Measure 60

Argument in Favor

What's Best for Students?

Obviously this should be everyone's first concern when deciding education policy. It is remarkable how quickly muddy waters can clear when we begin by asking, "What policy is best for the kids?"

That's the question Measure 60 forces to the forefront.

Imagine this scenario: A high school principal calls the English Literature teacher into his office to discuss class assignments. A talented, young math teacher has been laid off for budget reasons, and the resulting reduction in staff has created a dilemma. Three sections of Algebra I and II and two sections of Geometry need to be parsed out to the remaining staff members—none of whom are certified to teach math.

The literature teacher leaves the meeting feeling that he has no choice but to accept what is obviously a serious mis-assignment. He quickly tracks down the appropriate textbook and starts cramming, hoping he will be able to stay ahead of the students—and the probing attention of their concerned parents—who probably know more about the subject than he does.

In subsequent discussions with other teachers, he learns that several of them have had their class schedules disassembled, shuffled and then reassembled in order to solve the problem.

Does this really happen? Are teachers forced to teach subjects in which they have little expertise? Unfortunately, teaching mis-assignments are not uncommon when there are lay-offs due to budget shortfalls and the "seniority rule" is indiscriminately applied.

Exceptional teachers are sometimes first in line to be let go, while other teachers are retained without regard to how good they are or what classes they will be required to teach, but simply because they have been around longer.

Current "seniority first" policies can result in the loss of some of our best teachers. Ask yourself, "How is this best for kids?" and vote "Yes" on Measure 60.

Tim Rohrer
Former teacher and member of the NEA and OEA from 1977-2006

(This information furnished by Russ Walker, FreedomWorks.)

Argument in Favor

Unions Protect Teachers at Students' Expense

Oregon law permits public education administrators to evaluate and then retain or release teachers based on a number of legitimate criteria, including—but not limited to—the following:

However, established practice in public education allows teachers to demonstrate fitness for continued employment based almost solely upon seniority, which may have little to do with teaching ability and even less to do with student performance.

Why this disparity between what the law permits and established practice dictates?

The unfairly weighted importance of seniority is easily linked to the influence exerted by national, state and local education associations, which work together to hamstring the teacher evaluation process. Contract language often trumps common sense. Pay raises are doled out according to how long one has taught and how many post-graduate hours one has amassed. Hard-working, creative, effective teachers are compensated at exactly the same rate as their less devoted, less productive peers. Then, if budget woes require a reduction in the labor force, guess whose job is at risk simply because someone else has been in the district longer?

The unions' message is clear: Protecting a tenured teacher's job is more important than providing the best teacher for the job! This mindset hurts students and teachers alike and erodes the educational process.

Measure 60 empowers administrators to use the evaluation process to identify, reward and retain good teachers—whether they have taught three years or twenty-three—while also releasing supervisors to more effectively manage unmotivated, unproductive or burned-out personnel.

And it sends a clear message back to the unions: Protecting a student's education is more important than providing job security for a teacher!

FreedomWorks urges a Yes on Measure 60

(This information furnished by Russ Walker, FreedomWorks.)

Argument in Favor

As a former legislator who attended and raised children who attended Oregon schools, I can say one thing for certain about teachers: anyone paying attention knows which teachers are good and which to avoid. Kids know. Parents know. Principals know.

I still remember specific lessons from elementary school with teachers that were fun, intelligent, and understood how kids learn. In high school where multiple teachers taught each subject, everyone was aware of those who actually knew the material versus those who merely regurgitated lessons written by others.

It seems obvious to me that teachers' pay should be based on their performance in the classroom, not the length of time they have been a teacher. It doesn't seem fair to pay an older teacher more money than someone newer at teaching, if the newer teacher is doing a better job.

The current "standard operating procedure" when enrollment declines is to lay-off the younger teachers first and keep the teachers with more seniority (and the highest salaries) regardless of the talent of the younger teacher. Why should younger teachers work their hardest for the lowest wages when they know they will be laid off first no matter how good they are? That doesn't even make sense.

