Thursday, October 27, 2005

We're sooo underpaid...

Lars has highlights from the striking teacher's proposed contract. You won't see this info in the mainstream press. Go to his website to see it.

20 comments:

jwalker said...

Low: $29,792 $19.60 $18,136 (approx. 61% of sal) $47,928 $31.53
Avg: $48,512 $31.92 $24,103 (approx. 50% of sal) $72,615 $47.77
High: $57,737 $37.98 $27,044 (approx. 47% of sal) $84,781 $55.77



Just for discussion, look at the avg. salary. The information is really hard for me to understand, so please have patience. Is the End salary $72, 615??? What is the $24,103 referring to--the increase over 3 years or what they will make extra over 3 years? Because if you use that logic, then over 10 years, a 2% increase is 20% of one's income. I need to understand what these numbers are saying.

From the get go, if 72,000 is destination average salary, that is really high. This is not a normal school district. At the end of my career with all of my schooling, pdu credits and experience, I might make 50,000 in my district. I wonder how many professionals with my amount of schooling would agree to an ending salary of 50,000?

Please don't lump us all in....what do you guys want, us to be poor? Is that the expectation? What is a reasonable salary? With my schooling, $40,000 is a little low. And the state of Oregon requires the schooling, so don't say that was my choice.

I don't complain about my salary or benefits, honest. But you guys keep bringing it up, and I just can't lie down and take the hit without bringing up the other side of the argument. I work very hard and am proud of the work I do. I put in alot of extra hours, and I feel I am worth my salary.

Daniel said...

JWalker, the end number (total compensation) is the base salary + benefits & costs = total compensation.

My company sent a simlair fact sheet to us a couple years ago to demonstrate the total cost of our employment.

I certainly don't want you to be poor. I am also proud of what you do and how hard you work. I absolutely want to encourage teachers like you and Don Diesel to continue in your profession. It is a noble career.

What I am opposing is the Unions. I don't think that they properly award excellence and properly punish below average performance.

I also think that people choose their professions. I am thankful that you chose to be a teacher because we need Christians to be educating our youth. But everyone chooses their career. If you choose to do something that you love/is meaninful/important etc then you might not be making the bucko bucks. But you know that going in.

While your yearly salary might not be equal to that of another profession with the same amount of schooling, you do need to consider the amount of time spent working (teachers get a lot of time off) and the benefits package. (PERS is absolutely ruining the school budgets)

I hope that I have helped clarify my position.

Diesel said...

Points of disagreement:

1) Time off? Yes, we get time away from students. Does that mean we aren't "working"? No. We're also grading, calling parents when THEY get home, coaching, taking (state required) classes, getting (federally mandated) "highly qualified", counseling students, attending special ed meetings, parent/teacher conferences, extra-duty activites (chain gang at football, dance chaperone, running scoreboards, yada yada yada), ETC, ETC, ETC....get my point? We aren't sleeping in with that "extra time off", ya know? "Duty Free lunches" are not "non-working" times. That means you aren't supervising kids. There is a huge difference. You wanna know how many times mustard has dripped from my sandwich onto a paper I was grading at the same time?

2)The Union isn't great for Oregon's poor budget. No argument there. But my gramma told me, "don't bite the hand that feeds you". Yes, my check comes from the State (technically), but the Union argues for a lot of good things for us (like potty breaks).

3) I bring home $1600 a month after taxes, and I have no insurance (Doesn't include coaching salary, but it's not basketball season yet!). I can't afford it. ZERO INSURANCE! (Well, I have car insurance)Get it? Luckily, I don't get sick. From that $1600, I also have to pay for college tuition for classes that I don't want to take, but the state says I have to. I already have a master's degree (and the loans that come with it!).

4) Did I know it was going to be like this when I decided to go into teaching? Pretty much, yeah. But for these reasons, I probably won't stay in teaching. It's not worth it. I made more money at the sawmill when I was 18, and the work wasn't nearly as challenging.

So the question is, what is your child's education worth? Who do you want teaching your kid? If you (or the gov't) continually demands more of teachers (and they have been, you can't deny that...) then they will have to be compensated to a level that makes it an attractive occupation. Supply and demand, remember? Scarcity makes the cost go up, remember? That's Econ 101...

5) Last point: PERS wasn't a problem when people weren't retiring in droves. Neither was Social Security. But when baby boomers started retiring, the PERS board started realizing there was a problem. Then they started messing with the promises (contracts) they had previously agreed to (however mistakenly). Even more people close to retirement decided to bail early. Wow, this exacerbated the problem even more. Surprise!

If someone should be "blamed", then the (bulk) of the blame should be on the "Greatest Generation Ever" for having too many kids, or on the PERS board for writing checks their butts couldn't cash when the markets crashed.

You want teachers, and you want them cheap? Make the profession of teaching just "teaching". Cut out all the crap that we have to do. For me, if the money (or benny's) gets cut even more, I have no problem leaving the profession. I'm only 25...I can find better, more profitable work. But you can't have it both ways.

