Teachers’ hours

April 22, 2011


To the editor:

I would like to respond to Barbara Paris’ April 16 letter. Have you ever lived with a teacher? I do.

I have never witnessed someone more dedicated to her profession. She is up early every morning for her commute to be at school to greet the students. She gives up her planning period on a regular basis to attend meetings. She does lunchroom duty, which leaves her only a few minutes for her own meal. She stays after school to help students who need that extra something.

She gets home, cooks dinner, tries to get in a workout, and then she begins preparing for the next school day. She spends three to four hours a night creating new and exciting lessons so the students will be energized about learning. She grades tests, reads papers, answers emails from parents. She updates her website so parents can stay informed of what is going on in the classroom.

During the summer months, she takes on another job to help supplement her income. She may take a week off right after the school year ends but jumps right back into organizing her thoughts and ideas for the next school year. She is always a teacher.

Oh, and by the way, she does all this while working on her master’s degree, which is now becoming more and more expected of new teachers.

So don’t ever say that teachers only work eight months out of a year. Add up all the hours they put in and they work more hours than most any other profession.


Liberty_One 4 years, 7 months ago

Certainly most teachers work hard, but how useful is that work? Without having to face the rigors of the market we will never know. I could spend years working on inventing the computer but no one would pay me for all that hard work because it's already been done. I could spend one thousand hours writing a novel and no one would pay me to read it because it probably wouldn't be very good. The point is that profit and loss are the best way to measure whether your hard work is doing any good. If the public finds your product or service to be useful and desirable, you'll make a profit. If not you'll make a loss.

I'm sure people can come up with a hundred different ways to measure the success of a teacher, but in each and every way they are replacing the public's measure with their own personal measure. They are replacing thousands of peoples' opinions with their own.

I find it odd that the people who shout the loudest that education is of essential importance to society are usually the very same that want to insulate education from the benefits of market competition the most. If we had this same attitude about other things we'd still be riding around in a horse an buggy and reading the news on pieces of paper. Our educational model is 100 years and has grown stale. Sure, our teachers work hard, but so did farmers who used a stick plow to plow their fields. Without market competition there's no incentive to get the most efficient use out of that hard work and as such our educational system has fallen behind.

pinecreek 4 years, 7 months ago

So where are all these for-profit companies that can be saving the Detroits and Californias of North America? One would think that the strapped local governments of this country would be migrating in droves to them. Last that I'd read, the largest of them had lost it's largest contract and was approaching bankrupty. Some updates please?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

Or you could waste hours studying law just so you could be another ambulance chaser.

grammaddy 4 years, 7 months ago

..or be "First" in the comments thread.

funkdog1 4 years, 7 months ago

Fallen behind free market education systems? Just which countries have these marvelous free market education systems of which you speak? The countries with the smartest, brightest per-capita educations are the ones that are far more socialist than we are: Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Norway, New Zealand ...

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Except for all the experiments that tried market competition and found that a) teachers performed no better for large monetary rewards b) lottery-selected charter schools performed no better in apples-to-apples comparisons c) Milwaukee voucher schools had no statistical difference in achievement in apples-to-apples comparisons and d) for profit higher education institutions routinely underperform when compared to private and public not for profit institutions. Oh and also that they're not cheaper when all sources of funding are included (tuition only is a misleading comparison.)

Except for all that.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Um, ok? How about you name a country that is successfully using market competition to innovate, and we'll go from there.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

So Jenny McCarthy, with her "University of Google" degree, is well educated? We should trust her knowledge of epidemiology, neurology, and toxicology, since she formed those opinions baed on websites? Really, you're outdoing yourself here.

Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago


All those words and this steaming pile is the apex?

Elaine Elliott 4 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One says: "The point is that profit and loss are the best way to measure whether your hard work is doing any good. If the public finds your product or service to be useful and desirable, you'll make a profit. If not you'll make a loss."

Yes, all those incredibly rich firefighters and policeman are living proof of how the public decides to pay people based on the value of their product. And all those poor actors who put out such meaningful products are living paycheck to paycheck.

And lets talk about market insultation...capitalism is based on the idea that if your product or service is useful then you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. If not you fall on your face and end up broke. Unless, of course, you are already rich then the government will spend millions of dollars bailing you out and insulating you from the same market that other people have to compete in. But they will cut education funding first and foremost.

