the teacher debate you've been waiting for!

[deleted account] ( 57 moms have responded )

Okay, Mae and Dana! I'm ready! I apologize in advance if this OP is a bit one-sided. I have a hard time seeing the opposite side. But that's what debate is for, right? =)



I hear all the time that teachers need to stop complaining about their pay, because they don't really work that much. Or do they? Sure, the school day (when students are in school) is roughly 7 hours. And teachers get summers off and weekends, fall, winter, and spring break. Or do they?



First of all, compared to other careers that require a college degree, teachers are at the very bottom of the pay scale.

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/...



Not terrible, you may say, considering all the breaks. But take into consideration how many extra hours a teacher must work just to get the job done. For teachers, the school day does not end when the bell rings and students leave. Before and after school and on weekends and even holidays you'll find teachers spending hours tweaking lesson plans, grading papers, setting up for class projects, filling out paperwork for students to be evaluated, averaging grades, and the list goes on. If you add all the EXTRA hours a teacher works, then essentially all the breaks do not exist.

http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/20100226/...

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?...



But it doesn't end there. Teachers are at the bottom of the pay scale for the education they have and they work at least as much, and in most cases more, than people of other professions. On top of that, most teachers must spend hundreds of dollars of their own money in order to provide quality education. Sure, the IRS allows teachers to claim up to $250. But most teachers spend in excess of that. Why? Because students come to school without the proper supplies needed. Because their districts are suffering budget cuts and can't afford necessary items like novels for an English class, or even worse, copy paper and ink. Because those cute little posters showing punctuation marks on the walls don't magically appear.

http://www.edutopia.org/amount-spend-cla...



I did an informal survey on facebook (I know a lot of teachers). The three teachers that replied said this:



Janee: $300-400 a year... And at least 10 hours a week. Don't get me wrong- I could do my job without the extra work or spending any of my own money, but I do what I do because I WANT to for my kids... And I say that the hours are "unpaid".... But making it "worth it" to my students is great payment!



Amy: I'd say a couple hundred $200 - $300 and about 10-12 hours/week. (What she didn't say is that she is spending time trying to raise money to buy novels for her classroom. She's raised about $300, but needs a couple hundred more)



Courtney: i probably spend a couple hundred dollars a year on stuff for my students and projects, and I'm at school from about 6:35 to 4:00 everyday plus I probably work 8 hours a week at home. That's roughly 55 hours a week at work!

I do not like tha...t I have to supply so much for my job. How many other jobs do people have to buy their own computer equipment, markers, paper clips, calculators, etc?

All that extra time and money is what it takes to be a good teacher, so that's what I do.



I know this is SOOOO long! But I wanted to get my point across. Most teachers I know love their job and their students. They work all the extra hours and spend their own money because it is what is best for the students. Sure, they could do the minimum....go home when the bell rings, never grace the halls of the school during break, and not get anything for their classrooms. But where would that leave the students? So that is where we're at. Thoughts?



If you don't open any other link, open this one:

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/04/te...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Not quite sure where you get your information from. Maybe it's where you live, but here are the FACTS for income in the United States.

This link is a list of the Median Personal Income (not household) by state.
http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm

This link is a list of the starting salary and average salary for teachers listed by state:
http://teacherportal.com/teacher-salarie...

Just a glance tells you that teachers make either below or the same as the Median Personal Income by state. That is no where near the double you are talking about.

Also, think about this. The tax payers are not paying more than the employer (teacher) makes. In my classroom I had 24 students. So if the parents were paying me, it would be my salary divided by 24. The starting pay for a teacher in my state is 31,000. Divide that by 24 and you get roughly 1,300. Divide that by 9 (months in school, even though we've already discussed that teachers essentially don't get a break because of the extra hours worked year around) and you get less than $150/month. I've never heard of child care for that little. And teaching is much more than child care.

Also, I already put this in the OP, but teachers are at the bottom of the pay scale for their education level. Four years of college and most don't fare better than their peers that did not attend college.

One more thing. Why do you think some (not all by any means) teachers are teaching to the test? Perhaps because legislators (who have never spent a day teaching) put too much stock in test scores. Teachers fear for their jobs because of this. I guess that's one area we can agree on. Testing is not a good indication of a student's or teacher's abilities.

Mary - posted on 08/21/2010

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Holy crap! I just read some of these posts, particularly about the pay that teachers receive, and I have to say, I was really rather appalled. Life must be radically different in the Mid-Atlantic states. While I would concur that teachers make a livable salary, they are by no means well-off, nor is their salary commeasurable with professions requiring the same level of education and certification. I am not a teacher, and I honestly don't have any close personal friends or family who are, so my view of this is in no way swayed by personal experience or emotion. The simple fact is that the teachers in almost every state in this country are underpaid and underappreciated.

As I said earlier, I think this is true for all service-oriented professions. Bottom line is, we essentially work in the non-profit sector of employment, so our salaries are going to be the bare minimum they can be and still attract "decent" people to these professions. Do we know this going in? Well, sort of. I was 18 when I started college, and decided to be a nurse. I knew I would never be rich, but I had no concept of what my salary would be until I was living independently and paying my own bills. I "knew" that I would have to work weekends and holidays...but until you've actually had to leave your family and work 12 hours on Christmas day, you don't really understand just how hard it is to do. Don't get me wrong, there are things about my job I love, and I have no intentions of switching careers. Good thing, cause there is not much else I can do with a bachelors in nursing and advanced certification in Obstetrics.

