What teachers make

Teacher salaries are slipping compared to pay in comparable professions, says a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

. . . A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.

Teachers have better health and pension benefits, but less overtime pay and fewer bonuses.

Comparing weekly pay is supposed to eliminate the fact that teachers work fewer weeks per year than other professionals, but some teachers ask to be paid on a 52-week calendar, so their income doesn’t drop to zero in the summer. That may throw off the data.

Nationmaster, which offers all sorts of international comparisons, ranks the U.S. fifth in the world for primary teachers’ pay with a 1999 average of $25,707. I have to wonder about some of the reported salaries. Do the Czechs and Hungarians really pay teachers that little? It seems implausible.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Jeffrey Boulier says:

    Sounds perfectly plausible to me. Those numbers are not far off from average wages — remember that Eastern Europe is still digging its way out from forty years of communism.

    Of course, cost of living is much lower. $6000 in Hungary will buy you a lot more than $6000 in New York.

  2. Mike in Texas says:

    From the story “Although teachers have somewhat better health and pension benefits than do other professionals”

    I don’t know how they arrived at this conclusion.
    The politicians in Texas were kind enough to give Texas teachers a health plan benefit and to pay for it to the tune of $230 a month. The only problem? It has a $15, 000 deductible.

  3. I compare teachers salaries at http://www.salary.com to that of other professionals in the area. They seem to rate best against other government workers with similar levels of education. It distracts from the struggle of other employees. At least the last time I checked, aides, social workers, clerical workers etc were pretty lean.

    Everyone’s salary is going down these days. I expect the trend will continue because the world is a global village. We should be concern about the impact of low salaries in other countries on the US to insure the transition is smooth. Lots of administrators would be glad to fund programs for foreign teachers.

  4. If paying teachers more is a way to improve the education system does that mean we’ll have to get rid of the current crop of lousy teachers, willing as they are to work for such poor pay, or are the current bunch of teachers refusing to be as effective as they could be because they aren’t being paid enough?

    Another possible outcome of raising teachers pay is that the education system will actually become less effective.

    The lousy teachers will have even greater incentive to hang onto their jobs meaning there would be fewer openings for the new, better teachers attracted by the higher salaries. And since teacher quality is a given, how will we seperate the new but lousy teachers attracted by higher salaries from the new but competent teachers, attracted by higher salaries?

  5. Hummm, Allen, I can’t agree with that remark about the current crop of lousy teachers. The great majority of the thousand or so teachers I have known in my career have been quite good and really give it their best.
    Don’t fixate on the few that any profession has that drags down the image of the whole group. This is true of postal employees, cab drivers and doctors.
    As for being effective or not, it is a whole lot easier on a teacher to be effective than not effective. A good engaging lesson makes for a trouble free class. A dull lesson invites all kinds of problems, making for a very long long class.
    atlas

  6. From the article:

    “A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, …”

    Comparable to accountants, registered nurses, and computer programmers…? I’ve heard this fantasy comparison before – even compared to engineers. In the real world, supply and demand determines salaries and this is tied to skill level and expertise. Teachers argue that they (not all) put in extra hours at home, so one can’t compare based on just the time in school. This doesn’t mean much to accountants, registered nurses and computer programmers. It is a rare case where one of these jobs is strictly limited to 40 hours a week. The usual standard week is 45 – 50 hours – uncompensated over 40 hours a week, of course. (Professionals don’t count hours.) A programming project I was on averaged a true 70 hours a week for six months with no additional compensation. For one project, everyone in my wife’s group worked 60 hour weeks for months, had to be “on-call” all of the time, and in the end weeks couldn’t be more than 30 minutes away from the plant. (They brought in cots.) It is not uncommon for her (in a different company!) to work 24 hours straight – uncompensated, of course. This is all year long, with 2, 3, or if you are able to stay with a company for a long time, maybe 4 weeks of vacation. (Note that when people in the real world change jobs – which is often these days – they usually get set back to 2 weeks vacation.) Just ask any of these professionals how much they would like having their jobs, pro-rate their salaries and only work 180 days a year.

    I haven’t even begun to talk about job expectations and stress. I taught college math and computer science full time for a number of years and I can tell you that there is no comparison. An interesting benefit of teaching is that many “problems” go away at the end of each semester or year and you get to start fresh. That isn’t true out in industry.

    If teachers really want to know what they are worth in the marketplace, then eliminate the unions. I say that this would actually be good for the better teachers – better pay and no seniority bumping. If you don’t like a particular job, then do what the rest of us do – find another. Freedom from union control could be quite liberating.

  7. You worked 70 hours a week for six months and no additional compensation? I’m curious as to why you would do something like that. Not being sarcastic, I really would like to know.

  8. mike from oregon says:

    Well, each area has it’s own. In the Portland Public School district the district (read that the tax payers) pay over $900 a month for the teacher’s health plan, the teachers pay nothing. Needless to say, the plan is extravigant and is a thorn in the side of the public. The teachers and district are in contract negotiations presently. The district is insisting that the teachers start picking up some of the health plan costs, the teachers (obviously) don’t want to pick up any of it (and, of course, want a raise as well). Last time the two sides came together (three years ago) the district blinked, the county passed the only county income tax west of the mississippi and the teachers got their way. There is a measure to repeal that income tax this election and new contract talks are under way, hopefully it will all turn out well. My definition of well may differ from yours.

  9. By the way, the person in the district who is all for the higher salaries and the best health benefits is—guess who, not only the teachers but the director of personnel. A good health plan gets you the choicest applicants and lots of them. It works.
    atlas

  10. atlas wrote:

    I can’t agree with that remark about the current crop of lousy teachers. The great majority of the thousand or so teachers I have known in my career have been quite good and really give it their best.

    Who’s talking about the “great majority” of teachers? I’m just talking (writing) about the implications of the assumption that raising teacher’s pay will result in better education.

    Either teacher’s are currently doing a less-then-optimal job, presumably because of poor pay or we’ve had to settle for lousier teachers, people who’d work for lower pay, in which case we’ll have to can these bums and hire their only-willing-to-work-for-more-money replacements.

    So which one is it, atlas? Good teachers who are dogging it or lousy teachers who’ll have to be replaced with better, higher-paid teachers?

  11. Allen, baby boomer teachers are retiring, including the last of the generation of women who faced restricted career choices when they were 22. The question is what combination of salaries, benefits and working conditions will attract intelligent people with other career possibilities to enter the teaching profession and stick with it.

    Often people who work 70 hours a week for months with no extra pay can hope they’ll be rewarded in the future as their company’s stock goes up. That doesn’t happen in teaching.

  12. Allen, are you saying that there two kinds of teachers: Good ones who are dogging it and lousy teachers? That just ain’t so. The great majority of teachers are proud of what they do and give it their best. They are the most selfless people I know.

    And yes, better salaries attract better teachers. Our district typically gets at least fifty good applicants for every job opening.

  13. I’m with Steve and Allen.

    I take personal offense at people who majored in education thinking their skills are anywhere near comparable to mine (aerospace engineering). Most teachers can’t explain their way out of a paper bag. The Ed-curriculum focuses on crowd control techniques, and not on intelligence theories or even any substantive topics about which they can gain expertise so that they know something to teach!

    With few exceptions, the good ones leave.

    When I was in 6th grade, I challenged a teacher about the socialist crap we were being fed. Perhaps it was the budding controls engineer in me, but I demanded to know how more money for teachers would be able to put one more iota of information into the noggins of kids. The teacher could not formulate a response.

    Any system of “job security” decreases productivity. Moreover, metrics encourage results that are consistent with the metrics, and not necessarily with what’s important.

    Why, do you suppose, unions fight so hard to keep shops closed? Is it because the represented workers’ skills are so rare? NO. It’s because the skill set required is so LOW that there is fear that a free-market response would send wages through the floor, but the product is important enough that the management is willing to pay to keep it from being disrupted. This explains why autmomtive line-workers and teachers are unionized but engineers, lawyers,accountants, and doctors are (for the most part) NOT.

    Let’s put it like this… If you find that the skills that a teacher brings to the table are fetching incomes in any way comparable with the wages earned by engineers (or lawyers, or doctors, or accountants, etc.) then the teachers are being vastly overpayed.

    Here’s a question… Why are we concerned about what teachers earn? If they were doing a good job, they would be making a mint. We should be talking about kids and techniquest that are effective at helping them learn. Teacher pay is irrelevant to any effective technique.

  14. Mike in Texas says:

    >Most teachers can’t explain their way out of a paper bag.

