Skip

"I am the enemy."
June 11, 2010 7:20 AM   Subscribe

"I am the enemy. I never realized this until your election to governor. In a few short weeks, you have made this fact explicitly clear to me." Steven Derion, a 2007 nominee for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award, writes New Jersey governor Chris Christie a letter.
posted by Rory Marinich (198 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very well said. Thanks for the link.

I love to bash on education and teachers but they have a very important job in society, do a lot of work, and never seem to get much respect for it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:25 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


They get tons of respect. What they don't get is funding.
posted by DU at 7:27 AM on June 11, 2010 [23 favorites]


I've declared myself an ed reformer in pretty much every education thread we've had here for the past year or so, yet it's blatantly apparent to me that Christie's going about this all wrong. Say what you want about, for example, the DC performance pay + professional development + tenure rejiggling law, but it pays all teachers more. There's no way we get to a profession which is more professionalized without that.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:31 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Christie is a total asshole who is just shifting the tax burden so he can look good and claim to be a tax-cutter. Now the choice NJ residents face is pay even more exorbitant property taxes (seriously, they are about 3x what you pay in Philly for comparably priced homes, varies from town to town but always substantially higher), or destroy one of the key reasons people live in NJ - the generally excellent public schools in the state.

On the other hand, NJ voters have no one to blame but themselves. He (Christie) promised to cut taxes—and of course the only ones he has the power to cut are state taxes. They knew what they were getting into. Way to go, choke on your fucking tea, selfish entitled dipshits!
posted by Mister_A at 7:32 AM on June 11, 2010 [26 favorites]


Excellent letter; for years I have wondered why teachers and especially public school teachers are made scapegoats for so many social ills. Even a mediocre teacher devotes far more effort to making childrens' lives better than the vast majority of their critics.
posted by TedW at 7:35 AM on June 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm quite put off by this letter, because the problem in New Jersey is clearly not Christie or the teachers, but the teachers' union. Rather than address Christie's concerns, union officials basically reframed the issue to one of Christie vs. Teachers from Christie vs. The Union. This, of course, from the union who issued a death threat to the Governor. Classy folks.

They get tons of respect. What they don't get is funding.

The school boards get plenty of my money, but it seems like it's constantly squandered. Ignoring the graft and outright theft of resources in NJ's Abbot districts, somehow the school boards think that it's efficient to have 590+ school districts with only 560ish municipalities. Talk about redundant effort!
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:35 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure there are some teachers who take the easy way, just like there are people in many professions who don't take seriously their obligations. But the vast majority of public school teachers I have known are hard working, dedicated, caring individuals who went into the profession because they felt they had a calling to teach. I am so grateful for the many teachers who went above and beyond or just did their job and asked of their students to rise to high standards. And I am so sick of hearing politicians scapegoat public education - my favorite part, and I think the most heart breaking part, of Mr. Derion's letter was his comparison of salaries to Governor Christie's staff.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:35 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christie's increased his own staff payroll at least $400,000 over the previous administration.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:37 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


bluesky43: As a thought experiment, compare Mr. Derion's 10 month salary to Christie's 12 month salary position. Do the math, and come back here.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:37 AM on June 11, 2010


Christie is indeed a horrible douche bag. There is an entire This American Life episode where he clearly admits to spending millions of dollars on planting evidence to get a(nother) complete idiot convicted under the patriot act.
posted by special-k at 7:41 AM on June 11, 2010


How to Tell if Someone is a Selfish Republican

Step 1: Refusals to contribute back to society the same help they got and are currently getting will refer to "my money"
posted by DU at 7:42 AM on June 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


Chris Christie sucks.
posted by amro at 7:42 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christie's increased his own staff payroll at least $400,000 over the previous administration.

FFS. THIS FOREVER.

Once someone is voted into office, THEY WILL LIVE OFF OF TAXES. They will be paid by taxes. Their staff are paid by taxes. They have become government workers, the exact people they so despise (when it comes to talking about people on "the gravy train," living off of The Good People Of This Fine State). Want to fight taxes? Cut your own damn salary!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm quite put off by this letter, because the problem in New Jersey is clearly not Christie or the teachers, but the teachers' union.

This is a popular rejoinder, but without evidence, it just sounds like union bashing to me. If you have links that demonstrate that the enemy is the union, I'd love to see them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 AM on June 11, 2010 [33 favorites]


Teachers are just reg. people and they are earnest. Granted.
But, their professional ideals were captured by oddball, neo-scientific jackasses starting in the 1920s-30s, and it got worse after WWII. I just don't know how any decent commonsense person could subscribe to the laughable and even disturbing claptrap that goes for pedagogy today. It is sending the U.S. civilization into the tank.
And as for "funding": the same jackasses who changed the ideals of this commonsense profession also decided that having lots of pseudo-sci. analysis and paperwork and bureaucracy!! was a good thing. The waste and nonsense is abysmal. Any intelligent 3 or 4 sets of parents could go out and hire two daily tutors for their combined passle of kids, and end up paying out about a fourth or fifth of the insane $10-12K per head per annum that the abysmal school districts are spending.
I hope that Christie continues to be strong, but also starts making suggestions about what these nonsense school boards and pedagogical "experts" could start doing as a formula for a better public school. Scolding is OK for a while, but start telling them what to do, since it is apparent that having been captured by the pseudo-sci. wackos they will not think of it themselves.
posted by yazi at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's been a downhill slide for a lot of professions. Doctors, although not demonized as much as teachers (and worse, "teachers' unions!), have seen their workload, malpractice insurance rates, and paperwork diminish the allure of their jobs. Lawyers are used to being scapegoated, but it's worth noting that there are environmental lawyers, immigration lawyers, public defenders and others who have stressful jobs which often pay teacher-level salaries.

As one who has taught for close to thirty years, I do not complain about my salary...but, then, I used to be a musician, so my financial goals have always been pretty modest. The increased teacher-bashing, increased emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing (linking our students' test scores to our salary is the latest fad in my state), decreased autonomy, decreased funding for science, social studies, and, especially, the arts: these have made teaching a lot less rewarding for me and for my students recently.

I know these "We don't get no respect" letters that pop up every few months get tiresome for those without an interest in education, but for those of us in the business, and for those of us with kids, the passing of time has not been kind to our passions.
posted by kozad at 7:45 AM on June 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


They get tons of respect. What they don't get is funding.

Then that respect is only lip service. "Teachers are great, but they're paid enough already" is not respect.

If the school systems are well-funded, it's not getting to the teachers. From what I've seen in California (my mom was a teacher, and now my wife teaches, both in public schools), teachers have had to spend hundreds of dollars each year on class material, increasing as the school year progresses and more general supplies are not re-stocked due to lack of materials. Maybe money gets lost in the bureaucracy end of things, maybe there ineffective studies done on how to improve the school systems, but whatever it is, don't blame teacher salaries.

Does anyone know if there have been studies done on the amount of "efficiency research" and bureaucracy in large corporations versus public entities? I imagine that any large group of people with sufficient layers of middle-managers will spend plenty on meetings and strategies, seminars and improving efficiency, no matter if it's a public/government entity or a private firm, but that's just speculation on my part.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Christie has attended 122 Bruce Springsteen concerts and wanted nothing more than to have the Boss appear at his inauguration...

Springsteen's response was not surprising.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:54 AM on June 11, 2010


If you want higher wages for teachers, then you need fewer teachers.

Increase the educational requirements for elementary school teachers - maybe a masters in education plus a masters required for each field the teacher would like to teach in - and limit the number of certified teachers and wages will shoot up.

The only downside is that class size will have to get correspondingly larger or many kids will not have teachers at all.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:55 AM on June 11, 2010


Steven Derion should have thrown the letter in the mail. It would have been nice to see a response.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 AM on June 11, 2010


If you want higher wages for teachers, then you need fewer teacherssoldiers.

FTFY
posted by DU at 8:01 AM on June 11, 2010 [75 favorites]


What Mister_A said. I cried about my property taxes until I talked to my friends who live in places like Marlton, Maple Shade and Cherry Hill. They pay almost double what I do. My school board just passed its budget, 6% increase next year. The story here is how to fund schools.
posted by fixedgear at 8:01 AM on June 11, 2010


If you have links that demonstrate that the enemy is the union, I'd love to see them.

My prediction is that we'll be waiting till hell freezes over for Geckwoistmeinauto to produce any demonstrative links or any other evidence. It's all fine and good to grandstand, but facts? Who cares?
posted by blucevalo at 8:02 AM on June 11, 2010


The only downside is that class size will have to get correspondingly larger or many kids will not have teachers at all.

What? So the idea here is that we should have class sizes of 40-50+? That's a solution? I don't understand this logic in the slightest.
posted by gregvr at 8:03 AM on June 11, 2010


They get tons of respect. What they don't get is funding.

My experience working nearly 5 years in an elementary school is that parents don't respect teachers at all. They are constantly second-guessing the curriculum, insisting they know how children learn best despite having no experience with actually being around any but their own. If a teacher has a lesson on phonics, at least two parents out of a first grade classroom of 20 students will come in insisting that phonics are going to ruin their child for life. If a teacher is teaching whole word reading strategies, at least two parents will come in and complain that their child isn't learning that the letter A makes a short-a sound. This will be repeated ad infinitum no matter what the subject and no matter what the approach to teaching might be.

Some parents, in the name of "good will" and "volunteering", will plant themselves in the classroom as roadblocks to anything which is being done which they don't agree with. They will interfere with lessons, will spontaneously make up new directions for the lessons to go in which don't fit at all in with the larger scope of the unit, and above all else, they will advocate for their own child's brilliance even if that child is showing that they simply aren't getting it.

Teachers don't get respect, at least at the elementary school level. They get massive interference from parents who think they know better.
posted by hippybear at 8:07 AM on June 11, 2010 [50 favorites]


The only downside is that class size will have to get correspondingly larger or many kids will not have teachers at all.

Great solution.

I live with a teacher. They work crazy hours and put in an enormous amount of time AT HOME on schoolwork, calling parents, grading, writing tests, dealing with general bullshit. They get very little respect from many parents and some of their children. Several of my friends married software programmers, who make at least four times what a teacher with a master's degree earns; we see them take lengthy vacations, support their nonworking wives, never take work home.

Teachers have to take classes to keep their certificates, and often they're not even reimbursed for the necessary courses. There are plusses, but there are a lot of unseen minuses. So bash somebody else, and that NJ governor is a good target.
posted by theredpen at 8:09 AM on June 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


"If you want higher wages for teachers, then you need fewer teachers."

I don't think the economics here are that simple. It's not just supply and demand, it's our budget priorities and how we as a society value education. Collective bargaining plays a huge role as well.
posted by ropeladder at 8:13 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


In France, we do not have neither respect nor funding. And we have fewer teachers (the govt has decided that only half of retiring teachers will be replaced) without improved wages. The government is also studying the option to cram more students in each classroom, as he is considering postponing the legal age for retirement.
I wonder what this all means.
posted by nicolin at 8:15 AM on June 11, 2010


Whenever a teacher in New Jersey says what their annual salary is, divide that amount by 0.71, and that is approximately what they would make if they worked a full day and 250 days a year net of three weeks vacation. The 0.71 factor is derived from dividing the teacher work year (190 days) by the non-teacher work year (250 days - 15 vacation days), which equals 0.81. Divide the teacher work day (7 hours) by the non-teacher work day (8 hours) which equals 0.875 and then multiply by 0.81 to get 0.71. Mr. Derion would then be making about $73,240.

The teacher from Rutherford that recently complained she was only making $83,000, when she was actually making $86,000 makes about $121,500 on an adjusted basis.
posted by otto42 at 8:15 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Christie has it out for the librarians too. 74% cut in state funding.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:16 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Christie is just the earliest and loudest (and most obnoxious) leading edge of what will be likely a wave of attacks on unions of all kinds leading up to the November elections. Meg Whitman in California is making it a centerpiece of her campaign. I like Steven Derion's letter, but it doesn't help his cause that it's posted on a union website. Unions (especially teachers' unions and public employee unions) are the Great Satan in the GOP election-year playbook, from the statehouse to the city and county level. Bashing unions didn't hurt Blanche Lincoln's recent primary campaign either.
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 0.71 factor is derived from dividing the teacher work year (190 days) by the non-teacher work year (250 days - 15 vacation days)

FAIL. Non-teachers work 9-5 and have their evenings, weekends, and holidays to themselves, and get luxuries such as "lunch breaks". Teachers work extra (unpaid) hours in the evenings, on weekends, and during holidays, and regularly have to work through their lunch breaks.

1 teaching work day =/= 1 non-teaching work day.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:21 AM on June 11, 2010 [53 favorites]


Divide the teacher work day (7 hours)

This is laughable to anyone who's had any kind of experience with teaching. I was only student teaching, with only four measly classes (two of which were the same prep), and I wished I was only working 7 hours a day.
posted by Legomancer at 8:23 AM on June 11, 2010 [29 favorites]


I have this vague theory – and I am really happy to hear someone disagree with me because I don’t really have any evidence for it, it’s just sort of a sense I’ve gotten – comparing education to healthcare in the US. Somewhere back in the day, we decided that education was a right and everyone should have access to it, which is great and with which I totally, totally agree. What this means, though, is that we need TONS of teachers, and that means that we can only set the requirements for teaching so high because there’s a certain number of teachers that we’ve decided as a society we just need to have. This also means that in some ways the profession is devalued because it has to be open to candidates who might be less qualified than we’d like and also because there are just a lot of teachers. For healthcare, conversely, because it is not provided to everyone in the US we just don’t have enough doctors; there’s a lot of prestige and a huge amount of training needed to become a doctor, far more than is reasonable if we actually planned to have doctors for everyone. Recruiting really excellent teachers can be a challenge, especially in inner cities, but we have to manage somehow so people try all sorts of things and that means that there are some people teaching who cheapen the profession as a whole. I think (and again, totally correct me if I’m wrong because this is genuinely just a thought) we could benefit as a society by making the barriers to entry for teaching higher and the barriers to entry for practicing medicine lower (or increasing the number of physicians assistants/nurse practitioners/people who are qualified both practically and legally to manage basic medical needs), I just don’t know how to do it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:23 AM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Looking at the issues above from an economic perspective, it seems to me that we won't see any real increases in teacher salaries, benefits etc until supply decreases. Right now, at least in New York, there is a high surplus supply of teacher labor. Here, there are thousands of applications for very few positions and I imagine that there are a substantial number of very qualified candidates in the teacher labor pool here who won't get a job. Maybe this isn't the case in NJ. I don't know. Life is hard, jobs are hard, and people are willing to do hard work for not very much money.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:27 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


EndsOfInvention: "The 0.71 factor is derived from dividing the teacher work year (190 days) by the non-teacher work year (250 days - 15 vacation days)

FAIL. Non-teachers work 9-5 and have their evenings, weekends, and holidays to themselves, and get luxuries such as "lunch breaks". Teachers work extra (unpaid) hours in the evenings, on weekends, and during holidays, and regularly have to work through their lunch breaks.

