California Educator

December 2015

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feedback Dizzying Turnover Rate You are so right to point out what can and does happen during and aer a "Superintendent Shuffle" (November issue). In addition to the 13-year longevity of Chris Steinhauser (Long Beach Unified School District superintendent), his predecessor, Carl Cohn, was LBUSD superintendent for a decade. The stellar leadership of these two has provided nearly a quarter of a century of practically unheard-of sta- bility for a large urban school district. That said, during my teaching years in a half dozen Long Beach schools, I experienced "principal rotations" due to then district policy approximately every five years. I well remember each new principal excitedly announcing a grand and viable master plan for accelerating student achievement, only to inform the faculty eventually that it was time for him or her to go back to a board office job — or else be moved to yet another campus. What might have been was then usually lost for good. BILL YOUNGLOVE California Faculty Association, CSU Long Beach Shot in the Arm I just retired aer 39 years as a school nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner. Thank you for reminding staff of the need for their vaccines (in October's "Your Whole Life" section). Anyone can get shingles aer they have had chicken pox (varicella). I got shingles at age 59. The pain is excru- ciating and far worse than childbirth or kidney stones as it lasts over a week. However, it is the postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) that is totally debilitating. CDC recommends the shingles vaccine for those 60 and older. While it only prevents 51 percent of shingles and 67 percent of PHN, I would have gladly paid $300 to have a 67 percent chance of not experiencing PHN. A healthy diet and regular exercise are proven immunity boosters. Due to current performance demands, the majority of teachers I know do not take time to exercise or eat healthy on a regular basis. Teachers past the age of 50 should consult their doctors and be proactive in get- ting vaccinated. SHARON JACQUES San Diego County School Nurse of the Year 1998-99 Our November story "Priced Out," which looked at how teachers' salaries are not keeping pace with the cost of living — especially in several high-priced California cities — spurred a number of you to tell us your story. Can't Afford to Move My husband and I have taught elementary school for 18 years in the Bay Area. Since 2004, we have lived in a one-bed- room, one-bathroom apartment for $14,000 a year. If we changed apartments or moved, we would pay at least $2,100 a month for the same thing — almost double what we are paying now. We can't even consider paying a mortgage as we would never be able to buy a place here. It really is a shame. Our district even recently gave us a raise to compete with neighboring districts, but it is still not enough to afford to live! KIM LOISEL Fremont Unified District Teachers Association I Made My Own Luck I am a 31-year teacher — the last 20 at Ramona High School in San Diego County as an AP government, civics and economics teacher. The common theme for many of the educators in the "Priced Out" article was that they are "open to moving on." Teachers are not going to be paid well until the demand exceeds the supply by a large margin. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and in 1987 le my community of 27 years and took a job three hours away in the Central Valley town of Coalinga. I got paid $12,000 and bought a custom-built home for $92,000. I stayed seven years, saved money and eventually moved with my wife to North San Diego County. We bought a house on acreage during the recession in one of the highest cost-of-living areas in the country. Now the house is paid off and worth three and a half times what we paid for it. It was not my dream to live in a small town in Fresno County, but I decided to be proactive and make my own luck in the profession I have loved for over 30 years. GREG FERNANDES Ramona Teachers Association Y O U R O P I N I O N S A N D L E T T E R S A R E W E L C O M E ! There is a 250-word limit, and all letters will be edited. If you send photos or other materials, identifications and permissions are required. Letters must include your name along with your address, daytime telephone number or email address. Email 3 December 2015 / January 2016

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