What I Think is Wrong with America

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by geologyrox, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 23 2006, 08:25 PM) [snapback]308651[/snapback]</div>
    John Stossel is a journalist and commentator, and provides sources for his views ... usually from government agencies or libertarian leaning organizations like the Cato Institute. While his bias is certainly evident, I wouldn't reject an argument of his out of hand without looking at the original cite.
     
  2. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fshagan @ Aug 23 2006, 10:48 PM) [snapback]308663[/snapback]</div>
    Oh, I think I can, since the PhD I offered who did the research in a dozen states and was peer-reviewed was dismissed out of hand as biased. I've also offered evidence from government agencies, Institutes with plenty of citations. Citations are like "super-sources". And these people spend more than a week or two on a shallow, glossy TV special.

    See the quote I added to my sig below.
     
  3. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 24 2006, 12:25 AM) [snapback]308651[/snapback]</div>
    Hehe! I can't think of a single response to the mental image :blink: .

    Although, I would guess the Cato Institute's analysis is that to which you're not anxious to respond. Inso?
     
  4. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 23 2006, 10:39 PM) [snapback]308709[/snapback]</div>
    Fair enough. I guess the idea of an "appeal to authority" does include arguing about which authority to appeal to!
     
  5. rufaro

    rufaro WeePoo, Gen II

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fshagan @ Aug 13 2006, 11:07 AM) [snapback]302625[/snapback]</div>
    This argument leaves me...outraged...furious...certainly NOT speechless, however.

    First, let us address "averages." Averages, as we all should know from looking at our MFDs over any longer period of time, mean that it isn't what the AVERAGE teacher gets paid--it is a fantasy number that takes ALL of the salaries into consideration. A few outliers in the data will skew it. AND it does not even BEGIN to take into account people who are classified as "teachers" but are really administrators.

    Teachers, in California now anyway, work way more hours than they are paid for. They very often have to buy classroom supplies out of their own pockets or do without. The teachers who leave so soon after hiring on? Mostly the most gifted ones who get frustrated by the limitations. THAT is one of those things that affects the averages, the "statistics." New hires get paid less.

    I have an 18 year old son who has just started at a Junior College. I can think of ONE teacher he had in his whole previous school career who I believe was a truly gifted and great teacher (that was in 3rd grade). One friend in town is a teacher at the local grade school, and she, too, is a great teacher. The latter, however, has family money so isn't in it for the "big" bucks.

    My grandmother taught in the NY school system from the '20s until she retired as a Vice Principal if an elementary school in the Bronx in the late '60s. My mother taught in NY and Montreal, High School and College level sciences, from the early '60s until sometime in the '70s.

    I have an uncle with a PhD who, most recently, was teaching high school math.

    The BEST teachers, I have found, are NOT in it for the money...there just isn't enough. Can somebody explain to me why professional athletes get paid multi-millions of dollars, but we can't see how important it is to pay those who teach our children enough to keep the GOOD ones...NOT the ones who can't spell? The ones who get discouraged after a few years of lack of EMOTIONAL support, if not support of any other kind, and leave to go earn enough to keep THEIR families.

    It's more of the same old same old "lowest common denominator" going on. As long as the school districts have the kids' butts in the chairs, THEY get paid. What's in it for them to actually try to keep the GOOD teachers?

    I spent my kid's whole grade/jr/high school time buying books for the school libraries. This is RIGHT?

    I can spell and write and speak (mostly) grammatically ONLY because of my mother and grandmother--NOT because of the teachers with whom I was "blessed." I skated through college BECAUSE I could spell my own damn name right every time, and that seemed to impress the profs, who seemed surprised by that.

    Awww fuggedaboudit.

    Just look at Godiva's sig.
     
  6. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rufaro @ Aug 31 2006, 06:10 AM) [snapback]312099[/snapback]</div>
    Fair enough. My original response was to counter the argument that teachers did not make any more than cashier's at Walmart, who earn between minimum wage and about $9 an hour. The chart at
    UCR's Site (http://www.copernicusproject.ucr.edu/ssi/BecomingATeacher/Teacher_Starting_Salaries.pdf) shows the lowest starting teacher salary at just over $37,000 in 2003 in Beaumont, CA, which works out to $17.79 per hour, based on a regular, 40 hour per week, 52 weeks per year job. That's double the amount of a cashier at Walmart.

    CNN's Money website has an article that purports to show that teachers, at the national average of $44,000, are actually earning much more than that. Benefits are usually higher than the private sector, adding another 26% of pay above that salary level, and most teacher contracts call for a minimum day consisting of only 6 1/2 hours. The article is at http://money.cnn.com/2003/07/18/pf/easy_teachers/index.htm]http://money.cnn.com/2003/07/18/pf/easy_teachers/index.htm ... but to be honest, I don't know any teachers who only work 6 1/2 hours per day. Most work from 8 - 10, just like I do.

    I think teachers are worth what we pay them, as there are plenty of them willing to take the jobs. They don't get raises by performance or establishing that they are excellent, they get raises by collective bargining. So they are, in fact, getting paid exactly what they should get paid.


    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rufaro @ Aug 31 2006, 06:10 AM) [snapback]312099[/snapback]</div>
    If you can convince the teacher's unions to allow hiring and raises based on performance, you could correct this. When every teacher with 80 hours of post graduate work and 5 years of classroom experience gets paid the same there is absolutely no way to encourage higher wages for them. The only way they increase their pay is not by performing better, but by taking more post-graduate classes. Their worth is not in how good they are: they have established that their worth is based on the formulas their unions negotiate.


