My View: When did teacher bashing become the new national pastime?
Sam Chaltain: Align teacher evaluation systems around "what parents and teachers are both really seeking."
March 6th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

My View: When did teacher bashing become the new national pastime?

Courtesy Marilyn MargonBy Sam Chaltain, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Sam Chaltain  is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and education advocate. He can be found on Twitter at @samchaltain.

With spring training under way, fantasy baseball owners across the country are hard at work readying their draft boards and preparing to select their championship rosters. As they do, I have a modest proposal to make that will simplify the whole process: Let’s stop getting weighed down by multiple data points, and start looking at just one number instead – the number of doubles a player hit the previous season.

Too simplistic a way to evaluate something as complex as a player’s overall value to your team?  Hogwash. For example, look at last year’s stats and you’ll see that the Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur smacked almost 50 two-baggers. By contrast, some guy named Albert Pujols hit half as many. By my calculations, then, Francoeur must be twice as good.

Sounds simple enough – unless you know anything about baseball, and which of those two guys is the sure Hall of Famer who just signed a $254 million dollar contract (hint: it isn’t Francoeur). In fact, the only thing effective about drafting a fantasy baseball team this way is that it would effectively eliminate you from competition before the season starts. Yet this sort of magical thinking is exactly what’s happening in New York City right now, thanks to the city’s recent release of its own fantasy rankings based on how the students of 18,000 schoolteachers did on standardized reading and math exams.

Since the rankings were released on February 24, the New York Post has run personal profiles of the city’s “best” and “worst” teachers. The New York Times has run headlines suggesting the rankings are an accurate reflection of overall “teacher quality.” And the New York mayor has brushed off criticism by reminding us all that “no evaluation system is ever going to be perfect.”

I’m all for making sure the perfect doesn’t become the enemy of the good, but Mr. Bloomberg, are you serious? When exactly did we start thinking something as complex as teaching and learning can be reduced to a single number? And when exactly did (de)grading teachers surpass baseball to become the new national pastime?

But here’s the worst part: this story is making it harder for people to see the difference between two virtuous ends and one horribly destructive mean to get us there. For example, it’s clear in this new era of school choice that parents need better information at their disposal before deciding where to send their child for the next 12 years. It’s also clear that teachers need better information about their own performance in order to meaningfully improve the quality of their practice. If those are the goals, then how we get us there is equally clear: Identify the information, and align the evaluation systems, around what parents and teachers are both really seeking – not just students with basic literacy and numeracy skills, but young people with the knowledge and skills to use their voice, effectively and with integrity, in co-creating our common public world.

If that sounds like another form of magical thinking, consider this – it’s already happening. Since 1987, an organization called the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has identified five core standards that outline the knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs of highly effective teachers. Each year, teachers from across the country voluntarily submit to a rigorous process of being certified by a board of their peers. The process is universally respected, thoughtful in its criteria, and the sort of balanced evaluation that makes it impossible to mistake the teaching equivalent of Jeff Francoeur for Albert Pujols.

So yes, let’s all demand that parents get the information they need to make better choices, and that teachers get the feedback they need to become better teachers. And let’s stop pretending that things like New York City’s teacher data reports are anything but a step in the wrong direction. We can do better.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sam Chaltain.

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Filed under: Policy • Sam Chaltain • Teachers • Voices
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  1. Shiny Happy Person

    If I hear anyone spewing nonsense about unions being the cause of all the problems in public schools, my brain is going to explode. Look at the % of kids graduating in NON UNION states(mostly in the Republican controlled SOUTH), look at the high school test scores in Reading, Math, SCience and History–some of the LOWEST in the US. Thus the argument that unions have one whit to do with the quality of education is laughable....In my state of Virginia, we have an ASSOCIATION of teachers with no power...they can send all the emails and letters to the state government they want, but there is NO power, no teeth to an association....Virginia teachers just got a 5% pay cut from the state govt and if there had been a UNION with any power, that wouldn't have happened. So-enough with blaming any teachers' union for all educations' ills. That's too simple of an explanation of what's going on-there are complex reasons for struggling schools than its teachers being in a union-or not.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  2. mprofkz

    I know a board certified teacher who gives the same tests every year. There is another who turns his/her back on students when they point out that what the teacher is teaching is wrong. This is in private, not in front of a class.

    Until board certification was touted as being a good judge of teaching, this seemed reasonable. As in baseball, if you often boot the ball, you should not be in the hall of fame.

    March 8, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Leila

      Let's not generalize. There may be a number of teachers who simply pull out files from an old file cabinet filled with old tests, but the MAJORITY of us are constantly renewing, revising, upgrading, and refreshing our curricula. If I gave the same lessons and assessments every semester I would be really, really bored! If I'm bored then I KNOW my students are bored.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • mprofkz

        Agreed. My comment is on what "board certified" actually means. There was no intention to say these practices are or are not common among teachers.

        March 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  3. David in Tampa

    Lowest SAT scores.... Lowest ratings in academia....... Worst in the world for current events and history....... other that that what not to like?

    March 8, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • A Teacher

      Its because the scores are comparing apples to oranges. USA educates everyone and that reflects in the scores. The rest of the world only educates the academic students and the ones who can afford it. Its like comparing a high school football team to a professional team. The high school will not have the best kids at the position but they still do a good job. The professional team well it speaks for itself.

      March 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Leila

      The pool of students is very diverse and heterogeneous, which is bound to effect the overall national average. Believe me, there ARE top students in this country who not only score well on the SAT but ALSO take advanced placement exams! Those are administered by the NTS too and when students do well (a 3 or higher depending on the university of choice), those exams opt them out of taking certain classes. My English AP kids who score 3 or better do not have to take English when they go to university (unless the major in English). Similarly, students who pass the AP Calculus do not have to take math courses either and so on. These are the cream of our society's crop. They work hard and they are SMART. Don't generalize our kids!!

      March 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • E

      Teachers cannot teach children who have been up playing video games until 3AM. They cannot teach students who have not eaten breakfast and they cannot teach students who NEVER do assignments and homework and who never show up for tutoring. And they certainly cannot do it when by the end of first quarter the kids have figured out that the administration will not back up the teachers and that they do not actually have any consequences for their bad behavior because principals refuse to have high failure rates and pass them even when they are unable to read at 15 years old

      March 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
      • MA and NBCT

        A sample of teaching that I have been living for the past 10+ years:
        Hours: all of them. Planning, evolving lessons, everything I encounter is automatically evaluated as possible lesson material. This cannot be "turned off". Lunch time: approximately 35-40 minutes on the time schedule. Yesterday: asked to attend a "10-min meeting" with my dept in APs office. Spent entire lunch time there, then had two more classes to teach before end of school. Other days my room is open for student use during lunch time, and I help whoever needs it. Before school: arrive at least 90 min before first class starts. That is the only time it is quiet enough to get preparatory work done: copy student materials, collect classroom materials, set up classroom for specific activities, attend faculty/department/Student Study Team meetings/Student Assistance Program meetings/ parent conferences or grade-level meetings. Almost every day my planned tasks go unfinished due to someone calling me to a meeting or there is gridlock in the copy room. Classes: my job is to teach my students, their job is to KEEP me from teaching them. This is demonstrated every day by students having few or no materials, no knowledge of what was covered yesterday, "performing" ridiculous answers (to questions) to elicit hysterical laughter from student "audience", fielding questions like "why do we have to learn this? The other classes don't have to do this.", tardiness without passes, absences without parent note, not in correct school/PE uniform ("forgot it", "in the wash"), continuous disruptions: off-subject questions/remarks, name-calling, profanity, hitting others, throwing things, chasing others, taking property of others, possession of forbidden electronics (iPods, phones, video games), use of those electronics in class, gum (ending up EVERYWHERE)/candy/food/beverages, littering classroom, open/confrontational defiance toward teacher, flat-out refusal to do assignments or homework, cutting class, leaving class without permission, constantly asking to go to bathroom or counselor, lying about parent contacts. Parent contacts: unbelievable that student could have done THAT, disappointment that student is misbehaving, blaming teacher for student's behavior (what did YOU do to him/her? You MUST have done something!), not told about expected assignments/projects, didn't get my mailed note, don't have a working computer (for school intranet system to keep parents informed), will have a talk with student–student's behavior will change! Administrative support: little or none. Send an outrageous student to office, student is back within five minutes. Can no longer send a student out of class without filling out the "referral form" on the computer-don't HAVE a computer in my room/work space. Students in Special Ed for behavioral reasons (as opposed to developmental disabilities) not controllable by their assigned para, so disruption continues, and often escalates. After school: filling out "referral forms", calling parents, filling out referrals for student study team, writing notes to other teachers about specific students, putting away equipment from lesson, meeting with other teachers. After School and Weekends: grading student work, calling parents, entering grades and other data into computer, sending email to parents/teachers, making notes about today's lesson and suggestions to improve it for next time, writing lesson plans, creating student materials (on computer), responding to emails from administration/teachers/parents/students, making notes whenever I see something that could possibly be used in current unit or for teaching at a later time.

        March 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  4. nypublicschool

    Report from the ground.
    The reality of the public schooling system in NY.
    http://painintheassessment.blogspot.com

    March 8, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • RonMet

      Thanks for the link to the blog. Those of us who are not in NY, but are feeling the same testing crunch, can empathize – but that is hardly enough in the "bash the teacher" environments we live in. My heart breaks.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  5. Winn

    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!

    We can get that for less than minimum wage.

    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. 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).

    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.

    However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

    LET’S SEE….

    That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

    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.

    Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!
    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!!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Hans

      Your o-so-clever retort ,that gets copy and pasted every time this debate comes up, is misleading at best.
      Daycare operators pay for their rent, electricity, insurance, materials, and other costs out of the fees they receive. Teachers do not pay any of these costs out of their salaries. I'd welcome a system where the teachers received a fee per student and then paid all operating costs for the school out of that fee. I'd bet the costs of education would plumet as all sorts of savings would be found.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:49 am |
      • Mike

        As an Art Teacher I get a budget for supplies for $2500. Now if I have to pay for the electricity, maybe another $1000. Now to keep in the vein of being a greedy teacher I'll make the kids bring flashlights to save me some money. Still means I should be making, what, $250,000+. Currently, as a teacher who has been in the district 10 years, I make $42,000. I do accept checks if you would like to make up the difference.

        March 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • E

        Many teachers do pay for their own materials like pencils, crayons, paper adn other supplies the county claims they can't afford.

        You think people working for other companies should pay for all their own utilities and furniture and materials? You think People at GE, or Bank of America, or any other corporation pay out of pocket for their office supplies? They do not, so why on earth should teachers?

        March 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Teacher's wife

      I have replied to this. Your math is all wrong. Maybe the moderator will see fit to post my comments. But I will tell you, my husband puts more hours in at night, weekends and over the summer that probably rivals most large paycheck people. And he does NOT make a lot of money. He makes close to a beginner salary for the corporate world with a contract recently signed that says NO RAISES!

      March 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  6. Ted Ward

    Nothing wrong with most teachers. It's the unions ruining education and the teaching profession with their power-mad work rules and union dues. Unions have destroyed education and with it the lives of generations of poor inner city boys and girls.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  7. India Berlin

    Wow, a lot of people who complain about teachers who don't know anything about the education system other than having been students in public schools themselves.

    Want to know where all the extra money goes? It goes to Administrators (check out their salaries–and I'm not talking about the principals, but people at your district headquarters); it goes to Standardized Testing (very expensive); Bussing (no money is spent on transportation in other countries–they ride public busses or their bikes); Sports and Sports facilities (again, no money spent on this stuff in other countries–these are not related to the school system at all since they are not academic). Follow the money! Also, in the U.S. we mainstream all Special Needs kids–in other countries they go to their own schools, so it's far less expensive since each student doesn't need a personal aide, and each school doesn't have to hire a lot of special ed teachers–they are all housed in the same school.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  8. eviltaxpayer

    Teachers arent good teachers because theyre in a union, theyre a burdon on the taxpayer because theyre unionize, private education is proven superior, actually teaching math and science instead of "billy has two mommies" or the sensitivity and tolerance crap!
    get the freakin psycologists out of school and bring back disipline, and parent accountability-

    March 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • India Berlin

      Apparently you haven't read the data that shows higher teacher quality in schools with strong union membership. The first school I worked at had only about 12 members out of 85 teachers–most were from the area (rural), went to a small nearby college, hadn't traveled, didn't read much, and were totally clueless about a lot of things. All of the people who were well educated left. Why? Because in an environment like that, it was similar to being in high school rather than teaching in one–the not-so-bright bullies constantly harassing those who were smarter than they were.

      And, by the way, just because a teacher is a member of a union, doesn't mean that he or she agrees with everything they do or say; it's more about a good working environment for all, even those with whom we don't agree.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • E

      Most private school teachers have less education, no certification and are paid less than public school teachers. They likely have no health care and have the priviledge of only dealing with children whose parents are involved and are spared from the actual difficulties that most teachers face.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  9. eviltaxpayer

    Cmon- evetrybody KNOWS its not teacher bashing, its the corrupt unions that extract dues and give to the democrats so they can continue recieving there obnoxios pay/pensions.
    Its the scan that we the taxpayer despise paying for.
    Get rid of the unions, they dont make teachers better, do they?

    March 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  10. chris v from AZ

    well when you teachers are not doing your jobs in adequately preparing students for college, then yeah you should be attacked. step your game up and don't lose control of your classroom, do your job and go above and beyond trying to get the children engaged in learning. they are our future, better recognize this dumb people.

    March 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • ggmama

      Ironic.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  11. Yepyep6598

    I feel sorry for teachers and I have the upmost respect for them I had an opportunity to become a teacher, but I am prone to violence I refuse to let a kid put their hands on me. This is coming from a blackman we have a different view when a child puts their hand on an adult and it goes like this"If you are old enough to pass a lick you are old enough to take one" this is Old School thought that still is the cornerstone of thought in the black community today. Never put your hand on a blackman or the results will end up unfavorable for the student.

    March 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  12. franklinluvsu

    Teachers do not just teach. They become a 2nd parent, have to tell the kids about the outside world, become counselors, etc. To say a teacher is just a teacher is insane. They get to school at 7 am and leave at 5 pm. They go in on weekends, they don't get paid for summer vacation. And they're constantly attacked by the state who is always trying to take away health benefits and docking pay more and more each year.

    March 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Angela

      Teachers are not parents. No where near it. They don't work any harder than any one else in any other occupation and definably not as hard as some, including parents. Yet they continue to bash, insult and make insensitive and unsubstantiated judgements about parents while taking no responsibility what so every when a child fails. In my 20+ years of working with the public school systems I have yet to hear a teacher take responsibility when a child fails. Teachers are being PAID to foster a love of learning, engage a child in curriculum and cultivate an interest in the material. No matter what the parents are doing or not doing. Period. Yet when a child fails they blame the child and if that doesn't work they blame the parents. In no other occupation would you keep your job if you are not producing results much less get away with blaming some one else for it. When teachers stop blaming parents and take some responsibility to do the job they are being paid to do parents will stop bashing teachers.
      Oh and by the way for those of you who think I have bad kids or are a bad parent one of my children has graduated from a prestigious university and is in Grad school, another is applying to grad school as a senior.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • eviltaxpayer

        Great post angela-
        Were too busy teaching "diversity" and "tolerance" we need to get back to basics-
        Stop with the school psycologists and the ridalin, learn to teach and bring back disipline in schools-

        March 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • RonMet

        Wow – the bashing continues....