Yeah, most of us know what the salaries are going into the profession, but it's hard to really put it into perspective until you have lived it. It still doesn't make it okay, though, nor does it mean that we should just give up and accept it. If society wants stellar, quality professionals educating our children, they need to pay for it....otherwise, most of our kids to day are going to decide that it's not worth racking up all those student loans to become one...

[deleted account]

Wow Mae, that's an interesting attitude. I guess you'll never complain about anything your child does because you chose to have them??? It's the same logic...
I am an Early Childhood Teacher and we get paid shit. To add to it is all the "You're just babysitters" crap but that's another debate. But I will say, I am a teacher. I have a degree and a teaching diploma. But I digress...
I only work 2 days a week at the moment because my little girl is only 9 months, but when I worked full time I was there 47 hours a week and still had to take work home to complete. I also spent my off time planning activities, finding resources and thinking of strategies to deal with children (or more likely, parents!). I also had to do professional development (to keep up to date with new techniques, research and ideas) and teacher registration. It is a lot of work! And we do it because we love children, Love (mostly) our work and want the best for our community. Sadly our paypacket just doesn't reflect this. I think the base rate should be increased and then performance monitored every year. Children's test scores are not an accurate gauge of how well a teacher is teaching.

Valerie - posted on 08/20/2010

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@sally - I have yet to hear of any large teacher strikes. Maybe I'm just out of the loop, so why don't you link articles that show these strikes? As for holding homework hostage, the only time I've seen that happen is when a teacher is dealing with a parent who refuses to read what goes home, talk with the teacher about academic issues etc. Teachers deal with dozens of parents each year who show up to conferences high, blame teachers for their children's refusal to study or do work, etc. So it's a two-way street. I could talk about parents who try to hold teacher's hostage by their refusal to have their kids do homework, show up to conferences or even provide a functional phone number.

As for your claim that children are not learning I have two responses. What data are you using to claim this? If it's test scores it should be noted that most of the rest of the world only tests the top percentage of students in their country where we are required to test at least 98% of our student body or lose our funding. Also, if students are not learning it is equally the parents fault. I would often send homework home, suggestions of what to work with your child on over the summer, etc. The parents would do none of that saying it wasn't their 'job". Kids need to be constantly refreshed or they backtrack in their learning over the summer. 2-3 months of no academics causes a lapse in the latter half of what they learned the previous year. Causing the teachers to have to reteach the previous year for all the students whose parents refused to work with them over the summer. So to blame any defficiency in learning to a need for a serious attitude adjustment is unfair.

My suggestion, you go to the local public school and spend some real significant time volunteering there. Watch several different classrooms and what they do. Ask the teachers what a typical day for them is, what do they do each day, etc. You will be very surprised at how hard they work for a very ungrateful public (ie you)

Valerie - posted on 08/20/2010

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I think many of the teachers who complain about the pay do so because of the frustration of lack of teachers. Because what happens with poor pay is you lose the good teachers, not the bad.

Schools are not a business. They are government run, and like many government jobs you are not rewarded for hard work. Teachers who teach to help the kids are the ones who stay late. They are the ones spending hours making fun and involving activities to teach concepts in new ways to attract even the most difficult of students. They are the ones who spend hours creating interventions for students who are struggling, making special projects to help them either follow classroom rules better or to succeed in academically. They are the ones who go to all the PTA meetings, school events, etc to support their students all the more. But the reward is seen only in the students success, and since the task is so daunting. (Parents who don't understand the work and yell at you, government regulations requiring you to teach 15 hours of material in 6 each day, all the extra paperwork for special education and unpaid meetings, not to mention the low pay) many excellent teachers who refuse to do a mediocre job end up leaving.

What we are left with are the teachers who do this because they want the "breaks". So what do they do? They show up a half hour before and leave a half hour after school ends. They put very little activities into their teaching, only worksheets and lectures. They use little to no interventions....merely sending disruptive students to the principals office, not communicating to parents (that would require staying after making phone calls and sending e-mails) and just hold back kids who don't do well.

My response: What teacher do you want? The former or the latter? If you want the former then suck it up and give them the money they deserve. If you want the latter, then by all means tell them they chose the profession and so they should just deal with it.

BTW, I'm a former teacher who taught 30+ first graders for 4 years, the most active member in the PTA and on the hiring board for many principals and the superintendent. But while I still sub, I will not be going back as the pay would hardly cover my gas and daycare costs let alone the amount of time I would put in would keep me away from my children far too long. But I fully intend to give my children's teachers every help I can. If you want to help....go volunteer in your local school! (Even if your children are not school age yet) Cut, laminate, make games, even work with kids by reading with them, etc. Anything that will take a load off the teachers so they have more time to create a fun and involved classroom for our children. Our future!