A school is not a factory turning out a product, the same parts go into car every time on an assembly line but that's not the same for children because, believe it or not, they are not cars.

We are ready to FIRE teachers who spend their time educating the children of the general public. Charter schools have application processes and limited enrollment. They don't have to educate everyone so comparing them is unreasonable. It's not the same "market." Capitalism isn't a model that should be used for education. It's not a model that is working for our economy so why would you want to apply it to the school systems?

xfitter 4 years, 7 months ago

"They are replacing thousands of peoples' opinions with their own. " - kinda like you are doing right here? You are adding nothing to this but fodder for the masses

windex 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh, yes, let's just give kindergarteners a laptop, internet access and a flash drive and get out of their way! They can teach themselves to read and think by sitting and perusing Liberty One's dehumanizing, anti-social postings.

windex 4 years, 7 months ago

Actually, it's working quite well for the kids who are not living in poverty and/or chaos.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Probably the same thing I took. Statistics.

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

There are no "benefits of market competition' for public education. Competition when profit is the bottom line generally lowers quality rather than raises it. The profit becomes the goal and the product quality doesn't matter as much. If everyone offers the same fairly low quality, then people will still pay for it. Then true quality becomes much more expensive. In your world, only the rich could afford a quality education.

Children are not products. The quality of their education cannot be lowered to maximize profit. Schools are not businesses, nor should they be. The emphasis, the goal MUST be to turn out a well-educated child. Competition will not achieve that. It does not tend to raise quality in the market place and it won't in schools. No one goes around and says, "Boy, the quality of goods are so much better now than 40 years ago." They don't say that because the quality of everything from pants to hamburgers has gone to hell as companies care less about people and quality and more about profit.

Your entire argument is based on the false premise that our schools are failing, which they are not. Lawrence has excellent schools.

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

I didn't say competition never raises quality, I said it generally does not. You have debunked nothing. So ma

The "economics profession" does not have some universal belief that competition would improve public schools. That is bull. More importantly, educators know education best, not economists.

You cannot demonstrate any evidence to support your false premise that competition would improve educational outcomes for students. You certainly can't show any evidence of this sort coming from an economist, the people you claim are united in their belief in your proposition . You are wrong, don't know education, and have a huge chip on your shoulder toward anything to do with public education (despite the fact that you obviously benefited from public education yourself).

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

There are no "benefits of market competition' for public education. Competition when profit is the bottom line generally lowers quality rather than raises it. The profit becomes the goal and the product quality doesn't matter as much. If everyone offers the same fairly low quality, then people will still pay for it. Then true quality becomes much more expensive. In your world, only the rich could afford a quality education.

Children are not products. The quality of their education cannot be lowered to maximize profit. Schools are not businesses, nor should they be. The emphasis, the goal MUST be to turn out a well-educated child. Competition will not achieve that. It does not tend to raise quality in the market place and it won't in schools. No one goes around and says, "Boy, the quality of goods are so much better now than 40 years ago." They don't say that because the quality of everything from pants to hamburgers has gone to hell as companies care less about people and quality and more about profit.

Your entire argument is based on the false premise that our schools are failing, which they are not. Lawrence has excellent schools.

Bob Forer 4 years, 7 months ago

:The point is that profit and loss are the best way to measure whether your hard work is doing any good"

Wow, aren't we brilliant today, Watson. So I guess that means that the big oil companies get double helpings of smiley faces and multi--colored foil stars on their homework in recognition for their record profit.

If there were a market for teaching economics to pre-kindergarten students, you might have a job.

Your inane drivel made me spit up my coffee in laughter.

Keep it coming, Pilgrim. I love to laugh.

Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago

I can't decide whether your childlike faith in markets is precious or pitiful.


You don't push your religion on me and I won't push my religion on you, agreed?

Please keep your commentary focused on facts. I suggest a refresher course on prerequisites for market efficiency with a focus on factors for market failure including limitations on buyers and sellers, the problem with identifying the consumer of the service, limits to factor mobility, necessary exit barriers, necessary entrance barriers, imperfect information (particularly for buyers), the difficulty in defining a time horizon for measuring profit, heterogeneity of services, constraints to returns to scale.

