Heritage and Reason deflate myths in PEU debate

posted at 2:15 pm on February 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Are public-school teachers underpaid? Is the Battle of Mad Town really not about money?  Heritage Foundation and Reason TV take a look at both claims coming from the protests in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as a more fundamental myth that only Republicans are talking about cutting budgets and reducing the power of PEUs.  Nick Gillespie focuses attention on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a staunch Democrat who is also telling constituents hard truths about the unsustainable levels of public spending in his state and the need for reform.  Don’t expect this impulse to remain localized to Wisconsin, New Jersey, and New York, either — not with massive state budget shortfalls across the US:

Given the circumstances, perhaps a compromise can be worked out.  Let’s allow the teachers to retain their collective bargaining rights intact — as long as Wisconsin taxpayers have the ability to opt out of the education monopoly entirely through fully-funded school vouchers.  If the public schools deliver a quality education under the current union-run paradigm, with tenure protecting poor performers, then the teachers will have nothing to fear.  If parents believe that they can get a better education for less money at private schools where the customers control the process and the prices, then taxpayers will have the ability to vote with their feet.

When the unions offer that as a compromise, then perhaps Governor Walker might amend his approach.  However, Republicans in the state Senate have blocked any more changes to the current proposal in the absence of their fleebagging colleagues:

State Senate Republicans gave preliminary approval Friday of a budget-repair bill that eliminates most collective bargaining for public unions, but they were unable to send the bill to Gov. Scott Walker because of a weeklong boycott of the session by Democrats.

The vote came just hours after the representatives in the sleep-starved Assembly approved the bill. Their debate lasted 61 hours and was the longest in living memory.

On a voice vote, the Senate put the bill in a state where it can no longer be amended. Twenty senators must be present to pass the bill, but Republicans have just 19 seats.

There had been some suggestion that one or more Republicans in the upper chamber were willing to offer a few changes, such as a sunset clause on the collective-bargaining reforms.  That opportunity expired, however, as state Senate Democrats continue their refusal to return to work, demanding that the bill be tabled and that Walker negotiate with unions instead on the budget.


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Are public-school teachers underpaid?

No, but producers with a near monopoly over their given market always seem to think so.

abobo on February 25, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Really, all union activity is no different from trusts or monopolies, and we have laws on the books that make that illegal.

Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Don’t expect this impulse to remain localized to Wisconsin, New Jersey, and New York, either — not with massive state budget shortfalls across the US:

IL will act as the grandstands for all those that just want to watch, or flee, as others act like adults and try to solve these problems.

WashJeff on February 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

So much for the “it’s for the children” argument. Just like pro athletes, it’s ALWAYS about the money.

search4truth on February 25, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Don’t expect this impulse to remain localized to Wisconsin, New Jersey, and New York, either — not with massive state budget shortfalls across the US:

Well I for one am happy that My Governor, Jerry Moonbeam has assured the Unions here that he has no intention of taking away their “rights.” Makes me feel warm all over..

sandee on February 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Nice job Reason. I like your style.

DWB on February 25, 2011 at 2:25 PM

On this issue, I think Walker has the only solution for any state with union public employees. The biggest issue is the pension plan debt.

They cannot continue to grant collective bargaining on that issue. The public employee unions is the largest doner to Dems, and there is truly no way that Dems can handle saying no to their biggest doner enough to make a difference.

This has to be stripped out of collective bargaining territory.

CA issue its bi-partisan committee recommendations today on the problem of their own pension plans. It was way rougher. It recommended immediate notification to active employees that all contracts for guaranteed pensions was no longer valid.

Now, that is one major hit to employees. I can’t imagine Brown accepting that one.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:25 PM

On a voice vote, the Senate put the bill in a state where it can no longer be amended. Twenty senators must be present to pass the bill, but Republicans have just 19 seats.

“Deemed into law”

BobMbx on February 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Really, all union activity is no different from trusts or monopolies, and we have laws on the books that make that illegal.

Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Unions are have legal immunity from all anti-trust laws…

equanimous on February 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Allowing the union to keep their collective bargaining rights seems to defeat the purpose. They’ll get paid regardless of how many students remain in the public system, and it’s their pensions and health care costs that will continue to bust the future budgets. Right?

Teachers simply need to be paid a base salary with performance incentives. Actually, anyone with a production-oriented job would be better served under some sort of bonus structure than long-term negotiated compensation. Unions promote lethargy and indifference. This is why our schools are failing.

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 2:27 PM

And on the public side there are still jobs…

They are never thankful for that. Just bitching about benefits that they would have to start paying for… while still HAVING a job. And never a word of thanks to the industrious people who pay taxes so that the public sector can have jobs. Not one word of thanks. Ever.

ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Well, we do only work part time, right? Never stay late, work on weekends, or holidays, or over the summer. So yeah, we’re so totally overpaid.

:)

I pay into STRS, which is public union, but I pay almost all of my own retirement–the district kicks in some, but don’t employers contribute to social security too? I don’t pay into that so I’m not sure what the deal is, but are there public unions where the employee doesn’t pay for most of his/her own retirement?

And my district “pays” for the lowest health plan in the area (dependents are extra), but they really don’t, because it’s part of my pay package even if I don’t directly pay it, and it does decrease my taxable income (which is a good thing, right). Private companies don’t do that?

I must have the suckiest public union ever, because my retirement ain’t that generous, and the only reason I have retirement health coverage at all is because I’m paying into a trust now.

Bob's Kid on February 25, 2011 at 2:30 PM

My take home pay as a HS science teacher (on my 8th year of teaching) in ND, a right to work state = $1960/month (12 months stretched out).
My portion of medical is ~6% or so (for now-the district may not be able to be so generous this next year bcs of health ins increases thanx to Obamacare)-so I pay like $78/mo right now.
I pay half of my retirement, the district pays the other 1/2 (other districts are different).
I am contracted for 182 days/yr.
I am required to be at school from 7:45 am until 3:45 pm.
It isn’t a bad gig.
These whiners need a real dose of reality.
Give me a break.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Unions are have legal immunity from all anti-trust laws…

equanimous on February 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Yes, they do. But there is no reason for them to.

Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Civil service protections, full collective bargaining (collusion) privileges, a state-enforced monopoly on education (unless citizens want to pay twice for education), and the state collects all the loot for the unions which they turn around and use against the interests of the tax payers.