    This post just goes to show what’s wrong with the education reform movement, everybody THINKS they know what goes on when they don’t know JACK. And you know what they say about opinions.

    So you’re an aerospace engineer, big whoop. What has the aerospace industry done lately? With the exeception of Burt Rutan there hasn’t been any original designs come out of the aerospace industry in 30 years. Everything lately has just been a rehash of older designs. If you want to see how hard it is to design an aircraft go to http://www.spadtothebone.com. Funny how the P51 Mustang could be designed and built in less than a year while Bronson and company have supercomputers to help them and it takes them 5 years to just design one. But yet HE claims teachers are ineffective.

    Anytime you want to find out how low the skill set is in teaching drop by my school and I’ll let you teach some hands on Science activities. I’ve got some 7 year olds who would chew you up and spit you out.

  15. $116 = 12.2%
    100% = $950.82/week
    $950.82 * 87.8% = $834.82/Week
    * 52 weeks = $43,410.64/Year

    So where does that fit in with the $25,707 figure.

    And as far as the hourly disadvantage goes, many of the professions listed are at least sometimes salaried.

  16. Steve LaBonne says:

    MiT, that’s at least the second time you’ve made that kind of claim, and I’m afraid you’re delusional. I’ve led science activities based on my own current field of employment (which is rather trendy these days, so I get asked) for my daughter’s classes, at that age and later (she’s now in 7th grade), with great success. I’m quite sure Bronson could too. I respect what you do for a living but you vastly underestimate the number of people- including many who are much better educated than you (as I guarantee you that I am)- who could do it as well or better.

    I have respect for a number of the teachers my daughter has had, but I would not classify a single one of them as highly intelligent or highly educated by the standards of real professionals in more intellectually challenging fields. Yes, the better ones have other fine qualities that _partly_ compensate for this.

    And by the way, like one of the other respondents above, I have taught for a living (in a small liberal arts college- no cushy, light teaching load with TA’s to do the real work, as in research universities). I concur that it is less demanding than a lot of real-world professional work- and college teaching, which in upper-division classes must come fairly close to the frontiers of the discipline, is quite a bit more, not less, challenging in its genuinely professional aspects (i.e. aside from crowd control) than K-12 teaching. (If I had to, I could happily enough teach high school science in a _private_ school, where I didn’t have to answer to a moronic, ed-school-“trained” bureaucracy.)

    Hey, if you feel so underpaid and underappreciated, yet you think you have the wherewithal to compete with professionals who have _real_ graduate degrees, feel free to find yourself a better-paying job. If you can.

  17. Joanne wrote

    Allen, baby boomer teachers are retiring…

    I understand that Joanne but it’s old teachers who are retiring not bad teachers. How many decades will pass before the presumed greater selectivity allowed by higher pay will comb the bad teachers out of the profession?

    And about that greater selectivity…

    How’s that supposed to work if you can’t tell lousy teachers from good teachers during the hiring process and you can’t can lousy teachers after the hiring process?

    Higher pay certainly isn’t a way to discourage incompetents from applying for the job. It’s a means of accessing the more competent. But without some way of telling the one from the other all you’ll end up with is a somewhat more affluent population of teachers who are no better then the ones who went into retirement.

    atlas wrote:

    Allen, are you saying that there two kinds of teachers: Good ones who are dogging it and lousy teachers? That just ain’t so.

    No, what I’m saying is that if you really think the education system is going to be improved by raising teacher’s pay then, as far as I can see, there are only two possible reasons to think so.

    Either bad teachers will be tossed out on their arses, to be replaced with good teachers or the current population of teachers is entirely competent but unwilling to perform unless their pay improves. Which one is it?

    You’re free to offer a third explanation for the improvement in education that’ll result from increasing teacher’s salaries.

  18. umatac wrote:

    “You worked 70 hours a week for six months and no additional compensation? I’m curious as to why you would do something like that. Not being sarcastic, I really would like to know.”

    … Stupidity! Well, in hind sight anyway. The idea was that it was a new project that had great promise for follow-on work and if we did a good job, well, who knows? It was a fixed price project and the company told us in the end that they just broke even. I found out later they made 15 percent profit. This was 20 years ago and I learned my lesson. I found another job. Actually, that is when I started teaching.

    It might have been an extreme case, but the expectation of many overtime hours is common practice. I remember my first job when I was called in to talk with my boss near the end of the day. Quitting time came and went and it got to be near six. He finally looked at his watch and with mock surprise commented how late it was and asked whether I needed to get going. I got the message.

    The company that my wife used to work for was known as a “chew-um-up and spit-um-out” type of company. There were carrots of stock options, but they ended up worthless. There are no guarantees. I have seen people let go (not fired) where they bring them into the personnel office and then escort them to the door. Just like that. Life out in the real world can be very tough and stressful, even for professionals.

    My main point is that teachers should not expect a lot of sympathy over the hours they put in. Some people will laugh in their face. For my father, being a “professional” meant occasional overtime work and some business trips. Nowadays, uncompensated overtime all of the time is standard practice. Companies may have flex-time, but project deadlines have to be met no matter what. There is a great Dilbert cartoon where the women exclaims that if she doesn’t take her built up vacation time, she will lose it, but, if she does take her vacation time, she won’t meet her project deadlines. My wife has had that exact problem. Nobody does your work when you are gone. “Let’s see, if I get 50 (not counting hundreds of spam messages) emails a day and I am on vacation for 2 weeks, that’s … going to take a real long time to catch up.”

    Joanne wrote:

    “The question is what combination of salaries, benefits and working conditions will attract intelligent people with other career possibilities to enter the teaching profession and stick with it.”

    … My son’s pediatrician quit her job to teach chemistry in a private girl’s high school. She would have taught in public school, but there were too many hoops and requirements. She was not qualified! I think you would be very surprised how many professionals would be willing to teach if all of the onerous requirements were removed. (I also don’t think many of them would be too thrilled to have to join a union.) Money isn’t everything. I look fondly back on my teaching days.

    Other concerns professionals might have (for K-12) is that schools would have to eliminate social promotion and have the guts to remove disruptive students from the classroom. There is also the philosophical problem of the anti-skill and knowledge bias in grades K-8. For professionals like accountants, programmers and registered nurses, content knowledge and skills are paramount and form the basis for all “higher-order thinking”. I don’t think they would be very thrilled to become a facilitator for a fuzzy, developmentally-appropriate, heterogenrous, child-centered learning environment. Don’t focus only on getting good teachers with pay incentives or bonuses. There are many other important obstacles.

    There is a lot to be said for full vouchers to any school. This comes from someone who has always been a big supporter of public schools.

  19. Mad Scientist says:

    umatac:

    It is called “being a professional”. When a fresh-out-of-school BS level Chemical Engineer with no experience (I am not joking; check out either AIChE or ACS for recent salary surveys) can command a $55,000/year salary plus all the benefits, you are expected to do what it takes. I recently had to put in an 18 hour day after only getting 3 hours sleep because of a question that came up at midnight.

    Most engineers I know find this sort of OJT invaluable and a real supplement to their “book larning”. Plus, if you do it and don’t bitch and whine too much, you get to stay home and hove your reports handle that kind of crap.

  20. Mad Scientist says:

    Joanne, it is a commom misconception that most corporations give out stock and options to people much below the level of Director. At least this is true in the 4 different large corporations I worked in.

    Most of us put in the time because we love what we do. The rewards come through promotions, and if they are not forthcoming, there is always a better job for someone willing to go look for one.

    This is not always true of teachers, who may have real portability issues with their credentials if their spouse moves.

  21. >I have respect for a number of the teachers my daughter has had, but I would not classify a single one of them as highly intelligent or highly educated by the standards of real professionals in more intellectually challenging fields.

    So, like Bronson, you automatically assume that just because we choose to teach, we are a)not that intelligent as some people, say for example you and b) not as educated as you.

    >you think you have the wherewithal to compete with professionals who have _real_ graduate degrees

    Ahh, but I have two real degrees that I worked just as hard to get as any other professional.

    >I have respect for a number of the teachers my daughter has had.
    You don’t in the least. Your problem Steve is you are just as anti-teacher as Bronson is, throwing a blanket label of stupidity and incompetence upon all teachers based upon a few you have encountered. Substitute “black” for “teacher” and you’d be labeled a racist.

    You never mentioned what your “trendy” profession is but I can tell you that I take pride in doing job that is important and that will make a difference in this world. I will not have spent my life pushing papers or filing meaningless memos like some of the “professionals with the real degrees” will do. As your daughter goes through her education you may want to keep in mind that there are many talented, intelligent, educated people who CHOOSE to teach.