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Lissa - posted on 06/29/2011

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Of course i think teachers should be paid more. Yes they may get long holidays but every teacher I know spends a fair portion of that preparing teaching plans for the next term. You can't just walk in to a class and say OK we will teach this today. You need to prepare your plans and then get them okayed. They are there an hour before school and two hours after it finishes, they often take work home. Teachers then give up a significant part of their "free time" for parent conferences, PTA activities, fundraising, end of term discos and shows, rehearsals etc.

Most of us spend a lot of time figuring out what is going on with our kids and helping them through it and WE know what's going on in our home lives. The teacher has to figure what's happening with 20 children often with no information from parents. I recall one day my youngest had wet the bed the night before and having never done that before he was rather upset, I explained to her so if his behaviour was out of character that day she would know the reason. Lot's of people have difficulty getting two kids up and out in the morning yet your childs teacher has to organise 20 children with different needs and emotions and make something cohesive out of it. Quite often parents will complain about their child doesn't seem to be doing well at something and they expect the teacher to wave a magic wand while they as the parents don't bother to work on it at home.

Teachers deserve a lot of respect and need to be recognised.

[deleted account]

I think teachers should get paid more ...i didnt read all the posts but who is willing to pay them? I live in north carolina and we became a lottery state to help with education. More teachers have been laid off since it started. Not helping one bit. My daughter goes to a charter school. Start going to city county meeting , write call your governor. and get involved. If your childs class needs something, then dont feel like its the school responsibility

[deleted account]

I think teachers should get paid more ...i didnt read all the posts but who is willing to pay them? I live in north carolina and we became a lottery state to help with education. More teachers have been laid off since it started. Not helping one bit. My daughter goes to a charter school. Start going to city county meeting , write call your governor. and get involved. If your childs class needs something, then dont feel like its the school responsibility

April - posted on 08/23/2010

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teachers should get paid more...they do so much! they are often cheerleaders, moms (or dads), babysitters (i had to wait with my students when their parents were late picking them up), and maybe even life coaches!

Jami - posted on 08/23/2010

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I have to say right off that I didn't read all the responses. I agree that teachers should get paid more than they do, but when it comes right down to it, most schools get their budget money from the government...local district taxes, state and federal money. We can talk all we want about how teachers could get paid more, which I agree with 100%, but unless the government changes how they allocate money, I don't think we'll see a pay increase (or bonuses) any time soon.

Sarah - posted on 08/23/2010

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This is tricky- it does go both ways. Teachers are underpaid, like all other social service providers (I worked in sexual assault and it was essentially volunteer work- it barely covered my expenses). But, there are lots of teachers that suck- however I agree that you pay for what you get. I can not imagine making so little and being motivated for any real length of time, it's part of the reason I left my old job, it just doesn't work for me anymore. But, the flip side is, you are told what the pay is up front before you get your degree- but I do think that a 20 year old probably has very little idea of what trying to raise a family on a budget is like. You just have no concept of how expensive life really is.
I also think that school systems are spending money on silly things while meanwhile the teachers get left behind- see the post on the nations most expensive school for more info on that!
It's a complicated problem, there should be incentives for good teachers, weed out the bad, raise wages and raise the teaching standard. It's a complicated problem and needs a lot of work- but our kids Are worth it!

Valerie - posted on 08/22/2010

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The public school system needs to become more efficient with its money. Throwing more money at the SYSTEM is not the answer. I believe TEACHERS should be paid more. But it is not a clear cut solution of giving them a raise as the system has become too mirky and too government run for this to work. This is a problem with no easy solution. But this was not the question posed so I didn't go into it. :)

[deleted account]

Without reading everything or knowing the "full" story... I just want to say that, due to the fact that teachers are educating our children, helping them learn & grow, they should be paid more. I don't even know how much they get paid, but it's not enough. Their job is super super important & should get paid accordingly. :-)

Mary - posted on 08/22/2010

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Excellent point, Stephanie!! It is beyond absurd that administrators in ALL the service sectors make hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the essential, direct-contact make ridiculously less. I'm not sure when, and why it became acceptable in our society for this hierarchy to exist in non-profit institutions like schools and hospitals. The other sad part is that these administrators tend to be so far removed from the staff and daily operations, that they become ineffective and counter-productive in fixing problems (but awfully good at protecting and justifying their bloated salaries).

Stephany - posted on 08/22/2010

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So long as the money was actually going into teachers' pockets and not more administration positions, I'm all for it. I went to a high school with 1200 students. We had a principal and three vice principals, not to mention the 4 secretaries and the 2 athletic directors. Yet, they were cutting music and language classes. Personally, I'd rather have those programs back more so than having an additional vice principal.
Seriously, our priorities in the public system are screwed up. However, I don't think that the answer is for people with money to move their kids to better, private schools and leave the rest to perish. We need to completely restructure how money is allocated and we need to prioritize- and the first and most basic priority is to keep qualified teachers in the classrooms and keep students in the desks.
I read once that a vast majority of people who have received their teaching licenses in the last 10 years in the U.S. have already chosen another career path. They simply can't afford to stay in the classroom. Something needs to change or we're going to be raising a generation (let's hope it's only one) of under-educated children and we will all suffer.
The teachers around here are working 10 unpaid days next year because they want to protect their students from the full impact of the bad economy. How many other professions are asked to choose between needy kids and working for free? If they can make that sacrifice, I think we should all be able to pull together and pay a few more bucks to the tax man.

