Video: Do public-school teachers make too little?

posted at 11:36 am on March 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

For most of my adult life, politicians have asserted that public-school teachers are underpaid and underresourced. But even if that was true at one time, is it true any longer? Reason looks at the facts and intersperses the data with some now-familiar scenes of teacher protests, set to a particularly apt piece of music:

Teachers have a lot to lose. According to Department of Education statistics, in 2007-2008 (the latest year available), full-time public school teachers across the country made an average of $53,230 in “total school-year and summer earned income.” That compares favorably to the $39,690 that private school teachers pulled down.

And when it comes to retirement benefits, public school teachers do better than average too.According to EducationNext, government employer contribute the equivalent of 14.6 percent of salary to retirement benefits for public school teachers. That compares to 10.4 for private-sector professionals.

Those levels of compensation help explain why per-pupil school costs have risen substantially over the past 50 years. In 1960-61, public schools spent $2,769 per student, a figure that now totals over $10,000 in real, inflation-adjusted dollars. Among the things that threefold-plus increase in spending has purchased are more teachers per student. In 1960, the student-teacher ratio in public schools was 25.8; it’s now at a historic low of 15.

Among the things all that money hasn’t bought? Parental satisfaction, for one. Despite public teachers’ much-higher salaries, parents with school-age children in public schools report substantially lower satisfaction rates than parents with children in private schools. In 2007, the percentage of parents with children in assigned public schools who were “very satisfied” with the institution was 52 percent. For parents whose children attended public schools of choice, that figure rose to 62 percent. Parents sending their children to private schools, whether religious or non-sectarian, were “very satisfied” 79 percent of the time.

At the end of this 40-year period of ever-increasing investment in public education, have we improved the actual productNot exactly.  Here are the average scores for reading at three different grade levels from 1971 to 2008 from NEAP:

In mathematics, the trend is the same. Note that the averages for the two earlier grade levels increased slightly over the last 40 years, but that the competency of graduating-age teens has barely budged:

Despite the vast amount of money sunk into education at state and federal levels since 1971, the product has not improved at all in the government monopoly.  Those are the facts, and it’s time that taxpayers demanded more control of the system — or real choice for all parents to take their money and opt out of it.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Idea:

Cut ‘national’ education down to one thing: a tough academic test for 12th graders to take for graduation. Tell public, private, parochial, and homeschools they teach whatever and however they want to get students to pass it.

Get rid of everything else. Uunlike some professions, teachers never even needed unions in the first place. Take all the $$$ that’s being spent per-student and tell the parents “pick a school to spend it on”.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

So by driving by two schools every day, you can extrapolate everything that a teacher needs for his or her classroom and how long every teacher stays at school and how much prep work and grading papers, or in my daughter’s instance, marking scores, recording parts on a DVD, preparing for and executing four concerts a year, raising money for music and all the extracurricular activities that teachers are more or less required to attend, nowadays?

Wow. I’m truly impressed by your proficiency at calculating workflow and income. Say, if I gave you a picture of the outside of Wall Street, with the traffic patterns there and when lights are on and off, would you please tell me then what stocks I should trade in to be successful at stockbrokering?

No offense, but instead of BS, I call putz.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Are you one of those people who wears their cell phone on their belt?

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

As opposed to incessantly at ones ear? Are you sure you don’t have a brain tumor?

capejasmine on March 3, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Chip on March 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Dark and his ilk think there is an infinite money supply that “the rich” have. And if we could only tax them at 190% of income all our problems would be solved.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

How do you know when you’ve won an argument with a libtard?

1. He calls you a racist

Control+F

“racist”

Hmm…the first time that word is mentioned is in YOUR POST.

2. He goes off on a nonsensical tangent having nothing to do with the topic at hand.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Translation: you’re being intentionally stupid on the order of a 3rd-grader.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Sure wish my daughter was in that group of “average” teachers. She’s a fourth year high school teacher at a rural school, making 32K a year and has to resource her own classroom. She is NOT a member of a teacher’s union.

As a single woman in her 20s, she’s definitely living paycheck to paycheck. So maybe we just need to make the generalizations less sweeping. She’s not greedy; she just wants to be able to pay the rent, the car payment, the insurance and maybe have a little left over for food.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

The biggest travesty in the whole corrupt union system is that only years of teaching can be considered when planning layoffs.

The youngest teachers ALWAYS go first. I can’t imagine hopping from one job to the next hoping you can survive long enough that you’ll eventually get to stay. It’s a horrible system…

…and one that my relatives defend. For all their “high ideals”, they don’t care one whit about the young teachers that suffer under their system. And then turn around to lament the lack of teachers entering/staying in the teaching profession.

I just shake my head at the shear lunacy of it.

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Dark and his ilk think there is an infinite money supply that “the rich” have. And if we could only tax them at 190% of income all our problems would be solved.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Wrong again. See if you can understand this:

Raising taxes alone will not solve the problem.

Cutting spending alone will not solve the problem.

We need to do BOTH.

