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Archive for Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hundreds of teachers show up at Statehouse to protest plan to repeal teacher tenure

April 5, 2014

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Teachers on Saturday wave `hello' as legislators leave the House chamber. The teachers were protesting a plan to repeal teacher tenure laws.

Teachers on Saturday wave `hello' as legislators leave the House chamber. The teachers were protesting a plan to repeal teacher tenure laws.

— Hundreds of teachers gathered Saturday in the Statehouse to let legislators know they opposed a proposal to repeal tenure for teachers as part of a new school finance plan.

Ginny Williamson, of Lawrence, who is an autism specialist with the Olathe school district, said reducing job protections for teachers wasn't fair.

"If you are an older teacher and possibly have a higher salary, you could be replaced with a younger teacher who doesn't have as high a salary," Williamson said.

David Petersen, a special education instructor with the Humboldt school district, was upset with the Legislature's proposal.

"I'm very frustrated that the members of the House and Senate think they can take away rights from us. No one is coming after their rights as a citizen. That's not what we do to people," he said.

Legislators were considering a $129 million school finance plan in the wake of a Kansas Supreme Court order that the state has failed to provide enough funding to poor districts.

Included in the plan was a Senate Republican leadership proposal to repeal the teacher tenure law, which gives teachers with three or more years in a district the right to administrative due process hearings before they can be fired or non-renewed for the following year.

Several blocks from the Statehouse, the Kansas National Education Association was holding its annual state representative meeting. When those at the meeting heard about the legislative proposal, they walked to the Statehouse to talk with legislators and urge them to reject the measure.

Laura Caillouet-Weiner, a second-grade teacher from Iola, said it was "deplorable" that some legislators were trying to tie the tenure issue to more funding for schools.

Claudean McKellips, a special education teacher at Lawrence High School, said, "If teachers feel like they are supported, we can turn around and support our kids better."

David Kirkbride, a KNEA official from Wichita, said before teachers had due process protections, they were fired for unfair reasons. He said a friend of his was fired when a school board member disagreed with the grade his friend had given the board member's daughter.

"A lot of shenanigans happened before," due process, he said.

Petersen, the Humboldt instructor, said school administrators already have the necessary authority to get rid of teachers who are not doing a good job.

Comments

Adam Kasson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Who cares??? The system is failing. Quit complaining. Everybody knows teachers salaries are very low and if you dont like that dont seek such a low salary job that doesnt pay anything. As far as tenure goes there is no guarantee that you can and probly will be replaced to pay somebody less. Happens everyday. Tx, az and all over america our friends from the south are coming over and stealing the honest mans wage of 25 an hr and working for 10 or less to do the same job. Welcome to america.....home of the brave. Land of the free.

Amy Varoli Elliott 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So you think this is fine? These jobs require at least a BA with most requiring a masters to even make enough to think of starting a family. I don't understand why they are under constant attack, they provide one of the most important jobs in the US, without a good basic education you have a population that is uneducated and easily fooled. Then again this works right into the hands of those with poor intentions, regardless of their political affiliation.

Julius Nolan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

But an uneducated and easily fooled voter is exactly what the GOTeaParty wants, Otherwise they'd be forced to earn an honest living and not be drawing Koch campaign contributions to live on.

Brian Hall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Last I knew, people don't become teachers for the money--they become teachers because that's what they want to do. They went into a profession knowing they would probably get paid less than what they are worth and treated badly by more people than your average worker. But just because that's been the norm for several decades now, doesn't mean it has to stay the same.

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The legislative system is failing. Leave the teachers alone. Teaching is about more than salaries. If you understood that, you would not write what you wrote here. Tenure is about more than being replaced. It's about being able to do a job knowing that if you are maligned by an administrator, you have a process in place to be heard. Getting rid of tenure would probably cost the state more because fired teachers would be suing districts.

Steve Miller 7 months, 2 weeks ago

You ought to care, their rights were taken away from them. One of these days you'll wake up.

Lee Henry 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Not a teacher...but this is the most stupid thing the Senate could ever do to our hard working low paid teachers....your going to pull the rug right out from under our seasoned teachers right when they are making a decent wage and letting some young kid fresh out of school come in and take over.....good luck with this...going to be hard to get kids to go to school to become teachers with this rule.....

Let's put term limits on our Senators and Representatives with no benefits and really save the State some money.....