1 teaching work day =/= 1 non-teaching work day.
"

I think you missed the larger point.
posted by boo_radley at 8:28 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will never, ever understand how politicians managed to twist attacks on unions into a supposed defense of the working class.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:30 AM on June 11, 2010 [15 favorites]


we could benefit as a society by making the barriers to entry for teaching higher...

I think we would benefit more as a society if we acknowledged that services cost, you know, money, and that things like roads and functioning schools and police/fire services and all sorts of other things require that we pay taxes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:31 AM on June 11, 2010 [39 favorites]


Here's an idea: pick any one of the 15-20 OECD countries that have better academic performance than the US. See what they're doing, and copy it.

Having attended various Western European primary and secondary schools before attending US high school, I'm guessing it's got very little to do with funding (I spent plenty of time in old, poorly heated, sparsely furnished European classrooms), and everything to do with cultural expectations of academic rigor and discipline. My warm, comfortable, expensively cluttered US high school classroom felt like a drunken party compared to the demanding intensity of European secondary education.
posted by Dimpy at 8:32 AM on June 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


Non-teachers work 9-5 and have their evenings, weekends, and holidays to themselves, and get luxuries such as "lunch breaks".

Not trolling, but I think this statement is likewise an epic fail.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:32 AM on June 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


As a professional I of course have my evenings, weekends and holidays to myself. I never bring work home or work during my two hour a day commute. My company has never asked me to be away from home for multiple days at a time or cut my weekend short so I can fly across the country Sunday night for a Monday morning meeting. Corporations and small businesses always make sure I only put in 40 hours a week and not a minute more.

Seriously, do teachers believe they are the only professionals that put in extra hours before 9 or after 5? I wonder how many teachers have actually slept in their class room under a desk because they were too busy to make it home. I wonder how many doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, and accountants have.
posted by otto42 at 8:34 AM on June 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


> I think we would benefit more as a society if we acknowledged that services cost, you know, money, and that things like roads and functioning schools and police/fire services and all sorts of other things require that we pay taxes.

"Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no-one wants to die." That's the problem. People want all of the benefits society has to offer, but many of them don't want to pay anything for it. It's a childish, selfish attitude that, sadly, seems to be growing more prevalent.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:36 AM on June 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Having attended various Western European primary and secondary schools before attending US high school, I'm guessing it's got very little to do with funding (I spent plenty of time in old, poorly heated, sparsely furnished European classrooms), and everything to do with cultural expectations of academic rigor and discipline. My warm, comfortable, expensively cluttered US high school classroom felt like a drunken party compared to the demanding intensity of European secondary education.

Oh so just hit Ctrl+C on a European classroom, walk into a US classroom and hit Ctrl+V? Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?!
posted by edbles at 8:37 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Otto, you can get indignant all you like but you're the one who decided to work with the reported number rather than the actual ones. My wife's a teacher and if she ever worked a seven hour day, we'd consider that a vacation day. She also spends most of that "summer off" taking classes to maintain the certifications she needs to remain a working teacher.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:38 AM on June 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


Taxes hurt the economy because they hurt people who matter. Public education is dragging down New Jersey's economy and should be abolished entirely. If parents can't afford to send their kids to school, they can just sell them to a local factory. Manufacturing would return to NJ faster than you can say "Foxconn".
posted by [citation needed] at 8:40 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this is still true, but I read somewhere that New Jersey had the highest per-capita income in the country. update: they were overtaken by Maryland in '07, still number 2
If you want higher wages for teachers, then you need fewer teachers soldiers.

FTFY
-- DU
That pie chart is for, I'm assuming, federal employees. There are about 3 million soldiers, but half of those are 'reserve' who (presumably) don't get paid much. Compared to about 3.5 million teachers, none of whom 'reserve'. And that's not including preschool or university professors/lecturers/TAs.

On the other hand, i don't think soldiers make that much money either, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Furthermore only $154 billion was spent on 'personnel' in '10, compared to nearly 685 billion total military budget.
posted by delmoi at 8:41 AM on June 11, 2010


This, of course, from the union who issued a death threat to the Governor.

Oh, come on. A union official made a joke in an email implying that he wished Christie would die. It was tasteless and stupid and unprofessional, but turning it into "the union issued a death threat" is just ridiculous.
posted by twirlip at 8:45 AM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Seriously, do teachers believe they are the only professionals that put in extra hours before 9 or after 5?

The difference being that the job a teacher needs to do--including planning lessons, grading--cannot in any way be done within a typical "work day." Unpaid overtime by office workers could, in many cases, be addressed by throwing more bodies at the problem instead of exploiting salaried workers.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:46 AM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Non-teachers work 9-5 and have their evenings, weekends, and holidays to themselves, and get luxuries such as "lunch breaks".

I wish.

I'm not a teacher. Have put in 54 hours this week since Monday. Am on the fifth day of a grueling schedule and have to work an event this Sunday. My job has its rewards, but I never, ever work 9-5. I eat meals at my desk when I'm not out of the office at appointments at meetings and yes, I do work some holidays. I can't be the only non-teacher who does so.

My wife was a teacher for a while. I believe wholeheartedly that she deserved a much bigger salary, better funding, shorter hours and a hell of a lot of respect and recognition for what she was doing. She volunteered, counseled and went on trips without being compensated for the extra time and effort she put in. I firmly believe teachers deserve more.

But your comparison does not reflect reality.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I work eight hours a day, have the rest of the time to myself, and get a lunch break. I'm not paid very well though.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2010


Teachers are just reg. people and they are earnest. Granted.
But, their professional ideals were captured by oddball, neo-scientific jackasses starting in the 1920s-30s, and it got worse after WWII. I just don't know how any decent commonsense person could subscribe to the laughable and even disturbing claptrap that goes for pedagogy today.
Right because the average person was sooooo much smarter in the 1800s then today.
Any intelligent 3 or 4 sets of parents could go out and hire two daily tutors for their combined passle of kids, and end up paying out about a fourth or fifth of the insane $10-12K per head per annum that the abysmal school districts are spending.
Lets see. 3-4 sets of parents. 1/4th to 1/5th of $10-$12k per set. 4*1/5*$10k = $8k and 3*1/4 * $12k = $12k. So you're suggesting hiring a full time tutor for $8-$12k per year? And you expect good results? Not to mention it would be impossible for poor and lower middle class people to pay for this. And your tutors would certainly be below the poverty rate.

It's amazing that someone so innumerate would want to lecture anyone about how to run an education system. I'm sure you don't know what 'innumerate' means so look it up.
posted by delmoi at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


On the other hand, i don't think soldiers make that much money either, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

"Soldiers" being a rhetorical device to stand for "the military".

There is no difficult problem with educational funding just like there is no difficult problem with government budgets having shortfalls in general. The problem is anti-taxers. Rich people who "legitimately" want lower taxes convincing lower income people that voting for lower taxes on rich people is somehow in their best interests. That's it, period.
posted by DU at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


I think we would benefit more as a society if we acknowledged that services cost, you know, money, and that things like roads and functioning schools and police/fire services and all sorts of other things require that we pay taxes.

Well, yes, this is clearly true, and good teachers need not only good compensation but also good support and resources beyond their salaries.

This is ALSO not me saying that teachers don't work hard; teachers work REALLY hard (with the exception of some who have just burned out which is a particularly bad situation). I suppose more what I mean is that I think it would be great if there were more teacher training and support, especially in the early years. We have teaching hospitals, so why not teaching schools? I have actually starting mentally planning the outline for a teaching school in which future teachers could be trained in a more constructive way. As it stands there are evaluations and stuff for teachers, but from the first these are high pressure and often linked to compensation, so you always put your best foot forward. I think it would be great if we could have observations and evaluations that were more open and honest conversations where the teacher really felt comfortable saying "I actually don't think I handled that well, do you know any strategies maybe I could use in the future?", but unfortunately in many places there aren't the resources (and this includes strong administrative personnel as well as finances) to implement better and more supportive policies.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2010


The only downside is that class size will have to get correspondingly larger or many kids will not have teachers at all.

What? So the idea here is that we should have class sizes of 40-50+? That's a solution? I don't understand this logic in the slightest.


I think the better solution is the "many kids will not have teachers at all" one. A lot of kids don't get to go to college, which due to certification creep is basically required for any kind of professional career (such as teaching). So why should every kid get to go to high school, or even grade school? After every grade, kids should have to apply to several schools, and the kids that aren't smart enough, don't have enough money, or have behavioral problems would either only get accepted at lower quality schools or would not be able to go to school at all. Going to a tuition-based system would ease the tax burden, and the smartest poor kids could get huge loans or scholarships or vouchers or something (but who really cares about them anyway this is not Russia).

This would also improve test scores dramatically, because eventually all of the kids who test poorly would be out of the system and doing something more productive like working a minimum wage job or joining a gang. Actually now that I think about it, teachers wouldn't really need to be paid more or at all in this system, because with smart kids you can just hand them a math book and say "Read this" and rich kids' parents can just pay for private tutoring. Anyway I've thought this was the way to go for a long time, and I'm glad the country seems to be moving toward this system these days.

hamburger
posted by burnmp3s at 8:50 AM on June 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'm quite put off by this letter, because the problem in New Jersey is clearly not Christie or the teachers, but the teachers' union.

"Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no-one wants to die." That's the problem. People want all of the benefits society has to offer, but many of them don't want to pay anything for it. It's a childish, selfish attitude that, sadly, seems to be growing more prevalent.

Bullshit. These sentiments and the other “ x group I don’t agree with are just assholes attitude” in this thread are getting on my nerves. Education is a complex fucking issue. You have unions, governments, politics, religious issues, community standards, community values, and economic as well as social class to deal with. It’s a bunch of forces all working against each other, and to boil it down to well people are just cheap/lazy/valueless/clueless/sheep is fucking asinine. There is a discussion to be had here about how to adequately compensate the people who spend 8 hours a day with a community’s children, while making sure those people are performing their jobs adequately so that taxpayers get their money's worth.
posted by edbles at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Republicans are working ruin my state of origin. GodDAMNit.

South Jersey represent!
posted by grubi at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Background for those of us who don't live in NJ, or even the East Coast?

A quick Google search suggests NJ is facing the same budget problems as, well, every other state.
posted by madajb at 8:56 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Divide the teacher work day (7 hours)

Hahahahahahahahahahah.

No.

Back in 2001, I bailed out of my 6-figure, high travel consulting job to "take a break" as a part-time tech/media teacher at a small, private school in Chicago. I only had to be there for 3 teaching days a week. Since I figured that would be pretty easy for me (after all, three days a week after 60-70 billed consulting hours a week should be nothing, right?), I also agreed to teach one undergraduate at a local small university, and TA for another graduate class at a larger local university.

The job that sent me home after every session ready to drop from exhaustion? Hands down, elementary school gig. And my classes were elective, non-core curriculum classes (though I did work to integrate the main classroom assignments into the media/computer lab.) My classes were ridiculously small compared to nearby public schools, the kids were pretty well behaved, and STILL the time it took to prepare and then do the administrative post-work for each day took about 3-4 hours. On top of the 7 hours in the classroom. And phone calls and meetings with parents, which were relatively rare for me, but still happened. It was incredibly isolating sometimes, I was used to collaborating with other adults all through the day. I couldn't easily take a break if I was sick (and wow, you get sick A LOT that first year of teaching. Kids are incredibly germ-y.) I ponied up my own money for materials and supplies if I wanted to do something creative. I was trying to support the kids, the principal, the administration and the parents day-to-day. But NO ONE was there to support me on a day-to-day basis. Just having a copier that worked, or being able to find tape or a stapler was a huge deal. I wasn't required to coach sports, or tutor after school, or cover for other teachers if they were sick or had to attend meetings like the main classroom teachers were.

I put in 36 hours a week, EASILY, for a job where I thought I was going to be working 21-24 hours a week. The main classroom teachers spent at least 55-65 hours a week working on school-related issues, either at the school building or at home, often without adequate materials or even administrative support. And this was a VERY good school with class sizes of 12-15 kids. I can't even imagine what kind of time and energy it takes to teach at an urban public school and, I'm very sorry to admit this, but you couldn't pay me enough because I physically could not keep up with the demands of teaching kids.

And, by the way, we don't have public schools in the United States...we have factories. And structuring a school like a factory is a pitiful model for creating students who can apply analytical thinking skills, learn inductive/deductive reasoning, and tackle ill-structured vs. well-structured problems. And in a world where change happens faster and faster, THOSE are the skills and abilities that students will need to be successful, on top of the basic curriculum knowledge in each domain (language, math, etc.)

You want to improve schools for everyone? Walk over to your local public school. Figure out who the most promising teachers are in that school. And support the hell out of them. Ask them what they need, what they'd like for their classroom. Use DonorsChoose.org to support their special projects. Offer to help the school with After School programs, etc. It may take a bit of effort on your part. Schools have put up with a lot of people who want to swoop in and make quick changes in order to make themselves feel better, without really listening to what the school needs. So, they are (rightfully) hesitant to let someone do too much right away. But I can tell you that if someone had offered to even help me do maintenance on the old iMacs in the lab, or had offered to help me find some old, cheap Polaroid digital cameras for my middle-school classes, or had shown up with even a brand new stapler when mine broke, I would have felt re-energized at the end of the day, versus just flat out exhausted.
posted by jeanmari at 9:01 AM on June 11, 2010 [62 favorites]


zarq: "notsnot:
I'm glad you're countering his arguments, but it would be nicer if you could do so without attacking him personally.
"

Hey, you're right, it's two different users, so "troll" wasn't appropriate, since the idiocy wasn't the result of a repeat offender.

The notion that teachers are somehow *over*paid and that teaching easy, though? That idea should not merely be countered--the idea should be hounded out of reasonable society with as much mocking and namecalling as is necessary.

I'm sick to death of being told to take perniciously false, utterly ridiculous, and positively Dark Age thinking on its face with all the politeness I can muster. I'm tired of the idea that as a liberal I'm supposed to be nice and take facefuls of shit in the form of intellectual nonsense. I'll take a Lyndon Johnson over ten weak-ass Clintons any day.
posted by notsnot at 9:02 AM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


As a professional I of course have my evenings, weekends and holidays to myself. I never bring work home or work during my two hour a day commute. My company has never asked me to be away from home for multiple days at a time or cut my weekend short so I can fly across the country Sunday night for a Monday morning meeting. Corporations and small businesses always make sure I only put in 40 hours a week and not a minute more.