        Angela – if you went to a store and bought a toaster only to find that it always burned your toast, you'd take it back. Bought a clock that didn't keep time, you'd take it back. Ordered a pizza that wasn't right – you'd send it back. Teachers can't send the student back. We take what we get – we try to work with parents who don't care (obviously that wasn't you), don't want to help, but only blame us for their failing child. But we still try. We try to work with a broken toaster, a clock that can't tell time, and we'll eat the pizza that is brought to us – because there's no throwing back the kids who won't work, who come from broken homes, who have IEPs and 504 plans. Who come to school hungry, sleepy, angry, abused, neglected, sick, etc...

        You say we're not the parents? You're right – most of us though wish we could be the parent to that child who comes to school hungry, neglected or sick. You're reaction is that I'm exaggerating. Find a teacher- any teacher – you pick – ask them and you'll find I'm right.

        The current news about teaching is sad. More and more teachers are dissatisfied. See this link – http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/contributions/foundation/american-teacher/MetLife-Teacher-Survey-2011.pdf. Why is it that more and more teachers will be leaving the career? Could it be that it gets harder ? More difficult to meet every growing needs. And the thanks and appreciation is becoming more and more non-existent.

        Enough – I think I waste my time... You, and others who have not been in the classroom, don't get it, and never will.

        March 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • E

        when was the last time youo had to do all that for 35 children at the same time?

        March 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  13. Flint Native

    New York's mayor decided he should take charge of education. He has brought about no improvement in test scores even though he has almost doubled spending on education. He has to blame someone. In difficult times, ubiquitous targets are best for scapegoating. Teachers and Postal Employees make perfect targets.

    Finland, where teachers are held in high regard, also has the best student performance.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  14. JV

    Im not fan of teacher unions, because it does keep the less qualified in their job. Its not about money either. So sick of that argument. All excuses. It all about the effort the parents put into their kids/education. The school problems don’t start with the teachers either, it starts with the students who disrupt the classes., which is ultimately the problem of parenting. If you live in any middle class neighborhood, you should understand this. Between Rap and Jersey shore…yes.. it is poisoning a whole generation of children, and if you disagree with that you are blind fool. Our children emulate what they see and hear. All they hear is smoking weed is cool and drinking and staying up is fun. The fact is, If they do not get attention from you, they get it other places. Especially around that 10 – 14 age group. If you don’t nip it there, hold on for the ride. Does your child have that one friends house they goto and hang out all the time, and you don’t worry about it. Guess what, your child is probably doing all the things they cant do at home, because that other parent doesn’t give a crap. This seems to be a universal pattern. I know you are tired, but If your kid isn’t getting passing grades then they are probably hanging out with a bad crowd, doing drugs, and running the street all without you carrying. Common sense. Don’t blame others. Watch your children, if they are screw-ups, 80% of the time it is your fault.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  15. rlong

    It's not teacher bashing. It's authority bashing, which is human nature. Get rid of these letter grades: A, B, C, D, and the queen mother of all bad grades and dirty words......"F". Do away with grades one throulgh twelve. It's worn out! Require a PHD to become a teacher, but we need another word for "teacher". Do away with team sports, and make it a private matter. Do not allow computers, cell phones, or any electronic device of any kind. Require uniforms to be worn by all students, teachers, and administrative staff. AND, recquire bullet proof vests to be worn under those vests. Shorten the school day to end at 12:00 noon. Outlaw the word, GRADUATION, from the English language. Do not allow any of these young people, or the teachers, to be overweight. Require qualified students to be fingerprinted, photographed, subject to a background check at any time. This goes for teachers, principals, administrators, housekeeper, etc., etc., etc., etc., ...........................OH!, AND NO school buses.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Calvin

      You're an idiot... And a communist

      March 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  16. DD

    My spouse has always wanted to teach. He is also a life long student himself. He is curious about everything. He continually is changing and adapting his lessons to accommodate each group of kids coming through. Every Saturday morning is spent discussing his lessons from the last week and what he wants to do next week. In twelve years of marriage this has never changed. However the abuse he takes from the students and threats has escalated. His goal is to have a bully free zone where kids feel they can participate safely. The other thing that has changed is we have had to spend more of his income on his classroom, pens, paper, pencils, tape, tissues etc. I would feel better about how much we have put in, if I felt the kids were putting in the same in effort. Also the time he spends in counseling kids who respect him enough to trust them with their problems. This takes a toll on him as well, he often spends time figuring out how to help each kid. Sometimes he worries about how to reach a kid who is probably totally unaware of how much thought is put into trying to help him/her. I support my husband 100 percent.
    On when Saturdays vents here are a few examples:
    Parents wanting their kid to pass, even though they haven't done any homework(also note some of these parents can be the nastiest in their comments)
    Kids who need help and how to reach them
    What we need to but that week for the classroom
    Any new strategies and/or ideas for lesson plans
    the list goes on.
    I feel it is my job to be as encouraging as possible. A cheerleader of sorts. I wish the community would do the same not just encourage the teachers but community youth as well. Best of luck to all teachers.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  17. CorporateturnedEducatorturnedDemoralized

    I began my career in the corporate world and after 10 years of hard work, became a department director for a national corporation. I worked 60-70 hours a week, and traveled 75% of the time. I had four weeks paid vacation, but only managed to take an average of two weeks a year because of work commitments. Once I decided I wanted a family, I knew that schedule wasn't going to work, since my husband works just as much. So I decided that I would make a career change and become a teacher. I knew that I would be working more hours than the actual school day but I thought I would have most evenings, most weekends and summers off to be with my children. I knew that I would have challenging students, but I thought I would have the support of parents, administrators and my school district to deal with those challenges. I knew I would be making a lot less money, but I thought that the basic needs of my students and classroom would be met by parents and the district and not from my pay check. WOW, was I wrong!! I was a very good teacher by many evaluation standards, including my student's standardized test scores. I lasted 7 years.

    I agree that all professions worth doing have their own challenges, and teaching is no different. The one difference I do see, however, is the people in those professions aren't constantly and mercilessly attacked, as teachers are. I am not writing this to complain about the hardships of teaching as compared to other professions, I am simply asking that people recognize that teaching is very challenging also, and teachers deserve the respect given to others in challenging lines of work.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. teacher teacher

    Teachers who' s professional merit is being judged on the exam scores of their students will refuse to work in poor or minority districts, to work with children of special needs, with lazy students or even with students of disagreeable parents. It is common educational knowledge that children of minorities or low economic status do not score as well as wealthy Caucasian children. There is only so much a teacher can do with a dtudent, the parent and the child have equal roles. No teacher can force a student to try.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  19. S.

    The reason teachers get such little respect is because of how much whining they do. I don't think teachers are overpaid, but I don't think they are underpaid either. And I certainly have no interest in spending my day with dozens of children and dealing with their parents; it's not my cup of tea. I used to be pretty neutral on the subject of teachers (I have had bad and good teachers, but most were just average and boring when I was in school), but after listening to teachers complain constantly for years, I just lost respect. I'm not saying their complaints have no merit; buying your own supplies, working outside of work, unhappy customers etc is not fun. What I am saying is that every job has one or more of the same complaints and teachers act that they are the only put upon workers in the country. I've taken work on vacation with me, I've bought my own supplies, I have furthered my education while working full time and I know many other people in non-teaching jobs who have worse working conditions. Teachers live in this bubble where they fell like they are martyrs and that everyone has it worse than them . Newsflash: you are not unique, your job is not worse than most other jobs, and if you find you are not suited to it, then you can change jobs just like everyone else.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • S.

      oops – meant to say they believe everyone 'has it better than them' not worse.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Futureparentofpublicallyeducated

      Wow!. You are part of the problem. Please don't complain when your kid exits high school and has the brain function of mud. Teachers are bashed and degraded everyday, and get paid squat to put up with unrully kids, threats from parents, threats from students, threats from administrators, and can barely teach the class because little Johnny or Shaquita doesn't understand how to open a book in the 12th grade. They also live in fear of lawsuits if they even look at a kid wrong, let alone control an unrully child. I have known teachers that were very good, and wanted to teach that gave it up because they weren't allowed to teach. They were babysitters, and targets for parents that think the teachers hold all the responsibility of their child being a complete moron.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:29 am |
      • JustaGuy

        To be fair, we all need to recognize that teachers pay depends on the statein which they are working. For example here in Ohio an entry level teacher makes around 33 thousand a year, however they max out somewhere around 60. Last time I calculated thats not bad for having every holiday off to spend with your family. Lets not forget that they get a week off in the Fall, two weeks off for the Christmas / New Year holiday, and another week off in the spring, and about 7 weeks off in the summer. Also if it snows to hard, if it's to hot, or in some cases when there are predicted bad thunderstorms.

        I'm an accountant, and I can assure you that I'm CERTAINLY not afforded such luxuries. To make 60k a year, and to have something like 4 months of vacation time is pretty remarkable, and frankly I'm not inclined to feel too sorry for them.

        March 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • Sci Teacher

        JustaGuy,

        Are you kidding? Well I know the answer. You just do not know. As a teacher I am contracted to work 197 days a year. I am given three personal days for the school year. Now let's take a look at your given time off. Fall break is two days (not a week). Winter break is ~6 days, depending on the day christmas falls (not 2 weeks). Spring break is two days.

        Now let's look at the average american worker. You work 5 days a week for 52 days a year. That is 260 days. Now (on average) you get 3 weeks off plus 10 federal holidays. That means you work 235 days a year. So lets see, that is 37 more days than I work (or ~7 weeks).

        The point is your numbers are way off. As many other people have said, I work WELL over 40 hours per week (as do many other professions). If you tabulate my hours for a year and divide by 52 weeks, I work well over 40 hours a week spread over the whole year. So, yes, I get time off. But that is deserved time off.

        March 7, 2012 at 11:21 am |
      • The Watcher

        Justagguy,

        What most don't relize is that most teacher work 50-60 hours a week during the school year (at least the good teachers do). Lots of papers to grade, federal and state paper work, lesson plans, all have to be done, usally off the clock. Then in the summer, there is trainings they have to attend ETC.. Its not so cut and dry.

        March 7, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • JustaGuy

        I certainly don't want to discredit the very challenging profession, I just think that the pay is adequate. If you check salary.com and compare the average wage for other professionals (Not those with a Doctorate), I believe that you will find that teachers are at the lower middle end of the scale, which is, at least in my opionion, where it belongs. As an accountant I can sincerely say the entry level salary for a staff accountant, in south east Ohio, is somhere close to 35k. Again about par with a beginning teacher. And I'll take those 37 days right now.

        March 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • IMakeADifference

      Your comparisons are valid up, to a point. In no other profession does the entire future and well being of our society rest. Without us it would take only one generation before our culture collapsed into chaos. We are the future of America and without us the world your children inherit will be bleak! Go ahead and continue the onslaught against teachers and when you find that only the least able decide to pursue this career you can reap that harvest. God help the United States when that happens.
      A word to teachers. Value the contribution you make to our society. Without us this nation is awash in bigotry and ignorance. We hold back the tide of hate. We are awesome!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  20. Drowlord

    There's a lot going against teachers right now. It is well known at this point that our government spends more money on students, per capita, than any other country in the world, and our performance is at the bottom of all industrialized nations. Any parent knows that schools have constant fund-raisers, and that our kids are required to supply things like pens, pencils, pads of paper (for teachers, even - not even for our own kids' use) and tissues for the class. In spite of all this, we hear bizarre claims like "schools can barely pay the electric bill." It's clear to anyone with half a brain that something is severely mismanaged, and pretty much nationally.

    The "available" pool of educated and certified teachers outnumbers actual teaching positions many-to-one, so the skill set is more a commodity than in other careers, with an unneeded hoard of new teachers entering the job market every year.

    And in the end, standardized testing dictates a great deal about our kids academic opportunities. Our kids are judged by this, and it therefore seems reasonable to judge teachers by how our kids perform in these important metrics. Maybe that's not fair or reasonable in the grand scheme of things. However, teachers and children need to be measured and evaluated by some mechanism, and we have failed as a civilization to agree on objective metrics. Even what little we have agreed upon is under constant attack from every family with under-performing students.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • The Watcher

      Hey, Put on your black Chainmail, pick up your hand cross, bow and ride your spider back to the underdark! Still hate 4.0 D+D.

      March 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  21. Mark Knight

    Before you can blame teachers or standardized testing, you must blame the parents. From the very start, it is the parents duty to the child to make that child understand that getting an education is more important playing "Mario Kart" or "Halo". Children who have parents who not only preach that philosophy but practice it, succeed. Those who do not, have children who falter and often fail. Sadly, NO ONE in this country is willing to accept responsibility for there actions and everyone is too quick to point the figure at someone else instead of at themselves when it comes to assigning blame.

    An educated population is the bed rock which a society is founded on and to let ours erode through pigeon holing with standardized testing and playing the blame game, we are on very shaky ground.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  22. Lola

    When I was a kid my parents made me sit down every night and do my homework. If I misbehaved in school and they heard about it I caught it when I got home. It was my fault, and I learned my lessons well. It is very obvious where people's priorities are today, and they aren't in making sure their kids get an education or take responsibility for their actions. If parents spent as much effort getting their kids to do their schoolwork as they do getting their kids to soccer practice we would be having a much different conversation.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  23. tacc2

    Let's see...you wake kids up at some ungodly hour in the morning, send them off to buildings which resemble prisons, treat them like prisoners, pack them into rooms where there are 30+ children per teacher, and somehow it's the teacher's fault the children are doing so bad? The whole system is wrong, it's not just the teachers. School needs to start later, kids don't do anything well in the morning. I don't care if it's inconvenient for the parents. Do you want your kids to learn or are you just using school as a day care? We need to stop treating our children like prisoners as well. Who could learn anything in that sort of environment? And the class sizes should be limited to no more than 10 students per teacher. This would give the children a chance to actually get individual attention and instruction from the teacher. But NOOOOOO, we won't do any of that. That would be too inconvenient for the parents and cost too much money. We'd rather spend the money killing brown people on the other side of the freaking planet and giving tax breaks to people who already have too much money.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • What Now

      Actually, there are alot of children who excel at learning in the morning hours. Preparing kids for the real world is not just about learning to read and write.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:10 am |
      • tacc2

        I should have been more clear. I'm mostly talking about older kids. You're right, a lot of young children are very good in the mornings. Most adolescents however are not very good in the early mornings. It's simple biology. I would have gone to school a lot more myself if I wasn't expected to be there by 7:30 am. As for preparing children for the "real world", school is very, very bad at that. I think the only real world skills I learned in school was how to lie proficiently and sneak around without getting caught😉

        March 7, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  24. Tordil

    The worst teachers I had relied on their tenure. They would use it as an excuse not to teach or care because they were “untouchable.”
    One in particular I’m thinking of would brag how the administration wants him gone but couldn’t touch him… we just watched Lion King in Spanish each day

    March 7, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  25. Jeb

    I think the teacher's are partially responsible: a. horrible testing of US kids compared to other western countries while we spend more than they do. b. Unions constantly try to keep any sort of pay for performance out of teacher's contracts. A+B =C - teachers need to realize that every employee is responsible for the work they perform and work with administrators to embrace this responsibility. CPA's will kick out a bad accountant in a heartbeat and are constantly increasing the level of their professional standards to raise the bar for their profession. Teachers should take a lesson. Either they are professionals (which I assume is how they want to be seen) or they are service workers. 'Professional' also carries a lot of self-policing and responsibility for results.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • derp

      "Unions constantly try to keep any sort of pay for performance out of teacher's contracts"

      every time I see this type of veiled teachers union basing I ask the same question.