And if you object to any of that, you’re the “fascist”.

forest on February 25, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Teachers simply need to be paid a base salary with performance incentives. Actually, anyone with a production-oriented job would be better served under some sort of bonus structure than long-term negotiated compensation. Unions promote lethargy and indifference. This is why our schools are failing.

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Problem is, no matter how good of a teacher I am, little Johnny may still be testing out at novice on the state assessments.
And it would be Johnny’s fault bcs Johnny is a little twerp who doesn’t do his work, has crappy parents, etc.
I have students like this.
I can’t do anything with them bcs they don’t CARE.
And who actually can judge whether a teacher is ‘good’ or not?
I feel vouchers are the only saving grace for public schools.
And get rid of the Feds in Ed ALTOGETHER.
Each state can decide what they want to do.
I have parents who don’t like me bcs they think I’m ‘too hard’.
I have parents who love me bcs I challenge their kids.
Who to believe about whether I’m ‘good’ or not?
And if you ask an administrator-well the ones I have here:
1 has never set foot in my classroom, the other has only come less times I can count on my 2 hands in the 7 years I’ve been here.
That is pathetic. They don’t know ANYTHING about my teaching ability.
VOUCHERS! I’ll prove my worth that way.
Bcs parents who have a choice will mostly always pick the best for their child.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Well, here is an alternative:

shut down all public provided eduction and instead just have a state accreditation board. Then allow the private sector to create new schools that take state provided vouchers for tuition. The schools have to have an accredited curriculum that includes teaching the constitution, US History, reading, math, critical thinking, geography, etc., in other words, the kind of education that used to be provided by public schools before the unions screwed them up. The private sector will hire the teachers, provide their benefits and pension programs (401Ks). The taxpayer no longer has any legacy costs to worry about, as the tuition vouchers will cover ALL costs, and the private sector has to budget in these items on a yearly basis, just like private commercial companies do for their employees. Existing private schools generally cover student education at a lower cost per pupil than public education does right now, so there could also be an immediate savings right out of the gate.

Problem is solved. The state budget has a known budget expense for education each year, the private sector will control costs better and deliver a better product because of COMPETITION, and the racketeering of fleecing the taxpayers of their money via public union dues that end up in the election funds of democrat progressive liberal candidates is now OVER.

Rinse and repeat for all 50 states. This model makes the US Dept of Education obsolete, it is abolished.

And if the teachers want to unionize at each private school, let them have a proper union certification election and the parents of the students at that school can then opt out of that school or not, as competitive alternatives are available. And the operators of the schools, being private employers in a competitive arena, know what they can offer or not to any collective bargaining, just like any private commercial enterprise. The playing field is now level, unlike the current environment where the taxpayers are screwed by the public unions and the democrats the unions fund to keep in power to keep the racketeering in place.

And for the children with genuine special needs (physical, emotional, mental handicaps, autism, etc.) as certified by licensed professionals, get extra funds in their vouchers so specialty schools can provide the proper services that they need.

And for the drug crazed parent who doesn’t even remember they HAVE a kid and doesn’t take any initiative to obtain and use the vouchers, let’s just remove those kids from their homes, so those kids have a chance to break the cycle of poverty, and sterilize those parents from procreating anymore kids that they can’t provide for.

Yeah, I know, personal responsibility and all that is so HARD.

karenhasfreedom on February 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

That opportunity expired, however, as state Senate Democrats continue their refusal to return to work, demanding that the bill be tabled and that Walker negotiate with unions instead on the budget.

Walker has no need to do this. He WON!!!

ladyingray on February 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I contribute 7% of my income to my 401k. My company only matches 50% of my contributions up to 6% of my income, then stops. I pay a large portion of my own health insurance costs.

NO. SYMPATHY. WHATSOEVER.

quikstrike98 on February 25, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Unions also stifle, or try to, any kind of bonus pay for attracting hard to find areas, or extremely talented individuals.
I know here in ND some districts have provided bonus $$ as an incentive to fill positions that are hard to fill.
A science teacher I know in W. ND received an extra $10,000/yr bcs they couldn’t get any applicants.
Another one I know of received another $15,000/yr for the same.
The other teachers in those schools were PO’d when they found out.
So what?
We in ND in the rural areas are having a hard time finding applicants.
The town down the road from me now needs a science teacher bcs the lady who’s been there forever is retiring.
I won’t apply for it bcs I make more $$ where I’m at.
The only way I’d go over there is bcs they would offer to pay me a lot more.
And the union hates that.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

I agree. I work with young women in another life. One is so involved that she’s really damaging her children from taking responsibility for themselves.

I have had no luck in helping her outgrow this. It’s a neurotic attitude.

The kids are now showing the inevitable signs. They are hitting junior high and out of control. They have learned at her knee how to blame the teachers for every failure.

She honestly thinks she’s being responsible. She’s “helping” to the point of doing their homework really. Her daughter is running down the sidewalk by the building, the janitor opens the door to exit, and she smacked into it. Mom is at the school, blaming the janitor.

And then you have the parents who have virtually no skills in how to even get the kids in any type of routine, nevermind help them succeed.

I think the entire business of blaming schools for everything is just another symptom of our cultural problem of abundance and the subsequent unintended consequence of entitlement that has gripped everyone I know, practically.

Have a problem? Blame someone else.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Given the circumstances, perhaps a compromise can be worked out. Let’s allow the teachers to retain their collective bargaining rights intact

Do away with the corruption machine benefiting kickback dependent politicians.

Look at the massive harm being caused by this twisted agenda.

Speakup on February 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

abobo on February 25, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Real fat cats, these teachers.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

All the screaming and yelling and picket signs will not change a simple, mathematical fact.

If you take a number and subtract a LARGER number from it, you get a negative number.

Surely, there is a math teacher amongst those protesting?

kurtzz3 on February 25, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Reason & Heritage working together?

More please.

visions on February 25, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Real fat cats, these teachers.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

It’s symptomatic of a monopolistic impulse within American society, something a liberal should be all to familiar with for all the screeds put out by the left. Why are concentrations of power evil when present in the media and finance, but not other economic and social institutions?

abobo on February 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Let’s allow the teachers to retain their collective bargaining rights intact

No. Walker is the one operating from a position of strength here. Only losers and simpering weaklings compromise when they are poised to carry the day. This is the very definition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and it is an impulse that has, for some strange reason, flourished among Republicans.

