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Old 09-12-2018, 07:41 AM
 
239 posts, read 139,262 times
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Re: money....

It's telling that my music teacher fiancee, when looking at jobs in PA (we live in Passyunk Square) did not even give a moment's thought to Philadelphia. It's not that she can't handle an urban environment, or even behavior issues. She taught in inner-city Wilmington for several years, and actually counts that stint as one of her most lasting achievements as an educator.

The problem is money. She wasn't even breaking even in Delaware as a full-time public school teacher. When looking to move to PA, her target was the best-funded, best-paying districts, because she felt they were her only real option to make even a halfway decent living. And even in a top-tier school district like Radnor, where she'll make more than most, it's still going to be a struggle.

That's the rub. Education is where it is, in no small part, because teachers often get paid like indentured servants. Passion for teaching is important, but passion only gets you so far when you can't pay your bills.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:00 AM
 
5,351 posts, read 5,570,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
My landlord introduced me to the headmaster of Wiliam Penn Charter School (the oldest and perhaps most prestigious private school in the city, its name notwithstanding; the "charter" refers to the document William Penn issued in 1689 establishing it) a couple of years ago, I think with the idea that I might pursue teaching as a side activity there.

He said this to me over breakfast: "There is a lot of waste in the School District budget. And the schools do not get the funding they need to do their job. I usually say the second sentence first."

In other words, even if you cut out all the waste, the schools still wouldn't be adequately funded.
I don't disagree, but it's usually hard to throw more money at someone who's wasting what they do have. Who's to say that increased funding wouldn't just buy gold-coated chairs for those at 440.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:24 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireshaker View Post
Re: money....

It's telling that my music teacher fiancee, when looking at jobs in PA (we live in Passyunk Square) did not even give a moment's thought to Philadelphia. It's not that she can't handle an urban environment, or even behavior issues. She taught in inner-city Wilmington for several years, and actually counts that stint as one of her most lasting achievements as an educator.

The problem is money. She wasn't even breaking even in Delaware as a full-time public school teacher. When looking to move to PA, her target was the best-funded, best-paying districts, because she felt they were her only real option to make even a halfway decent living. And even in a top-tier school district like Radnor, where she'll make more than most, it's still going to be a struggle.

That's the rub. Education is where it is, in no small part, because teachers often get paid like indentured servants. Passion for teaching is important, but passion only gets you so far when you can't pay your bills.
In the suburbs, you can ultimately make 6 figures being a teacher, working 9 months out of the year, with a ton of vacation time, virtually free healthcare, and a pension for life when you retire. Not exactly an "indentured servant". If that isn't enough, then you picked the wrong profession.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,782 posts, read 2,752,720 times
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Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
In the suburbs, you can ultimately make 6 figures being a teacher, working 9 months out of the year, with a ton of vacation time, virtually free healthcare, and a pension for life when you retire. Not exactly an "indentured servant". If that isn't enough, then you picked the wrong profession.
I have to agree with this. Some districts in Delco start at mid-50's with an "average of 70K+ per year. If a single person can't live on that, then they're living pretty high, IMO (and yes, I know it's all relative).
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Old 09-12-2018, 02:23 PM
 
239 posts, read 139,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
In the suburbs, you can ultimately make 6 figures being a teacher, working 9 months out of the year, with a ton of vacation time, virtually free healthcare, and a pension for life when you retire. Not exactly an "indentured servant". If that isn't enough, then you picked the wrong profession.
Gah, a lot of falsehoods here.

Working only 9 months a year: False. Given holidays and snow days and such, school is actually in session closer to 10 months. That leaves about two months "off." But most teachers still end up working over the summer. As it pertains to music, that means summer camps, lessons, etc. My fiancee taught multiple lessons four out of the five days a week over the summer, and did several summer camps. She had very little actual time off.

Tons of vacation time: See above. Also, throughout the year teachers typically only get about 10 total sick and vacation days, and administration does NOT like it when teachers actually use them, especially if you try to take more than one consecutively. Last year, my fiancee had to literally teach part one whole week with flu-like symptoms, because as a long-term sub, if she tried to take sick time off she may have lost her job.

Virtually free healthcare: Not much anymore. Her previous district is moving to an HSA model for new teachers, which is the worst frigging model of healthcare to have. Her current employer still offers "good" healthcare, but they will literally pay teachers NOT to take it, because they don't want to deal with the costs. Not a good long-term sign.