      If the unions are so bad for education, then why do the states with the strongest teachers unions consistently, year in and year out, score the highest on the standardized tests?

      And I always get the same response......nothing.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • What Now

      Jeb, you have some valid points. However, I don't think parents in the US would like the increased school year or the increased level of discipline that other countries require in their education programs. Possibly, when we begin to realize that education isn't about having pampered playschools, we will once again gain the higher education standing we once held in the world.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  26. Dave

    Only the worst people in America hate on teachers – but that's what you can expect from the pathetic losers who would do so. Much of the animosity seems to be rooted in right-wing, irrational hatred. Bad people. But their opinions mean absolutely nothing to decent Americans.

    You will note the inherent hypocrisy that a Republican blow-hard wil still ALWAYS send their kid to public schools unless they are of Romney's class. Rich people most definitely understand the value of education even as they perpetuate anti-teacher stereotypes among lower class Republicans. Some people are so irredeemably stupid they end up preyed upon by the elites in society, because it is so predictable how they'll react with negativity and hatred towards members of their own economic class.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Futureparentofpublicallyeducated

      Right. Like teacher bashing comes only from Republicans. You are such a moron. Last time I checked teachers were made up of Dems and Repubs, and the students and their parents were dems and republicans. As someone who has a couple of teachers in the family I can tell you that your typical demographic of Democratic voters are the ones that cause most of the problems. Like when BO was elected President a couple of my aunt's students stopped doing homework, stopped taking tests, and acted up in class. When asked why they were doing that they responded "we aint got to do sh!t now that Obama going to take care of us". So when those students failed their parents were screaming and causing a stink, saying my aunt was racist for failing them, and the parents said my aunt was making it all up, and that their kid is a good kid and would never act like that. Or how about my sister-in-law that was threatened because she failed a student that refused to do work and was given the chance to write a one sentence reply to pass the class still refused, but the parents threatened her because she didn't do enough to help their kid pass the class eventhough the kid was telling her parents that she refused to do the work.

      People need to man up and start taking responsibility for their children and not blame a teacher for the fault of their child's idiocracy.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  27. Old student

    I was a kid in the 60s, and lived through the subsequent expansion of womens' roles in the workplace. Honestly, about 40 years ago all the smart women decided to do something else besides be teachers and nurses. The nursing profession and the healthcare industry were able to expand nurses roles; increase training options; and salaries increased dramatically. Today, nurses are well respected members of the healthcare team. The teaching profession and taxpayers failed to do the same for teachers. The result is that our kids are stuck with poor teachers and a unionized mess that protects poor teachers from being fired. Back to my "40 year rule".....all the smart women decided to do something else, and our kids are stuck with the leftovers.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Dave

      And you believe your own tripe despite having zero evidence to back it up. Mysogyny, anti-union, anti-public sector – all in one paragraph. You are a living breathing stereotype of ignorance, old fart.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • Caddolakeguy

        The truth really sucks. Right, Dave?

        March 7, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • What Now

      I think you over-generalize. Apparently, your education did not include research and critical thinking. There is another issue that no one ever seems to mention, teachers are no longer allowed to teach and control their classroom. If a student is failing...it must be the teachers fault (even though the rest of the class is doing well). In your day, teachers were allowed to fail students who did not pass their classes. Now, those students are given a passing grade and moved on to the next grade. When you were a student, if you went home with a bad grade, most likely your parents blamed you for not studing hard enough. Now, it couldn't possibly be the childs fault...it must be the teacher. Not all teachers are dumb, but they certainly are having to deal with alot of dumb ideas!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • derp

      "a unionized mess that protects poor teachers from being fired"

      Again, if the unions are the problem, then why do the states with the strongest teachers unions consistently, every @#%&ing year, smoke the states with weak unions or no unions in all of the standardized tests you dimwits hold so dear.

      I'll make it simple.

      States with strong teachers unions = high test scores

      States with weak or no teachers unions = low test scores

      Strong teachers unions = high tests scores.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
      • eviltaxpayer

        derp- if you repeat a lie enough times, eventually you believe it eh?
        ANY city in america pick one, I live in Chicago, we spend the third highest ( behind cali and NY natuarrally democrat controlled) and our graduation rate is 50% THATS 50%!!!
        Todays education system is horrible, too bust teaching diversity and tolerance.
        THe unions are the problem, Your obviosly a union shill,
        Again Unions DONT make teachers better, why are private schools PROVEN superior?
        Answer- NO UNIONS-

        March 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  28. coaster

    I would challenge anyone who thinks teachers have it so good and easy. Walk the walk. Become a teacher. All it takes is time, money, and dedication. Talk is cheap. I thank God for the wonderful teachers I had. They taught me the skills and abilities that allowed me to be a highly successful functioning member of society. My children also had wonderful caring teachers. Now in the Autumn of my years I reflect back on why my children and myself had such a positive educational experience. A side from caring dedicated teachers there are two factors that come to mind. First, as students we were willing participants. Secondly, we had parents that highly valued education. Obviously, the best we can hope for is to reach our individual potential. Nobody can help you do that without your consent.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  29. Skorpio

    Teacher bashing is a consequence of having hundreds of new educational leaders/coordinators/administrators thinking they have the miracle cure to increase the student's IQ and motivation. Once they implement their techniques to improve students performance and find out it don't work, these guys start blaming educators for the bad results. The only thing for sure is the new trend has increased the education budget to much higher proportions without tangible good results.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  30. The Bobinator

    #1 My opinions are just that, my opinions. They aren't right, they aren't wrong, they are opinions, not facts, OPINIONS. I would think teachers would know the difference, but obviously they don't.
    #2 The responses that I am seeing are that the teachers are saying it is not their fault the students are not learning. Now I understand. You are teachers and not educators. Teachers teach, educators help people learn. I can write a computer program to teach, if I don't have to guarantee any learning I could easily replace all of you with a single computer to teach every student in the country. However, there is supposed to be a return on the investment of a teacher that the students do learn.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • MOMO

      I am no teacher, but i was a student.

      you cant teach someone who is not willing to learn, it is that simple.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Exactly! So you just give up on them. Not your job, not your problem!

        March 7, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Elwood011

      Blobinator, you sound like you have more problems with the system than the individual teachers in it. The system has to run with high achieving students as well as those that will eventually sell fries for a living. I also think I learned a lot more on my own than I ever did in school. But I remember there were times when certain teachers helped to challenge me and point me in the right direction to further help myself advance beyond anything the schools would teach. I am sure that if you reach back through that narrow mind, you will find an instance or two in your past as well.
      That is an example of what a good teacher can do. But how do you measure that?

      March 7, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Thank you Elwood011! I appreciate your comment. That is the most well thought out and rational comment (even taking my own into consideration) that anyone has posted on this subject.

        March 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  31. MOMO

    LMAO LMAO LMAO

    reading the comments here, there sure are many people in the USA with Ph.D.

    IF I HAD A NICKEL, EVERY TIME someone claim to have a PH.D. or a computer science degree on the net, i would be very rich LMAO.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • The Bobinator

      PhD, impressive. Computer Science degree not really. You can get 1 in 2 years or less from a tech school.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  32. Doug

    I see there are lots of opinions are either side. But if we could stop the diversion by "blaming teachers" and get to the real cancer in eduction. The biggest problem education has are the bloated administration system that is little more than welfare checks for people with no repsonsibility and hide behind random rules focused on punishing those who criticize.
    Prinicpals, counselors and the so called "resource workers" do little for any student and hide like cowards when questioned.
    Teachers are fine with what they do. some educate a student, most "educate" the class and hope for the best. Most have a good financial deal and should be happy they have the benefits. The extended education is only for raises. The thought that the extra masters is something they couuld use in the "private world" is simply fantasy. Their actual education would have little to no benefit in the real world. If most people had three months off a year and get subsitance for more schooling I'm sure many would also take advantage of it since it ends up providing an automatic wage increase regardless if it has direct benefit to their teaching skills.
    Teachers should be tolerated as they don't run the schools.
    Teacher unions should be eliminated as thei do little for the teacher and only give a lot of money to use for politics and corruption.
    Admininistrators should be help accountable to the public and mostly reduced. But I doubt if that will happen anytime soon.
    Too much money in the system.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  33. Honest131

    As a parent, its not about the pay or the hours for the teacher. I don't want to hear about the money or lack, I don't care about the 9 months. I don't care about the hours. As a teacher, you took a job for salary, just like me. My kid comes home and at 12 years old, can't point to our country on the map. So I buy her a map and talk to her about current events and show her where things are. Then she comes home and tells me all about Egypt and how they built the pyramids and did great things. So I ask her about when our country was founded and she has no clue. I show her a picture of the Lincoln Memorial and she doesnt know what it is. So we talk about that. We watch an 11 hour History Channel special on America (highly recommended by the way). So here is my issue: I'm doing my part. I'm helping fill in the gaps. I'm paying attention to my kid. What is the teacher doing that my kid is 12 and hasn't learned in school where we are on the map or any of our history? I don't know that its the teacher or the curriculum, but the damn system is broken and I want it fixed.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Doug

      looks like you already know how to fix it. By making sure your child is learning.
      Don't wait for any school to change anytime soon. The teachers come up with their own lessons based on a curriculum directed to them by "others".
      Just make sure your child knows you are interested in them learning as much as possible. encourage reading and writing and you will have the smartest child in the class. Because the school system is only interested in teaching to the test. Not a total waste but soley for the benefit of the school system so they get more funding.
      It's the parents job to ensure their child is ready for the world. Teachers are only some of the tools a parents uses. and some tools are just tools.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Roseb

      As a 3rd grade teacher I have been labeled a "bad teacher" this year because of last years test scores. According to my principal I had to many students at basic and below. Basic is no longer acceptable. Fifteen out of the 30 students I had last year came in reading at a Kindergarten to mid first grade level. This year I was told to only focus on the students who had a chance of getting proficient or advanced on the state test (don't bother with the low kids because they have no chance of doing well). I only teach reading and math, as directed by the principal because Social studies and science are not tested. I teach right from the teachers manuals word for word, left to right top to bottom....as directed by the principal. Finally, I know I will be blamed, once again if all of my students don't hit proficient or advanced.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • tacc2

        "This year I was told to only focus on the students who had a chance of getting proficient or advanced on the state test (don't bother with the low kids because they have no chance of doing well)."

        That is absolutely horrible. The smart kids aren't the ones who need help.

        March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
      • Amy

        While I can sympathize with the points you make, I couldn't help but note some glaring errors in your grammar and punctuation. As a teacher, you should know:

        It's "too many" not "to many"
        It should be "last year's" not "last years"
        Mid-first should be hyphenated
        If you capitalize the first "S" in Social, you should capitalize the "S" in Studies, and for consistency, other subjects should also be capitalized
        You don't need a comma after "blamed" in the sentence, I will be blamed once again...

        I know of many fine, dedicated teachers who constantly make errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Please don't be one of them.

        March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • Amy

        Almost missed one–it's "teachers' manuals" not "teacher manuals"

        March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Now and Zen

      @ Honest131 – I applaud you for spending time and caring about your child. It's exactly what every educator hopes for – that parents spend time with their children. I'm guessing your child is in middle school? Middle School teachers in my state have an average class size of 30 students. They see that student for 1 period a day which lasts 54 minutes. There are 7 periods in a school day. So Middle School teachers operate on a 1:210 student teacher ratio.

      Teachers do all they can to help students learn. You can do amazing things with a small group of kids, or one on one. Perhaps empathize with teachers when you have a group of 30... and each has unique needs and learning styles. Most teachers care about your child.... but there is only so much they can do. Please try to remember that.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  34. Ivyleagueiq

    Well Democrat bashing is still in full swing.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Doug

      a little sensitive are we?
      too bad you choose to cry politics and ignore the failed education system in this country.
      if democrats are the ones who continually support larger unions for workers funded through the public funds, then I would say they are n't helping anyone but themselves. But possibly the republicans are also taking money from groups who continually look to undermine public education.
      It's not politics dude, it's the failure of all when education deteriorates.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  35. The Slobinator

    Hey Bobinator – you seem to have learned so much with no help from educators, what is it you do again? Other than waste your companies time on CNN blogs all day?

    March 7, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • The Bobinator

      I run the computer systems for an international company based in US, Spain, UK, South America, and Mexico, using skills that I learned on my own outside of school. Thank you. I do get PTO that I do use so sometimes I do have a day off from work.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:50 am |
      • The Slobinator

        And you spend your days off trolling people who work in a profession that you have neither had the pleasure nor pain of experiencing firsthand? I mean honestly – I can't evaluate what you do, or how hard you work, or how good you are at it, because I've never been employed in information-technology services. Even if I was – I still couldn't really judge you as an individual because I don't know you. But I guess it's okay to publicly bash teachers and lump them together into one big "teachers have too much time, whine too much, don't do enough, aren't smart enough, are narcisistic, don't really care about students" stereotype that I read about every day. Just to clarify – I am a teacher laid off as a result of state and federal budget cuts – and I never once complained about my job when I had it. In fact, just about the only thing I cared about when I was teaching was the general welfare and success of my students, no matter what walk of life they came from. And no, I'm not pleading for a medal or cool-points, I just think that the criticisms that are heaped on teachers are unfair and overstretched.

        March 7, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Trolling? You are the one personally attacking my opinions, but I guess asking you to respect the opinions of others is too much.

        March 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • The Bobinator

      Troll – 1 Bobinator – 0 I just realized I got trolled by a 12 year old. Bravo! "Slobinator" Bravo! See kids are smart and clever! More proof to the failing of teachers to notice that and nurture the intelligence.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @The Bobinator

      YOU ARE A BIG FAT LIAR.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  36. rebiii

    The people who bash teachers had problems in school and are still fighting those battles as adults the only way they can, by griping about teachers they don't even know. Time to grow up.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • The Bobinator

      I had no problems in school. Passed easily from grade school to high school and through college. But I still think teachers are failing the students both then and now. Also, just to point it out you are complaining about people making generalizations about teachers by making generalizations about people. That is not a very good point of argument.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
      • rebiii

        Bob,

        I've been reading your comments on this thread, and you are wrong on so many points I don't even know where to start.

        I am a former teacher. I lasted a couple of years. In Massachusetts, where I taught and where the teachers are "coddled" with unions and so on, 50% of teachers leave the job within the first three years. My suggestion to you, if you think that the money is so easy, is that you take a job teaching. Otherwise, shut up. Personally, I tend to think that garbagemen are a little overpaid, but when I'm honest with myself, late at night and not posting in public on forums like this, I know that I would never do their job. So I keep my mouth shut.

        The problem with evaluating teachers based on student performance is that you are not evaluating teachers, you are evaluating students. If your theory were true, then cops in high-crime areas suck, because all of the community outreach that they do doesn't give results. After all, let's not evaluate who the cops are, but who the people they serve are. And cops in cushy suburbs are great cops, because there are no criminals around. Is that how it works?

