One of the Biggest Impediments to Quality Education

I work 40 hours a week, my wife works 40 hours a week and almost everyone else I know with a full-time job works 40 hours a week. But if you're a teacher in the Grand Rapids (MI) Public School System, being asked to work 40 hours a week is apparently a bridge too far.

From the Grand Rapids Press (via

A $25 million federal school improvement grant is now in jeopardy after the Grand Rapids Board of Education failed to reach a labor agreement with the Grand Rapids Education Association (GREA) on plans to turnaround five city schools that had been deemed "persistently failing".

The sticking point? Having the teachers at those five schools move from working 33.6 hours a week to 40 hours a week. Are you flippin' kidding me?!?!?! Could someone remind me how many months teachers work over the course of a year?

The GREA representative was quoted as saying, "Teachers are on the front line of working with students and partnering with parents..." I guess that is unless you ask them to do that for an extra 6.4 hours a week. So much for it being all about the kids.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

the impediment is:

And no, the elephant is not representative of the GOP. Though I'm sure some of you will still try to make that comparison.

"work 40 hours a week, my wife works 40 hours a week and almost everyone else I know with a full-time job works 40 hours a week."

try saying that to a Toledo garbageman!

Also - that teachers union?? Those would be the ones who dont have to take part in Obamacare, because THAT's not good enough for them either...

I for one teach all day, then go to night school to further my education and make myself eligible for promotions and more money. Can you say the same?

the Grand Rapids Education Association specifically and teachers unions as a whole. As the son/brother/nephew/cousin of teachers and administrators, I have a certain admiration for those in the education profession. But regardless if I was questioning teachers or not, it seems a tad disingenuous (and I think the teachers I know would believe that as well) to make a blanket statement like "How dare you question us teachers." As parents, we have every right to question those individuals we entrust to assist in our children's education. But that's not the point.

I think the part that drives me (and many others) insane is that you, as a teacher, could personally be in favor of and support moving from 33.6 to 40 hours a week, but if your union as a whole doesn't agree, who wins? Does that make you a bad teacher? Absolutely not. What it does show is that the union is more focused on protecting their piece of the pie rather than working with the school system to improve the quality of education.

I'm guessing there are enough unemployed and/or under employed teachers out there that would be more than willing to work and be compensated for 40 hours a week. And if this were the private sector that is exactly what would happen; if an individual isn't willing to make the necessary changes to improve the business, the company has a right to replace them with someone who will. Not to mention that individual also has a right to look elsewhere for employment.

Not to mention that individual also has a right to look elsewhere for employment.

Unions screwed their members in that regard. Any teacher who moves to another district loses all seniority. Generally they face falling to the minimum pay in the range setup for their education level. Although that does happen in the private sector, it's rare. That's because the private sector generally pays on actual merit, not seniority.

Of course, in the private sector, you start to become unemployable in your 40s.


I for one teach all day, then go to night school to further my education and make myself eligible for promotions and more money.

So you're a teacher? When are you going to let the taxpayers monitor your class and see just what is going on inside?

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

yeah. I can.

I dont teach all day, but I do work full time, 9hrs a day ALL YEAR ROUND, and like you I take night classes - for the same reasons too. AND I dont think that makes me special - that's what people who want to get ahead do. I also pay for the education myself - do you?, or does my tax money pay for your continuing ed?

You sound like a normal working stiff just like anybody else - what's all the holier than thou "how dare you" stuff about when people are just asking someone to work as many hours as they do, and if we're gonna have our tax dollars stolen and a healthcare program stuffed down our gullets, we cant question you for NOT having to put up with that?

Yeah, you work at home after school grading papers and prepping classes - but ya know what? I take my work home with me too!! AND Ive never had a "teacher prep period" in my day - EVER, - Nor has my business ever shut down for a couple days and told our customers to come back some other time because it's an "employee work day"...

Dont get me wrong, I respect your profession, but I respect my own too - so please, off the high horse if someone dares to ask a question. You're compensated for what you put out.

And almost everyone else he knows does. He didn't say a word in that first post about having a job. That lie came in the second post. Come on, Billy you can't have it both ways-do you work? If you do work and attend night classes how do you find so much time to crawl down into your parents basement and play on your computer?

Sarge, are you really that stupid or are you messin with us?

I didnt say in my first post that my wife works 40hours a week. I was quoting Temperance Tom. People with a brain could discern the difference because #1, they'd probably read TT's comment first and recognized it from that post, and secondly because the line was posted in my reply in italics - differentiating it from my own comments that I posted below it.

See Harley, that's how it's done. If someone has something to say and you have a reply to it, it makes it easier if you first post the quote you're responding to - You really need to just sit back and let the grown ups talk since obviously you're having problems following along. Maybe enjoy a video game and a hot pocket.

It came up and slapped him in the face. The only job he has probably ever had is the same one Steve Martin referred to in "The Jerk". That was probably from his boyfriend.

Lets find a way to get the bad ones into another profession (like the DMV). I think the unions make this almost impossible. Maybe TemperanceTom could tell us how to rate the performance of the individual teacher and what to do with the under par performers.
I can remember throughout my High School years I had three very effective teachers, five very poor ones and probably fifteen that were only satisfactory. The University of Toledo didn't prove to be much different in the good to bad ratio. It seemed to me the graduate students did a lot of the work.


The mandate now for the Grand Rapids Board of Education is clear:

Lay off the offending teachers from those schools and bring in new-hire replacements.

If you think teaching is such a sweet deal then why didn't you become one? You had a choice in life and now you're upset with teachers who made better career decisions than you. Nobody forced you to join your profession. Idiot.

complain about the athletes who make millions of dollars to play a couple months out of the year? Because most of you couch potato m-fer's never complain about that. You piss your lives away cheering for men who could care less who you are and do nothing to make any difference in the world. Go play some more fantasy football and quit griping about teacher pay. Play in that little fantasy football world because your lives are so damn pathetic you can't deal in reality and have to live in fantasy to forget about your poor career choices.

