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Old 05-05-2011, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,649,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post

By local standards, the income was lower-middle to middle class (as one rose in duty and responsibilities). Perhaps enough to purchase a small house after 15-20 years of service.

But one would not become affluent by teaching or expect to retire at a young age.
Except for the part about retiring, this sounds about the same as it is here. I wonder if a teacher could even purchase a small house in Fairfax County after 15 years of service.

 
Old 05-05-2011, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 2,802,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Except for the part about retiring, this sounds about the same as it is here. I wonder if a teacher could even purchase a small house in Fairfax County after 15 years of service.
one bedroom condo, maybe.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilsmom View Post
Being a teacher, for most, is a calling or a passion.
I agree. I was simply describing how it was where I grew up (outside this country).

The reasons teachers were respected there, I think, were, in addition to general cultural tradition, 1) teachers were usually highly educated and qualified, so did not have a reputation of being washouts from other fields and 2) they did not have a reputation of being "militant unionists" because they never agitated for higher pay and benefits, let alone demonstrate or occupy buildings (imagine priests or cops doing that) and 3) problem teachers were quickly and swiftly fired and replaced, leaving only good ones in the field.

Mind you, I am NOT saying that American teachers are washouts or unionists, but rather there seems to be that kind of repuation being bandied about by some critics. Phrases like "those who can, do and those who can't, teach" did not exist where I grew up.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Except for the part about retiring, this sounds about the same as it is here. I wonder if a teacher could even purchase a small house in Fairfax County after 15 years of service.
Well, this is an unusually high priced area. The equivalent purchase here would be a small townhouse, which I think is feasible if one lived modestly and saved a lot. It probably wouldn't be the best neighborhood, however.

Certainly I know quite a few teachers who have decent sized homes in more moderately priced areas. In fact, I know a two-teacher couple in the Midwest who own a largish home and earn quite above the average household income. When they agitate for higher income and better benefits (they already have pensions that make their private-sector neighbors very envious), most of their neighbors roll their eyes. They even told me they feel and understand the hostility, but "hey, we [they] gotta do what's good for our kids."
 
Old 05-05-2011, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Well, this is an unusually high priced area. The equivalent purchase here would be a small townhouse, which I think is feasible if one lived modestly and saved a lot. It probably wouldn't be the best neighborhood, however.
I think you are probably about right with this estimate, yet many people still consider teachers to be overpaid. I must say that I don't see that comment very often on this forum, but that seems to be a fairly common sentiment outside of C-D.

I don't think a single teacher with 15 years could afford much of a house, but then again a single person probably doesn't need much of a house.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,649,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Mind you, I am NOT saying that American teachers are washouts or unionists, but rather there seems to be that kind of repuation being bandied about by some critics. Phrases like "those who can, do and those who can't, teach" did not exist where I grew up.
I didn't take it that way.
It's a good discussion.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,649,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post

Certainly I know quite a few teachers who have decent sized homes in more moderately priced areas. In fact, I know a two-teacher couple in the Midwest who own a largish home and earn quite above the average household income. When they agitate for higher income and better benefits (they already have pensions that make their private-sector neighbors very envious), most of their neighbors roll their eyes. They even told me they feel and understand the hostility, but "hey, we [they] gotta do what's good for our kids."
We are a two-teacher household also. I don't think we match-up with your friends in the mid-west as far as the COL/salary ratio is concerned, but we probably don't face the hostility that they do either.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 06:47 PM
 
1,403 posts, read 1,848,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I think you are probably about right with this estimate, yet many people still consider teachers to be overpaid. I must say that I don't see that comment very often on this forum, but that seems to be a fairly common sentiment outside of C-D.
I think that sentiment is not as prevalent in VA as, say, in OH.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I didn't take it that way.
It's a good discussion.
Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
We are a two-teacher household also. I don't think we match-up with your friends in the mid-west as far as the COL/salary ratio is concerned, but we probably don't face the hostility that they do either.
Absolutely. While there is always criticism of one type or another, I think, on the whole, teachers get more respect here than in many areas of the Midwest or the West Coast I know.