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's not get carried away about how bad teachers have it with respect to pay. A brief search of several sites shows the mean elementary or secondary teacher pay in Lawrence, KS to be in the $44-46k range. Keep in mind the avg teacher contract typically requires 186 work days at 8 hrs per day. The typical full time job is considered 260 work days at 8 hrs per day. If one takes the mean teachers pay at $45k and converts it to a 260 work day it would be equal to $62,900 per year. For comparison the same sites report mean Lawrence, KS income of accountants at $57k, chemists at $58k and nurses at $62k. Teachers pay would appear consistent with other jobs that require a college degree. One has to keep in mind teachers work less days than other jobs. Before someone panics about continuing education requirements, other jobs have similar requirements. Teachers are important but so are nurses, accountants and chemists as well as countless other jobs that may or may not require a college degree.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Ah yes, the old "teachers are paid bunches by the hour" canard. I've known a lot of teachers, and I've never met a single one who only worked the hours specified on their contract. They do lesson planning, parent emailing, and paper grading during time that isn't "on the clock."

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

They signed a contract that specified how many days they are to work, how many hours per day they are to work, and that contract probably also spelled out that all their duties are able to be completed within the contracted hours. So if they didn't agree then complain to their rep that negotiated the contract or they shouldn't have signed their contract. Don't sign the contract then complain about how much you work "off the clock".

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Obviously you've never seen a teacher contract. Contracts do not spell out all their duties. And once you take away tenure and due process, teachers will have even more duties dumped on them. "Oh, you can do hall duty during your plan period? No? Well, goodbye." That's the kind of thing teachers will be subjected to.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You are quite wrong. I have seen teacher contracts. They are typically quite specific in spelling out what the job duties include. They are also quite detailed in spelling out how the contracted work time can be allotted as well as compensated. The contracts typically spell out that if a teacher is asked to perform a service outside their contracted service that teacher is to be compensated for that additional service either by additional pay at their current prorated rate or given an equal time off for the time required for the additional service. The contracts are quite detailed to protect both sides. Your example of being asked to cover hall duty or be fired is an issue that is clearly covered in the contracts regarding extra duties as well as termination guidelines. Simply put your example of a teacher being forced to give up their planning time without being compensated by given additional time off or additional salary would not be allowed by the contract. The school would be in violation of their contract for trying to terminate a teacher under such circumstance and would be at risk for wrongful termination lawsuit.

Your passionate example simply is not a realistic example of what would be allowed under typical contracts. Maybe you are the one that should spend a little more time reviewing a teachers contract.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not sure where you get this 260 days thing. Nobody gets any time off? My last job only required I work 220 days if I were to take all my compensated time off every year. And when I went home from that job? I went home.

Deb Stavin 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Teachers work far more hours than the ones spent in the classroom in front of students.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Not by their negotiated contract and that is all that matters. Their contract also has time built into the teachers 8 hour day for non-student duties such as lesson planning and grading.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's only "all that matters" if you're making a hollow argument.

There are plenty of salaried professions where it's expected that workers will show up and work beyond their scheduled hours, and people don't turn around and pretend like it's an hourly position and calculate what that person would earn if they worked 60 hours a week instead of 40.

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This conversation isn't really what the story is about. Teachers are not teaching just for money and definitely not for fame and glory. This story is about how legislators are not doing what the courts have mandated. They just need to fund schools. Teacher salaries are not a part of this and tenure definitely has no business being in discussions about finances.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's part of the repeated pattern of conservatives to devalue the teaching profession by pretending that teachers are well-paid slackers who work part time jobs.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The facts are what the facts are. Teachers typically work around 186 days per year. This is 74 days less than a typical full time employee. That is equivalent to approximately 15 weeks of work less than the typical full time employee. Those are simply facts. Their pay when calculated on a contracted hourly basis is very competitive with other college graduates such as accountants, chemists and nurses. I am not stating teachers are slackers or overpaid. I am not devaluing teachers. I am pointing out the fallacy that teachers are grossly underpaid. They are not underpaid compared to others with similar education backgrounds. The fact that they work 71.5% of the hours of what a typical full time employee works per year makes their yearly salary appear low until it is corrected for amount of time worked based on their contracts. So if you want to compare teachers salaries then you must compare apples to apples which many fail to do. Their pay per contract hour worked is quite respectable compared to others. If the teachers don't like the terms of their contract then they are free to renegotiate when their current contract expires.

Amy Varoli Elliott 7 months, 3 weeks ago

If you want to calculated their hourly pay like you keep trying too then you need to count the hours they work, not just your unrealistic 8 hour day that NO teacher works

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No, one uses the contract parameters they agreed to. The contract is the ruling document.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Your insistence on this "but the contract says" approach is disingenuous at best.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Once you sign a contract that is what rules.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Does the contract specify an hourly rate with standard rules for overtime pay?

