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Old 04-23-2010, 12:59 PM   #161
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I don't disagree with most of what Texas Proud said, but I do want to pick at a nit.

I too worked in a mega-corp that had a similar system. All the tech folk had to rank and rate their peers. All in all it was a good thing ...

Systems like this can't work for teachers because teachers don't work together like that.
Perhaps, but that just means we need to find a better measurement tool - it's not a reason to not measure it at all.


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1. You best be certain that you are measuring what is most important and have incentives properly aligned. If meeting a metric has significant rewards (or penalties for missing) then everything else will go to hell while that metric improves dramatically. I saw this first hand in industry.
Very true. But I hardly think that the appropriate response is to scrap the system. That's a bit like saying that because some bridges have fallen down, we should just stop building bridges, and dismantle the ones we have.

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Measuring a teacher's performance isn't anything like measuring performance of an engineer. With an engineer, you can look at what he or she has accomplished.
It might seem so on the surface, but after thinking about it some, I feel just the opposite. It is actually very tough to measure how well a design engineer did, unless you assign 10 engineers to the same project, let them work in a vacuum, and compare their results. Whose to say that one project was really more challenging than another, or that the outcome was better/worse than a different project (my TV power supply is designed better than your GPS touch screen surface? how do you compare?), or that the outside support on that project was better or worse than someone else?

But randomly assign 20 students in the 3rd grade to 5 teachers in the same school, and compare test scores as the year progresses (it may still need to be relative, student-to-student measures). I think you'd have a pretty good idea if there was a significant difference in teaching ability. It could at least raise a flag, and maybe with some investigation some non-teacher issue is seen. Now at least you know what you need to work on.

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I am really afraid of experimenting on a national (or even state) scale. We could be risking a generation of students.
IMO, we already are risking a generation of students to the status quo. I'm really afraid of not experimenting. And it can be done step-wise, with little risk. You don't have to jump in with both feet.

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Hasn't somebody looked at teacher metrics somewhere? There are lots of independent school districts out there. None of them have tried anything like this? What about private schools, charter schools? What about other countries?
According to Emeritus: There is simply is no research base that shows that can use student performance on standardized tests to demonstrate individual teacher influence on long term educational goals. So there ya' go.

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Public education has been around since the 1600s, and mandatory in all states (and free, just to irritate ERD50 )
Ya mean people are actually reading my drivel? . Actually, you can say it's free all you want, just allow me to send you the portion of my property tax bill that goes to that 'free education'! Deal?

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Sorry for the rant. My bad mood continues unabated.
Ah, it wasn't a rant, IMO. You made some good points (even if I disagree with a few).

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Maybe this topic needs its own thread.
Or maybe it's time for it to die out - I'm wasting entirely too much time on this!

-ERD50
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:20 PM   #162
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What do you want to do when you find the lowest performing teachers?

And...... how do you deal with the other parts of the system like the pupil personnel specialists like the school counselors?
EXACTLY what happens in the private sector:

1. Offer performance coaching
2. Monitor performance against measurable goals
3. Dismiss those who do not improve to a reasonable performance level.

Why is the concept of cradle-to-grave employment regardless of performance so ingrained in education? Why does the profession believe that they should be exempt from any sort of performance measurement? And why are educators so protective of inept peers? The fact that people who think this way are educating kids who have to go out and compete in the real world scares the heck out of me.

BTW, I have a close relative who has a PhD in Education- He loves to quote the NEA playbook ad nauseum, and like several responders here, avoids answering questions directly, or offers obtuse explanations about how anyone outside of the educational system isn't intellectually capable of understanding why they cannot be possibly be graded themselves.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:19 AM   #163
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Back on track...

If the pension funds were invested in the market and lost value, shouldn't pension payouts be adjusted to reflect the change in portfolio value? Why should public sector employeees be immune to market swings if they are investing for profits? It's unrealistic and unsustainable, and patently unfair to those of us who lost huge chunks of our portfolios right alongside them. Where is my guarantee of future performance?
No, they shouldn't. It's a defined benefit pension, which means the benefit amount is calculated based on a formula, not on what the fund may have earned or lost any given year. It is not only public sector employees who enjoy that immunity, it is anyone with a defined benefit pensionóand some private sector employees do still have themóor an annuity. If an insurance company has bad investment returns this year, are they allowed to cut payments to people who bought annuities in the past? If annuities are not inherently unrealistic and unsustainable, there is no reason to suppose that defined benefit pensions are. If defined benefit pensions are "patently unfair", then so are annuities. They are both a series of promised payments, based on a formula, rather than tied to investment returns.