Soliliquy Ends Here...

jwalker said...

I think this debate is really healthy and I appreciate all the points that have been made. Frustratingly enough, there is truth in everything that is being said.

You see, Daniel, you have a really valid point. We knew what we were getting into. And I really deep-down don't care that I don't make as much as people who have = amounts of schooling. I love to teach.

But Don, you said it right when you asked how much our kids' educations are worth. I don't know where you work or if you are full-time, but you can't really live on that forever. And you should be getting benefits. This is reasonable.

I also think asking for 15% increase is suicide in this climate.

And I am horrified at the political causes my union gives to, which is why I have never given to the NEA.

But I sure would like to know how much, in dollar figures, people think teachers should make.

And, I hope people don't have as hard a time of reading Lars website as I did. People might get the idea that teachers are bringing home way more money than we do. The benefits we have, like everyone else's benefits, are skyrocketing due to the craziness in the insurance industry. That is why we are agreeing to caps and lesser policies.

I have yet to hear any of the critics address the fact that teachers are professionals and if you don't pay them somewhat competitively, they won't teach. How will this be addressed in reality???

I challenge the critics....what is a reasonable salary and benefit package? What should be the criteria for merit pay, specifically? What is your kids' education worth?

gus miller said...

What is a public education worth? Fifteen to 20% of schoolage children attend private schools or are homeschooled. That is a sizeable chunk of Oregon taxpayers/parents who think so little of public schools that they are willing to pay twice to avoid sending their kids to public schools.

There are also a growing number of families who are finding charter public schools preferable to the public schools with unionized teachers.

Before I can say how much a kid's education in Portland District 1J is worth to me (no kids currently in school) I need to find out what difference money plays in the wide variation of results between high performance clusters like Lincoln and low performance clusters like Roosevelt.

If all clusters were performing at the Lincoln level, I would be more supportive of current costs.

jwalker said...

So hiring worse teachers in these schools will solve the problem? No, that's not reasonable. Hold our feet to fire, whatever; but punishing the teachers is just going to make them leave, and then you still have to have teachers.

Not everyone can send the kids to private school.

In fairness, though, My son will never ever ever go to public school. Not because of the teaching, but because of what he would be exposed to around the other kids whose parents are not involved their lives.

And by the way, do you think the lack of parental interest in kids' education has any part in some of these schools' failures? Are we going to speak of reality or just keep assuming that punishing the teachers is the only solution needed? I know you aren't gunning towards the teachers, but that is kind of what you are saying.

Diesel said...

I was just listening to some "Best of Lars" on Sunday, and heard his bright idea to just bring subs into the Sandy school district,"to continue the learning process". Sorry Mr. Larson, but that really shows a lack of reality on your part. Subs don't really teach. They're pretty much babysitters. It's nearly impossible for a sub to step into a classroom and just pick up where a regular teacher leaves off. Also, you are going to ask subs to lesson plan, call home to parents, attend IEP meetings, coach sports, chaperone school dances, etc etc etc. (oops, sorry, subs can't legally attend IEP meetings). Good luck with that. What Lars is advocating for are hundreds of babysitters that make $18-20 an hour, about $150 a day. A fine use of the taxpayer's funds, right?

jwalker said...

Don, sadly, most people deep down probably believe they can go into any classroom on any given day and do our job just fine. That is what is stemming this debate in my opinion.

gus miller said...

jwalker said:

"In fairness, though, My son will never ever ever go to public school. Not because of the teaching, but because of what he would be exposed to around the other kids whose parents are not involved their lives.

And by the way, do you think the lack of parental interest in kids' education has any part in some of these schools' failures? Are we going to speak of reality or just keep assuming that punishing the teachers is the only solution needed? I know you aren't gunning towards the teachers, but that is kind of what you are saying."

If you, a public school teacher, are unwilling to send your son to public school then why should the citizens spend $3 billion a year on them.

Shouldn't Oregon have schools that educate children whose parents can't or won't educate them.

The affluent and caring parents will educate their kids whether there are public schools or not.

Diesel said...

Gus, are you seriously advocating for shutting down public education? Just curious, but can you walk me through what happens after that, step by step? Can you show me how shutting down (by not funding it) public education will imrove society?

jwalker said...

No, I'm pretty confident Gus that the parents of many of these children are much to busy to take an interest in their kids' education. I cannot tell you how many times I have personally contacted these parents in a classroom situation and a music teacher situation, and they will not discuss what needs to be done to help their children.

Many of the kids come to school stinking, no help with homework, no space set aside to let them do their homework, not being made to go to bed, having to eat at school because the food at home is not worth eating, etc, etc, etc. And many of these kids' parents have cigarette habits and party habits.

No, I'm pretty confident in what I say. I have been doing this for 12 years.