Neither side likes that idea because it slaughters their sacred cows.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

angryed, don’t call bullshit on me. I’m living it, ok? Now, I’ll grant that my wife is probably an exception… and that there are many nights when hers is the last car (other than the janitorial staff) in the lot. I’ve seen that. There are three schools (two elementaries and a middle school) in the complex where she works… and if I’m in that area, there are maybe 10 cars left in teacher parking spaces by 4.15 (teacher day ends at 3.45, approx. 100 teachers in the three buildings).
So you can make your point and it’s largely valid… but don’t call what I’m living with bullshit.

either orr on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Education as a “product?” What the? Who are you, Karl Marx? Since when did education become a “product.” Knowledge is not a product! Are you one of those people who wears their cell phone on their belt?

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

And education is not knowledge, and knowledge is not education.

I know plenty of people who received an education, but have very little knowledge to speak of. I also know plenty of people who obtained knowledge without needing education to obtain it.

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:10 PM

So by driving by two schools every day, you can extrapolate everything that a teacher needs for his or her classroom and how long every teacher stays at school and how much prep work and grading papers, or in my daughter’s instance, marking scores, recording parts on a DVD, preparing for and executing four concerts a year, raising money for music and all the extracurricular activities that teachers are more or less required to attend, nowadays?

Wow. I’m truly impressed by your proficiency at calculating workflow and income. Say, if I gave you a picture of the outside of Wall Street, with the traffic patterns there and when lights are on and off, would you please tell me then what stocks I should trade in to be successful at stockbrokering?

No offense, but instead of BS, I call putz.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

No you’re right. What teachers are actually doing is driving home at 3:30 then walking back to school. And at 4, when I drive by and see an empty parking lot, the teachers are all inside the school working hard.

And yes on Wall St, at 4:05 you see a rush of people leaving work. At least the traders. That doesn’t mean you can tell what stocks to buy. It means you can tell when people leave work. And the fact that there are no cars in the parking lot at 4, means the teachers have left work.

It’s really not that hard to understand.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I should have pointed out that if she is a good teacher, she should be compensated for it… by getting rid of the bad teachers.

I knew several (senior) teachers who should have been the first ones laid off. They were terrible. Instead, because of their number of years teaching, they were kept when many of the young, energetic teachers were let go.

It also explains why in most districts, the average pay is heavily weighted toward the top of the pay scale. When you’re keeping only the expensive teachers, teaching tends to be… expensive.

Merit pay for merited performance!

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Wrong again. See if you can understand this:

Raising taxes alone will not solve the problem.

Cutting spending alone will not solve the problem.

We need to do BOTH.

Neither side likes that idea because it slaughters their sacred cows.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Let’s say I earn $100K a year. I am spending $150K a year. I take vacations to Fiji, I drive a BMW, I eat out every night. All on the Visa.

You solution I should get a second job making $25K a year and cut down my spending by $25K a year.

Isn’t the more prudent solution to only spend $100K a year? Drive a Honda. Go on vacation to Florida and cook my own meals.

You’re assuming that taxes are too low and spending is too high. You’re wrong. Taxes are too high and spending is too high. Spending has grown by 100%+ in the past 10 years. Was life so awful in 2000 with spending at that level? Would it really be so awful if we went back and spent what we spent in 2000? I really don’t think the world would end. Do you?

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Unfortunately, you fail to consider that we are on the other side of the Laffer curve.

Raising taxes will drive out businesses that create jobs. Employed people pay taxes. Taxes are revenue. Thus, increasing taxes in a bad economy actually decreases revenue over time.

We need to cut the budget and lower taxes, which spur job creation, which creates more taxpayers, which increases revenue.

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Dark and his ilk think there is an infinite money supply that “the rich” have. And if we could only tax them at 190% of income all our problems would be solved.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Wrong again. See if you can understand this:

Raising taxes alone will not solve the problem.

Cutting spending alone will not solve the problem.

We need to do BOTH.

Neither side likes that idea because it slaughters their sacred cows.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Raising taxes has been done to death (potentially to the death of the Republic)

We’ve seen this swindle for time immemorial, taxes are raised, and token spending ‘Cuts’ are promised.

But then the wondrous revenues are not forthcoming and we end up back at square one.

My guess is that Leftists don’t really want to solve this problem – if it doesn’t involve the redistribution of wealth.

Chip on March 3, 2011 at 1:19 PM

You’re assuming that taxes are too low and spending is too high. You’re wrong. Taxes are too high and spending is too high.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Spending is too high on all the wrong stuff. But we’re so badly in the hole that even if we ONLY spent on necessities (good luck doing that), it wouldn’t be enough.

And as for ‘taxes are too high’…join the crowd of every taxpayer throughout history who thought that.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Chip on March 3, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Which is why tax raises alone will not fix things – the lefties just squander the new revenue. Yeah, it nets more money, but they’ll just pour it down a rathole unless spending is cut as well.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Cut ‘national’ education down to one thing: a tough academic test for 12th graders to take for graduation. Tell public, private, parochial, and homeschools they teach whatever and however they want to get students to pass it.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

If you really want to be depressed, see if you can find the WSJ article from several years ago on ‘Take the test’. It was a test of mathematics, history, logic, spelling and grammar. As the holder of a post-graduate degree, I took the test, and I was slightly miffed that I only got a ‘B’. Then, they hit me with the punchline: it was an 1899 entrance exam for a Chicago high school.

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 1:23 PM

My guess is that Leftists don’t really want to solve this problem – if it doesn’t involve the redistribution of wealth.

Chip on March 3, 2011 at 1:19 PM

DING DING!!

