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Old 01-24-2011, 07:02 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrannyBear View Post
Teachers DO make a decent living. They have SUPERIOR benefits and defined pensions -- and their pay is based on a 10 month year. I am not demeaning teachers in the least -- I just get tired of hearing how they are so terribly underpaid. Everywhere I look, the people who retire at age 55 with solid defined pensions are teachers and PUBLIC employees. Try saving for your retirement with a 401K -- no benefits.
How much do you think teachers SHOULD be making?
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:37 AM
 
1,759 posts, read 1,750,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrannyBear View Post
I just get tired of hearing how they are so terribly underpaid.
A lot of people say this kind of thing. And there's usually no way you can know the work that goes into the job unless you've done it or are close to someone who has/does.

School isn't as it was when we were kids. It can be an absolute battlezone in some schools. There are so many kids whose parents do not support teachers in the least. There are a ton of "disorders" and "syndromes" that muck up the classroom environment you try so hard to keep under control. There is all the administrative red tape. There is the workday that starts way before the first bell rings and doesn't wind down until bedtime, although so many people think you work from first bell to closing bell and that's it. Don't even start me on weekends, holidays, and summers.

Teachers are PROFESSIONALS and yet are looked down upon by the same people who put doctors and lawyers on pedestals as far as "honorable professions" go.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,837,713 times
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I feel the same way about police officers and firemen. Lately it's been the trend to say they get paid too much. In my opinion they have a vital job that's much much more difficult than most other jobs. Most public employees deserve the benefits they get.

I do agree that there are some teachers who are not that great. I'm not sure how to deal with that part of the equation but IMO merit pay isn't a good solution.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:55 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I feel the same way about police officers and firemen. Lately it's been the trend to say they get paid too much. In my opinion they have a vital job that's much much more difficult than most other jobs. Most public employees deserve the benefits they get.

I do agree that there are some teachers who are not that great. I'm not sure how to deal with that part of the equation but IMO merit pay isn't a good solution.
To be fair, there is some degree of gaming the system for those just before retirement, giving the pre-retirement cops extra overtime so their pre-retirement pay is higher -- and hence more in pension.

But yeah, I'm not sure what's behind this recent trend of bashing of cops and firefighters, used to be conservatives didn't mind them and bashed teachers/post office/DMV and other civil servants who weren't directly servicing their (actual/potential) needs.

I still want to know when our heroic veterans become fat, overpaid government workers.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:11 PM
 
646 posts, read 886,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
How much do you think teachers SHOULD be making?

I think what they are making in Fairfax County is very fair. I think their pensions and benefits and vacation time are very generous. Most private sector employees have to rely solely on 401K plans for retirement. Very few private sector employees could dream of retiring at 55 -- they would have to have saved approximately $2 million dollars to equal the retirement plus benefits of most public employees. For once I would like to see the real costs of public pay plus benefits and retirement compared to AVERAGE salaries in the private sector -- I believe you would find that teachers DO make a very "decent" living.

I would support modestly increasing teachers pay and eliminating defined pensions and lifetime benefits -- which are simply unaffordable to the taxpayer. Higher pay and 401k retirement plans are the answer. Would you support this?
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:17 PM
 
646 posts, read 886,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
To be fair, there is some degree of gaming the system for those just before retirement, giving the pre-retirement cops extra overtime so their pre-retirement pay is higher -- and hence more in pension.

But yeah, I'm not sure what's behind this recent trend of bashing of cops and firefighters, used to be conservatives didn't mind them and bashed teachers/post office/DMV and other civil servants who weren't directly servicing their (actual/potential) needs.

I still want to know when our heroic veterans become fat, overpaid government workers.
Who called anyone "fat, overpaid government workers??" And it IS possible to have a discussion about public pay without "bashing" public employees. Of course this sort of melodramatic false accusation has worked so well for liberals in the past -- why not stick with it?? I'll tell you why -- because the cat is out of the bag - the public just doesn't buy it anymore. How about coming up with a real solution to the problem?
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:16 PM
 