Brittany - posted on 08/22/2010

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I wonder how you all would handle the tax increases to fund the pay increases? Communities would be outraged at higher taxes, as they always are (even though they know the money is being put to great use).

Stephany - posted on 08/21/2010

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I'm not going to get too deep into this one because, honestly, I don't understand how anyone could argue against teachers being paid more than they currently make. As tax payers, we should be ashamed that we pay so little and still expect our children to receive quality educations.
My children are only 3 and 4 1/2, but they are both involved in early special ed classes. I asked my youngest's teacher what I could do in the classroom and she just stared at me with a blank face. She said in her 6 years of teaching the class she had never had a parent volunteer. I was blown away! When classes start again in September I plan to teach a weekly craft (I'm also bringing all of the supplies), and reading to the class once a week.
I asked my oldest son's teacher what she needed for the class and it took her all of 3 seconds to hand me a list 15 items long! I scout all of the weekly ads for cheap school supplies and pick them up here and there so I can drop them off in the classrooms. I also volunteer within the classrooms and I randomly bring in gifts for the students (like stickers/cool pencils/etc.), and I try to bring flowers for the teachers a few times a year. It's nothing big, and we certainly don't have all the money in the world, but I want my kids' teachers to know that I appreciate all they do for us. I also want my kids to grow up knowing that their education is important and that I'm a part of that equation.
The way I see it, my kids spend the majority of their time at home. It would be crazy for my to expect that all of their education come from school. I plan to teach them lessons and have workbooks here, and I plan to keep in close contact with teachers to stay on the same page. I may annoy a few of them, but I know that the majority will appreciate my involvement.

Jodi - posted on 08/21/2010

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Well said Valerie. I challenge ANYONE with children at school to volunteer. You are right that it helps you form a different relationship with your children's teachers.



The funny thing at school is that there are comments about so-and-so always having her name on the volunteer lists and what is it with that. Well, if a few more parents volunteered, it WOULDN'T be the same people all the time. I change readers in the Kindy class 2-3 mornings a week now. It takes about 1/2 hour. Why do I do it that often? Because NO-ONE ELSE VOLUNTEERS!!! And if I didn't do it, then the kids don't get a new home reader every day. The teacher doesn't have time to change them during the day. She relies heavily on volunteers. I also help her with reading groups where I can. By doing this, my daughter is receiving a better education, and so are the other children.



Honestly, I think if you are a stay at home or part time working mother of school age children, you should volunteer. It benefits the school, and ultimately, it benefits your child.



Sorry, I do get annoyed that it is always the same people who volunteer for everything in order to help out when the school needs the help. It never hurts anyone to give up 1/2 hour a week. If everyone did that, every school would be a better place.



And for the record, volunteering gives you a MUCH better insight into what is happening in the school, what is happening in your child's class AND what is happening in the local community. For me, it has been an awesome experience.

[deleted account]

Well, I hope you are right Valerie, my poor mom always faced an uphill battle when she would visit the teachers. Im just hoping we can either be moved to Texas or private school...where I will still be very active!

Valerie - posted on 08/20/2010

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I taught in Phoenix for 3 years...it's where I now live. My daughters will be going to public school. We also are conservative christians. But I want my daughters to learn to be a light for Christ early on. I grew up in public schools and often had people challenge me in my faith. But I would go home and discuss it over dinner with my family. It led to deep theological discussions every night over the dinner table. :) When I went off to college and then to join the workforce my faith had been strengthened a thousand times over. We started a student led prayer group at my school every morning. I ended up bringing many of my friends to my church youth group and then ultimately to Christ. These were fantastic moments for me growing up. As my mom put it...you have to pray how God wants you to raise your child. As Samuel was in the temple, or Daniel who was raised in Babylonia amongst foreigners. :)



@ sally - I still challenge you to actually volunteer in your local schools. Even if you have no intention of ever going there they will never turn down the help and it will give you a chance to verify what you have read and heard second hand from others.



@rita - You would be my favorite parent! The parents who were involved in my classroom and volunteered, sent me e-mails etc are ones I'm still friends with today. No joke, I still e-mail and hang out with many of the parents of my students. :)

Charlie - posted on 08/20/2010

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"The community deserves some respect. Not complaints, not strikes, not kids stressed out from hours of homework."

Respect is a two way street .

[deleted account]

Sara, the average for teachers is higher, granted not by much but still. Starting pay is lower for all professions and was not taken into consideration in the average of state pay.



There are many persons with degrees that make little pay. Thats just the way it is. If you want more pay pick a different profession. My brother in law has a degree in computers but still makes less than teachers, as does my degree holding mom. We all know ahead of time how much a career pays, either do it for the love of the job or pick another one.



If you want your teacher pay to go further, then move to a state where it doesn't cost as much to live. You could also move to smaller towns where they would love to have good teachers. If you aren't willing to make that sacrafice then don't complain about the pay.



As far as law enforcement being underpaid...I think that all depends on what type and where you live.



I think I have voiced my opinion enough -LOL- Ill try to stay away from this topic!