        If I teach a class of 30 students for 1 hour a day, then I have those students for 180 hours a year. If I give each student 1 minute a day, that is half my class time. Usually I couldn't do that, with having to teach in front of the class, deal with discipline problems, etc. But for the sake of argument, let's say that I could spend a minute a day with each kid. That would be 180 minutes a year, or three hours. So it's my fault that the kid is who he is? Get a life.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:53 am |
      • HPN

        Hey I get tired of hearing all the excuses about why students can't learn.The worst teachers I ever had were in college at the Phd. level and as most know college professors don't really care if you pass or not. If you take notes and use the text book you can pass any course you take regardless of how good of a teacher you have. The problem is students are lazy, they think they should not have to spend more than 30 minutes to an hour to study for a test. I was not blessed with a high IQ, how long did I study for a test, well as long as it took to learn the material if that is one hour good, if it was 6 hours well then 6 hours it was.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  37. michaelnsc

    I think if you were able to read the story and write a comment then you should really thank a teacher instead of insulting them.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • The Bobinator

      No not really. I thank my mom and dad for my ability to read. They are the ones who taught me how to read.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  38. Jim Dunning

    Sam, you say–
    "So yes, let’s all demand that parents get the information they need to make better choices, and that teachers get the feedback they need to become better teachers. And let’s stop pretending that things like New York City’s teacher data reports are anything but a step in the wrong direction. We can do better."

    So, Sam (and all of the other apologists), since our customers want to be able to identify which schools, admins, and educators are good, bad, and indifferent, HOW DO THEY DO THAT?

    I agree with you that the current ways suck, but by bashing the value-added-standardized-testing approaches, why don't you address the real issue - that our customers want information - and start suggesting ways our profession can be professional!

    March 7, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Omgami

      He did leave a way, finish the article.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:03 am |
      • Jim Dunning

        Actually, since the NBPTS doesn't involve continuous assessment and coaching of educators, I don't see it as any more useful than value-added testing results. The "peers" don't see the teacher in person, only a very small slice of the teacher's performance is evaluated based on a video prepared solely by the teacher, and downstream teachers and admins have no input into the process. True employee assessment and development requires constant feedback and coaching, and more than a one-time assessment, otherwise why are we so deadset against EOC standardized testing for our students?

        March 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  39. Mike in Texas

    New??? Where have you been for the last 20 years? Teachers have been under attack by the "privatization" (read corporate) reform groups for 2 decades at least.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  40. The Bobinator

    I blame the teachers, in some places they are too busy going on strike and not teaching because they don't want to pay 5% more for health insurance. The majority are in it for the easy money, pension and summers off. How can you cry about anything when you only work 9 months of the year and get paid more than people who work all year, putting in 40, 50, 80 or more hours a week. I know there are some good ones, but anyone (just about anyone) can be a teacher. In most districts your classes are predetermined by the school district or state all you have to do it follow along in the book.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Jacque

      Bob, it's very clear you know NOTHING about teaching. Teaching isn't a job where you leave at the end of the day when the kids do and don't have to do anything until you clock in the next morning. Teachers are at school before students get there and often don't leave until several hours after school is out for the day. They don't leave school empty-handed either. Rather, they take home bags of papers to grade, textbooks and other materials to prepare lessons for the coming days. Those people who work 50-80 hour weeks that you speak of INCLUDE teachers. There's no "easy" money for teachers. They deal with students who have an increasing number of problems which can be traced to home life or medical reasons, students who would rather be out running the streets or at home watching TV or playing their video games, and parents who feel they need to nitpick every aspect of the teacher's classroom. Some teachers don't get paid year round, and those who do get 12 paychecks are getting 9 months worth of pay stretched across 12 months. Summers are not for teachers what they are for students. Teachers use that time to get rid of or tweak lessons that didn't work the previous year, finding new lessons and new ways to get information across to students the following year, and attend trainings to get the mandatory number of professional development and continuing education hours required to keep their certification. And the health insurance you're talking about? Where'd you get the 5% number from? If you're going to quote numbers, be prepared to back them up. In fact, before you say anything about teaching, how about doing some research into what is required to become a teacher and maintain that job.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am |
      • The Bobinator

        You must be a teacher. Oh and the 5% Windsor School Distrcit, Mequon-Thiensville, Swanton. Clifton, Tigard, Stark, Kenosha, Danbury, Greenville, just to name a few in the country. Also, I have 4 teachers in my family there is nothing to complain about pay or benefits or working hours/from home etc. Boo Hoo Hoo

        March 7, 2012 at 8:00 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Oh, its so hard being a teacher! You know it is hard being anything. It's hard to be a plummer, if something happens there is water (at best) every where. It is hard being an electrician, if you mess up a house could burn down. It's hard being a fireman, you have to run into burning buildings, its hard being a construction worker, a gargabe man, a secretary. It if was fun and easy it wouldn't be called work would it? It is work and its not easy just like nearly every other job on the planet.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • The Slobinator

        Yeah Bob – except that all of the jobs you mention here are not constantantly criticized publicly. Nobody makes blanket statements about all the problems with firemen, or plumbers, so how about you take your own arguments into consideration – and treat teaching with the same respect that you regard all professions with. Teachers are individuals, which mean like any professional, their work habits vary – stop judging them as a whole.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Michelle Collins

      Bobinator you sound very bitter. Obviously, your school experience was not positive. That doesn't mean that everyone has negative school experiences. As a teacher, I work very hard to provide a learning environment that values the students that I teach. You must realize that no matter how hard I try, how many extra workshops and classes I take, and how many new strategies I implement I will never have as much of an impact on the students as their parents. During the course of a school year, the parent has approximately 89% of students' time. It is during this time that the kids should be taught to value themselves, others, education, etc. This is not happening in every home. Therefore, the 11% of the time the students' are on the teacher's watch, he or she is trying to teach a curriculum without having a well prepared learner. Our job should be to provide opportunities for students to be exposed to the curriculum we are mandated to teach in creative and meaningful ways. Most of the time this can not happen due to what comes through our door from the home. You think we get paid too much. I can not afford to live in the community in which I teach. A community in which I grew up in. A community which is on the lower middle class end. I have literally 25 years of higher education, including a double masters degree. What would the private sector pay someone with that much education and knowledge in their field of work? I wonder.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Ray

      My wife is in her 3rd year as a kindergarten teacher, her salary is $29,500 of which 14% is taken off the top as mandatory retirement. While true larger populated schools pay better, it still isnt more than people who work 40-50-60 hours a week year round, and it certainly isnt worth getting a four year degree just to be able to teach. You have to at least like teaching if not love it to actually "teach."

      You stereotype everyone who is a teacher as lazy, and furthermore, you do not have facts. Perhaps you may have had bad experiences or other situations, but today you're just blowing hot air sir...have a seat.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  41. atroy

    Student performance on standardized test tends to point more toward the competency of PARENTS than it does teachers.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:19 am |
  42. Heebie Jeebie

    My situation lacks sufficient intensity and drama to make one of those feel-good Hollywood movies about teachers who fight the system or try to reach those unreachable students. However, I do work hard, and I often put my own popularity at risk with students (as well as other teachers) to try to help students succeed in the subject I was hired to teach. And I know I am not the only one…

    March 7, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  43. Irene

    Blame the GOP and home-schoolers for this. They think that anybody who gets an education outside of their small-minder, bigoted, religious bubble is a snob.

    March 7, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Viejopanameno

      Wow, a bigot calling other people bigots

      March 7, 2012 at 4:59 am |
    • Cali Transplant

      You sound so bitter and lonely.

      March 7, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • eviltaxpayer

      Irene – another angry liberal brainwashed by msn and the liberal lies-

      March 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  44. Bob

    Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

    George Bernard Shaw

    March 7, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • cate kruse schroeder NBCT

      No Bob, those who can, teach. Those who can't go into some less important line of work.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Heebie Jeebie

      Assuming all teachers are losers, your own educational credentials must be worthless. Therefore I invite you to become a teacher yourself and see if you have anything yet to learn.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:16 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Like most people to strive to learn, I have learned much more on my own outside of school than I did in school.

        March 7, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • c s

      I guess George was self-taught and had no teachers. If he was self-taught, he had a lousy teacher.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • analogkid

      Around half of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years. I wonder where they go?

      March 7, 2012 at 6:49 am |
      • aflarend

        politics!

        March 7, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  45. mmi16

    Parents are abdicating their responsibilities and expect teachers to become the parent to thier children they aren't. Teachers are supposed to teach, not parent 50 kids a period.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Viejopanameno

      Absolutely

      March 7, 2012 at 4:59 am |
  46. Mark

    Hey if there are budget issues, they can always take some from the school district that I live in. Teachers driving mercedes benz and the principal buying a brand new million dollar home. Must be nice.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • K

      Perhaps Mark they have spouses who get paid what they are worth....what judgement! I guess we are all suppose to barely get by and love it.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  47. spent

    New? If you only knew! I began my teaching career in 1973 and bashing was taking place then, and it has not let up one iota.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  48. Mr. H

    My son's teacher (Mr. Lorick at Safety Harbor Middle School, FL, a Christian fanatic, told the class: "anyone who believes in evolution is an idiot."

    March 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Margeaux

      Okay, so what did you do about it other than write it on a CNN site? Did you go to the principal and the school board or are you just getting some good mileage out of telling everyone. I have no problem as a former teacher being accountable. Poor teachers made my work a lot harder.

      March 7, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • spent

      Ok! Mr. H. You, as a parent are an idiot for teaching your son that you did not evolve from an amoeba.

      March 7, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  49. Agnt1

    Probably 95% of teachers are heroes. Stop looking at sports figures and telling children they are heroes. Of course there are a few that should be exchanged, but we can say the same about doctors, lawyers, and truck drivers. We expect teachers to educate and raise our kids. They do have a great influence on our children, but parents are responsible for raising their own children. If you’re bashing the teacher, you need to look in the mirror. If you have a problem with a teacher, be an adult set up a conference and discuss concerns.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • kimberley

      Sorry but teachers are nothing more than people who seek to earn a living. They bring their bigotry and shortcomings into the classroom. I have found them almost universally to be narcisists who need to be the smartest person in the room. In a room full of children they mistake knowledge for intellect. In their interactions with parents they presume far to much and accept zero input. The facts are that teachers remain in the profession for four years on average, not enough time to become experts on our children or even competent in their job. "new" pastime, hardly it is simply finally time to say the emperor has no clothes!

      March 7, 2012 at 7:37 am |
      • John

        Wow. Generalizations are fun!

        March 7, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  50. gupsphoo

    Just make it legal for teachers to fight back.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  51. Ggmama

    The teachers real obligation is to TEACH to their content area. Now we want teachers to monitor student achievement, struggle, behavior and penchant towards violence with 38 other students in the classroom during 45-minutes of class?
    Learning respect and boundaries comes from home. Start at an early age and practice it yourself. Verbally bashing teachers, coworks, other family members in front of your kid teaches them how to treat others. Put away the helicopter, encourage and challenge your kids, and above all, allow them to struggle. This is a part of life and they need to learn how to be resilient. They also need to learn that they can stand on their own feet. If we keep holding their hands, they will never learn to cope with their problems. Common sense. My students respect me, because I am honest with them. I set clear boundaries. I do what I say. I ask them what they think. I listen to them. I treat them like adults, and I hold them accountable for their behavior. Therefore, I rarely have any behavior issues in my class, but I will tell you it takes a lot of work when I have parents that pull their kids out of school to go shopping.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • chris

      If you have parents that pull their kids out of school to go shopping then I think your school might be on the opposite side of the tracks than mine. My parents never pull their kids out of school, even when sick, because they're too busy doing...nothing? None of them have jobs and we've had several send drugs to school with their elementary children to sell.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:09 am |
      • ggmama

        In both situations, the parents are sending the message that education is not important. It is tragic.

        March 7, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  52. mail@oldmanssite.com

    Why would anyone want to become a teacher to begin with? You can drive a truck with less education and training and make a better living for your family. As a matter of fact you can get a lot of jobs with less education and training and make a better living for your family.

    You don’t have to put up with ignorant parents, undisciplined children and administrators that got where they are by kissing &#** and lying about coworkers to the administration.

    If you are thinking about becoming a teacher, I suggest you think long and hard. If you have only been teaching a few years, it is probably not too late to change careers.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Lou

      I agree. I have a family member making 70,000 working at shop rite with no education past high school. However, I have a masters degree, certified in multiple content areas and make 52. just makes no sense.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:14 am |
      • The Bobinator

        College is for fools and yes I am a fool. 4 years and thousands of dollars to learn what you could have learned in a couple months if you take out all of the other crap classes you have to take. I learned more in one year out of college than I did 4 years in college. Plus then you have the debt to pay as well for the next 15 – 20 years.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  53. Maria

    Teacher-bashing is a favorite past-time for the clueless.
    The real problems with education are not the fault of the teachers the same way the crash of the housing market is not the fault of the roofers or carpenters. We have a systemic problem of abrogating child-rearing (including nutrition, socialization) to teachers. We have a very large demographic who do not speak English as a primary language – and blame teachers for lack of English competency. We expect the schools to feed kids two meals a day, provide music education, and sports training (with proper equipment – or God help them) and blame teacher salaries when the cost becomes apparent. We also have the unrealistic expectation that all children are capable of grade level work. That has never been true and making teacher job security dependent on that false presumption is as dishonest as it is cruel. We have a culture of confrontation which would rather pit teachers against parents rather than making them partners for the betterment of our kids. We would rather demonize teachers as overpaid lazy-bums to deal with community budget shortfalls than own up to years of fiscal irresponsibility by our self-serving elected officials. Wake up people. The problem is not the teachers.....

    March 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jeff

      Teachers pay, fringe benefits, and retirement plans are sucking NYS district budgets dry. How about a subsidy if the retirement investment doesn't do well? The district has to make up for the loss of the investment! Now that is a platinum safety-net. Test scores are poor; NYS ranks low on a national average of academic proficiency. NYS is short $2,000,000,000 in educational aid from the state – districts are on the verge of closing down. Are the bargaining units stepping up to at least make an effort to help save districts? I haven't seen it yet. Teacher bashing too harsh? Think again.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • LadyVa

        I want to know more about fringe benefits...is that where you get a raise freeze for 4 years, furlough days of the year, get increased class sizes, pay more and more into your retirement or get to deal with education experts that are professional teacher critics because you once were taught by a teacher? What a joke!

        March 7, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • The Bobinator

        I love when teachers complain about a raise freeze, furloughs, paying more into retirement. Classic! Look around people whattis happening to the rest of the working world? Pay freeze for 5+ years, layoffs, no free retirement or pension money, having to actually pay for most of your healthcare, having to work all year round with no months long summer vacation. Doing more with less, I personally am now forced to do the work of 2+ people for the same salary. Oh yes and you have off breaks for holidays too! Shut up and teach. Realize that most of the students in your classes are actually smarter than you too.

        March 7, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • derp

      Bob, comparing teacher pay to private pay is disingenuous and you are smart enough to know that. I work in the private sector. I make more than three times what my wife (a teacher makes). Her largest pay raise ever was 3.8%. She has never received a performance bonus. She does not ever complain because she loves what she does and understands that her compensation is part of that choice.

      I make twice the county average salary where I live with a bachelors degree. My wife is below the midline with a MS in Biology, and the continuing Ed credits of a PhD. This year my performance bonus was more than my wife's entire yearly salary because my company had a very good year in the rebounding economy.

      Nobody complained about teachers salaries and benefits when the economy was cranking along. Nobody complained when the private sector was making money hand over fist and teachers were still getting 3-4% raises. My wife did not demand to be treated like a private sector employee during the tech bubble in the 90's, or the housing bubble of the 00's.

      Part of being a teacher is accepting that you won't get treated as well as private sector employees when the economy is booming, but that you will have stable employment when the economy goes south. Unless you are prepared to give teachers private sector compensation packages when things are good, don't expect them to accept private sector compensation packages when things go badly.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  54. Bucky

    I think this really comes down to expectations. Everyone reading this article and these comments is doing so because of their education experience. A large part of primary and secondary schooling was discerning the true ability of your assigned teacher from the grapevine. Let's just say that the NYC situation is a very public and expansive grapevine. Each number your teacher is given will set your initial expectation of what to get out of the experience.

