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Old 04-27-2010, 07:00 PM   #241
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Emeritus and Zerathu,
Having read your post I have but one thing to say!
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:02 PM   #242
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Still would mean nothing
You teach to the test
Memorize the Constitution , no problem
memorize the times tables no problem
Whatever the test "tests" you teach.
means nothing

All socialist counties were expert at measuring compliance with quotas.
If the quota is number of nails you make small nails
if its tons of nails you make big nails
if its value of nails you make gold nails
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:45 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I'd like to come up with some constructive suggestions that can save the City money without further weakening the condition of the pension fund. ...I'm not trying to start another discussion of whether public employees should get pensions, or as generous pensions, as many of us do. What I'd like to know is, if your ability to ER depended on this job and this pension fund, what would you suggest?
back to the original question...

This undated Deloitte report, "Paying for Tomorrow: Practical Strategies for Tackling the Public Pension Crisis" has this advice (a very brief summary; the report runs 25 pages):
http://www.governing.com/archive/dow...ion-report.pdf
In the short term, jurisdictions facing large unfunded pension obligations must stop the financial bleeding. Strategies for relatively quick improvement include:

• Curtail abuses by eliminating pay-raise and sick-leave
policies that allow pension benefits to be inflated.
• Adjust pension benefit formulas.
• Explore other revenue sources to improve funding.
• Reduce administrative costs by combining multiple
pension plans or implementing more efficient systems and
procedures.

Pension reforms for the medium-to-long-term include:

• Develop a pension funding policy and stick to it.
• Establish two-tier pension programs that shift newly
hired workers into lower-cost retirement plans.
• Tie cost-of-living increases to actual inflation rates.
• Scale back generous early retirement programs.
I found the link on the web site of Governing, a magazine aimed at government executives. It has generally has thoughtful - albeit relatively non-technical - pension policy articles, columns and editorials each month. They have links to all of them here:

Topic: Pensions and Retirement | GOVERNING
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:23 PM   #244
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back to the original question...

This undated Deloitte report, "Paying for Tomorrow: Practical Strategies for Tackling the Public Pension Crisis"

Topic: Pensions and Retirement | GOVERNING
Its copyright 2006 which is also the date of the last material quoted.

Interesting that they skipped the first step which is to start at the top.
First target should be the special pensions for the politicians and high ranking bureaucrats.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:20 PM   #245
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The Deloitte Report says that even more than the funding for the pension part, those pensions which guarantee free healthcare needs to be addressed.

Most of the items in the report are reasonably appropriate, although most of them are pretty vague. I do believe that while various avenues of approach can be made to address the current pension issues, including health care in the current package free is SIMPLY NOT AN OPTION. I have one of the teacher pensions from a state, unlike a certain midwest state where the pension fund is completely gutted, we have pushing 50 billion in the fund. But we don't have free healthcare. That is the responsibility of the pensioner.

I've said before that current pensioners particularly those who have been vested for a long time cannot fix things. A number of things can be done. My own school board has recommended to the state setting incentives to those in the current vesting who are further down the loop to reduce the multiplier from 2.5% back to the 2% that it was when I came into the system 32 years ago. I'm not sure what incentives they might be talking about.


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Old 04-28-2010, 01:10 AM   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
back to the original question...

This undated Deloitte report, "Paying for Tomorrow: Practical Strategies for Tackling the Public Pension Crisis" has this advice (a very brief summary; the report runs 25 pages):
http://www.governing.com/archive/dow...ion-report.pdf
In the short term, jurisdictions facing large unfunded pension obligations must stop the financial bleeding. Strategies for relatively quick improvement include:

• Curtail abuses by eliminating pay-raise and sick-leave
policies that allow pension benefits to be inflated.
• Adjust pension benefit formulas.
• Explore other revenue sources to improve funding.
• Reduce administrative costs by combining multiple
pension plans or implementing more efficient systems and
procedures.