The Rep. legislators in WI get this. We’re not seeing any talk of compromise there.

Shame on you, Ed. You have more backbone than this.

Harpazo on February 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Given the circumstances, perhaps a compromise can be worked out. Let’s allow the teachers to retain their collective bargaining rights intact

Yes, great idea, and let’s “normalize” illegal immigrants and gay marriages too.

All we have to do to win is not surrender, and Ed suggests surrender. Why do we want PUBLIC unions to retain their collective bargaining rights? Compromise for the sake of compromise is stupid.

Good ol’ mature, bipartisan, middle-of-the-road, thoughtful, judicious Ed.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 2:54 PM

abobo on February 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I’m all for vouchers. What I certainly do not believe, is that teachers get paid too much.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

This isn’t about whether teachers are good or bad, this is about an out of control Union, who doesn’t seem to care that there’s isn’t enough money to keep paying all these retirements and benefits. Those paying are the tax payers and we are overly taxed as it is.It’s time they start paying their fair share.That’s the reality.

sandee on February 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Add homeschoolers into the voucher program to seem some real radical changes for the better as parents can afford to have one parent stay home and teach.

Also, as a criteria-based accreditation instead of a time based (pass the coursework, get your credits instead of sit in class for those credits) and you will see an explosion of younger students ready for college and life.

iconoclast on February 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I think we should go back to the basics, why are we allowing public employees to unionize again?

karenhasfreedom on February 25, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Real fat cats, these teachers.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

I would love a deal where I can force others to pay 100% of my 401k.

Chuck Schick on February 25, 2011 at 2:57 PM

The other main issue with public employee unions is truly one of separating out the special interest from the political arena in donations.

It’s reached a level where “unholy alliance” is actually not an exaggeration.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I’m all for vouchers. What I certainly do not believe, is that teachers get paid too much.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

$10k a month pay and benefits isn’t too much? Like in Wisconsin?

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Add homeschoolers into the voucher program to seem some real radical changes for the better as parents can afford to have one parent stay home and teach.

Also, as a criteria-based accreditation instead of a time based (pass the coursework, get your credits instead of sit in class for those credits) and you will see an explosion of younger students ready for college and life.

iconoclast on February 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I would not be for that idea. That’s similar to CA’s payment to home caregivers to include even family members who care for one another.

Absolutely crazy way to spend money we don’t have.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

I understand. A teacher shouldn’t be measured by one student and the measurement standard shouldn’t be equal among all geographic or economic conditions.

But the fact that some students do achieve under those conditions is proof that it’s possible. Otherwise, why have public schools in areas where achievement is traditionally well below average in the first place?

And if it’s all about the kids -as so often claimed by teachers unions nationwide- then why should we accept blaming the students or their parents for their failure to achieve?

I don’t think anyone is saying teachers should earn minimum wage. It’s a tough job. But teachers aren’t the only people with tough jobs. An E-3 with less than 3 years TIS, fighting in Afghanistan makes $1838/mo in base pay. A teacher unable to help a student achieve the minimum standards as set by law simply passes him/her on to another teacher and moves on. A LCpl who fails to maintain the highest level of discipline and combat skills in Afghanistan- dies.

I think some perspective is in order.

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 2:59 PM

$10k a month pay and benefits isn’t too much? Like in Wisconsin?

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 2:58 PM

And how many, if any, make that in Wisconsin?

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM

What troubles me the most about the union having collective “bargaining” over the benefits is that the teacher’s union in WI stands to benefit the most from maintaining this control. WEAC is the supplier of the gold-plated insurance. So not only do they get dues from their members, but the taxpayers foot the overpriced bill straight to WEAC’s insurance company. That’s beneficial of WEAC, and not the teachers, and most certainly not the taxpayers when you have the bought-and-paid-for “representatives” rubber-stamping the kickback insurance coverage $.

Steel on February 25, 2011 at 3:01 PM

And how many, if any, make that in Wisconsin?

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM

One step at a time. So is $10k a month in pay and benefits too much?

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Compromise is what got Wisconsin in the financial mess they are in. When your back is against the wall, the direction to go is obvious. It is just the Law of the Hole. When you are in over your head, stop digging. Trying to negotiate at rock bottom is a waste of time.

volsense on February 25, 2011 at 3:03 PM

I’m all for vouchers. What I certainly do not believe, is that teachers get paid too much.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I agree, if we go to a voucher system, the 10K per student that is paid in the public schools, means about 200K to 250K per classroom. And the teacher gets how much? I truly believe that 50% of the education dollars is just skimmed off and stolen from the taxpayers through bloated administrative costs, etc.

A competitively run private school could take 10K per student, put 16 kids per classroom, and probably pay the teacher 50K in salary, 20K in benefits and STILL make a profit. Anyone in education know any differently?

With these kind of economic metrics, I would consider putting together a business model and create a bunch of private schools and guarantee the outcome for parents. And still be able to make a profit.

karenhasfreedom on February 25, 2011 at 3:03 PM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703408604576164290717724956.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion
 
OPINION
FEBRUARY 25, 2011
Oh, To Be a Teacher in Wisconsin

How can fringe benefits cost nearly as much as a worker’s salary?

Answer: collective bargaining.

By ROBERT M. COSTRELL

The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That’s how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: “How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?” The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district’s budget for this fiscal year:

•Social Security and Medicare. The employer cost is 7.65% of wages, the same as in the private sector.

•State Pension. Teachers belong to the Wisconsin state pension plan. That plan requires a 6.8% employer contribution and 6.2% from the employee. However, according to the collective-bargaining agreement in place since 1996, the district pays the employees’ share as well, for a total of 13%.
•Teachers’ Supplemental Pension. In addition to the state pension, Milwaukee public-school teachers receive an additional pension under a 1982 collective-bargaining agreement. The district contributes an additional 4.2% of teacher salaries to cover this second pension. Teachers contribute nothing.

•Classified Pension. Most other school employees belong to the city’s pension system instead of the state plan. The city plan is less expensive but here, too, according to the collective-bargaining agreement, the district pays the employees’ 5.5% share.