Pension for life: Not anymore. Previous generations did get generous pensions, as they should. Current teachers will not. Whatever my fiancee ends up getting, it won't be nearly enough to support herself on post-retirement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulsurv View Post
I have to agree with this. Some districts in Delco start at mid-50's with an "average of 70K+ per year. If a single person can't live on that, then they're living pretty high, IMO (and yes, I know it's all relative).
You're right that it's not technically poverty line income. But given the education and experience needed to teach effectively, especially at music, and given that some teachers work close to 12 hour days, with no planning time, and with before- and after-school activities, it works out to an insanely low hourly rate. Also worth noting--if you need to change school districts for any reason, you can't really move up the wage scale. Hence why my fiancee, a 7-year veteran, is still getting paid as a 1st year teacher.

I get that teachers seem like an easy target, but these misconceptions are way off base. I used to think that way, too, until I started dating a teacher and saw how insanely hard she works. Like, she easily works twice as hard as I do, and makes half as much. And her job is much more "valuable" to society than any of the cubicle crap I do.

She's not living high on anything, and neither do a lot of people who do the profession. And that's a sad sign of how little we value education on the whole.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,213 posts, read 3,048,381 times
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Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
I don't disagree, but it's usually hard to throw more money at someone who's wasting what they do have. Who's to say that increased funding wouldn't just buy gold-coated chairs for those at 440.
From what I've heard, there's a lot of tumbleweeds blowing around 440 now.

The district has pushed a lot of the decision-making down to the level of the individual school and cut the central bureaucracy dramatically.

One reason for the district's recurring* fiscal woes now is 440 the building itself. It's become a financial albatross around SDP's neck - it no longer needs all that space. But from what I understand, the district can't renegotiate its lease with the building's owner.

*I understand what whatever fix City Hall came up with has stabilized the district's finances for the next several years. But absent some changes in either revenue sources or overall costs, there will come a time again when it runs a deficit.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:10 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,926 times
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Originally Posted by Fireshaker View Post
Gah, a lot of falsehoods here.

Working only 9 months a year: False. Given holidays and snow days and such, school is actually in session closer to 10 months. That leaves about two months "off." But most teachers still end up working over the summer. As it pertains to music, that means summer camps, lessons, etc. My fiancee taught multiple lessons four out of the five days a week over the summer, and did several summer camps. She had very little actual time off.

Tons of vacation time: See above. Also, throughout the year teachers typically only get about 10 total sick and vacation days, and administration does NOT like it when teachers actually use them, especially if you try to take more than one consecutively. Last year, my fiancee had to literally teach part one whole week with flu-like symptoms, because as a long-term sub, if she tried to take sick time off she may have lost her job.

Virtually free healthcare: Not much anymore. Her previous district is moving to an HSA model for new teachers, which is the worst frigging model of healthcare to have. Her current employer still offers "good" healthcare, but they will literally pay teachers NOT to take it, because they don't want to deal with the costs. Not a good long-term sign.

.
Okay, "only" 2 months off in the summer, unless they CHOOSE to work another job and get paid more money. And "only" 10 personal days, in addition to all of the school holidays (including winter break and spring break) throughout the year, not to mention all summer (by contrast, most people in the private sector get maybe 20 or 25 days off ALL YEAR, including holidays). And "only" a virtually free HSA Plan instead of a virtually free outdated health plan (which nobody gets anymore). And less of a pension that they once received, but still more than anyone in the private sector gets (which is zero). I apologize if I'm not overly sympathetic to the entitlement mentality.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,213 posts, read 3,048,381 times
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Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
And "only" a virtually free HSA Plan instead of a virtually free outdated health plan (which nobody gets anymore). And less of a pension that they once received, but still more than anyone in the private sector gets (which is zero). I apologize if I'm not overly sympathetic to the entitlement mentality.
Which private sector do you work in?

I work in the news media, and we get an HMO/PPO-style health plan; there's an HSA available, but most of us opt for the HMO/PPO. We also get dental - a plan a colleague described to me as "really great, until you need dental work," but a dental plan nonetheless.

Now if by "zero pension" you mean no plan that guarantees you a monthly sum after you retire, then yes, no one in the private sector I know of gets one of those anymore, but we do have 401(k)s.

I spent most of my career in higher ed at two private universities; this would be the nonprofit sector. The benefits there were great, especially the dental.

If all you get is an HSA, I feel your pain; while I like the concept of being an informed consumer in principle, healthcare expenses are so costly that unless you're young and healthy, these don't work out to be such a good deal.

