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View Poll Results: Are Teachers Overcompensated
Yes (Why?) 5 22.73%
No (Why?) 17 77.27%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-19-2008, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,824 posts, read 43,875,293 times
Reputation: 10680
Question Why Are Teachers So Admonished in Pennsylvania?

I recently pored over a thread on WNEP-TV's (ABC-Scranton) Talkback 16 Online message board in which there have now been 57 replies to a thread initiated by a local teacher who possesses two Bachelor's Degrees, a Master's Degree, and earns $25,000 annually. Instead of griping about the low pay scale, he goes on to criticize others who habitually blast he and his colleagues for being "greedy" when he himself loves his job because he gets to help children. While a few replies were from folks who appreciated this man for continuing to strive to perform well while only earning $25,000 and facing extreme scrutiny from the general public, most others reinforced NEPA's redneck stereotype by immediately attacking this man for earning $25,000, which many considered too high. The common theme was "I work full-time and don't make $25,000, so why should you or anyone else for that matter?"

A professional with a Master's Degree earning a salary of $25,000 is laughable, at best, and it should be an embarrassment to the way that particular public school district compensates its staff. It is not at all an understatement to say that a college-educated professional would likely "struggle" on $25,000 annually when you consider that in addition to having to pay for rent/mortgage, taxes, utilities, groceries, gas, etc. like anyone else, a college graduate ALSO has to pay back hefty student loans on the SAME SALARY that many non-college graduates currently earn, providing these professionals with an additional liability.

By and large I've noticed that PA is a state of "green-eyed monsters." People at-large resent anyone who earns more money than they do instead of being HAPPY that they are successful in their lives. I routinely see high school dropouts or high school graduates on Talkback 16 Online criticizing those with Ph.D.'s, Master's Degrees, Ed.D.'s, M.D.'s, CPA's, etc. for earning more money than they do. Why? Shouldn't it stand to reason that someone who attends college for 4, 6, or even more years while struggling to balance starting a family, purchasing a home, purchasing a car, paying off student loans, etc. should earn more over the course of their lifetime than someone who chose to not attend college? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want someone with a 9th-grade education operating on my heart, and I'd gladly be willing to compensate him or her with a higher salary as an incentive to attend medical school to hone his or her skills. Nationwide generally speaking those with higher levels of educational attainment also tend to be higher earners. Why is this such a "shocker" to folks in PA?

I'm just not understanding why folks feel as if $25,000 is an outrageous salary to pay someone with a Master's Degree to educate their children. Are people in PA honestly THAT stupid and petty?
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:50 PM
Status: "Popcorn up, May 27! Knee high by the 4th of July?" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
67,127 posts, read 54,482,447 times
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Where on earth (or I should say Pennsylvania) is this guy teaching for that low of a salary? That is outrageous!
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
1,408 posts, read 2,579,053 times
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Why is this such a "shocker" to folks in PA

Taken out the above post, I've found this to be true in many instances. I don't get the mentality of some of the people who maintain that when they were in school it was like this.....and that the time warp should be maintained.

I'm a teacher with a Master's degree plus a gazillion graduate credits, at the top of the scale and with service increments compiled over a teaching career of 30 years. I'm seriously doubting that the person is in a public school in PA, as most districts start their teachers at a higher salary than the above (low 30's to mid 40's is about average starting in the state). They are most likely working as an aide, paraprofessional or in a private school. It's wonderful that they are happy and content, but I seriously doubt they are self supporting unless they are sitting on an inheritance, trust fund or have a partner that works as well. $25K is the top of the poverty level for some certain sized families in this state.
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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I'll clarify my "no" vote. Many of our local teacher bashers assume that teachers exclusively report to work at 8 AM and knock off at 3 PM for 180 days per year from August to June. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some "side" jobs that these professionals are also involved in:

Therapist: I'm a shining example of how astute educators truly saved a life. I was pondering killing myself in my senior year of high school due to my family's inability to accept my sexual orientation, and my grades began to nosedive as a result of my severe depression. Several teachers took the time to delve into my personal life in an attempt to offer me guidance and support. I was so moved by the lengths they went to care about someone who felt as if the whole world wanted him dead that I tracked down where each of them lived and dropped a hand-written card with a heartful "thank you" in their homes' mailboxes for how their positive intervention into my personal life had encouraged me to turn a new leaf. I received e-mail correspondence back from several of them, and they each seemed grateful to have made a difference in a student's life. Most therapists have Ph.D.'s. Most high school teachers have Bachelor's Degrees. I'd have to assume most therapists make upwards of $100,000. I'd have to assume that most high school teachers make $0 for taking time out of their schedules to do this very same task. That's saying a lot that someone whose credentials didn't require them to offer guidance/therapy still felt inclined to do so.