Overall, for teachers and other employees, the district’s contributions for pensions and Social Security total 22.6 cents for each dollar of salary. The corresponding figure for private industry is 13.4 cents. The divergence is greater yet for health insurance:

•Health care for current employees. Under the current collective- bargaining agreements, the school district pays the entire premium for medical and vision benefits, and over half the cost of dental coverage. These plans are extremely expensive.

This is partly because of Wisconsin’s unique arrangement under which the teachers union is the sponsor of the group health-insurance plans. Not surprisingly, benefits are generous. The district’s contributions for health insurance of active employees total 38.8% of wages. For private-sector workers nationwide, the average is 10.7%.

•Health insurance for retirees. This benefit is rarely offered any more in private companies, and it can be quite costly. This is especially the case for teachers in many states, because the eligibility rules of their pension plans often induce them to retire in their 50s, and Medicare does not kick in until age 65. Milwaukee’s plan covers the entire premium in effect at retirement, and retirees cover only the growth in premiums after they retire.

As is commonly the case, the school district’s retiree health plan has not been prefunded. It has been pay-as-you-go. This has been a disaster waiting to happen, as retirees grow in number and live longer, and active employment shrinks in districts such as Milwaukee.

For fiscal year 2011, retiree enrollment in the district health plan is 36.4% of the total. In addition to the costs of these retirees’ benefits, Milwaukee is, to its credit, belatedly starting to prefund the benefits of future school retirees. In all, retiree health-insurance contributions are estimated at 12.1% of salaries (of which 1.5% is prefunded).

Overall, the school district’s contributions to health insurance for employees and retirees total about 50.9 cents on top of every dollar paid in wages. Together with pension and Social Security contributions, plus a few small items, one can see how the total cost of fringe benefits reaches 74.2%.

What these numbers ultimately prove is the excessive power of collective bargaining. The teachers’ main pension plan is set by the state legislature, but under the pressure of local bargaining, the employees’ contribution is often pushed onto the taxpayers. In addition, collective bargaining led the Milwaukee public school district to add a supplemental pension plan—again with no employee contribution. Finally, the employees’ contribution (or lack thereof) to the cost of health insurance is also collectively bargained.

As the costs of pensions and insurance escalate, the governor’s proposal to restrict collective bargaining to salaries—not benefits—seems entirely reasonable.

Mr. Costrell is professor of education reform and economics at the University of Arkansas.

Ricki on February 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

One step at a time. So is $10k a month in pay and benefits too much?

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

No way. I contend that no one in Wisconsin actually makes that much, and that if anyone actually does, they are one of a tiny fraction of individuals that will ever get it. Show me, or pipe down.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

The crime with teachers unions is to the excellent ones (and there are VERY good teachers out there). They get lumped in with the worthless ones because of union protection.

search4truth on February 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

No way. I contend that no one in Wisconsin actually makes that much, and that if anyone actually does, they are one of a tiny fraction of individuals that will ever get it. Show me, or pipe down.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

So you won’t even commit to saying that $10k a month is too much to teach K-12? That’s reasonable.

You can start with Ricki’s 3:05 pm post. $100k a year AVERAGE for (I’ll be generous) 9 months of work a year.

And keep trying to convince us that the poor, little, struggling teachers of Wisconsin are mistreated.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

When my father who taught English for 40 years was a teacher, most of the teachers had summer jobs. They didn’t get paid for 12 months for 9 months of work. He worked 2 jobs his entire life and also fought the MEA taking money out of his paycheck to give it to the Democrat Party. He retired the year the teachers in his school went on strike. He taught because he loved it and his students were prepared for college when they left his class. No worries about tenure, he had tenure because he did the job!

flytier on February 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Well ernesto, read the post above yours and you will see it laid out for the Milwaukee teachers.

Seems to me, the first thing that needs to go is to put the insurance coverage out for competitive bids, rather than have a bloated union provided fund fully paid for by the taxpayers. Criminy.

karenhasfreedom on February 25, 2011 at 3:11 PM

The Republicans in California are on the flip side of those in Wisconsin. Here the Republicans have not fled, but they are being savaged by the democrat party because, at least so far, they have not agreed to Governor’s Brown proposal to have the people vote on a tax increase, or extensions of previously “temporary” tax increases. The question is whether the California Republicans can be solid and hold their position. Governor Brown has said there will have to be major cuts in the state budget if there is not a statewide vote on his proposed additional taxes. Major cuts, of course, are exactly what California needs. It is interesting to see the Republicans, nationwide, attempting to attack the PEU-created fiscal disaster, from both majority and minority positions.

GaltBlvnAtty on February 25, 2011 at 3:12 PM

OMG. Heritage and Reason too? Cats and dogs living together….

echosyst on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

No way. I contend that no one in Wisconsin actually makes that much, and that if anyone actually does, they are one of a tiny fraction of individuals that will ever get it. Show me, or pipe down.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

When you add in their benefits they get paid rather well …

darwin on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Except, of course, that they average $50,000 a year in pay.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

I also think that this is ultimately for the good of WI public employees. The reality is that union leadership has been foolish. Anyone with good sense would have seen the growing gap, realized the potential problems looming, and shifted strategy away from pension/healthcare.

They did not. They relied, instead, upon what we’re seeing now, a very sentimental sympathy for the union workers.

The problem there? This is touchy enough due to the economy and fiscal disarray that the public is now learning what the plans really hold. And it’s not going to sit well. I think the polls are just beginning to show the real reaction.

And you can now go on-line, type in your neighbor’s name and see precisely what his compensation package really is.

The devil is in the details, and we’re all now aware of just those details.

Nobody with smarts would have led the union members down this path.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

When you add in their benefits they get paid rather well …

darwin on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

Please, don’t be glib. Too many people in the private sector lost their jobs in this economy.

You can’t really negotiate from the position of unemployed, now can you. And the ones who still have a job certainly have zero job security.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Oh look, ernesto has opened the door to Liberal World a crack. See, paying more taxes is patriotic. Contributing more to your retirement? That’s tyranny.

Obama said we all have to sacrifice, ernesto. Tsk. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

The solution is to pay them a larger salary and let them fund their own retirement and buy their own healthcare.

Taxpayers simply can’t be on the hook, and giving private workers gold plated benefits just increases the cost of doing business which in the end, the middle class pays for.

