Sunday, March 14, 2010
I was reading a post by a fellow blogger who is a conservative and a public school teacher. She referenced an article on Pajamas Media. The article is about a comment that was made by President Obama in regards to the Rhode Island firing the entire staff of a public school that has been failing for years. President Obama's comment seemed to back the move and this of course is upsetting the unions. The article itself was interesting, but one of the comments is what really caught my attention:
I am so disgusted by all this teacher bashing! These are our best and brightest, and they have dedicated themselves to serving our children. Has the author of this article have no shame? I know that we have some problems with some of our schools, but mass firings and “union breaking” is never the answer. Here’s a few simple steps we can take to improve education now:
1. Raise teacher pay by at least 15-20%. That will attract more talent.
2. Grant teachers a better benefit package than most currectly enjoy. There’s no reason why people who have dedicated their lives to children cannot have 100% of their health care (families included) paid for. I’ve also endorsed a special retirement fund for teachers that the Federal govt can invest in. Possibly an additional $300 monthly, per teacher, into a special IRA account. Of course, we’ll need strict government over-sight and accountability of such a fund.
3. More time off. The fact of the matter is that most teachers are over-worked and under-paid. End the traditional school year in early to mid-May. That will give teachers a well-deserved extra month or so to re-charge their batteries. Teaching children is a very difficult job, especially when the classroom is filled with inner-city children from broken homes (i.e. the Newark and D.C. school systems).
4. More administrators to help teachers. I always advocated a “teacher first” policy, in the sense that the “first” employee of any school should be the teacher. If a teacher needs help, each should have their own administrator at their beck and call. Admimistrators should be paid well ($65,000+ yearly), but not included in the special teacher retirement fund.
5. Finally, we should institute a “six-month” tenure called for by Medea Benjamin. Once a teacher has been employed full-time for six months, automatic tenure should set in. This will show that we are dedicated to our teachers, which will entice more productivity.
With these simple changes, we can fix our school systems within 5 years, save money and contribute to the fight on racism and global warming. It will just take some courage.
Where to begin.....
Contribute to the fight on racism...I am not trying to say that racism doesn't exist, but what exactly should tax payer money be doing to fight racism?
Have you read all the information about the scandals around the data for global warming? The science is far from settled.
Six month tenure? You get a job for life after working for six months!!! What sort of craziness is this thought process? A teacher (who could be as young as 22 with no job experience) should be allowed to never be fired before they even have finished one school year of teaching simply based on the fact that they have chosen an admirable profession? What kind of sense does this make?
Ending the school year in mid May. Now, I have never taught school and I am sure that it is a stressful job. But so is being a doctor, a nurse, a police officer, a social worker, heck even when I was working in the direct mail fundraising field I was stressed out, after all I had meet to constant deadlines. Working in a retail store is a very stressful job; should they get three and half months paid time off every year as well?
You want the government to have strict oversight of an additional IRA fund? They had strict control over Social Security, how has that worked out?
An administrator at your beck and call. Does every teacher get their own administrator, or do they have several teachers? If so, how they would be at the "beck and call" if they have more than one? One of these teachers may have to wait a half hour. I don't think James would find that half hour wait acceptable.
I am in no way saying that teachers don't deserve gratitude, as they do. James is correct that it is a difficult job, that doesn't mean that they should never be fired if they do a bad job. Look at the teacher who writes loser on the top of papers he is grading. I am sorry, James but this man doesn't deserve to keep his job especially since he has been talked to about this previously. He thinks it is ok to call 6th graders losers. It is not ok.
Teachers salaries are not that terrible. I am not saying that they shouldn't be better, but in Virginia the average salary is almost $44,000 and it is higher in Northern Virginia, where costs of living are higher. You will never get rich being a teacher, but you can live on $44,000. The median income in Virginia is $46,055.