The leftists want a complete collapse. Desperate people look to government for help. The more desperate people, the bigger the govt.

Every new person on Medicaid is a lifelong Democrat. Every new person on welfare is a life long Democrat. After 99 weeks of receiving an unemployment check, chances are good you’ll be a lifelong Democrat who demands another 99 weeks.

Poor economic news is celebrated by the left.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:23 PM

If you really want to be depressed, see if you can find the WSJ article from several years ago on ‘Take the test’. It was a test of mathematics, history, logic, spelling and grammar. As the holder of a post-graduate degree, I took the test, and I was slightly miffed that I only got a ‘B’. Then, they hit me with the punchline: it was an 1899 entrance exam for a Chicago high school.

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Haven’t seen that one, but I have seen the famous “8th Grade in 1895″ exam…

At a guess, 2/3rds of students (public AND private) would fail it.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM

either orr on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I think the misunderstanding is the cars in the parking lots. Most of my relatives are teachers. Most of them leave immediately when school ends. But most of them work at home a few hours grading papers. So, cars in parking lots are not indicative of hours of work.

HOWEVER, I work in Information Technology… and I can say that most of the people in my field ALSO work lots of hours outside of “work” just to keep up. I’m currently averaging about 1-4 hours a night teaching myself the latest technology trends so that I can mentor our development groups, and make recommendations about tech strategies to consider. (Which is why the teacher “working so many hours in the evenings” doesn’t phase me.)

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Spending is too high on all the wrong stuff. But we’re so badly in the hole that even if we ONLY spent on necessities (good luck doing that), it wouldn’t be enough.

And as for ‘taxes are too high’…join the crowd of every taxpayer throughout history who thought that.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Depends on what your definition of “necessities” is. To me it’s the military, courts, law enforcement, transportation (interstate highways, airports, ports), some minimal safety net (none of this 99 weeks of unemployment crap). That’s it.

Taxes have not always been too high. In the 1920s the vast majority of people didn’t even pay income tax. The original income tax was only applied to the equivalent of $350K of today’s money.

I’m not saying there should be no taxes. I’m saying it should be reasonable amount. Right now if I combine federal, state, payroll, property, sales, gas, car registration and all the other every day taxes out there, it’s pretty close to 50% of my income. That is not reasonable by any measure.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 1:23 PM

ABSOLUTELY! I used to have a copy of a Kansas 8th grade mid-term from the 1800′s. Most teachers couldn’t pass it now. Most people don’t realize how far we’ve fallen…

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Despite the vast amount of money sunk into education at state and federal levels since 1971, the product has not improved at all in the government monopoly. Those are the facts …

LOL. Um, no, those aren’t “the facts,” and your attempt to mansplain it as such is grotesquely political. Misleading generalizations, angry ideology, and a fierce desire to increase page views — those are “the facts.”

Vast amounts of money? Some countries that spend more on education by % of GDP:

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

What does % of GDP have to do with “vast amount of money”?

If I have a neighbor who earns $1 Billion/yr and he puts his kid in a school and pays $100,000 a year to do so, while I spend $5000 a year out of my $50k annual salary and I get better results, is it crazy for me to say that he is sinking “a vast amount of money” into his kid’s education?

Or should he laugh at me and say, “You idiot! I only spend .01% of my income, while you blow 10% of yours on education. I am really getting my money’s worth!”

Should he expect bad results because his expenditure is a smaller percentage of his income?

The Department of Education brags about the spending on education in this country… they don’t seem to brag about the results.

mankai on March 3, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Never mind 8th grade tests from the 1800s. Take a test from 8th grade test fro, China today and I don’t think most American adults could pass it.

In China, kids learn in school. The school year is 30-40% longer than in the US. And there’s no fluff like environmental studies, gay studies, (insert minority here) history month. They learn to read/write, math, science.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

What does % of GDP have to do with “vast amount of money”?

mankai on March 3, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Based on the GDP of Cuba, if the government bought a gross of pencils for their students, it would change the percentage.

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Never mind 8th grade tests from the 1800s. Take a test from 8th grade test fro, China today and I don’t think most American adults could pass it.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

ouch. Too true.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:39 PM

bfidiis also believes the propaganda from Michael Moore that Cuba has the best health care system in the world, along with the best education.

My only question to him is this:

If it’s so amazing there (free health care, fantastic education and an overall worker’s paradise) why do thousands of people get on a raft every year and float for 90 miles in shark infested waters with the goal of landing on Florida shores? You know the shores of FL, in the god-awful USA where people die on the steps of hospitals by the millions every day.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:40 PM

either orr on March 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Sorry if this sounds personal. We all know and appreciate good teachers like your wife. I’m sure she’s as frustrated with the system of putting up (and propping up) bad teachers as the rest of us are.

LASue on March 3, 2011 at 1:42 PM

We need more Sidney Portiers in the schools.

walkingboss on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Nope. Sidney Poitier is a liberal Democrat. What we need are more Mark Thackerays — the character he played in To Sir With Love.

I’m also wondering why 32K for a single twenty-something in a rural community means living paycheck to paycheck.

cheeflo on March 3, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Which makes poop, carbon dioxide, piss, flatulence, and mucous all “products,” too — since they’re “produced.”

Moron.

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Uh, those are bi-products

Bevan on March 3, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Send both my kids to private schools, combined cost is over $20 K per year for over 12 years. Considering the liberal, commie leaning Mass public schools, it has been a wise investment.

