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Old 03-15-2011, 10:41 AM   #16
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Contractors and professionals - how do you feel when someone says?
"I could do that myself. Where do you get off charging so much?"
Actually, I feel very little most times, as I try to keep emotions from running my company. If I get any feeling, it's one of relief, because my simple customer screening process is working, and keeping me from working for someone who is more worried about price than value, and will probably never be able to appreciate what i do. And then i simply move on.

As for teacher, city, county workers, etc... I'm certainly not saying they make too much. I don't believe in blanket statements, but looking at them on a much smaller scale village-by-village, town-by-town, etc..... I'm fairly active in the local gov. effecting me directly I go to alot of otherwise meaningless meetings, and I can tell you the crowd is almost always smaller than the elected officials. I've seen case after case where CB has benifitted the labor union, and offered only more burden to the citizens. Most people have no idea what these labor unions are negotiating for, they just fall for the added drama that the TV set feeds them. I can tell you that the current budget repair bill will help my local township & county immensly, so much so that we'll be "screwed" w/o it, both long & short term. And at the end of the day, it has the potential to BETTER our schools, even though some teachers (depending on the district they work for) may be taking a small concession in compensation. The other part here is that it is in fact allowing our current teacher's CHOICES and liberty they haven't had in the past.

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Old 03-15-2011, 03:45 PM   #17
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I have been a teacher. I don't do it anymore. I simply did not get paid enough to be abused by students, parents, other staff, and administration. I taught at both an-inner city impoverished school, a religious school, and at a private boarding school with only the most elite students. There was little difference. I was a conscientious, well liked educator. I did a good job.

I have been threatened by a student who outweighed me by 120 lbs. I have paid out of my own pocket for supplies. I have worked 16 hours days and weekends to only be paid for 8 hours on 5 days.

It wasn't worth it to be repeatedly told by people I got paid too much for only working 9 months a year. Do people not realize that a teacher's salary has to last the entire year - there isn't some MAGICAL job that materializes every summer. Teachers end up competing for crappy summer retail jobs with their PITA students. And often not getting hired at all because of the economy.

And on top of it all teachers (like all professionals) have to pay their student loans and pay for getting their master's degree (a requirement in many school districts).

The public employee debate is troubling on both sides - but teachers deserve to be defended. They work very hard and are generally disrespected by pretty much everyone.


I agree, but only to an extent. As is the case with many unionized jobs (as has been discussed here) there aren't a lot of avenues for the higher-ups to weed poor performers out of the workforce.

As a result, it's been my experience that for every one noble educator - familial or otherwise - who deserves respect, there are two insufferable morons working alongside them.

Don't get me wrong; I have many fond memories of great teachers I had growing up who were a great influence on me. But! I also had teachers who had "been in it" for far too long, and were so busy being abrasive and authoritative to the kids that they forgot to do their job. I'll use an example: In 6th grade, I had an English teacher who took my notebook and gave me a detention for working on my own short story during class. She patronizingly read it aloud, singlehandedly killing any interest I had in writing.

You say teachers need to be defended; I say yes, but some teachers are indefensible.

That said, as a taxpayer I would have no problem paying out more to teachers if it meant weeding out "those two" in every public school in the US in order to fill schools with educators who deserve to be there. But, alas, it doesn't. When I pay out more, it typically means everyone stays and makes more money. THAT's my problem.

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Old 03-15-2011, 04:13 PM   #18
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That said, as a taxpayer I would have no problem paying out more to teachers if it meant weeding out "those two" in every public school in the US in order to fill schools with educators who deserve to be there. But, alas, it doesn't. When I pay out more, it typically means everyone stays and makes more money. THAT's my problem.
This. Better performance should = better pay. Better pay, however, does not automatically yield better performance.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:53 AM   #19
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Gonna hit on a few items here....first, the problem is how do you grade a teacher's performance? Put a great teacher in a roomful of lousy kids and you get lousy test results. Put a lousy teacher in a room full of great kids and you get great test results. You need much more than a handful of test scores.

As for unions, I'm certainly no fan of them, and that's based on years of personal experience in several states with several companies. I agree the unions served a purpose a long time ago, but it's not the same today.

I don't have a problem with unions in private companies fighting for benefits and such. That's their money so it's their business. But public unions are messing with tax dollars, and that's a different ball game.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:16 PM   #20
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I agree Spaceman with everything you said, and its just the beginning of the general public fighting back about wages,healthcare, jobs and retirement. I may not live to see the day when your wage is determend by the boss, not some mobster in NewYork.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:39 PM   #21
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Gonna hit on a few items here....first, the problem is how do you grade a teacher's performance? Put a great teacher in a roomful of lousy kids and you get lousy test results. Put a lousy teacher in a room full of great kids and you get great test results. You need much more than a handful of test scores.

