,000 to ship the tree to DC is no problem apparently.
Moon not only has Water, But Lots of It
Caution: Those who are afraid of water avoid the MOON at all cost! It's dripping with it apparently!
Thank goodness Obama put down the moon landing option! Japan doesn't really have much business trying to do moon landing either...in fact most countries don't have much business shooting stuff into space with current budget issues...
$50,000 to send one pound to the moon...That actually sounds like a good deal. if it was 49,900 I would certainly be interested in sending something there. Think of the possibilities! A chance to send earth junk were no junk has gone before. We could send....um....water lilies (for all the water), bottles of dehydrated water (just add water) and life jackets...to protect people in the event of a solar melting.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Rogue Tailor Needles Savile Row, Gets Himself a (Law)Suit - Handsewn suits for 3,100. Nice. but is it too discounted?
Saturday, July 31, 2010
“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it” ~ George Washington
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Pious listened carefully, his head on one side then turned to the hunters and translated rapidly into pidgin-English:
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
In the planning portion of an urban area, money stands above all the rest. An area is not possible to develop, maintain and be sustainable if people are unable to have a vocation. Transportation, environmental concerns and other urban planning projects and idea rely on individuals having jobs that can produce funds for funding to the project. Wither the funds are collected through government taxes or private donations is a non issue if an area’s management of the funds is not sustainable. In addition to budget concerns, there are several articles showing innovative solutions to common problems.
Currently there are budget shortfalls nationwide from the federal to the county level. There are some stark examples of poor planning and not planning for the worst, the most prominent being Los Angeles, CA, Detroit, and Harrisburg, PA. It was surprising the lack of sustainable urban planning that went into budget decisions in LA and Harrisburg, and how innovative solutions while cool might not be the smartest budget decisions. There is hope though, where in the article “Strapped City cuts and Cuts, there is a great example of Colorado Springs, CO where the populations is taking over simple government function and doing a good job of it.
An example of an innovated solution with huge budget concerns was the trash incinerator purchased by Harrisburg, PA. The article “Harrisburg, PA Weighs Bankruptcy” the 288 million dollar incinerator project, has interest payments that are larger the city’s annual budget now. While the incinerator is a very cool way to deal with trash, it was a foolish budget decision. An innovated solution to address trash was the trash tubes install in NYC. They have been an great example of planning and will be interesting to see how it works in the future.
As articles were being gathered an interesting theme developed where ad hoc urban planning situations developed. The example of “The Parking Lot where Pilots Sleep” and “Gramercy Park” were very interesting in how local people are working though urban planning problems normally seen in larger districts. The case of the propaganda posters being used in the Queens was a phenomenal example of individuals addressing issues in a smart manner.
As urban planning continues to mature as a field, and people look to urban planners for more insight into large projects requirement funding, they would be wise to consider the budget impacts of their designs. As LA and Harrisburg are showing us, there is no company, city or region that is “too big to fail”.
Doug Bates “Time to get real on Oregon's state budget”, The Oregonian May 13th, 2010
Cari Tuna “University of California Plans to Slash Spending”, Wall Street Journal May 18th, 2010
John R. Emshwiller “L.A. Project Gets Caught in Limbo” Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2010
Eric Morath “Restructuring Experts predict more municipality bankruptcy “, Wall Street Journal May 17, 2010
Aaron Rutkoff ‘On Roosevelt Island, A Tribute to Trash Tubes” Wall Street Journal May 18, 2010
David Ranson “The Revenue Limits of Tax and Spend” Wall Street Journal May 17, 2010
R.M. Schneiderman “With Metropolitan Etiquet”, Wall Street Journal April 26, 2010
Gary Fields “Washington's New Gun Rules” Wall Street Journal May 17, 2010
Pia Catton “Gramercy Park” Wall Street Journal May 10, 2010
Los Angeles International Airport “The Parking Lot where Pilots Sleep”, Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2010
Romy Varghese “Harrisburg, PA Weighs Bankruptcy” Wall Street Journal April 28, 2010
Tamara Audi “Los Angeles Outlines Budget Cuts” Wall Street Journal” April 20, 2010
Eric Mortenson, “Metro and 3 Portland counties approve urban expansions” The Oregonian, May 6 2006
Nick Winfield “The New San Francisco Suburbs, a Plane Ride Away”, Wall Street Journal April 15, 2010
Michael J Trinkleman “Altered States” Wall Street Journal April 17, 2010
Leslie Eaton “Strapped City Cuts and Cuts” Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2010
Nick Timiraos “Foreclosures hit the rich and famous “ Wall Stree Journal April 9, 2010
Tamara Audi “Los Angeles Maps Rail Plan With a Key Stop: Washington” Wall Street Journal March 11th
Steven Greenhut “Vallejo's Painful Lessons in Municipal Bankruptcy”, Wall Street Journal March 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The cuts, if they stand, could eliminate school days, idle some state police troopers, and lead to pay freezes and benefit rollbacks for state workers.