    Despite all of the horror stories below, I think it is fair to say the majority of teachers can provide a beneficial experience in the classroom. But rating the teachers as a number will set the tone for the rest of your educational experience, or require an extraordinary amount of work to overcome it.

    These pessimistic expectations are what drags down the education system. If anything, we should be trying to support our teachers as much as possible, because who is spending 8-3 everyday with our kids developing their hopes and dreams? Teaching is meaningful because of the powerful impact it has that cannot be measured with money or a ranking.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Jeff

      I don't disagree Bucky; however, a large population of teachers will step on the backs of the very students they are supposed to develop in pursuit of a pay raise. Teaching has become commercialized to the point where unions will sacrifice education and jeopardize student achievement for a buck. You or I would be fired for poor performance; teachers cannot be fired – they hand on and hang on and hang on collecting a paycheck and the district gets nothing. If one is long passionate about teaching, go back to school and become an investment banker.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • LadyVa

        I just wanted to say, how many slugs and brainless wonders work in high paying jobs, doing nothing other than breathing and by knowing someone, keeps their job? MANY. It isn't just teachers and before you, the expert say crap like that, go visit a local school and take a look. There are maybe less than 1% you describe and many, like 99% that are doing or exceeding in their job. Stop and look before you leap off a cliff of assumptions and heresy!

        March 7, 2012 at 12:10 am |
      • ...

        Not true Jeff. Teachers can be fired but the administrator has to go through a very thorough process to show that the teacher was substandard. Most administrators at the end of the day don't feel like bothering and let those teachers continue on. Maybe your complaints should instead rest on the shoulders of those administrators who are too lazy to get rid of the teachers who are lacking.

        March 7, 2012 at 1:25 am |
      • chris

        It is 6:15am. School does not start until 8am. I am about to leave to start prepping my classroom for the day while my husband will take our 5 month old to the sitter to be raised by someone else while I will be verbally and emotionally abused for 75% of my day by 12-16 year olds. Yet I am still going in nearly 2 hours early in hopes that I will reach a few of these underprivileged youth and keep just one more out of a gang this year. Yeah, I do it all just for the money...

        March 7, 2012 at 6:14 am |
      • The Bobinator

        Chis...you may be going in at 6:15, but you are complaining about it at the same time. Not many people have a 9:00 to 5:00 job. If you count when I have to be on call and available my job starts at 10:00 PM every day and doesnt end until 5:00 PM the next so I dont want to hear someone crying about or saying they are so great for going in an hour early. HAHAHA

        March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am |
      • Monty

        I go to work 3 hours before I get up, work 26 hours every day with no breaks, come home to my cardboard box to suck on a damp rag for dinner and am thankful for it!

        March 7, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  55. MaryAnn in VA

    The reason parents are bullying teachers is because they expect teachers to raise their uncouth, spoiled rugrats. I shadowed a family member for the day in a rural high school and I was shocked at the crap teachers have to put up with from kids. No homework assignmentas done, disruptive in class, bad language, expecting everything to be handed to them. Parents need to do their jobs and be parents, disipline your idiot kids, demand that they respect you and others. Give teachers a brake cuz without them America would be more illterate and undereducated.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Spades

      Respect is earned. It is not automatically given. I had one teacher back in middle school that I talked back to on a daily basis. I hope she knows that I meant every word of what I said to her even after all these years. She was pure evil.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • Maria

        ..and you weren't?

        March 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
      • T. Paine

        One of the problems is that children have been fed that "Respect is earned" garbage. Many kids have no respect for their parents, teachers, police, or anyone else – including themselves. They see no value in the efforts others make on their behalf, and see themselves as the center of all creation.
        Are there bad teachers? Sure. Are there bad doctors, lawyers, ministers, etc.? You bet. Do they merit respect until they prove they do not deserve it. Surely.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • Gymm

        Let's begin every day with the assumption that everybody merits respect: friends, foes, strangers, teachers, students, parents, brothers-in-law, investment bankers, homeless, politicians, mentally ill... I'd bet that would improve student achievement. Caveat: it may take all 313,141,049 of you.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
      • Netanyoho

        what do you expect coming from a piece of blackkk fillth?

        March 7, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Jeff

      MaryAnn in VA. Teachers are not being "bullied" because of ill-mannered and poorly behaving students. But the lack of discipline in schools is terrible. Many students are focused on learning and are good scholastic citizens. The rest are in need of a good old fashion whipping! Now, now, I know we can't beat on the kids. But maybe getting parents to shoulder some of the discipline responsibility is in order. Trouble is, the parents of these bratty kids don't care. Should we toss these trouble-making brats out the door? Why not!!???!!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  56. Pete

    Your kid stays up all night playing video games and sleeps in class. How do you fix that? Get rid of teacher unions. Teachers represent one third of the problem and now they are 100% of the solution. Parents and students are victims of poor teachers and don't have any role in the learning process. Let's see, if the kid fails in life, it's their teacher's fault.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  57. FenseSitter

    I'm caucasian and I married a tiger mum and I can assure you my children are one of the top students. Not because of me or the school but because of my wife the tiger mum. She is not their friend she is their mother, discipline and respect are always expected, yet they are happy as any happy children> I and my children are so lucky to have her and once experienced I could have no other. Stop blaming others and look at changing your behaviour.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • FenseSitter

      Please note that tiger mum who was well educated in China laughs at the fuzzy wuzzy hands on of the education system. The education system holds back the best so the worst don't feel as bad. NO REALITY and heaps of ideology.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • At Helm

        Tiger moms are driving the education crazy. Education is important but to some of theses moms, it's the only thing. What today's society is getting is well educated, inept, sociably awkward,sheltered, uncompassionate, selfish individuals. No to tiger moms, yes to PARENTS!

        March 7, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  58. Margeaux

    People keep blaming teachers. Firstly, we don't randomly decide what gets taught. We follow prescribed curriculum from the government. If your kids or you, are not learning what you think you need, stop blaming teachers. Talk to your government officials.

    Secondly, yes there are some lousy teachers, just like any other profession. Unless someone complains, nothing happens. As a teacher, I cringed at some of the things I saw, but could do nothing as administration wouldn't do anything. I loved my job. I hated the politics and that is what drove me out. It all became about show and not content. If the kids were on computers, it "showed" well when parents and officials walked through. What they were doing on the computers often was a waste of time. I wanted to teach kids things and was more or less told that it didn't "show" well so wasn't allowed to do it. I was a very popular teacher and for many years many parents told me I was the best teacher their child ever had. However, they didn't write letters to the people who mattered so admin just treated all teachers the same when clearly, some were more capable or gifted. If you like your kid's teacher, don't just tell them. Write letters to someone who matters. Only then will the standards go up. If you don't say anything then it looks like all is well. It is just too bad that the good ones get overshadowed by the bad ones. I now do volunteer work and share my talents that way.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  59. Wes

    My wife was valedictorian of her high-school class, outscored me on the SAT, and got a scholarship to the same college we both attended. I chose business, she chose teaching. When I graduated I started at $46k; I now make $110k. After ten years she makes $36k–far less than I started at 10 years ago, and she works far more hours than I do. I can't think of another profession that requires a 4-year degree and would pay so little after 10 years.

    Thank goodness she is finally taking my advice and leaving for a professional that will reward her for her hard work. It's fine to pay so little when we are respecting and praising our teachers; but its an easy choice to leave the profession when you get treated like this AND you don't get paid. Easy choice. God help our school system.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • jesussays

      If you cannot think of any jobs that pay just 36K a year after 10 years, then I would recommend you talk to some local job recruiters in your area. Today, it is not uncommon for 10 years of experience to yield a 30K offer, with no benefits. That is, if there are jobs available. Airlines and automakers went broke largely due to unions and manufacturing has all but abandoned this country for the same reason. Unfortunately, a city cannot file bankruptcy as easily as companies to restructure and escape these outrageous contracts that are no longer the norm by any stretch.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  60. Henry

    Every employment and business performance evaluation is based on RESULT, positively, productive, good results. It is undeniable that the education system of this nation has been failing miserably for decades. Why I keep hearing teachers complaint about low pay and demand to have unconditional automatic pay raise while many HS graduates aren't not much better than the illiterate?

    March 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • bmj

      Ah, results. The magic of measuring everything. So what are the results you'll measure and how do you determine what was teacher vs what was student?

      I am not a teacher but I would never want to be graded on a kids performance. If you've ever coached youth sports then you know the wide range of kids you get. Some have talent. Some try hard. Some don't try at all. Some show up for every practice and some only show up for games but demand full playing time. You have 12 kids on a team but only eight show up for practice, and of these only four are consistent. Even for the ones who really care, you can't spend the time needed because one of the kids is constantly interupting and two others are goofing off.

      How could anyone justify evaluting a teacher based on students who WANT to fail?

      March 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
      • Maria

        Well said.
        Bravo.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • jesussays

        I can justify it because I taught at a school with huge disciplinary problems in all classes according to my co-workers, yet I would have disciplinary problems for about 10 minutes on the first day and maybe a small problem later, but seldom. I was engaged while other teachers were just enraged. And I can tell you that I have worked much harder as an engineer, a roofer and a sales rep than was ever required to keep my classroom motivated and free of disciplinary problems. The kids want to learn, but their energy level is really high and most teachers just cannot or will not keep a pace that keeps a kid's interest. When I was a public school student over 30 years ago, it was the same story. Maybe 10% of teachers controlled their classes, while the others were run over. Why? Because the remaining 90% spent their time napping in class(for real, it like an epidemic), directing kids to read to themselves during class or teaching by playing films in class. That does not get it. An animated, respectful and interesting teacher, such as I was and still capable of as the job really is a cake walk if you can stand the monotony of revisiting the same subject semester after semester. Where else in the world would the only adult in the room blame the kids for a problem?

        March 7, 2012 at 6:55 am |
  61. Scary times

    Teacher bashing is happening because of a very scary combination from two very different groups.

    One, you have that element of liberal culture that refuses to acknowlege their due responsibility in their actions, which in this case is the parents who are so into their own personal lives that they don't spend the time they need to with their children. I'm a teacher, and the stupid things that I've seen parents do and the general apathy that's out there is extremely bothersome. The BEST WAY TO TEACH A CHILD HOW TO READ is to read with your own child at home. I'm 30 years old, and my father read to my mother when I was still in the womb... The research has backed this up since before I was born, and yet so many literate parents never bother to teach their children before they start school. If I drive 3000 miles and then Jiffy Lube is unable to give my car an oil change, it's their fault. But if I drive 100,000 without an oil change, then it is MY fault when my engine breaks down.

    The second group is the crazy GOPers who, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, don't give a rip about anyone except themselves, and won't pay a dime in taxes if they can avoid it. I don't really need to expand on that.

    Everyone who says that out nation is troubled because our schools are troubled has it backwards. Our schools are troubled because our nation is troubled. The combination of these two different yet equally irresponsible groups of people are going to trash the USA.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Netanyoyo

      Take my advise on this: Go back to ur mother's WOMB. U'll be safer there!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:58 am |
      • Netanyoyo

        U want to make teachers happy? Get rid of the students!

        March 7, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  62. Ron

    Want respect ? Stop being lap dogs to the liberals, tow a more moderate line. Stop with the cheating scandals (Atlanta). Stop with the millions wasted in the (NYC) rubber rooms. Stop looking like raving union goons (Wisconsin). Stop with the daily reports of teachers molesting students. Stop with the "underfunded", because we spend more than any country on education and have little to show for it. Stop paying hordes of administrators over 100 grand a year (Newark). And no job should have lifetime security after 3 years, get rid of tenure and fire the teachers you all know are bringing down your profession.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • tessaprn

      No need for my post you are on target!

      March 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Netanyoyo

      I can't help it if a reggin runs the country and the rest of his pride rule the country!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  63. amk1486

    I teach special education in a low SES school. I make 36K a year (where's that 75,000 salary?). My students come to school having had nothing to eat. Some of them are afraid to go home. I am talked down to every day by students, parents, and administration. Oh, did I mention that I teach in Wisconsin? What's a union again?

    Above all, though, I love what I do.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  64. Claire

    I became a teacher because I believed that I could be a positive force for our youth. My state would like to base my "merit" pay 50% on my students' test scores and 50% on the evaluations of my administration. Can you really believe that a single test- designed, not by the educators themselves- will determine whether I am worthy of my pay? In the business world, it is not a one-time evaluation of your consumers that determines whether or not you keep your job. You have multiple evaluations from several different people. If I am going to be evaluated on my abilities to learn, then the students should submit to a drug test, an alcohol test, a sleep deprivation test and a health check-up. All of those will have an impact on their learning and certainly their assessments. Now let's include the fact that I teach students with disabilities. My average student is 3-4 years behind their peers- due to medical issues, birth defects, genetic inheritance and several other factors. Is it really fair to test those students in the same fashion as your general education student? My students will be next week. They will walk into a room with a test on material that is 3-4 years above their abilities. The scores on those tests will determine whether I am an effective teacher. It won't matter that I had a student who came in reading on a 1st grade level (in the 9th grade) and moved up to reading at a 5th grade level at the end of 2 years. What will matter is that I didn't bring him up to grade level...

    March 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      *ahem* isn't that exactly what teachers do to their students?

      March 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
      • Margeaux

        You act like teachers make this solitary decision to test students and make decisions based on that. It is an educational system that requires teachers to test students. If they were not tested then you would say that teachers are not accountable. Make up your mind!

        March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • Claire

        If you think the only way a teacher assesses what their students learn is through a test- you are sadly mistaken. I spend the majority of my day asking questions, watching body language, repeating, redirecting, explaining in multiple ways, using several teaching methods. We assess on a daily basis- we evaluate, adapt and modify with every group of students that walks in the doors.

        March 7, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • LadyVa

      I feel your pain. I have the same problem, for I too teach LD and face the same issues.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  65. Henry

    Why teacher bashing? Collectively, teachers failed to educate American for more than one generation, both tangible and intangible, in every aspect. Second, teachers (again collectively), while enjoying one of the best pay and benefits in the nation, are perceived as the greedy because they refused to carry fair share of the economic burden in bad time and were readily to sacrifice education progress of the students for benefit "bargaining". Teachers, with the leadership of their Unions, had made big tactical mistakes and have no one to blame but themselves.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      exactly

      March 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Sly in Indiana

      "Henry"... With the spelling and grammatical mistakes running rampantly through your comment, it's no wonder you hold teachers in such contempt.
      You obviously didn't learn much in school.
      But you might want to blame yourself.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  66. Teachers can go to hell for all I care

    Teachers deserve a break? Screw that! I remember how it was when I was in school, being bullied incesssantly in class, and none of the teachers did jack about it. All they did was hand me a string of failing grades, and having the nerve to say "I am not trying hard enough". Bunch of sorry asses, all they cared about is punching a time clock and being cut a check. And I guarantee you, nothings changed since. And then what about the POS ones that get a chance to head a class while being miserable with their personal lives, taking it out on students. Just to think, all you need are a couple of losers like that to ruin your education.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Ggmama

      Wow. This is truly sad. Your miserable experience obviously is meant to justify your contradictory statement. So every teacher you ever had allowed you to fail? What are the odds?

      March 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • LadyVa

      Let's talk about personal accountability! Your first statement is a classic...teachers let me fail. Really? I had a learning disability, was bullied as well, but my teachers didn't fail me. Why? Because I didn't fail MYSELF! Look in the mirror, you failed you before any teacher failed you.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  67. Ggmama

    A kid does well in a class, we praise the kid.
    A kid does poorly in a class, we blame the teacher.
    A kid is accepted into an Ivy-league college, we ask the parents how they did it.
    A kid drops out of school, we ask why the school didn't do more.