As for unions, I'm certainly no fan of them, and that's based on years of personal experience in several states with several companies. I agree the unions served a purpose a long time ago, but it's not the same today.

I don't have a problem with unions in private companies fighting for benefits and such. That's their money so it's their business. But public unions are messing with tax dollars, and that's a different ball game.
I don't think you can grade a teacher based on the hand their dealt but what they do with the hand. Meaning I think you grade a teacher on improvement over time, not a snapshot. So if the teacher improves the students aptitude, test scores, attitudes, character, etc. (i know some of this is subjective characteristics) over the course of his/her career at a school, then he/she should receive a merit pay increase and so forth the subsequent years. Meaning that when a teacher arrives at an inner-city school with poor student aptitude, attitude, etc, and the next year the aptitude of his/her students increase comparably to the first year then that is where merit pay shows up. Just the same, if a teacher who is at a school that has a high student aptitude and the next year the aptitude of the students decreases there should be some adjustment or thought as to whether the teacher is worth it, granted you can't fault a first year teacher too much, much like a first year employee of a company. This is the same as company, the people who excel at their jobs and their work supports it then they get a raise or bonus.

Now where the merit pay gets sticky is, how do you judge the aptitude, attitude, character, etc of the students each year. That is where the discussion about merit pay should be, not whether or not to implement it.

Good ideas and conversation by everyone.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:20 PM   #22
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Gonna hit on a few items here....first, the problem is how do you grade a teacher's performance? Put a great teacher in a roomful of lousy kids and you get lousy test results. Put a lousy teacher in a room full of great kids and you get great test results. You need much more than a handful of test scores.

It's a complex question whose answer will solve many educational problems. In my opinion, it can only realistically be answered by designing a program, applying it and fine-tuning. Test scores in one teachers' class are not the only variable.

Oddly, you won't find a bigger opponent of improving education (through occupational natural selection) than teachers' unions.

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:12 PM   #23
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I'm not smart enough to be a school teacher, but I'm smart enough to understand human nature. A young aggressive female high school teacher once told me, that she was quitting teaching, as she come to the conclussion that fast cars, blockbuster vidio, lawyers and aggressive parents were way to much to handle so she quit. At my senior years , I now believe schools should be like boot camp, and lawyers kept out. We can't afford to have our children with a college education ,30 thousand in debt and can't find a job. Somebody is using somebody, and all hell will be breaking loose in years to come.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:36 PM   #24
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A sad result of so much focus being on these standardized test scores being used to grade teachers is that now the teachers are focusing on teaching what will be on the tests and not much else.

I will say one thing I support...get rid of the NEA. Put the control of education back to the state and local level. Since the creation of the NEA, schools have only gone downhill! Pppttttt!
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:37 PM   #25
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Always the tricky question. A question like "Should teachers be paid as much as they are being paid, should they be paid more, are they paid too much?" are questions which simply are not stated in the same context in which they are answered. Nobody would disagree a teacher's job is important enough to be compensated well, if the question is asked and answered without consideration for the availability of money to provide compensation. But that is the very real world constraint that is applied to various degrees by respondants.

If you want a truly meaningful answer, the question needs to be more along the lines of "Should a teacher's salary and benefits be $90,000 if it would cost the taxpayer on average $X out of the total cost of state govermnent of $Y?"

When I hear these kinds of numbers on teacher salary and benefits, I compare it to my own as an engineer. I remember when I decided to go into engineering that my parents were teachers, and it was a win-win for me because engineering is a good fit for my interests and abilities and as a profession it pays more than teaching as a profession, with teaching having the benefits of more vacation time and better health insurance. So with that frame of mind, it sounds as though the advancement of compensation for engineering has been stagnant but teaching compensation has not.

With all due respect to teachers, when education takes a bigger piece of the pie, that only leads to more demands on parents trying to make ends meet - dual income families replace the stay at home mom, more single parents... Look, I hate to get into some sort of rambling manifesto so I'll just say that the objection with teachers values may also be a reflection of a frustration with a loss of family value.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:39 PM   #26
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If you want a truly meaningful answer, the question needs to be more along the lines of "Should a teacher's salary and benefits be $90,000 if it would cost the taxpayer on average $X out of the total cost of state govermnent of $Y?"

That's an excellent point, and one which is seen by so few in the WI debate. The current "battle" here is really over the difference of what the teachers are compensated and the actual cost to compensate them. The gap is fairly big, and the true reason for the battle.