[deleted account]

Oh, and for the record, law enforcement officers are grossly underpaid. I don't have an issue with you lobbying for better pay. Our town's law enforcement is on "strike" meaning they picket on their off duty hours. They are too dedicated to go on strike all together- thank God!

[deleted account]

Valerie summed up my feelings pretty well, so I won't say MUCH more at this moment. =)



@Rita, you would be the parent teachers love, because you're involved!



And according the links I provided the average income in Oklahoma is 35,000 while teacher pay is 29,000 (starting) and 38,000 (average). 29 is less than 35. 38 is bigger, but you have to consider that the 35 for Oklahoma includes the non-degreed jobs, teenage workers, part time workers, etc. It's still pitiful for someone with a college degree.



@Sally, I admire that you took the time to research the schools in your area and make the best decision for your family. That's fabulous. (I'm being sincere!)



But you can't assume all public school districts are exactly the same as in your area. I student taught in one of the worst districts in the state. Then I got a job in the BEST district in the state-with the highest paid teachers. Big difference. Very low teacher turn over rate, teachers stayed after school, and some tutored their students on their own time, principal in and out of every classroom at least once a day, kids out of their seats doing hands on activities, awesome technology and materials for the students, students learning at their level (all teachers did group teaching for reading and math) I could go on but I'll stop. The teachers hated the tests and were very active in fighting against it being such a huge factor to the point of letters and visits to their representatives. The only reason this thread took the direction it did is because the issue of how much teachers work was brought up in another thread.

[deleted account]

I don't know many teachers that are for the tests or teaching to the tests. They are forced to do that. When I student taught I was given the books that had the info and that is what I had to teach, BUT I didn't have to use their lessons. So I didn't. I made my own that were way more hands-on and engaging. Maybe the schools in your area aren't very good and that's unfortunate. I live in an excellent school system and that makes me very excited. You do have a say. Parents have made changes in the school I went to by going through the school board. If you want your child's school experience to be good then you have to be involved. You can't just sit back and expect the teachers to do everything.

[deleted account]

Valerie, your post did get to me, well done. I have had a handfull of WONDERFUL teachers. Ones that made me excited to learn. I actually still write my 4th grade teacher because of the impact that he had on my life. However, there are soo many that don't meet the standard they should.



Now as far as the things I want my children taught in school .....they won't allow it. I am a conservative christian and I want my child to have those types of values to be taught to them. Believe me you will not find that in a public school. Now, if we happen to be able to move out of Arizona where the school system stinks and reside in Texas, then I might consider public school. I will however be the annoying parent that teachers will hate- lol. I will be at every school function, I will volunteer, I will be the parent on the field trips and I will be the parent that just shows up to check on how they are teaching my child. (yes I know that was a run on - hehe) I know from my own experience that the child with the parent that is always there gets the most attention from the teacher. My poor mom had to work 3 jobs most of my life because of a lazy father and was unable to be the type of parent she wanted. When, however we moved to a smaller school and she got divorced we started to receive that attention. My mom took on the school board many, MANY times- lol. She was up there talking to the teachers and it makes a difference in how they treat you as a student.

Sally - posted on 08/20/2010

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Much of my research is reading. That is usually the way we get information. However, I also have talked to many individuals about the experience their children have had in local schools, Have looked into the programs in our district and the neighboring distict which I have access to. I do not take education lightly. I believe there are some great teachers out there. But I don't tend to think that is the norm.
In what way does a parent have a say in a childs public school education? The child has no say either. There is no reason to learn any more than the tested material. Teachers do not encourage further study in a topic the child falls in love with. Not on the test, too bad.
I do think in many ways the teachers hands are tied, but those are not the things they are complaining about.

Valerie - posted on 08/20/2010

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Rita - see my above post about my thoughts on the kind of job our teachers are doing. As for having a say in your child's education, you do in a public school as well. The problem is most parents are too intimidated to do anything about it. My personal reponse to issues I see in the public school system is to get involved. Take on the school board if necessary. Then I'm helping all the families of the area, not just my own children. This isn't for everyone and I'm in full support of those who choose homeschooling or private schools. We all have our different paths. But it's frustrating to no end to be a teacher and be categorized as some lazy slob who just teaches to the test and not have the hard work and love I put into everything I did.

Valerie - posted on 08/20/2010

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One might say the same for teachers which you speak of with such disdain. That is my issue. There are poor teachers out there. I've worked with many (see my previous post). Piles or worksheet homework come from poor teachers. Which you will only get more of with the low pay. What did you research? Do you have a handle on how much work a teacher has to put in, to do a good job? How many hours we spend, how hard we work, and how much of our hearts we put into our job? If you had even a glimmer of how much many of us put into our teaching you would hardly speak of us so rudely and demean us by saying we teach to the lowest ability, slower ones are passed on, ignore gifted kids, etc.

Again, the teachers who are willing to put in the hard work and extra hours often leave because they are gifted enough to be used elsewhere for more money. Thus you end up with a set of teachers who do teach to the lowest because that's the easiest. They pass on kids who don't do well because that's easier. They pile on the homework so they don't have to stay after to come up with new activities to teach your kids, it's easier to pass the buck.