    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rufaro @ Aug 31 2006, 06:10 AM) [snapback]312099[/snapback]</div>
    I actually have a higher opinion of the rank and file teachers. Unlike you, I had numerous talented and dedicated teachers who I knew cared more about me than they did about their annual raises. My children were also blessed with outstanding educators in predominately poor, hispanic towns that we lived in, where the schools were underfunded in comparison to the more affluent areas. These men and women contributed greatly to our lives, and we are grateful. I won't speak ill of them, or the others that follow in their footsteps.
     
  7. EricGo

    EricGo New Member

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    That's nice. How about doing something to increase their money compensation ? Or would that be overstepping the boundary of your respect ?
     
  8. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fshagan @ Aug 31 2006, 09:29 PM) [snapback]312528[/snapback]</div>
    Define "performance."

    If you tie an individual teacher's pay to the test scores of their personal class, as has been suggested, you'll see them leaving the low performing schools and heading toward the rich (white) neighborhoods. Because a teacher has no control over who is in their class or how many. 36 kids, one is a bully, three are special ed, 5 don't speak English, reading levels range from grade 1 to grade 8 with the majority below grade level and several have grouped together to make sure NO ONE learns anything. No support from parents.

    If you want the teachers to be responsible (as in performance based pay) then they need commensurate authority. They've NEVER had it. Teachers have NEVER had the power to make any decisions and still don't. It is dictated by the school district which is controlled by a bunch of community amateurs elected to school board following the laws created by a bunch of amateurs that got elected to government office. None of the people making the decisions have degrees in education.

    So, how do you propose to judge the performance of these teachers. Let's say you forget about linking it to test scores and use observation of teaching skills and methods in the classroom. What about that gifted, creative teacher that doesn't get along with the principal. The principal doesn't like the way they teach, so rates them poorly.

    You want performance-based pay? Create a fair, equitable way to rank performance. Please post it. I would be really interested.

    Get rid of the Unions and I'll quit tomorrow. The unions are the only ones keeping the district honest in it's treatment of their employees. If the district could do it, they would fire all of the teachers on the high ends of the pay scale (regardless of effectiveness, performance or talent) just so they could save money. They really don't care if they have to hire new teachers each year. They really don't care if they don't stay. If they can keep all of the teachers at the low end of the pay scale, they'll save money. That is the problem. The districts don't care about quality, just saving money.

    It's the teachers that care about the students. As has been pointed out, we certainly aren't in it for the money. I've currently completed a third teaching credential and will finish a second masters degree. I get no money for it whatsoever. In fact, it's costing me $1,000 per class and I have three to go. Why? Because it's MAKING ME A BETTER TEACHER. Other professions have ongoing training but teachers have to do it on their own time and pay for it out of their own pockets.

    Name me another profession that is this altruistic. (Besides nuns and the priesthood.)
     
  9. EricGo

    EricGo New Member

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    The topic was politics, but my son mentioned yesterday that he likes the thought of teaching, but will not pursue it because the pay is poor. He is 14, at the top of his freshman class in general, and in his AP calculus class in particular.

    Our system has more than enough mediocre people getting teacher's credentials that salaries do not have to rise, and our schools mirror our penny pinching complacency.

    A teaching credential should be *hard* to get, not a cushy alternative for a cashier.

    Godiva, are you familiar with Channel 1 ? It slipped into our local middle school during a change of principals, supported by the teachers who wanted an extra 15 minutes a day of free time that had been teaching time up to then. Once entrenched, the teacher who was the labor rep used the union to block parents who wanted to get rid of it. Happily, the new principal watched a couple of broadcasts, and unilaterally decided to dump it, teacher objections notwithstanding.
     
  10. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(EricGo @ Aug 31 2006, 07:55 PM) [snapback]312546[/snapback]</div>
    Why? Teachers are lining up to take all the available jobs, just as research scientists are. There is no shortage of them, so we are obviously paying them the right amount. Neither are paid very well compared to people with equivalent educations in business or engineering, but that's because there are less of them to fill the need (in engineering, anyway ... in the business world, the cut throat competition sees the most competitive rise to the top and the rest float around the middle).
     
  11. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 31 2006, 08:22 PM) [snapback]312559[/snapback]</div>
    Uh, guess what? That's the way the rest of the world works. There is no "fair, equitable way to rank performance" ... its always influenced by the boss. That's the way its supposed to be, because he's the one you're working for.

    Your disdain for the parents serving their community as school board members is duly noted. Its a little surprising, but duly noted.


    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 31 2006, 08:22 PM) [snapback]312559[/snapback]</div>
    If you need collective bargining to "protect" you, then you should be happy with what that collective bargining has netted you in terms of pay and benefits. I'll agree that teachers generally are an altruistic group of people, working in a job they feel is important, even though it is one of the lower paid professions.

    My wife was a social worker for a convalescent hospital company, and I've met hundreds of very dedicated, loving, altruistic health care workers who earn half of what the beginning teacher does. There are numerous other examples.

    I think I was the first one to say that teachers don't go into teaching for the money ... and that was in response to your complaint that you don't earn enough money. So while your comments have come full circle, I don't know which sentiment you really hold. Is teaching a noble profession you chose, even though it doesn't pay as much as you could earn elsewhere? Or is it a job that doesn't pay you more than "a Walmart cashier" (which is, as we have seen, patently false).

    Last time I checked, no one was forced to be a teacher. And highly educated people should have the common sense to check and see what professions pay the amount they would be happy earning.
     
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