1,221 posts, read 2,129,456 times
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Former H.S. teacher here. Merit pay was adopted by Fairfax County schools in the late 80's or early 90's (I taught in the 70's in the Midwest, but have always had an interest in the issues surrounding education). If my memory serves me correctly, the merit pay program failed because it was found that so many teachers in the county qualified as "expert" in their respective fields that the county couldn't afford to pay for the program (at least that's what I was told by teachers in the system). I substitute taught in the county for a while and found the system to be very impressive and loaded with talented teachers. Merit pay sounds good on paper, but the way it was handled back then lent itself to charges of favoritism and politics. I really don't think it's the way to go. Do teachers need a raise? Yes. Are they going to be paid what they're worth? Not any time soon. You can't expect miracle workers for $42K per year. I still remember the exact moment I decided to leave teaching. I was ransacking the house one day looking for spare change to buy peanut butter to get me through the week. At the time, my salary was $7,800. I'd decided at that moment to find something better, and quick.

Last edited by smithy77; 01-24-2011 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:45 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,754,764 times
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I am a former Ffx county teacher, and I do like the idea of some kind of merit pay, but NOT based on test scores. To anyone who has ever worked in a public school, it should be obvious what the problems with that are. Just the practice of loading low-performing students or learning disabled students into one classroom (usually with the best teacher) makes judging a teacher by test scores completely illogical and unfair. And as Caliterp has already pointed out, economic/social factors make by far the biggest difference - I worked with homeless students, students whose parents were in jail, abused students, students whose parents were drug addicts or alcholics - these aren't isolated incidences, they are pretty common. So merit pay based on test scores is just a waste of money.

But how about some merit pay for those teachers sitting in that library on their day off helping students for free? How about some pay for the long hours spent in required "professional development" after school and on weekends (one year I spent over 80 hours in professional development - ALL unpaid)? Or maybe for working all those nighttime and weekend events, for organizing/sponsoring teams and clubs, or for the million and one other things that take up our time and are strictly "volunteer" work in our school, even when required?

In any case, I think it's probably a waste of money anyway. Most research shows that teachers do not leave the profession for monetary reasons. They leave because of things like lack of support from administrators. If the states and counties were really serious about improving education they would start listening to teachers and start giving them the support and respect that they need to do a better job. I think in many cases teachers feel they are swimming upstream trying to work in the system we have now, which is a top-down bureaucracy that gives us no voice or power in what we do or how we do it, but still wants to blame us when students don't do well.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:26 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,715 times
Reputation: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrannyBear View Post
Who called anyone "fat, overpaid government workers??" And it IS possible to have a discussion about public pay without "bashing" public employees. Of course this sort of melodramatic false accusation has worked so well for liberals in the past -- why not stick with it?? I'll tell you why -- because the cat is out of the bag - the public just doesn't buy it anymore. How about coming up with a real solution to the problem?
52 Percent of Americans Think Federal Workers are Overpaid

52% of Americans think federal workers are overpaid. So maybe not fat, but the overpaid government worker meme is pretty common. Witness, for example, the DC Examiner reporting about Metro/Montgomery County workers making over 100k a year.

With that said, a case can be made for discussing the compensation package for civil servants. The private sector has, for better or worse, moved from defined-benefit plans (which are open ended in terms of corporate commitment) to defined-contribution plans (which, even with a generous company match, are not open-ended.)

I will argue though that when the Washington Post says MoCo's public unions are going too far, they're probably going too far.

I'd actually like to see raises tied in to the average wage for a locality/region. Basically:

Say you work for FFX County and your 2011 salary is $50,000.
By March or April 2012, they'd have some preliminary data about how Fairfax County's private workers are doing. Say private-sector workers were getting 1.5% raises.
Therefore, in May 2012, give FFX County workers a one-time bonus of 1.5% of their 2011 salary, or $750 (Pro-rate it if someone wasn't on the payroll the entire year, of course).
On January 1, 2013, set the worker's base pay to $50,750.
Rinse and repeat.

If private-sector workers aren't seeing raises, neither do public-sector workers.

I'd also rather see a local income tax than a property tax, the real estate bubble has taught us that revenue from there can get wobbly. It'd probably way easier to have a post-card sized form based on your VA form 760 -- hell, the VA Department of Taxation can handle collections -- than have to pay dozens of assessors to go around the county and then have a mechanism set up to appeals, etc., etc.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,837,713 times
Reputation: 42860
I wonder what percentage of Nova teachers think the private sector is overpaid? The grass is always greener on the other side...
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