Education pays off...Teachers are under-appreciated in America.


I am providing a link to an article about the importance of education overall, and how America is not emphasizing the vital economic impact of early childhood education, nor how essential it is to get the highest quality people to enter the field of education, if we want American education to thrive.

Money is a part of this equation. Most Americans compare what the average teacher earns with what the average American without a college degree earns, and do not see a problem with remuneration. One of the main goals behind the "Charter School" movement was to cut teachers' remuneration significantly in order to save money. As a nation, we are plummeting headlong in precisely the wrong direction on this issue. And this is a serious problem. In businesses in general, when quality is important, entrepreneurs are willing to give greater remuneration in order to get a higher caliber of people to fill needed positions in their enterprise. Why not in the field of education?

However, money is not the only problem. To me, as a retired traditional, central city public school teacher, a greater problem -- in America -- is the lack of respect and prestige attached to the profession of teaching.
I'll give you a real life example. I have been working out at the same gym location for over 20 years. When I first started, there was a man who looked obviously Asian, who worked out about the same time of the day as did I. As time went on, we became friendly. He was a retired doctor. On occasion, we spoke about teachers. and he told me that he visited China once a year. On those yearly visits, he paid his respects at the gravesites of his ancestors. He also paid his respects at the gravesites of his deceased teachers as well. Hmmm...

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Unions control who gets in and who gets to play. If you want to up the quality of educators break the control freak practices of collective bargaining and establish a FAIR non political method aimed at doing just that rather than the protectionist, self survival mode practiced by education unions of today. Educators are not steel workers, electricians nor any form of skilled trade unless they want to be treated as such. Prestige and respect are EARNED, NEVER GIVEN.

are NOT the problem. The only "control" in the system, are the laws passed by conservative legislatures around the nation. The focus of these legislative actions over the past 25 years has been to allow fly-by-night, for-profit companies to run schools for profit in most states, mostly under the umbrella of this modern phenomenon called "Charter Schools." And the State of Ohio has terrible laws in this regard! In Ohio, we have allowed almost anyone to open a so-called school for over two decades now. CTR -- Show us all the statistics about how much overall educational quality has improved since the private sector can run almost any type of school they want, and almost exclusively WITHOUT UNIONS! You can't...because this has NOT happened.
We have tried running schools on the cheap. That has NOT worked. Let's try running schools the right way. That means we remunerate teachers at a high enough level that we get more of the best and the brightest to enter the profession. That means that we set high standards for teachers, school administrators, and students. That means that we pass laws which make it feasible to have more and better collaboration among teachers. That means that we train teachers how to be better at communication and collaboration with parents.

BTW -- The Toledo Federation of Teachers is unique. TFT initiated the idea of having experienced teachers set high standards for newer teachers entering the profession. Before this higher standard was collectively bargained, few, if any, first year teachers were denied a second year as a Toledo Public School teacher. Since the "Toledo Plan" started, about 8%-12% of first year teachers are NOT allowed to continue to teach in the Toledo Public Schools. And, in the Toledo Public Schools, the only thing tenure guarantees is due process. Many experienced teachers have been removed from teaching in TPS via the Intervention part of the Toledo Plan.

CTR -- Unions are made up of people. Unions can be positive or negative, just as people can be positive or negative. In Finland, which by every candid measure is at the top in the world in education, more than 95% of the teachers are in a union, and pay 1.2% of their salaries in union dues. Here's the common saying in Finland: "We have a philosophy: happy pupil, happy parent, happy teacher,"

CTR -- You are correct about this: Teachers are NOT steel workers nor electricians. Most steelworkers and electricians work in the private sector. If owners of businesses which need their services want to get better workers in these skilled fields, they increase the remuneration they are willing to expend. In the public sector, in America, school boards cannot increase remuneration for teachers without the support of local, and to some extent, state governments which must run the schools with tax money. In Ohio, most of this tax money must be voted upon by local taxpayers. This has created a system of winners and losers. Why, CTR, do you think that public schools in Ottawa Hills remunerate their teachers at a higher level than Toledo does? Why have Ottawa Hills voters passed such high local taxes to fund their schools, when such a small percentage (less than 20%) of Ottawa Hills taxpayers have children attending the public schools, and a high percentage of children in Ottawa Hills attend private schools? Why should the children of richer parents have advantages that the children of poorer parents do not have? Because of an accident of birth? Does fairness have a place anywhere in your world, CTR?

Finally, CTR, I apologize for using actual facts and statistics. I know these facts are in sharp contrast to your long-held gut feelings. And, as Steve Colbert once stated, "I am not a fan of facts. You see, facts can change, but my opinion will never change, no matter what the facts are."

If you're going to use facts and statistics, use them all; not just the cherry-picked selection that supports your arrogant, condescending opinions on public schools and the fat heads who run them.