We don't complain about the private sector, Kooz. We don't complain about a system that rewards performance. Neither apply to this topic.

Thanks for outing yourself as either biased or delusional. Which is it?

That is why the proletariat does not complain. Their Union brothers and sisters in professional sports are members of Unions.

Agreed, if someone is willing to pay through the nose for some illiterate moron who's only redeeming quality is that he can hit a baseball, then more power to them. That is America.

I hear there is a basketball strike looming next year.
What will the Union Hacks watch while their Union hack brothers in professional basketball are on strike?

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a

what you think about this situation. My sister is a teacher in North Carolina... a non-union area. She has not received a paycheck in more than two months and has been told that they will get paid when money is available. But, they have to keep working for free in hopes that more money will come in.

How many of you non-union guys would be willing to do that? If that situation happpened at your jobs you would be bitching and crying I'm sure. But hey...they're only teachers right? And, if the unions didn't exist...principals would only hire their friends and not those who are qualified...amongst other favortism techniques displayed in the private sector.

Please don't insult my intelligence by suggesting that the private sector is some pure and holy system that is never abused.

Sorry, Kooz, but it's illegal at the state and probably federal level to require people to work without getting paid.

At any rate, if you keep working for an employer who doesn't pay you, then you're an idiot. As soon as the paycheck doesn't arrive, stop working, and go down to the local Dept. of Labor office that handles employer compliance. File a CLAIM. Notice that that's not a COMPLAINT. It's a claim, and it carries a lot more force.

The private sector isn't a 'pure and holy' system. But it does run on MERIT and RESULTS. That's what you're fighting here. That's what all unions fight, nowadays: Merit and results.

(We already knew from your brainless protests that you either were a teacher or had a close family member who was one. All your stupid sister is doing is bowing towards the administration on hopes of getting a big payday from the equally-stupid electorate. Did she file a CLAIM at her state Dept. of Labor? ANSWER!)

"The private sector isn't a 'pure and holy' system. But it does run on MERIT and RESULTS."

Do you believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy too?

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

to quality education is stupid lazy parents. The parents who don't read with their kids the first five years of their life and send them to school illiterate as if the teacher is supposed to work miracles for your last five years of laziness.

Or, how about the parents who are divorced and burden the teacher about personal problems with who the kid can go home with after school. Or the drunk parents who were out partying the night before and the teacher has to buy the student lunch because the parent was to hung-over to get up and make the kid breakfast.

Or, how about the parent who can't control their own kid because they never disciplined them or taught them respect...but then expects the teacher to deal with 25 of those kids at a time all day long.

Or, how about the parents who show up late or not at all to conferences and mess up the whole day's schedule for the teacher who then has to spend more hours of their own time away from their own family to accomodate inconsiderate parents.

Or, how about the hours of research and paper work a teacher has to do for each kid who is suspected to have ADD/ADHD. It takes several hours of paper work for just one kid and there are generally five or more kids in the class with this problem. Of course, most don't really have the problem...the problem is mom and dad let the kid watch t.v. for eight hours a day for years on end and now the kid don't know how to sit still unless spongebob square pants is pulling a prank at 50 clips per second.

Not one of you who aren't a teacher would last more than two full days in a typical public school classroom. I'm not talking about how you judge the job based on the ten minutes you went to open house.

If the job's so terrible when why is there a union to provide a barrier to entry? Why are people clamoring to get in?

Because the truth is it's skate job, with generous pay, big benefits, and a lot of time off. The median pay for the TPS is $48K for only 9 months of work ... the equivalent of $64K a year. That's TWICE the household median income for Toledo. Starting pay is $32K, or $42K yearly equivalent.

Keep blaming the parents, idiot. The parents just take their children out of the district, leaving less revenue to run the TPS, which grows ever more shrill in need of free money from any possible source.

The kicker here is that teachers are trained to educate children, which are by definition difficult creatures to educate. Your stupid defense of teacher inabilities, only proves that they are unable. We should be privatizing the system and letting a true hire/fire methodology determine who deserves to be employed, and who deserves to be paid the most.

Toledo has long needed a voucher system to correct this abomination of a school system. Perhaps under Kasich we'll finally get one. Watching you shriek like a stuck pig would be worth it.

I'm gonna take a wild guess and suggest that you are under 23 or even 21 and have never had what one would call a "real job".

1. If you sister is stupid enough to continue working without a paycheck delivered to her on Friday, then well she gets what she deserves.

2. "amongst other favortism techniques displayed in the private sector" - Oh you must mean rewarding the people who actually do the lion's share of the work as apposed to the union way of just shilling out the loot to be divided between those who drink the watter and those who just carry it.

3. "Not one of you who aren't a teacher would last more than two full days in a typical public school classroom." - ROFL, you mean I couldn't hack a job where I get summers off, 2 weeks off at Christmas, a paid study / catch up day a month, free healthcare and life time payments for what you are clearly stating above as a "glorified babysitter".

If they have any reasonable level of intellect than the teachers of today should understand the environment they are getting into, it is not up to the American taxpayer to subsidize your career choice. Where is your "woe is me" for the bricklayer who's hands and back have been destroyed from years of labor? How about your bleeding hart for the welder who now has black lung? Bet you don't have any.

Maybe you should go play with you blocks and let the big people keep talking.

"If you sister is stupid enough to continue working without a paycheck delivered to her on Friday," it's amazing that there are people this stupid out there.


It's exciting, hectic, and frightening all at once. It was common work 80+ hours in a week without the guarantee of a paycheck at the end where I worked.

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.