"There will be layoffs," the governor stated flatly.
Although Congress could come through with additional money for troubled states, Kulongoski said he can't count on a federal bailout.
"I have learned -- and am convinced -- that in a situation like this, the best response is swift and decisive action," Kulongoski said. He asked all state agencies to prepare for cuts that amount to 9 percent of their remaining budgets.
Their lists should be ready within two weeks. Once those are in, and Congressional action is more definite, cuts will be made, he said.
The governor's comments came in response to Tuesday's revenue update,which projects the state will have $563 million less than what's called for in the current two-year budget.
The sheer size of the drop stunned lawmakers, who listened in stony silence as state economist Tom Potiowsky and senior economist Josh Harwood went through the numbers. Potiowsky noted the "disconnect," given that the recession has given way to a mild recovery in Oregon.
Harwood said he revised the state revenue numbers downward after income tax collections came in far weaker than expected, including a sharp drop in expected taxes from income on capital gains. Some people, may be paying late, which could help balance the books later, he said. In the meantime, the recent uptick in the economy has not been strong enough to offset the damage done last year.
"We had a horrible storm in 2009," Potiowsky added later. "This is cleaning up the remnants of that horrible year."
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, complained about the difficulty of getting accurate forecasts to use for budgeting. Unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets.
"We have been caught by surprise and I'm upset about it," said Courtney, who was briefed on the new budget numbers earlier in the week. "We knew it was down. But not this bad."
Courtney, joined at a news conference by House Speaker Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, said he didn't see the need to call lawmakers back to Salem for a special session because there's no chance of coming up with more money to fill the hole.
"There's nothing more difficult than the hell of a budget special session," Courtney said, recalling 2002, which included five special sessions to deal with drops in revenue.
Hunt didn't rule out a special session once the budget picture becomes more precise. He said the state still has $175 million in reserves that could be freed up to help schools.
Under state law, if the Legislature doesn't adjust for a budget shortfall, the governor must spread the cuts proportionately throughout state government. On Tuesday, Kulongoski released a list of amounts for each agency to make up the $563 million shortfall.
The Department of Education faces the biggest proposed reduction -- about $252 million, of which $237 million would come out of K-12 school budgets.
For students, the cut could mean reduced school days and increases in class sizes, said David Williams, government relations director for Portland Public Schools. Teachers could see cutbacks to benefits and pay and layoffs.
"There's a lot of options available, none of them good," Williams said.
The proposed K-12 cuts are equivalent to the pay and benefits for 4,000 teachers, said Oregon Education Association President Gail Rasmussen. She said educators are hoping for a slice of the $23 billion in federal funds that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has proposed as a way to avoid nationwide layoffs of teachers, principals, librarians and other school workers.
Kulongoski said he is also concerned about the $51 million slated to be cut from the Department of Corrections, which he called the most "boxed in" agency because of voter-passed sentencing requirements.
Corrections director Max Williams said the department is tightening up "every little place we can look at," but hasn't come up with a detailed cut list. Williams announced an immediate hiring freeze, noting that 24-hour staffing makes up much of the department's expenses.
In addition to calling for agency cuts, Kulongoski said he would continue a pay freeze for all nonunion state workers, and he asked union representatives to meet with state labor negotiators to look at pay freezes, benefit cuts or furlough days as a way to avoid layoffs.