At some point you need to leave the Introduction class behind and develop an awareness of the limitations of the profession. There is no credible economist who doesn't realize that education is one of many fields where markets cannot work efficiently (not that economics doesn't offer many useful insights!).

pace 4 years, 7 months ago

Good letter, addresses the truth about the work and the people doing it. It is good to measure effort but of course it is not something that can be measured by puny imitation yard sticks. Leaning is not measured by the same economics as how many hot dogs were sold at the game. Thank you for the work and dedication. The small success, as when the child learns to learn may not fully flower until the child is a grown man or woman but must of us can mark those teachers who helped that formation. I watch as the economic masterminds spend our wad on the economics of factory sized grade schools. I believe the saving is in small class rooms and more support for teachers.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 7 months ago

During economic recovery and upswings as the Reagan years, and yes Clinton's time business large and small looked for teachers to hire.

Ms Green's letter demonstrates why it's easy for teachers to change careers.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

You go Patti Green!!!!

Where in the world do people get the idea that public school teachers only work for a few months out of a year?

Are these people not paying attention?

As for their pay? It is my understanding they can get it all over a "9 month" period or choose to stretch it out over 12 months.

How many professions do any of us know of whereby employees feel obligated to spend their own money for materials? Simply because it might be best for public school students.

Frankly public school teachers are abused by the pay scale.

Teacher Salary Support http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

Abdu Omar 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes they can stretch it to a 12 month salary. But let's look at that: Say the teacher is a first year teacher and he is offered a contract at $22100 per year: In a 9 month scenario that is $2, 456 per month before taxes and other deductions but the summer months equal absolutely nothing in salary.

But on a 12 month scenario, look at the difference: $1,842 per month before taxes.

I stopped teaching in the Wichita, Kansas school district in 1978. I loved my job and was pretty successful. Students enjoyed my classes and I think they learned a lot. To entice me to stay, the principal offered me a merit raise of $150 to stay above the $7,856 I was to earn that year. I had a Master's Degree and 12 years experience in teaching. Not to mention that I had to feed a family of 3 and had one on the way. It was tough and it was only because I loved the students and my job that I taught12 years.

I didn't know what kind of job I would get when I left teaching, but landed a $25000 a year job in banking and I stayed there a long time. Did you notice, I made more then in Banking than a first year teacher makes today??

imastinker 4 years, 7 months ago

That's a pretty low salary for a teacher. My sister is a first year teacher making substantially more than that.

There's a lot of teachers making over 60k/year though. IIRC, Joco pays around 80k at the top end of the scale.

4 years, 7 months ago

I agree, it is extremely low, but I can corroborate wounded_soldiers statement.

My mother was a first year teacher in the mid-1980's and made ~$7000 at a private school in Missouri. Shortly after that, she switched to the public schools in a nearby small town with a lavish salary of $18,000. She made that only because the Missouri legislature mandated it and then made up the difference that the local district would not.

For my mom's students, that was a great investment for the state to make. I have never seen someone work as hard or as passionately as she did. It ultimately led to her becoming a professor and teaching new teachers how to be just as passionate about their students.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 7 months ago

Guys, I got a Masters Degree in 1975 and interviewed 11 or 12 times for jobs that paid substantially less than the $7800 I was offered in Wichita. In 1975, that was terrible. But, the best teaching job I ever had. go figure!!!

hmati 4 years, 7 months ago

It is disapppointing to come on here and read comments that just throw numbers or facts out without research behind them. Very few districts anywhere in this region even pass $60,000 at the top of their pay schedule and the ones that do are with a doctorate and many years of experience. $74,016 is copied and pasted directly off of the Blue Valley School District certified pay schedule - of course this is in Blue Valley, one of the highest paying school districts anywhere in our region. This is also with 27 years of experience and a doctorate degree.....know alot of public school teachers earning doctorates? Is the education industry respected enough that someone would go out and earn a doctorate and continue teaching at the public school level? Professional educators do continue to educate themselves, most do quite a bit of professional development, both in their districts and on their own. But I don't know many that pursue a doctorate degree and continue to teach public school.