Comparing a DBP to a retirement portfolio is comparing apples and oranges. If you compare apples to apples, public employees got no more guarantee on our portfolios than anyone else. There was a period last year when the balance in my 457 account was dropping, even though I was making maximum contributions plus over-50 catchup. That was frightening, but it wasn't unfair. Anyone who has the same type of account was vulnerable to the same type of loss.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:55 AM   #164
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It's a defined benefit pension, which means the benefit amount is calculated based on a formula, not on what the fund may have earned or lost any given year.
I understand how a defined benefit pension plan works, (a fundamentally flawed premise without adequate year-to-year funding in place and/or periodic adjustments based on plan income.) but I firmly believe that pension funds should stay out of the stock market, where losses are possible and should be presumed probable. If they want the upside gain they need to be in a financial position to assume the downside risk as well. Don't play if you can't pay. Plan members need to approve and accept that their money is at risk if it is going to be invested in the market. That is the way the market works, which is at odds with the way DBP's promises of how future benefits works- Promising Apples, but investing in Oranges. DBP plan payouts should be based on actual funded contributions, not based on the premise of future earnings in investments subject to market fluctuations. Invest in your own city's muni bonds or treasury securities, but stay out of private sector investments, since private pensions are not afforded the same payout guarantees.

No one else gets a guarantee of investment earnings; why should public sector employees? That is what happens when the DBF funds lose money in market speculation and the taxpayers (who probably suffered the same losses) have to step in and fund the shortages. "Gee, sorry we lost your DBF pension funds in the market crash, but don't worry- we'll get your share from what your neighbor has left..."
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:17 PM   #165
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No one else gets a guarantee of investment earnings; why should public sector employees? That is what happens when the DBF funds lose money in market speculation and the taxpayers (who probably suffered the same losses) have to step in and fund the shortages. "Gee, sorry we lost your DBF pension funds in the market crash, but don't worry- we'll get your share from what your neighbor has left..."
So, what we have here is a guaranteed annuity in which the employees are required to participate, in which the plan's funds are paid out to retirees and the remainder is invested in some vehicle as directed (usually) by some politicians. The retirement age and annuity payments are decided (usually) by politicians who all too often make those decision based on how many votes it will garner to keep them in power. And, the taxpayers (through their tax dollars) are the ultimate guarantors.

And this is different from Social Security how?

Stop - that was rhetorical - I understand that the government stands behind those magical bonds it buys with SS funds with "full faith and credit". But in principal, the government is indemnifying the money invested in your government pension plan with tax dollars.

There is no market for those bonds, they're just promises. The Great White Father Who Camps Along the Potomac is just moving money from one pocket to the other, all while telling you, "I got it dude, don't worry about a thing."

And what's happening in Greece? The government made promises it couldn't keep on public pensions for political reasons. When the bills came due they want their neighbors to bail them out.

So, are we saying that our federal politicians are that much smarter that they'll never wake up like a sailor on leave in some cheap motel and find the girl is gone, the pockets emptied and realize some bad choices were made when it was all good the night before?
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Old 04-24-2010, 03:10 PM   #166
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So, are we saying that our federal politicians are that much smarter that they'll never wake up like a sailor on leave in some cheap motel and find the girl is gone, the pockets emptied and realize some bad choices were made when it was all good the night before?
Of course..... that part was never in doubt. There's never been a benevolent, smart, focused, honest caring human government in this history of human civilization. Power corrupts, and the more power is available, the more corruption you have.

If you gave me the power of invisibility and the ability to teleport myself from place to place, I have no doubt that I will have a really great difficulty taking anything I want from any one at any time I want to do it. As much as I;d like to use that power only for good, I seriously doubt whether that would be possible under any circumstance where I remain human.
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:56 PM   #167
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I understand how a defined benefit pension plan works, (a fundamentally flawed premise without adequate year-to-year funding in place and/or periodic adjustments based on plan income.) but I firmly believe that pension funds should stay out of the stock market, where losses are possible and should be presumed probable. If they want the upside gain they need to be in a financial position to assume the downside risk as well. Don't play if you can't pay. Plan members need to approve and accept that their money is at risk if it is going to be invested in the market. That is the way the market works, which is at odds with the way DBP's promises of how future benefits works- Promising Apples, but investing in Oranges. DBP plan payouts should be based on actual funded contributions, not based on the premise of future earnings in investments subject to market fluctuations. Invest in your own city's muni bonds or treasury securities, but stay out of private sector investments, since private pensions are not afforded the same payout guarantees.