Alden Pyle on March 3, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Translated: “I’m losing the debate.”

Del Dolemonte on March 3, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Translated: I actually think that net-based circle-jerking with a huddle of fellow rightists constitutes debate.

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 12:29 PM

And obviously it is beneath you. That is why you don’t waste your time offering anything of substance; that would require thought. You have posted some of the most useless yet delightfully idiotic comments I’ve seen in some time today – well done.

Knowledge may not, as you state, be a product – however education, the process of imparting said knowledge most certainly is. And in this country most public schools are doing a poor job of producing it. The spending per pupil, student/teacher ratio and dismal test results over the years are evidence to that. In the face of fact and evidence you provide insults and incivility.

Do you teach in WI, by any chance?

RDuke on March 3, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Godwin’s Law = broke.

Sigh.

Ryan Anthony on March 3, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Godwin’s Law = broke.

Sigh.

Ryan Anthony on March 3, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Oh to erase the words ‘communist’ and ‘nazi’ from American vocabulary…

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 2:14 PM

It’s not so much that teachers as a whole are overpaid. It’s that their benefits are way too plush and their job security is way too secured.

Around here, teachers start at about $35k base. But, then all kinds of add-ons happen ($ for getting a masters, $ for doing x or y). Plus, the raises are astronomical. they tend to get 3.5%-4% a year, every year, regardless of anything. Which is way more than any private sector employee gets in raises on average.

Add to that the near impossibility it is to get rid of bad teachers, and you end up with 20 year teachers making $76,000. But, it never ends up being that low, b/c contracts will have some bump-ups along the way. And, there will be longevity bonuses, and other bonuses.

so, a 53 year old teacher is making $80 or $90k. they likely are teaching the same exact ciricullum that they developed their first couple of years (meaning, they aren’t creating new homework assignments, tests, or lesson plans). And that is for working approximately 8 months out of the year.

I probably would not begrudge a teacher making that much pay – but having top-line health insurance with no or almost no contribution, plus a guaranteed pension at 50% of their final salary or better is a bit much for this job. Also, the fact that the lousy teachers are also there making that kind of money with those kind of benefits is troubling. And, from having worked closely with a number of school districts, there is a high percentage of very poor teachers.

But, this is a long way of saying that teachers are not at all underpaid, and when you add in benefits (including ridiculous job security), they are overpaid.

Monkeytoe on March 3, 2011 at 2:15 PM

What does % of GDP have to do with “vast amount of money”?

mankai on March 3, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Based on the GDP of Cuba, if the government bought a gross of pencils for their students, it would change the percentage.

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Exactly.

BTW, those cites are meaningless to begin with, because they came from the UN. Hardly a reliable (or ethical) institution, especially considering that one of their own “subsidiaries”, UNESCO, estimates that Cuba only spends 10% or so of GDP on education.

Del Dolemonte on March 3, 2011 at 2:19 PM

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM

In your mind, your brilliance scale would be an F. In all other obvious gradings, you’d be an LI3.

Such logic as yours could only be based on the purest of faith. Too bad you don’t have anything other than your vast anecdotal evidence to prove your “obvious” conclusion.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Merit pay for merited performance!

dominigan on March 3, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Amen, Brother…Sister…er, Person! :)

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 2:28 PM

The wonderful thing about those graphs is you can extend them all the way back to 1956 and have poor Johnny not being able to read. That was a national furor… it drove millions, then billions, then tens of billions per year into education, year after year after year on an ever escalating cycle.

The net effect?

A huge bureaucracy.

A federal agency that dictates to the local schools while controlling just a few percent of money allocation.

And an entire group of people who have, as their sole job, ‘fixing’ the education problem which never, ever will get ‘fixed’ as they would be out of a job if it did.

If there were positive net results from all that money spent then we would have this problem… of course kids would be too educated to vote for a wealth transfer State, also… which goes against the entrenched bureaucracy and government control from on high.

We could do this really inventive thing known as ‘pay for performance’, so that teachers get paid according to how well their students perform on standardized tests including tests from 1956, so there can be a demonstration that there is, indeed, improved performance. That requires getting rid of unions, putting in a ‘pay for performance’ work system, and actually expecting results so that failing schools and school systems get less public money as they fail, not more. Starting over at the lowest level for schools is not the worse thing, and if the funds can be paid out to anyone who teaches children, from home-schoolers to religious institutions to for-profit schools, then a level testing standard and known public pay-out system will drive money to those who perform well at their job of teaching.