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The contract states it is paying for 186 days at 8 hours per day. It spells out that any duties beyond those are paid and those rates are spelled out. The contract goes on to state that an "extended" contract is paid at a daily prorated daily rate from the standard contract.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

In other words, no. They are exempt employees paid by salary agreement. The contract specifies the time that they must be on campus but lists no overtime rate because they do not get overtime pay, even if they signed up for every single supplemental contract available. They are paid by salary. It is bad math to turn a salaried rate into an hourly one.

Seth Peterson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Once you sign a contract, that is what rules."

False.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Their pay isn't calculated on a contracted hourly basis, so your premise is faulty.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I doubt that. As soon as a contract specifies the number of work days and the number of work hours per day, it has made the salary at a calculated hourly rate. The contracts often specify that any additional services provided by the teachers are compensated at the prorated daily rate. The wording in each districts contracts may vary somewhat. Once the union wants number of work days and number of work hours per day specified, it is an hourly computation. Lewis Whitson below posts that he is a teacher and he agrees the recent contracts he has signed specifically spell out number of work days and hours. So that would argue against your claim James, too bad.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Of course you doubt that. You've doubled down on every aspect of your faulty premise. It doesn't make it less of a faulty premise or you any less wrong for buying into it. What the union says is that teachers work more hours than what their contract specifies and that it's incorrect to calculate it as an hourly wage. http://www.nea.org/home/12661.htm So that would argue against your claim, John. Too bad.

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Time? Oh, one hour? If teachers went by their contracts, they'd be fired for not doing their jobs.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The teachers agreed to the terms and signed the contracts. They have no one to blame but themselves if they don't like the terms.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Did they also write the terms with free reign and make absolutely no compromises? Are there no laws, no budgets, no industry norms? Do alternative jobs grow on trees and require absolutely no different training and experience? My guess is that there are a few more things to blame than "themselves" for a teacher's contract.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It is a collectively bargained contract. Both sides typically give on a few items in such a negotiation. These contracts are typical and not unique to teachers. This is something unions have pushed for and used effectively for years. So quit whining. The teachers are much better off with these collectively bargained contracts than without.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I absolutely agree that teachers are better off with their collectively bargained contracts. I'm glad you also like unions. So glad to hear it. Although they aren't of unlimited power, nor do they operate in a vacuum. I'm also pretty sure most teachers sign up for the job knowing they'll be working for hours that aren't listed on their contract.

However, I'm not going to pretend that teachers sit around working at a part time job for which they are compensated at comparable levels to other professions, because it's an apples and oranges comparison that ignores the realities of the profession.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Fine ignore the facts as you wish but the facts are what they are. Teachers on avg are paid an hourly rate consistent with other professions that require similar education.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

One irony award for you. The facts are indeed what the facts are. Teachers aren't paid an hourly rate. In order to come to your conclusion you have to ignore actual typical hours worked and inappropriately convert their salary from one method of compensation to another.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No you are simply ignoring the contracts. Fine don't believe me but a teacher, Lewis Whitson has agreed that the contracts specify number of hours per day and number of days. That makes it an hourly issue no matter what you want to claim. Go ahead keep ignoring the facts of the contract. You just look stupid by doing so.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not ignoring the contracts, John. You are. While conveniently pretending that it's all you're going by. They pay a salary. They don't pay an hourly rate. Lewis Whitson has agreed that they don't specify that tasks must be completed within contractual hours. That makes them salary contracts, no matter what you claim. Go ahead and keep ignoring the facts of the contract and see how it makes you look.

Seth Peterson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Teachers on avg are paid an hourly rate consistent with other professions that require similar education."

Again, false.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Those salaried positions you speak of do not typically spell out the exact number of work days and the exact number of work hours per day in the contract. Those items are specifically spelled out in the teachers contracts. Also it is common that the teacher contract will have a clause that states something similar to "the professional day for the teacher shall consist of all time necessary for full preparation and performance of the task or tasks for which the teacher has contracted". The contract also will spell out a work day length, typically eight hours. This means that according to the representatives of the teachers and the teachers themselves once they sign the contract that they agree that all their necessary functions should be able to be carried out within their 8 hour contracted day. If they can't get their work done in the 8 hour day then they should complain to their representatives that negotiated their contracts and or they shouldn't sign their contracts if they don't agree with what is contained in their contracts.

Since their contract spells out in specific terms how many days hey work, how many hours per day they work and that all their work can be completed within their contracted work hours then it is quite easy to compare their income to those working a typical full time job at 2080 hours per year.

You may not agree but they have a negotiated contract that spells out all the details so that is what matters. Therefore it is your argument that is hollow.

