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Have you heard how horrible teachers are in the United States? Part 3 of 3

22 Oct

Explain why teachers allegedly don’t care about the children they teach when they get paid less and even spend their own money for materials in their classroom.

How does teachers’ pay compare to other Americans with the same level of education?

The Economic Policy Institute says, “A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.

“Teachers’ weekly wages have grown far more slowly than those for these comparable occupations; teacher wages have deteriorated about 14.8% since 1993 and by 12.0% since 1983 relative to comparable occupations.”

Conclusion: Teachers that work in community based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public schools have been criticized and attacked in the media for decades ever since President Ronald Reagan released a missleading and fraudulent study called “A Nation at Risk” in 1983. In fact, a few years later, The Sandia Report proved that Reagan’s study that was used to declare a war on America’s public schools and teachers was totally wrong.

The truth is that public school teachers work, on average, almost twice the number of hours a week than the average American does while being paid less than workers with comparable skills, and then those teachers spend their own money so America’s children have a better chance to earn an education through their hard work. Teachers teach. Children do the work that learns from that teaching. Parents are supposed to support both the teachers and the children. What has gone wrong?

My daughter is 25 and she is now earning more than I did the year I retired after teaching for thirty years, and I had an AS degree, a BA, and an MFA. All she has is a BA.

Start with Part 1 or return to Part 2

__________________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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9 responses to “Have you heard how horrible teachers are in the United States? Part 3 of 3

  1. drext727

    October 23, 2017 at 07:59

     
  2. myfellowteachers

    November 14, 2017 at 17:22

    Mr. Lofthouse, Sometimes people bring up teacher’s retirement plans, health benefits and summer break, etc. as part of their pay. How would your numbers change if these were factored in?

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      November 14, 2017 at 17:38

      Do you mean how the numbers would have changed on my monthly retirement check?

      If that is the question, then, I taught summer school for about 20 years of the 30 I was a teacher. The years I did not teach summer school, I earned money in the private sector. That 20 years of teaching summer school did not count toward my retirement and my health benefits didn’t follow me into retirement. Summer school is supposed to be equal to one full semester. If we used that comparison, then I lost about 20-percent from my retirement.

      I only know of one district in California that adds health benefits for its retired teachers and that is Los Angeles Unified. When I retired, if I wanted health care it would have cost me more than $1500 a month through what’s called COBRA up until I qualified for Medicare.

      That means when I retired, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left without medical since COBRA would have cost close to half of my monthly retirement check – couldn’t afford to pay that much. Summer school also paid less than the regular year. I recall that we were paid $25 an hour for the five hours we spent teaching two classes a day that ran a bit more than 2 hours each. We weren’t paid for the work we took home to correct because there wasn’t time to correct student work when we were managing and teaching. Two hours classes create twice as much work to correct each day so those two classes generated enough work to equal four classes during the school year.

      Teachers in the district where I worked were not paid for ten weeks of the year, the summer weeks unless we taught summer school that paid less per hour than the regular school year.

      In fact, we weren’t paid for the week we came back early to get ready. A week before school started, we were there in meetings and working in our rooms getting ready for the school year. We also worked at home getting material ready.

       
  3. myfellowteachers

    November 16, 2017 at 15:41

    What state did you teach in? Could it be that some states do offer teachers retirement packages with health benefits, and some don’t?

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      November 16, 2017 at 15:56

      I taught in California. Retirement benefits were beyond CalSTRS, that does not include health care, are negotiated in each district. In California, there are 560 Elementary districts, 87 High School districts, 330 Unified districts. That’s what I understand from my experience. I taught in a unified district called Rowland Unified. Rowland had about 19,000 students when I worked there. The high school where I taught had about 100 teachers and close to 3,000 students at the time. Most districts could not afford to cover health care for their retired teachers without high COBRA costs for the teachers. That’s the way it was in the district where I taught. I can’t speak for all the other districts.

       
    • Jeff Lee Byrem

      November 21, 2017 at 15:38

      I am a retired educator and sometimes I wonder if I was one of the few teachers who actually knew what I was going to be paid when I entered the profession. I knew it was going to be a low paying job given the hours I put in, but I did not go into teaching for the money; I went into teaching for the opportunity to be of service. I was forced to make sure my necessities weren’t too luxurious and that my luxuries weren’t too necessary. And I made a decision to get married, not for the extra money she earned, but at one level, it did make my life a bit more comfortable.

      The extra income also caused my necessities to become more luxurious and my luxuries to become more necessary. There came two times when lifestyle became more important to me than teaching kids, and when that happened, I didn’t cry “boo fucking hoo” that I couldn’t fly off to Paris every year or buy the forty-foot yawl I wish I owned because I knew what I was getting into from the very beginning; instead, I made the choice to look for other jobs, which happened to be in HR at a University and then with a regional retailer until I returned to Education–all of those positions paid more money than what I made as a teacher. Those were good decisions in terms of the bottom line financially, but nothing in my 25 years out of the classroom were as fulfilling as my experiences in the classroom.