As you browse district websites, you see very few teachers with both 25+ years of experience and a doctorate. There are several reasons for this..... 1 - Because a doctorate is extremely expensive (many teachers can't afford it for the payoff) 2 - Earning a doctorate is time consuming (most teachers work much more than people say, have families, second jobs, etc.....and don't have time for this type of academic work) 3- Like most professions, teachers that pursue a doctorate have another level of work in mind and probably want to earn what they are worth, having achieved this level of education. 4 - Sadly, there is absolutely no more or less respect to a teacher that has achieved this in the public school industy. 5 - Once you retire a few years later from your now 30+ years of experience, if you would like to reenter the work force, no district in it's right mind will hire you because of the pay they would have to give instead of pulling a brand new teacher in for $38,583 (BVSD) I'm not saying that teachers cannot eventually make decent money with years of experience and further education, but it is unrealistic to throw around the figures $60,00 - $80,000 as a paycheck for a teacher anywhere in this region.

For the sake of comparison - another regional example - Topeka public schools - First year - $35,040 and a step T with a doctorate - $56,140 with no further increase unless the entire scale is changed. If you get a doctorate, go work for Blue Valley or move on to something else!

A final, comparison, probably the most realistic for the largest population of teachers in this area comes from the Lawrence public schools website.......this scenerio is a teacher working with 10 - 12 years of experience and earning a masters degree and working for an average paying school district - $44,780. The top of their payscale stops at $58,830 with all experience and a doctorate.

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

NO WAY. In the Lawrence schools with a Masters degree and 20+ years experience you still don't break 50k . Your info is just wrong consumer1

hmati 4 years, 7 months ago

I have tried multiple times today to post research on local and regional salaries but each time I have been given a "programming error" and my posts have not shown up. Thank you kugrad for confirming my thoughts on salary. $58,000 anywhere in this region except Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley (where it is closer to the middle) is very high on the payscale with nearly 20+ years of experience and a Masters plus additional graduate credit. It is only on some payscales with a Doctorate. Lawrence is in this category - http://www.usd497.org/Employment/071648D3-00870B4E.2/2010-11%20Master%20Agreement.pdf - Appendix B. Bashor Linwood and Shawnee Heights are similiar to Lawrence, they only pay $58,000 at the very top. Some don't ever get to $58,000. Topeka Public School's salary stops at $56,140. http://documents.topekapublicschools.net/hr/employment/TeacherSalarySchedule.pdf Baldwin is also in this category. I don't like to argue about this subject in terms of what teachers do and don't do.....it gets old and tiresome to always be defending a vocation choice to people who have never set a foot in a classroom and have no idea. However, when someone is throwing out fiction as fact and impressing others to believe it and pass it on (local teachers make $58,000, some teachers make $60,000-$80,000) I like to try to offer up some facts. Teacher salary is readily available online for many surrounding districts....check it out before you quote salaries as a fact.

Rich Noever 4 years, 7 months ago

I believe you are right in saying teachers do have a full time job. I will have to say the product are education is putting out is, for the most part, not very competitive because the teacher are under the thumb of the Dept. of Ed. which shouldn't be.Their union doesn't help them either.

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

The union, although a favorite target of pundits, politicians, and the media, has very little to do with student performance other than a few positives (scholarships, providing innovation grants to teachers to try new things). There is nothing they do that would have a negative impact on learning.

By the way, teacher firings in unionized states in the USA are twice as frequent as in non-unionized states. So it is a myth that the union protects poor teachers. However, I'm beginning to suspect this might not be true in places like NYC, but it is certainly true here.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Many in the private sector don't actually do much and are worthless deadweights that should be paid less. Many in the private sector sit at a desk and check their eBay auctions instead of being productive. Many in the private sector don't have unfunded continuing ed and masters degrees they need to obtain on top of their work day. Many over-generalize without citing statistics, because their argument sounds truthier that way.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Hi, sarcasm, have you met consumer1? Consumer1, this is sarcasm. It's soooo glad to meet you.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh I'm already well acquainted with truth, thanks. I find truth doesn't like to hang out much on the Internet, though. Why? Is truth here somewhere?

number3of5 4 years, 7 months ago

As the old saying goes, "walk a mile in their shoes". In other words make sure you know all the facts before opening your mouth to speak. And please don't lump everyone into the same box, each and every teacher is different as each and every one of you are different.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

"The typical teaching contract is for 184-187 days per year. At the high side, for an 8 hour day, that's less than 1500 hours per year. The standard work year for private sector employees is 2080--about 33% more. A teacher's $50K is equivilent to a non-teacher's $66K.

