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MailTribune.com
  • Measures 58, 60: Sizemore strikes again

    Measure 60 would reward 'performance' without defining it; 58 is equally vague
  • We'll say this for Bill Sizemore: He doesn't take no for an answer.
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  • We'll say this for Bill Sizemore: He doesn't take no for an answer.
    The anti-tax, anti-government, anti-fill-in-the-blank activist is back this year with ballot measures Oregon voters have rejected in past elections — in some cases more than once.
    One example this year is Measure 60, which would base public teachers' pay on "classroom performance" rather than seniority, and retain the "most qualified" teachers regardless of seniority. We've placed quotation marks around the terms in the previous sentence for a reason.
    As is too often the case with ballot measures, this one contains so little detail that it is impossible to say how it would work in practice, or even if it would be legal to implement it.
    Measure 60 consists of just two paragraphs. It decrees that teacher pay raises shall be based on "each teacher's classroom performance and not related or connected to his or her seniority."
    That may sound attractive to voters who share Sizemore's animosity toward public employee unions, but the language is so simplistic as to be meaningless. It does not define "classroom performance," explain how it is to be measured, or specify who will do the measuring.
    Measure 60 goes on to say that, when a district "reduces its teaching staff," it must retain those teachers "most qualified to teach the specific subjects" — whatever those may be — and that those teachers will be assigned to teach those subjects.
    How are the "most qualified" teachers to be identified? Why, by their "past classroom experience" — that sounds like seniority to us — "successfully teaching the specific subjects" and by their academic training in those subjects.
    Again, the measure does not bother to explain what "successfully teaching" means, how it is measured or who measures it.
    Any pay scale that rewards seniority carries the potential to grant raises to some workers who may be less deserving than others. While it may sound appealing to reward only merit instead, this measure is not the way to accomplish that.
    The Mail Tribune Editorial Board urges a no vote on Ballot Measure 60.
    Another of Sizemore's attempts to micromanage Oregon's public schools is Measure 58, which would drastically limit the amount of time students could be taught in any language other than English.
    We described this measure's failings in detail in an editorial Sept. 16, so we won't repeat all the arguments here. In brief, Measure 58 is a poorly written attempt to pander to anti-immigrant sentiment while doing nothing to address the real need of immigrant children to learn English while keeping up with their classmates in other subjects. And it threatens to end innovative and successful language immersion programs such as one offered by the Phoenix-Talent School District.
    We recommend a no vote.
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