Archives for posts with tag: Home prices

Irvington: Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop

IUFSD has adopted Lucy Calkins’ Reading Workshop (scroll down) , a “balanced literacy” approach to English Language Arts that rejects assigned reading in favor of each student choosing the book he or she will read.

In 7th grade, IMS students read two shared (whole class) novels:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (reading level: Grade 5.1)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (reading level: Grad 5.9)

Below is a partial list of books Irvington 7th graders read during Fall 2011, provided by IMS principal David Sottile: these are the books individual children chose to read. By March, students were on track to read approximately 25 books apiece in total during the school year, all but 2 of their own choosing.

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Core Knowledge: 7th Grade English Reading List

The works listed below are assigned reading. All students read, discuss, study, and write about each work in the curriculum.

If Irvington were to adopt Core Knowledge (or a variant of Core Knowledge), we would be able to post this curriculum on the district website and distribute it to realtors. This is the curriculum many (perhaps most) parents want; this is the curriculum (or one like it) people pay private and parochial schools to provide to their children.

NOTE: the Core Knowledge curriculum is free.

Annabel Lee (Edgar Allan Poe)
Because I could not stop for Death (Emily Dickinson)
The Charge of the Light Brigade (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
The Chimney Sweeper (both versions from The Songs of Innocence and The Songs
of Experience; William Blake)
The Cremation of Sam McGee (Robert Service)
Dulce et Decorum Est (Wilfred Owen)
Fire and Ice; Nothing Gold Can Stay (Robert Frost)
Heritage (Countee Cullen)
Macavity: The Mystery Cat (T.S. Eliot)
The Negro Speaks of Rivers; Harlem; Life is Fine (Langston Hughes)
This Is Just to Say; The Red Wheelbarrow (William Carlos Williams)

“The Gift of the Magi” (O. Henry)
“The Necklace” (Guy de Maupassant)
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (James Thurber)
“The Tell-Tale Heart”; “The Purloined Letter” (Edgar Allan Poe)

The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)

“Shooting an Elephant” (George Orwell)
“The Night the Bed Fell” (James Thurber)
“Declaration of War on Japan” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)

Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand)

SOURCE: Core Knowledge Sequence: Content and Skill Guidelines for Grades K–8

Robert Pondiscio on Reading Workshop (scroll down)
A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like
By MOTOKO RICH August 29, 2009

Call me E.D. Hirsch
Nonfiction Curriculum Enhanced Reading Skills, Study Finds
By Anna M. Phillips March 11, 2012

Sandra Stotsky on students choosing their own books in English class

What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading habits of Students
in American Schools 2012 | Renaissance Learning

What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in
..American Schools 2013 | Renaissance Learning

What do home buyers want?
Curriculum & property values
Children choosing books

E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Sequence by grade
Per pupil spending

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Quick note for people who feel they’re not good at math: These graphs show the percent change in people’s wages from the year before.

The figure 7.5%, on the left side of both graphs, means that in 2006 the “average” Irvington teacher received a 7.5% increase in salary over what he or she earned in 2005. That same year, the “average” employee of state and local government received a pay increase of 2.8%, while the “average” private sector employee received an increase of 2.5%.

To make things simple (I tutor pre-algebra – !):

Suppose it’s 2005, and we have three workers: a teacher in Irvington, a person working in the private sector, and another person working for state and/or local government.

Let’s say that each worker earns $100,000 for that year’s labor.

Here’s how things change the next year, 2006:

  • Irvington teacher now earns: $107,500.
  • State and local government worker now earns: $102,800
  • Private sector worker now earns: $102,500

The year after that (2007), here’s the situation:

  • Irvington teacher now earns: 115,562.50
  • State and local government worker now earns: $106,706.40
  • Private sector worker now earns: $106,087.50

After just two years, the Irvington teacher is pulling decisively ahead of both the private sector and the government employee – and this difference continues to compound over time.

The gap gets wider.


Arguably, the two graphs above tell our story.

First of all, by way of background, until very recently no one knew what the average teacher compensation actually was. Proposed budgets were extremely difficult to decipher, and the district flatly refused to tell voters – or the one board member who asked – what the average teacher was being paid. Contracts had to be FOILed, and the salary schedule was not published.

Average teacher salary was the one figure many people needed in order to make sense of the situation. Most of us aren’t accountants, and the arithmetic of percent increases and compounding over time isn’t intuitive.

All of that said, here is the story I think these charts tell:

  1. Prior to the crash, the district was paying salary increases to teachers that were in all likelihood far above the salary increases many or most Irvington taxpayers were receiving.
  2. After the crash, in a depressed economy, the district is still paying salary increases at least double what workers in the private sector are receiving (assuming they still have jobs) and nearly 4 times as large as the increases government workers are receiving (again, assuming the government worker still has a job).
  3. Irvington voters may have failed to notice just how large the district’s annual pay increases were in part because the annual increase in home value was even higher. We were in the midst of a boom, and (almost) everyone was getting richer. The financial reality of district budgets failed to register on voters (and the details of the budget were obfuscated by the administration).
  4. The crash changed everything. Home prices are now far below the level they were when voters were funding 7.5% wage increases and voting ‘yes’ on bonds.
  5. For their part, although Irvington teachers are still receiving annual raises double that of most taxpayers’ annual raises, they also, between 2008 and 2009, suffered a far steeper drop in their annual wage increase than private or government workers: from 7.5 to 4.5 on the day the 2006-2009 contract expired. Their increase decreased more. That matters greatly. People make financial decisions on the basis of projected future income, and suddenly, virtually overnight, teachers’ projected future income changed dramatically.
  6. Thus teachers feel they have made unprecedented concessions during negotiations for the new contract, while taxpayers feel they can’t afford to fund 4% pay increases when they themselves aren’t receiving anything close to 4% pay increases and the value of their homes has tanked.

Both are right.

Wages & Salaries: Private Industry Workers (FRED)
Wages & Salaries: State and Local Govt (FRED)

4 is not 2

Average pension for new retirees: 2011
Compare and contrast: IBM raises & benefits

Hamilton Project Jobs Gap Calculator