Certainly, some teachers are dedicated and spend more than 8 hours a day (for their contract period) working (as do some non-teachers). Many teachers use the same lesson plans year, after year, after year. Many don't put forth effort beyond making an assignment, and sitting back, waiting to grade a paper. The great failure of the educational system is that it fails to recognize the difference between the two teachers and to compensate them accordingly. The lazy, lousy teacher will get the same step increases the excellent teacher gets."

How do you know all of this?

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

The problem (one problem, at least) with the idea of private market driven education is that it loses any sort of consistent national standards.

Also, consumers are notoriously fickle, and easily manipulated by advertising, and jump on the newest fad quite a bit.

So, education would become like clothing? Each year, there'd be a new fad, a new approach, something to appeal to the consumer mindset - sounds terrible to me.

I'd like to see consistent national standards that result in all children getting educated to some basic minimum standards (at least).

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

I'd think it would be like fad diets. Every year they'd trot out a few "not representative of typical results" examples to get parents all on board the latest edu-craze. We'd have the education equivalent of grapefruit diets, and then the next year they'd share the results that it was ineffective and unhealthy, but hey, there's this new Acai berry thing....

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Private schools are not held to any standards necessarily. No guarantees that a better education is the end product.

Public schools are a best bang for the tax buck.

Now if $20 million would have been spent on re rehabilitating our school buildings plus upgrades instead of sports projects ...hmmmmmmmm

tomatogrower 4 years, 7 months ago

I know I'm never going to convice those who seem to think they know more than the experts, like LO, but try reading the following. Schools can't be run like a business, unless you throw out those who you dont' want to deal with, because success for every student is something for which schools should strive, but isn't always possible. Businesses can't be run that way.


notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Awesome. I want to experiment on my kids with a school that could fail to educate them at all, has no legal accountability, and has the goal of charging me the most money possible!

Elaine Elliott 4 years, 7 months ago

I want to throw up when I read your posts.

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

Children have a right to have a better education than that deemed the "most profitable" by "the public." Children have rights, and one of these is to a free, quality public education.

The market is not the answer. The notion that the market will create a niche for every child is laughable. A lot of people can't even find clothes that fit their body shape, let alone a tailor made education program.

All of LO's arguments are predicated on the false presumption that public schools are ineffective in meeting the needs of children, which is false. He also claims public schools kill off innovation and creativity in children, which is false. In fact, well-educated children have the most creativity and are the most innovative. There are other alternatives for children besides public schools, so the nowhere to turn argument falls flat as well.

LO's argument works like this. Public schools are bad because I think so. Because they are public, everything they do is bad. Because they are public, the squash creativity and innovation. Because they are public, the teachers don't innovate (as though teachers only innovate when they compete? Ludicrous). If schools were privatized, the very act of privatizing would transform schools and suddenly the teachers who didn't innovate will and schools will open up all over the place with a wide range of unique curricula as diverse as the human population itself, meeting every child's unique needs yet excelling in a rigorous curriculum that makes the USA #1 in the world. Obviously, his vision is of a fantasy world. Where would all the wonderful teachers come from? In LO's world, either all the teachers would shed their public school shackles and suddenly become creative and free, or anyone could teach and a world class education would be provided by those with absolutely no training at all. Still a fantasy.

tomatogrower 4 years, 7 months ago

Who is whining? Maybe you should get a union and force the CEO of your company to compensate you properly, instead of getting million dollar bonuses. If a company can afford such huge bonuses, they can afford to pay their employees who make the company's success possible. Don't look for unemployment improving too soon. Companies love it, because employees are desperate for a job. But you just keep on being distracted by non issues while the real culprits run off with all the money.

Elaine Elliott 4 years, 7 months ago

And if you can...what? Become an investment banker? Because those are important. Or maybe become someone spouts off uneducated insults? That's right lesson plans NEVER have to change because you get the same exact kids every single year. You are so insightful. Teachers only do work 7 hours a day because they get there right as the first bell rings, in fact they are so lazy that some of the students have keys to the buildings in case they get there before the teachers do and that way they can lock up too because most teachers actually leave before school lets out (well only the teachers that aren't slow witted).