Amy Varoli Elliott 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Are you really this clueless? I think you need to actually talk to a few teachers, your arguements make it clear that you have no idea how the system works.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I have several close friends who are teachers. They all sign employment contracts that are quite specific in the terms of employment including outlining those items mentioned above. What matters is what is included in the contract they signed. You can disagree all you want but the contract will ultimately rule the day. Apparently you are "clueless" about collectively bargained contracts and the binding nature of those contracts on both parties. If the teacher's and their union did not like some aspect of the contract then they had ample opportunity to negotiate a change. Once the contract is signed the parties have given up their right to complain as both sides have agreed to the terms.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

He's willfully clueless. It's the best kind. Only sees what he wants to see. All he wants to see is the contract. Nothing else exists.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, Once you have a collectively bargained agreement that is all that matters in any disagreement or discussion. All this other stuff you claim is useless fluff until it is negotiated into the contract.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

They have a contract that specifies a salary and specifies a minimum number of hours. It doesn't pay them an hourly wage. It doesn't give them permission to stop working with incomplete tasks if they've exceeded the hours their contract specifies.

Your premise is still faulty, and your argument is still hollow.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I should clarify. It specifies the hours they have to be on campus. Teachers are exempt employees not subject to hourly pay rules.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It does not define the duty day as a minimum of 8 hours. It defines a duty day as 8 hours in duration. Big difference. If the contract said minimum I would agree with you but it doesn't say minimum. It defines the duty day as 8 hours. Not more. Not less.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It defines a rate of salary for the time they're contractually obligated to be on campus. They are exempt employees by law, not hourly employees.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

When one is dealing with a collectively bargained agreement all that exists is the contract. Anything not in the contract does not exist.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

When one is calculating an hourly pay rate, all job related hours are included, whether they're at home or in the office. That's the law. All hours count per FLSA. If you want to convert a salaried position into an hourly one, you need to include all job-related hours, on campus or off. It's disingenuous to claim that the extra hours don't exist just because they're not laid out in the contract.

Seth Peterson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"When one is dealing with a collectively bargained agreement all that exists is the contract. Anything not in the contract does not exist."

False.

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You are wrong about this. Negotiated agreements might have such information, but not contracts. Speak of something you know.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The contracts are for the teachers to work under the negotiated agreements. Otherwise there would be no reason for the negotiated agreements or the contracts. So in essence the negotiated agreement and the contract are linked together. The argument remains the same. The teachers through their representatives have agreed to the terms of employment including hours and days worked.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Your "negotiated agreement" is a contract. It is a legal document that is dated, has specific terms spelled out including effective dates, and has been signed by representatives of both involved parties. That legally would be a "contract".

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"school administrators already have the necessary authority to get rid of teachers who are not doing a good job."

Scott Burkhart 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"I'm very frustrated that the members of the House and Senate think they can take away rights from us."

Tenure is a right, now?

Doug Weston 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, it's a contractual right. Still, the person who said, "I'm very frustrated that the members of the House and Senate think they can take away rights from us. No one is coming after their rights as a citizen. That's not what we do to people," was overstating the case because tenure isn't a right of citizenship.

Matthew Herbert 7 months, 3 weeks ago

John- Does your $46k average Lawrence teacher pay account for administration salaries as well? I ask, because as a teacher here in Lawrence with a masters degree (3 college degrees in total) and 9 years experience in the classroom I don't make anywhere near $46k. For your average to be correct, the "average" Lawrence teacher would need a masters degree and about 15 years experience. Having just paid my taxes, I believe my USD497 W-2 showed approximately $40k in salary. As to the hours we work/days, etc...I just sat down and figured this out so as to help out a young future teacher at KU who was inquiring. Last year, my post-taxes take home pay from teaching came out to approximately $12.72/hour. This post is in no way intended to complain about my pay; you see, I'm very aware of the consequences of my life choice. However, as a public you need to acknowledge that we are driving talented individuals out of the classroom everyday because of the economics of this profession. The classroom next to me will have its 4th teacher in 4 years next year, the last two of which have left to take non-education (higher paying) jobs. As a public, you can EITHER complain about the state of our public schools OR you can offer clearance rack professional salaries but you cannot do both.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Matthew according to the KansasOpenGov.org website you made a little more than $40k in 2013. You are listed as the 746th on the pay rankings that include administration. So at least 400+ teachers are paid more than you. If you look at the site there are many teachers making more than $60k per year. They are listed as teachers not special ed, administrators etc. The sites I used in listing avg teacher pay in Lawrence as approx $45k per year, claimed that was for elementary and secondary teachers only not counting administrators. Your yearly listed contracted salary when converted to a typical full time job would be equivalent to $58k per year. This is the figure that should be used when comparing your pay to other jobs. Then one can argue if the pay is fair or not. Like it or not your contract spells out how many work days you are paid for. Most likely somewhere around 186 days. Similarly your contract most likely spells out how many work hours per day there are. Most likely around 8 hours. Your contract also likely includes some phrasing about the contracted work hours/days cover all time needed to prepare and perform your contracted work. The fact you may work more than what your representatives negotiated in the last contract unfortunately don't really count as far as the contract is concerned. If one takes your salary and divides it by the total contracted work hours (186x8) one gets your hourly pay at $28.09 per hour. That hourly rate is competitive with the avg hourly rate of accountants, chemists, and nurses for example. Many who may also have a masters degree.