I assume you are speaking sarcastically, and implying that in fact you do all of these things routinely.

It occurs to me that perhaps you are kinda angry about having made yourself a doormat for your middle managers, and instead of channeling your anger towards something productive -- like seeking better working conditions, or better employment -- you've fallen for the old trap of instead getting angry at people you don't know, for reasons you don't entirely understand, because you have this vague and horrible feeling they have it easier than you, and that somehow this means you're being tricked or scammed.

You are getting tricked. Just not by the teachers. You're getting tricked into thinking that because somebody works very hard at a very difficult job and wants decent working conditions, they're scamming you because you're getting routinely abused by your employers. You've been fooled into thinking that just because you put up with abominable working conditions, everybody else should. But your inability to negotiate for appropriate working conditions? That's not the teachers' problem. It's yours.

Teachers do have it bad. Saying "but they don't have it as bad as me!" doesn't mean they don't have it bad. Saying "I have a shitty job and I'm angry because their job is not quite as shitty as mine!" is myopic and selfish.

Myopic, because you don't know how shitty their job is. There's no magic equation. There's no big calculator where you can say "well, my flying across the country on a Sunday equals seventeen getting up early to serve breakfasts; their twenty-seven directing school plays equals thirty-three me crunching numbers while stuck in traffic." You can only make broad and baseless assumptions about their jobs, do some hand-wavy stuff in your head, and conclude they don't have it bad enough.

Selfish, because trying to drag everyone else in the world down to a point where they're as miserable as you are is -- well, hell, selfish. That's the word. There ain't no better word.

I wonder how many teachers have actually slept in their class room under a desk because they were too busy to make it home. I wonder how many doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, and accountants have.

I have never met anyone that sleeps under their desk because they are too busy to make it home.

Ever. In my life.

I slept on a couch in a newspaper office once because I was the editor in chief and we stayed up late putting an issue to bed. I was about 22 years old at the time.

If you find yourself sleeping under your desk a lot, I suspect you have made some poor life decisions, and would perhaps be better served renegotiating your working conditions, or improving your time management skills, than spending time on the Internet being outraged.
posted by Shepherd at 9:05 AM on June 11, 2010 [116 favorites]


The hours conversation illustrates one of the most frustrating and counterproductive elements of how the teaching career is assigned: because state law and contracts only require teachers to be "in the office" for a relatively small amount of time, teachers who chose the career vocationally spend tons of time outside work time doing work and the public comes away with the general impression that teachers don't work that hard. The answer, then, is two-fold: pay teachers more and expand the number of days teachers are required to work well past the standard 185 or 190 and to a 9 hour day instead of a 7 hour day. Good teachers get most, if not all, of their work done on company time instead of their own. Teachers get paid what they deserve. The public sees a system hard at work to help their kids. People who got into the profession for the wrong reasons get out. Everybody wins.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:13 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sick to death of being told to take perniciously false, utterly ridiculous, and positively Dark Age thinking on its face with all the politeness I can muster. I'm tired of the idea that as a liberal I'm supposed to be nice and take facefuls of shit in the form of intellectual nonsense. I'll take a Lyndon Johnson over ten weak-ass Clintons any day.

I . . . love you? As a teacher.
posted by theredpen at 9:14 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a popular rejoinder, but without evidence, it just sounds like union bashing to me. If you have links that demonstrate that the enemy is the union, I'd love to see them.

Union bashing.

LOL

Criticism of teacher's unions is readily available. In addition, a documentary on the teacher's union in New Jersey was recently completed.
posted by BigSky at 9:17 AM on June 11, 2010


Good teachers get most, if not all, of their work done on company time instead of their own.

I'm a little unclear about what you are saying here. Are you saying:

a) Expand the required in-school hours so that there are 2-3 "office hours" where teachers are required to do their prep/post-day work in their classroom versus at home?

or

b) If a teacher was a "good teacher", they would be able to get their prep/post-day work done during class while the kids are still there?
posted by jeanmari at 9:19 AM on June 11, 2010


Lets see, if I complain about the hours I have to work and my salary, which I'm not complaining about, then I am indignant and have made poor life decisions, but if a teacher complains about the hours they are working and their salary, they have a legitimate gripe with the system.
posted by otto42 at 9:19 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


If you find yourself sleeping under your desk a lot, I suspect you have made some poor life decisions, and would perhaps be better served renegotiating your working conditions, or improving your time management skills, than spending time on the Internet being outraged.

And the same could be said about people who chose to be teachers. I'm not picking a fight here (I am married to a teacher), but it's not like teachers are completely stuck in their job and they have no other choice but to whine about their pay.

In any job, anywhere, there are going to be people that work very hard for "not enough pay" and there are going to be others that slack off and punch their time cards (metaphorically - i.e. I worked 8 I'm out of here). It's more visible with teachers becuase they are a solid group of people who all work very similar jobs and are represented by unions. Us salaried folks that work crappy hours and aren't paid for all of them are not a solid bloc.

It's great that you've never met anyone who has slept under a desk (but you yourself slept on a couch? That's like SO different....), but we are out there. We work more hours than we get paid for. In an office. Without the joy of screaming kiddos around us. Trying to remind ourselves that we do this for a reason (at least I do, I try to help clean up this planet) and not just a paycheck. And you know what our choice is? Suck up or find something else.
posted by Big_B at 9:22 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm a teacher and all I have to say is SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!

I bought my kiddies donuts today as a "thanks for being cool kids all year" treat and they were pretty happy about that.

(The 20 bucks I spent on donuts today is the only money I spent on my classroom all year long. There certainly aren't many teachers here who spend money on their jobs aside from the occasional poster for the walls or something to that effect)

It's a great gig, you just have to figure out how to contain it.
posted by davey_darling at 9:22 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I'm not saying our education system doesn't need more money. It certainly does. Money for PE (+teachers), for music programs (+teachers), for art programs (+teachers), and libraries (+librarians).
posted by Big_B at 9:24 AM on June 11, 2010


davey_darling: methinks being a teacher in Ontario is somewhat different from being a teacher in Jersey.
posted by antifuse at 9:25 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


the idea should be hounded out of reasonable society with as much mocking and namecalling as is necessary.

This is hardly ever true of anything, and never here. Seriously, you're making the site worse. Stop.

posted by cribcage at 9:28 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously, do teachers believe they are the only professionals that put in extra hours before 9 or after 5? I wonder how many teachers have actually slept in their class room under a desk because they were too busy to make it home. I wonder how many doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, and accountants have.

I have done so for just that reason and it was cold and uncomfortable.

I've never met a fellow teacher who believes we have a monopoly on over-time but many suspect that we are the only ones of those professions mentioned who must do such work while regularly defending ourselves against spurious accusations of shiftlessness.

Consider the fact that much of the unpaid time teachers put in is not a result of a busy time or a looming deadline - the bulk of a teachers' crucial work (marking, preparing, phoning, meeting, photocopying, supervising, tutoring, e-mailing, form-filling etc.) must be done after hours every day.
posted by jeffen at 9:28 AM on June 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Lets see, if I complain about the hours I have to work and my salary, which I'm not complaining about, then I am indignant and have made poor life decisions, but if a teacher complains about the hours they are working and their salary, they have a legitimate gripe with the system.

No, if you claim that teachers shouldn't complain about the hours they are working and their salary, because you have it just as bad (in your non-teaching job), you are missing the point.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:29 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


LOL

Your evidence, accompanied by a dismissive guffaw, is to link to an explicitly anti-union propaganda site produced by The Center for Union Facts, a front group for lobbyist Rick Berman, lobbyist for the food, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries? And a movie that the Times describes as "A mind-numbing barrage of random television clips and trash-talking heads, “The Cartel” purports to be a documentary about the American public school system. In reality, however, it’s a bludgeoning rant against a single state — New Jersey — which it presents as a closed loop of Mercedes-owning administrators, obstructive teachers’ unions and corrupt school boards."

Please link to something substantial, not propaganda. And don't even LOL at me again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2010 [32 favorites]


[Few comments removed - if you can't talk about this issue without calling people names, take it to metatalk or go for a walk.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ever, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:36 AM on June 11, 2010


otto42: You're missing Shepherd's point. The point is that everyone should fight for better working conditions and pay --and that people who attack others for doing so may be doing it out of misplaced emotions.
posted by ropeladder at 9:38 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think Christie hates teachers, come on. There is a huge problem in NJ. The private sector is shrinking while the public sector is growing. And the pensions paid to retired public sector employees are extravagant (median pension paid to retired teacher? Over 43K. Median annual wage in NJ? Under 38K. And don't get me started on the firefighters, police, other state workers...). It's a disaster.
posted by Blogwardo at 9:40 AM on June 11, 2010


Predictably, this discussion is getting waylaid by caricatures. But I do have one comment in response: I don't hear (most) teachers complaining about their long hours and pay. I hear teachers having to justify their existence because they are (falsely) accused of being overpaid and under worked. In this and other discussions, defending one's profession against false accusations is then taken as somehow claiming ownership of the original accusations.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:43 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


What this means, though, is that we need TONS of teachers, and that means that we can only set the requirements for teaching so high because there’s a certain number of teachers that we’ve decided as a society we just need to have.

Or you pay teachers more, making the job more appealing to people who would be qualified, but choose any professional route because 1) it's most likely easier and the very large 2) it pays a whole lot better.

Also: the US is at the low end of the vacation time scale, and US folk tend to give back more vacation time, too! I think the resentment over a teacher's "free" 3 months is partially misguided. According to the linked article: The United States is one of the only industrialized countries that doesn't have a minimum vacation policy.

The 20 bucks I spent on donuts today is the only money I spent on my classroom all year long. There certainly aren't many teachers here who spend money on their jobs aside from the occasional poster for the walls or something to that effect.

Then you haven't run out of white board markers, and the copy machine always works and is stocked with paper and ink. My wife asked for white board markers for Christmas, because the school was already limited in the amount left for the year. I've gone with her to make copies of tests after hours, because she knows it'll get done.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:46 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the same could be said about people who chose to be teachers. I'm not picking a fight here (I am married to a teacher), but it's not like teachers are completely stuck in their job and they have no other choice but to whine about their pay.

In any job, anywhere, there are going to be people that work very hard for "not enough pay" and there are going to be others that slack off and punch their time cards (metaphorically - i.e. I worked 8 I'm out of here). It's more visible with teachers becuase they are a solid group of people who all work very similar jobs and are represented by unions. Us salaried folks that work crappy hours and aren't paid for all of them are not a solid bloc.


Man, it's weird how often the anti-union argument boils down to "gosh, I sure wish I had a union."

Not that you're standing there yelling "I HATE UNIONS", Big_B -- it's just something I've noticed, and your points are well-taken.

But I just can't (a) use the fact that my job has awful elements as a reason to insist that everyone else's job should be equally awful, all the time, or (b) begrudge people the right to negotiate for reasonable working conditions because they took steps, as a profession and decades ago, to ensure that they could.

If teachers have it better than me (and I don't think they do), more power to 'em. They perform a service as essential to society as police officers, firemen, and doctors. Of those groups, they seem to be the only ones under constant scrutiny. I would never advance the argument that a fireman that "only" actively fights fires for 20 hours a week on average is a drain on society, or that a cop that works a 30-hour beat in the worst neighourhood in town is some sort of terrible leech. But people seem to get a crazy hair up their butts when it comes to teachers. It's weird.
posted by Shepherd at 9:51 AM on June 11, 2010 [21 favorites]


No, if you claim that teachers shouldn't complain about the hours they are working and their salary, because you have it just as bad (in your non-teaching job), you are missing the point.

My argument is not who has it bad. My argument is that it disingenuous for teachers to say that they are not getting paid for hours spent working on their own time when most other professionals are not getting paid for working on their own time. Professionals, teachers included, spend a lot of time working that is not specifically company time. Instead of debating what constitutes "work", out of the office or classroom, from the perspective of the accountant or the teacher, I submit that my adjustment ratio of 0.71 to 1 or thereabouts is a decent indicator of what a teacher would make on a full day and full year basis. Comparing the adjusted teacher's salary with the unadjusted accountant's salary would likely show that the annual salaries of both professions are probably pretty close.
posted by otto42 at 9:53 AM on June 11, 2010


"Soldiers" being a rhetorical device to stand for "the military".

Uh, why? Well, that doesn't really make sense. The comment you were replying to was talking about how the number of teachers affects the pay of individual teachers. What does that have to do with the cost Stealth Bombers and Hellfire Missles? There are fewer soldiers then teachers and they are paid, I think, less. The average first year enlisted soldier makes between $16-$30k, if I'm reading that chart correctly. After working 8 years and making it to the highest 8-year pay grade you're still only making $43k. Seems like Officers make a bit more.

I've always thought that a good way to prevent future was would be to boost pay for soldiers by a lot. Make it too expensive to maintain a huge army, and anyone who opposed it would get labeled anti-troop. It would also serve to redistribute wealth.
posted by delmoi at 9:53 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


when Sarah Palin referred to Joe Biden's teacher-mom by saying, 'Aw, Joe, she'll get her reward in Heaven', that really summed up the right's view of teachers.
We don't deserve or need good salaries. Somehow, the 'blessings' of being a teacher just magically fall into our wallets and the bank changes them into money.
You don't want to pay us? Fair enough.
YOU, YOU go into my classroom and deal with (manage, control and motivate) 180+ teenage egos with hormones and text messaging capabilities. And never lose your cool, never break down in front of them because they will never respect you again and word will travel like wildfire...
You winnow out the cheaters and the fakers from the kids who really do the work- in other words, YOU be the ONLY experience these kids might have with a just and fair evaluation of how society sees them.
You stick to the district standards (what we teach inside each lesson every day, the goals) while keeping them awake. and managing their talking...and watching for behavior problems.

I teach in California. Every time I hear some asshole say, oh, teaching, that must be so fun!

Well, it is, asshole.
Because I'm good at it- I've been doing it for a long time, so I should be- and my kids do very well on tests and after they graduate. I refuse to teach Honors or AP classes. I take gen-pop kids, the ones on the line, the damaged ones, and I show them the way.

You come to my room. YOU do it for one week. Then, we'll talk.

The writer of that letter is my new hero; it's on my blog already.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 9:56 AM on June 11, 2010 [30 favorites]


Background for those of us who don't live in NJ, or even the East Coast?