It seems much of your "research" is reading. So you've read some books so you don't have to lower yourself to actually get your hands dirty and help the teachers out?

Let me stress....there are plenty of bad teachers out there! Just like there are bad parents, bad doctors, bad lawyers, etc. You will always run into lazy, arrogant and spiteful people no matter where you go. But to group us all under the same umbrella as them is just insulting.

I poured my heart into every kid I taught. I didn't care where they came from, what they said to try and hurt me, what they did. I loved them all, and I spent hours every night finding new ways to teach them and motivate them and inspire them. I would do it again for even less. But there are plenty of excellent teacher out there who end up calling it quits cause they can make better money doing something else.

The excellent teachers I know don't teach to the test and hate the fact that the government is working so hard to make test scores the base of everything they do. So I hope you don't think all public schools "teach to the test".

I'm sorry, but your posts are coming across very demeaning to teachers and I think you should check your own attitude. I agree there are huge issues with the public school system. But you are then saying that the public school system is broken because of our teacher's attitudes. That is incredibly unfair and I feel relieved for the public school teachers that are being saved from having to deal with a parent that has such a low regard for their hard work.

Sally - posted on 08/20/2010

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http://washingtonpolicyblog.typepad.com/...

Also the Kent, Washington Teachers went out on strike last year for several weeks. These are just 2 of the many. Notice the salaries in the article? I would love to have made approx. 71,000 plus over 9000 in benefits for 10 months of work. Where else does that happen??

Sally - posted on 08/20/2010

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First and foremost, there are teacher strikes every year. At least in my area. Second, I don't consider teaching for testing real teaching. Forcing a kid to memorize facts for the short term is not teaching.

Third, I have researched schools until my eyes crossed. I don't need to go volunteer. I have chosen private school for many, many reasons. The main one is I have no faith in the public school system. I have read everything I can get my hands on concerning how kids learn. And the public schools are not doing the job. Piles and piles of homework. Why?? Teaching to the lowest student ability. Gifted kids get bored and act out, the slower ones are passed on. I could go on and on. I wish we had a charter school system or a voucher system.

As for withholding home work, I know of 2 cases personally that this has happened. Both with active, great parents who are heavily involved in the school. Teachers work for the community.

The community deserves some respect. Not complaints, not strikes, not kids stressed out from hours of homework.

[deleted account]

Loureen, yes that is the average for every worker in the city. Now being that this is a small town most of the work is not min wage but through the local hospital,nursing home,oil field,farmer,ranchers and teachers etc.



However, it still costs the same to live in any given area no matter who is paying the bills. If the person, be it a Doctor, Teacher or local drive through worker, can live a nice life on the amount of income they have then what is the problem? My mother is a social worker and has her degree in Human Services. She knew ahead of time how little (much less than your teacher) that she would get paid. If she didn't want to get paid so little then I guess she should of gone into a different profession. I feel the same for teachers, law enforcement (which I myself and my husband both work/ed in) or anyone else who chooses a low paying profession.



edited to add



No, I don't think most teachers do a good enough job teaching our children. I remember school very well and the lack of education I would receive from any given teacher. That is why I would absolutely love to homeschool my child or at the very least send them to a private school where I actually have a say in what is being taught to my child.

Charlie - posted on 08/20/2010

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Rita do those figures only encompass college graduate paying professions or just everyone because there is a huge difference between your local drive through worker and someone who has studied to reach their profession in fact its not comparable IMO.

Teachers are lowest paid of the worst paying college degrees next to social workers ( who should also be paid more )

The most important jobs are paid the most abysmal amounts teachers , nurses , social workers ect it really shows societies skewed values when you compare it to the higher or medium paid jobs , i know for a fact Teachers in Australia are paid minimum wage , well below the average .

[deleted account]

Well Sara according to the websites you provided, teachers make more than average income throughout the state.



I alway said if I were going to be a school teacher I would be one in Oklahoma! Also live in a small town like I stated and you would be making almost twice what most people in the town make.





Fairfax (the town I am speaking of)



The median income for a household in the town was $21,652



The per capita income for the town was $12,765

[deleted account]

Sally, I completely agree!! I grew up in a very small town in Oklahoma and the teachers lived way above the average house hold in the city. They chose that profession knowing what it paid. If you wan't to be paid like a doctor then become a doctor. I knew going into law enforcement (though my degree is in Botany go figure) that I wouldn't get paid what I was worth- lol. I didn't complain once about what I made because that was my CHOICE..I lived with it.

Rosie - posted on 08/20/2010

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without that teacher you wouldn't have your job to pay the taxes to pay that teacher? do you not see the injustice in that?

Sally - posted on 08/20/2010

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Looks like I am going to be alone in my disagreement with this. I just registered my daughter in a private preschool. I picked it because it goes to 8th grade.

I don't think teachers are underpaid. In fact in many areas they are making close to double what the median local salary is. This means the parents who are in sense the teachers employers are paying the employee more than what they themselves make. Not far. The teachers seem to forgotten where their salary comes from. The tax payers. So while homes are being lost, parents are losing their jobs right and left, the teachers just sit there and complain. What are the chances of Johny's Daddy having a retirement plan? Or Susie's mom having health insurance?