Scott Morgan 4 years, 7 months ago

Why are x teachers so highly regarded in the business world me amigo?

kugrad 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh really? Can you cite any evidence to show why people get into teaching? How many people can not only earn the teaching degree (often a Masters) and then pass the tests necessary to obtain a teaching certificate, yet be unemployable in a "real job" in the "real world?" In the real world lawrenceguy40, people who earn college degrees and can pass reading comprehension and mathematics tests compete very well and easily find employment.

You are just a troll blowing hot air with no evidence of any kind to support a single thing you say. The sad thing is that you appear to believe your own drivel.

parco814 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey, lawrenceguy40 can't be bothered with trivial activities like supporting his nincompoopery with evidence. Don't you know he's above that? Sound arguments are boring, the kinds of things that elitists put together for fun in their spare time away from oppressing the masses.

Patricia Green 4 years, 7 months ago

  1. The person the letter was written about always wanted to be a teacher.
  2. How many slow witted people do you know who are working full time and pursuing their master's?
  3. Most of us can clock out at the end of the work day and enjoy a nice evening at home not worrying about the job. Teachers must go home and prepare for the next day because everyday is a new challenge.
  4. A dedicated teacher does not use the same lessons year after year. They spend countless hours during the summer preparing new and exciting lessons for the next year.
    Do you really believe the chemistry lessons you learned 40 years ago are the same as the ones that are taught today?

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

I commend the teachers that work as professionals. I once more point out that not all do. We need to be able to reward the hard workers and to not reward those that don't. The collective system we have penalizes this teacher to the benefit of those who do not hold to her code.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Tell ya what. You come up with a 100% foolproof system that weeds out all inefficient private sector employees. I want absolutely no one complaining that their coworker doesn't pull their own weight. Nobody calling in with man flu. No unproductive hours spent checking personal email messages. Just pure efficiency and happy workers. Come up with that system in the private workplace, and I'm sure teachers would be happy to implement it in schools as well.

Otherwise, it just sounds like you're harping on a few isolated cases in order to punish the entire group.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

So you are happy with what we have and agree that superior performers should be paid no more than substandard performers?

I think you summarized what happens in both worlds. Unfortunately that is not what I meant and you know it. Performance is not a snapshot - it is over the long haul. And yes, I believe the private sector works that better. The public sector hardly works it at all.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, the public sector hardly works at all, which is why my unpaved street is riddled with crime and uncollected garbage, my house burned to the ground while the firemen stood around, my kids don't know how to read, and I just died from a combination of unsafe food and polluted tap water.

Now the proof you have that public education is any more riddled with incompetent workers than private education comes from where?

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

notanota (Eileen Dover) replies…

I think you need to reread what I wrote. My comment was about people management and not about competence. The vast majority of public workers are very competent. Let us stay on topic. There are some bad teachers. Under the current system they are rewarded along with the really good ones. I want to be able to distinguish. That is all!!!

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

The current system already allows for the elimination of bad teachers.

ilovelucy 4 years, 7 months ago

Wilbur and LG40: Classy comments. Just goes to show you that neither of you have stepped into a classroom since you left. Pathetic.

Joe Hyde 4 years, 7 months ago

I would hazard a guess that the people who hold negative or harsh comments toward teachers (including their salaries, hours of work, retirements, etc.) have never themselves taken a job that makes them personally responsible for conducting education or skills training classes on any subject. Because if they'd ever held such a job, even for a little while, they would understand that being a school teacher involves countless away-from-school tasks that can't simply be "turned off" like a radio knob when the ball game's over.

malehrman 4 years, 7 months ago

If teachers live such a lavish, comfortable life, why don't more people want to be teachers?

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

No doubt. I'm sure we could all just walk right in and get a teaching job right now for such easy hours and great pay and benefits.

pusscanthropus 4 years, 7 months ago

We are a declining civilization, in large part due to the dumbing down of America. These posts prove it.

pusscanthropus 4 years, 7 months ago

It's about the inability to think critically. It's about being able to understand and appreciate complexity.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Aha. Are you suggesting that complexity is being neglected in the name of simplicity?

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, the complexity of education is that it's not just the teachers who have the power and ability to make sure that their students are well educated.