  22. Mike in Texas says:

    Also, if you will read my earlier post I did not complain about being underpaid or underappreciated. I pointed out an inconsitency in the article Joanne posted claiming teachers have above average health benefits as it is not the case for Texas teachers.

    My second post was in response to Bronson who just as may have written “teachers are all morons”. You would do the same if all members of(insert your trendy profession here) were attacked in such a way.

    You are to be commended for using your knowledge and education to help in the education of your daughter and your classmates but anybody can come in ONE day with a supercool lesson, teach it for an hour and then leave. Coming back day after day and doing it for the entire day is another matter completely.

    There is one thing we do agree upon, there is far too much educracy in public education today. When school districts in some places barely spend half of their money on actual education of students someone has their priorities seriously wrong.

  23. Mike in Texas says:

    The 2 posts above are mind, I forgot to fill in the info for the first one.

  24. Mad Scientist says:

    Mike, I am convinced that teachers brainwashed by unions are the true morons. Joining a union is the antithesis of professionalism.

    You ask what have aerospace industry done lately and give one example. Isuggest you look towards the newer military aircraft, spacecraft, and safety improvements in general avation. What has the education establishment given us over the same time? A bunch of children who, by and large, are ill-prepared for the challenges of last century. Young adults who expect the world to owe them a living.

    Now on to “intellectually challenging” graduate degrees for teachers. How many of you had to actually write and publically defend a Master’s Thesis? A Doctoral Thesis? How many of you had to sweat out 3-5 years (on average) doing the original research to get the degree?

    Most (not all, mind you) teachers who are required to get a Master’s almost always take a non-thesis option. Anyone can gut out enough touchy-feels courses to eventually get an MA. Check back once you have to write a book and have it reviewed by a sometimes hostile panel of who you hope to be peers who can ask any question on your topic or field of study.

    Everyone knows that an Ed.D. is a joke, and any Ed.D. that wants people to address them as “Doctor” are pompous fools.

    Oh, yeah, and my wife is a high-school teacher. Who defended a Doctoral thesis in public. After doing original research for 6 years.

  25. Steve LaBonne says:

    I’m simply reporting my observation of a significant sample of K-12 teachers, including a few HS science teachers whom I got to know particularly well because they worked in my lab, when I taught college, as part of an NSF-sponsored summer program. Many are estimable individuals in their own way, but I never met a single one who struck me as being smart enough to succeed in the kinds of high-powered professions that teachers love to cite in salary comparisons. Perhaps you’re an exception, though I’ve seen nothing in your posts to make me think so. Conversely, in a good private school (where they would have a chance to avoid being ordered around by cretins), many in those professions would make excellent teachers were they minded to take a big salary cut (as, from time to time, actually occurs.) I don’t expect you to like that opinion, but that certainly offers no grounds for me to change it.

  26. Andy Freeman says:

    > Our district typically gets at least fifty good applicants for every job opening.

    Why should that district pay teachers more?

    -andy

  27. Mike in Texas says:

    > I am convinced that teachers brainwashed by unions are the true morons. Joining a union is the antithesis of professionalism.

    I have never been subjected to any attempt at “brainwashing” by an teacher’s union I’ve been involved with. Believe it or not Mad Scientist teachers DO require protection against unfair administrative practices. Since your wife is a teacher you should know that educrats are not especially fond of teachers who rock the boat, especially if they (the teachers) end up being right. Teachers also require protection from idiotic practices of state and federal politicians (see my post above about the health care plan with the $15, 000 deductible). Teachers, just like any other profession, have the right to organize for their own protection.

    >Everyone knows that an Ed.D. is a joke

    Simply your opinion and you have not posted any facts to prove it.

    As far as graduate degrees many of us choose a different route as you mentioned. In my case I took an essay competency exam and my answers were evaluated by a panel of 3 University professors. Does this make me stupid as some of the previous posts have claimed teachers are?

    Incidentally, I receive absolutely ZERO dollars for having a graduate degree and ZERO dollars for the hours I have above my graduate degree. I was not required to get a graduate degree; I worked hard for it so I could be a better teacher.

    Could I have been a doctor or engineer? I honestly don’t know as I was never interested in pursuing a career in either.

  28. On tonight’s news – a piece about a local (Oakland -Richmond-???) school district cracking down on student absence. The piece took great notice of the financial impact of student absences and how important this was to funding. Lost in the message was that student’s can’t learn if they aren’t there, instead the message left behind was – we need the physical presence of their bodies because we need the money therefore we are seriously cracking down on any absence at all.

    Probably more truth than intended, but also more realistic – students are a source of money, and high achieving ones are there to improve the scores of the school in order to make the school and administrators look good – some how the purpose of the educational institution to EDUCATE the students has gotten turned around and lost!
    Harvey

  29. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist, I stand corrected. The F-22 Raptor is one seriously cool aircraft.

  30. My mother-in-law retired some six years ago, with one of the last lifetime certificates. She decided to earn a M.E. on her own, and has told me, recently, that she saw it as a joke. She also told me, recently, that most of the new teachers she saw going in were scraping the bottom of the barrel–not in intelligence, but in comptetence to teach what they were supposed to, and in their GPA. In many places, all the prospective teacher has to do is stick through the bulls**t, and pass a test that high-school sophomores should be able to pass.

    My experience in getting my B.A. was in an English department that was split among the really good students with the straight English major, the mediocre students who were double-majoring English/Education, and the worst students (the one with the minimal GPAs–that they were constantly letting slip) were the straight Ed majors.

    I’m not saying that all teachers are dumb. I don’t believe that for a second. I know what they go through, and given how little support they have from today’s parents, I think they are doing a magnificent job if they can control the mob that these spoiled rotten little terrors can become in the blink of an eye.

    It’s not the pay that keeps the best and brightest out of education. It’s the system, the parents, and the kids.

    However, that does not mean I will trust the education of my child to someone who might have had a 2.0 GPA getting their degree. I’ll teach my little heathens myself, if it comes to that.

  31. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Yet again, people are discussing teacher pay without mentioning the obvious. We KNOW teachers are overpaid because the education schools are the most prestigious; the ambition of the highest caliber student. They have many more high caliber applicants than they can take. The who don’t make it must settle for second choices like law, medicine, or engineering. Every old-fashioned mom hopes her daughter will marry a teacher.

  32. While good teachers deserve to be well paid, I’m not sure how much higher salaries will do to improve the quality of applicants for teaching jobs.

    Most of the students who pass through my classroom — from all majors — have been underserved by their K-12 math education. Even if the pre-business students were lured to switch to pre-education, I don’t think that they would have any better of a knowledge of the fundamental mathematics content that a good K-8 teacher needs to understand. Yes, the students going into business can be trained to do certain financial calculations or to do calculus-based computations, but virtually none of my students can explain why two methods of subtraction of whole numbers are equivalent.

    At least in terms of mathematics, not only do we need to recruit smart people with a gift for clear communication, but we need to be serious about providing them with training in the content areas. Even if some people categorize the material as “remedial” or as “something they should already know.”

    There are probably many people in many jobs who are not performing at the peak of excellence (we just hear more about it when they’re working in education). Merely raising salaries will only serve to move non-excellent workers from other professions into teaching.

  33. Mad Scientist says:

    Mike, your comments about teacher’s unions show precisely how brainwashed you are. My wife will never again teach in public school because of the unions. I cannot tell you how much CRAP we receive in the mail telling us to vote for Kerry – just because whe was once forced to be a member of a teacher’s union.

    It is a good thing that everyone I have met with an Ed.D. has a skull. If not, their head would implode.

    An essay competency exam? Are you serious? What diploma mill did you get that from? Anyone else want a doctor, lawyer, or engineer practicing who passed am essay competency exam. Get a real degree and get back to me.

  34. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist PULLEEEEESE!

    You remind me of others on this board, when they can’t back up their comments with FACTS they resort to name calling and put downs.

    Unfortunately like so many others you think you know everything about education b/c you went to school when you were younger, or in your case you have 2nd hand knowledge through your wife, so I tell you what I tell others; spend some time at a school and with teachers and educate yourself about what really goes on instead of believing everything the American media, centered mostly in New York and Los Angeles, tell you.