NJ has the highest property taxes in the country.
posted by smackfu at 9:57 AM on June 11, 2010


Personally, I don't think anyone should do unpaid company work outside of company time, but I'm old-fashioned that way.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:58 AM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


If you are salaried and non-union, there really is no such thing as company time.
posted by smackfu at 9:59 AM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Christie's increased his own staff payroll at least $400,000 over the previous administration.

To be fair to Christie, most of that payroll is for Butchers and Bakers. HAMBURGER.
posted by wcfields at 10:01 AM on June 11, 2010


but many suspect that we are the only ones of those professions mentioned who must do such work while regularly defending ourselves against spurious accusations of shiftlessness.

THIS.

The notion that teachers work fewer hours is just wrong. The notion that teachers have easier workloads is just wrong. And yet we constantly have to convince people that we do a full day's work. The only people who believe that we actually do a full day's work seem to be other teachers or those who actually live with teachers. And that's NOT including the things we do that are extra. If we simply did all our planning, teaching, and grading, we COULD NOT do it in the school day. It's not possible.

I haven't taught in the US since I graduated from college, but there are precious few places in the world where things are any better.

That said, it's a great job. I've chosen over and over again, for years, to stay in it rather than go do something else that would pay better. And you know something, the letter writer sounds angry not about salaries, but about the lack of respect. About being seen as shiftless and incompetent when one is working one's heart out.
posted by bardophile at 10:05 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I used to laugh at my wife-to-be when she told me she worked so hard as a teacher, knowing, just knowing, from my vast experience as a former grade, high school, and university student, that teachers worked half days and got 12 weeks of summer vacation.

Boy was I ignorant.
posted by moonbiter at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2010


My argument is that it disingenuous for teachers to say that they are not getting paid for hours spent working on their own time when most other professionals are not getting paid for working on their own time. Professionals, teachers included, spend a lot of time working that is not specifically company time. Instead of debating what constitutes "work", out of the office or classroom, from the perspective of the accountant or the teacher, I submit that my adjustment ratio of 0.71 to 1 or thereabouts is a decent indicator of what a teacher would make on a full day and full year basis. Comparing the adjusted teacher's salary with the unadjusted accountant's salary would likely show that the annual salaries of both professions are probably pretty close.

And my argument is that it's not the teachers' responsibility to catalogue every unpaid hour of outside-the-office work that you do and ensure that you get compensated for it.

It's your responsibility.

Your "adjustment ratio" is a number you made up, in your own head, on the basis that you think that all professionals, on average, do exactly equivalent work off the clock to the work that teachers do off the clock.

I submit that:

a. you have no real, scientific, provable, numeric basis for comparison; you have no actual knowledge of how much off-the-clock work teachers put in. You have no actual numbers regarding how much time brain surgeons spend sleeping under desks. There is no data regarding unpaid overtime spent by every professional in the nation. You are, bluntly speaking, making stuff up.

b. even if you did have some sort of actual data, which you don't, you're making insane equivalencies, like the amount of time you spend typing memos to Janet about the water cooler breakdown while stuck in traffic is exactly the same effort as, say, grading 10th-grade history papers about the War of the Roses. Or, conversely, that the amount of time a teacher spends supervising a teen dance is precisely the amount of effort exerted by a high-powered businesswoman closing a billion-dollar deal over cocktails in the Trump Tower lounge. You're compounding totally made-up data with a thoroughly hypothetical idea that all of your fictitious work performed outside of your theoretical office hours is of equal weight. It is not.

c. If a teacher wants to consider the work they do off school grounds as "work," as opposed to "stuff they do for free, out of love, because they're just awesome like that," they're entitled to. Just like you're entitled to sack up and go to your boss and say "you know all that stuff I do when you're not paying me? I want you to pay me for it, or I'm not going to do it any more."

In conclusion:

Your "adjustment number" is hooey.
posted by Shepherd at 10:15 AM on June 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


Otto42, the problem is that if you admit up front that all (or most) professionals work beyond the contracted hours of their job, then comparing those contracted hours is not a good indication of anything.
posted by Nothing at 10:16 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


moonbiter: "I used to laugh at my wife-to-be when she told me she worked so hard as a teacher, knowing, just knowing, from my vast experience as a former grade, high school, and university student, that teachers worked half days and got 12 weeks of summer vacation. Boy was I ignorant."

I suspect there's more truth in this statement than you realize. Perhaps part of the issue with the right's stance toward teachers is that everyone has had contact with a teacher since everyone has had to go to school. And as others have said about how parents seem to think they know how to do pedagogy and work a classroom, I bet the same holds for opponents of public school teachers and those who say they are underworked and overpaid: these people are familiar with their impression of what teaching entails, but at the same time they don't have a goddamned clue about the truth of the matter.
posted by barnacles at 10:20 AM on June 11, 2010


NJ has the highest property taxes in the country.

ok.
So?
posted by madajb at 10:21 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I don't think anyone should do unpaid company work outside of company time, but I'm old-fashioned that way.

Nor buy supplies for the company.
posted by madajb at 10:22 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It’s a bunch of forces all working against each other, and to boil it down to well people are just cheap/lazy/valueless/clueless/sheep is fucking asinine.

Yes, it's complicated, but a big part of the problem in the US is that people have this weird idea that paying taxes is just the government taking money from them and that lower taxes are, therefor, always better. Somehow, they never seem to connect the stuff they take for granted (say, roads) with the taxes they pay. Every year, I have at least one conversation around tax time where I say I like paying taxes. And the person/people I am talking to look at me like I am crazy. And I continue "because I like roads and fire services and schools and..." and they get all annoyed and are all "oh, yeah, that stuff," and it always stuns me -- what do you think taxes are for?

So it's only part of the equation, but the extremely myopic view many Americans have about taxes is a huge part of the problem. I don't have children, and I probably never will, but good public schools are important to me because I need to interact with people, and that is way easier to do when they have learned some basic skills in school. So I cheerfully pay my taxes, and I just wish more of them went to the public school system.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:25 AM on June 11, 2010 [23 favorites]


There are fewer soldiers then teachers and they are paid, I think, less. The average first year enlisted soldier makes between $16-$30k, if I'm reading that chart correctly. After working 8 years and making it to the highest 8-year pay grade you're still only making $43k. Seems like Officers make a bit more.

Yeah, but they get free lodging, meals, haircuts, clothes, motivational speakers, group exercise classes, healthcare, and they're paid while getting on-the-job training! That soldier making $43K is easily making about $120,243.55 on an adjusted basis.
posted by Challahtronix at 10:25 AM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


but many suspect that we are the only ones of those professions mentioned who must do such work while regularly defending ourselves against spurious accusations of shiftlessness.

Well, teaching is certainly one of the only professions with such a strong persecution complex.
posted by madajb at 10:28 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do public school teachers in NJ have tenure? I always thought that tenure was a concept that applied to professors and researchers who require independence to perform their work. Extending that privilege to school teachers is a pretty fucked up proposition and creates such a level of distortion (not to say an image of privilege) that no wonder people teachers get little sympathy.

On the subject of teacher's unions, this recent article on the NY Times magazine is pretty good. There was another one last year on the New Yorker about the reform of the NYC school system, the rubber rooms and etc which was pretty interesting as well. Can't find the link now.

I know very little about the subject, but the bottom line for me is that there are so many distortions on the relationship between teachers and their employers, that no wonder that the discourse has become so belligerent on both sides. And I don't think this problem is about money.
posted by falameufilho at 10:29 AM on June 11, 2010


Mmmmm....defined benefit pension plan accounting... The S&P 500 has gone nowhere for a decade while future pension payouts might have assumed something like an annual 7.5% equity return over the same time period. And as the returns continue to suck the gap keeps compounding.
Per Christie the typcial retired teacher gets $1.4 million in pension benefits (vs. the teacher's own pension contribution of $62,000). Multiply that by thousands of pensioners and you can see there is a very big problem which has nothing to do with hurf durfing one way or the other about teacher pay/performance. It's a huge global problem.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 10:30 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ooops: that no wonder people teachers get little sympathy from people
posted by falameufilho at 10:31 AM on June 11, 2010


the insane $10-12K per head per annum

Wait, what?

$12,000 per head gets you the roof over their head, and security, and lunch, and teachers and teachers' aides, and heat/cooling/electricity, and the janitor, and the guy that fixes the heat/cooling/electricity, and computers, and books, and glue, and furniture, and office staff, and telephone service, and landscaping, and field trips, and extra-curricular activities, and playground equipment, and so on...

We're not talking about an organization that takes in $360,000 a year for 36 kids, skim off $36,000 for the teacher that year, and fritter the rest away on coke and whores. If you're sending a child to non-subsidized private school, you're paying a lot more than $12,000 a year. And hell, here in Los Angeles, LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) public school funding per student averages between $5,000 and $8,000 (depending on which resource you're reading and how they calculate it.)

So yes, $10-12K per head per annum is insane -- but only because it's still too low.

My experience working nearly 5 years in an elementary school is that parents don't respect teachers at all. They are constantly second-guessing the curriculum, insisting they know how children learn best despite having no experience with actually being around any but their own.

My experience as a parent just dealing with pre-school for the last few years bears this out. It is one thing for a parent to step in because something is genuinely wrong (such as walking into class and finding their son and another kid in a fistfight, with the teacher watching but not making an attempt to stop it -- that was a fun day) but the petty, stupid nature of entitled parents second-guessing the teachers on every little thing continues to be astounding to me.

At one of the preschools my children attended, we got to know several of the teachers well enough that they started confiding in us about other parents' behaviors. The most shocking thing to me, by far, is how many parents just walked in, dropped off/picked up their child, and left -- not even a hello to the teacher, and having no idea what the teacher's names were. How disrespectful and arrogant to not even want to know the name of the person who is, quite possibly, having as much or more of an impact on their lives than you are!

Gah. It pisses me off just thinking about it.

Have put in 54 hours this week since Monday. Am on the fifth day of a grueling schedule and have to work an event this Sunday. My job has its rewards, but I never, ever work 9-5.

and

Lets see, if I complain about the hours I have to work and my salary, which I'm not complaining about, then I am indignant and have made poor life decisions, but if a teacher complains about the hours they are working and their salary, they have a legitimate gripe with the system.

Okay, I think we need to break this up. I, too, am a non-teacher who puts in painful hours. However, in return I get performance-based bonuses and a high base salary, so I get directly rewarded for all that extra work. If you're in the kind of job where you work as hard as I do but don't get a high salary and performance-based bonuses, you've made a bad choice and should change employers.

But it's apples and oranges, because "find a new job" is a decision you can make that impacts you and your family, and the business you leave -- but if the good teachers all leave because they're working so hard, getting no respect and are underpaid (which, let's be clear, is a rational decision for them) it impacts our children (individually and collectively) and therefore the future of the society we live in. It impacts them because schools will close if they can't find teachers, and if they can find teachers it's going to be the ones who can't get work doing something better. Is that really what you want? You want the good teachers to go make more money elsewhere, and our kids to be educated by the lousy ones?

Ultimately, if you knew that company X paid well and attracted the best and brightest, and company Y was staffed with all the people who weren't good enough to work for company X, you'd likely buy your products from company X. The education of our society's children shouldn't be a free market decision.

The 20 bucks I spent on donuts today is the only money I spent on my classroom all year long. There certainly aren't many teachers here who spend money on their jobs aside from the occasional poster for the walls or something to that effect

Shush, or all the teachers in the US are going to move to Canada, and we'll be screwed!
posted by davejay at 10:31 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


So?

So that's why people in NJ like to complain about the thing that makes up most of the property taxes, and why it is a major political issue in the state.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on June 11, 2010


median pension paid to retired teacher? Over 43K. Median annual wage in NJ? Under 38K. And don't get me started on the firefighters, police, other state workers...). It's a disaster.

You're mad because the teachers get to retire on a decent (but hardly extravagant) pension in an expensive state after a lifetime of service? A pension that was promised to them when they started forty-five years before?
posted by octothorpe at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


otto42: "No, if you claim that teachers shouldn't complain about the hours they are working and their salary, because you have it just as bad (in your non-teaching job), you are missing the point.

My argument is not who has it bad. My argument is that it disingenuous for teachers to say that they are not getting paid for hours spent working on their own time when most other professionals are not getting paid for working on their own time.


So it's disingenuous to stand up for yourself? Would that *all* the professionals stood up and demanded to be paid for their time. There are a lot of services out there that the actual cost is not what is paid, so we have a very skewed sense of value.

Professionals, teachers included, spend a lot of time working that is not specifically company time. Instead of debating what constitutes "work", out of the office or classroom, from the perspective of the accountant or the teacher, I submit that my adjustment ratio of 0.71 to 1 or thereabouts is a decent indicator of what a teacher would make on a full day and full year basis. Comparing the adjusted teacher's salary with the unadjusted accountant's salary would likely show that the annual salaries of both professions are probably pretty close."

By that measure, since it's unpaid in either case, you'd have to adjust the accountant's salary up using all of his unpaid hours as well.

If the accountant were working 60 and being paid for forty, you'd have to adjust his effective pay scale down by 33%.
If you took the hours worked by most teachers, including the hour or more before first bell, the two hours on-site after last bell, a couple hours every night doing everything from lesson plans to making copies, plus all the weekend stuff, coaching (in the case of high schools), you'd be looking at 70 or more hours a week, even after you divided it up over 52 weeks. So, 70 hours, paid for 35. How's that math work out for you?

I was teaching one three-credit class at the community college, for extra money, when I lost my job. Started subbing, and wound up taking over half a semester for a teacher who had a stroke. So the lesson plans were all there. The material was elementary algebra. The students were, for the most part, willing if not able learners. Easy, right? Let me tell you, those "fifteen credit hours" for those eight weeks were tougher than when I worked fourteen straight 16 hour days doing construction. And this was community college, so I didn't have to deal with art supplies or idiot snowflake parents or a school board. Teaching ain't a desk job, shouldn't be compared to a desk job. It should be compared to a fucking contact sport.
posted by notsnot at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


Note to all you people putting down school teachers in the U.S.:

Please come visit my kids' publicly-funded "inner city" charter school. The teachers (unionized govt. employees) are dedicated and follow a rigorous curriculum. Most of the kids are reading by the time they're halfway through kindergarten. Taken as an average, the kids' test scores are always in the top 10% for the state. Under-performing children are not expelled—they are helped.