Pay better and let people be responsible for themselves.

darwin on February 25, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Except, of course, that they average $50,000 a year in pay.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

$100k in pay and benefits. Your liberal mind tricks won’t work on me, friend.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Karenhasfreedom

Liberals like ernesto dont like to be confused with the facts. I know Prof Costrell and he only writes the truth after much financial analysis. Very good and honest man.

Ricki on February 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Ricki on February 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Thanks for posting that…

visions on February 25, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I like the school voucher trade-off. It makes perfect sense and I think the public would see it as a reasonable compromise.

But I would add one more thing. I call it “Right to Choose”…all employees can choose whether to join a union or not. (Otherwise known as Right to Work, but I don’t think the public understands what that is.) And I think discontinuing automatic deduction of union dues is a perfectly reasonable proposal. Let the union collect its own money…everyone else does.

jeanneb on February 25, 2011 at 3:26 PM

I like the school voucher trade-off. It makes perfect sense and I think the public would see it as a reasonable compromise.

jeanneb on February 25, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Me too. If the union wants collective bargaining, give the same to the taxpayer. Many parents would opt for private schooling.

Of course, the union is really all about the bosses and the democrats. Unions simply funnel union dues back to democrats. The union members are merely the mechanism to get the money. They couldn’t care less about the workers.

darwin on February 25, 2011 at 3:31 PM

The waorkers who also pay into the state retirement system and who make $75,000 to $125,000 a year, not to mention overtime, are sanitation employees who retire on huge pensions. Taxpayers should be up in arms about that, also.

centre on February 25, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

It’s not that private sector employees didn’t have the benefits, it’s that they’ve been taken away by switching the employees into broken 401k plans based on empty promises. Real total compensation has done nothing but decline over the past 20 years for the working class, but the upper class has seen huge income explosions. Explain to me again why we cut pensions while championing high income PERSONAL (ie. NOT people who hire anyone) tax cuts, which results in no funding for these services for average Americans?

In any event, once Americans see that, despite this destruction of benefits, services are still getting cut while high income and corporate tax rates get slashed, they will be more disenchanted with the GOP then they were with Obama. It took the Dems a year or two to sink their agenda by overreaching. It took the GOP a month.

And @ Ed’s earlier comment about charter schools and voucher programs:

Please. Even the much heralded D.C. voucher program showed higher graduation rates, but no enhancement of test scores. So we cut funding to failing schools, took the “good” students out, got them to not drop out, but they didn’t show any improvement in over-all knowledge. Besides, what kind of public school can literally have students removed for doing poorly, instead of offering help? Voucher program schools! Are all schools great? Nope. But there’s yet to be a long-term, successful voucher program in anything but an already affluent area.

Rainsford on February 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Given the circumstances, perhaps a compromise can be worked out. Let’s allow the teachers to retain their collective bargaining rights intact — as long as Wisconsin taxpayers have the ability to opt out of the education monopoly entirely through fully-funded school vouchers.

No! Collective bargaining because violate the principles of a democratic republic. Here’s why: In collective bargaining union reps and government officials meet across the bargaining table as equals. However the government official is either an elected representative of the people or is appointed by an elected representative. In either case, they are accountable to the voting public. The Union rep is only accountable to the members of his or her own union.

That’s fine if you’re in the Union, but the result is that an unelected and unaccountable person in the negotiating process has equal power to the elected representative. In terms of the negotiations, the Union acts as a fourth branch of the government b/c it holds a veto power over the actions of a legitimate branch of the government. You probably like having that power if you’re in the Union, but it’s not a democratic power.

For example, let’s say that candidates for the school board run on a platform of doing away with tenure and instituting merit pay. They win 75% of the vote as voters overwhelming approve their platform. Could they enact it? No. It would still be subject to collective bargaining with the Union. The unelected, unrepresentative Union would have the power to essentially overturn that election.

You can see the fruits of collective bargaining in such things as the looming pension crisis, way overly-generous benefits packages, and work rules that shelter the incompetent and increase operating costs – none of which the voting public wants but all of which the Union negotiated for, because it served their interests.

You see, the problem is not that the Union reps were greedy with the public treasury. We’re ALL liable to be greedy with public treasury. The problem is that they were given the power to be greedy by the unequal representation of Union members versus the general citizenry in deciding the issue of financial compensation.

PackerBronco on February 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM

I think the entire business of blaming schools for everything is just another symptom of our cultural problem of abundance and the subsequent unintended consequence of entitlement that has gripped everyone I know, practically.

Have a problem? Blame someone else.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Well Ann, I do agree with this statement.

I’m all for vouchers. What I certainly do not believe, is that teachers get paid too much.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

How about administrators? What some of them make, for what they do/do not do, is unbelievably ridiculous.
A good admin, however, is worth the $$.

Add homeschoolers into the voucher program to seem some real radical changes for the better as parents can afford to have one parent stay home and teach.

Also, as a criteria-based accreditation instead of a time based (pass the coursework, get your credits instead of sit in class for those credits) and you will see an explosion of younger students ready for college and life.

iconoclast on February 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Maybe. But I would wager more abuse would result from that if you didn’t have a good oversight method.

And if it’s all about the kids -as so often claimed by teachers unions nationwide- then why should we accept blaming the students or their parents for their failure to achieve?

I don’t think anyone is saying teachers should earn minimum wage. It’s a tough job. But teachers aren’t the only people with tough jobs. An E-3 with less than 3 years TIS, fighting in Afghanistan makes $1838/mo in base pay. A teacher unable to help a student achieve the minimum standards as set by law simply passes him/her on to another teacher and moves on. A LCpl who fails to maintain the highest level of discipline and combat skills in Afghanistan- dies.

I think some perspective is in order.