No one else gets a guarantee of investment earnings; why should public sector employees? That is what happens when the DBF funds lose money in market speculation and the taxpayers (who probably suffered the same losses) have to step in and fund the shortages. "Gee, sorry we lost your DBF pension funds in the market crash, but don't worry- we'll get your share from what your neighbor has left..."
Why should bank have a guarantee that a consumer will pay a Mortgage or credit cards if for example the consumer loses a job? How about cutting state bond payments when the state loses tax revenue? Why should those bond holders be paid?

More directly why should a state employee who has no control whatever over the fund investments be expected to take any of the risk? In the real world obligations range from the absolute to the contingent.

Pensions are in roughly the same category as state bonds.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:08 PM   #168
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Why should bank have a guarantee that a consumer will pay a Mortgage or credit cards if for example the consumer loses a job? How about cutting state bond payments when the state loses tax revenue? Why should those bond holders be paid?
In many places in Europe, if you lose your job, you still get to stay in your house and you just don't have to pay rent. It is assumed that the landlords are wealthy people who really don't need this rent money. It encourages people not to actually look for a job if they lose it because as long as they don't have one, they don't have to pay any rent.

I agree. If I have to take a hit on my income and tough times come and my employer makes me have a cut in my pay, then I should be able to reduce my bank cards by the percentage of loss of income. To heck with the contract that I signed with the bank. They should have to suffer some of my pain too.

My daughter believed that when she lost her job she didn't need to pay her federal college loan anymore. But if she'd kept it with the Feds, they would have said, "Oh your poor destitute newly graduated college person, let us know when you get a job again and can start paying again." But she'd switched to a private lender with a better rate, and they said, "Oh you poor destitute newly graduated college person, let us know when you get a job again, but in the mean time: you still owe us your monthly payment or we're gonna put you in Jail." And they almost did.

One of the first courses that new law students have to take is contract law. Contracts are central to fair western law. Violation of contracts at the whim of those whose financial condition has changed, without going through some other legal procedure, would destroy all of law and send us all into third world dictator lawlessness.


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Old 04-24-2010, 06:28 PM   #169
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One of the first courses that new law students have to take is contract law. Contracts are central to fair western law. Violation of contracts at the whim of those whose financial condition has changed, without going through some other legal procedure, would destroy all of law and send us all into third world dictator lawlessness.
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It's just a little more complicated than that. A contract is an agreement that the law will enforce. Certainly not all agreements (or terms of agreements) are valid contracts. A law can certainly explain which terms of an agreement are enforceable and and which ones are not. The problems usually arise when the legal meanings of the terms are changed after the contract is agreed to and/or performed.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:35 PM   #170
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I agree. If I have to take a hit on my income and tough times come and my employer makes me have a cut in my pay, then I should be able to reduce my bank cards by the percentage of loss of income. To heck with the contract that I signed with the bank. They should have to suffer some of my pain too.
Let's turn this around. If you put $100K into a CD and the bank is having tough times and earnings are way down, should they be allowed to make you "share their pain" by taking some of your principal? It would be OK for them to return only (say) $75K to you because they hit on "tough times" and think it's only fair that you suffer some of their pain?
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:46 PM   #171
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Let's turn this around. If you put $100K into a CD and the bank is having tough times and earnings are way down, should they be allowed to make you "share their pain" by taking some of your principal? It would be OK for them to return only (say) $75K to you because they hit on "tough times" and think it's only fair that you suffer some of their pain?

Or a real one: In 1983(or back when the interest rates were unbelievable and people thought we were turning into Germany in the 30's) my aunt took advantage of the 15% bank interest rates on CD's and bought two 30,000 buck CD's for a 30 year term. What possessed her bank to offer that rate at 30 years is beyond me. When she died in 1995, interest rates were down to ABOUT 5%. They were so happy that they didn't have to keep paying her $9000 a year which she was just rolling letting it ride. God did she make an awful amount of money on that bank over those 13 years.