Pension reforms for the medium-to-long-term include:

• Develop a pension funding policy and stick to it.
• Establish two-tier pension programs that shift newly
hired workers into lower-cost retirement plans.
• Tie cost-of-living increases to actual inflation rates.
• Scale back generous early retirement programs.
I found the link on the web site of Governing, a magazine aimed at government executives. It has generally has thoughtful - albeit relatively non-technical - pension policy articles, columns and editorials each month. They have links to all of them here:

Topic: Pensions and Retirement | GOVERNING
Wow. I have read the report through quickly once, but I need to do more than skim it, and I look forward to checking out the other articles at the website. Thanks for this link.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:20 AM   #247
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My own school board has recommended to the state setting incentives to those in the current vesting who are further down the loop to reduce the multiplier from 2.5% back to the 2% that it was when I came into the system 32 years ago. I'm not sure what incentives they might be talking about.
This right here is a big part of the problem. You can't increase benefits because of a few good years unless you're ready to cut them because of a few bad. Better, it would seem to me, to use the good years as a buffer through the bad and keep the benefit constant.

It's like governments which are unable to save their surpluses, instead insisting on spending it somewhere (or rebating it) instead of saving it for a rainy day. Because they can't build up reserves in good times, they get slaughtered in the bad. The same principle applies here.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:15 AM   #248
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Education is fundamentally the ability to think in abstractions. Abstractions are ideas that are usually represented by symbols. The human mind has evolved to think in terms of complex symbol based abstractions. Education utilizes that capability. Education is often complemented by training in specific skills.
as an example "Handwriting" and "typing" are skills. You could be a great playwright and not be able to do either.

Reading is more complex. At a certain level it is simply a skill.

"House cat " and "cat house " require similar reading skills. similarly "Dog house" and "house dog" However the comprehension behind the reading is different. The concept is an abstraction. As language is used to convey more and more abstract ideas it requires much more processing capability. The ability to harness the brain's power is what we call education.

Mathematics shows a similar dichotomy. The difference among ordinal, cardinal and ratio numbers is a very complex abstraction. Education harnessses the brains power to use these abstractions.

Standardized tests usually focus on skills. It is much easier to test to see if students know that 3.14159 is the value of Pi to a certain number of decimal places than to get them to understand what it means.
I finally understand....you are one of those proponents of "new math" and curriculum like that, where there are no right and wrong answers. Try using that knowldege to build a skyscraper or an interstate bridge. I must be in the wrong job, I have to know specific answers to things in order to function at my job............
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:41 AM   #249
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This right here is a big part of the problem. You can't increase benefits because of a few good years unless you're ready to cut them because of a few bad. Better, it would seem to me, to use the good years as a buffer through the bad and keep the benefit constant.(snip)
Much better! I think the "floor COLA" legislation on Seattle's retirement fund is an example of that kind of short-sighted benefit increase. I think the report also says good investment returns were used on some funds as an excuse for diversion of the employer's side of the contributions into other programs, which is part of the reason some pension systems are underfunded now.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:25 AM   #250
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I finally understand....you are one of those proponents of "new math" and curriculum like that, where there are no right and wrong answers. Try using that knowldege to build a skyscraper or an interstate bridge. I must be in the wrong job, I have to know specific answers to things in order to function at my job............
Certainly most manual labor and trades jobs require little real education and a great deal of skill. You can be a good electrician and have no real understanding of the abstractions used to define electric current. All you need to "know" is the book that tells you which wires to connect. But many of the disasters I investigate were caused by engineers who functioned by using simple specific answers which were simply wrong.