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 2:59 PM

1st of all, a child’s effort is influenced by mainly these things:
Teacher/environment of learning
Individual motivation
PARENTS.
Since a child is molded from a young age by the parents/people raising them, you set up a child for failure when the parents are utter failures.
Now when a child gets to a certain age, they understand right from wrong & oftentimes ‘choose’ to fail.
This isn’t always truly their fault bcs parents can really get in the child’s way on the road to good choices.
Having said that, a parent has ULTIMATE influence over a child’s motivation & efforts bcs in the end, it is the parent that provides consequences, or lack thereof.
We can provide a consequence at school for bad educational etc choices. It’s called an F.
NCLB is ridiculously unrealistic bcs it does not take parents into effect. It rides all the responsibility upon the school’s shoulders & requires eventually that ALL (illegals who speak no English, mentally impaired etc) become PROFICIENT in certain areas.
This is akin to everybody getting a 100% all the time.
And that only happens when you lower the bar so far that it means nothing.
2nd of all-an enlisted soldier does not have a college degree & if they do, they would be foolish not to become an officer. This garners more pay & more reposibility.
There are lots of dangerous jobs in the world.
Plus soldiers in combat zones get hazard pay, above & beyond their salary.
And I am a former Army wife of an enlisted man & I know what it’s like to live on the pay of an E-2, E-3 etc.
But you either get educated & move yourself up the ladder, or stay stuck with low pay.
I actually didn’t say my job was tough. It’s rather easy to teach kids who want to learn.
It’s not easy to be held responsible for teaching kids who do NOT want to learn.
I do not think I earn too much, considering the # of days/yr I work.
But with my BS in geology, I can make much more than I do at this, & work maybe 200 days per year even mudlogging etc.
If I was not a ranch wife working at home after school, I’d go out & make more $$.
But I have made a personal choice.
I believe districts should be able to pay teachers, individually, whatever they deem proper for their educational desires as a community & then as a state.
And vouchers should be availabe to parents who can then choose to send their kids to whatever school they deem perfect for their child.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Your position is that the private sector unions didn’t extort enough money out of private enterprise?

Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

there’s yet to be a long-term, successful voucher program in anything but an already affluent area.

Milwaukee’s voucher program is a long-term, successful voucher program with parents asking year after year after year to expand it, but under Democrat’s/union control it has been hampered from being made even better.

Steel on February 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Rainsford on February 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM

“Real total compensation” fell because the tax cuts provided rather large step increases in after tax compensation. Supply and demand tells you to expect the before tax compensation to correct downward.

Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 3:43 PM

One thing I’ve learned from this development is that many Leftists are unable (unwilling?) to understand that there are differences between public and private sector unions.

They conflate the two under the generic “union” label. Kind of like they conflate legal and illegal immigrants into the generic term “immigrant.”

Somewhere in the mind of some of those on the Left, it seems, public sector unions are doing battle against evil, hate-filled, racist, bigoted, imperialist corporations and are worthy of blind support. Information is not important. Feelings rule the day. Etc…

visions on February 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

May the red force engulf you.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM

“Just print more money” –ernesto

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Except, of course, that they average $50,000 a year in pay.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Ummm, make that nine months.

I know engineers who make that in twelve months, without the fat benefits packages…so boo hoo, poor teachers.

capitalist piglet on February 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

The ones who set the pay for the State employees have a name: the legislature.

They propose this thing known as: a budget.

The employees are represented as they have this thing known as: a vote.

They get to vote with the rest of the citizens on who represents them.

Notice how this works? No evil profit to be made. No exploitation involved. This is what it means to be a public sector employee and you agree to be paid what the legislature sets as wages and benefits. Those can go up or down based on the legislature. You cannot lock in forever wages that always increase with benefits that you don’t pay for as legislatures change over time based on the will of all the people.

You don’t think teachers are paid enough? Then you have a say by your VOTE for a representative. Isn’t it lovely how that works? No need for a union, at all, as YOU have a say in all of this via the representative system of government that is in the form of a republic. And so do all the employees!

Amazing, no?

That is the risk of working for the public sector: jobs, wages and benefits change over time and you get a say in that via your franchise right. So do all the other citizens eligible to vote.

You want to make more? Get a job elsewhere.

You want security? Sorry, not available in this life unless you are willing to work very hard, and even then there is no telling what fate has in store for you.

You want both from the public with the public guaranteeing no risk to you at all as a public employee? Do you know how much that COSTS? If you don’t then take a look at the State shortfalls… that will tell you.

This is what a representative democracy used to run a republic is all about for public sector jobs. It has this wonderful capacity of working as it has risks over time that are adjusted by the citizenry as they do this thing known as: vote.

You want higher wages for teachers? Vote for people to represent you who do that.

You want lower wages for teachers? Vote for people to represent you who do that.

See how that works? Simple! Easy! Even a child can understand it! Works, too, so long as you go in with your eyes wide open and acknowledge that there are risks involved over time and that NOTHING is assured. Thats the way it works.

ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 3:48 PM

I agree, if we go to a voucher system, the 10K per student that is paid in the public schools, means about 200K to 250K per classroom. And the teacher gets how much? I truly believe that 50% of the education dollars is just skimmed off and stolen from the taxpayers through bloated administrative costs, etc.A competitively run private school could take 10K per student, put 16 kids per classroom, and probably pay the teacher 50K in salary, 20K in benefits and STILL make a profit. Anyone in education know any differently?

With these kind of economic metrics, I would consider putting together a business model and create a bunch of private schools and guarantee the outcome for parents. And still be able to make a profit.

karenhasfreedom on February 25, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Bcs of Federal Rules, there is a LOT of $$ WASTED.
And there are all of these special federal ‘grants’ for this & that, as well as Title $$ (schools BEG people to sign up for Free/Reduced lunch for this $$).
Lunch programs = NOT NECESSARY. This BS about feeding ‘hungry’ kids is crap.
I do know some kids come to school hungry.
But I happen to know those specific parents are receiving welfare benefits & foodstamps & always have a pack of smokes & a bottle of liquor on hand.
So why can’t they feed their own kids?
It is NOT the responsibility of the federal govt to feed people’s children.
Let’s also look at getting rid of worthless administrative positions.
Our principal does NOTHING. And when he subs for another teacher, he gets PAID EXTRA for it.
I call BS! That should be part of their JOB!
My principal also sometimes never even shows up to sub (I know this bcs it has happened to MY classes), leaving the students ALONE the WHOLE PERIOD & STILL collects his SUB PAY! This is outrageous.
I can talk about a lot of other waste, but until parents have a vested financial interest in their childrens’ learning (i.e. vouchers), none of this waste & fraud will EVER change.