But they should have been able to say, "Hey Louisa, I'm sorry interest rates have dropped, so I'm sorry we're converting your CD's to an adjustable rate."

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Old 04-24-2010, 06:57 PM   #172
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Or a real one: In 1983(or back when the interest rates were unbelievable and people thought we were turning into Germany in the 30's) my aunt took advantage of the 15% bank interest rates on CD's and bought two 30,000 buck CD's for a 30 year term. What possessed her bank to offer that rate at 30 years is beyond me. When she died in 1995, interest rates were down to ABOUT 5%. They were so happy that they didn't have to keep paying her $9000 a year which she was just rolling letting it ride. God did she make an awful amount of money on that bank over those 13 years.

But they should have been able to say, "Hey Louisa, I'm sorry interest rates have dropped, so I'm sorry we're converting your CD's to an adjustable rate."
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Something does not make sense. Her death did not eliminate the CD obligation. It goes to the estate
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:04 PM   #173
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Something does not make sense. Her death did not eliminate the CD obligation. It goes to the estate

I agree.... but I bet someone wanted the actual money and to heck with the CD... or there was a stupid person someone who did not knoow any better running the estate... hope I am not stepping on someones toes....
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:09 PM   #174
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I think some here actually do think that the pension plan should give less than promised... I am not one... I just think that we should stop digging....

As for some of the arguments on reduced payments... it does happen all the time... when a bank fails, the acquiring bank has the right to stop paying on a CD that is to high... when company goes under and it can not pay the pension, the PB?? (can't remember right now) pays out what IT says it will... and that can cost some people a lot of money... and also when a company goes to BK, they can also pay cents on the dollar on their debt... what does all of these have in common BK...

Now, if a city wants to do it... then I think they should... but it will cost them a lot in the long run... but if there is NO WAY to pay what is promised, then that should be the course of action taken... just like everybody else who has a pension, a CD or a bond... you do have the risk of the entity going belly up...
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:30 PM   #175
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I agree. If I have to take a hit on my income and tough times come and my employer makes me have a cut in my pay, then I should be able to reduce my bank cards by the percentage of loss of income. To heck with the contract that I signed with the bank. They should have to suffer some of my pain too.
I'm stupefied... are you actually advocating unilateral contract modification for convenience?
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:05 PM   #176
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As for some of the arguments on reduced payments... it does happen all the time... when a bank fails, the acquiring bank has the right to stop paying on a CD that is to high... ..
Not in the past 60 years. The price the acquiring bank pays is discounted for the true value of the obligations.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:05 PM   #177
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I'm stupefied... are you actually advocating unilateral contract modification for convenience?
I took it a s facetious
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:22 PM   #178
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Something does not make sense. Her death did not eliminate the CD obligation. It goes to the estate
Yeah..... but I was her estate. And I wanted to keep the CD at the 15% interest. They said, "No way! Now that it belongs to you, you have to cash it out." They made me cash it out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:21 AM   #179
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Not in the past 60 years. The price the acquiring bank pays is discounted for the true value of the obligations.
Wrong-o my friend... the acquiring bank has the ability to have the FDIC reject any of the obligations the old bank took on... they can cancel any contract that was entered into by the old bank...

Most banks that take over another decides not to cancel a CD to try and keep the customer... and they would discount the price they pay for that... but I doubt any bank would agree to pay 15% for a 30 year CD...

BTW, a lot of small banks don't have many bidders and so go very cheap.. back in the 80s the bank I worked for used to by some small ones... your bid was in a sealed envelope... the guy would go in with two... one for the 'real' bid... and one if nobody else was in the room... if nobody was in the room, the much lower bid was submitted and we won...
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:56 AM   #180
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Wrong-o my friend... the acquiring bank has the ability to have the FDIC reject any of the obligations the old bank took on... they can cancel any contract that was entered into by the old bank...

Most banks that take over another decides not to cancel a CD to try and keep the customer... and they would discount the price they pay for that... but I doubt any bank would agree to pay 15% for a 30 year CD...

BTW, a lot of small banks don't have many bidders and so go very cheap.. back in the 80s the bank I worked for used to by some small ones... your bid was in a sealed envelope... the guy would go in with two... one for the 'real' bid... and one if nobody else was in the room... if nobody was in the room, the much lower bid was submitted and we won...
You are correct that there was a change in FDIC policy somewhere under the Bush administration

I am checking for the date
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