    You all know this pattern to be true, despite your feelings on this piece. We have all engaged in this type of dialogue at some point, whether it be our selves, ours kids or someone elses. You need not worry about future teachers, since there will be little to choose from in the future. Right now, Junior is learning to use the teacher as a door mat. Junior will never actively pursue a career in teaching.
    As a side note, those of you who truly believe that it is teachers that are to blame for the crisis in education, are you the same people that go and blame the worker bees in a failing Fortune 500 company? Yes, there are challenges that exist in every job, including teaching, however hands are tied there as well. What a foolish, ignorant culture we have become.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      Newsflash... education IS a failing 500 company

      March 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
      • Ggmama

        My metaphor was not lost on you. Bravo.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
      • Teresa

        News flash........the head of the fortune 500 company probably won't have his job for long. Your snarky comment show your true mental age, about 10 I think.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
      • Hmmmmmmmmmm

        Newsflash @ Teresa.... Congratulations on your fine display of the results of a modern american education. /snark

        March 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  68. Elementary Teacher

    I challenge anyone who is not a teacher, to plan lessons and teach for one day.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • jesussays

      Emphasis on elementary my dear. LOL. I taught at the collegiate level and trust me, it is a cakewalk compared to a presentation to a board of directors or a client. And as far all this lesson plan nonsense: Do you never teach the same class or lesson? Just as teacher compensation once lagged industrial pay for some time, the reverse is now true. Hopefully we are on the threshold of reining in the excessive pay and abbreviated work schedules enjoyed by "educators".

      March 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      And, I challenge a teacher to prepare a project plan and see it followed through...

      This is a hollow challenge. You do know that every profession does have its challenges, do you not?

      March 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • I couldn't agree more!

        You're right! Every profession has its unique challenges. I admit it, I probably know very little, if anything about what you do, which is exactly why I'd never presume to tell you how to do your job or how to "fix" your industry. So apply the same logic to yourself and stop telling teachers how to do theirs!

        March 7, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  69. dawng8500

    Having worked in the public schools in Wisconsin, I'm frustrated by the brainwashing our teachers have had. They are paid well (75,000 plus another 30,000 worth in benefits), retire at 55 or 30 years with full benefits (including full medical benefits paid), and they whine they aren't "appreciated". I go into schools, and see them badgering and bullying the students, and being bullies at meetings, and then becoming angry when the students question them. They spout their liberal poison, and make students turn their shirts inside out if it is one supporting our Gov, Scott Walker. I have lost MUCH respect for many. Their behavior is reprehensible.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • steve richmond

      You should live my wife's life as a teacher. It sucks. I would never become a teacher and I long for the day that there's a national crisis due to a shortage of people wanting to take up the profession.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Eric_C

      This is all lies intended at making teachers look like they are on some gravy train. Nice try. According to the BLS the average teacher salary in Wisconsin is $48,743 (sorry Dawn, the internet makes it easy to fact check). So why are you making up lies and posting them on the internet? What is your agenda?

      March 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • jesussays

        Hey Eric,

        Do you understand a state average of 47K? No doubt some districts pay more than others and within districts, there are specialized schools where teachers earn more. 75K at some schools is easy to fathom. Don't know the specifics of this individual's school or district, but then neither do you, yet you choose to categorize the post as lies.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • GoodJob

        The instant someone uses the term "Liberal" in a pejorative sense you know what their agenda is and you also know that what they assert in their post is more than likely to be filled with factual errors as this person's was. There is far too much right wing propaganda being foisted on the public by polemicists these days which is then copied and pasted into tens of millions of emails by gullible fellow travelers. It really is unfortunate that so many people don't have the sense to fact check "information" presented to them before they uncritically re post it in forums like this one but then again what can one expect from people who so aptly exemplify the failures of the educational system they are decrying.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • The Bobinator

        Are you saying a $48K salary is bad? I would say that is a pretty good salary.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • The Bobinator

      Have you ever been in a teachers lounge at a school? These "adult" teachers spend their time insulting and making fun of the "kids" in their classes. Most teachers dont really have a maturity level much higher than the students they are teaching.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  70. Maestra

    Read Teacher's Turn: Speaking Out by Katrina Johnson Leon. It's available on Amazon. Eye opening.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  71. momofthree

    I am a National Board Certified Teacher. It was the most demanding evaluation process I ever experienced. I worry about what is happening in New York City because this trend is moving across the nation. When I started teaching I had a Bachelors Degree...it wasn't enough I needed more professional development. I went back to school for my Master's Degree...I still needed to meet professional development requirements so I went for Board Certification. I still have another 17 years before I can retire. How much more qualified do I need to be? Thank you for posting this article!

    March 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      Why should your job experience be different from any other professional? Hello?

      March 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • steve richmond

        Hmmmmmmm do you teach or just complain....idiot

        March 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmm

      @ steve richmond. I see debate was not in your curriculum. But that would be a critical thinking class which has very little support in the education system anymore.

      If you want to glamorize teachers, go for it... but pardon me while I sidestep your ad hominem attack.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • jesussays

      Wow! Continuing education and improvement required of teachers? Folks in technology continuously learn, just to keep up. Real estate and insurance agents are required to undergo continuing education as are attorneys. It is a fact of life. And if you are opposed to learning, I wonder how you can possibly teach since it has been observed and stated that one must learn before teaching. The free ride is ending soon for you whiny bums that are helping to drag down our economy. On a gravy train with biscuit wheels and crying. Lord. Another observation: Everyone gets bashed from mechanics to sales reps to politicians to clergy. However, nobody comes close to taking it as poorly as educators as these folks are just too busy to be concerned.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      No matter what your job is there is one thing they all have in common. You should only stop learning when you die. I work with computers and anything that you learn about computers in school or even if you keep up with every new release from every tech company, everything that you learn is outdated before you learn it because by the time it is released the next generation is already being developed and tested. Now it may not be as extreme with every job, but most companies (and I know teaching) require you to continue learning. So please don't make a big deal that you are still learning, getting certified, etc as a teacher. It is just part of the job.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  72. ChrkeePrde

    I say let's do it like the Finns: High pay and tremendous number of benefits for elementary/middle/ high school teacher. This will:

    1) Make teachers out of only the VERY best
    2) Increase respect for teachers

    Let's face it folks: You don't get Rocket Scientists without good teachers. Period.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  73. Steve

    Tell me more...why is your "m" capitalized?

    March 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  74. Prairieson

    Don't forget – the big issue with the teachers union in Wisconsin, was to keep their Viagra free.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • English Teacher

      Wow! Thanks! Now things are so much mroe clear. It was ALL about Viagra. Huh????

      March 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  75. Jeff

    What gets me is that the good teachers know who the bad teachers are. And yet they don't say anything and allow the non performers to hang around and bring them all down. They don't fight to have clauses put in their contracts that the under performing people can get fired, and I do mean fired...not just shuffled off to another school or district, to be replaced with a better teacher. Talking to some teachers, I find they are afraid to have a new person come in who might be better than them. Better to have the bad person there so they look good. In Hawaii with the last teacher strike, they showed their stripes. They didn't stick up for themselves. They allowed the union officials who aren't part of the teaching force to make key decisions.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Teacher

      Agree to a point– as a new teacher, I was welcomed by criticism by a peer and was directly told to "not make the department look bad" by showing them up. And it was not sarcastic. However, I had to stop reading these comments, because the majority of teachers I work with are amazing individuals who put a lot of time into not only teaching, but also into emotionally supporting over 100 teenagers a day. It's emotionally exhausting at the end of the day for us– and it's difficult to read all the 'bashing' on here. If you have so many deep feelings, maybe you should say them directly to your child's teacher's face– show them how you really feel. Sometimes I wish I could have an office job and leave me work on the desk at 5; even if it meant working year round– as much as I love my job and all of my students, it is not all it's cracked up to be by non-teachers. It truly takes some patient, caring, and intelligent individuals to encourage self-discipline and intrinsic motivation to keep students learning throughout the school year.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  76. Prairieson

    Bloomberg 3/5/2012:
    Over 15,000 retired public sector employees in California, pull in greater than $100,000 in taxpayer funded pensions. Many of these are retired teachers who spiked their earnings in the last 3 years of service.

    Teachers, along with all other unionized public employees, are not under compensated.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • cranston snord

      Oops. Don't hold up California as any kind of example. In 23 states, a teacher with 10 years experience is making under $40k.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
      • Sick in FL

        I have 12 years experience teaching and make 38k and they're talking about cutting our salaries next year. Don't tell me I make too much money.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • 99% of Statistics are Made Up

      15,000 retired state employees that make $100,000 per year, and you surmise most of those are retired teachers? Why not cite the actual # – wait you just dug that up somewhere and are just speculating/hating. You're also assuming those retirees are teachers and not school administrators (who make substantially more than teachers).

      Even with 15,000 retired employees, which would no less include retired top government, how does that compare to per capita? How many people are in CA? So tell me how much money does 15,000 top-end CEO's make with their retirement/termination packages? Those costs get passed along when you receive their products just the same as education does. If you don't like it you don't buy the product, right?

      You can move to a remote area with little to no property tax, the worst schools (if any at all), and home school them yourself or, get this, pay a private school not run by the government! It might be a challenge but you could make them as ignorant as yourself by homeschooling for free!

      I bought less house by moving to a high property tax area. The school district here is outstanding but costly. I just voted up another school levy. It is worth every penny. I considered a low property tax area with a good private school as well – but that was three times more and just doesn't work with at my income level. Private schools are excellent in many cases but the benefit simply does not outweigh the disproportionate increase in cost.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  77. Guest

    The disrespectful comments on this thread sicken me. Reading articles about education on CNN really make me question the true source of our issues in Education. Instead of blaming others for working harder/not as hard as others, why don't we grow up and look for real solutions to our issues.

    I respect the work that ALL teachers do. Not every teacher does their work as well or to the best benefit to their students. On the other hand, there are so many successful teachers that really do have a lasting impact on their students. Instead of stomping our feet, reliving our hatred for teachers we didn't like in school, and posting negatively. Why don't we turn our focus to recruiting the best individuals to the profession? Why aren't we only allowing the best of the best into the profession? Where are the industry standards that reject inferior teaching candidates at the college level and only pass on the students with the highest potential?

    I am optimistic about the future of education. The expansion of technology will allow, given time, every student access to the same educational information/tools. We need to put the focus where it belongs. Put our energy toward productive changes instead of the easy way out which is pointing fingers.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • jesussays

      I too am optimistic about the future of education as it is only a matter of time before we can supplant these bums with computer-based training.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
      • guest

        jesussays: not quite what I meant, but I can see where you misunderstood. When every student has the same opportunities, equal playing field to us a metaphor, then and only then will we improve education in this country.

        March 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • T. Paine

      As in most things, the other guy's job always looks easier or better.

      Like any other professionals, teachers take courses to improve themselves. Our teachers are continually taking classes to improve their techniques, background knowledge, and assessment capabilities. We are fortunate to have scholarship money available through our system to help pay for those classes. It does not cover the entire expense, but it helps.

      The teachers I know and work with continually try to improve themselves. I only wish I could say the same for all of our students. While the vast majority really do try to learn, there is a certain percentage of students who have no desire to be in school, and who are virtually impossible to remove from the classroom. In most cases they are promoted just to move them along.

      Those who talk about evaluations for teachers need to think about evaluating students with an eye to getting deliberate underachievers out into some type of job training instead of fouling the nest for the doctors, lawyers, and business people of the next generation.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:23 am |
      • The Bobinator

        "remove from the classroom." "promoted just to move them along." So your solution is to toss them aside and forget about them or push them along knowing they are not learning. Sounds like you are failing completely as a teacher.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  78. mickey1313

    I think people started teacher bashing because they are so ignorant that they cannot understand that 99% of teaching should be done at home. Parents want school to raise there kids and leave them (the parents) free to do what ever when ever. We need to enforce rules on childeren. We need to mandate that parents teach there kids english, with harsh penalities if they do not, (deportation), and we need to pay our teacher a wage that is not flat insulting. And return the ability to raise there pay based on there extra schooling. But americans are lazy and stupid, so they just complaine about the teachers.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Steve

      Irony at it's finest now. The guy with horrific grammar wants to deport others for not speaking English well.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Prairieson

      Teachers are given health care and retirement benefits that people in the private sector can only dream about. Add to that the 3 months off, plus "in service days" (union won concession), work rules (union), holidays, etc. and the pay looks damn good.

      Mickey – please mlearn to use the right word (there vs. their) before you write a letter about education.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
      • cranston snord

        Don't let facts slow you down there Pson! The school year for me starts the second week of August and ends mid-June. There are 5 in-service days, but those are mandatory program days for us, not days off. I have just under 15 minutes for lunch every day since we have to pull cafeteria duty. I get a 45 minute planning period, but still put in a few hours most nights to catch up. I have nothing like a 401k you'll find in the private sector. The state contributes zero to it. I do have a retirement program, but like most states it is underfunded and there are regular articles about how it may not be there for us later. You'd have to be nuts or just making stuff to believe the bilge you've posted.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
      • Eric_C

        This is simply not based in fact. What strikes me is that you seem very jealous of teachers – why don't you become one if you think it's so cush? Or rather, instead of sitting at home and complaining about teachers' benefits on the internet, why don't you demand the same benefits from your boss?
        Do you think that working people do not deserve health care? Or an small income to protect them when they are old, weak and feeble? Seriously, what is wrong with you that you are so full of hatred for people just because they were smart enough to protect their basic rights, and apparently, you aren't?

        March 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
      • T. Paine

        A few years ago I had a good friend of mine spout off about the three month vacation and all the free time. As a result, I sat down and figured out the hours I had put in for the year. With classes, coaching, driving the bus to and from games, running the weight program (unpaid), and putting in time grading assignments, writing recommendations, and all the other folderol the state or district tossed in my lap I averaged over fifty hours a week for a fifty-two week year (no vacation time).

        As my career has progressed I put in less time on extra-curricular activities, but more time on other school-related efforts. Still, fifty to sixty hours a week is pretty much the norm.

        If teaching sounds like such a cake job to you, feel free to join the profession. Everyone seems to think they have it the toughest. Like anything else, it all comes down to whose ox is getting gored.

        March 7, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • mel

      I'm a second grade teacher but obviously not yours...."they're" is spell "chec" for a "rezin"...you should be embarrassed!

      March 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • jesussays

      Hope it is not math you teach! LOL! 99% of education should be taught at home. Okay. Roughly 5840 waking hours in a year based on eight hours of sleep a day. Figuring 160 school days a year at eight hours a day in class accounts for 1280 of those hours. That amounts to approximately 21% of waking hours in school. Of course students have and should have other endeavors aside from learning and these take place outside of school. See where this is going. If teachers can only contribute 1% to the equation with all that time and resources, then something is obscenely awry. Sad thing is, that 1% is probably about right.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  79. stan adams

    and let's grade parents to – and their socio- economic status. You can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink. I'm sorry. Teachers can only do as well as the support they get from the student, the student's family, and the community. Otherwise, it's like throwing the teachers to the lions.