We would do that if we cared about education and our children, so that we do not wish a failing system upon them and warehouse them during the workday with schools little better, and in many ways far worse, than in 1956. That requires hard, fast, established and known public accountability and not shielding poor performing teachers or the bureaucracy over them from cuts. The stats tell the story: to change the stats we must change how we think about education and reward for those able to actually teach.

ajacksonian on March 3, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I cannot even respond to all the posts I’d like to here, so I will try & sum this up.
All who know me here at HA know what I am.
Rancher’s wife (AKA hubby’s chore hog)+ HS science teacher in small rural ND town.
I’ve said before my salary take home pay after all taxes etc: $1960/month.
I went to college 1st for my geology degree, & just a semester before finished it all (had all my major classes) transferred to another college where I got a composite science degree in secondary science education.
I had to put in another 2 years for the extra science classes to beable to teach biological sciences + all the ‘teaching’ classes + student teaching semester.
So I have put 7 total years (includes all summers full time) in college.
I chose not to work in my major field, geology, bcs of my lifestyle as a rancher’s wife.
I think I actually get paid very well. ND is a right to work state. I am a union member, but the union here doesn’t have loads of power.
Basically all the union here is good for is making sure that the school district follows the law regarding my employment. They also provide a legion of lawyers in case some parent or kid gets sue happy.
There are lots of parents & students out there willing to sue you. It happened to a relative of mine who was a coach.
So this is why I am a member of our union.
However, I pay 50% of my retirement, the district pays the other 1/2, etc.
Every district in ND is free to offer its own contractual terms. The LOCAL union as well as individuals are all free to negotiate with the district over their contracts.
I think this works very well for all involved.
If a district wants to offer more $$ for a hard to fill position, then they can do that, and have.
Public education is extremely wasteful bcs the citizens are not on the admin nor the school boards collective a$$e$ demanding acocuntability.
Plus, schools:admin + teachers are wasting lots of time that could be used teaching children, on complying with all sorts of federal mandates.
I do not think school should be a taxpayer provided daycare service.
But that’s what it’s become.
Every single community ought to be given the local control over how they want their youth educated.
Some communities will do this better than others.
The federal govt has no power given to it in the Const to provide public education for citizens.
That power is for each state to decide upon.
And those of us who teach are not all incompetent in our fields.
That’s a bunch of horse$hit & insulting to those of us who teach for other reasons.
I will say that education degrees in general are mostly worthless for acquiring any true subject knowledge.
I am very happy to have gotten my scientific education elsewhere before I decided to go into teaching.
Teachers with education degrees who are teaching science to 6th-8th graders don’t know anything.
I am apalled at the lack of scientific & mathematical training these ‘education’ degree holders have.
They should NOT be allowed to teach any science or math.
At least NCLB was good for that.
Testing is another waste of $$. Test companies are making loads of cash off of this federal testing. And these tests are an extremely poor way to measure true knowledge.
Online classes: they are somewhat useful. But at some point, you have to get your hands dirty & DO.
Reading a book & taking a test doesn’t prove you learned much until you can DO & SHOW something.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Monkeytoe on March 3, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I don’t know where you live, but in my state what teachers get is nothing close to what they are getting in your state.

JimP on March 3, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Oh to erase the words ‘communist’ and ‘nazi’ from American vocabulary…

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Why would you want to do that?
Bcs communists certainly exist & have a doctrine they are willing to force on the rest of us in their quest for a Marxist utopia.
Nazis also exist & are actively pursuing their goals, as well.
These things aren’t fairy tales as your wishful thinknig qould suggest.
These people exist & are destructuve to freedom.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM

I have to ask all of you this:

How many school principals would SHAVE THEIR HEADS because one of the kids in 4th grade was diagnosed with cancer.

Another question:

How many TEACHERS

ProudPalinFan on March 3, 2011 at 3:00 PM

In your mind, your brilliance scale would be an F. In all other obvious gradings, you’d be an LI3.

Such logic as yours could only be based on the purest of faith. Too bad you don’t have anything other than your vast anecdotal evidence to prove your “obvious” conclusion.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM

LOL. No, really you’re absolutely right. Teachers go home at 7:00pm every night. But teachers drive these really smart cars that drive themselves home at 3:30 then come get the teachers at 7:00pm. That’s why the parking lot is empty at 4:00pm. In fact the parking lot is empty but the teachers are inside working hard FOR THE CHILDREN.

Or….maybe teachers are at home on the couch sipping a chardonnay at 3:45pm.

I wonder which is the more plausible scenario.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Sorry got cut…

How many TEACHERS that DON’T TEACH THAT KID and didn’t have him in his classroom would SHAVE HIS HEAD? Yes, that happened two days ago.

Evan Lang, who is a Webelos Cub Scout and goes to school with my son-also a Cub Scout-has been diagnosed with cancer, and his family has to travel often from Erie to Pittsburgh for his treatment.

The foundation helping them received from our school more than $3K dollars in donations, and we all pitched in from K to 4th grade and we gave the Lang family what the elementary school principal, Dr. Benjamin Horn, The Biggest Gas Card that totaled about $2,600 dollars.

Now THAT’S showing care for kids. What teacher who doesn’t have Evan in his class would have his head shaved? Evan shaved Dr. Horn’s head himself (with proper supervision, too). Several kids won a chance to have at it, and shave their heads.

I can’t wait to put the video up. This gives hope to all this mess in WI, OH and across the country.

http://fairviewschools.org

Please spread the word to any Boy Scout or Cub Scout you know; we’re Pack 173.

ProudPalinFan on March 3, 2011 at 3:07 PM

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I think the plausible scenario is that you should get some facts to back up your assertion that teachers don’t work other than arguendo and your limited perspective on anecdotal evidence.

There are surely some rotten eggs in the teaching profession. But by your broad brush, it’s all of them. And that isn’t a plausible “scenario” of an argument.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I think the plausible scenario is that you should get some facts to back up your assertion that teachers don’t work other than arguendo and your limited perspective on anecdotal evidence.