  35. Steve LaBonne says:

    Mike in Texas, I’m afraid you are the one who has little knowledge whereof you are attempting to speak- specifically, of the respect accorded in the academic world to education degrees as opposed to other graduate degrees. Anyone at all familiar with universities will be well aware that the education schools are at the bottom of the academic pecking order (we’ve seen plenty of articles posted here about the low academic quality of the students enrolled in these schools) and that the Ed.D. degree in particular is considered a joke. The Ph.D.- degreed faculty of any high-quality college would feel feel mortally offended if they were expected to report to a dean or president with an Ed.D. (Indeed, you can distinguish the slums of the academic world precisely by looking for the presence of Ed.D.’s in departments or administrative positions outside the education school. You’ll find them in community colleges and bottom-of-the-barrel 4-year state universities, the kind with open enrollment and more remedial than genuine college courses.) Trust me, you will never impress anybody with a graduate degree in a real academic discipline, or a real professional degree in a field like medicine or law, by bragging about your education degrees. They may be polite to your face but they’ll snicker behind your back. Teachers themselves ought to regard this as a scandal that must be cleaned up, either by abolishing the ed schools or by radically improving their quality (though I’m very doubtful that the latter course is possible.)

  36. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT, you’re welcome. I never meant to imply that I “know everything about education”. However, it does not take a blind man to see that the system is broken.

    Fact: Ed.D. degrees have no uniform requirement for a thesis the way a Ph.D. does.

    Fact: The American Education system is run primarily by people with Ed.D. degrees.

    Fact: The American Education system is churning out tons of “graduates” who do not have basic skills in math, science, or basic writing.

    Fact: When the people who pay the bills (i.e., the taxpayers) demand accountability, those running the American Educational system scream murder.

    Fact: Every business in America today is being asked to do more with fewer resources. None of this discipline is demanded of school boards. Why can’t these brilliant Ed.D.s think of ways to accomplish what everyone else is practicing?

    I attended a couple of school board meetings in my local village. There was a discussion about “Everyday Math”. An engineer on the board was questioning the wisdom of this fad. The fad was defended by the Superintendant and the Director of Curriculum (both had the coveted Ed.D.) with such platitudes as “studies show…”, “other districts…”, and other meaningless phrases. When asked for concrete citations, these well educated professionals were at a loss.

    Unions, while once an important force for change, will be the death of the American Education system. That is why they fight any change tooth and nail.

  37. I teach science at an elementary school which always ranks in the top ten in the state test wise. The teachers at this school universally tell me that the Everyday Math program is the best math program they have ever seen.
    atlas

  38. Steve LaBonne says:

    Everyday Math is disorganized, confusing and appallingly lacking in the development of essential basic skills needed as a foundation for more advanced work. (See the review at mathematicallycorrect.com for the gory details.) If it’s the best these teachers have ever seen then I shudder to think of the alternatives they’ve been exposed to. Which of course goes back to their lack of a solid academic foundation in the subject.

    By the way, if your state tests are anywhere near as undemanding as Ohio’s, then passing them is hardly an indication of real competence in math.

  39. Steve: Nevermind
    atlas

  40. Steve LaBonne says:

    Ah, looks like I missed the irony in your comment- apologies for being a blockhead, if so.

  41. Mad Scientist wrote:

    Mike, your comments about teacher’s unions show precisely how brainwashed you are.

    He’s not brainwashed, he’s going for the gold.

    Self-interest may not be all that laudable but it is understandable. In fact, I think it’s the denouncing of self-interest that’s the better indicator of brainwashing, or at least self-delusion.

    Leaving aside the endless claims of selflessness, what do you expect teachers to do? Accept a lower standard of living just so they can justify their claims of compassion? Come on, are you really that naive?

    Teachers prove their human nature by wanting it both ways: it’s a noble calling and I’m going out on strike for more money.

  42. Just my 2 cents:

    I agree that education “degrees” are a “joke” when compared to others. I finished my masters in education in 2001 and I merely found it time-consuming — but not intellectually challenging or rigorous. Why did I do it in education? Mainly b/c of the convenience of the courses. Most were offered after school hours and/or in the summer. Quite convenient for a working dad. (My undergrad degree, BTW, is not in education.)

    I think — and this is purely anecdotal — that you’ll find more pure education majors in elementary schools than in secondary schools.

    I’m a member of the NEA for one reason and one reason only: legal backing for frivolous lawsuits. Anyone know of a cheaper way to get such legal support?

  43. MiT,
    Sorry… I didn’t have time to respond to your whining earlier… I had to do the engineering work I accomplish with the aid of the education I received in my BS and MS curriculum. Later, my time was consumed at classes I attend in my pursuit of a Juris Doctorate. (I’m just not smart or skilled enough to go after an Ed.D..)

    Teachers aren’t morons, per se. Teaching, at least in the VAST majority of public schools does not require a high degree of competence at complex skills. The skill-set required to “teach” is amazingly low. I should revise that: The skills required to truly teach are fairly complex and often well compensated, but the skill-set to be a public-school teacher is remarkably low.

    I’ll give you anecdotal evidence of smart teachers: (1) My mother was/is a teacher. She quit public schools because she couldn’t stand the NEA and took it upon herself to teach my brothers and I. She is one of the smartest people I know. (2) My best friend in law school’s mother is a teacher. She recently moved here from Europe where she taught 5 different languages. She refuses to teach in American public schools. (3) One of my other best friends at law school is a blind man who teaches math in middle school. He is hands-down the smartest student at my law school. He’s got volumes of law in his head and would amaze anyone. He has nothing but the utmost contempt for public schools and the NEA. He’s in law school so that he can leave the (public school) teaching profession and enter one that pays commensurate with his marketable skills so that he never has to send his kids to public schools. He likes helping people, especially children, learn.

    As far as kids chewing and spitting out teachers… My 9 year old consistently intellectually spanked her teachers in the previous two years. She was nice to her teachers, but worlds smarter than them and they worked hard to punish her for showing them up. We’ve pulled her out and teach her at home so that she isn’t held back by public school teachers who can’t tell the difference between their butts and a hole in the ground (i.e. their “GT teachers”). Your arrogance and un-earned sense of self-importance indicates to me that you would be in that camp.

    What has the Aerospace Industry done for us lately… That shows me you have a profound misunderstanding of what is Aerospace. The F-22 rocks, as you know. It has super-cruise capabilities and is “stealthy” in new ways that were unknown about 15 years ago. It’s recently-designed assistant is the JSF. I worked on it. It pushes the boundaries of applied science in fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, and controls theory (my playground). I’m not going to discuss dynamic allocation and effector blending with you, but suffice it to say, that you WANT that technology to continue to develop and be applied to commercial aircraft as soon as possible.

    If you like your computer, thank an aerospace engineer. (You’re welcome). Modern digital computers were originally developed to solve ballistic trajectories in WWII. The original integrated circuit was designed to meet the extreme constraints of space travel. I don’t think I need to go on, but since you’re a teacher, you might not be getting the point.

    Let me state it differently –
    Teaching is a noble profession.
    The overwhelming majority of public school “teachers,” however, are not professionals.

    Let’s go one more step forward: If you think YOU are a highly skilled professional, then you should want a free-market for your profession because you would earn far more if education were treated like the service it is (IF you have the skills). The fact that the NEA works the political side of the world so hard is a strong indication that they need the force of law to obtain their wealth, and that the service they currently provide is not worth as much as it costs.

    If you disagree, please explain to us weak-minded graduate engineers and scientists how it is that the current scheme of the public education system is holding the teaching profession BACK from the incomes it would otherwise receive. If the NEA isn’t procuring a greater economic reward than it’s product deserves, then what’s it’s reason for existing? If it is, doesn’t that prove that teachers are overpaid?

    Please “teach” us the truth in this regard. Your pupils await your impartation of knowledge and wisdom.

  44. “frivolous lawsuits”

    I’m actually currious. To what do you refer? So far as I know most or all states that have addressed “educational malpractice” have rejected it as a theory and would therefore subject the plaintiff’s attorney to fines for bringing it. (I suppose it’s possible that some states have accepted that theory, but I haven’t heard of them.)

    What is the legal jeopardy you fear?

  45. MS wrote:

    “Unions, while once an important force for change, will be the death of the American Education system. That is why they fight any change tooth and nail.”

    I’ve been thinking about this for some time. It’s not just the unions, although they tend to work against the best teachers and they don’t always work for the best interest of the kids. It is the Ed School dream-world teaching philosophies.

    When affluent parents take their kids out of public school in droves (in our town it is at 25 percent) we are told that it is because they “want an elitest education for their kids” – even though most of these parents I talk to grew up in public schools. Many more parents would put their kids into private schools if they could afford it. When I was growing up, it was unheard of to put your kids into K-8 private schools. Now we have many of these schools in our area. What is the reason for the change? Full inclusion and very low and fuzzy expectations for the kids in grades K-8. These kids end up unprepared for high school. Most high schools have honors and college prep courses, but how much are these courses dumbed-down because of the freshmen they get? Do high school teachers ever get a chance to comment on the curriculum and teaching methods of grades K-8 and the quality of the freshmen? If not, why? I know that our K-8 schools are clueless about the success or failure of their students in high school and the high school doesn’t give them any feedback.