Then go visit the public elementary school my friend works at. Many children enter having never seen a book. The teachers must first explain, patiently, repeatedly, that the spoken word can be represented on paper or video screens as a series of characters. Many of the children do not know this. They do not get books at home, and do not "get" books at all. Many (not all) are slapped around, yelled at, sexually abused. Nearly all have behavioral problems. Many are cripplingly shy and fearful of adults. The teachers at this school are just as dedicated as the teachers at my kids' school. If the children at the second school are not performing as well as the children at my kids' school, do you really think the teachers are to blame? Do any of these teachers deserve this opprobrium? Shouldn't we thank them for what they are doing, in both of these cases?
posted by Mister_A at 10:34 AM on June 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


Your "adjustment ratio" is a number you made up, in your own head, on the basis that you think that all professionals, on average, do exactly equivalent work off the clock to the work that teachers do off the clock.


There is nothing made up about my adjustment ratio, you are the one assigning values to various levels of work, or the amount of joy or sorrow one might derive from doing something outside of the class room or office. My ratio assigns a value of zero to work outside the office for both the teacher and the accountant. While I might not be able to tell you if grading papers while watching 30 Rock at 9:30 PM, is a real pain in the neck or boring or completely enjoyable, you can't tell me that locating a new supplier for my widget manufacturing operations while watching 30 Rock is a real pain in the neck, boring, or completely enjoyable. Instead of trying too discern some one else s relative misery or elation one might derive from work outside of the office or classroom, we assume neither has value. We are therefore left with my ratio, which shows teachers work fewer hours per year than other professionals.
posted by otto42 at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2010


I don't have children, and I probably never will, but good public schools are important to me because I need to interact with people, and that is way easier to do when they have learned some basic skills in school. So I cheerfully pay my taxes, and I just wish more of them went to the public school system.

One wonders how much more, exactly?
In my state, 42 percent of the General Fund goes towards K-12 education.
Add in some local levies, and you're looking at close to 45% of the tax dollars in the state.

To a lot of people, that seems like it ought to be enough to provide a decent education.
Yet the constant refrain is that education is underfunded. Teachers are underpaid. Children are under-served.

Who is right? Like most things, it's probably somewhere in the middle.
Unfortunately, every conversion about public education seems to turn into "Teachers are overpaid and lazy" vs. "Teachers are poverty-stricken martyrs to the cause" with little progress being made.
posted by madajb at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I submit that my adjustment ratio of 0.71 to 1 or thereabouts is a decent indicator of what a teacher would make on a full day and full year basis. Comparing the adjusted teacher's salary with the unadjusted accountant's salary would likely show that the annual salaries of both professions are probably pretty close.

Umm... Except your adjustment ratio is based on the "facts" that teachers only work a 7 hour day (false) and only work 10 months a year (also false).
posted by antifuse at 10:37 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


For reference, New Jersey has had historically high teachers salaries, in comparison to the rest of the country.[1][2] Anecdotally, three teachers at my high school in New Jersey made over six figures - as a result of being at the same school for over 20 years.

That said, cost of living is also high in NJ, and Christie follows the rich New Jersey tradition of being in every way possible an incompetent jerk.
posted by tmcw at 10:37 AM on June 11, 2010


I don't have or want kids, but I'm not dumb enough to think that public school isn't the second-best thing our civilization has done behind vaccination.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:38 AM on June 11, 2010


* Every year, I have at least one conversation around tax time where I say I like paying taxes. And the person/people I am talking to look at me like I am crazy. And I continue "because I like roads and fire services and schools and..."

The problem, and the eternal conflict, is what are the things that go after the ellipsis. Everybody loves roads, and having a fire service ready, and good schools. Everybody thinks the police is important too, and garbage collection. What about lifetime pensions and health care for certain groups of people? What about nuclear submarines and predator drones? And what about the space program? Also - what is your level of faith on the government as an efficient administrator of these funds?

So, I bet you feel you accomplish a civic duty when you send the gov't a check, but the debate on what will they do with the money, and how will they do it, is far from settled. And this is always the issue, not the concept of taxes itself.
posted by falameufilho at 10:40 AM on June 11, 2010


Usually, I want to slap folks who say "speak English or die" or "if you don't like it here then why don't you move to Iraq/Iran/Saudi Arabia/Cuba." The teaching profession is one where i think that sentiment is appropriate, though.

I tried to become a teaching professional back in the 80s in Oklahoma and I got my ass handed to me. The work is tough; tougher than any of the ridiculous overworked with the promise of possible big payoffs after we went public crap of the dot-scam era. Every story you'll ever hear of how much time people put in that goes above and beyond to make education happen is true and then some some.

If you really have a problem with teaching as a profession you probably don't know enough about what goes into it or you're in need of more education. If you really have a problem with how education occurs and educators get paid then go do something and don't just think that your votes are a measure that actually amount to something.

As was previously stated by others here, volunteer. Donate. Teach part-time. This is one of those occasions where first hand knowledge can actually change your view.
posted by artof.mulata at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


davejay: "The education of our society's children shouldn't be a free market decision."

Quoted.
For.
Truth.
posted by notsnot at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


While I might not be able to tell you if grading papers while watching 30 Rock at 9:30 PM, is a real pain in the neck or boring or completely enjoyable

Editorialize much?
posted by kylej at 10:48 AM on June 11, 2010


I have been teaching in our public school system for 9 years. I started at $36,000 a year. My college roommate started as an office worker at an accounting firm for $75,000.

Wait, WHAT. That stopped me dead in my tracks.

I want to root for the teacher, but is he saying his roommate wasn't an accounting major and started for $75K as an admin assistant or something? Because I'll start looking for that kind of job this minute if that's the case.Screw international development crap nonprofit work.
posted by anniecat at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2010


Sure, we could all provide an education of our own kids at a lower cost if we didn't have to provide busing, security, cover special-ed costs, facilities and legal protections against lawsuits.

People who think they can provide a cheaper education usually haven't explored the school budget very far.

On Long Island, our biggest issue in taxes is pensions, but it's not the pensions going to schoolteachers. After cops, firefighters and now numerous transportation and other state authority workers who run up their pension payouts by working tons of overtime their last year (which then sets the pension payout), the highest paid pensions are going to retired school district superintendents.

Some are getting well above $200,000 annually. These outrageous contracts were signed years ago when times were good (and no one was watching) and it's going to take years and years, and more than a few funerals, before it is resolved. Until recently, several were double dipping, retiring from one district and collecting pensions, then taking up fat consulting contracts at other districts.

By the way, I ran and taught 10-week classes for trainees for my employer several years ago. Teaching is damned hard work---you are always on, you have to conveny material to people who are sometimes simply unqualified to handle it, and you have to be open to uninformed criticism from above and below. I was always reviewing their work hours after they left, often six days a week.

Teaching is not for the faint-hearted. We've all had a bad teacher or two. If we're lucky, we've also had gems. It's worth paying star or at least decent salaries to get quality teachers. Blaming them or the unions for the state of education is idiotic.

Also it is my understanding that Christie promised teachers that if they agreed to salary freezes or cutbacks, he wouldn't push for more. Then he turned around and stabbed them in the back.
posted by etaoin at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have never met anyone that sleeps under their desk because they are too busy to make it home.

Have you ever met any grad students?
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Grad students aren't people.
posted by smackfu at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


Who is right? Like most things, it's probably somewhere in the middle.

Very few things are actually in the middle. I have experienced this as a dangerous fallacy, because it means that, if one person is lying and the other is telling the truth, people will believe half a lie, because it seems reasonable to position yourself in the middle.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:09 AM on June 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


I always thought that tenure was a concept that applied to professors and researchers who require independence to perform their work.

I thought teachers got tenure in part because it permitted them to express unpopular (political) opinions without risking their jobs, just like university professors who express unpopular opinions or do unpopular research. See: the teacher whose screed at the governor of the state in which he is employed is in the original link.

/former student-teacher who found out teaching was too hard for her. Respect the teachers!
posted by immlass at 11:10 AM on June 11, 2010


So, I bet you feel you accomplish a civic duty when you send the gov't a check, but the debate on what will they do with the money, and how will they do it, is far from settled. And this is always the issue, not the concept of taxes itself.

Yup. Which is why I try to be as involved a voter as I can be and all the rest of it. But, honestly, if you don't think that "the concept of taxes itself" is an issue, you haven't been paying attention to American political rhetoric since at least the early 80s. Told over and over again that taxes are evil and, if only they were cut far enough, we would all live in a world of roses and puppies, people have gotten some pretty weird idea how public services are paid for.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2010


Grad students aren't people.

Sure we are, we're just people who made horrible, horrible decisions.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


The low status of teachers in US society is something that most of the rest of the world finds baffling. In the UK, we choose our scapegoats on the basis of mutual class hatred, faux-moral outrage and good, old-fashioned racism. We blame politicians, people on benefits, investment bankers and migrant workers for all society's ills. Teachers only get bad press if they turn out to be paedophiles. Either all your teachers are notorious sex criminals or there's a cultural disconnect here.
posted by him at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


otto42

Teachers only work 7 hour days, so technically they get paid more.

everyone else

This is not true. They work very long hours.

otto42

Well so does everyone else.

everyone else

Then your argument about the pay being adequate is gone. Those other people who work just as hard get paid more.

otto42

THE POINT IS, TEACHERS ARE JUST WHINING AND LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU.
posted by Legomancer at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


We are therefore left with my ratio, which shows teachers work fewer hours per year than other professionals.

I still don't see how this is based on more than a couple of anecdotes. I am a senior programmer in a successful company and I work no more than 40-45 hours a week, and never think about work at all when I'm at home. I get paid what seems like a lot, and am constantly thanked by my boss and others for doing a great job.

At my prior job I was managing 10-20 programmers, working all the time, and had a lot of annoying drama with other managers and execs. I was making slightly less than I do now.

So, y'know, my point is that experiences vary wildly and we are missing (in this thread) any sort of hard data about how many hours are put in by people in different professions, not to mention the relative stress, difficulty, and social value of those hours.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2010


In my state, 42 percent of the General Fund goes towards K-12 education.
Add in some local levies, and you're looking at close to 45% of the tax dollars in the state.

To a lot of people, that seems like it ought to be enough to provide a decent education.
Yet the constant refrain is that education is underfunded. Teachers are underpaid. Children are under-served.


It depends on the school district. As far as I can tell from friends who are or have been teachers, many school districts spend as much on administration salaries as they do on teachers', which is pretty clearly a problem. In RI, for example, we have something like 36 school districts for a state that is 30 x 50 miles and has a population of something like 1.3 million. Surely some of that administrative structure could be simplified and money freed up for people who were actually teaching rather than managing teachers.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2010




jeanmari: "I'm a little unclear about what you are saying here. Are you saying:

a) Expand the required in-school hours so that there are 2-3 "office hours" where teachers are required to do their prep/post-day work in their classroom versus at home?
"

I'm saying this. Either this, or contract structures which make clear exactly what functions teachers are expected to perform outside of office hours and what they should be paid accordingly (for example, KIPP charter school teachers are paid more on the expectation they'll be available by phone for homework help in the evenings).
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:29 AM on June 11, 2010


This is laughable to anyone who's had any kind of experience with teaching. I was only student teaching, with only four measly classes (two of which were the same prep), and I wished I was only working 7 hours a day.

But it scales over time. I taught the same 2 or 3 English classes for 13 years, and by the time I'd been at it for 4 or 5 years, there were days when my entire prep for a class was to pull out my file on that topic, run through it and make minor revisions if needed, make sure I got the photocopying done. Every semester, I'd do a deep revision on one or two topics, so nothing got too crappy or out-of-date, but it really was, for me, a case of putting in a big big investment early on and having it pay off later.

On the other hand, I was just talking with a friend (who also teaches) recently about how one of the stressful things about teaching is that even if people tell you you're doing a great job, you are always aware of how much more you could be doing. You could reach out to that struggling student more often, you could spend more time reviewing possible textbooks, you could easily spend twice as much time grading each paper or giving that one kid after-school tutoring or meeting with parents or whatever the 10,000 possible tasks that might conceivably fall under your job are. It's one of those fuzzy-edged jobs, and that's why you can have some teachers talking about how much work they take home every night and how many materials they provide out of pocket, and then have somebody else counter with the story of the work-exactly-to-the-contract-and-no-more teachers they've encountered.
posted by not that girl at 11:29 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


We are therefore left with my ratio, which shows teachers work fewer hours per year than other professionals

Actually, we aren't. Your quick head math, based on what you think you know about what teacher's work, without additional sourcing could be -- and, according to the people who actually do the work, is -- pure fantasy.

I mean, you can argue forever that teachers spend lifetimes in Narnia too, if you like. If people disagree, just wave them away by saying "we're left with my Aslan theory."
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 AM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Then he turned around and stabbed them in the back.

That's such a surprise. He seemed like such a decent, honorable, stand-up fellow.

In Rush's inimitable words, "Is it wrong to love another man? Because I love Chris Christie."
posted by blucevalo at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2010


otto42

Teachers only work 7 hour days 190 days a year, so technically they get paid the same.

everyone else

This is not true. They work very long hours.

otto42

Well so does everyone else.

everyone else

Then your argument about the pay being adequate is correct. Those other people who work just as hard get paid just as much.

otto42

THE POINT IS, TEACHERS ARE JUST WHINING.

I'll make this easy.

Mr. Derion is a teacher. He works 190 days a year and 7 hours a day and makes $52,000 per year. Mr. Derion is offered a job to teach summer school for 7 hours a day.

What is the minimum hourly rate Mr. Derion would accept so that he is compensated at a rate no better and no worse than what he receives during the normal school year?

Bonus question:

What is Mr. Derion's gross pay at the end of the year?
posted by otto42 at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2010


So now you're inventing word puzzles?

I tell you what. Why don't you actually go out and ask a teacher how many hours they work, and how much they get paid. Then ask a hundred. Then ask 10 times that. Then crunch the data and get back to us. Because we're not really in the business of discussing imaginary numbers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


What is the minimum hourly rate Mr. Derion would accept so that he is compensated at a rate no better and no worse than what he receives during the normal school year?

Bonus question:

What is Mr. Derion's gross pay at the end of the year?




Ohh! Ohh! I know this!!

Five! Wait, no! A pickle! No,no, I know this!
The Treaty of Westphalia!!
posted by Floydd at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Because we're not really in the business of discussing imaginary numbers.

The math teachers aside.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


So now you're inventing word puzzles?

I tell you what. Why don't you actually go out and ask a teacher how many hours they work, and how much they get paid. Then ask a hundred. Then ask 10 times that. Then crunch the data and get back to us. Because we're not really in the business of discussing imaginary numbers.


The only one coming up with imaginary numbers is you.

In NJ, teachers are paid for 190 days a year and 7 hours a day, no matter how much work they perform.

The average professional is paid for 235 days a year and 8 hours a day, no matter how much work they perform.