There are surely some rotten eggs in the teaching profession. But by your broad brush, it’s all of them. And that isn’t a plausible “scenario” of an argument.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Last time I reply to this topic.

Someone said teachers routinely STAY AT SCHOOL UNTIL 7PM.

I said, no they don’t. Here is why…parking lots of schools are empty by 4. So unless the teachers somehow leave school then come back or their cars magically disappear from the parking lot while they’re still inside, this assertion of 7pm is ridiculous.

Then you said something about Wall St and LI3. I must confess I have no idea what LI3 means. Is that one of those things you learn in 4 years of B.Ed studies?

If you can’t do. Teach. More true than ever.

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM

No need to reply. I noted your brilliance or lack thereof a while back. I am not a teacher. My daughter is. You impugned her along with every teacher by making generalizations on what they do or don’t do to teach based upon your sightings of vehicles in a parking lot.

If you don’t know what an F and an LI3 are, look them up. They’re the gradations of the brilliance of diamonds. And, no, I’m not a gemologist either. If you can’t learn, no need to do or teach.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Cut ‘national’ education down to one thing: a tough academic test for 12th graders to take for graduation. Tell public, private, parochial, and homeschools they teach whatever and however they want to get students to pass it.

Get rid of everything else. Uunlike some professions, teachers never even needed unions in the first place. Take all the $$$ that’s being spent per-student and tell the parents “pick a school to spend it on”.

Dark-Star on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Sounds pretty good.
There is the tricky issue of what you do to limit fraud, but I’d be with you.

Count to 10 on March 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM

First: The teachers participating in the nonsense in Wisconsin are greedy or stupid, maybe a bit of both. They have it better than most teachers in other states. This protest is purely political, that’s it. They are biting the hand that feeds them.


Second:
As conservatives, especially highly opinionated conservatives, as we posters are here and on other blogs, WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL not to paint EVERY teacher with the “Wisconsin (Ohio, New Jersey) Protesting Teacher” brush! The regular rank and file teacher isn’t like that, and not all states education payment systems are set up like Wisconsin’s (New Jersey, etc.)

Not all states are that crazy beholden to Teacher Unions. The “average” salary of $53,230 is
high, for at least the state that I live in. I am a child of 2 (4 if you count stepmom and stepdad) teachers and currently one of my sisters decided to go into teaching and is in her first year. In the state that they teach in, the majority of schools’ funding comes from local district’s taxpayers’ personal property tax. So if the school you teach in is in a rural or poorer area, the tax revenue is going to be pretty low, and thus so are your Teachers’ salaries. A lot of beginning teachers make salaries in the high 20’s or low 30’s, which is what a lot of college graduates pull in as a beginning salary, and have to pay a good chunk of that towards health care and retirement plans (it’s not all paid for like in Wisconsin). Then, add to that, the student loans that they have to pay back.

I agree with

either orr on March 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

, and have seen similar work hours and preparation from my parents as he does his wife. GOOD teachers put their heart and soul into teaching.

Oh and for the prep work, again BULL SHIT. Teachers prep for their classes the first and second years. After that it’s on auto pilot. 2+2=4 every year. You don’t need to prep to teach that.
angryed on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM


While yes, after the 2nd year of teaching lesson plans become a little easier, GOOD teachers continue to try and perfect how they teach, so they are constantly changing and improving those lesson plans. You have generalized this way too much. Plus, national/state/district requirements change or even the district implementing new text books requires continuing changes to those lesson plans. There is a lot of grading to be done, especially if you are an elementary teacher. Jr High and High School teachers may teach 3-4 different subjects, multiple times a day (not saying what they do is easier). Most Elementary teachers teach ALL subjects (minus art, music, PE etc of course)! So you have different things that have to be prepared for everyday, and the GOOD teachers have a lot of things that they do to cover their lessons, to make it fun and rememberable. These things take TIME to prepare everyday so yes; a GOOD 5th grade teacher is going to be at school a lot longer than the kids are there and put in extra hours at home each night and on the weekends. My parents taught both Elementary and High school during their careers and I can tell you from experience, we NEVER went home before 5-5:30 every day, and there were LOTS of papers to be graded in the evenings and on the weekends along with lesson plan development.
Teachers may get “summers off” but GOOD teachers are constantly working on improving their classroom and use a lot of the money they earn to go above and beyond. Some states require continuing education to keep their teaching certificates. Some districts require teachers to start coming into school for meetings and preparation close to a month before the students ever get there.


There is so much more that goes into being a GOOD teacher that I can’t cover it all here.

That being said, my family and I, feel that this nonsense in Wisconsin and in other states is ridiculous. The unions in those states are WAY out of control and need to be reined in. Overall, the local districts need to have more control over salary, hiring and firing, and benefits. LOCAL is the key here. I think tenure is a bad idea and needs to be done away with. Most teachers I know (and I know a lot) would prefer a merit system. Ineffectual, lazy teachers need to be purged from the system and stop being a drain on resources.


In addition: 1) While there are BAD teachers out there, there is no denying it – I have personally had more than a few, PARENTS need to be MORE ACTIVE in their child’s education! 2.) HOMEWORK IS GOOD! Students need more of it. It would prepare them better for college. Parents need to make sure their kids do it and quit complaining and covering for their child. When that student reaches college, complaining about the work load will get you laughed at.