Not only that but every year there is a group of teachers who hold the parents and kids hostage to a strike. Teachers who refuse to send homework home so a kid can travel with their parents.

And to make matters worse the kids are not learning. Teachers are teaching tested material and thats all. Public schools in this country are in a sad, sad shape. Money is not going to fix it. Only a serious attitude adjustment is going to help.

I only hope we can keep our kid in private school.

[deleted account]

Heather and Mary, yes you are absolutely correct! Everybody in a public service job seems to be screwed. I made this thread specifically about teachers because it was brought up in a different thread, and I'm a third generation teacher...so it's what I know. But my husband was a paramedic when we first married. He was making less than a teacher and working 80 hours a week. And he was saving lives! He is now a nurse, and while the pay and work environment is MUCH better, it's still not what it SHOULD be. In fact, he'd much rather go back to being a medic, but the job is just not conducive to having and supporting a family. So I guess we could include all public servants in this discussion.

Mary - posted on 08/20/2010

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Sara, I think I'm becoming a bit of a cynic, becuase my knee-jerk response to this is that ALL of us in service professions - teachers, nurses, firefighters, police - are screwed.

The public expects and demands our services. They are quick to criticize and condemn for what they perceive to be failure, but are even quicker to complain if taxes are raised to cover the costs of improving these services. They expect us to be professional, competent and infalliable...but seem blind to the fact that the level of "service" they would like does not come cheap - or even "free". (Hence the thread about the cost of personal supplies for school).

Yes, most of us who chose these professions did so out of more altruistic motivators than money...but that does not mean we are martyrs. We also go into our said profession expecting a certain amount of abuse from the public we serve...but that doesn't mean we should ACCEPT it as our due.

Heather - posted on 08/19/2010

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I think that the professions that matter the most are the ones that are payed the least. As a nurse, I dont get paid nearly enough for the ungodly 12 and 16 hour shifts that were mandatory, or for putting up with crazy and ignorant people and families, wiping butts and dealing with blood and other misc. bodily fluids....dealing with death on a regular basis, being exposed to illnesses and bringing them home to your families. I choose my profession to help people and to make a difference, not to get rich. I think that teachers feel the same, we all know teachers are under payed...thats no secret...but I am sure that if you ask most teachers, the reason they choose to become a teacher, they would tell you that they did it to make a difference...just like the teachers who have posted here have said. For me, money was not my motivating factor when I decided what career I wanted to pursue. I really dont complain about the money I make either and I can see Mae's point...but I do think that teachers and nurses should make more since both professions are needed and are a vital part of everyones lives.
I still envy teachers and all the "vacation time" I would be grading my papers on the beach sipping a mai tai :P

Jodi - posted on 08/19/2010

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I volunteer a lot at the school now that my youngest has started at school and I am a little more flexible, and honestly, since volunteering, and have a LOT more insight into what the teachers do. When I have helped in the Kindergarten reading groups, I have watched teachers changing children who have not made it to the toilet on time, I have seen the lengths they go to in order to have the classroom ready, and the patience they have to have to deal with some of the children without losing it (and believe me, there are a couple of them in my daughter's class). I also volunteer changing the readers a couple of mornings a week, and I see the comments in their reader books and the work that has gone into assessing each child individually to be able to fill in the books each weekend.

Over my years as a parent, I have also seen teachers devote time to weekend sports or other school related activities, after school practice of various things, after school meetings with parents, and so on.

In my opinion, it takes someone very special to teach our kids (and yes, there are some people who should NEVER have been teachers, I've met some of them too). We want the best people teaching our children, that should be reflected in some way in the way they are compensated. Unfortunately, some of the best teachers end up driven out of the system because they can't afford to stay there.

At the very least, their earnings should be right up there with public service pay rates, and I know that here in Australia, the public service (no qualifications needed in many cases) get paid better than the average teacher.

Brittanie - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am all for a pay increase for teachers! They do an amazing job. I admire anyone that can command the attention of a classroom of children and teach them not only about reading writing math etcetera, but about life skills. A teacher is a very special person in a childs life, as they spend a lot of time with them, and they deserve to live comfortably!!

Charlie - posted on 08/19/2010

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I was also in Early childhood and got paid shit believe me i wanted to teach for the LOVE of the job not the pay .


I think its disgraceful the people educating the most important people on this planet YOUR CHILDREN get paid less ( in Australia ) than bar workers , they are the future and teachers deserve a little more respect than to be paid the lowest income rate .

[deleted account]

Sara D does bring up a good point. In our district (per grade level) there is a Pace class for higher than average students, about 10 regular classrooms, an accelerated class for lower than average students, Gifted and Talented for geniuses, and Special Education. Maybe if teachers were to be paid based on student performance, it should be based on overall student IMPROVEMENT. But then how do you judge that? Grades are given by the teachers themselves, and we've already touched on the problems with standardized tests. If teachers were to be paid on merit, I think the BEST way would be observations by principals and another outside source. But those observations have to be consistent and frequent to get a good idea of what goes on inside a classroom. More money to be shelled out that the districts just don't have...