Public schools in the United States aren't going to compare with Finland's or Singapore's school system. There's a huge culture gap between the U.S. and the other two countries, and it begins with success at school being important to the entire family.

Another huge difference is that in Toledo it's impossible to give one particular teacher a performance raise (in Pertcheck-speak, that would be a positive change in remuneration).

God your an ass, Pertcheck. You know that, right? How could you possibly not know? Are you really that fucking stupid?

Want another impossibility? Just try to go into any classroom in a Toledo public school and observe class in session. See what the hell it is you all are paying for. You'll be denied entrance, and the administration will probably report you to the TPD. I actually asked about this in Toledo, and was told not to bother even trying. It's a security concern. Same thing in Sylvania, which didn't surprise me - Sylvania schools (like the rest of the local government) are run by fascists. Ottawa Hills had a much different response. The principal cheerfully admitted they'd never done it before, but it sounded like a good idea. If I wanted to make an appointment they'd be happy to accommodate me.

Really, Pertcheck, you are such a fucking asshole even I can't believe it.

You want contrast? Try spending a few hours in Pickett Elementary. I talked to someone who worked there, and the poor man was taking tranquilizers to steady his nerves. The teachers aren't allowed to touch the students for fear of offending their parents. The student population acts like it's feeding time at the primate house. Any teacher who could turn a handful of those students around into anything productive deserves a performance raise, and can't get one.

Then there's the problem of school funding. Funding Ohio schools through property tax was declared unconstitutional years ago - 1997, I believe. Yet the amount of money spent per student is close between Ottawa Hills and TPD. The results are not even close, with Ottawa Hills leading the pack and Toledo bringing up the rear. So it isn't money.

The grass is greener in Finland because they take better care of it over there. Reading the article, the attitude among teachers in Finland is, 'Whatever it takes'. They'll do whatever it takes, which isn't unlike Toledo - if you add the phrase, 'to get through today.'

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

feelings! And you cannot refute the fact that unions are NOT the problem!
First of all, after being in the private sector for 15 years, I actually taught in Toledo for 35 years. You don't have any idea what experiences I've had! Since my wife and I retired, we have been tutoring (they call it "mentoring) in TPS. So, we go to a TPS school almost every school week. The past few years, we have gone to Sherman Elementary School. There is NO CHAOS there AT ALL!
MJ -- You well identify a serious problem when comparing schools and/or school districts. Per pupil expenditures are extremely misleading. For example, a tiny percentage of students in Ottawa Hills are identified as "special needs." These students in Ottawa Hills have a negligible effect on the overall per pupil costs.
Here's another real-life example for you, MJ. When I was teaching at DeVeaux, we had many special needs classrooms. One had students with quite severe challenges. The class had one teacher, and two paraprofessionals for the total of 8 students in the class. For at least two years, one of the 8 students had an additional paraprofessional assigned just to that student because of the extreme challenges that child faced every minute of every day. Can you imagine what the per pupil costs of running such a classroom are? And those costs, multiplied several times over, are added to the overall per pupil costs at TPS.
In addition, most of the special needs students take the same tests as do those students who are NOT identified as having special needs. With such a high percentage of special needs students compared to Ottawa Hills, TPS takes a double hit, One, in per pupil costs; the other in aggregate test scores.
But wait...there's more. Ottawa Hills has a very low turnover of students in each of its schools. One TPS school, several years ago, had a turnover rate of greater than 100%. I know that you understand this, MJ, but for those who are confused, let me explain. In plain talk, a high percentage of students attending that school left during the school year, and a high percentage of "new" students enterred throughout the school year, too! When I taught 6th Grade at Cherry Elementary (now rebuilt and renamed Rosa Parks Elementary), a few of the students assigned to me had personal records' folders that were 4-5 inches thick, mostly because of all of the schools the student had attended by 6th grade. Some had attended 10 or more schools from K-6.
My local grandchildren attend the Swanton Public Schools. If they have one or two students from their class move out over the summer, and one or two move in, it's a big deal! When I got my class list in the spring for the next school year at Cherry, I knew that the class list would be significantly different when school started after the summer.
Now, am I saying that I do not want TPS to teach special needs students? Of course not! Even within the so-called regular ed population, TPS teachers teach a broader spectrum of ability, talents, challenges, and lifestyles in their students than Ottawa Hills teachers deal with.
And, I do respect Ottawa Hills teachers? Of course, I do! I helped to train one of them, who was a student teacher in my classroom at DeVeaux! I know that he respects what I did in TPS!

Finally, safety is a serious issue at schools now. Even so, I am sure that a visit by you can be arranged. Personally, I ALWAYS had my classroom door open. I would say that anyone was welcome to observe my classroom. I know that I was not the only teacher who felt this way. I guess you spoke to the wrong people, MJ.

Anyone today paying for a private college degree that goes into teaching is just an idiot.


Isn't that sad!?

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