    Public schools are in denial about these problems. They go on and on about all sort of Ed School nonsense, such as full inclusion with heterogeneous group learning, differentiated learning, developmental appropriateness, discovery and thematic learning, spiraling (social promotion), the teacher as facilitator, and on and on. It is what I call a top down approach to teaching and learning. However, parents I talk to who are in professional and technical careers want the opposite – a bottom up approach that stresses content knowledge and mastery of the basics. They (and I) feel that any sort of “higher order” (I hate that term.) understanding or critical problem solving is only possible after a rigorous introduction to the basics. I don’t want kids spelling and wall words. I want my son to learn phonics, spelling and grammar rules, and how to write coherent sentences, paragraphs and papers that make sense. I don’t want my son to start with creative writing with the teacher looking for my son to develop “voice”. I want him to be able to read a book and write a book report that makes sense.

    I don’t want my son to have a calculator on his desk starting in Kindergarten and have him play (manipulables) at learning math. I expect him to realize that learning takes a lot of hard work and practice and that it’s not always going to be fun. When I offered my professional advice to our school to select a new math curriculum, the superintendent first agrees and then ignores me (and everyone else) and proceeds to keep using MathLand, in spite of the fact that it has been trashed by all and even dumped by the publisher.

    This is not a union problem as far as I can tell. It is a closed teaching system that doesn’t want anyone else telling it what to do when it comes to curriculum and teaching methods. Where does this philosophy come from? Ed schools. Perhaps unions don’t get into the curriculum battle, but they sure do want to protect this turf. Since many Ed School students (those who will teach K-8) don’t learn content and skills for any major subject area (English, history, math, etc.), all they can fall back on are the fuzzy and unproven teaching methods that Ed schools use to indoctrinate future teachers. These teachers do not have a clue as to what it takes to be successful in a technical or scientific career. These are the teachers who are forming the educational foundation for our kids.

    It is easy to dismiss affluent parents who put their kids into private schools. This works because the parents are gone and no longer give the public shools problems. However, public schools better watch out if the parents in low-income and urban neighborhoods realize that they could and should demand fully-paid vouchers to any public or private school. Not just a trip to another public or charter school, but to any school.

    As I have said before, what is more important, public schools or the best educational opportunity for each individual child? With apologies to Winston Churchill, the inherent vice of full vouchers is the unequal sharing of brilliance; the inherent virtue of public schools is the equal sharing of mediocrity.

  46. Mike in Texas says:

    >please explain to us weak-minded graduate engineers and scientists how it is that the current scheme of the public education system is holding the teaching profession BACK from the incomes it would otherwise receive.

    No where in any of my posts have I made a case for higher pay for teachers nor have I “whined” about it. The one comment I made directly about this article was that for Texas teachers the statement about teachers having better than average healthcare is inaccurate.

    >As far as kids chewing and spitting out teachers… My 9 year old consistently intellectually spanked her teachers in the previous two years.

    Ahh, Dave Barry writes something similar to this when it comes to driving; we all believe we are above average to exceptional drivers. I have met so many parents of “gifted” children all of the worlds’ problems should now be solved by these little prodigies. You claim these teachers punished your child for being smarter than them but I wonder if you ever called a teacher to hear “THE REST OF THE STORY” You may find this hard to believe but (gasp) children don’t always tell the complete truth.

    And now for Mad Scientist:
    >Fact: The American Education system is run primarily by people with Ed.D. degrees.

    It is not a fact when it is wrong. Politicians run the American Education system. They write the standards and they control the money.

    >Fact: When the people who pay the bills (i.e., the taxpayers) demand accountability, those running the American Educational system scream murder.

    Apparently they didn’t teach you the difference between facts and opinions at mad scientist school.

    Steve said:
    >parents I talk to who are in professional and technical careers want the opposite – a bottom up approach that stresses content knowledge and mastery of the basics. They (and I) feel that any sort of “higher order” (I hate that term.) understanding or critical problem solving is only possible after a rigorous introduction to the basics.

    Thank you, Steve. You have stated exactly what teachers have been saying all along about high stakes testing and the curriculum reforms being pushed by Republicans and charter school advocates. Higher order thinking skills cannot be developed without rigorous instruction in the basics but politicians refuse to see the logic of this and teachers are held accountable for it. My school district has forced teachers to use some of the exact things you have brought up, word walls, “voice” b/c it is the standard developed by politicians who know nothing of teaching. BTW, do you really believe its TEACHERS who push the idiotic ideas you mentioned?

  47. Mike in Texas says:

    I forgot to mention in regards to Steve’s comments about higher order thinking skills. It is the basis for the Texas mandated tests down to 3rd graders must take.

  48. Mike in Texas says:

    >I’m not going to discuss dynamic allocation and effector blending with you . . . I don’t think I need to go on, but since you’re a teacher, you might not be getting the point.

    The fact you know about these things and I don’t merely indicates you received an education in them and I haven’t. It is only your opinion that your skills are more professional and difficult than mine.

    >The skills required to truly teach are fairly complex and often well compensated, but the skill-set to be a public-school teacher is remarkably low.

    How would you know? Being the parent of a bright 9 year old makes you know more of an expert in education than I am in aerospace enginering.

  49. Steve LaBonne says:

    MiT, you are not an “expert” in “education”, you are an experienced (and I’m willing to wager, a good) teacher- not at all the same thing. There is no such thing as “expertise” in education because it is an art, not a science. Teaching has not progressed since the time of Socrates; who can say what such “progress” could possibly mean? In preparing for teaching qua teaching, teachers need caring, talent, apprenticeship with effective teachers, and experience. Where they need to have _expertise_ is in the subject matter which they are hired to convey to their students. What they too often get instead is lack of that genuine kind of expertise, and as a very poor substitute the _illusion_ of “expertise” conveyed by ed-school edu-babble.

    And any parent who is not the best judge of his / her chidren’s education is a poor parent. (Yes, there are plenty of poor parents, but teachers should stop trying to patronize the good ones- it’s unbecoming.)

  50. I finished a degree in programming 7 years ago and am now in the 3rd year of the teacher education program at the very same school (Purdue). I had to WORK to get a programming degree with a 3.8 GPA, and I mean work damn hard. So far, in the education program, it’s been a joke. I get classes in DIversity (we had to color – a LOT), Diversity, and Diversity, but only one semester in teaching math to high school students. I knew the degree would be easy, but it is actually embarrassing. Coloring, skits, group discussions ad nauseum, more coloring, I mean, HELL! Coloring?

  51. Steve LaBonne says:

    As an addendum to my comments, I would like to think that with progress in cognitive science, we may for the first time be in a position to improve teaching by incorporating real scientifc results as to what strategies work best (but that will not in itself make teaching a science-based, professional discipline, any more than clothes-washing is such a discipline because it has been improved by the use of detergents formulated by chemists). Of course, ed schools continue to perform and inculcate the results of shoddy parodies of research (such as those that led to the whole language and math “reform” debacles) while studiously ignoring the relevant work of real scientists outside the ed school’s walls.

  52. Mike in Texas says:

    Meezer,

    Make sure you stay BETWEEN the lines.

    I was fortunate enough to attend a university that believed future teachers needed to learn from current teachers. We literally spent hundreds of hours in the classroom cutting our teeth under the tutelage of experienced teachers.

    If I were you I’d find another program to attend

    Thanks you Steve LaBonne for the insightful comment, I had not thought of teaching as an art form. I would be careful saying that on this forum though, some people think if it can’t be measured it isn’t worth anything.

  53. Steve LaBonne says:

    Just to make it clear in case there’s any doubt, “art form” is definitely not a derogatory term in _my_ lexicon.

    Be careful, though; the desired _result_ of good teaching- knowledge- most certainly _can_ be measured.

  54. MiT,
    The dynamic allocation and effector blending is not so much about that I know something that you don’t and was trying to rub your nose in it. The point is that not many people know anything about it so that makes my skill-set fairly rare. I’ve worked to develop skills that can justify a significant market-based compensation. That, and they’re very promising control paradigms that have the potential of saving many lives. It’s just something that we Aerospace engineers are adding to the world.

    For the record, you presumptive twit, my wife and I DID start by going to the teacher. We began by presuming that the teacher knew what she was doing and had our kid’s education at heart. Overtime, the teachers proved our presumptions wrong.