In order to compare the teachers salary with the other professionals salary, you have to adjust for the difference in days and hours worked.

Why would I not make this adjustment?
posted by otto42 at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2010


If teachers have it so good, why aren't all these overworked private industry professionals falling all over each other to quit their jobs and become teachers? Shouldn't they be posting things like "After slaving away 60+ hours a week as an accountant, and seeing how easy teachers have it with their 35 hour weeks and their summer vacations, I realize I've made a terrible career choice and am immediately going back to get a teaching certificate"?
posted by freecellwizard at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Then crunch the data and get back to us. Because we're not really in the business of discussing imaginary numbers.


I did a big reading project on school finance and education issues, and I did come across research that found that teachers did not actually work more hours, on average, than other professionals earning similar salaries.
posted by not that girl at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your evidence, accompanied by a dismissive guffaw, is to link to an explicitly anti-union propaganda site produced by The Center for Union Facts, a front group for lobbyist Rick Berman, lobbyist for the food, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries? And a movie that the Times describes as "A mind-numbing barrage of random television clips and trash-talking heads, "The Cartel" purports to be a documentary about the American public school system. In reality, however, it's a bludgeoning rant against a single state - New Jersey - which it presents as a closed loop of Mercedes-owning administrators, obstructive teachers' unions and corrupt school boards."

Please link to something substantial, not propaganda. And don't even LOL at me again.


LOL!!!1!1!!1!!!1!

As a general rule, the opinions published by the Times carry little weight with me. On the relevant page you can read a number of comments that detail the reviewer's bias and ineptitude. A few excerpts:

"This is a truly bizarre review. Ms. Catsoulis details all of the damning evidence of greed and corruption in the NJEA that is presented in the film, from the missing billion dollars, to the administrative graft to the weeping child, denied a decent education by the union's self-interest in perpetuating a failed system.

Then, after detailing Mr. Bowden's convincing arguments she says that he falls short by ignoring some unspecified, "complex underpinnings.""

and

"I never expected to see such a biased review in the New York Times. It's very odd that movies that expose the dangers of Big Oil, Big Agriculture, etc. receive favorable reviews but a film that provides a brutally honest look at Big Education results in what sounds more like a screed than any movie review I have ever seen."

and

"The reviewer may have done us all a service if she took the time to challenge any of the facts/figures/statistics of the movie. Instead she waved her hand saying only "The evidence may be verifiable (and even depressingly familiar)". Hence the review is nothing more than an assault on the producer's style, and on this count I also found the review came up short."

You chose to focus on the review and funding of a documentary that you haven't seen while avoiding a website that lays out arguments against teacher's unions. No surprise there.

-----

But it's apples and oranges, because "find a new job" is a decision you can make that impacts you and your family, and the business you leave -- but if the good teachers all leave because they're working so hard, getting no respect and are underpaid (which, let's be clear, is a rational decision for them) it impacts our children (individually and collectively) and therefore the future of the society we live in. It impacts them because schools will close if they can't find teachers, and if they can find teachers it's going to be the ones who can't get work doing something better. Is that really what you want? You want the good teachers to go make more money elsewhere, and our kids to be educated by the lousy ones?

Ultimately, if you knew that company X paid well and attracted the best and brightest, and company Y was staffed with all the people who weren't good enough to work for company X, you'd likely buy your products from company X. The education of our society's children shouldn't be a free market decision.


Teachers, like everyone else already make these decisions. Why else would there be a change in teacher quality from one district to the next? It's teachers selecting jobs with the best fit. Until the government assigns teachers to schools, good teachers in demand will move towards the employers that have the most to offer and the lousy ones will be left to the children enrolled at the schools that offer teachers the least. It's already a (crippled) free market decision. The only questions are how efficient we will make that market, whether the children will also have the freedom to choose, and how quickly a neighborhood will be able to upgrade the quality of education offered.

Also, nice use of italics on "our children", I can just hear the change of pitch and see that meaningful glance as I read.
posted by BigSky at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2010


As a general rule, the opinions published by the Times carry little weight with me. On the relevant page you can read a number of comments that detail the reviewer's bias and ineptitude. ...

"I never expected to see such a biased review in the New York Times. It's very odd that movies that expose the dangers of Big Oil, Big Agriculture, etc. receive favorable reviews but a film that provides a brutally honest look at Big Education results in what sounds more like a screed than any movie review I have ever seen."


"The weeping child" ..... denied an education by the Marauding Bloodthirsty Union Leeches!

No surprise there.
posted by blucevalo at 12:06 PM on June 11, 2010


It occurs to me that comparing workloads of professions to workloads other professions (teachers to consultants, for example, or doctors to mechanics) is pretty much a zero-sum game except perhaps in very specific single instances.

Further, making any sort of generalization about any profession ("teachers" being inferred to mean ALL teachers EVERYWHERE or "computer programmers" being inferred to mean ALL computer programmers EVERYWHERE) really does bad things to one's credibility. Many professionals

While I'm not going to touch otto42's adjustment argument, it seems that even in this thread (or perhaps particularly in this thread) there's sides being taken: Teachers (and those who love them) vs. Everyone Else Who Has It Easy In Comparison. Certainly, this isn't 100%, but it's there. So his exact quantification aside, his point has merit.

It makes it hard as someone who, through no fault of his own and who has career goals outside of education, has been classified as "Everyone Else" to empathize with those who are doing the classification. Essentially, it sounds like the same arguments used to bash teachers and being taken by teachers and turned on "Everyone Else" and if it sucks to have that done to you as a teacher I'm not sure why it should suck any less to do it to anyone else.

Many teachers (most likely even the majority) work hard under non-optimal conditions to perform a vital service and receive inadequate compensation for it. Others take a "Fuck it, what's the minimum effort needed to keep me from getting fired? Sign me up for that!" attitude instead. Mind you, "teachers" could be replaced with many other job names and the statement be equally as true. That fact should probably be remembered when saying who has it "worse".
posted by quakerjono at 12:06 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a general rule, the opinions published by the Times carry little weight with me.

And yet you love propaganda. Go figure.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


BigSky: "
Please link to something substantial, not propaganda. And don't even LOL at me again.


LOL!!!1!1!!1!!!1!
"

Wow, someone who's an even bigger dick in this thread than me! Congrats!
posted by notsnot at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Further, making any sort of generalization about any profession ("teachers" being inferred to mean ALL teachers EVERYWHERE or "computer programmers" being inferred to mean ALL computer programmers EVERYWHERE) really does bad things to one's credibility. Many professionals"

Although perhaps leaving rejected sentences dangling because you didn't proof your post even though there's a preview option does even worse things...
posted by quakerjono at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2010


Otto42, I see no problem with comparing apples to apples.

My father, a teacher for 45 years, once told me if he adjusted his salary to the actual amount of time he worked, he would be making $199/hour.

When a large bank that I worked for was bought out by another large bank, the official amount of time in the work week went from 40 hours/week to 35 hours/week. Since they couldn't give us un-raises, we all started receiving pay for an additional 5 hours per week at our adjusted rates.
posted by numbskeleton at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2010


My father, a teacher for 45 years, once told me if he adjusted his salary to the actual amount of time he worked, he would be making $199/hour.

My father, a college professor, could not have made that claim, so I think your father, a teacher, may have been fucking with you.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2010


"The weeping child" ..... denied an education by the Marauding Bloodthirsty Union Leeches!

No surprise there.


Agreed.
posted by BigSky at 12:16 PM on June 11, 2010


The point I think that folks bitching about working as much or more uncompensated hours for similar pay are missing is that the education of our youth is likely MUCH more important to society than what you do. Without making a shared social investment in making sure we get and keep great teachers we all will suffer. I know most of us can remember at least one great teacher who had a profound effect on our lives and helped us break through a learning barrier or encouraged us when no one else did. Without these kind of teachers the dumbing down of America will continue. I don’t see accountants pulling us out of this slump by helping create the great minds of tomorrow. We all need to make sure teachers are more than fairly compensated because great teachers benefit us all.
posted by white_devil at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have never met anyone that sleeps under their desk because they are too busy to make it home.

I wasn't sleeping exactly. I was curled up in pain.
posted by anniecat at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2010


It's a losing battle for everyone involved for a simple reason: Good parents will generally produce educated children, even in a shitty school system. Crappy parents will generally produce idiots (if we're lucky) or criminals (if we're not), even in a good school system.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:19 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I know most of us can remember at least one great teacher who had a profound effect on our lives and helped us break through a learning barrier or encouraged us when no one else did."

And I can name at least five who just went through the motions or, still worse, one or two who let certain personally held beliefs creep into their lesson plans. So, again, generalization are, generally, bad.
posted by quakerjono at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


FAIL. Non-teachers work 9-5 and have their evenings, weekends, and holidays to themselves, and get luxuries such as "lunch breaks". Teachers work extra (unpaid) hours in the evenings, on weekends, and during holidays, and regularly have to work through their lunch breaks.

Right. This never happens in other professions or in the private sector; everybody else leaves the job behind on the dot of 5pm and enjoys a blissful carefree weekend, every weekend. Only teachers are ever asked to surrender any of their free time for work.

The letter in the FPP annoys me not because I like Christie or dislike teachers, but because it makes no attempt whatsoever to address the opposing position or general problem. Instead it just caricatures it and as such is just propaganda. Reading it, you'd think unions and school boards didn't even exist, just noble teachers and the big bad governor. I felt less informed after reading it.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:23 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't they be posting things like "After slaving away 60+ hours a week as an accountant, and seeing how easy teachers have it with their 35 hour weeks and their summer vacations, I realize I've made a terrible career choice and am immediately going back to get a teaching certificate"?

That's a good question!

But one answer is that, money aside, teaching is very hard in part because you have to deal with so many damn people, and you don't get to choose them. I taught at community college, which is like public school in some ways and not in others. But I had many of the same stresses I hear pubic school teachers talking about:

1. Administrators and supervisors who were not competent, or who undermined me with students.

2. Incompetent faculty in the courses that feed into yours (or in lower grades) who present materially badly or just plain wrong, so that your students come into your class confidently knowing a bunch of stuff, but half of what they know is wrong.

3. Educational fads that made no sense to me pedagogically but which I was required to implement in my classroom and pretend to my students that I supported.

4. Students who were poorly-prepared academically to be in my class, or who resented being there because it was a required class they did not want to take, or who lacked skills at taking responsibility and following written instructions (let alone the judgment and reasoning skills they needed to actually do the work), or who simply weren't present most of the time but still believed they deserved credit.

5. Even though my students were adults, I did from time to time have parents to deal with. Like the one who accused me of being biased against her son and wrote me threatening letters on her law firm's stationary. But in general, the public school teachers have it a lot worse with this one.

I learned early on in my career, after way too many stretches of dead air, not to plan a class meeting that depended on the students having read the assignment. But when I started planning class sessions with the idea that they might very well not have done the reading, it just reinforced for them the belief that preparing for class was not their responsibility. I bumped into many such no-win situations in my years of teaching.

In my experience, one of the biggest stresses in teaching is that you are held responsible for student outcomes (and certainly, you do have a great deal of responsibility there, but still) when you have no control over many if not most of the factors that affect students outcomes. No matter what I did, I could not make my students buy the textbooks, read the materials, come to class prepared, meet deadlines, or even, in many cases, participate in good faith in classroom activities. And these were adults who paid for the class and presumably chose to be there!

That mix of responsibility without power has got to be about the most toxic thing you can deal with in the workplace; the worst job I ever had was a non-teaching one where I also had that mix and oh it's bad. As a teacher, you (or more accurately, I) end up living for the handful of students you can reach, who will meet you halfway, who will let you teach them.

And then you feel like a sack of shit for not figuring out how to reach the rest of them, too. Because you can't stop believing that is your job, and that you are failing at your job if you can't get those people to learn something.

We can argue all day about whether teachers get paid enough for the hours they put in compared to others with BAs or whatever. But I was grateful to leave teaching 3 years ago to be home with my kids full-time and do a little freelance writing and editing (Oh, my god, the joy of being given a task you can actually do and then being appreciated for doing it!). Our family has been in a tight cash-flow situation for a couple of years and I have thought about picking up a class or two again to help out, but not only I but my partner quail at the thought of bringing something that hellish back into our lives.

So, for some people at least, you get to the point where "they couldn't pay me enough to do that job again." It's not the money, it's not, "Oh, I'd do it again if only they paid me 20% or 50% more." It's "the job brings so much stress and dissatisfaction into my life, and so few rewards, that it is not worth it at any conceivable price."

I wonder if one reason there are so many poor teachers in the public schools is the "golden handcuff" effect. Teachers do, in general, have better benefits and pensions than most of us (at least around here where I live). To burn out 20 years in and walk away can mean giving up a good pension you could get if you just hung in for 10 more years.

I can't tell you how it broke my heart when I found out that the very best teacher I had in high school had, by the time I was her student, come to hate it. Every year, she literally counted down the days until the end of the school year, starting with "185" on the first day of school, in a little flip-book she had made. And she was definitely counting down to the day she had her 30 years in and could retire with full pension.

Now, she was a woman with no children, so that 30-years-and-out meant she retired at 51 with a good pension for life, and you could point at that and say, "Jesus, I wish there were some job I could do that would let me retire at 51 and take a pension for the next 40 years." And it's to her credit that as much as she hated it, she did her job and more in the classroom. Most people don't have the integrity or the strength to do that (I probably wouldn't. I'd end up like the guy who used to send us to the library to hand-copy pages from the encyclopedia for an hour, and assign points based on how many pages we copied. I had too many of him, and not enough of her.).

But still. That's a sad damn story in my book.

I forgot my point. So I'm going to slink away now.
posted by not that girl at 12:28 PM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


The letter in the FPP annoys me not because I like Christie or dislike teachers, but because it makes no attempt whatsoever to address the opposing position or general problem. Instead it just caricatures it and as such is just propaganda.

As does and is the other side, including Christie mouthing off to teachers at public events about how they don't have to be doing what they're doing if they're dissatisfied with what he's doing.

So there it is.
posted by blucevalo at 12:38 PM on June 11, 2010


Very few things are actually in the middle. I have experienced this as a dangerous fallacy, because it means that, if one person is lying and the other is telling the truth, people will believe half a lie, because it seems reasonable to position yourself in the middle.

Somewhere in the middle, which means there's room for disagreement.
posted by madajb at 12:42 PM on June 11, 2010


Right. This never happens in other professions or in the private sector; everybody else leaves the job behind on the dot of 5pm and enjoys a blissful carefree weekend, every weekend. Only teachers are ever asked to surrender any of their free time for work.