Ricki on February 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Good info.
I don’t get vision or dental at all. But our health plan is what many would call a ‘Cadillac’ plan.
I think our family deductible is like $1000/yr.
It might be less. I can’t remember.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Having said that, a parent has ULTIMATE influence over a child’s motivation & efforts bcs in the end, it is the parent that provides consequences, or lack thereof.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM

So teachers just aren’t that valuable. Except as babysitters.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.
ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Your position is that the private sector unions didn’t extort enough money out of private enterprise?
Count to 10 on February 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

ernesto’s position is worse than usual in that he ignores the reality that PEU “negotiations” are not negotiations at all. Rather, they are bribe sessions, with the democrat “employers” asking, in effect, “how much do you need, employees, for you to both vote for us democrats and send us lots of money?’

GaltBlvnAtty on February 25, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Real total compensation has done nothing but decline over the past 20 years for the working class, but the upper class has seen huge income explosions.

We don’t live in a static-class society. Poor people become “middle class,” rich people become poor, etc.

Further, wealth is not a zero-sum game. Wealth is created. If a rich person (or country) gets richer via the market, they are not “taking” from others, forcing those others into poverty.

I highly recommend this book to those interested:

Thomas Sowell “Economic Facts and Fallacies”

visions on February 25, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM

The we’re largely in agreement. My initial statement was relative to the unions and how they have destroyed much of the motivation for teachers. Certainly the teachers unions won’t disband, so incentive pay may help an otherwise unmotivated teacher to put in the extra effort to help the most challenging students rather than passing them off. Certainly graduating students who remain functionally illiterate is a prime example of this, and that example occurs all over the US at an alarming rate.

My contention is that unions breed indifference among their members -generally. This is not a statement about you personally.

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Here’s an idea…how about earning a decent standard of living???

‘gets
‘….that’s just pathetic….

BigWyo on February 25, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Vouchers please!! I homeschool. I don’t want the state anywhere near my kid. If I had a voucher for 6-8K per year (avg cost of public education is 10K per student per year), I could do so very much, and put plenty of $$ aside for college (or to start a business, if college is not the right path for my dtr). Right now, I pay all kinda taxes for the public school system but have absolutely no access to the services they offer. (sports, music, school library, etc). Parents should be given the vouchers and allowed to choose the school and the type of education they want their children to have. Back in the day before “public education” parents hired the teachers (think 1 room schoolhouse).

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Completely off topic, but do you hunt edible mushrooms??

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:06 PM

if the left believed in democracy they’d say fine…pass the bill and we’ll sunset the thing by voting all you bums out so that Rs would be in a permanent minority. But sadly no.

r keller on February 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Ummm, make that nine months.

I know engineers who make that in twelve months, without the fat benefits packages…so boo hoo, poor teachers.

capitalist piglet on February 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

THIS.
After my 182 contract days are fufilled, I can seek summer employment & make MORE MONEY!
Many teachers do.
I choose not to bcs I help run our runch. That is my other job.
But there are lots of teachers who supplement their pay by working in the summer.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Completely off topic, but do you hunt edible mushrooms??

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:06 PM

How did you know this was my ultimate favorite hobby besides genalogy?
Did you find me on FB?

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I am a wild shroom fanatic.
This is an EXCELLENT book if you like the scientific side of the hobby.
I actually make a wild edible mushroom unit as part of my ecology class &/or biology class.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

So teachers just aren’t that valuable. Except as babysitters.

misterpeasea on February 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Well i guess if you feel that you can adequately teacher your child physics, chemistry, anatomy, geology, advanced mathematics, etc, then I guess you can call some of us glorified babysitters.
I do get paid to babysit. It’s called study hall.
And they should do away with it bcs it’s a worthless waste of time for me.
Let me teach something or give me a prep/work period instead of a babysitting period.
Now if you are veiling this as an insult, all I can say is what the hell ever.
I earn my $$ & do nto wish for more or special privilege.
And I do not think teachers are heroes or anything else.
We should be paid for our expertise.
As teachers we get a Bachelor’s in our major & then must spend another year taking ‘teaching’ oriented classes.
And not all of them are a waste of time.
Some people can teach & don’t need a degree to teach their kids those things.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:24 PM

How did you know this was my ultimate favorite hobby besides genalogy?
Did you find me on FB?

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Way back on the Food Safety Bill post… you were writing about the yummy fungus. I asked you for a book reccomendation, but the thread was dead…. I couldn’t remember who it was, but thought I would take a chance with the science teacher.

I am a wild shroom fanatic.
This is an EXCELLENT book if you like the scientific side of the hobby.
I actually make a wild edible mushroom unit as part of my ecology class &/or biology class.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Thanks so very much, I will check it out..We have a ton of mushrooms on my property, but I have been kinda scared to try it… (xxxxoooo)

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Any of you think maybe that the decline in average incomes has anything to do with our open borders that take in what are essentially uneducated economic refugees?

slickwillie2001 on February 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Perhaps private sector unions should have negotiated for better benefits, rather than sitting jealous and angry while someone else gets a decent standard of living.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:16 PM

You’re clearly not understanding how this works.

Chuck Schick on February 25, 2011 at 4:41 PM

It’s not that private sector employees didn’t have the benefits, it’s that they’ve been taken away by switching the employees into broken 401k plans based on empty promises.

Rainsford on February 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM

My God, just how willfully ignorant are you and Ernesto? Social security and Medicare are $113 trillion underfunded. That’s what “broken” looks like.

Chuck Schick on February 25, 2011 at 4:46 PM

At this point the question of ‘getting an education’ really should be one that is in flux as the technology we have is making the older school-based instruction system obsolete. That is not to say that ‘teachers’ are obsolete: those who can encourage students to learn and how to learn is still a vital skill, even more so in this modern age.

What is going out the window is the system of instructor in front of a classroom of children with chalkboards as a way of presenting material. This is 13th century technology and methodology used in the 21st century where entire bodies of work, not just individual books, are now available immediately with hyperlink indexes on resource material. Something is seriously wrong with this picture of chalkboards, books, films, notebooks and classrooms.

Where is the inventiveness that the information revolution as supposed to spur on? Oh, wait, teacher unions are interested in preserving jobs that don’t change, so they don’t change, so our children have to figure out ways to integrate the new technology without help as their teachers can’t be bothered to change their way of doing things.

Come again? This is AMERICA where we are supposed to be the most inventive people on this PLANET and adapt to anything we discover and create as that is what we DO. Yet no we have a 13th century concept embedded in a 19th century institution, trying to dictate a 20th century way of life (and barely mid-20th at that) in the 21st century.

This does not compute.

This does not work.

Johnny still can’t read at the rate of 1956, even though we pour tens and hundreds of billions into this institution.