    You don’t have to believe me that my kid is smart… You might want to take it up with Johns Hopkins. We knew we were partial to our kid so we went to Hopkins’ facility for testing gifted children. Turns out our kid is at the top of the bell-curve for two grade-levels above her grade.

    For what it’s worth… Maybe I’m just overly sensitive… Of the kids in my child’s GT class, over 2/3 were receiving counseling for stress or depression related disorders. We studied the curriculum carefully and found it to be designed to foster cognitive dissonance and discourage any passion for learning. To my mind that kind of curriculuim imposed on gifted children is tantamount to psychological torture. The fact that so many of them were in treatment is strong circumstantial evidence that my guess is correct.

    That teacher was a “professional” all right, and the administraiton was right up there with her. The teacher in my kid’s 3rd grade class bragged to the class about having defrauded Medi-care so that she could have cosmetic surgery for free. That’s a crime. If I learn that she didn’t retire this year, I intend to turn her in to the state or federal prosecutor.

    You can pretend you and your precious profession is super-duper-important, but parents who have paid attention know otherwise. You’re smug enough to presume that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a normally bright kid and one who is actually brilliant. You’re so typical. How many kids at eight do you know who could hold an intelligent discussion of heat transer and the electro-magnetic spectrum, and who is also teaching herself to read ancient Egyption hyroglyphs in her spare time?

    As for what I have learned about education. Of course my wife and I have taught ourselfes about techniques that work and in my graduate studies included coursework on artificial neural networks. The A.N.N. courses were very helpful because they were based on scientific understanding of how our brains accomplish their tasks. My guess is that you didn’t have any course work that was comparably rigorous.

  55. I’m actually currious. To what do you refer? So far as I know most or all states that have addressed “educational malpractice”

    I am referring as an example, bronson, to a little punk who tells mommy and daddy I “touched him/her too hard or forcefully” to get them moving along in the hallway after numerous requests and/or after several “pshaws” at me for even daring to make such a request.

    Or even “sexual harrassment” b/c I may actually say something to a female student like “Your hair really looks nice today!”

    It happens.

    (After re-reading your posts it figures you’d think I’d be worried about an “ed. malpractice” suit b/c, of course, all teachers are microcephalic cretins, right? And, all of us must be liberal Democrats, pro-union and hate president Bush. Sheesh, silly me. BTW, for someone who claims to be such a technological genius, why does your blog look so technologically UNsophisticated? I’m truly curious.)

  56. Mike in Texas wrote:

    “Thank you, Steve. You have stated exactly what teachers have been saying all along about high stakes testing and the curriculum reforms being pushed by Republicans and charter school advocates. …”

    … I didn’t say that. You have to be a little bit careful here about your connection to NCLB and what “teachers” want. I consider NCLB as an unfortunate requirement (minimal progress towards minimal goals) to try and make public schools accountable for something. However, NCLB (and the Republicans and Charter School advocates) do not specify what is on the test. Do you really think that Republicans are against bottom up teaching that emphasizes basic knowledge and skills?

    The tests are left up to each state and their public school administrations and legislatures. In our state, they chose the NSRE exam, which is based on very fuzzy (Ed School) ideas of what constitutes basic knowledge and skills. It’s a trivial and abhorrent test. Another common test is the NAEP test, which covers more basic facts and is quite trivial. In either case, good schools should laugh at these tests. However, I don’t know what test you use in Texas. Perhaps it is more onerous that the two I referenced above.

    My advice to people is that they should go to their school or state and get complete copies of actual tests – not just sample questions and find out exactly how they are graded. I think they will be astounded how trivial these tests are.

    If your tests are based on fuzzy Ed School teaching philosophies(as in my state), then you have my sympathies. And yes, who else but teachers and Ed School graduates push these fuzzy ideas and tests? They completely controlled the selection of this test. In our state, the education administration was proactive about the NCLB. If they had to have a test, it was going to be one of their own choosing. They call it Standards-Based Education, of all things. Maybe some teachers don’t like this, but you cannot take the postion that some outside group is doing this to you.

    Also, don’t assume that I am a big advocate of NCLB. I advocate full vouchers to any school.

  57. I always find Bronson’s posts amusing. Have you ever noticed how many grammatical and spelling errors he makes? It definitely takes away from his credibility.

  58. Mike in Texas says:

    >Do you really think that Republicans are against bottom up teaching that emphasizes basic knowledge and skills?

    YES!!! As a matter of fact I do!!

  59. Mad Scientist says:

    I suggest you get a narrower brush with which to paint. This Republican wants exactly the opposit of what you believe all Republicans believe.

  60. Mike in Texas says:

    Well Bronson if the teacher was as bad as you say, and I’m willing to take your word she is, than the course of action you followed was correct for your child.

    HOWEVER, that does not mean all teachers are like her or behave as she does.
    >My guess is that you didn’t have any course work that was comparably rigorous.

    You have no idea what classes I have taken or what I may have taken.

    As for calling me a presumptive twit, I’ll say what I always say. Name calling is a sign of weakness in your arguements. I will concede to you your daughter is exceptional.

  61. Mike in Texas says:

    >I suggest you get a narrower brush with which to paint. This Republican wants exactly the opposit of what you believe all Republicans believe.

    But yet, all of us teachers who have joined unions for legal protection are “brainwashed” and “morons”

    Pot, kettle, black

  62. I always find Bronson’s posts amusing. Have you ever noticed how many grammatical and spelling errors he makes? It definitely takes away from his credibility.

    Yep, I have. His blog is the same way. But, you ought to know, degrees in the humanities ain’t worth a hill ‘o beans compared to those in the sciences. Despite his weaknesses, bronson is “better” than you!

  63. Our current education system doesn’t always meet the needs of all students. Yes, we try, but the fact is that children who *are* truly, exceptionally bright, would probably be better off in a system other than one that is designed to teach the masses. With that said, I do believe that the masses (the average children, including my own), are well served by the current system, at least in areas where parents are involved in the process in a positive way.

    I have always been an advocate of home schooling and vouchers, and any alternative education program that meets the need of a specific child. It’s just sad that some people give those programs such a bad reputation!

    I for one, am glad when the children of arrogant, narrow-minded people are removed from the regular classroom by their parents. I want my children to grow up to become compassionate, reasonable adults with the capacity to share their opinions without having to use childish insults. I will do anything I can to protect them from such irrational thought.

  64. chris haynes says:

    I teach (instruct) geeks in the bay area. My first boss here after I retired from the military told me he would never hire ex K-12 teachers,when I asked why he told me that product cycles were 6-18 months and ex teachers could not come up on that much new material on a continuing basis. I have seen some ex teachers in this arena and it seems to be born out in my experience. Military tours are about 18-24 months and each tour can be a new weapons system or sub-system. I have 12 special MOS’s after 20 years and taught 10 courses at SUN Microsystems and 6 at Veritas, 4 in the Chip testing and 1 in the cable industry in my 6 years in the bay area. I am expected to pick up new courses at the rate of 3-6 per year. how much does the material change in K-12? would it not be standardized by now? where is the challenge? and why are they worth more? I work like all geeks here , when I need to. which is above 40 hours a week. I get a good paycheck and the job is always challenging. If I had to teach the same subject over and over again I would shoot myself. reminds me of auto workers putting car parts on day in and day out. They are union too right?

  65. Mad Scientist says:

    Mike, I never called unionized teachers “morons”, but if the shoe fits, wear it. Brainwashed is self evident by the way you recite the party line.

  66. >Do you really think that Republicans are against bottom up teaching that emphasizes basic knowledge and skills?

    Mike in Texas wrote:

    “YES!!! As a matter of fact I do!!”

    … That says a lot. You are saying that the majority of Ed School professors and school administrators are Republican. That is where the fuzzy, top down, lower expectation teaching philosophies originate.

    I abhor team politics and ownership of political positions. As far as teaching philosophies go, I have found a good mix of Democrats and Republicans who support traditional teaching methods that set high expectations and focus on basic knowledge and skills. Some of these people like the NCLB and some don’t.

  67. Jonathan wrote:

    “I for one, am glad when the children of arrogant, narrow-minded people are removed from the regular classroom by their parents. I want my children to grow up to become compassionate, reasonable adults with the capacity to share their opinions without having to use childish insults. I will do anything I can to protect them from such irrational thought.”

    … So, the parents who take their kids out of public schools are arrogant and narrow-minded, leaving only compassionate and reasonable adults and children? Dream on.