Police Officer: My alma mater was no stranger to random acts of violence, and I can recall several occasions in which teachers put themselves into harm's way to step between a physical conflict. In one instance I took it upon myself to break up a "catfight" in our cafeteria as teachers raced towards the scene, and they were very grateful that I had "done their job for them" (a "job" they are NOT compensated for by the way). Our state's schools are continually becoming more and more violent, and as this phenomenon continues to occur we'll be seeing teachers serving more and more as mediators between bullies and victims, drug deals gone sour, two hotheads in tussles, or worse, even a conflict involving weaponry.

Parent: As more and more of today's biological parents rely upon the public educational system to "parent" their children for them while they're both off working full-time two states away simply to "keep up with the Jones's", teachers are increasingly taking on the role of being the parents that these "birthgivers" could never hope to be.

Now does that $25,000 sound "out-of-line?"
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,824 posts, read 43,875,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
Where on earth (or I should say Pennsylvania) is this guy teaching for that low of a salary? That is outrageous!
This is apparently somewhere in Northeastern or North Central Pennsylvania (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Poconos, Williamsport areas) as this is the coverage area of this news affilliate. The original thread poster didn't indicate which district though (obviously an intelligent move to avoid backlash from his employer).
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachbeach View Post
$25K is the top of the poverty level for some certain sized families in this state.

Which is why I don't understand why some folks think this low salary is somehow out-of-line. If they wanted to earn that $25,000 salary as a teacher, then what prevented them from earning their Bachelor's Degrees and becoming certified? It's an enigma to me.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:16 PM
Status: "Popcorn up, May 27! Knee high by the 4th of July?" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
67,127 posts, read 54,482,447 times
Reputation: 18617
I think teachbeach is correct when she says this person must not be a certified teacher in a public school district. "Teacher" is one of those terms like "Nurse" that is used loosely by some people. I believe I read the average teacher salary in PA is around $55K. It would be hard to believe if the average is 55K, that very many are earning 25K.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,824 posts, read 43,875,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
I think teachbeach is correct when she says this person must not be a certified teacher in a public school district. "Teacher" is one of those terms like "Nurse" that is used loosely by some people. I believe I read the average teacher salary in PA is around $55K. It would be hard to believe if the average is 55K, that very many are earning 25K.
My sister started working at a local school district several years ago as a secondary English teacher with a Bachelor's Degree at a salary of $33,000. I think she's now at around $37,000. I think the "lowest" district in our area starts their teachers at around $29,000, which does make that $25,000 sound rather suspicious.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:23 PM
 
Location: DC Suburbs of Maryland (by way of PA)
2,685 posts, read 3,775,340 times
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That must be pretty exclusive to that area or district, because I've never heard of a teacher starting out with a 35-40K salary, at least in Southeastern PA. In fact, it's not uncommon for teachers in districts here to go on strike until they are given more compensation/benefits every few years, which they are practically always granted (that is why Teachers Unions such as the NEA exist). So, I really don't think teachers are generally admonished in PA -- I think MOST people, regardless of what a few disgruntled and underpaid workers think -- understand the importance of public education. The reason I think teachers salaries sometimes come under attack, however, is because it's linked to taxpaying, which raises a whole different debate, i.e., "Why do I have to pay into the system if I don't have children attending school," or something of the like, and that's hardly unique to Pennsylvania.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,824 posts, read 43,875,293 times
Reputation: 10680
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
That must be pretty exclusive to that area or district, because I've never heard of a teacher starting out with a 35-40K salary, at least in Southeastern PA. In fact, it's not uncommon for teachers in districts here to go on strike until they are given more compensation/benefits every few years, which they are practically always granted (that is why Teachers Unions such as the NEA exist). So, I really don't think teachers are generally admonished in PA -- I think MOST people, regardless of what a few disgruntled and underpaid workers think -- understand the importance of public education. The reason I think teachers salaries sometimes come under attack, however, is because it's linked to taxpaying, which raises a whole different debate, i.e., "Why do I have to pay into the system if I don't have children attending school," or something of the like, and that's hardly unique to Pennsylvania.
Do you think the current proposal underway to eliminate property taxes in favor of increasing the state sales tax will make the general public any less hostile towards teachers if it is implemented? I'd gladly pay taxes to a local school district if I didn't have any children in the district because I'd consider it to be an investment in my community. I'd prefer to live in a well-educated community where 100% of adults have a high school diploma or G.E.D. and a sizeable chunk (perhaps 1/3) possess at least a Bachelor's Degree. Better-educated communities tend to have less crime, higher median household incomes, and higher property values (less poverty + less crime = desirable), so forking over $3,500 annually to the local public school district can be considered investing in making your community better.
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