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!?

remuneration to which I reference: First of all, I once again apologize to those who post here with only their gut feelings. Here is an article with more facts.

It is interesting that this teacher is paid so little compared to other workers in a state like Arizona. Arizona is booming! Far more people move into Arizona each year than leave. New schools are needed. These schools need to be staffed. Really! How long do we believe that this young woman is going to remain in the teaching profession if she is not going to be remunerated at a higher level? What if her spouse loses his purported high-paying job? Could she pay her family's bills on her mediocre salary? Sadly, NO!!

And, BTW, Arizona is a Right-to-Work-for-Less state!

walking out! Here's a link to an on-line article about these phenomena: Please note that the teachers unions, in many cases, are taking a back seat to independent organizations which are springing up to address the concerns about school funding.
I would also like to refer to two things addressed in the article in particular. One is the fact that so many teachers are leaving the profession. Many of the top teachers are highly educated, talented, and intelligent. They have bills to pay and families to support. They have options for employment that will remunerate them far better than teaching does. Here is a quote from Larry Cagle, who is leading an independent group of teachers in the teacher walkout in Oklahoma: "We had 70 percent turnover in the last five years in my school," he says. "You're not going to stop that with a $6,000 raise."
And, two, lower funding of traditional public schools means inadequate resources for the students in poorer school districts. The following information comes from Noah Karvelis, a teacher in Arizona: "'There were days when I had more kids than chairs,' he told NPR. Today, he has seven working keyboards to teach about 40 kids how to play piano. 'Every single kid that I've ever had deserves more than this. There are kids who are not being given a fair chance here.'"
BTW -- Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia are all Right-to-Work-for-Less states.

Here are two articles about how little teachers earn in America today:

In the first article above, the focus is on a teacher in Colorado, a Right-to-Work-for-Less state. There she earns so little as a teacher that she must work a second job during the school year, and tries to get as many hours at that second job as possible during the summer.

In the second article, an Arizona teacher who lives a few minutes from the California border wants to remain a teacher in the same school district as her children attend, in Arizona. But she is being lured by a nearby California school district which can pay her about $50,000 per year MORE than she makes in Arizona! BTW -- Arizona is also a Right-to-Work-for-Less state. California is NOT! Hmmm...

Look. As a nation, we can either continue to try to do public education on the cheap and suffer the negative consequences, or properly fund traditional public education, and insist upon high expectations and high standards for educators and students. You cannot have it both ways and be successful in equalizing opportunity among all children, independent of their accidents of birth, along with competing with the children from other nations in the world!
It comes down to that hackneyed saying: "If you always do what you've always done; you'll always get what you always got."

I have three relatives working as school teachers in Colorado. It ain't easy.

The observations they generally make is that they're not in it for the money. They actually enjoy their job. The students can be a bit trying at times - one teaches Jr. High and has to keep the boys and girls separated due to irreconcilable differences and idiocy. I expect the illustrious Mr. Pertcheck would be somewhat familiar with that situation.

My thought was that when pot became legalized in Colorado, the extra tax money would be given to the school system. Sort of, but not quite. Tax money from pot sales goes to affiliate systems, which in turn pass it along to the schools in the form of goods and services.

My problem with public education hasn't changed, which isn't surprising since the system hasn't changed. My thought is that the school system has far too many administrators, all of whom are overpaid. My other thought is that we, the great unwashed, will never see better results from public education until the system changes, and by that I mean drastic changes.

School teachers get a good deal on the working hours and benefits, but in Colorado they're getting the shaft on salary.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

administrators. If the spending of needed resources on too many administrators were the main problem with educational funding in this nation, the fix would be relatively simple. The problem is that if the total amount of money spent on administrators, would be redistributed to other educational funding, it would make too little difference. We just have to decide as a nation that traditional public education is the best way to give all Americans as nearly equal opportunity as is possible.
It's really a patriotic issue. If other nations place education for their youth as a more important priority than other fields, such as entertainment (including sports), and if America does not do so, eventually, some of those other nations will become more effective with their most precious natural resources -- their human resources!
Whenever we discriminate, whether that discrimination is by race, religion, gender identification, wealth, or for any other irrational reason, we make things harder for a percentage of Americans, where other nations are using their full human resources. That puts America at a comparative disadvantage!
Just think of it. Until late in the 20th Century, most women were relegated to subservient occupations in America. In 2015, as just one example, over half of all the physicians to graduate from medical schools in this country were women. How many Americans died 50 or 100 years ago because so few women could become doctors? Did that ever make sense?
Here's a link to an article I just saw on the internet about some interesting statistics having to do with education in America:
The saddest statistic in this article is that, generally, fewer and fewer college graduates are going into education as a career! How can we demand the best when we are unwilling to pay for the best? As the man who was once America's richest individual, Armond Hammer, used to say, "If you pay peanuts; you get monkeys!"

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