Teachers are important but so are accountants, nurses and chemists. It would be nice to pay everyone $100k per full time year but the market simply can't afford that now. Right or wrong it just can't.

The point I tried to make that most are missing is really quite simple. Teachers actively participated in the collective bargaining process. The terms of that agreement are quite specific regarding days/hours needed to fulfill their contract. The contract is the binding agreement. If it states you are to work 186 days at 8hours per day and that is adequate time to successfully complete your work, and the teachers union agreed to that wording and the teachers signed the contracts then those are the terms people have to live by. The fact a teacher may or may not put in time than what is in the current contract really doesn't matter. Teachers are free to negotiate to be paid for more hours than the current contract allows when the next contract is negotiated. But teachers can't both agree to the current language of their contract (which they have already done) and complain about spending more hours than what they contracted.

Shawn House 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't feel that teachers should have tenure. No other profession has this that I can think of. Even our elected officials don't get tenure. They may not have term limits, but they have to get enough votes at election time to keep their job.

Lewis Whitson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Shawn tenure was originally created so teachers could teach without having to worry about politics within a district. Today it has a connotation, mostly due to the NEA, that teachers cannot be fired.

The reality is, any teacher can be fired if they are being reviewed and monitored correctly by their administration. Teachers have due process to keep administrators and board members from firing them for personal or political reasons.

Taking both of these away, due process and tenure, literally means a teacher can be fired for personal vendettas by the board or administration - or simply because they are too old and are paid too much - or simply because Joe Smith is friends with Bob White and wants to give him a job in their district.

Lewis Whitson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You are right John. And as a teacher I agree we are able to negotiate what we want, salary, time, etc. But when it comes down to signing or not signing - 1) the State made it against the law for teachers to strike, 2) If we simply refuse to sign the contract, the district can threaten suit of the teacher for not giving notice (I am not sure of the date for certain, but I believe it is sometime in May, usually much before a negotiated agreement is even reached between the district and the negotiating team). I can't address all negotiated agreement, but the ones I've signed in the few years I've been teaching definitely specify duties, time, and days but I have yet to see any that elude to the fact that all of our "duties" should be done in the 8 hours/186 days of the contract. In fact, I don't disagree that we are paid comparatively for the time specified in contracts, but no good teacher's day ends with contract time. And if it did, the education system that is seen with such negative slants by some outside and even inside the profession, would be far worse off than it is today. Many of us don't want outrageous rages to the tune of $100K + and in fact many of us don't even ask that we have an average of $60K+, but we do believe we should be allowed raises enough to keep up with inflation (which some districts have not done in 6 years or more). The argument for me, anyway, isn't that we should be paid an outrageous or comparative amount to other professions, but it would be nice to know that we can negotiate for contracts without worrying, every single year, that our KS Legislature is going to go against our profession. I don't argue your point that there are other occupations that are important. But, how did all of these people (accountants, chemists, nurses) who are just as important as teachers get to where they are?

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Lewis I would be surprised if the contract somewhere in the fine print does not specify that the teachers duties are able to be completed within the contracted days/hours. If the contract bothers to specify the number of hours per day and total number of days as you say it does then the contract should either have some phrasing about the duties can be completed within the contracted hours or there would need to be a clause about overtime. Others such accountants, chemists and nurses have gotten where they are by supply and demand principles and in some occasions by collective bargaining. You may not have the right to strike in this state but you still have collective bargaining power which is weakened somewhat by being unable to strike.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Salaried employees don't get overtime. It doesn't matter how many hours they work. They generally also work more than the hours that they're contracted to work, and often they end up taking work home with them. This isn't some new pay arrangement. It's inappropriate to pretend that it's an hourly rate.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Salaried employees typically don't have a contract that spells out specifically the number of work days and most importantly their contracts typically don't specifically define the number of work hours per day.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Salaried teachers do. You further assumed that college educated professionals in other careers don't actually have any vacation, holiday, or sick pay. 260 hours? That's every workday all year long. So you're comparing teachers on the days scheduled vs everyone else on the days paid. Inappropriate math continues to be inappropriate.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not at all creepy that you're looking up poster's salaries and posting them here, John.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

He is the one that posted his salary. I checked it on a government website that is open to anyone to search that data. If you don't like it talk to the government.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You didn't check it on a government website, and it's a little sad that you don't know that. Fair point that his data is searchable and available from the government even if you didn't know that isn't where you went. My understanding is that digging up information on posters from non LJW sites was against TOS, but maybe they've changed their minds.