The big joke out there is “If you can’t do, teach.” I have found that only really applies to college level teachers. Well, at least with the liberal arts one’s I was forced to endure to be “well rounded.” The GOOD teachers I had throughout my education from Kindergarten through college were “Do-ers who loved to teach.”

HouseHold6 on March 3, 2011 at 4:35 PM

angryed on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

So by driving by two schools every day, you can extrapolate everything that a teacher needs for his or her classroom and how long every teacher stays at school and how much prep work and grading papers, or in my daughter’s instance, marking scores, recording parts on a DVD, preparing for and executing four concerts a year, raising money for music and all the extracurricular activities that teachers are more or less required to attend, nowadays?

Wow. I’m truly impressed by your proficiency at calculating workflow and income. Say, if I gave you a picture of the outside of Wall Street, with the traffic patterns there and when lights are on and off, would you please tell me then what stocks I should trade in to be successful at stockbrokering?

No offense, but instead of BS, I call putz.

Tennman on March 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Tennman, couldn’t have said it better myself! =)
Godbless your daughter, my Aunt is a High School music/band teacher. Those extracurriculars required to be a GOOD music instructor are very demanding.

HouseHold6 on March 3, 2011 at 4:41 PM

“those who can do – those who can’t teach”

Dr Evil on March 3, 2011 at 11:51 AM

…and we end up supporting those who can’t (won’t) learn.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Vladimir Lenin

Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.
Vladimir Lenin

Bolshevik =(Russian: “One of the Majority”) , plural Bolsheviks, or Bolsheviki, member of a wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, which, led by Lenin, seized control of the government in Russia (October 1917) and became the dominant political power. The group originated at the party’s second congress (1903) when Lenin’s followers, insisting that party membership be restricted to professional revolutionaries, won a temporary majority on the party’s central committee and on the editorial board of its newspaper Iskra.

Emphasis mine.
‘Nuff said. Don’t let The State educate your kids until you know exactly how and what they are teaching them. With Bill Ayers helping decide school curriculum, well we’re just marching down the old path that Russia beat a hundred years ago. Stop it.

http://weaselzippers.us/2011/01/10/az-shooters-high-school-used-curriculum-founded-by-commie-bill-ayers/

NTWR on March 3, 2011 at 5:33 PM

I will admit that during the 1st couple of years I did work a lot outside of school hours.
Now the only time I put outside of school hours toward planning, etc. is 2 days before school starts.
That’s all it takes for me to prepare.
Bcs the longer you teach, the easier it is to prepare.
And i do things differently every year.
But it gets a lot easier to go with the flow of your classes & their individual abilities & to be able to plan on the fly.

…and we end up supporting those who can’t (won’t) learn.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 4:44 PM

+10
I really am tired of know it all a-holes lumping me into this category of those who can’t, teach.
It’s really $hitty of those people to judge us all like that.
And how many out there can actually teach something to someone?
How many can really do that effectively?
And to KIDS?
I’m no hero & I don’t really find this job that hard. I feel it comes natural to me & I think I am supposed to be doing this with my life.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I cannot go out & work in the field of my major.
For some teachers that may be true. But then those people are terrible teachers, too.
Bcs they do not even know their subject matter enough to teach it to anyone.
And let’s not get started on trying to teach people who refuse to learn.
I can’t make my saddle horse drink water if it isn’t thirsty.
I sure as hell can’t teach a kid something they don’t want to learn.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM

HouseHold6 on March 3, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Everybody’s a critic, aren’t they?
Walk a mile in my shoes, critics, before you open your mouth about how ‘easy’ teaching a kid something really is.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Oh and for the prep work, again BULL SHIT. Teachers prep for their classes the first and second years. After that it’s on auto pilot. 2+2=4 every year. You don’t need to prep to teach that.
angryed on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

I missed this comment.
That’s pretty crappy of you there, Ed.
WTF is wrong with you?
Do you teach for a living?
Have you ever taught a room full of hormonal teenagers?
Do you even know what is involved in some subjects?
I need prep periods to prepare for my labs.
I actually do different things every year in every class.
Some projects & activities I do again, but I like to change it up & I plan for the students that I have that year.
Every group of kids works & learns differently from the group you had the year before.
Now as I said above, I personally don’t take a lot of time anymore to plan my lessons bcs I know the standards I must teach to.
I teach every science at our small rural HS.
So that’s a lot of work.
For a chemistry class of 20 kids, that’s a lot of solutions to mix up every week etc.
It’s time consuming.
And I also spend a LOT of time reading scientific papers regarding ALL sciences bcs when the kids ask me a question, I want to have some current information in my brain on the subject.
I want to teach relevant & current science.
If you’re a teacher on auto-pilot, you’re a lazy crappy teacher-end of story.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

“Too little” what? Sense? Yeah…

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on March 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM

it’s time that taxpayers demanded more control of the system — or real choice for all parents to take their money and opt out of it.

Hear, hear!

petefrt on March 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Sounds pretty good.
There is the tricky issue of what you do to limit fraud, but I’d be with you.