    “Yes, we try, but the fact is that children who *are* truly, exceptionally bright, would probably be better off in a system other than one that is designed to teach the masses.”

    You use “we”, so does that mean that you are a public school teacher? Well, it’s interesting that you would state that public schools are just for the “masses”. Don’t you expect more from all children? You are admitting that schools cannot or will not do anything for those kids who are “exceptionally bright”. I hope that you don’t think that I am arrogant too just because I disagree with you. There are fundamental, differences in opinion over teaching philosophies, methods, and expectations. However, the public schools are the arrogant ones because they have a monopoly and do not want and will not accept any input and direction over curriculum and teaching methods. If parents do not like what is offered, then they can go elsewhere (and pay for it). I also disagree with your “exceptionally bright” comment. Try average or above.

  68. Mike in Texas says:

    >I am convinced that teachers brainwashed by unions are the true morons.

    That is a direct quote from Mad Scientist.

    For the record I have never received one single bit of politicis related mail from a teacher’s union, much less mail telling me directly who to vote for. Obviously Mad Scientist does not reside in the state of Texas, where teachers strikes are against the law and thus teachers’ unions have little to no power.

  69. Mike in Texas says:

    >You are saying that the majority of Ed School professors and school administrators are Republican.

    No where in any comment I have made did I state the majority of Ed School professors and school administrators are Republican.

  70. Mike in Texas says:

    >Brainwashed is self evident by the way you recite the party line.

    Once again Mad Scientist cannot distinguish between fact and opinion, or in this case fact and fantasy. I have never made one single post promoting one candidate over another and I have never stated in party affliation.

    So tell me what party line I have recited.

  71. Mike in Texas says:

    >who else but teachers and Ed School graduates push these fuzzy ideas and tests? They completely controlled the selection of this test.

    You don’t mention what state you live in but here in Texas teachers have absolutely no choice, we give the test the state provides.

  72. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT:

    I live in New York – where strikes by teacher’s unions are against the law. However, that has not stopped them from going out on strike.

    Second, learn to read and parse a sentence. “I am convinced that teachers brainwashed by unions are the true morons.

    If you are *not* brainwashed, then you are *not* a moron. Done and done.

    “The Party Line” does not refer to a political party (if you were better educated, you would know this). “The Party Line” refers to a stock set of arguments made by those in power used to control the situation. Your Party Line Recitals:

    Charter schools are bad.

    NCLB is bad.

    High stakes testing is bad.

    Republicans are bad.

    Unions are necessary evil. (Question: if you don’t like the health insurance they have gotten you and that is one of the few reasons you joined, then WHY STAY?)

    More money for teachers = better education.

    Need I go on?

  73. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist,

    Perhaps you are the one who should learn how to read a sentence. I have said in other posts that in some places, my hometown of New Orleans for example, that charter schools and other choices are necessary b/c the educrats have hopelessly broken the system there.

    NCLB IS bad. It is a mostly unfunded mandate from the federal govt that seeks to impose the same educational system and standards Bush put into place in Texas, and despite what is claimed about Texas, it is not even ranked in the top third or even the middle third of states when it comes to education. In fact, I actually believe the real purpose behind NCLB is to cause public schools in the US to fail, so the federal govt. can justify using tax dollars for religious education. Since you can’t see to tell the differnce between fact and opinion, please note the use of the word “believe”.

    High stakes testing is bad. Here in Texas we have nearly completed a generation of kids whose primary skill is test taking.

    I have never said Republicans are bad, but I have said a great many of them are delving into an area, education, where they know nothing but are arrogant enough to believe they know everything. I have never endorsed one candidate or one party over the other and in fact, God forbid, on your post about the terrorists in Russsia, I actually agree with you assessment.

    I do feel unions are necessary, so what? Without them the teachers who speak up when educrats and politicians try to cram things that won’t work down the throat of schools, would all get canned.

    >More money for teachers = better education

    No where in any posts have I demanded more money for teachers. My comment about the healthcare I get was simply to point out an inaccuracy in the article Joanne posted.

  74. Mad Scientist says:

    Unions are the cancer that is slowly killing all of the productive sectors of the US economy.

    Since federal/state/local governments and the public education system are pretty much non-productive, they have already succeeded in those endevors.

  75. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist,

    I challenge your assertion the American public education system is non productive.

    The following link is from the US Census Bureau.

    http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/001863.html

    It shows more Americans than ever are graduating from high school.

  76. Mike in Texas says:

    More factual info:

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/6/29/90659.shtml

    And still more:

    http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?submeasure=36&year=2001&level=nation&mode=graph&state=0%E2%80%9Dtarget=

    Please note that my home state of Texas ranks 39th in the nation despite the “miracle” of higher standards and high stakes testing. Don’t forget the “Texas miracle” is now being applied to the whole country.

  77. Mad Scientist says:

    More Americans are graduating from high school without the basic knowledge it takes to earn a living. In areas where competency testing is required to graduate, failure is the norm.

    What I challenge is your notion of productive. The American education system is turning out vast quantities of defective product.

    When US automobile companies did the exact same thing in the 1970’s and 1980’s, they damn near went out of business.

    No chance of that happening. Schools going out of business. Precisely because union lackies like you do not want to see any change.

  78. Mike in Texas says:
  79. Mike in Texas says:

    Union lackie I like that.

    Using your American auto industry analagy, they were getting their butts whipped by the Japanese.
    Know what the percentage of high school graduates in Japan is?

    I don’t know but I do know this, in 1997, according to UNESCO Statistical Yearbook 1997 only 67.3% of the Japanese population had ANY high school, much less graduated. But yet the ill informed such as yourself will hold Japanese public schools up (there was an article on it on this website last week) as a better system than ours.

    I noticed that once again you didn’t cite any factual studies but instead rely upon your error ridden opinion.

  80. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT: Do you always miss the point by so much? The point was not the percentage of Japanese vs. American HS grads (BTW, who actually cares?). The whole point was competition and the risk of going out of business because of the “we’re doing everything fine” mentality.

    US Auto industry almost went out of business because they could not compete against the Japanese. This is precisely because the Japanese were kicking their butts.

    So they had to improve or die. The unions fought them on this.

    But the only way for them to improve was to face the reality of competition.

    With what do public schools compete? Largely, nothing. So there is no incentive to improve. And the unions, without the incentive, see no reason to try anything different.

    Finally, the notion of someone with a mail-it-in degree lecturing me on proper citation is just too funny for words.

  81. Mike in Texas says:

    Mail it in degree??

    Another good one, Mad Scientist, you crack me up!

    Once again, where are the FACTS to back up your case?

    I’ll even give you a hint. Look for research done by the Center For Education Reform, Jay Green or the Manhattan Institute.

    By the way, I have also never mentioned where I got either of my college degrees so how would you know I mailed it in or even what kind of program I went through?

    When you can’t win with facts hurl insults and call names seems to be your way of trying to win arguements

  82. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT: how about your own words?

    In my case I took an essay competency exam and my answers were evaluated by a panel of 3 University professors.

    Sure as hell sounds like a mail-it-in degree to me.

    You, sir, are a joke. I will continue to read your rants for entertainment value.

  83. Mike in Texas wrote:

    “You don’t mention what state you live in but here in Texas teachers have absolutely no choice, we give the test the state provides.”

    … You don’t say which test you are using. Politicians do not create tests. Politicians may mandate tests, but they don’t create them. I would be very surprised to find that your test was created by anyone other than those in your K-12 education establishment (teachers -> products of Ed Schools). If those who created your test are outside of this group, then I would be even more surprised to find out that the test was based on fuzzy Ed School “authentic assessment” philosophies. As much as I hate the fuzzy NSRE test our state uses, the questions are trivial and serve no meaningful purpose for the education of my son. UNLESS, of course, the school can’t seem to get the students to well on these trivial tests.

    For example, a sample fourth grade math question shows a bar chart with four bars that describe the votes that fours kids received in a student election. All bars were under 20 votes. The first question was to state who won the election. The second question was to determine the total number of votes cast. Allocated time: 15 minutes. Other questions were similar. This is fourth grade! What other learning is more important (or possible) without being able to answer trivial questions like these?

    For the NAEP, my favorite is a fourth grade math question that asked how many fourths in a whole? About 50 percent got this wrong. (Look at the NAEP site for many more of these.) As a parent, what am I supposed to think when schools are screaming that these tests are unfair? What do they do all day?

    As I said before, Parents need to go to their schools or state and look at a real test before making a judgment. Perhaps your test in Texas is either much more difficult or it is just plain bad, but don’t confuse bad tests or content you don’t like with the requirement to take tests. You should be clear about which of the two you are against.