Do you not see that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with a society in which professionals in both the public and private sector have to put up with this sort of thing? That's what all these other people, I think, are trying to get across. Instead of trying to trying to pull down the one crab trying to make it out of the bucket we should be trying to figure out how to get ALL the crabs out of the bucket. Instead of saying that teachers are overpaid compared to us, why not say we're underpaid compared to teachers and figure out how the hell we can get paid more to bring us in line with them? Saying that, because you work long hours for little pay with no complaint, everyone else should too is sort of like thinking that rising female-on-male sexual harassment is an encouraging sign of increased gender equality.
posted by KantGoOn at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


You have to read this letter in the context of the very public attacking and scapegoating Christie's doing to NJ teachers. The teachers are not suddenly bemoaning their lot in life for no good reason; they are being fired, denied tenure, having pensions revoked; they are being publicly demonized. They are under attack. They are losing their jobs and being slandered. That sort of thing provokes a reaction.

Here is one example of Christie's attitudes toward teachers. Spoiler alert: He compares them to drug dealers using the children as mules. So, fuck this guy with a stick.
posted by Mister_A at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, as long as we're playing Fantasy Math LeagueTM and propaganda here, I'll just repost this old chestnut:
Teahcers Get Paid TOO Much!

Teachers get paid TOO much...I'm fed up with teachers and their hefty salary schedules. WHat we need here is a little perspective.

If I had my way, I'd pay these teachers myself-I'd pay them babysitting wages. That's right-instead of paying these outragous taxes, I'd give them $3 an hour out of my own pocket. And I'm only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15 a day. Each parent should pay $15 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their child. Even if they have more than one child, it's still a lot cheaper than private day care.

Now, how many children do they teach every day-maybe 20? THat's $15x20=$300 a day. But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I am not going to pay them for all those vacations! $300x180=$54,000. (Just a minute, I think my claculator needs new batteries.)

I know now you teachers will say-what about those who have 10 years experience and a mster's degree? Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just baby-sitting, they could read the kids a story. We could round that off to aobut $5 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children. That's $500 a day times 180 days. THat's $90,000...HUH?!?

Wait a minute, let's get a little perspective here. Baby-sitting wages are too good for these teachers. Did anyone see a salary schedule around here?
My fantasy math beats yours because its filled with either typos or deliberately ironic misspellings. Plus, I provided a link.

It's math, so it must be right.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


Surely some of that administrative structure could be simplified and money freed up for people who were actually teaching rather than managing teachers.

Which I think would be a productive conversation.
But instead, we get so caught up in "teachers pensions are too high!" or "Teachers are the greatest influence your kids will ever have!" that we never actually get around to the right conversation.

Too many sacred cows for too many people.
posted by madajb at 12:51 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]



The point I think that folks bitching about working as much or more uncompensated hours for similar pay are missing is that the education of our youth is likely MUCH more important to society than what you do.


I don't think you want to open that box. Or maybe you do. Please tell me how someone who works at say, Edible Arrangements, is less important to society than a teacher. I'm just curious at your methodology. Also, I'm giving you an easy one. Firefighter is next.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:53 PM on June 11, 2010


They are under attack.

I wonder if the Republicans are consciously making the connection between someone getting more education and being able to recognize their platform as a howling pile of shit, or it's just a defensive instinct?
posted by theredpen at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here is one example of Christie's attitudes toward teachers. Spoiler alert: He compares them to drug dealers using the children as mules.

His rhetoric could use work, but I've always found the tactic of sending pamphlets home with students a bit distasteful.
posted by madajb at 1:11 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess since teachers are merely overworked, stressed out, underappreciated, underpaid, under public attack from a governor who compares them to drug dealers, since they are only being fired over budget cuts, having their pensions canceled (imagine if those fucking commie unionized FOP and PBA shitbags had their pensions fucked with by this asshole!), we should feel no sympathy for them? When is it OK to say "enough is enough"? When they have to pay $50 a day for the privilege of being boiled in oil at the school? What the fuck, people?

Because somewhere there is a superintendent that makes too much on a sweetheart pension deal, all teachers are overpaid leftist slackers? This is fucking ridiculous tea party no-nothing bullshit of the first order, friends. Put the fucking tea down and become an adult.
posted by Mister_A at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Because without the foundation how do you get folks that work at Edible Arrangements or Firefighters? Or do they just form organically without any outside input? With all of us working more and parents spending less time raising and teaching their kids teachers are assuming that role more and more. Not ideal, but it's happening. So yeah, tell me how your examples are more important because without education they don't get from A to B.
posted by white_devil at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2010


I've always found the tactic of sending pamphlets home with students a bit distasteful.

So what the teachers are doing is "distasteful," but comparing the teachers to drug dealers just needs a little polish, eh? Rationalizing the harm done by those that hold power in a given situation is the kind of thing a wife-beater does. You know, the teachers, some of them gave the kids a pamphlet. So I am going to attack them to teach them a lesson about mouthing off. Is it cool to say something like that? Does my rhetoric need a little polish?
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spoiler alert: He compares them to drug dealers using the children as mules.

Seems like a valid comparison to me. I applaud Governor Christie for his accuracy and insight.

While the letter from the 2007 Nominee for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award was amusing enough, I note that no one has posted anything from the Governor on this issue. Two short videos:

Not about teachers

Slams teacher unions
posted by BigSky at 1:22 PM on June 11, 2010


Being a public school teacher is crazy.

-Their curriculum, outcomes and funding are decided by politicians (see NCLB) who have little to no educational background whatsoever.
-They have to answer to parents and elected board members who really don't respect their years of education and experience - "but my snowflake is special!"
-Society and the media blame them for many of the problems "with kids today".

The result of all this? A lowest common denominator solution that barely works under the best conditions.

Some days I wonder why I do it.
I must be crazy.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:23 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


So what the teachers are doing is "distasteful," but comparing the teachers to drug dealers just needs a little polish, eh?

From a political point of view, yes, it needs polish.
It's just too good a quote not to be passed around but it obscures the main point which is that adults (the governor included) should not use school kids as political messengers.
posted by madajb at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2010


"tell me how your examples are more important because without education they don't get from A to B."


It's not the teachers who are important, then, but the education. That can come from a multitude of sources, everything from general life experience to parents home schooling children to books to the Internet.

Sure, in our society, the predominant method is via a professional teacher, but it's not the only one out there. So which are you basing your argument on: teachers or education?

Of course, generally when you want something done correctly, you go to a professional, so teachers are vital and important to the learning process as we know it.

It's just that you can't fiat in "Teachers are more important than anyone else because education is the most important thing" without also demonstrating that teachers are the only possible source of that education.
posted by quakerjono at 1:31 PM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Being a public school teacher is crazy.

-Their curriculum, outcomes and funding are decided by politicians (see NCLB) who have little to no educational background whatsoever.
-They have to answer to parents and elected board members who really don't respect their years of education and experience - "but my snowflake is special!"
-Society and the media blame them for many of the problems "with kids today".

The result of all this? A lowest common denominator solution that barely works under the best conditions.

Some days I wonder why I do it.
I must be crazy.


Its 2010. I'm pretty sure anyone who has decided to become a teacher over about the past 40 years has heard similar complaints before they signed up. Not that these complaints are not legitimate in the least. It just that they are nothing new and part of the job description at this point, as Governor Christie says, "well, you know what you can do."
posted by otto42 at 1:32 PM on June 11, 2010


Seems like a valid comparison to me.

So it's your decision to completely remove yourself from the world of reason. Fair enough, but why should anybody in this thread take anything you say seriously from this point on.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to those hobo fights you see down at railroad tracks where one hobo has a knife and the other a length of barbed wire.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to food.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to Foghat.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to the giant squid at the end of The Illuminatus Trilogy.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to hemp products.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Spoiler alert: He compares them to Foghat.

You take that back, you dirty son of a bitch.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Way to ruin the end Astro Zombie.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:41 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh I got it, BigSky. He's attacking the teachers' union, not the teachers. The union is made up of a bunch of martians, correct, not rank-and-file teachers?

Seriously though, not a day goes by when I don't see some big-shot unionized teacher wearing a Ché T-shirt and smoking weed while touring the countryside in a chauffered Bentley.

No, really seriously though, unions are the worst thing to happen to anyone ever. Before there were unions, people worked six-hour days with 2 1-hour breaks, and only four days a week, too, and they got paid with as much gold as they could haul on their backs EVERY DAY! Everyone rode on talking ponies; it was mad dope. Thank God Ronald Reagan declared war on unions, and thank God it's been going on ever since (and probably before), and thank God the unions are almost dead, because corporations will look out for the best interests of their workers.

OK, really really seriously, telling me that Christie is not anti-teacher, he's just really anti-union really makes me want to crack the sumbitch upside the head. It doesn't make me like him any more. It doesn't surprise me to learn that a republican is trying to bust one of the few strong unionized professions left. It shocks and dismays me to see how much union-hating cheerleading goes on in the US, from people who quite literally owe their happiness to the hard work and sacrifice of union organizers and members. Hating unions is un-American.
posted by Mister_A at 1:49 PM on June 11, 2010 [23 favorites]


Sorry, dude, but you should know about hemp products by now.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:49 PM on June 11, 2010


Spoiler alert: He compares them to the giant squid at the end of The Illuminatus Trilogy.

Listen, man, that squid works a lot of overtime.
posted by Shepherd at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know more than you can possibly imagine about hemp products.
posted by Mister_A at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Listen, man, that squid works a lot of overtime.

It's also a grad student.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hopefully it will go into teaching so it can afford a Maserati Quattroporte.
posted by Mister_A at 1:55 PM on June 11, 2010


So it's your decision to completely remove yourself from the world of reason. Fair enough, but why should anybody in this thread take anything you say seriously from this point on.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to those hobo fights you see down at railroad tracks where one hobo has a knife and the other a length of barbed wire.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to food.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to Foghat.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to the giant squid at the end of The Illuminatus Trilogy.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.

Spoiler alert: He compares them to hemp products.

Seems like a valid comparison to me.


Looks like you're having some difficulty with the material, maybe I can help.

The teachers disseminating their union propaganda are compared to dealers distributing illegal narcotics. In both cases the pushers are moving a dangerous product that claims to offer short term relief but actually causes long term trauma, benefiting no one but the pusher. The children carrying the brochures are likened to mules transporting their wares to a susceptible market. And of course the parents of the children are the recipients of the product. Every analogy, no matter how apt, when pushed far enough becomes a disanalogy. This analogy fails when the comparison of parents to customer is given a close look. Drugs are transferred to willing buyers, these children are sent to deliver union propaganda into the homes of people who never signaled any interest in receiving it.

That's about as clear as I can make it, but do let me know if you're still having difficulties.
posted by BigSky at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2010


As does and is the other side, including Christie mouthing off to teachers at public events about how they don't have to be doing what they're doing if they're dissatisfied with what he's doing. So there it is.

"He did it first!" isn't an acceptable excuse for escalating a schoolyard conflict. So don't try and revive it here.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2010


BigSky: " In both cases the pushers are moving a dangerous product that claims to offer short term relief but actually causes long term trauma, benefiting no one but the pusher."

Yes, because six or seven 14 hour days and the company store is the picture of health (to extend your metaphor).

(why am I not surprised you're from South Carolina?)
posted by notsnot at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's about as clear as I can make it, but do let me know if you're still having difficulties.

All right, if you're going to play like that, maybe it is time to go to school.

First, a tangent: It's not necessary to copy and paste every single word of a previous comment. I expect you're new to the Internet, and so didn't realize that if somebody writes 500 words spread over 17 sentences, just quoting the pertinent part would be enough. The Internet can be a complicated place; if you're confused by anything, feel free to ask for help.

All right, on to the meat of your comments:

The teachers disseminating their union propaganda are compared to dealers distributing illegal narcotics. In both cases the pushers are moving a dangerous product that claims to offer short term relief but actually causes long term trauma, benefiting no one but the pusher.

Dangerous in what way? I am going to have to ask you to show your work here, because your glib and dismissive parallel is not self-evident. Also, I would like you to explain to me precisely what the content of this propaganda is, and precisely how it matches what you say. I will expect quotes, and attribution.

Every analogy, no matter how apt, when pushed far enough becomes a disanalogy.

It's especially easy when the analogy in inapt.

So there we go. I am having difficulties, in that I expect you to actually back up what you are saying. The Internet, which I know is something you seem to have accidentally stumbled onto, and mistaken for the sort of loutish bar where oafs can toss of their ill considered opinions without ever fearing being asked to demonstrate them. No, it is a place that makes extensive use of something called a hyperlink. Do you see how the word "hyperlink" there is bolded and another color? Click on it, Go ahead -- try. Aha! It takes you to a wikipedia article explaining how hyperlinks work. It's very useful in actually demonstrating that there is fact, rather than hot air, behind what you have said.

Since we're apparently in school, I'm going to teach you about a little something I have some familiarity with. It's called fact checking. In journalism, to make sure we actually are basing our stories on verifiable facts, we go through the text and mark every single fact that comes up. Then we source it. If we find a reputable source that backs up the fact, we have done what can reasonably be expected in terms of vetting the information. When it's confirmed, we put a little check mark next to it. Now let's take a look a your assertions:

-- Why else would there be a change in teacher quality from one district to the next? It's teachers selecting jobs with the best fit.
-- Until the government assigns teachers to schools, good teachers in demand will move towards the employers that have the most to offer and the lousy ones will be left to the children enrolled at the schools that offer teachers the least.
-- It's already a (crippled) free market decision.

You propose these as statements of fact, but do not back them up in any way. This is from just one comment. If you're going to sneer at my comments, and behave as though you were educating me, I'm going to ask of you what I ask of anybody who claims to be in the position of an educator. I'm going to ask you to prove your points with real facts and real sources.

Let's start with just those three. Demonstrate them. If they're true, it must be possible to prove them with a hyperlink. Hell, there should be multiple sources. Go ahead. Then we can have a discussion, because we'll mutually be sharing the same information, and merely disagreeing on the interpretation of them. But, for the moment, I don't know you from the crank in the used bookstore downtown who insists, no matter how wrong he is, that Obama has raised taxes for most Americans.

Go ahead. This is school. You're the teacher. Do your work. Oh, and then go ahead and figure out how much time it took to do that work, and how much you deserve to get paid for it.

LOL.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:10 PM on June 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


I wonder if the Republicans are consciously making the connection between someone getting more education and being able to recognize their platform as a howling pile of shit, or it's just a defensive instinct?

Yes, I have wondered about that for years. It would not surprise me one bit if I learned that the Republicans had a strategy that relied upon keeping the masses stupid. Problem is, this is coming back to haunt them now that those same masses cannot make a living wage working for Walmart, unlike decades ago when you could scrape together a living because "the U.S.A is the world leader in work!"