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Why shouldn't teachers receive somewhat substantial salaries:

for the years they spent in college

for the long teaching days,

for the time spent reviewing homework at home

for the long hours grading exams at home

for the time and money spent upgrading their credentials annually

for the commitment to teaching the children of the communities

for putting with the crap coming out of Topeka,Kansas. We know we do not want those folks in the classroom.

for the time spent dealing with children who refuse to do homework

Teacher wages are usually a forgotten subject in Kansas conversation. Better wages for teachers bring more tax dollars home to respective communities! More economic growth as well.

Teacher Salary Support
Would you favor a sales tax increase to provide more money for Lawrence teacher salaries?

Of 5,198 votes increasing teacher salaries 4,204 votes in favor of increased teacher salaries.

80% of 5198 votes said yes to a sales tax increase to support teaching salaries.

http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

According to data compile the average CEO pay at 327 of the nation's biggest companies reached $12.3 million when you include salaries, bonuses, perks, stock awards, stock options and other incentives.

It's the equivalent of a whopping $7,000 an hour - 350 times the typical worker's pay of $20 an hour, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

http://moneymorning.com/2013/04/19/ceo-pay-now-7000-an-hour-350-times-the-average-workers/

It seems to me the focus should be on obscene executive pay not on teachers pay.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Once again Richard, I am not against teachers receiving a fair salary. But to fairly compare their salary one must take into account their contracted work hours compared to other full time employees. If you bother to pay attention to the above which clearly you didn't, I point out that based on a typical teacher contract their hourly pay is consistent to other professions that require similar levels of education (accountants, chemists, and nurses). The simple fact is the teachers have collectively bargained a contract that states in general they work 71.5% as many hours as a typical full time employee. In general, teachers have agreed in their contracts that the contracted work days/hours are adequate to fulfill their contracted tasks. Those are the straight forward facts that matter. Emotional arguments that ignore the contracted issues like you put forth have no place in the argument. The teachers can renegotiate those issues when the contract is up.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Compare it to other salaried employees and include the typical hours worked. Then you'd have a point.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No James I have made the point quite clearly.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes you have, but not the point you thought you were making.

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sam Brownback is getting paid $47.91 per hour while destroying the economy and trying to kill public education. No to mention attacking the rights of women.

Sam Brownback is overpaid and over rated.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Like it or not Brownback has nothing to do with his pay. He did not collectively bargain his compensation package/benefits like the teachers did. But nice completely off topic comment that we all have come to expect from you Richard.

Cheryl Nelsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps this would be beneficial to some people writing here. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/22/you-think-you-know-what-teachers-do-right-wrong/?tid=pm_local_pop

The head line is "You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong." Good headline for you to note, John Graham.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the teachers and their union agreed to in the collectively bargained agreement. You can cry, plead or stamp your foot, the only things that matter are what are contained within the agreement the teachers signed. Perhaps most posting here would benefit from understanding what a collective bargaining agreement means, Cheryl Nelsen.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually, it does matter. You still have a faulty premise. You are trying to convert something to an hourly rate that isn't paid at an hourly rate. It would be like saying an outside salesman is only paid to work 5 hours a week because that's all his contract says he has to show up at the home office. Perhaps an understanding of "exempt" vs "nonexempt" pay would be worth your read.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

