Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Teachers' Lament

I saw the article listed below on FB yesterday.  I chose not to comment on it as I didn't want to ruffle any more feathers than I usually do.  I did make put the following comment on my FB page "Does anyone out there think that people home-schooling their kids should be at least paid the average rate of teachers in the district they are teaching their kids? Afterall, they are doing the same job AND their is one less child for these poor overworked teachers to have to worry about. They should get something. Afterall, its never about "the children".'  This comment was enough to get me unfriended by at least on thin skinned liberal.

Any way, here's the blogpost that caused all the uproar.  My comments are in blue.

Are you sick of highly paid teachers? Absolutely!! who isn't?! Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit! Well, I never said they babysit.  They teach, but if you want to make this twisted argument to prove your point, then have at, it's your blog.

We can get that for less than minimum wage. Less than the minimum wage?  I'm all ears.

That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. Hmmmm. I have an issue with these statements.  Teachers are given prep time as part of their contract.  It's how they choose to use that time that makes it silly. Or not.  Having actually spent 10 weeks doing this and knowing many, many teachers, taking advantage of your prep time determines how much time you have to do outside of your actual contract. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours). Well, most contracts call for teachers to remain on school grounds until at least 4 PM, but I'll let this slide.  You're on thin ice though.

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. Now see, here's where you are getting shaky.  If it were being run as an actual business, there would probably be some kind of volume discount.  But I'll roll with it.  Looks more like a day care situation to me.  We'll touch on that later.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. Well, you don't really now.  The contract is for a year, so technically, they are getting paid for the summer off as part of that.  That's kind of hair splitting don't ya think.


That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). Hold on there Tex.  If you are a babysitter then it's YOUR job to make sure the kids are fed, at least for lunch.  Let's say that's $5.50 per kid for a complete lunch.  So now it's your respsonsibility to pay for that out of the $105,300.00.  Now we're down to $75,600.00.  And a daycare/babysitting service of this size probably has a big liability policy.  Probably at least another $20,000.00 there.  Now we're down to $55,600.00.  You don't have a guaranteed retirement plan so you'd better be putting at least $10k away now we're at $45,600.00.  Before taxes. Let's say you live in a tax friendly state and your nominal rate is only 30%.  That make's your take home $30,000.00. You have to pay for your own health insurance out of that.  I'm assuming that all teachers are single.  If you're 30 and healthy you can probably get a decent policy for $400.00/month.  OK, now we're getting somewhere. You're take home pay is $25,200.00. Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries too).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year. Well, let's be fair and round it off to $5.00.  You would have a tough time justifying "special needs" teachers or teachers with Master degrees getting almost three times the money.  Now just go back and use the same numbers in the previous paragraph.

Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is! Yes there is and I'm about to tell everything that's wrong here.  Or at least a lot.

The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!  I don't know what source your using but I'll go with it. According to this  site, the median household income in the US is $46,326.00.    When you remember that the average  wage earner has to pay for part of their retirement (if it's even available) and part of their health insurance, then their take home pay is quite less.  The $50,000.00 you mention for teachers is all inclusive.  Health and retirement almost always 100% financed by the taxpayer and teachers retirement funds are 100% GUARANTEED!!  That means if the union, or whoever is in charge makes a bad choice and loses all the money, the taxpayers just pick up the cost. When you add health, retirement and everything else its closer to $80,000.00 a year. Let's also not forget that the person making $46,326.00 is working 60 to 100 more days a year to get to that amount. There is something wrong with that.  Oh, and here's the kicker, after three years of teaching, you generally have a job FOR LIFE. It's called tenure and it doesn't exist in the non-union private sector. About the only way you can get fired these days is to have sex with a student and trust me, the unions are working on making that a non-firable offense.

No one made ayone go into teaching and it is a relatively easy job.  There is a lot that could be done to improve it and there are some tremendously poor districts that need help. What is being asked in Wisconsin isn't anything that any private sector non-union worker has not had to do (is that a double negative?  Anyone a teacher reading this?).  My company has had a wage freeze for almost three years.  We pay little if any overtime and have cut a couple of positions to part-time.  We have shut down one location.  We don't have a matching 401k and every dime in my account was put in there by me. (It's a pretty fair amount.  Also have some nice cash in the bank and everything I have is paid for 100% except my house.  I mention this only in case some single women stumble across this blogpost). Throughout all of this, we have only had to lay off two people and everyone here is damn glad to be working.  They also all made adjustments in their lives to offset the lost overtime.  What's the matter in Wisconsin?  Some lazy ass teachers can't do the same.

One of my lifelong friends is a teacher.  Hell, he convinced me to get my degree in education.  He's been at it almost 30 years and will be among the first to tell you with a big smile on his face, "I can't believe how much they pay me to do this!"  His wife is a teacher as well, third generation I believe. She's a little more liberal but still is happy with the life education has given them.  Jimmy will tell you one other thing about teaching and it's his motto "Just TEACH YOUR KIDS.  IT'S WHAT YOU GET PAID TO DO!!" He's a firm believer in that.