    March 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • VA teacher

      I agree. I am a teacher in a school which serves students of low socioeconomic status. About 10% of my students' parents showed up for parent-teacher conferences in the fall, and I have working phone numbers for maybe 20% of my students. The children are kept up until all hours of the night and fed candy for breakfast. I have students who come in with a huge bottle of iced tea and a bag of cheetos for lunch everyday. Then I have the students who have not eaten since Friday, the last time school served them a meal. My sixth graders come to me at best on a 2nd grade math level, and because they leave me on a 4th grade level (a 2 year gain in 1 year) I am not an effective teacher? That is ridiculous, blaming the teachers is the easy thing to do. Let's take a look at the system that is setup to continue and widen the social gap, and the parents who sit back and let it happen.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • wisconsin101

        I agree that parents play a major role, but this groups education has not changed in 50+ yrs. The nationwide results or downward trends are from the other sectors of society and or are from the lessor groups continued high birthrates or population % growing faster then the other groups. One reason for this is the generational welfare system currently in place– I know several people that have many kids for one reason, get more government aid and to stretch it out later in life by having kids late in life.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  80. oldmagoo

    Maybe we should also post how our police, elected officials, trash men, are graded too. Wow have we really come to this when we resort to bacsing in public those who work the hardest to build our country? while other countries raise their teachers to a high level of respect, we continue to bash and degrade them? OH, where will we be in 10 years. So it you all are so much better than all the teachers out there and can do the job for less, then why aren't you all home Schooling your kids, I'm sure their angels and you'd love to to spend ALL DAY with them.

    March 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Steve

      See...right there. That is where teachers like yourself lose me. Did you really just say that teachers work the hardest to build our country? Narcissism at it's finest.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
      • Steve wisconsin

        If teaching was so easy it would be male dominated.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
      • mickey1313

        Um it is not narsistic, if there is no one to teach there will be noone to learn. Americans are too stupid and lazy to learn on there own. So every single 1st world nation on earth is passing us by.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Since you rudely commented on another's grammar, I just couldn't resist Make sure you watch the its for possessive and it's for it is. I think you may recall something about calling the kettle black...those who live in glass houses.........

        March 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • Steve

        Tell me more...why is your "m" capitalized??

        March 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Good for you! You almost passed the test. You should have written, Why isn't their a period after the word resist?

        March 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
      • Steve

        Why aren't you using quotes? I'm so sorry that you thought I was rude because I happened to point out someone who doesn't understand the difference between there and their while saying that people should be deported. Thank you for identifying a missing apostrophe. You're clearly more talented at writing than I am. Perhaps your skills will land you a job that pays better and gets more respect.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • English Teacher

        No quotes necessary. But I must say. that was a very good question. (Still no quotes necessary.) Asking those very important questions are important to learning. I see great improvement already in your writing.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • wisconsin101

      The teacher bashing is correct and should take place for the teachers have brought this upon themselves via their union greed. Student scores continue to go down while teacher income has gone up. The public resentment is from the exposed high wages & mind numbing ridiculously over the top pension & benefits these buffoons get while their bosses, the taxpayers, make on average ½ as much w/o the glamorous pension and benefits. Then comes along another union worker, the author, telling us how we are wrong.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
      • jp

        So because Teachers are union members they deserved to be treated like $#!%?? I am a proud Iraq War Veteran, I have a masters degree and I work for a city school. I am not rich, I make enough money to cover my expenses and have a little left over. Is it Ok for a student to tell me to go "F- off" because I tell him to put away his cell phone or to go to class? Is it ok for their parents to come and curse me out because I call them to tell them that their child hasn't done homework all week and we have a test on friday? I am responsible if anything happens to these kids on their way to school, or their way home from school, if they are on facebook and cyber-bully a classmate – yep that is my responsibility. In school we provide students free lunch and breakfast, a trans pass, uniforms, medical care (yep drs visits and all), eye care and glasses, and dental exams. What are parents responsible for? I am tired of being treated like garbage by students and their parents. I go to work because I believe I can make a difference in a kid's life!! If I can help one child be achieve their goals – then I have done my job. Teachers deserve support!!

        March 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Thank you jp. You deserve kudos! I teach in a middle class community. Still, 1/3 – 1/2 of our student population is on free or reduced lunch. As yet, we do not serve breakfast. Many teachers buy "vats" of peanut butter from Sam's, bread, apples, and other food for students who have to eat or they won't learn. I thank you for becoming a teacher and doing better for the students. One day (if not today) maybe they will appreciate your efforts. Oh, and thank you so much for your service to our nation. Without you this forum wouldn't be possible!!!!!

        March 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • Eric_C

        wow – post like this should just be ignored. it's just pure nonsense, probably based on something seen on some political ad funded by large corporations....

        March 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • dan

      " I'm sure their angels and you'd love to to spend ALL DAY with them."

      Im sure they're angels, not their angels! Please check your spelling before patting your back.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • wisconsin101

      Other then you, a teacher and the police, everyone else is graded by job performance and if they don't cut it, they are fired and replaced with another applicant. The problem here are public unions protecting and defending poor performers. The rest of us have no other choice but to lump the good with the bad.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
      • Eric_C

        From what I have read, teachers go through an extensive evaluation process and only eventually earn tenure, if at all. I've read that at some schools, only 50% of teachers earn tenure, and some teachers spend years trying to earn tenure.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
      • Sick in FL

        Non-teachers have no idea what is really going on. You're blaming the union but here in FL teachers can be fired pretty easily. All their administrators have to do is put them on an improvement plan for 1 year and if they don't improve, they can be fired after the year is up. In my 12 years I've seen 2 teachers put on an improvement plan and only a few fired in their first few years of teaching and it was always for political reasons. Most administrators I've known don't want to "be the bad guy" and fire the bad teachers, or do the work to fire them.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Ann

      Actually I DO/did homeschool my 4 children- the oldest two have graduated from University of Virginia! One is a nurse, the other graduated with a J.D.! The youngest two are being groomed for Engineering & Finance. I would never turn my back on my child and rely on the awful public school system to give them the foundation that is needed to be successful. Most kids with a H.S. Diploma can't take calculus in college without spending thousands of dollars on remedial math or build-up courses first. That is what H.S. should've done for them!

      When public school was breaking out the glue sticks and crayons, I was teaching my children to read, add, subtract, multiply and divide. I am appalled at the sorry as s school systems in the U.S.

      Let me address this statement by Steve wisconsin who wrote: "If teaching was so easy it would be male dominated." Steve is either awful in math or simply an idiot, because a fool knows that the toughest majors, and hardest and best paying jobs in both law (i.e. Patent) and Medicine are dominated by men. The only reason men do not dominate teaching is because the pay sucks. Men can't rationalize having a sucky job and dealing with stupid acting children with poor manners all day.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  81. ieat

    It's just one more set of data to look at. Besides if you follow the news last month, quite a few teachers in Los Angeles county have been arrested for lewd acts on minors and some 40 yr old teacher in some other state moved in with an 18 yr old student. Also some female teacher had relationship with 2 underage boys. A better question is how can people NOT look at teachers in the news today and wonder what has gone wrong?

    March 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Steve

      Oh, God...big deal. Get over it. How many teachers do you think there are in this country? Do you really think that a few cases in Los Angeles are enough to judge an entire profession? There are plenty of things wrong with our education system but to try and discredit them based on what you read in the news is one of the more idiotic things I have read today. It's just like air traffic controllers...no, the overwhelming majority of them do not sleep on the job.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • billybob

      The 18 year old that moved in with the 40 year old teacher was in Modesto, CA, not a different state as you stated. Modesto is 5-6 hours north of LA on 99.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • mickey1313

        souldnt matter where they are, 18 is legal, people need to mind there own f-ing business.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      Since when did two become "quite a few?"

      March 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Patiat

      It's pointless and borderline ignorant to cite one or two individual cases as a barometer for an entire profession of tens of thousands.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Kind of like Catholic priests...couldn't resist. And I am Catholic! There are many great priests. It's got to be hard to be one of the good ones.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  82. Eric_C

    Americans are so nasty and disrespectful towards teachers – why would anyone want to be a teacher here!? It seems like the worst job possible – just reading these comments here, I feel so sorry for these people. I am from Finland, where teachers are well respected, and our students are the top in the world. Americans can learn something from us.

    Politicians and uber-wealthy people (e.g. Bill Gates) are always blaming teachers, yet all research shows that student test scores are determined primarily by zip code (wealth). I think there is not much a teacher can do for a child who is abused, neglected, starving, living in filth, etc. This country is unfair, and any meaningful reform in education must address this. Let's start by feeding and clothing the children, before we jump on the test score bandwagon.

    March 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Steve

      So if student test scores are primarily determined by zip code (wealth) as you put it then what do we need the teacher for?

      March 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • mickey1313

        are you retarded. rich kids still go to school, they go to private (tax funded via vouchers) and the rich pay the teachers teaching the rich much better, also they have the best resorces and materals that money can buy. but every single rich person (with zero exceptions) has harmed tens of thousands of people to get what they have, what gives them the right?

        March 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
      • Eric_C

        Steve, are you really that dumb? I could break it down for you and help you make the connection, but I really don't want to waste the time.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  83. Da Man

    I suspect that all of the people responding that teachers are overpaid would not last more then 10 minutes in a classroom of 30, oh wait we just cut the school budget that is now 32 hyper 8 year old kids.

    March 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Steve

      I think the real bashing should start with school administrators. There are too many overrated, overpaid, egotistical, & absolutely useless administrators who also think they are judge, jury, & executioner when dealing with discipline.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
      • ieat

        actually Steve made a good point. I remember students' "conduct" and "behavior" were given grades by teachers in Asia too.

        March 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • ieat

      I grew up in Asia. There were 45 students in my first grade class with no TA.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
      • Kit

        Yes but in Asia, there is a different level of respect given to authority. Not so in the US.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Ah...a beautiful culture that values education. How do we get that back????

        March 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • jp

      I'd give them 5 minutes.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  84. Chuckster

    The author of this piece constructs a rather flimsy strawman. In fact, teachers' unions are trying to replace a one-number evaluation with a 0-number evaluation.

    I'd say the odds are that 90% of the public school teachers are quite good enough for their jobs. The unions' attempts to protect the 10% cause them to lose all credibility.

    March 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Prairieson

      In just a few words, this is the crux of the entire disagreement.

      Unions protect the below average at the expense of respect for the above average.

      Unions are for assembly lines. What kind of "professional" needs a union?

      March 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • mickey1313

        you need unions to prevent the rich powermongers from takeing advantage of the workers. Every single skilld profession should be unionized (or at least have the option). They have tried to unionize my work, do you know what happened. Every single person who signed the paper that they were interested in the union was terminated, through colorado illigal "no fault" and "right ot work" laws. Both of these laws are fully illigal and need to be stopped.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  85. plato101

    The author is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and education advocate and he is against "teacher bashing". How shocking!

    March 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Eric_C

      a tea party corporate drone supports teacher bashing. how shocking!

      March 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
      • Bob Brown

        We can't find anything constructive to say, so we resort to name-calling. Not shocking at all, sadly.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Eyes Wide Open

      Oh let's make a judgement by 1) city of residence and 2) profession.
      Pretty much what I'd expect from an electrician from Portland!

      March 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  86. Napo

    I think the teachers do a spectacular job at least in the public school my son attends in MA. The criticism of teachers is totally over the top. Most of them work hard and go over and above their job description. We are a bunch of complainers that want to shunt responsibility on everybody else other than ourselves in almost every aspect of our lives. Grow up people!

    March 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • cranston snord

      Pretty sad that the most rational post under this article got no comment.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
      • Megan

        Well of course nobody comments on the rational. The whole point of posting on here seems to be to have the most outrageous thing to say or to be the person who hates teachers the most. Too many immature adults trying to bait teachers into proving their irrational arguments about us. Unfortunately it seems that some teachers have gotten sucked into the mud slingingl. I appreciate your rationality and that of several posters here. I hope that the good teachers who read this can continue to do what teachers have always had to do and just let it roll off your back.

        March 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  87. William

    I am a teacher at a private school in Milwaukee. I love my students and hope they will go to college, get a good job, and break the cycle of poverty. My biggest problem in school: the parent(s). I have parents that let their kids stay up late playing video games, and then junior comes to school exhausted and falling asleep in class. I have parents that don't care if their child doesn't do his/her homework. I have parents that get their kids to school late, pick them up early, and take them out of school for any reason. I have parents that don't feed their kids breakfast or give them a snack for snacktime. We had two students last week threaten to kill themselves. Ask yourself: Would I work in conditions like this, meanwhile being criticized because my students aren't performing well?

    March 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Eric_C

      This is exactly what I have seen with my childrens' friends. The parents do not make the students do any homework. They play video games and talk on the phone. There is no discipline, and yet when the students fail, the parents complain about the teachers!

      March 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Jeff

      Then it would behove the administation and officials start to push back and say to the parents, you need to be part of the process. if you don't, then let's do like the unions and put those students in a room where they sit there and do nothing all day. They are in the system, but they are not part of it. Or even tell the parents that they child is not allowed at the school for a week unless the parents accompany the child to make sure that the work gets done. Why should the school take on the responsibility of the parent?

      March 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
      • Teacher

        Jeff, in a realistic world this would be a great idea. Sadly, it would just lead to a bunch of lawsuits today.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  88. TexDoc

    I actually think teacher bashing started with the creation of the Federal Department of Education. Why do we need Washington DC beauracrats running education. Teachers, principals and adminstrators at the local level should be left to run the schools.

    March 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • mickey1313

      to make sure ignorant teacher mostly in the south do not go teaching christian mystism in class. That is why you need the government. Also to prevent segrigation and things of that nature.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  89. Rich

    The GOP wants to dumb down in order to widen their base.They would have their pastors teach the kids(brainwash them)

    March 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bob Brown

      The voices in your head told you that, eh?

      March 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • Kit

        No, common sense.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
      • Eric_C

        So if someone doesn't agree with your opinion, they are crazy?

        March 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • mickey1313

      exactly, that is why they want prayer in school, they want the mandate of the pledge of alegance, it is sick and sad.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  90. Spence

    The primary issue is not with teachers. School Administrators that waste money and are unauditable, parents that don't have the intellectual capacity of a sneaker are failing their children the same way their parents failed them. I know many teachers that spend endless hours preparing for classes, using their own money to buy critical resources for classes, and work very hard to do a good job with kids that are very nearly retarded.

    March 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  91. koldobika2020

    In that same line of thinking, why do people believe something as socioeconomically complex as violent crime can be reduced to "Ban guns! Problem solved!". If you solve the real issues, availability of guns becomes a non-issue; as with teachers: if you look at other factors and controls of why students do poorly in school, the teachers efforts become less and less important.

    March 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • aflarend

      That is exactly what research since the 1980s has shown with the Coleman report being the first landmark study. Socioeconomic status correlates extremely well with SAT scores.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • e

      I agree with your sentiments. But your final sentence about teacher's efforts becoming "less important" could have been worded differently.

      If I did not have to spend 85% of my energy on the poor behavior and academics of the worst-raised 20%, that energy could be focused on more advancement and enrichment opportunities for the children who are ready and willing to learn. This would make the efforts of good teachers more obvious and rewarding for all involved.

      March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  92. Thomas Williams

    But how can we justify cutting the already-low pay of teachers into even lower, welfare-type wages? We first need to demonize them, turn the public against them (like we turned America against healing the sick and feeding starving children) and make sure that teachers–and not the underfunded education system itself–takes the blame. Then we can fire all teachers, hire a whole new batch straight from college (for cheap!). The we just wait a few years, blame all the current teachers for the country's problems, then fire them all and hire a new batch of college kids!