Family income, level of education and involvement, social environments, etc. all affect whether or not a student becomes well educated.

But those who want to hold the teachers "accountable" seem to forget that part, as if there are no other factors involved.

Thus, simplifying a complex subject.

Don't get me wrong - I think we need to make sure that students get a decent education, and I want good teachers to thrive and not bad ones. But in order to do that, we need to address the other factors involved, mentioned above.

ferrislives 4 years, 7 months ago

Don't mind lawrenceguy40; he's a birther like his hero Trump!

parco814 4 years, 7 months ago

lawrenceguy40 makes Trump sound like John Stuart Mill or Albert Einstein.

spiderd 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for this amazing comment pusscan. It means absolutely nothing but yet I'm still somehow impressed.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 7 months ago

It is known, and is for this discussion assume Lawrence does pay lower than other area districts. Easily proved.

What also is generally acknowledged as fact, Lawrence is known as treating teachers poorly, but the district is outstanding.

Before we start ripping Eudora, Baldwin or Perry as dirt-water sucking scum, we may wish to check and see if our zipper is open on these points, especially the second.

kxdad 4 years, 7 months ago

I just finished reading all of these comments and felt like I needed to weigh in.

My wife has been a teacher in the Lawrence schools since 1995. I won't quote teacher salary statistics, but let me say that I've been doing the same job for the last 17 years (one that does not require a college degree) and I have always made more money than she has. She leaves every morning before I do and often gets home after I do, and I work 9 hours every day. I stopped trying to keep track of the amount of our money she spends every year buying materials. She spends countless days before and after the school year cleaning and preparing her classroom. Evenings grading papers, adjusting and/or revamping lesson plans, time spent on the phone with her teaching team, etc. etc. You want to talk about music programs, sports events, tutoring, conferences, meetings, responding to emails from parents? She worked hard over the course of 3 years to get her masters in order to inch up that pay scale, but the health insurance offered by LPS has risen so drastically over the last 5 years (not to mention the sharp DECREASE in coverage), it has completely eaten up any pay increase she's received. She stopped taking a full-time job over the summer a few years ago, but has continued to tutor to make a few extra bucks.

I will not argue with you that there are lazy teachers out there not doing the job to the best of their ability, just as is the case in any industry. But please stop berating the folks who actually care about what they do, who go that extra mile to educate every kid to the best of their ability every day. I can't speak for every teacher out there, but I know that my wife puts forth more effort in 9 months than most non-teachers do in 12 months. If you have such a problem with it, then I'd say feel free to take your kids out of the public school system and pay for their private schooling. Or maybe you should go ahead and quit your job and home-school your kids. Good luck with that.

notanota 4 years, 7 months ago

I think your superior knowledge of the free market and education system should have you rolling in dough by now, L_O.

kxdad 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not asking you to pay my wife's salary as well. If there are fewer students, there will be fewer teachers. Its that simple. If that happens, then let's all hope that the good teachers keep teaching and the bad teachers move on.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Why has the health insurance gone up so much?

According to their request, they're asking for $500 to go towards health insurance premiums, which suggests that those premiums are at least that much, and possibly more.

My wife gets very good insurance, including dental and vision, through her employer, for less money/month. And, I imagine it's a smaller group.

Brent Garner 4 years, 7 months ago

One of the problems with the public school system is the concept of tenure. Growing up there was a math teacher in our junior high who routinely came to school well inebriated. The standing gag was that his doctors were worried because the blood in his alcohol stream was getting low. This teacher was a disgrace but he could not be fired because he had tenure and the fight that would ensue over firing him was something the district did not want to have. So, he stayed. Parents would fight with the district to get their child out of his class he was such a poor teacher. But, tenure, and union threats, kept him in the classroom year after year after year when he should have been bounced out of there early on.

windex 4 years, 7 months ago

BG, I call BS. If your story is true, shame on your school's administrators who, according to you, couldn't be bothered to do their job. Teachers can absolutely be fired for cause, tenure or no, and your administrators failed to perform theirs. Why blame teachers for this?

weeslicket 4 years, 7 months ago

windex beat me to it. nicely done.

i'll add only this commentary: i've taught for quite some time, union thug that i may be; and i can tell you, that one thing i hate more than a lousy administrator, is a lousy teacher.

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