      No complaints because the onus of the choices was mine: more money, less fulfillment; a series of jobs that paid fairly well, resulted in a nice pension, and in some cases involved way more hours and created much more stress than I had to endure as a classroom teacher (which is one secret that a career teacher never knows–yes, being the only adult in a room filled with youngsters does bring about stress, especially if you’re not very good at classroom management, but no teacher experiences the high-level executive’s daily fear of losing one’s job if you don’t perform, or if you piss off your asshole boss–and there are a lot of those, I can assure you).

      The average number of hours worked in America may be less than forty/week, but the typical professional position that pays the money many teachers wish they made involves 60 to 80 hours per week and involves being held accountable by your boss on a daily basis (I may have seen my supervisor twice a year when I was a teacher–and then there was the safety of tenure). If I had been a teacher for forty years, I would not have been financially as well off as I am now, but that would have been on me. The world owes teachers nothing but we want it, don’t we? All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth is about recognition and not about renumeration. If that’s why someone got into teaching, they’ll be disappointed. Guaranteed.

      If you’re not qualified for anything else, you’re stuck, and it’s on you–nobody forced any of us to major in Education. And although cocktail party chatter and politicians claim to love and respect teachers, they retract those claims when we turn our backs, which sucks, but one of the reasons we’re not respected is because we have the worst Knowing-Doing Gap of any profession. We tend to practice like we practiced when we started teaching, which means too many of us are ignoring what the research since we entered the profession says works–even when we know it. When our results suck, we blame the kids, the parents, poverty, and low salaries.

      My last position involved overseeing NCLB-related improvement planning and working with faculty and administrators in over 800 schools across a single state, so I can tell you that there are schools with low-paid teachers teaching the poorest of the poor that have kids who are doing well on state tests, while there are many more schools with exactly the same types of kids doing terribly on state tests. The difference? Successful kids are taught by teachers who are expected to apply what the research says works AND they actually believe their students can learn; unsuccessful kids are taught by teachers who do not apply the research and who tell anyone who will listen that you can’t expect poor kids with unsupportive parents to learn. Maybe the hardest thing for a teacher to acknowledge at the end of a career is that maybe, just maybe, he or she may have made the wrong choice of major when they were in college and failed to make the decision to change careers when they realized it. A person can blame everyone else for where he or she is; or they can say, “It’s on me!”

       
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        November 21, 2017 at 16:47

        I was thirty when I went into teaching. I am a former Marine and combat vet who went through college on the GI Bill and then went into middle management in the private sector right out of college. I hated that job. Long hours for a monthly salary that was worse than my starting pay as a teacher. After a few years in that horrible job that clearly didn’t care about the people that worked in that huge corporation, I left and went back to college to earn my teaching credential. I went through an urban residency that required me to intern full time in a mater teacher’s 5th grade classroom for an entire school year so, yes, I knew what I was getting into and as much as I did not like the politics and leadership mostly from the top down from no-nothing idiots that do not even deserve my spit, I enjoyed the actual work of teaching my students and excelled at it.

        Tenure is not total job protection. It never has been and never will be. In fact, the word “tenure” is the wrong word to use. K-12 public school teachers are or were protected by due process laws that exist in the U.S. Constitution for public workers. The Constitutional “Due process” protection meant we couldn’t be fired without cause after we had worked long enough to earn those due process rights. The number of years a teacher has to work varies by state. I think it was two years in California back in the 1970s. But Due Process does not protect us from being fired if there is because and those laws spell out in detail what teachers can be fired for.

        “Dismissal for Cause

        “A school must show cause in order to dismiss a teacher who has attained tenure status. Some state statutes provide a list of circumstances where a school may dismiss a teacher. These circumstances are similar to those in which a state agency may revoke a teacher’s certification. Some causes for dismissal include the following:

        Immoral conduct
        Incompetence
        Neglect of duty
        Substantial noncompliance with school laws
        Conviction of a crime
        Insubordination
        Fraud or misrepresentation

        Due Process Rights of Teachers

        “The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, like its counterpart in the Fifth Amendment, provides that no state may “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This clause applies to public school districts and provides the minimum procedural requirements that each public school district must satisfy when dismissing a teacher who has attained tenure. Note that in this context, due process does not prescribe the reasons why a teacher may be dismissed, but rather it prescribes the procedures a school must follow to dismiss a teacher. Note also that many state statutory provisions for dismissing a teacher actually exceed the minimum requirements under the Due Process Clause.”

        http://education.findlaw.com/teachers-rights/teachers-rights-tenure-and-dismissal.html

        Somewhere in this Blog there is a post with links to a study made by a practicing lawyer (not a teacher) who wanted to find out if teachers could be fired for any of the causes for dismissal mentioned above. She gathered data across the U.S. state by state and discovered when school districts followed the law and gathered the evidence, teachers lost their jobs in spite of that so-called powerful “tenure” that isn’t tenure according to the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution. It is called “Due Process”.