    By the way, how does anyone expect "good" quality teaching when anyone with half a brain would be terrified of becoming a teacher–one of the most hated and despised occupations in America. Low pay, constant stress, no retirement benefits anymore, and termination from employement after a few years to make room for cheaper workers. My brother wanted to be a high school or middle school teacher more than anything, but he gave up after seeing how they were treated. He was a top student in college, and even taught a college-le because of the vel class with stellar reviews from other professors and students. But he will not teach, even though he would be great, because of the hatred for educators in the USA.

    Bloomberg is a fool and a joke. But a really rich one, so he gets to do what he wants, no matter who it hurts. That is how we do things in the geatest nation on earth.

    March 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Chris R.

      Schools are not underfunded. School funding is higher than ever, yet students are performing poorer than ever. The problem is not the amount of money the schools receive, it's how it's being spent. A bloated, overpaid layer of administrators is the problem. If schools were run like free market corporations, teachers would be paid better, students would be performing better, and administration would be trimmed. My mom taught elementary school for 28 years so I'm well aware of the challenges teachers face. I'm also aware that many of the newer, younger teachers don't have a fraction of the dedication and work ethic of the older teachers. Then again, that seems to be the trend overall in America today.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • aflarend

        So what are the numbers for school funding, adjusted for inflation and the mandates for special education & desegregation that came into law in the 1970s ? You will find that the school budgets have not increased as dramatically as you think, especially since they are required by IDEA to provide a "free and public education" (FAPE) to all students and pay for any special education services that the student need. Teacher salaries have kept up with inflation, as have the salaries of other professions. There is no bloating once you look at the actual numbers.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
      • analogkid

        I am curious as why you think that "students are performing poorer than ever." A quick search of SAT scores shows that scores in math have been improving steadily since the early 1980s while reading scores have remained essentially unchanged. Your assertions that a free market model would yield increased pay, better performance, and less administration are debatable. On average, private school teachers earn less than their public counterparts. Private school students tend to perform well but one has to wonder how much their ability enforce selective admission skews their results. Charter schools, which are able to cast off many of the constraints of the traditional public system have shown mixed results at best. Also don't forget that under the free market system, a large proportion of businesses ultimately fail.

        March 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
      • mickey1313

        when a brand new teacher realizes that they can never make as much or more then there mentor has in the past, even though inflation and COL is always on the rise, do you wounder why they have not dedication or drive. They get paid like a joke, they might as well act like a joke.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • umm

      I agree with you. I think it rest on the parents to start parenting their kids. Everyone wants to post comments on this but a teachers job is to teach the subject (that is it). Yet teachers still go above and beyond for students in general to help them learn. It would get tiring year after year you have students that do not want to learn and think life is all good. If the kids are reading more life after HS and the teachers are trying to teach you the basics to try and get you through life. I am not going to lie thought it was waste of my time in school but lucky I had great teachers to instill some values in me. I want to be better everyday and not settle for 2nd best.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  93. CAPS

    For the most part teachers are over paid and don't work as many hours as most working Americans ! ENOUGH SAID

    March 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • doug

      If it is soooo easy than why aren't YOU doing it? Easy money! Go for it big guy! lol

      March 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • Dan

        It's no harder to teach than it is to do most any other job. Each job has unique challenges that differ by occupation.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Overwhelmed Teacher

      That's funny. The official school day ended three hours ago. And here I am. WORKING (grading, lesson planning, etc.). 10 hours and counting. Wait, I'm sorry, what are you doing?

      March 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
      • jesussays

        Typical teacher. If you are grading papers, then how is it that you are able to read these comments and post your own? Do you see the inconsistency there? Probably better than anything written in this thread is the example you just set.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
      • Bill

        jesussays: Well put. I'm betting a few union leaders emailed their teachers and said "hey, the truth about teachers is being told in the comments, go defend us!"

        March 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
      • jesussays

        Thanks Bill. I neglected to mention that within those "three hours" there was also a commute, which is hardly unique to educators. More than likely dinner as well. Throw in some surfing on the web as it is unlikely that this was teacher's only stop on the net and those "three hours" since school let out can probably all be accounted for.

        March 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • English Teacher

        The overwhelming majority of teachers are just pretty damn smart. They hold bachelor's degrees, masters degrees, and phd degrees. They tend to be very efficient multi-taskers. Yes, an effective teacher on his/her own time in the evening can put in multiple hours beyond the school day - grading papers, keeping up with current news, plan for tomorrow's lessons, next week's lessons, etc. AND be able to keep up with this blog AND even have the "time" to reply.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • jesussays

        Okay English Teacher, if I am to believe this pretty damn smart, multi-tasking BS, then is that to say that because someone is multi-tasking on say four or five jobs in a three hour period that 12 to 15 hours of work are done in three? Have you been eating glue with the kids?

        March 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • JROSE

      I get to work by 7, usually leave around 5, and I read over 60 essays a week to start my grading responsibilities. When I get home I often have more grading, lessons to plan, and some administrative work. I have my Masters plus other professional credits. Like many others, I am a dedicated teacher.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
      • Dan

        Sounds to me like someone is stretching the truth. 60 essays a week? Geee...why don't you add up all your time and see if it adds up to what non-teachers work a year. I'd bet you work far less than the 2080 hours we work.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
      • English Teacher

        Dan - a big FYI. High school teachers have upwards of 180 students a day - 30 students times 6 classes. Many teachers, especially English teachers, have students write essays on a weekly basis. Depending upon the grade level you teach multiplied by your curricular area, a teacher can easily have 60-180+ papers a week. And these aren't just 5 paragraph essays. The essays at high school can be upwards of 5-10 pages in length each. These are not exaggerations but the truth.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • Hola

        Sounds exactly like my parents, who are teachers. School starts at 7:30, my dad is there between 6:30 and 7:00 for pre-class meetings and preparations. Leaves between 4 and 5 and goes home and grades papers, often until 9 or 10 at night, and then goes in to school on the weekends. He has a masters degree, plus 70+ continuing education classes, which he attends during that summer "break" that everyone likes to talk about. My mother's schedule is similar, only shifted up an hour because her school starts at 8:30 instead of 7:30. At no point in my childhood do I remember going anywhere, aside from maybe the grocery store, without at least one parent toting a stack of quizes, essays, or homework assignments with them.

        Also, Dan- 60 essays a week isn't exaggerating at all. I was in an English Composition class where we wrote one essay a week. There were 32 students in that class and the same teacher taught another section of the class the next period. One essay a week x 32 students per class x 2 classes= 64 essays. Add in the fact that most teachers teach 6+ classes a day, 60 essays is a really nice week.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • D.

      Don't work as many hours? I work 9-10 hour days, then go home and grade papers for another 2 hours. I spend hours on weekends grading and planning instead of spending precious time with my kids. I do not get a 15 minute break every 4 hours. After working with kids, I MIGHT get a 20 minute lunch depending on how many parent phone calls and emails I need to return. I go to 6:45 AM meetings and take classes after school because we have been on a pay freeze for 4 years and the only way to get a raise is to take more classes because my Master's degree is not enough. I have parent meetings before and after school that I am not paid to go to. In the summer, I am not paid to take classes or plan innovative lessons for the next school year on top of the second job I need to get. I tutor on the side to make extra money. I am underpaid and overworked. I can't even afford insurance for my family. Besides that, I teach 8th graders, some who are lost and confused. You know why I do all of this? Because I love my job and hope that somewhere in all of this, I am touching a life that might end up running our country someday or saving my life on the operating table. Can you say the same???

      March 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • Dan

        You must be a elementary school teacher. High School Teachers around here actually teach less then half that. Normal is 5-37 minute classes a day.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
      • MarileeBob

        I very much appreciate the teachers I had in school; there was one in particular who made a big difference in my life at the time. I'll always remember the extra time he spent with me, and the encouragement he provided. He made a huge difference in my life and I might not be here today if it weren't for him.

        Know that you are making a difference in the lives of the children you teach, and try to brush off the criticism the trolls are throwing out.

        March 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
      • D.

        Dan, I teach Middle school. All teachers work hard long hours just like so many other professions.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • George

        Typical long-suffering schoolteacher mentality. Tired of hearing it. I work 10 hour days and get 2 weeks off a year and have been on 24/7 on-call for 32 years.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Nicci

      8 years experince, BA degree, countless hours in professional development, very close to master's degree = 31K in good ole NC.
      Can't wait for my master's raise 800.00 per year, too bad the degree is costing 13K w/o interest.
      Guess I won't actually "see" the raise for another 15 years...

      March 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Pattysboi

      Teachers are NOT "overpaid", nor do they not "work as many hours" as others. They don't get paid over the summer, and that's when they're taking classes to keep their credentials current. They're often grading papers, tests, planning lessons for the next day, meeting with parents on their OWN time. Get a life, caps, and grow UP.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • 1st Grade Teacher

      As a teacher, I arrive at work by 6:15 am EVERY morning. It isn't required, but it is what is necessary to to be effective. I leave work at 4pm, go home and spend 3-5 hours EVERY night preparing lessons, grading papers and developing methods that will move each child in my room toward proficiency. My "summer vacations" are spent attending workshops and extra classes to improve my teaching methods, reflecting on the past year and panning ways to improve, and reading educational materials. I spend 25% of my income on resources needed to make my classroom run smoothly (i'm talking pens, pencils, school supplies that parents can't afford to provide, paper for the copier and printer ink). I have a Master's Degree and a National Board Teaching Certification, yet I make less per year than people in other professions make starting fresh out of college with a simple bachelor's degree. I hate to break it to you, but most teachers work VERY hard and get very little in return.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Eric_C

      Teaching is an extremely difficult, stressful and time consuming job. I would not want to do it, and I feel rather fortunate that I can work 9-5 and make 6 figures.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Peg

      Do you work 70 hour weeks? Do you get asked to work on development projects on your "vacation time" for no pay?

      March 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
      • Jeff

        When I'm on vacation at Disney World, I still get calls from my office because they have problems they can't figure out themselves so really, I'm still on the payroll.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
      • Ann

        Nurses work horrible shifts, so do many attorneys, fishermen, shrimpers, farmers, day laborers, people that run their own small businesses trying to make ends meet. Don't cry that sad song about how hard teachers work to me because it's poo. Teachers don't have to buy supplies for the classroom, they choose to and a lot of that stuff they buy is junk to make the room look prettier not things that are essential for learning.

        There are soldiers in the military working for less pay than teachers and many of them would love to trade places with someone teaching the 1st Grade (of all things). I think they'd rather have your low salary and work in the air cond. or heated classroom instead of working in 118F days wearing 50lbs of stuff, dodging roadside bombs while their families at home are on WIC!

        How about try roofing and painting for a living in the Mississippi heat. Teachers complain about what their jobs require, and are seemingly oblivious to the fact that their job is cushy compared to a LOT of jobs out there. You teach 1st Grade and you're complaining. Oh give me a darn break already.

        March 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • Kevin

        I work 84 hours a week, sometimes more. Do I get more for the overtime? Nope. Do I get days of? Yes, but I don't get paid for my "summer vacation". Part of my job description is to continue advancing my training by attending technical conferences and seminars, as well as sharing the lessons I learn doing my job. What I'm getting sick of is all the "deals" that the teacher's unions fight for. How many bad teachers are still collecting paychecks because of all the red tape for the firing process? Why is salary based solely on years of experience (maybe not all districts, but the one's I'm familiar with).

        I will say this though, I have known some great teachers. I have also known some pathetic excuses for them as well, although those were always the student's favorites! I went from being a B/C student my freshman HS year, to graduating salutatorian and earning scholarships to a top engineering school, then graduating there with honors and 2 degrees. If those few teachers that really pushed us hadn't of done so, and if my parents hadn't of emphasized education, then I wouldn't be where I am today.

        The system isn't broken because of teachers, or parents, it's broken because everyone's too busy pointing fingers and throwing good money after bad. Some students SHOULD fail, some kids shouldn't get soccer trophies.

        March 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
      • derp

        "There are soldiers in the military working for less pay than teachers and many of them would love to trade places with someone teaching the 1st Grade (of all things). I think they'd rather have your low salary and work in the air cond. or heated classroom instead of working in 118F days wearing 50lbs of stuff, dodging roadside bombs while their families at home are on WIC!"

        How true. We should immediately stop forcing people to join the military. It would have been so much better if we had just let them go to college and earn a bachelors degree and get a job teaching instead of forcing them to endure the horrible conditions that they did not know they were getting into when we forced them to join the militay.

        Oh wait.....

        March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Bob Brown

      I'll trade places with you, Caps!

      March 6, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • mickey1313

      you have no facts behind you. They work before school, off the clock. They work after school, off the clock. They work on weekends, off the clock. They work holidays, off the clock. They work all summer, off the clock. So give me one example of a job that works more, and make under 6 figures. You can not, because there is no job in america that pulls teachers hours and has the poor pay they have. If all you can spew is lies then STFU

      March 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  94. Skipper

    The reason teachers are not widely respected in this country goes back to an old concept still held by so many people that "those who can't do teach."

    March 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • aflarend

      And probably no one knows the actual context of that cute saying

      March 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • mickey1313

      JUst like many american sayings "winning isnt everything" that quote is out of context. It has to do with those who HAVE done there duity to the world, and have gotten on in age, THEN teach, but some cute ignorant redneck with a grudge against his teacher for failing him read the quote, couldnt understand that it wasnt a cut down and ran with it.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • derp

      "those who can't do teach."

      The absolute stupidity of that comment is immeasurable.

      Those who "do" had to have someone teach them how to "do" whatever it is that they "do".

      March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  95. Big Bird

    Fail. You talk more about baseball. Boring. How did you get hired as a writer?

    March 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Fail! You used a decade old term.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  96. dudley0415

    I'll bet you that State #50, whomever that is – if they researched a good, solid educational corporation and asked them to run their schools on what they have; give them total control over equipment, buildings, grounds, teachers, workers and etc. they could regrow a fine educational system there in the backwater in ten years that would be the envy of Connecticut.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • jim

      It would be cost effective if they could replace all native teachers with foreigners, and while replacing them, they could replace all Americans with foreigners.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • aflarend

      You are falling for the statistical fallacy of thinking that being ranked last means failing. It does not mean that at all. The pro baseball teams that comes in last place it still a competent baseball team. Someone comes in last place in the Olympics but they are still great athletes. By definition, with rankings, half of the states are below average. Demand better information than rankings. And Demand to know exactly what they are measuring and how they are measuring it. That means becoming familiar with ideas of reliability and validity.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  97. Overwhelmed Teacher

    And on a more positive note: I JUST received and e-mail from a student, thanking me for respecting his somewhat unusual views on a novel we are reading. He said he was bullied all the time for speaking up and class and it made him feel so wonderful to have his thoughts considered.

    THAT IS WHY I DO THIS! NOT FOR THE MONEY!

    March 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • dudley0415

      Awesome!

      BTW, I don't think teachers are the problem, their support mechanisms are, just for the record.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Leila

      Wonderful!!!!!!! That is what it's all about. That is why we became teachers. I love to hear those stories! I love it when my 12th graders tell me how much they loved reading Poe or Fitzgerald the year before with me. I love when they go off to university and then come back to tell me all about it and how my teaching styles and assignments actually mirror what they do in university. Politics is a dirty business and it has no room in the hearts and minds of our classrooms.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
      • aflarend

        Great point! Often we do not appreciate our education until later or many times we never make the connection at all. We teachers do not always get to see the long term fruits that our work brings. So hats off to the students who realize the benefits of their education and an even bigger thanks to those who contact the teacher to tell them so!

        March 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Overwhelmed Teacher

      Best feeling EVER. =D

      March 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
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