Also, as far as my son, it is because of my Christian beliefs I wouldn't let him go to public schools. JI am trying to teach him Biblical morality and to follow Jesus. I see the sexualization of kids happening earlier and earlier (thank you music television and cable tv). The schools refuse to acknowledge the existance of creation science. The schools hands are tied to discipline the kids that cause trouble. There is a real mess out there, but I don't attribute it to poor teaching.

I just want my kid to be in a different environment.

gus miller said...

jwalker said:

"In fairness, though, My son will never ever ever go to public school. Not because of the teaching, but because of what he would be exposed to around the other kids whose parents are not involved their lives."

So I ask: "If you, a public school teacher, are unwilling to send your son to public school then why should the citizens spend $3 billion a year on them?

Shouldn't Oregon have schools that educate children whose parents can't or won't educate them?

The affluent and caring parents will educate their kids whether there are public schools or not."

Next, jwalker says: "Also, as far as my son, it is because of my Christian beliefs I wouldn't let him go to public schools. JI am trying to teach him Biblical morality and to follow Jesus. I see the sexualization of kids happening earlier and earlier (thank you music television and cable tv). The schools refuse to acknowledge the existance of creation science. The schools hands are tied to discipline the kids that cause trouble. There is a real mess out there, but I don't attribute it to poor teaching.

I'm pretty confident Gus that the parents of many of these children are much to busy to take an interest in their kids' education. I cannot tell you how many times I have personally contacted these parents in a classroom situation and a music teacher situation, and they will not discuss what needs to be done to help their children.

Many of the kids come to school stinking, no help with homework, no space set aside to let them do their homework, not being made to go to bed, having to eat at school because the food at home is not worth eating, etc, etc, etc. And many of these kids' parents have cigarette habits and party habits.

No, I'm pretty confident in what I say. I have been doing this for 12 years.


I just want my kid to be in a different environment."

jwalker is still implying that substantial numbers of Oregon students are uneducable.

If that is the case in the current public K-12 system the taxpayers should be looking for suppliers of education services willing and able to educate them.

That is not advocating for shutting down public education. I am merely pointing out that a public school teacher is implying that the public schools are not currently serving large numbers of children in Oregon.

jwalker said...

No, I live in the real world. If we get the kids 6 hours a day and the parents the rest of their waking hours are not valuing or reinforcing what we are teaching, there often is little we can do.

I do not believe that government entities can replace adequate parenting.

And you can twist what I am saying all you like. I stand by what I say. If the schools were allowed to discipline children adequately, and if they taught creation science as a viable theory, and if parents would quit letting their kids act like little whores and pimps in the 4th grade, I would send my son. These things are not the fault of the teachers.

And before you jump on me about discipline, stop. Adequate discipline gets undermined by superintendants, wimp school boards, chicken principals and parents that just don't want to bother following through on doing what is right.

I can't believe that you really think that hiring cheaper teachers is the answer to these problems.

gus miller said...

jwalker to gus miller: "I can't believe that you really think that hiring cheaper teachers is the answer to these problems."

jwalker, I never said such a thing. But I have a hunch the teachers in the private school your son attends make less in salary and benefits than public school teachers. I also have a hunch that you would be teaching in a private school more to your philosophical liking if their wage and benefit package was more in line with the unionized public schools.

Diesel said...

Gus, what a silly question you put to jwalker. As a public school teacher, I would totally jump ship to teach in a private school if the money and benny's were more equal to what the public schools pay. But therein lies the issue...Private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools. If you have a local private school, please call them and inquire about their ESL program? Or ask how many of their students are on IEPs, or 504s? How big is the migrant student population? How many of their students are on free or reduced lunches? Public schools take anyone and everyone, and are required to teach all of them. But not teach them the same. Just required to make sure they can all pass the same tests. Private schools can "discriminate" (for lack of a better term) in who they let into their schools.

Again, just in case you missed it, I'll say again... I'm a public school teacher that would whole-heartedly jump into the private schools to teach if the money were more equal.

jwalker said...

Maybe I would, but I doubt it. I am committed to try and give the kids that cannot go to private school the help they need to succeed. And if you didn't say that about hiring cheaper teachers, my mistake. But that is where this whole conversation started: teachers should just get to work and shutup because they are already paid way too much for what they do. That has been the running theme that you entered into
(see the conversations from previous posts on the Trail School Distric being on strike.)

I do agree with you the schools are falling apart in many ways. See Don's last post to get a hint why. We have so many "special" considerations that takes so much of our time and resources, it is draining the lifeblood. Coupled with wimpy disciplinary actions and parents that are too busy or too inoxicated to help their kids, it is a mess in my opinion.

There have always been good and bad teachers. Our schools in the past have been pretty good, why do you think there is such a change now?

gus miller said...

Guys:

I logged in to say something about "What is a public education worth?"

Out of respect for this being Daniel's blog I prefer not to stray any further from his original post.

Thanks for the discourse.

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