        I can’t speak for other states, but in California to keep our credential and keep our jobs, for most of my teaching career up to the end (I don’t know if that has changed since I retired in 2005), teachers were required to take classes and workshops outside of regular school hours to learn about new material and methods and then implement them. In fact, after those workshops, we often met in our departments and shared what we had learned and planned how to use those methods to improve our teaching.

        When teachers implemented what they learned from the bottom up, it worked great, but when those no-nothing idiots from the top micromanaged what we were teaching and how we were teaching, it didn’t work as well. It often flopped and those micromanagers kept their jobs and much higher pay and never admitted they were wrong. They just moved on to the next micromanaged program that often ended in failure.

        I also want to mention that Donald Trump pledged to defend that U.S. Constitution from both foreign and domestic enemies and he lied when he took that oath. A week doesn’t go by that he doesn’t trample on that Constitution every time he calls the meida fake news and bullies someone through his rampant tweets.

         
      • myfellowteachers

        November 24, 2017 at 12:14

        A nice dose of personal responsibility and quit yer bellyachin’. Much appreciated, Mr. Byrem.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        November 24, 2017 at 12:43

        If you two are referring to my alleged bellyaching, I suggest you dig deeper and find out what kind of teacher I was and what I accomplished as a teacher in-and-out of the classroom working 60-to-100 hours a week for most of thirty years.

        If I’m the one referred to as bellyaching, I will not stop criticising the billionaire oligarchs (and their ignorant minions) that are funding and supporting the lying, manipulating PSYOP war against community-based, democratic, transparent, non-profit public education with is mostly dedicated, public sector, unionized teacher workforce.

        Suggestion: Start with this – http://www.mysplendidconcubine.com/teachingyears.htm

        And why have you two ignored the difference between what’s known as tenure versus due process rights that I mentioned in my last comment to Byrem. Tenure exists for some college professors. Public school teachers do not have fabled tenure protections. They have due process protections as public employees as spelled out by the 5th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution and can still be dismissed with cause.

        I repeat.

        “Dismissal for Cause

        “A school must show cause in order to dismiss a teacher who has attained tenure status. Some state statutes provide a list of circumstances where a school may dismiss a teacher. These circumstances are similar to those in which a state agency may revoke a teacher’s certification. Some causes for dismissal include the following:

        Immoral conduct
        Incompetence
        Neglect of duty
        Substantial noncompliance with school laws
        Conviction of a crime
        Insubordination
        Fraud or misrepresentation

        Due Process Rights of Teachers

        “The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, like its counterpart in the Fifth Amendment, provides that no state may “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This clause applies to public school districts and provides the minimum procedural requirements that each public school district must satisfy when dismissing a teacher who has attained tenure. Note that in this context, due process does not prescribe the reasons why a teacher may be dismissed, but rather it prescribes the procedures a school must follow to dismiss a teacher. Note also that many state statutory provisions for dismissing a teacher actually exceed the minimum requirements under the Due Process Clause.”

        http://education.findlaw.com/teachers-rights/teachers-rights-tenure-and-dismissal.html

        In fact, teacher tenure, sometimes referred to as career status, provides job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. The purpose of tenure is to protect outstanding teachers from being fired for non-educational issues including personal beliefs or personality conflicts with administrators, school board members, or any other authority figure. Laws pertaining to teacher tenure vary from state to state, but the overall spirit is the same.

        Teachers who receive tenure have a higher level of job security than a non-tenured teacher has. Tenured teachers have certain guaranteed rights that protect them from losing their jobs for unsubstantiated reasons.

        Stripping all public school teachers of due process rights is totally wrong since even in the Vergara Trial the witnesses for the billionaires funding the prosecution said they guessed from experience that 1 to 3 percent of teachers is incompetent. Using that guess, that means only 2.7k – 8.2k of 274,246 public school teachers in California are allegedly incompetent. If that guess was accurate, why punish more than 271,548 – 266,046 teachers in California. In fact, there is only 10,477 schools in California meaning that thousands of schools do not have even one incompetent teacher.

        In addition, I argue that most of those allegedly incompetent, the 1 to 3 percent, of teachers among the 17 percent of all teachers, leave the profession in the first five years. And according to The Atlantic, 9.5 percent of all teachers leave before the end of the first year.

        “One of the big reasons I quit was sort of intangible,” Ingersoll says. “But it’s very real: It’s just a lack of respect,” he says. “Teachers in schools do not call the shots. They have very little say. They’re told what to do; it’s a very disempowered line of work.”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/why-do-teachers-quit/280699/

        The problem is not allegedly incompetent teachers. The problem is top-down management and the far right’s PSYOP assault on public education. The public schools in the United States should look to Finland and let the teachers decide how and what they teach.

         

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