Culver City Observer -

Author photo

By Neil Rubenstein
Observer Columnist 

Presidential Candidate Proposes $315 Billion (23%) Pay Raise for Teachers.


It’s raining candies! California Senator Kamala Harris, who is vying for the Democratic nomination for president, has proposed a 10-year, $315 billion plan to boost teacher pay across the country. According to her estimates, this plan would increase the average teacher salary by $13,500. Her campaign admits that this proposed 56% increase in federal spending on education won’t cover the plan’s cost. The feds will provide 3 to 1 matching funds to states that chip in their share.

Just a few thoughts:

• According to National Education Association, there are 3,126,000 classroom teachers in the U.S. Giving then an average increase of $13,500 would cost $42.2 billion a year.

• The National Center for Education Statistics estimates the teacher workforce will grow to 3.4 million by 2027. That gradually increases the costs until it reaches an additional $3.7 billion by 2027.

• Of course, the increasing cost of new teachers may lead to less hiring, thereby reducing the overall costs but it will also make the goal of class-size reduction much more difficult to reach.

• Classroom teachers make up roughly half of the public education workforce. Are support staff and administration included in this grand plan? If not, what happens to their pay?

• Most teacher pensions are based on average salary over a period of time. Here in California, it is the three highest earning consecutive years. This will increase obligations to already stressed pension systems.

• Senator Harris says this plan will be paid for by “strengthening the estate tax on America’s wealthy citizens.” Total revenues from the estate tax amounted to $19.9 billion in 2017, paid by 12,711 households. The estate tax would have to be nearly doubled, or the number of citizens subject to estate tax would have to be substantially increased.

“People are going to say after today, ‘Well, how’s she going to pay for it?” Harris commented, after announcing her plan. “Well, here’s the thing,” she said. “The question is what’s the return on the investment. And on this, the investment will be our future.” The proposal is an investment; it is banking on the national teacher unions endorsing Harris for the nomination.

Let just say that teachers expecting a $13,500 raise should also expect it to be wrapped in rainbows and delivered by unicorns!

I see the California Army National Guard plans to use 110 reservists, armed with saws, picks and shovels to reduce the threat of forest fires. Do you remember years and years ago when elements of the military were used to basically reinforce the active duty troops?

As such, I would like to remind our local fire department of the suggestion I made in this column months ago. The State of California has incarcerated females who are released periodically to fight forest fires. As such, why can’t the Culver City Fire Chief and/or his representative mosey up to cell block “C” and decide to get well-trained and eager recruits. Culver City gives people a second chance and we get good candidates.

In Utah, the legislature has passed a bill banning oversight powers for independent civilian boards established to review police departments; that makes no sense to me.

By the end of this year, all public companies based in California will be required to have at least one woman on their board. By the end of 2021, most will need three, according to a law passed last year. About 18 or so years ago, at a stockholders meeting of Computer Sciences Corp., I asked, “Where are the Women?” Soon thereafter the corporation moved its corporate headquarters to the Metro area of Washington D.C.

So, the doctor wants you to go on a diet and eat more fruits and vegetables. But which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides? According to the Environmental Working Group, these foods include strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes

Foods lowest in pesticides: Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, sweet peas, onions, papayas, egg plants, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, cauliflowers, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms and honeydew melons.


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