James when the contract specifically defines the duration of the work day (8 hours) and the number of work days (186) it is basic math to calculate the hourly rate. The contract does not state one is to work untold number of hours for their salary. The contract spells out very clearly their yearly salary is compensation for 186 days at 8 hours per day. It also clearly spells out that any duties beyond the standard duty is to be compensated and it spells out the compensation. I would buy your argument if there was no specific definition of how long the duty day or if the contract stated the duty day is a minimum of 8 hours which would indicate the duty day could be longer. But the contract specifically defines the duty day as 8 hours. Not more. Not less. While I might agree that a salesman's contract may specify 5 hours in the office per week, I am sure there will be language that specifies what duties are to be done beyond those five office hours. The contract in that case specifies what duties are to be done but does not define the length of the work day. Big difference. If the teacher contract specified only number of work days then you would have an argument because the number of hours per day is open. But since the teachers contract also is quite specific in the length of the duty day (8 hrs) the contract is not open ended with respect to time worked for the salary paid. Thus one has defined number of days and defined number of hours per day. The contract states the salary is compensation for that specific amount of time, not an open ended amount of time. Legally the contract is very specific, in actuality the time may be open ended but as far as the contract is concerned the time is very defined.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not basic math. Its bad math to calculate an hourly rate from a salaried position. The hourly rate listed on the contract for duties beyond the contract (that would presumably not require the extra prep work) does not support your premise. We've established that the hourly rate PER the contract works out to $43k per year, not the $63k you're pretending it to be.

Seth Peterson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"The only thing that matters is what the teachers and their union agreed to in the collectively bargained agreement. "

Again, false.

Lewis Whitson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually, We start negotiating them before the contract is up. Contracts for most districts are July 1 to June 30. But after May, we can't quit, less we get sued by the district for breaking the contract. And the state doesn't allow us to strike.

Negotiated agreements state the time we are to be in the school, in the classroom, instructional time, etc. Not many of them spell out that all of the duties of teaching are to be completed in the time period of the contract/agreement. If that were the case, we'd have several thousand more teachers than we do who do nothing at home related to teaching.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

As a retired teacher who actually negotiated contracts let me set Mr. Graham straight. Teaching is a professional salaried position. We have certain duties to fulfill, regardless of the amount of time that it takes us to do it. The negotiated days and hours are the times that we are required to be in the building working. You still must fulfill your duties of planning and grading, whether or not you do those during the day or at home in the evening or on weekends.

Plan time is a negotiated item. Some schools negotiate a certain amount every day, but most have a certain amount during the week. For example, for the last 3 years of my teaching career, I only had a plan time every other day. It fulfilled the weekly negotiated time, but every other day, I taught straight through with only a 20 minute lunch. Grading and planning on those days took place before and after school. I would not be filling my contractual duties, if I had just said, "Well, couldn't finish in an 8 hour day, so it just won't get done." It would have been grounds for dismissal, even with my due process. Would you expect a doctor to say "Well, I only have to work until 5:00. I guess I can't finish your operation." Teaching is a profession.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Here is a negotiated agreement that supports my statements made above. Certainly all contracts may vary somewhat from district to district. I did not specify that my statements applied strictly to Douglas county. So while you may be correct in Douglas county, Dorothy your setting me straight does not apply to all districts. http://www.kansasopengov.org/Portals/20/teachers_negotiated_agreement%20KCK.pdf

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Interesting. That contract lists an hourly rate for services outside the contract. $20.72 per hour for supervising a full class, teaching homebound students, teaching driver's ed, etc. There's finally an hourly rate listed, which would finally give you a number you can appropriately convert to an equivalent "full time" wage.

... and It turns out to be $43,098 per year.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The Douglas County Master Agreement pays $21 per hour for professional activities outside those of the contracted duty day. That translates to $43,680 per year. The Master Agreement clearly specifies the work year as 186 days for a returning teacher. It also defines the duty day as 8 hours long. There is no mention of any expectations of regular work to be done without compensation outside of the contracted duty day. The legal concept is if it isn't in the contract it doesn't exist.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

That's the rate for substitute pay too, right? Short term substitutes would not have to do the prep work or grading that full time teachers do, so I've no qualms with you using that as the equivalent hourly wage. That makes it $43,680 per year, which is still less than the rate of the other professions you listed earlier as having equivalent pay.

As for the contracts - other posters were pointing out that it specified only the time teachers were required to be on the school grounds and present, not the actual time spent on the tasks.

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Contracts work on the concept that what isn't included doesn't exist. The days worked are specified. The length of the work day is specified. Not vague but specific at 8 hours. Not more. Not less. There is no mention of taking any work home. So while that may happen it does not exist based on the contract.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It doesn't change the fact that converting an exempt employee's salary to an hourly rate is an inaccurate comparison. You concede that they work additional uncompensated hours in order to retain their positions but maintain that they don't count when comparing them to other professions that do not have that constraint.