Count to 10 on March 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM

How true. Why is it taxpayers are so concerned about how money is spent in public schools (as we should be), but seem to totally blow off how a major increase in vouchers would foster all sorts of fly-by-night private school outfits, scams, misuse of funds and so on (just look at the Medicaid frauds out there)? You’d need to pay more for a whole new bureaucracy just to oversee how vouchers are being used. Would the private schools like that or resist? What about under-performing private schools-what could the public do about that? Want to fund Muslim schools? What if the Westboro “church” sets up a school…want your tax dollars going there? Want to pay for Libtards to send their kids to Karl Marx Elementary? Think public schools are run by Commies now, wait until an outfit like the Annenberg Challenge sets up a bunch of their own schools.

I worked in a private school. They charge for everything…books, meals (full price, no reduced lunches), transportation, lab fees, sports fees and just plain ol’ fees.

Nothing against private schools…many of them are quite good (and public school administrators should study those, but my guess is that private schools can be more selective and bureaucracy would get in the way, and they’ll never please both the far Right and the far Left).

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

If you’re a teacher on auto-pilot, you’re a lazy crappy teacher-end of story.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Yeah, it’s rough keeping up with all of the advances in science. However, I’m of the belief that if the kids don’t learn the old stuff they won’t understand the new stuff.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

You raise valid concerns. Yet I don’t see rampant fraud nowadays in Catholic and other private schools. Why would vouchers change this, and wouldn’t the free market weed out the non-performers, less efficient and overchargers in education as it does in other sectors.

Back in the 90′s, I did a two-year stint as an associate superintendent in a big city school system (in business/management field), so I know first-hand a few things about big city school systems. IMV, the good teachers are worth their weight in gold. But the mediocre and poor teachers are wildly overpaid. Trouble is, there were very few good teachers. I suspect the situation is not so bad in small, I mean small town and rural school systems.

IMO, public ed is so broke that there’s only one thing that can fix it: free market competition.

petefrt on March 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Everybody’s a critic, aren’t they?
Walk a mile in my shoes, critics, before you open your mouth about how ‘easy’ teaching a kid something really is.

Badger40 on March 3, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Couldn’t agree with you more! I don’t post here very often, but I really felt the need to on this matter. Too many people need to stop lumping the GOOD teachers with the BAD ones, commenters, bloggers and radio hosts alike. Knowing what I do, it was really pissing me off.

HouseHold6 on March 3, 2011 at 8:39 PM

The Wisconsin teachers and their colleagues have at least given us a new absurdist meme: the CIVILITY HITLER .

By their own claim, liberal progressives are the side of Civility, so their unquestioning use of Adolf the Nazi’s image to mock and villify their governor, must be considered part of civil discourse by these marching idealists.

It’s only when someone aims the same claim in their direction that it becomes hatespeech.

To be crushed.

Then they can get their Inquisition on.

Pious to punish those who disagree.

For the grisly Greater Good.

The one they don’t teach about until college.

The In Place Agenda that just assumes it is The Best Way.

Otherwise the kids would get wise to their wiseacre teachers, and start thinking critically about their educators’ own propositions.

profitsbeard on March 3, 2011 at 10:11 PM

How true. Why is it taxpayers are so concerned about how money is spent in public schools (as we should be), but seem to totally blow off how a major increase in vouchers would foster all sorts of fly-by-night private school outfits, scams, misuse of funds and so on (just look at the Medicaid frauds out there)? You’d need to pay more for a whole new bureaucracy just to oversee how vouchers are being used. Would the private schools like that or resist? What about under-performing private schools-what could the public do about that? Want to fund Muslim schools? What if the Westboro “church” sets up a school…want your tax dollars going there? Want to pay for Libtards to send their kids to Karl Marx Elementary? Think public schools are run by Commies now, wait until an outfit like the Annenberg Challenge sets up a bunch of their own schools.

I worked in a private school. They charge for everything…books, meals (full price, no reduced lunches), transportation, lab fees, sports fees and just plain ol’ fees.

Nothing against private schools…many of them are quite good (and public school administrators should study those, but my guess is that private schools can be more selective and bureaucracy would get in the way, and they’ll never please both the far Right and the far Left).

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

This worries me, too. Look at BIA. Look at ANYTHING that is paid for by govt $$ & you will find massive fraud & waste.
This is really why the GOVT should not be in education.
This is a state responsibility.

Yeah, it’s rough keeping up with all of the advances in science. However, I’m of the belief that if the kids don’t learn the old stuff they won’t understand the new stuff.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 3, 2011 at 6:53 PM

+10
That’s why I don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to teach science.
Equipment share programs are really useful for that.
I don’t need a Smartboard to teach science, either.
People don’t seem to understand this in education.
Technology is wonderful, but I also do not really need it.
And more often than not, it’s nothing but a distraction, i.e. doesn’t work 1/2 the time etc.

IMO, public ed is so broke that there’s only one thing that can fix it: free market competition.

petefrt on March 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I live in SW ND, a very rural area. The town I teach in has about 1000 people max.
The school K-12 has about 215 kids.
At the HS we have less than 80 kids.
And waste is rampant. The administration is extremely incompetent, & we have old hangers on who should retire bcs they suck.
It isn’t any better out here in rural land.
Point is, when people are spending other people’s money, they just aren’t as frugal or careful.
It’s always going to be that way.

Badger40 on March 4, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Education as a “product?” What the? Who are you, Karl Marx? Since when did education become a “product.” Knowledge is not a product! Are you one of those people who wears their cell phone on their belt?

bifidis on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Knowledge is produced all the time. Ever hear of research moron?

runawayyyy on March 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM

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