I think a part of the issue is that, in many of those states, teachers are seen to be highly politicized (with some justification) and strongly rely on their collective political power to extract pay/benefits across the board from tax payers that are different from what the market bears for individuals from private corporations, as well as use their political clout to obstruct competition (burdensome regulations on home schooling, etc.). These are not serious issues here, I think (they are apparently in DC judging from the cantankerous nature of the debate there).

Studies of actual pay confirm that public sector employees generally get paid a bit less than private sector workers, but have substantially better benefits than the latter. I tend to think that these things even out, if not perfectly. But that's not where the beef is.

My own personal problem with the education sector has been, particularly in those states, relative lack of accountability and politicization of what is a public service (like being a fireman or a cop).

I personally home school, but that's whole another can of worms.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 06:57 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,336,193 times
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Here we are in the midst of Public Service Recognition Week, and all some folks can do is rag on teachers and a school system that educates a highly diverse population of more than 190,000 students to some of the highest standards in the nation. Bunch of ingrates.

Instead, I'd like to extend a sincere word of thanks to all who work in FCPS on behalf of our kids. Hard work, long hours, and low pay are your lot, with little in the way of appreciation for it shown by the general public, particularly that segment of it most susceptible to the slanders manufactured by dishonest political interests. Thank you, teachers, et al., for your service to our kids, to our county, and to our country. Your sacrifices are recognized and appreciated by at least some.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,622,593 times
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I think teachers in the US used to be respected - similar to ILD's experience - much more than they are now. Think about the westward expansion of this nation when there were just small communities spread out - a teacher was very wanted to educate the children. If a teacher came to the town, families put her up in their houses and probably chipped in to pay her. Most of the adults were not educated themselves so they valued teachers very highly.

Or I think of turn-of-the-century (~1900) New York City filled with immigrants thrilled with the prospect that their children could enjoy public education - for free! - which would lead to a better life than from where they came.

I think as we as a nation became more educated, some people surpassed their teachers in knowledge. Teaching was always a woman's field, and because of that salaries were so low. And then people saw that salaries were low and felt they could do better so men became doctors and lawyers and accountants and engineers.

I also think with teaching, it becomes almost a default that someone can fall back on. "I can become a lawyer, and if it doesn't work out, I can always teach law." "Or I can try to be a writer and if it doesn't work out I will teach writing." So for some, it almost had second-class citizen status. I'll admit that it happened to me. I always wanted to be a math teacher. But the demand wasn't so great for teachers when I went to college and I figured I could do something else and then always go back for a teaching certificate. So I went into finance, always thinking I might fall back on teaching. I think others think this way, too.

Lastly, I think teachers are valued more in certain communities than in others. In the upper-middle class and richer communities, many parents are higher-paid and have more (challenging) schooling than your average teacher. So parents don't look up to teachers like parents who didn't go to college at all might. Then again, there are families in the lower-income or working class communities who may not value schooling - maybe they prefer a trade or teach their kids the family business so they might not see the value of education.

Lastly, my mother, who is 72, grew up in Lower East Side, New York (before it was fashionable). Her parents were immigrants. Her mother had an 8th grade education. My mom graduated high school and then got married. She never went on to college because her goal was to get married and have a family. When she tells me about friends of hers who were teachers, she always says it with reverence. "Well, she must be smart, she was a teacher for 30 years." On the other hand, I cannot imagine people in upper-middle class communities like Northern Virginia saying the same statement. In fact, I sometimes hear the opposite.

Sorry for my rambling. I'm trying to figure out when the reverence for teachers changed. I do think part of it is the fact that it's a woman's field and therefore was a lower-paid profession, so people looked for higher-paid positions, while the lower paid ones got a worse reputation. I think the other big changing point is when "the public" became as or more educated than the teachers who taught their children.
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