The proposal got an immediate negative response from the union that represents prison guards and some other state workers.
"We are not interested in reopening our contract," said Ken Allen, director of Oregon's American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. He said "frontline" state workers already have sacrificed, and managers should bear the brunt of further cuts.
The disappointing revenue news led to scathing comments from legislative Republican leaders.
House Minority Leader Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg, said the shortfall "is a product of the Democrats' massive overspending and the $1.8 billion in new taxes and fees they've passed since 2009." Hunt responded by noting that nearly every budget passed in 2009 did so with large bipartisan majorities.
The two candidates for governor also weighed in. Democrat John Kitzhaber said he "fully supports" Kulongoski's actions. Republican Chris Dudley said lawmakers should revise the budget, not just let the governor make proportional cuts. "If educating our children is our number one priority, we cannot treat it like every other state agency, we must ensure that it is funded," he said.
The forecast included one ironic twist -- corporate income taxes, which make up a small portion of the revenue pie, are projected to be higher than expected. That could trigger the state's "kicker" law, which would mean a rebate for some companies.
Jessica Van Berkel of The Oregonian staff contributed to this story.
-- Harry Esteve
By CARI TUNA
The University of California was set to unveil plans for a sweeping financial and administrative overhaul that could reduce annual operating expenses by more than $500 million, as the much-scrutinized public university system moves to deal with a widening budget shortfall.
Under the efficiency plan, which will be presented at a UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, the system intends to streamline, consolidate and standardize operations across its 10 campuses. Among other things, UC plans to roll out common supply-procurement and human-resources systems to replace individual campus systems.
Other measures include accelerating energy-efficiency projects, consolidating information-technology operations and loaning campuses money for equipment leases in lieu of more-costly third-party loans.
The overhaul followed steps taken by universities nationwide to cut administrative fat amid falling state funding and withering endowments.
In total, UC's plan was expected to save more than $500 million from its $20 billion annual budget within five years of implementation, including at least $100 million from supply procurement, UC officials said.
The plan will also result in administrative job cuts, though officials declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated, citing the early state of the restructuring.
"We're forced to make some fundamental changes in the way this place operates," said Peter Taylor, UC's finance chief. "We don't have a choice."
Robin Garrell, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and chair of its faculty body, welcomed an operational overhaul. "This is an area where there certainly are opportunities to save money with little impact on academic programs," Prof. Garrell said. But, she added, "I would be wary of a one-size-fits all model," especially for cutting administrative jobs, because "each campus has its own needs and character."
Nationwide, in fiscal 2009, which began July 1, 2008, for most states, state funding for higher education fell $2.8 billion to $77.9 billion, though the drop was largely offset by $2.3 billion in stimulus funds, the State Higher Education Executive Officers, a nonprofit policy association, reported.
The UC system is closely watched as the nation's largest university system by budget, and it has been hit particularly hard by California's fiscal troubles.
Over the past two fiscal years, California has cut funding per student by 22% to $7,570, UC officials said. Adjusted for inflation, state funding per UC student has fallen 54% since the 1990-91 fiscal year, they said.
According to the State Higher Education group, excluding federal stimulus, total state and local funding for higher education in California fell 24% per student between the 1990-91 and 2008-09 fiscal years, compared with an 11% drop nationwide.
The budget shortfall for UC, which has around 230,000 students, has grown as a result. The budget gap is projected to rise to $1.2 billion for 2010-11 from $1 billion for the 2009-10 year, according to UC officials.
In response, UC has cut $232 million in operating costs over the past two years by laying off 1,900 workers, furloughing employees and cutting academic programs, among other measures. Some of the moves, including raising undergraduate fees 32%, have sparked student protests across the state that at times have turned violent.
Even with higher fees and a possible $305 million restoration in state funding, UC remained $237 million in the red for the coming 2010-11 fiscal year, officials said.
UC officials are considering other proposals to shore up its finances. One is to offer online courses for university credit, which drew sharp criticism from a group of UC Berkeley faculty last week.
Some fear such online courses could undermine faculty control over curricula and degrade instruction quality, said Wendy Brown, a political-science professor and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association.