The teachers aren’t making enough?

BS.

They aren’t being challenged to DO more, and create a brand new way of teaching that allows students to learn more in a faster way that is not beholden to the teaching institution but concentrates on teaching children how to learn on their own WITH this new technology. At this point our children probably know more of the technology than the teachers do, but we will not ask them what would make an interesting way of presenting topics. Then our wisdom, being older and wiser, comes into play to create a rich way of presenting subjects that entices and encourages learning and critical thinking.

We shouldn’t be paying AT ALL for this failure on the part of the educational system. We are paying to much for it to continue failing in the exact, same way it has for decades. And yet to dare say that and its: ‘Oh, you hate teachers!’

Nope.

I hate people unwilling to admit that we have failed and that we, as a society, must take responsibility for this failure and change our conception of education and learning to adapt to modern times. Perhaps there are teachers that can do this… but this system of unions and bricks’n’mortar schools is stopping us from inventing a better way to do things.

Offer pure pay for performance: if you can teach children how to learn and want to learn more, then you get rewarded. Doesn’t matter if you are a pay-for school, religious school, public school, homeschooler or a child who learns how to teach him or herself. If you mean you will pay for performance then DO IT and stop moaning about teachers in failing schools not being paid enough.

Put up and mean it.

Or accept that you want failure and are unwilling to pay for success… and it will be cheaper to succeed in a new way than it is to fail in the old way. Ask the French about the Maginot Line on that, ok?

ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Except, of course, that they average $50,000 a year in pay.

ernesto on February 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

OK, fair enough. You refused to answer the 10K per month question (which included benefits, let’s not forget). The question now becomes, is $50,000 a year in pay, BEFORE benefits, not enough to live on in Wisconsin? If not (and I’m certain you don’t think so), what is the correct amount? I ask because I want everyone here to see you refuse to answer this question as well. Ultimately, your answer will come down to what it always comes down to….MORE!!! Save us the time (and yourself the further embarrassment) and just say it now.

runawayyyy on February 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I pick as well. I concentrate on one variety, the bolete, that is fairly easy to identify, and very hard to mistake other varieties for.

My grandmother was amazing, she would pick the most godawful scary looking thing, and throw it into the bag. That level of knowledge is being lost.

slickwillie2001 on February 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Teachers simply need to be paid a base salary with performance incentives…..

BKeyser on February 25, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Great idea. My late mother taught school (with a little administration time thrown in) for thiry-eight years. She worked hard, and wouldn’t give up on any kid that was willing to try.

I’ve often wondered how to incorporate a merit system that would be fair (i.e. take into account the fact that some kids just aren’t as able to learn as others). An incentivized pay system might be the way. It might not clear out all the “dead wood”, but it certainly wouldn’t reward them.

Also…I read comments about teachers working nine months a year. That’s true. But it sure isn’t nine months with nine to five hours. My mother spent a lot of evenings (or weekend time) at the kitchen table grading papers. And she wasn’t adverse to staying after school to help a kid that would ask her to.

tgharris on February 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

What is going out the window is the system of instructor in front of a classroom of children with chalkboards as a way of presenting material. This is 13th century technology and methodology used in the 21st century where entire bodies of work, not just individual books, are now available immediately with hyperlink indexes on resource material. Something is seriously wrong with this picture of chalkboards, books, films, notebooks and classrooms.

Johnny still can’t read at the rate of 1956, even though we pour tens and hundreds of billions into this institution.

OK, many good points, but if you say Johnny can’t read as well as those students from 55 years ago, then what are the advantages to using advanced modern technology?

That is, do you really think that advanced technology is conducive to education or does it make us mentally lazier? Obviously technology can be highly beneficial, but I think the trend is to have students exposed to technology and therefore learn lots and lots of stuff through some kind of electronic osmosis.

If a student feels that a machine can give them information instantly and solve a problem for them, then why should he/she carry that knowledge around in their heads or bother to learn how to solve a problem on their own?

We’ve had computers for students widely available for (depending upon the district) ten, fifteen, twenty years now and people are still complaining about the poor results.

But I maintain that those poor results are relative to other countries. Their societies are different in their expectations and respect for education. Also, there comes a time where they aren’t going to use resources for those who are not likely to succeed in an advanced academic setting.

Our best and brightest are at least as good as their best and brightest.

These apples and oranges test score comparisons are often used in order to bolster political agendas-the far Left in order to gain more state and federal control over the schools, and the far right in order to weaken state and federal government as well as to weaken the labor movement.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 25, 2011 at 5:18 PM

kringeesmom on February 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM

That book has another book as a follow up to it that is a smaller pocket guide, by the same author.
The biggest things about identifying wild shrooms is to take a spore sprint, as well as take good note of where it came from, what it is growing near, physical description etc.
Always start with teh easiest to ID like puffballs & morels.
There are many others out there, you just need to observe well & when in doubt, throw it out.
Also, some may give you indigestion etc., but there are actually not many out there that can kill you.
I grew up with grandparents who ‘knew’ about the edibles.
I just later on taught myself by using scientific guides.
I even use a microscope for some.
But there are so many easily identified ones that’ll prolly keep you busy enough.
Here in ND, there aren’t a lot of different kinds usually, but there are many I have ID’d that are a little obscure & I love them.
To each their own.
If you ever have any ?s, stalk me here on HA & I’ll try & help you out!

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Would a voucher vote require a 3/5ths quorum or a regular majority quorum?

txmomof6 on February 25, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Also…I read comments about teachers working nine months a year. That’s true. But it sure isn’t nine months with nine to five hours. My mother spent a lot of evenings (or weekend time) at the kitchen table grading papers. And she wasn’t adverse to staying after school to help a kid that would ask her to.

tgharris on February 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

See I rarely get students ever wanting to stay after for help. Many live in rural areas & can’t & most just don’t care enough or they get it.
My 1st 2 years, I came hours early & stayed hours late, but then eventually, I became adept enough at planning that now I take NO work home.
I work constantly throughout the day & never have to take home papers to grade.
I never have to really stay late, either, for any of that.
The only thing is I may have to spend a lot of time making solutions & setting up labs for chemistry.
That does take a lot of time. But I manage my time well at school & have usually always managed to get done within the work day.

Badger40 on February 25, 2011 at 5:29 PM

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