Re: teachers and unions. Being from Chicago, home to one of the strongest teachers unions in the U.S., I will admit that I have a love/hate relationship with them.

First of all, we pushed teachers into unionizing. Wayyyyy back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, when teachers were treated as indentured servants practically, female teachers weren't even allowed to marry (what?), they had to quit teaching when they decided to marry. The NEA (National Education Association) stood up for women's rights and elected a female association president 10 years before we had the right to vote. The NTA and the ATA advocated for racial desegregation in schools when the country was opposed. In fact, let me pull from the more easily read Wikipedia outline to illustrate the issues that the NEA has fought for over the years:

* 1912: NEA endorses Women's Suffrage
* 1919: NEA members in New Jersey lead the way to the nation's first state pension; by 1945, every state had a pension plan in effect
* 1941: NEA successfully lobbied Congress for special funding for public schools near military bases
* 1945: NEA lobbied for the G.I. Bill of Rights to help returning soldiers continue their education
* 1958: NEA helps gain passage of the National Defense Education Act
* 1964: NEA lobbies to pass the Civil Rights Act
* 1968: NEA leads an effort to establish the Bilingual Education Act
* 1974: NEA backs a case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court that proposes to make unlawful the firing of pregnant teachers or forced maternity leave
* 1984: NEA fights for and wins passage of a federal retirement equity law that provides the means to end sex discrimination against women in retirement funds
* 2000s: NEA has lobbied for changes to the No Child Left Behind Act
* 2009: NEA delegates to the Representative Assembly pass a resolution that opposes the discriminatory treatment of same-sex .

On the other hand, the NEA and Teacher's Unions absolutely are wrong when they don't hold their members accountable for poor performance. Bad teachers should be removed. Period. Unfortunately, bad teachers get the lion's share of attention in the press, and the amazing and even just plain old good teachers don't. The perception of just how many bad teachers are out there is extremely skewed. Especially since teachers get blamed for student performance even when there are variables that might be responsible for poor performance that teachers have no control over. This is a complex issue with so many variables and everyone believes that they can implement the same solution for the entire country, when the same solution might not even work for a state or even a city.

Increasing the quality of public education in our country is our ONLY hope for remaining globally competitive. Really. What else is there? As Arie de Geus said, "Learning faster is the ONLY sustainable competitive advantage." Especially in the face of constant and accelerated change.

Either the U.S. starts funding its schools and really focusing on investing in talent, or we risk slipping even MORE behind other nations in any measurable criteria. This country has been coasting for decades on luck that some smart and talented people are so passionately committed to teaching that they are willing to put up with SO much grief in order to stay engaged with their students. Are we naive and idealistic? Yes, probably. Would we get paid more and get more respect in another profession? God, yes, I know that is true from personal experience. Just thank your lucky stars that some of us find teaching your kids (from preschool to college) so important to our vision of what makes life meaningful even with all of the disrespect and pain, or else we would be accountants or consultants or Wall Street bankers and your kids would be totally screwed.
posted by jeanmari at 3:19 PM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seriously, do teachers believe they are the only professionals that put in extra hours before 9 or after 5? I wonder how many teachers have actually slept in their class room under a desk because they were too busy to make it home. I wonder how many doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, and accountants have.

Without teachers and the entire system of classes and certifications built up around teachers, there wouldn't be any doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, or accountants. At least not in any form we currently recognize.
posted by limeonaire at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Too many sacred cows for too many people.

I think it's more sacred cows on one side and squamous demon cows on the other, but there you have it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 PM on June 11, 2010


On the other hand, the NEA and Teacher's Unions absolutely are wrong when they don't hold their members accountable for poor performance. Bad teachers should be removed. Period

It's by holding to the principle of solidarity, and defending the interests of teachers, rather than the interests of good teachers or popular teachers, that worker's organisations achieve the collective power that lets them engage in the progressive struggles you cite. If you let the union be a place where workers claw at each other over who most deserves to get fired or have their pay docked in the most recent round of budget cuts, the union's capacity to fight for anything at all is instantly obliterated. That's why initiatives like that are so important to the political right. Hence also the slogan that defined all those progressive struggles: an injury to one is an injury to all.
posted by stammer at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think it's more sacred cows on one side and squamous demon cows on the other, but there you have it.

heh.
posted by madajb at 6:11 PM on June 11, 2010


Dangerous in what way? I am going to have to ask you to show your work here, because your glib and dismissive parallel is not self-evident. Also, I would like you to explain to me precisely what the content of this propaganda is, and precisely how it matches what you say. I will expect quotes, and attribution.

While I humor your demands below, I will not be humoring this one. For a start, my claim does not require it. I was explaining that challenging analogy from a point of view sympathetic to it. The belief that the propaganda is dangerous is embedded in the analogy, whether it actually is or is not, is irrelevant. However, despite not having seen the brochure, I certainly have no issues with figurative use of "dangerous" to describe any union propaganda. It's a bit much to go into a full discussion of the numerous failures of labor unions with a defense of the assumptions behind every claim, especially since we likely disagree on our bedrock premises. But perhaps it is worth sharing the finding of 'Do Unions Help the Economy? The Economic Effects of Labor Unions Revisited' by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway published by the National Legal and Policy Center and the John M. Olin Institute for Employment Practice and Policy (unfortunately not available on the web) that the economic losses resulting from compulsory unionization from 1947 to 2000 show a loss in real GDP of 3.5 trillion and a decrease in real wages of 50 trillion (reported here). You can find some discussion of this paper here and here. It is also cited in this paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 'Is Unionization the Ticket to the Middle Class? The Real Economic Effects of Labor Unions' which at p.2 contains this excerpt from Vedder's and Gallaway's paper on the self-defeating nature of labor unions "One interesting implication of this finding is that even union members are potentially worse off from the effects of unionization."

Since we're apparently in school, I'm going to teach you about a little something I have some familiarity with. It's called fact checking. In journalism, to make sure we actually are basing our stories on verifiable facts, we go through the text and mark every single fact that comes up. Then we source it. If we find a reputable source that backs up the fact, we have done what can reasonably be expected in terms of vetting the information. When it's confirmed, we put a little check mark next to it. Now let's take a look a your assertions:

-- Why else would there be a change in teacher quality from one district to the next? It's teachers selecting jobs with the best fit.
-- Until the government assigns teachers to schools, good teachers in demand will move towards the employers that have the most to offer and the lousy ones will be left to the children enrolled at the schools that offer teachers the least.
-- It's already a (crippled) free market decision.

You propose these as statements of fact, but do not back them up in any way. This is from just one comment. If you're going to sneer at my comments, and behave as though you were educating me, I'm going to ask of you what I ask of anybody who claims to be in the position of an educator. I'm going to ask you to prove your points with real facts and real sources.


It's surprising that you think those assertions need to be confirmed. No matter the extent to which your views differ from mine, I expected common ground on an obvious statement of fact and its rephrasing.

The first is a claim that the distribution of teacher quality varies by district, and that the incentives of a given job, as recognized by that teacher, plays a substantial role in that uneven distribution. From p.21 of 'Teacher Quality and Educational Equality: Do Teachers with Higher Standards-Based Evaluation Ratings Close Student Achievement Gaps?', a paper presented for the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, "Using a standard-based teacher evaluation score as a measure of teacher quality, we find that teacher quality is not distributed equitably among classrooms with varying baseline achievement levels and poverty and minority concentrations." Also, from the Education Policy Briefing Sheet, 'Improving Teacher Quality and Distribution' from the National Academy of Education, "Research shows that promising new teachers leave inner city schools when their salaries are lower (relative to suburban school districts), when principal leadership is weak, when working conditions are chaotic, and when instructional resources are lacking." And see p. 15 of 'Teacher Location Choice and the Distribution of Quality: Evidence from New York City' by Jason M. Barr, "The results show that both school and neighborhood characteristics are significant determinants of the level of teacher quality in a school. In particular, higher quality teachers are attracted to ..."

The second statement follows directly from the first. In all the published work on distribution of teacher quality it is presupposed that there actually is some such thing as teacher quality, and that it is recognized in the job market. After all, if competing employers did not recognize quality and accordingly give them more employment options then the group of more highly qualified teachers could not migrate. As for the conditional phrase regarding the government assigning teachers to posts, it is stating that the only way to prevent teachers from exercising choice in employer would be through coercion. At the time of writing the government was the only agent I could imagine someday being capable of holding teachers to a particular job assignment. But upon further reflection, I suppose Cthullu could do so as well.

The third statement requires a little context, the section of the post you pulled those assertions from was, as noted, a response to a portion of davejay's 1:31 comment. The relevant part of said comment closed with his declaration, "The education of our society's children shouldn't be a free market decision." This was preceded by his concern that if we don't pay (the good) teachers enough the free market will suddenly appear and the teachers will respond to the incentives offered and take their skills elsewhere. Consequently, lousy teachers will be all that remain. But as we've already seen, teachers do of course already select their jobs based on incentives. This is common sense. It's not as davejay would make it out to be, only a free market decision if the incentives are sufficient to make them leave and change jobs, but rather that any choice of job whether it's a teaching position or not is a free market decision. And that's what I was referring to when I said that "It's already a (crippled) free market decision." The free market for teacher employment is crippled in a number of way - presence of unions, inability of consumers (the parents) to choose, government required certifications to work in the public schools. I believe that claim is self evident, but if you need citations on how those considerations cripple the market, let me know.

Oh, and then go ahead and figure out how much time it took to do that work, and how much you deserve to get paid for it.

WTF?

Incidentally, while reviewing this thread I noticed an error in my comment to you at 2:59. Your remark about funding was not about the documentary 'Cartel' but the website teachersunionexposed.com, which you did not avoid. And so I should have written, "You chose to focus on the review of a documentary that you haven't seen and to use an excuse regarding a website's funding to avoid taking seriously the arguments it presents. No surprise there."

My apologies for the mistake.
posted by BigSky at 6:51 PM on June 11, 2010


limeonaire: "Without teachers and the entire system of classes and certifications built up around teachers, there wouldn't be any doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, or accountants."

With the worst teachers in the poorest schools, there are hardly enough minority doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors or accountants. Do you sense the urgency here?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:00 PM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hence also the slogan that defined all those progressive struggles: an injury to one is an injury to all.

Stammer, I completely get what you are saying. And I don't think it IS in the best interest of unions to allow REALLY bad teachers (I'm talking consistently--year after year--poor performing teachers) to retain their jobs while less senior, excellent teachers are the first ones to be let go when the axe falls. Over time, and I've seen this happen in other union shops, like hotels and auto plants, the talented or enthusiastic or creative people think, "Why bother to try?" The few worst performers among union members drag everyone else down with them, and drag the reputation of all union workers through the mud. There is nothing more soul-killing than working like crazy to make a difference in your classroom, while watching a tenured teacher in the classroom next door sleep at their desk for the third time this week while the room descends into chaos (happened to a colleague in the NYC school district) knowing that they won't be held accountable.

If unions want to survive and thrive, they need to require a minimum level of performance from their own members in return for the benefits of being a union member. They can hold their own accountable without having to turn over anything to management or school administrations. If you don't agree with me, let me know how you feel the next time a hospital tech--with a record of being neglectful and/or abusive and who has been protected by their union-- is sent in to care for your loved one. If I was an SEIU member, I wouldn't stand by and watch a colleague provide sub-standard care to a patient and put them at risk. If I was a member of the teachers union, I should have the same pride in my work and not let one rotten apple spoil the whole barrel and mar my reputation with it.
posted by jeanmari at 8:03 PM on June 11, 2010


I will not be discussing this with you anymore, bluesky; I prefer to discuss with people who don't mistake engaging in reasoned discussing to be "humoring" someone.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:04 PM on June 11, 2010


I find it sad that I am living to see the decay of my country's civilization because so many people were just too fucking pig-ignorant and stupid to understand the basic facts of how civilization works, choosing instead to fart away their brains on libertarian fairy stories, enjoying the safety and prosperity of the civilization that is so far beyond their comprehension that they don't only understand it—they don't even see it.

We were doing okay there for awhile, but it's some serious Flowers for Algernon shit up in here now.

Oh well, eventually they blockheads will get their chance, and they'll fuck it up, and millions of their fellow citizens will suffer and die from their negligent, dangerous, foolish ideas, and having no frontier to flee to, they'll need to invent some way to avoid the piles of dead old / poor / infirm from rising so high in front of their fortress-homes that the still living can bear it no more, being human beings and not efficiency functions of ego, and so pull the have-mores from their panic rooms to dash their inhumane free-market heads against the ruined slabs of pavement which used to be a public road, and maybe right before they die they will think, "If only some kind of social.. contract? agreement? could have been arranged, with an empowered third party to resol--URK"
posted by fleacircus at 9:37 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please come visit my kids' publicly-funded "inner city" charter school. The teachers (unionized govt. employees) are dedicated and follow a rigorous curriculum. Most of the kids are reading by the time they're halfway through kindergarten. Taken as an average, the kids' test scores are always in the top 10% for the state. Under-performing children are not expelled—they are helped.
That's actually B.S. It's true that the first charter schools did well, but now that they've become common it turns out they don't actually do any better, on average, then public schools.

People want a "magic bullet" to improve schools, and "magic bullets" that just happen to coincide with conservative ideology (since public schools = socialist) get a lot of heavy promotion.
posted by delmoi at 5:09 AM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Well, it may not be BS for your particular charter school, but it is the case for Charter schools in general)
posted by delmoi at 5:31 AM on June 12, 2010


Seriously, do teachers believe they are the only professionals that put in extra hours before 9 or after 5? I wonder how many teachers have actually slept in their class room under a desk because they were too busy to make it home. I wonder how many doctors, lawyers, systems admins, bankers, editors, and accountants have.

All of whom, and I realise I'm late to the party here, tend to make more money than teachers do. Which makes the sacrifice a bit more worth it. When I was making $40K, I resented not having much of a social life due to the demands of my insane boss. When, recently, I was making $90/day in my new profession, I resented it rather more.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:14 AM on June 13, 2010


Twenty years ago I finished a phenomenally good public education in New Jersey. Every day my brother and I thank our lucky stars for it. I'm embarrassed as hell for my home state now. What will they have left without those teachers? Bruce Springsteen and Giants Stadium can only last so much longer.
posted by kostia at 11:00 PM on June 13, 2010


What A Teacher Makes
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:03 PM on June 16, 2010


« Older Freddy Mercury, Immortalised in Paper   |   For pity's sake, don't go to law school. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post