Cassie - posted on 08/19/2010

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I wanted to add to the pay based on students' performance as well (even though most have agreed that it is not a way to go).

Here are the reasons I don't believe that pay based on students' performance is fair or would actually work:
1. School districts with more money are able to provide better resources and often times a better education to their students than a school in a poor area with limited to no funds. This would result in the students in the more affluent school districts having higher test scores and teachers receiving higher pay than those in the poorer school districts.
2. A student's performance is not based solely on a teacher's ability to teach. Parental involvement, up-to-date textbooks and school resources, the individual children's abilities to learn, etc. all contribute to a student's success in the classroom.

These are just a few reasons as to why pay being attributed to the success of the students in the classroom would not work or be fair to teachers.

It is quite sad that in our society, a teacher can struggle to get by while spending their own money to help meet the needs of their students while a football player with no other skills than an athletic ability could support twenty families comfortably (an exaggeration but you get my point). I did go into this profession knowing that the pay would be crappy but it doesn't change the fact that the pay shouldn't be so low.

[deleted account]

Standardized tests are crap anyways so, no, a teacher's pay shouldn't be based on them. Not to mention there are tons of really intelligent students that are not good test takers. Our society is really quite backwards in so many ways and this is one of them. We pay professional athletes and move stars millions, but teachers get paid crap. They are teaching our future. I also don't think that teachers should be paid based on student performance because every child is different. What if one teacher has a classroom full of "advanced" students and another has more kids that are behind? How is that fair? I do think that more observations could be done by principals/curriculum coordinators to make sure that teachers are doing their jobs. There are bad teachers out there just like any profession and they should be easy to spot if their superior is observing enough.

Rosie - posted on 08/19/2010

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i don't get the whole argument that "thats just how it is, live with it". if we thought that way about everything that needed to be changed women wouldn't vote, black people would still be slaves and my state wouldn't allow gay peopel to marry. sure those all are human rights issues, but i feel sooo strongly that teachers are a VITAL part of the world. without teachers none of us would be where we are today, and to dismiss their greivances just cause "that's how it is" seems ludicrous to me. :)

Meghan - posted on 08/19/2010

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maybe a "comessions" sorta thing. A base pay and then bonusus for teacher's who have students that are excelling. Like I said I had some pretty crappy teachers...I barely passed those courses. The teachers that I ghad who where awesome, I pretty much excelled in those classes.

[deleted account]

Granted, most teachers chose their profession, not because of pay, but because they love kids, want to make a difference, etc. But just because, "that's the way it is" doesn't mean you should just step aside and accept it. Why don't most teachers participate in strikes? Because the KIDS would suffer. Don't we want the best for our kids? Why shouldn't teachers get paid at least what other professionals get with the same amount of education? And I disagree that education is a business. It shouldn't be anyway. It's people, students, not a bottom line, that matter. Which is why teachers chose their profession, and then again why should they settle for less than they deserve...I've gone full circle.

Mae - posted on 08/19/2010

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I do think the merit pay system is a good idea. There are some areas here that do that I'm not sure exactly how it works though.

Mae - posted on 08/19/2010

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My thought on pay for teachers as with any job most people know how much money teaching pays and most know that there is out of pocket expenses, and yet they still take the job and complain about the pay. I think if you take a job and it pays crap and you know that before you start then you have no room to complain about pay. When there is a shortage as there has been in the past of teachers willing to work for crap pay then districts will start paying more. A school is a business at its core and they will get the workers as cheap as possible just like Wal-Mart does. My husband makes 40 % of what the teachers he works with make and we have the bills and a 2 year old, he works overtime all the time but since he is salary it doen't pay extra. He knew this when he was hired and he accepts it because he loves his job and it pays enough to get us by with a little extra. Also in the local area the teachers are given extra money every year to pay for the supplies they buy.
I guess my whole point is you can't accept the job knowing the pay and requirements and then complain.

[deleted account]

I like the "bonuses" idea. Maybe that would be better than merit pay? I don't know. I'll have to think about it. But yes, the base pay SHOULD be higher.

Rosie - posted on 08/19/2010

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i do like the idea of pay for how well they teach, but overall their base salary is crap. i simply get confused as to how a man can go to business school and become a billionaire, but the person who taught him how to do business makes less than $40,000 a year. maybe bonuses based off the things that you guys stated, parental reviews, work ethic, and general observations within the class.

Meghan - posted on 08/19/2010

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I was a little rushed, you're right Sara, not JUST test scores but yea observations, work ethic (we used to get "graded" on that), parent reviews would be great! I am glad someone else agrees, I was a little nervous for some reason about offending anyone!

[deleted account]

Meghan, I think you partially have the right idea. I wouldn't base pay on test scores though. That would lead to what we call "teaching to the test". That means teaching only what will be tested and teaching testing skills. (which is not a bad thing, but I think we can agree that there is much more to a good education than that.) I also suspect that cheating will increase. Every year there seems to be at least one teacher fired over helping their students cheat on standardized tests. I don't think merit pay is a bad idea, but it shouldn't be solely based on test scores. Maybe a combo of that, observations by principals and outside sources (the state ed dept), parent reviews, and a time card. And probably some other stuff I can't think of. Thoughts on that?

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