With all due respect to teachers, when education takes a bigger piece of the pie, that only leads to more demands on parents trying to make ends meet - dual income families replace the stay at home mom, more single parents... Look, I hate to get into some sort of rambling manifesto so I'll just say that the objection with teachers values may also be a reflection of a frustration with a loss of family value.
That's an even more important point, one which I haven't given much thought to until now................
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:34 PM   #27
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Good thread folks, glad to see it remaining civil. I was a firefighter for 25 years, retired now. I was a member of the IAFF and active in the union for over half my career, including president of my 63 man local for a number of years. Fire unions were a little different. Most of our time was spent on safety items. Some of the problems with unions are, they protect the wrong person, the screw ups. It was pretty damned hard to get fired if you just showed up each day. Also, there was no incentive except for personal pride to do a good job. You got paid the same as the laziest guy on the department.
I really think the current siege on collective bargaining is just the republicans way of getting back at the unions for them supporting Obama. Public unions should stay out of politics. They sell their souls and then cry when they have to pay the price. On the other side of the coin, most of the states are going broke, so something has to give. I don't want to see the unions get squashed to the point where wages are scaled back so far that the middle class totally disappears. Non-union wages are based somewhat on comparable union wages in many cases. I don't want to see everyone working for a bowl of rice each day.
One more rant, then I'll quit. I was always taught and it was in our union bylaws, that you try to buy American union made products whenever possible. I was driving past our city service yard the other day when the union workers were going home for the day. Hyundai, toyota, honda, that's what I see rolling out the parking lot. So am I supposed to feel sorry for them when they don't support their own?
Ok, someone else's turn.
Respectfully,
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #28
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We lost 5 more people to layoffs today. Some union, some non-union. I have a friend high-up in the finance department who has shared some information. The salaried employees are all taking a 2% pay cut (about the equivalent of a one-week's pay). Union contract negotiations are underway currently. They asked the union for the same concession and the reply was "we'd rather have layoffs than any reduction in pay."

I think that's horrible. I'm sure those who are getting cut feel their union dues were well worth it, since the union threw them under the bus to save their co-workers paycheck. With people being laid off left and right here, they can clearly see it wasn't some managment negotiating tactic. The fact is, the city is broke, we need to pay less: that is either less to each person or less people.

I am in the very small portion that is not union, but not salary. I'm an hourly worker without union representation. There are only about 4-5 of us in that situation.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:16 PM   #29
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Speak it brother, unions USED to serve a purpose. Nothing against union workers, I just think union bosses and unions altogether hurt their industry and marketplace in the long run. But I'm sure there are plenty to disagree with me, but I don't plan on arguing the point. If a private worker doesn't like his/her pay, then find a different company that desires to have workers with good work ethic and won't complain that he/she doesn't get paid doctors salaries for brick-mason's work. Don't want to be in the trades because of the pay, how about getting a degree, or starting your own company to make more money.
bravo bravo thanks i was starting to think i was the only person out here that sees it that way ahmen brother speak on speak long

and that is not whisteling dixie
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:35 PM   #30
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Good thread folks, glad to see it remaining civil. I was a firefighter for 25 years, retired now. I was a member of the IAFF and active in the union for over half my career, including president of my 63 man local for a number of years. Fire unions were a little different. Most of our time was spent on safety items. Some of the problems with unions are, they protect the wrong person, the screw ups. It was pretty damned hard to get fired if you just showed up each day. Also, there was no incentive except for personal pride to do a good job. You got paid the same as the laziest guy on the department.
I really think the current siege on collective bargaining is just the republicans way of getting back at the unions for them supporting Obama. Public unions should stay out of politics. They sell their souls and then cry when they have to pay the price. On the other side of the coin, most of the states are going broke, so something has to give. I don't want to see the unions get squashed to the point where wages are scaled back so far that the middle class totally disappears. Non-union wages are based somewhat on comparable union wages in many cases. I don't want to see everyone working for a bowl of rice each day.
One more rant, then I'll quit. I was always taught and it was in our union bylaws, that you try to buy American union made products whenever possible. I was driving past our city service yard the other day when the union workers were going home for the day. Hyundai, toyota, honda, that's what I see rolling out the parking lot. So am I supposed to feel sorry for them when they don't support their own?
Ok, someone else's turn.
Respectfully,
Mike Hawkins
spoken well
either side has thier issues why dont we demand that our gov workers take the hair cuts rather than the working man
lower thier pay elimenate thier secretary make them actually do some work
we let government and unions join hands and now just like the housing markett we will pay. why should gov workers make thier guarantees
and the common man has to sacrafice his.
and as mike spoke why should only unions have the right to demand thier job even if they are skrew ups
we got a congress that spends more time campaining and vacation then they do passing and regulating laws .
seems to me it is all our faults and we need to make some changes

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