    Rank and file Texas “teachers” many have no choice in whether to GIVE the test or not, but I would find it hard to believe that Texas “teachers” (or “teachers” somewhere else in the country) did not DESIGN the test.

  84. Mike in Texas says:

    >Sure as hell sounds like a mail-it-in degree to me.

    Once again Mad Scientist cannot distinguish fact from his own opinions.

  85. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist,

    Thanks for another laugh, I read “The Grandfather Report” on one of the links you posted. I loved the “U.S Education Productivity” chart, which apparently this MWHodge invented on his own. I love the source citation for the data, MWHodge’s homepage! I did a Google search for it and the only two results were “MW Hodge’s homepage”!

    I have found a new way to present my arguements. Make up my own system of measurement and then cite myself as proof I’m right!!

    Thanks again, Mad Scientist.

  86. Mike in Texas says:

    I guess I could also use this report from the link you posted, http://mwhodges.home.att.net/edchoice.htm#power (read the part about who does control the revenue and who should, it actually makes a case against federal involvement in education)but what would be the point? Everything in this website, every link I’ve checked, links back to himself.

    There is one interesting footnote and it actually supports the arguement against federal involvement “The evidence suggests that students in states with greater LOCAL control do better. Students in the 5 states with the highest percentage of state contribution (Hawaii, Washington, Kentucky, Alabama, Delaware) have lower average SAT scores than students in the 5 states with the highest percentage of local contribution (New Hampshire, S. Dakota, Vermont, Michigan, Virginia). Local accountability works.” The National Review, Sept. 14, 1998, pg. 30.” I haven’t checked this note for accuracy.

  87. Mike in Texas says:

    Steve,

    I searched the TEA website for information. According to them, the test items are developed by Harcourt Educational Measurement and Pearson Educational Measurement, reviewed by assessment and curriclum content area specialist and then submitted for external educator review (the website is not specific about where the educators come from). The link is:

    http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/techdig/chap2.pdf

  88. Mike in Texas says:

    >You are a fool and a tool of the unions.

    How ironic; I’ve been so busy I forgot to turn in my union membership papers. Now instead of having my district take my dues out monthly I will have to pay the entire cost up front.

    Doh!!

    My apologies Mad Scientist, I thought the links were from you. And I would like to issue a sincere thank you for the thoughtful debate we have been having. It has led me to the writings of Gerald Bracey and Susan Ohanian, whose research and writings have proved what I have suspected as a teacher all along; politicians really don’t care about children.

  89. Mike in Texas referenced:

    http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/techdig/chap2.pdf

    Oh, I should have remembered. It’s the TAKS test. I heard about it, but have never studied it.

    http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/release/index.html#online

    “The released TAKS™, SDAA, RPTE, TAAS™ and end-of-course examinations are released and available …”

    This page links to many test examples for different subjects and different grades. I took a quick look at some of them and sincerely want to know why you have difficulty with these exams. I didn’t care for how some of the questions were posed, but I don’t see a lot of testing of things that are not basic knowledge or skills. Perhaps I missed something.

  90. Mike in Texas says:

    Steve,

    I found the test also and found something very interesting. For the 5th grade Science test, the test on the website is NOT the test that was given. Some of the idiotic questions have been removed. I suppose they were listed as “field” questions so they weren’t posted.

    My problem with these test is the amount of importance placed on them and the time and money spent on them. Harcourt is a BIIIG supplier of testing practice materials; for the test they write.

  91. I am shocked and appalled by what I have read by other “professionals” above. I am a 27-year-old female who has just started teaching. I have been in other lines of work, and I can honestly say that unless you have taught students, you have NO idea what teachers go through. Of course, there is the berating from parents and students, and the days and nights spent worrying about my children’s’ home lives. But there are the incredible days, too.

    Let me take you into the “Real World” of teaching to share with you the good and the bad. We are not the writers on children’s’ tabula rasa. That comes in at a far second. For most, as teachers, we are the light in many children’s’ dark tunnels. We support them when they have no support at home. We smile at them and let them feel safe while their home lives fall apart. We provide the structure of which some children desperately need. And, you know what? We do it not because of the money, obviously, but because of the REAL difference we make in these children’s’ lives. How many of you can say that you have the opportunity to make a REAL, honest-to-goodness difference in a child’s life everyday that you go to work? Children have very fragile spirits, and we, as teachers who spend 8+ hours a day with them, can raise them up and out of their current (sometimes cruel) lives.

    I’m not sure what you did after 9-11, but I took a look at my life (which was good- I was making great money, was on my way to being a top manager of a corporate business, and I had love in my life), and decided the corporate life wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to make a real difference, and I wanted to do it by loving children and sharing my love of pedagogy. I went back to school to get my degree in education (GPA-3.9, if you are wondering). During that time, I had to spend my rather hefty savings and even get student loans. Why did I do it? I couldn’t be for the prestige (see comments by some of the above contributors) or the money (see any pay stub). I did it to reach out to the next generation and give them all that I could give to help make them more smart, enriched, productive, and loved.

    Ask any one of my students who deserves to be paid more, a technology-super-brain or I, and they will tell you to put it in my check. They know I, and most other teachers give until we cannot give anymore. While other “professionals” are trying to close a deal, solve a hypothetical problem, make more money for their company, or back-stab into a higher position, teachers are changing the world’s future one child at a time. We are inspiring the next Noble prize winners, politicians, doctors (who will take care of you in your old age), etc. We are giving of our lives now to better the future, so DON’T YOU DARE tell me that teachers are reason we are so poorly paid. You and other know-it-none’s are the problem. You have no idea what it is like to give of yourself everyday emotional, mentally, and physically, and fall into bed at 8 pm only to be kept awake by worries of how to help children. You may spend hours and hours working to “get ahead.” Well, good for you. That rush of the next promotion or next raise will last about 10 minutes, and then you are stuck back at your old self again. Teachers can wait for their highs. We can wait years for a student to come back to us and tell us that we were the reason he or she was able to go to college. We can wait for successes of our students and for the differences we made to come to light. Why should we have to wait for our retirements before we can live a comfortable life?

    To some of the contributors above: how can you say that teachers do not deserve to be paid well? You give of your mind. We give of our minds, emotions, and love. We are motivators, disciplinarians, counselors, friends, judge, jury, educators, orators, and parents every hour of school. You are paid well because you have a specialized talent. As I science teacher, I applaud your intelligence. But, I would like to break a myth at this point. I think that at least 25% of the population could be trained to do ANY job (i.e. aerospace engineering). With the right education (wow, that comes up a lot!) and training, I could have your job or almost any other that I would want. Seriously, I believe that people need to realize that they are not better because of the job they take. The only criteria a job should have is its ability to enhance one’s life and the lives of those around him or her.

    By the way, all of you “overly” educated people who are living a wonderfully comfortable life, where did you get your education? Did you have a Big Bang moment in your superior brains, or did you have to have someone (a teacher) explain it to you? How did you decide how to get into your fields? Could it have been motivation from a teacher who spurred your curiosity or made the subject come alive to you? All of us teachers who are “bottom of the barrel” helped to make you what you are today (the good and the bad). Get off of your high horse, and take a look at your life. Are your intellectual endeavors taking you where you want to be, or are you angry because you are deeply unhappy with your state of being?

    As a final statement on unions, I just have to say that if teachers were not being taken advantage of, then there would be no need for unions. They give a voice when otherwise teachers are being ignored. Anyone who is not for unions is usually the management of a company or just ignorant of the particulars of unions. Before you speak of unions negatively, I suggest you attend a meeting and see what really goes on.

    Thanks for reading my ramblings. Now, I must get back to grading papers. Just another Saturday night in the life of a woman who loves to teach.

  92. p.s. I know of many wonderful, talented teachers who left to work in other occupations because they couldn’t make ends met on a teacher’s salary. We, as a nation, need to start valuing educators so they can stay where they are so desperately needed.

Trackbacks

  1. BUFFALOg says:

    Poooooooor Teachers

    And it has nothing to do with the “value society places on teaching”. Hiring a teacher is a business transaction (or should be). We probably get a better read for the market-value of a teacher’s service by looking at private schools which pay sometim…

  2. casinos says:

    casinos

    Unless you become as little Children, you can’t see casinos. All you need is faith and trust… and a little bit of casinos.

  3. casino says:

    casino

    This is an excellent place to post your questions about casino, provide comment and participate in casino discussions. You are invited to create or respond to posted messages.

  4. online casino craps

    internet casino is the largest internet casino organization in Oregon and one of the largest writers’ organizations in the United States.