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s/o Question for Teachers

At the risk of everyone jumping down my throat or starting another argument for Brad to think he's right, I'm posting because I would honestly like to hear what teachers have to say in this.

I will agree that teachers are underpaid/overworked.  I worked at a summer day camp and knew several teachers who worked the summer to have that little extra cash to get thru the year.  But I personally feel that school districts could manage their budgets better.  (I really have no facts to back this up, it's just an opinion I hold).  

I'd like to know if any of you teachers agree, and if so, where is the money going?
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Re: s/o Question for Teachers

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    edited December 2011
    MY RESPONSE IN THE OTHER THREAD....

    I too am frustrated with the system.  I don't think teachers are overpaid though.  I think the compensation is fair, but I wish the merit system was more based on performance instead of yrs service and other factors (automatic).  And there are too many bad teachers out there that tenure protects, it's a flawed system.  Also, some private schools pay much less than public but have higher standards and ratings....so go figure.....

    The pensions, and sick days,etc are more a state problem.  I think they should be more in line with what is offered in the private sector.  I do feel that higher management is overpaid, and the whole education system uses ineffective business practices (using approved vendors instead of shopping around for price,etc).  One school system I learned about bought radios for the classroom for double what they could of been purchased for at say walmart or bestbuy,etc.....just silly use of spending......

    I don't have a problem paying my tax dollars to the educational system, as long as the money is used efficiently, and it is questionable whether that is the true case.

    Also, I think the term "the grass is not always greener on the other side" applies here.  Most teachers complain, but most non teachers think they have it so easy.  There are pluses and minuses on both sides.  Teachers may have to do work at night and weekends, but they get a good benefits package, job security, days off, and summers of, and decent fixed working hours.  A non-teacher, may get a bonus to cover overtime, but may have to spend weekends in the office or traveling on the road.  I think people should be willing to face the lifestyle of any career they wish to get involved in.
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    eMiLee920eMiLee920 member
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    edited December 2011
    I saw your response in the other thread right after I posted this.  I think it sums up my feelings on the topic as well (and "efficient" was the word I was looking for but it's still a little early).
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    mbcdefgmbcdefg member
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    edited December 2011
    Very well said, User.
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    kle0113kle0113 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am not a teacher, but MH would agree with what User said about how the system is very flawed. 
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    DandT1206DandT1206 member
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    edited December 2011
    yep... i also agree with User.  I think their compensation is fair... they are not overpaid nor are they underpaid.
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    uppereastgirluppereastgirl member
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    edited December 2011
    That is very fair and well-reasoned User.  Good job (as usual) fighting the stereotype (which is of course as a stereotype based in part on something true) that boys on the knot are infuriating jackasses!
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    edited December 2011
    I don't think merit pay would work. Instead of teachers working together it would pit one against the other for the best pay. But they should get rid of tenure.  Not everyone remains a productive employee throughout their career. This should be what is best for the kids.
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    kewltifkewltif member
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    edited December 2011
    Here's my take.  I am not a teacher but I do work in a school, so I'm in a similar position.

    I agree that teacher's are fairly compensated in NJ.  I think the reason people complain that teacher's are overpaid is because so many teachers complain that they are underpaid.

    To me it's about choice.  Education is one of the most transparent industries you can enter.  You can find out EXACTLY how much money you are going to make every year of your life. It's black and white.  If you don't like the compensation, then go into another field.

    Also, because of the hours, there are ample opportunities to earn additional income.
     
    At the end of the day, if you want to attract qualified applicants to any job, then you have to pay them.  There is a huge variation in what different school districts pay.  Some of the wealthier (generally better) schools are willing to pay more for their teachers because they want better ones.

    Are there crappy teachers? Yep! Is the system flawed? Sure is.  We need to work towards rectifying that though and not just throw the book at teachers and accuse them of working part time jobs and making too much money.  The answer is not to arbitrarily cut their salary in half.
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    edited December 2011
    I don't think they should outright get rid of tenure, but I think there needs to be more to it than # of years worked.

    I also think it is unfair to blame Christie for giving "pink slips" to teachers who are not tenured. His plan was to get rid of "middle management"- all those people who no one knows what the heck they do, but they make up to $330,000 (per radio station 101.5). This was his plan to cut budgets, but instead the towns etc have decided that the best way to cut their budget is to get rid of teachers without tenure. I don't agree with the way that school districts are handling this, especially since classrooms are overcrowded as is (per my experience), but I don't think that everyone should be automatically blaming Christie.