I guess what I take issue with is both the blanket statement regarding the private sector (I'll wager the larger the firm, the better the benefits) and the inference that that fellow's teacher friend has an "entitlement mentality." The problem isn't that their pay and benefits are too generous (their pay definitely isn't); its that the benefits have gotten too stingy in many (some?) private enterprises. (As for the pay, I'm not going to make a blanket statement, for it's all over the map in the private sector - some workers do much worse than either that teacher or the average journalist (whose income is somewhere around $35k annually), while others make out like bandits.

Edited to add: If you find it difficult to make ends meet on your regular salary (and I think many teachers get paid across the 9-10 months they work, not all 12 months, which also changes the calculus), then picking up extra courses or gigs in the summer isn't much of a "choice."
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:58 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,926 times
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Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Which private sector do you work in?

I work in the news media, and we get an HMO/PPO-style health plan; there's an HSA available, but most of us opt for the HMO/PPO. We also get dental - a plan a colleague described to me as "really great, until you need dental work," but a dental plan nonetheless.

Now if by "zero pension" you mean no plan that guarantees you a monthly sum after you retire, then yes, no one in the private sector I know of gets one of those anymore, but we do have 401(k)s.

I spent most of my career in higher ed at two private universities; this would be the nonprofit sector. The benefits there were great, especially the dental.

If all you get is an HSA, I feel your pain; while I like the concept of being an informed consumer in principle, healthcare expenses are so costly that unless you're young and healthy, these don't work out to be such a good deal.

I guess what I take issue with is both the blanket statement regarding the private sector (I'll wager the larger the firm, the better the benefits) and the inference that that fellow's teacher friend has an "entitlement mentality." The problem isn't that their pay and benefits are too generous (their pay definitely isn't); its that the benefits have gotten too stingy in many (some?) private enterprises. (As for the pay, I'm not going to make a blanket statement, for it's all over the map in the private sector - some workers do much worse than either that teacher or the average journalist (whose income is somewhere around $35k annually), while others make out like bandits.

Edited to add: If you find it difficult to make ends meet on your regular salary (and I think many teachers get paid across the 9-10 months they work, not all 12 months, which also changes the calculus), then picking up extra courses or gigs in the summer isn't much of a "choice."
I work for a very large company in the healthcare industry, and our benefits are better than prior companies I have worked for. They do offer a PPO style plan, but nobody who can do basic math elects it, because you end up paying more out of pocket in virtually any scenario than you would under the HSA alternative.

By zero pension, I mean zero defined benefit pension plan, which I don't think anyone gets anymore, unless you're in a union.

Making $100K+ (which most suburban teachers in good districts with a masters degree will do after 15 years) for 9-10 months of work, not having to pay much of anything for health insurance, and getting a defined benefit pension (even if perhaps not as good as it once was) isn't such a bad deal, and I certainly wouldn't lament that they are "underpaid". You're not getting rich, but you are living quite comfortably, and with a good quality of life. Now, certainly in the PSD it's a different story, in terms of compensation and I can sympathize with that. But not so much in the suburbs.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,213 posts, read 3,048,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
I work for a very large company in the healthcare industry, and our benefits are better than prior companies I have worked for. They do offer a PPO style plan, but nobody who can do basic math elects it, because you end up paying more out of pocket in virtually any scenario than you would under the HSA alternative.

By zero pension, I mean zero defined benefit pension plan, which I don't think anyone gets anymore, unless you're in a union.

Making $100K+ (which most suburban teachers in good districts with a masters degree will do after 15 years) for 9-10 months of work, not having to pay much of anything for health insurance, and getting a defined benefit pension (even if perhaps not as good as it once was) isn't such a bad deal, and I certainly wouldn't lament that they are "underpaid". You're not getting rich, but you are living quite comfortably, and with a good quality of life. Now, certainly in the PSD it's a different story, in terms of compensation and I can sympathize with that. But not so much in the suburbs.
Thought so (the zero defined benefit pension thingy). Support staff at Penn (one of the two universities where I worked) still get one, but the administative and professional staff don't - they get a 403(b) (the nonprofit version of the 401(k)) just like almost all of the rest of us.

And no, I wouldn't cry poverty if I were making $100K plus that benefits package in a suburban school district either. I might not be able to afford living in Wayne if I were teaching in Wayne on that salary, but I'll bet I could find a more modest home in parts of Ardmore, Narberth or Bryn Mawr that I could swing on that much.
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