It is human nature to work harder, if we know doing so will earn us a bigger reward. That concept is what has made this country excel over our two centuries of existence. Socialist countries have risen and fallen, yet we remain because of the simple principle of greater reward for those who earn it, which is basic to freedom.

In the end, it comes down to this: Which is more important, job security for older teachers or making sure kids get the best teachers possible? Remember back when you were in school and could remember certain things taught by certain teachers better than others? Those are the teachers we should keep and reward.

Measure 60 is a good measure.

(This information furnished by Jeff Kropf, Americans For Prosperity - Oregon, State Director.)

Argument in Favor

Measure 60 is Not an Attack on Teachers

Measure 60 has two primary goals.

1) To change the focus of public education from teacher seniority to teacher performance.
2) To change the focus from what the teachers unions want to what's best for the kids.

That's why I wrote Measure 60 and put it on the ballot.

Currently, about 95 percent of a teacher's pay is determined by how many years he or she has been a teacher. It makes almost no difference whether those years were spent being the most effective and talented teacher in the district or as someone who just showed up and collected a paycheck, while the kids were bored to tears.

The current "seniority based" system exists because teachers unions want it that way and because a lot of timid administrators do not have the courage to stand up and do what's best for the kids, i.e., reward good teachers and eliminate the ones that everyone knows are dead wood.

Here's how lay-offs work under the current system: If a district decides to make staff reductions, perhaps for budget reasons, their contract with the teachers union dictates that the district in almost every case must keep the teachers who have been there the longest, even if that means laying off the best teachers and keeping the worst.

That's precisely why I put this measure on the ballot. The current system is simply not about the kids. There is no way a district would ever lay off the best teachers and keep the worst, if their first concern was the kids.

Since this measure became public knowledge, several teachers have contacted me to tell me they support the measure, because they are good at their jobs and are not afraid to be paid based on their performance.

Under Measure 60, kids will be better served, good teachers will be rewarded, and taxpayers will get more education bang for their buck.

(This information furnished by Bill Sizemore, Oregon Tax Payers United.)

Argument in Favor

Was Bill Sizemore Railroaded?

For more than a decade, labor unions and liberal newspapers have smeared Bill Sizemore nonstop. However, before you believe absurd claims that Sizemore was "convicted" of using fraud and forgery to get measures on the ballot, consider these facts:

Fact one: Both at the beginning and end of the Oregon Taxpayers United trial, teachers union lawyers told the jury that the case was not about Bill Sizemore; that Sizemore was not a defendant, not being sued and, in fact, not even a party to the case.)

Fact two: Before the trial began, teachers union lawyers removed every Republican from the Multnomah County jury pool, leaving Sizemore's organization a stacked jury of 14 Democrats and one Pacific Green Party member.

Fact three: For the three years he presided over the case, Judge Jerome LaBarre concealed the fact that his son was an activist/member of the Oregon Education Association, the same union that was suing in his dad's court. The judge's son has even been elected a teachers union president.

Fact four: Judge LaBarre kept from the jury evidence that was critical to Oregon Taxpayers United's defense.

Fact five: Nothing in the jury's verdict even mentions Bill Sizemore. No witness in the trial claimed that Bill Sizemore was involved in or authorized any forgeries whatsoever.

Fact six: Notwithstanding media reports that Sizemore was convicted of racketeering, Sizemore has never been so much as charged with a crime in his entire life.

Fact seven: After the trial, another Portland judge ordered Sizemore to personally pay the OEA's multimillion dollar judgment. Sizemore never received a trial or opportunity to defend himself.

Fact eight: The OEA has offered not to pursue their ill-gotten judgment against Sizemore if he would drop his appeal and agree to stay out of politics for 15 years. Sizemore refused.

Oregon's liberal establishment has gone to the extreme, even railroading him in court, trying to get Bill Sizemore out of politics.

(This information furnished by Bill Sizemore, Oregon Tax Payers United.)