I'm writing an article right now on the collective arrogance and stupidity of the airline industry in regards to the volcanic ash. They want specific answers on how much ash you detect to have for it to be a danger. The answer is "we don't know". They simply cannot grasp the complexity of the problem.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:30 AM   #251
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Much better! I think the "floor COLA" legislation on Seattle's retirement fund is an example of that kind of short-sighted benefit increase. I think the report also says good investment returns were used on some funds as an excuse for diversion of the employer's side of the contributions into other programs, which is part of the reason some pension systems are underfunded now.
Yes, when the good times are going, everyone is bullet-proof. We can just stop funding the pension and even increase benefit promises. It's as if they are oblivious to the fact that markets and economies are cyclical. There are too many favors to be paid out, too many votes to buy, to do the right thing for the plan.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:55 AM   #252
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This right here is a big part of the problem. You can't increase benefits because of a few good years unless you're ready to cut them because of a few bad. Better, it would seem to me, to use the good years as a buffer through the bad and keep the benefit constant.

It's like governments which are unable to save their surpluses, instead insisting on spending it somewhere (or rebating it) instead of saving it for a rainy day. Because they can't build up reserves in good times, they get slaughtered in the bad. The same principle applies here.
Defined benefit plans for teachers in PA don't function on a few good years. There aren't any bad years. Unions arrange so that salaries always go up a little bit. Although, even though I actually had a small raise last year, I actually made less take home.

But if you are talking about the defined contribution, PA teachers have never failed to make the assigned contribution. But both of the two government agencies decided because it was a good year stock market wise, they didn't have to pay anything in those years. Governments rarely have the concept of a rainy day fund.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #253
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But if you are talking about the defined contribution, PA teachers have never failed to make the assigned contribution. But both of the two government agencies decided because it was a good year stock market wise, they didn't have to pay anything in those years. Governments rarely have the concept of a rainy day fund.
Oh, I was definitely talking about the government, not the teachers; I know the teachers had to keep paying into it. Governments seem to act as if good times will be around forever, and thus blow all the surpluses they have. It's irresponsible and frustrating.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-28-2010, 12:07 PM   #254
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........ They want specific answers on how much ash you detect to have for it to be a danger. The answer is "we don't know". They simply cannot grasp the complexity of the problem.
This is typical in education. There are so many significant variables that have not been explored scientifically in human behavior, in responses to human behavior, and in counter responses by the humans, that the complexity of the problem in providing the most effective education techniques is beyond the vast majority of people.

I spent a huge amount of time in the early part of my career learning about the different learning styles of human children, learning about what modifications are most effective to motivate humans children to work(not about developing their skills) by playing to their learning style strengths and avoiding their weaknesses. When I met with parents and teachers, invariably they would use these words, "Wow..... that's exactly how he acts. How could you know this?"

But in the end, I was not allowed to use the information and my skills because administrators and school psychologists and special educator supervisors who couldn't be swayed away from their belief that everyone learns the same way, said I would have to stop providing this service. My success at it disrupted their belief system, and rather than bring their belief system in line with reality, they stopped all discussion about the "real" reality. Teachers and parents would say, "If I could just get into his mind and find out how he thinks about this stuff, i could do wonders." Well..... I did, but not for long.

So we use a research based system of learning that works best for the majority of students, but we do not try to find their strengths and weaknesses in learning and teach in ways that would address them. And in not doing that, we take away the possibility for increased motivation on the part of our students. Not everyone is motivated by the same intrinsic values.


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Old 04-28-2010, 01:00 PM   #255
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Oh, I was definitely talking about the government, not the teachers; I know the teachers had to keep paying into it. Governments seem to act as if good times will be around forever, and thus blow all the surpluses they have. It's irresponsible and frustrating.
Human nature I'm afraid. That's how my aunt managed to have these fabulous CD's that she bought in the early 80's for $75,000 (most of her life's saving up to that time), that in 12 short years at 15% interest through the miracles of compound interest jumped to $461,000. And she had many many years of the 30 year term left when she died. If she'd only waited to die until she was 90, it would have gone from in the full 27 years only until today where the little nest egg would have been worth almost 4,900,000. I could have been seriously wealthy in my inheritance.