Here's a good article that mentions the current wages in Wisconsin. Let me close this rather long post with this thought.  As little as 20 years ago, you had a choice.  You could go into the private sector.  The risk was higher but the rewards were as well.  You could make more money.  It meant much longer hours, being away from home more, all the things that come with taking a high paying job in the private sector.  If you wanted to be in the public sector, the pay was less, but your job was more secure and the benefits were tremendous.  Everything guaranteed and funded by the taxpayer.  My question is this: when did it become the status quo in the public sector to have the security and benefits AND the same money as the private sector?  It's one of the many things that is wrong with our government. At every level.

One more story, this summer a teacher came knocking at my door.

Teacher "We need help passing the mill levy. Last year it failed and we don't want that to happen again."

MRM "Take a pay cut."

Teacher "This isn't for teacher's salaries it's for the students." 

MRM "If they are as important as you claim.  Take a pay cut."

Teacher "Really, it's not for salaries"

MRM "Understood.  My neighbor across the way doesn't have a job.  I'm making less money than I did a year ago.  He's is doing without and so am I.  Either the students learn to do without or you do.  I've already mailed in my ballot and voted "no".  By the way, I have a teaching degree. Good luck, but I hope it fails."

It did.


Pam said...

Oh don't EVEN get me started. I had to ignore that post on FB several times. Wah wah wah wah. I'm hearing it out the wazzooooo re cola's from people who aren't even retired yet. Grrrrr.

chickory said...

i dont know where to begin!

did you see that piece on drudge that says more than half of eight graders in wisconsin cant read? grrrrrhahaha

i was a high school art teacher in public school for four years. i burned out fast. its a profession that disgusted me - mostly because there was no meritocracy. the worst paid the same as the best. i dont like the culture. it really is an insulated little fiefdom where people have the luxury of bullshit liberal ideas that would never ever fly in the real world. and then there were the idiot ad/mins. I wasnt in a union, and i didnt make much money.too make money, i went back to school and I got my masters, but by the time i received it i had already left the schools for a gig at the museum.

i like being an artist much better. I live and die by honest to goodness root level capitalism. i have a product. you like it? you buy it. no grants, no state funding.

its not about the children with these people in WI. no way. its about their comfort and lifestyle. Basically what has happened is they were promised things that should not have been promised -and of course by demoncrats. they were weak and unprincipled and let the unions give the orders. on the backs of the taxpayers. this is what happens when dems are in charge. EVERY city they run is a failure.

I hope they get fired. I heard on rush's show a bunch of teacher looking for jobs would go teach there non-unionized. there ya go.

this country is drowning in debt. some of it was engineered by the kleptocrats and fraudsters but this situation is a result of poor leadership and fairy tales. pitiful. the whole scene makes me sick!

liberals: always talking about tolerance. and as you saw with your facebook friend: they wrote the book on INtolerance.

chickory said...

damn that was long. sorry

Milk River Madman said...

I can't even begin. I could post about his constantly but out of respect for my teaching friends, I don't.

It wasn't long. It was great. There a couple of reasons I didn't teach. The main one was the culture. They are mostly liberal and lazy just as you describe. When I student taught, I had almost every male in the building mad at me. According to the handbook, male teachers were required to wear a tie. The man I taught under wore one and so did two other teachers. As the student teacher I was making the others look bad so the principal decided to enforce the rule.

The debt, the lack of personal responsibility and much more are all part of the liberal culture that is leading the greatest nation ever contrived by man into an almost unstoppable downward spiral. And then a bunch of dipshits voted for Barry to accelarate the process.

moi said...

I'll make my comment short and sweet: I don't believe in public education, period.

Buzz Kill said...

This isn't only about the teachers but all public employees. And the bottom line is: Why should I pay other people's lifetime pensions and healthcare benefits that my family and I aren't entitled to? It's that simple. I'm OK with a "reasonable" plan, but certainly not lifetime. It's money that should be going into my 401K. This is what the unions do not (and will never) get.

Milk River Madman said...

I'm for public education I'm against public indoctrinization. I'm also for free market in education. If you can afforrd to send your kid to a private school, you should get a tax break. I'm in favor of vouchers. The ironic thing about the WI is that 1/3 of the teachers have their kids in private school.

I agree Buzz. They have no skin in the game to start with and if they lose anything they scream like a cut cat.

BTW. How do you put a link in the comment section. I suppose I could do some reading and find out.

Buzz Kill said...

Wait, how do you know what cut cats sound like? Bwahahaha

Look here
for how to put links in comments.

Milk River Madman said...

Thanks Buzz. It's the way I used to do it. I thought I still had the recipe on my desk but could not find it.