    *This is all based on information I have read/heard on the radio. While all may not be *facts*, I do believe that we cannot blame Christie for all that is going on within school disctricts- everything is political these days.
    *~allie~*

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    kewltifkewltif member
    First Anniversary First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Here is the argument for tenure (and I'm not saying I completely agree, but this is what I have heard):

    Teachers work in a very public job and they can be put in a position of public scrutiny.  An angry parent who doesn't like the grade their child receives in a class can go to a Board of Education meeting and this can threaten a teacher's job.  It provides teachers protection from parents who try to dictate lesson plans or ban controversial information from being taught.
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    felicia220felicia220 member
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    edited December 2011
    Tenure is just a word that makes teachers who have it happy, everyone in the government or works for the state pretty much has tenure but they just don't call it that.  At the end of the day, if they do something that bad they can be fired. It just makes it more difficult to do so.  But that is the government and it is very hard to get fired from the government.  When you work for the government you get certain perks.  Pension, maybe paid healthcare, overtime, extra sick days, and such.  But at some point, will cap out on your potential earnings, whereas in the private sector, it may take you longer but ultimately you will make more money, but no pension, no job security.  The system will never be perfect, because as long as there are different "financial  classes" someone will always be unhappy.  But how can anyone say that teachers are over or underpaid, I will never understand.  It is determined by your area, the school district, and cost of living.  These numbers are based on a budget.  So for someone to say that they get paid too much and work too little I think is a very uneducated opinion...haha no pun intended.  One more thing, in the private sector, in any industry the pay is a lot of the time based on how popular the industry is.  For example, Brad is an accountant making a 1/3 of his sister (according to him) Well everyone and their mother is going to school for accounting, just as a few years ago the market was full of IT guys and their salaries dropped.  Its just how it goes.  

    To the good teachers out there, Thank you because without you NO ONE WOULD LEARN ANYTHING.  
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    DMLJDMLJ member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    User- I really don't agree with "merit pay".  For one, it is too objective,  Who will decide what "good performance" means... will it be based on standardized tests (which is what the gov. always thinks is the best means of tracking student learning), or observations? 

    Also, I work in a school where the primary language spoken at home is spanish, so even though I spend 90 min a day on LAL, they still will not do as well on the LAL section as students in areas where mom and dad speak english in the home.  There are also socio-economic factors that can affect student performance as well as parent involvement issues. 

    Another big problem with using those tests (which is always the proposed measure for merit pay) is that they lump all students (including ones with learning disabilities) all together.  This is a problem in our school because, even though we are private, we accept children with these disabilities.  We are being compared to schools that DO NOT accept children with learn disabilites so it makes us look like we are not doing our job, when really we just have more challenges.

    Merit pay always sounds like a good idea to those that are not in the education field because they want the best teachers to be rewarded, but there are just too many variables to make that work. 

    I think something needs to be done to attract the older teachers towards retirement.  There are literally NO jobs in elem. ed. right now because so many teachers are afraid to retire.  I don't have any answers on how districts spend their money but something does need to change.

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    noonescookienoonescookie member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I teach at a private school, so I don't have direct experience with the NJ public school system, but in my opinion teachers in this area are fairly compensated. 

    There is so much bureaucracy attached to the public school system, it's ridiculous, especially in NJ since we insist on having dozens of tiny districts where other states would have one. There was an article a year or two ago about how this affects the system, which mentioned one district that had less than two dozen kids, but had a school board. All they had to do was negotiate bussing the kids to a neighboring district. Total waste.

    The merit pay system: Another problem is that teachers don't work in isolation. If they could work out a testing system that measures each child's improvement from year to year, that would be a more accurate measurement of a teacher's abilities than benchmarking. But it would require too many more bureaucrats to manage such a system. If a child enters your 6th grade classroom at a 2nd grade reading level, but leaves at a 4th grade level, you're doing something right and that needs to be acknowledged. It's not fair to penalize the 6th grade teacher because a student entered her classroom unprepared for 6th grade level work.

    I have to admit though, it's hard to find a balance between providing teachers with the flexibility they need to do their jobs well while protecting the best interests of the children. For every young, well-trained and committed teacher, there's one old crone who just reads aloud from the textbook and wishes they hadn't outlawed corporal punishment, and for every 3 of them there's one old crone who's kept up to date, is a mentor to new teachers, and will be irreplaceable upon retirement.
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