And if I'd started saving just 300 bucks a year when I graduated college in 1971 and never raised it above $1000 a year, and took advantage of the same interest rates that she did in 1982, I'd have a net worth today of almost a million bucks which would have added substantially to my pensions.

THE FOLLY OF YOUTH.

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Old 04-28-2010, 11:25 PM   #256
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At risk of enraging the OT debate on performance measurement, I stumbled across the blog of Police Chief Tom Casady in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tom is a great communicator, pretty smart in a geeky-tech way and a cop-way, and has some different approaches on performance measurements. His dashboard is a nice idea, and from there I found that he places a lot of importance on how the citizens of Lincoln perceive the quality of the police service. His blog can be found here, The Chief's Corner

The dashboard is here: Dashboard

But what I thought might be of interest to the discussion on measuring performance was the LPD's annual report. http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/annual/2009.pdf As a former boss used to say about measuring performance in narcotics enforcement (usually when I occasionally commented that sometimes quality cases didn't always come with big seizures), "Man, I'd like to say it's not about the stats, but it is about the stats. My retort was often, "Yeah, but are we measuring the right things?"

Interesting read, the LPD report, and I think they have some good ideas about what they should be measuring up there. See this screen capture to see what I'm referring to (not many police chiefs/departments would even ask these questions): And which leads me to my question - why couldn't schools do something similar?
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:39 PM   #257
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at risk of enraging the ot debate on performance measurement, i stumbled across the blog of police chief tom casady in lincoln, nebraska. Tom is a great communicator, pretty smart in a geeky-tech way and a cop-way, and has some different approaches on performance measurements. His dashboard is a nice idea, and from there i found that he places a lot of importance on how the citizens of lincoln perceive the quality of the police service. His blog can be found here, the chief's corner

the dashboard is here: dashboard

but what i thought might be of interest to the discussion on measuring performance was the lpd's annual report. http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/annual/2009.pdf as a former boss used to say about measuring performance in narcotics enforcement (usually when i occasionally commented that sometimes quality cases didn't always come with big seizures), "man, i'd like to say it's not about the stats, but it is about the stats. My retort was often, "yeah, but are we measuring the right things?"

interesting read, the lpd report, and i think they have some good ideas about what they should be measuring up there. See this screen capture to see what i'm referring to (not many police chiefs/departments would even ask these questions): And which leads me to my question - why couldn't schools do something similar?
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:46 PM   #258
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I fear you are correct.

Good podcast here on NPR, which includes a former teacher who agrees with you on the NEA. Are Teachers Unions To Blame For Failing Schools? : NPR
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:49 PM   #259
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Ziggy,




But none of this really has anything do to with solutions to the long term pension issues. And i still think, even as an educator of 40 years with a DBP, that the full on 80% DBP IS DEAD. I think that for new employees, we are probably looking at plans which provide 35%, and the rest is up to the individual investor.

z
Note that 40% to 50% was typical of old industrial db plans. If you go to 35% will the schools contribute to the 403b plans that will be needed to help bring people up to a level to retire. (Note that if all schools were in social security the need would be less) I know it depends on the state in Texas schools do not, in MI schools do.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:29 AM   #260
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Note that 40% to 50% was typical of old industrial db plans. If you go to 35% will the schools contribute to the 403b plans that will be needed to help bring people up to a level to retire. (Note that if all schools were in social security the need would be less) I know it depends on the state in Texas schools do not, in MI schools do.

PA Schools and PA employees do do social security. And unlike many systems, the PA fund is in arrears but is not gutted. It has about $50,000,000,000 in it. Its in no danger of collapsing any time soon, but the law states that it has to be 86% funded for everybody in the current vestiture, and its below that number. With current payments into the fund, and normal death rates, the PA fund is probably perfectly capable of handling everybody currently in the fund and everybody back to age 45 who will be in the fund. Its the youngsters who are age 27 to 45 which are not currently funded.

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