If you insist we stick to the contract, the contract does list an hourly rate. It just doesn't support your conclusion.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I didn't teach in Douglas county, but I do live here. I was hired to be a Spanish teacher and to do all those things that would teach my students to communicate in Spanish. My duty days and hours were when I was required to be in the building. If I had only done work in those given hours, I would not have fulfilled my duties as a teacher. I would have been the horrible teacher about whom you all like to complain. All teachers know this. The first thing in any teaching contract says what your contractual duties entail. That is your teaching position. The extra duty pay is for those things you can sign up to do throughout the year. Anything that is permanent or extra, like coaching, music concerts, etc. usually will have a supplemental contract for those people. But we are not hourly employees. We are salaried professionals. You must perform your teaching duties to fulfill your contract no matter how many hours it takes, just like a doctor or lawyer. A lawyer may have office hours 9-5, but most of them work beyond that. I couldn't say, "Sorry, I need to grade these papers, so you'll have to send these students home, until I am done."

John Graham 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Clearly Dorothy you did read the agreement I linked above to an example teacher contract. That contract specifically states that the professional day of 8 hours includes all time necessary to prepare and perform the contracted tasks of a teacher. That contract is very specific. The Douglas county master agreement specifically defines a work day as 8 hours. There is no mention of any work expected outside of that time frame. As far as a contract is concerned is if it isn't included it doesn't exist. So whether in actuality some teachers take work home or not is not an issue of concern for the contract. The contract is very specific that it is paying only for 186 days at 8 hours. From a contractual stand point that allows one to calculate hourly pay. Since home work does not exist in the contract it doesn't exist as far as figuring into pay rate. It does not mean anything with respect to whether or not a teacher is a professional.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Teachers understand that they are never going to be paid what they are worth. They never have in the United States, and probably never will. But one of the things they have had is due process. This means that there has to be a reason to fire someone. Schools have evaluation cycles, and the principals are suppose to be observing teachers to see if they are doing a good job. They then give them an evaluation. If the principal gives a bad teacher a good evaluation or even an ok evaluation, then it's the principal's fault for not doing his/her job. There are ways of getting rid of truly bad teachers. Now, in most cases without due process, things will probably go on as they have, unless you have a petty, nasty principal, superintendent, or school board member. Is it ok to fire a teacher who gives a detention to a principal's son for not following the rules? Is it ok for a school board member to fire a teacher, because their child copied and pasted their report from the internet and earned a zero on a major assignment? Is it ok for the history teacher who coaches football to be fired, because they aren't winning games or they aren't playing the superintendent's son enough? Getting rid of due process is a slap in the face of teachers.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Nope, they're not going to be paid what they're worth, but ironically someone in a generally overpaid profession is here to tell you that they're all paid just fine.

Steve King 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Guys, you have to quit feeding him. He's a plant.

James Howlette 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Nah. He's just a stubborn man that only believes things that reinforce his worldview and gets himself entrenched into logical traps from which he cannot escape. In his mind, teachers are adequately compensated, so he only believes the faulty math that supports that view. If he'd done his calculations with a little more rigor, I suspect he'd have found teachers are better compensated than the annual salary leads you to believe but not as well compensated as the other professions he was trying to use for comparison.

Certainly compensation isn't the reason teachers take up the profession, but pretending like their pay is equitable is just disingenuous.

Thomas Bryce 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Only 15 posts left out of over a Hundred. What message is being sent here and by whom?And don't bother replying to this post . You can't. Only New Posts show up.

Thomas Bryce 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Alma Bahman, Digital Editor of The World Co. Contacted me , Just now by Email, and said the Tech. Dept. is Testing a few things with the Comments. They Appreciate my Patience while they work on it.

Thomas Bryce 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, two days later and it looks like everything is Back to Normal. What was THAT all about?It would be great if they gave us an update on what was being tested besides Our Patience.

James Howlette 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Tested" my rear end. I've worked tech. They broke it and then couldn't figure out how to fix it.

Julius Nolan 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly, the entire top level of IT dept, starting with Bahman should be fired. If not for incompetence, for sheer stupidity.

Steve Miller 7 months, 2 weeks ago

All of you need to pay attention to what government and the POS politicians are doing to you and america. Just this past week my spouse that worked for 27+ years with a spotless work record was " fired at will" for no given reason. No protection what so ever. Plus you all are missing the point, the pay is the issue here, he wants you to be distracted on the root issue. The root issues is to get rid of tenure so he / they can fire "at will" with no reason. Thats why Browny signed the bill , to get rid of tenure. Corporate and heads of businesses do not answer to anyone. They can flush someones carrer via "at will discharge" . It's cases like this that show examples of how your rights are being erodded away by corporate and the POS politicans, so slow you don't even know the difference , until you wake up one day and it effects you . Sad day . I guess if they had a concious they would not sleep well at night, or woudl they HUmmmmm ... What really needs to happen is for hundreds show up and vote these peolpe out of office. Well i guess all that would do would be to make room for the next generation of crooks , LOL ,,,

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