Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"
July 31st, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!"

by John Martin, CNN

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

(CNN) – Chicago's mayor and the city's teachers union have come up with a plan for a longer school day for students: hire additional teachers, but don't extend the school day for most teachers. We asked our readers how this might impact students. The forum shifted from the impact on students to a lively debate over how hard teachers work compared to other professions.

Some readers questioned whether longer school days would benefit students, with some offering opinions on how a longer day could be structured:

Felix: This is only the 1st step....IMO the trend should be towards what the countries that have surpassed the US have done – longer Days...less Summer vacation if any at all (Some school systems don't have a summer break anymore...just weeks of hiatus during the summer), Less television, more after school sports/activities and more teachers.

Cindy: As a teacher, the days are long enough, what we need is a longer school year. More contact days. Students lose ground over the summer breaks (which 200 yrs ago were so they could work on farms...I don't think we need that farm help now.) Longer school years will allow more remediation time that is needed with some students or more time for deeper teaching of intense subjects.

teechr21: Extending the school day isn't the answer. It's about changing what happens DURING the day that makes all the difference. An ineffective teacher is still going to be ineffective, just for a longer amount of time each day.

Maggiemae: If the schools use this time for students to do their homework in a supervised environment I would definitely support it. Kids seem to have a great deal more homework than when I was in school. The education folks often bemoan the fact that parents don't make sure kids do their homework. Why not do this in a room with a supervisor who can assist with questions?

Robert: You can make the school days longer as you want, that doesn't mean anyone will learn. That's like sitting in a cardboard box for an extra 30 mins thinking you're about to learn how to save the world. IF you don't have teaching skills, it won't work...

Dave: Something that is often neglected in these discussions is the fact that research on longer days has shown they are not effective in increasing student achievement. The mayor's claim that lengthening the day to increase time in the core subjects will lead to a significant increase in academic achievement has no basis in the research. Look it up.

Dave, we looked it up. A 2010 study of other research studies found that sometimes longer school days are effective, sometimes not. They found that longer school days seem to work in some programs, but the research also suggests that students who already are mastering the curriculum may be better served participating in alternative learning experiences. The study's authors say their biggest conclusion is that more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of longer school days. So that debate continues.

Some might call the resolution of the dispute in Chicago a win-win. But as the debate shifted focus from students, to teachers, most of the comments centered around the length of a teacher work day, and whether teachers are paid adequately.

coloradom: Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!

Jolyn: That 296 minutes is the time spent in front of the students. It doesn't count the hours teachers spend preparing for lessons for each subject they teach and grading.

doctorguy: I just fail to understand why it is so difficult to put in an accountability system for teachers and why unions oppose it so much. As taxpayers, I feel like we give them lots of things that most people do not have. Teachers get great benefits, get summers to do as they please, get every weekend off and get instilled vacations for winter and spring breaks on top of their personal and sick days. I know that many teachers use their weekends and "breaks" to plan, but they get to use this on their own time and do not directly report to someone at these times and class planning time severely decreases after several years. However, I digress. I just think that given all these niceties, tax payers should get to see that the best teachers are the ones with the jobs and getting their money.

George: We don't believe a word about all that supposed extra time teachers say they put in. No one in the real world can imagine having 3-4 months a year off from their job. Teachers have this little habit of saying what their ANNUAL salary is, but not wanting to note that they only work about 8 months for that pay. A little more honesty from teachers would go a LONG WAY.

Teacher: My salary is for 9 months that I choose to have allocated over a 12 month period. I don't get paid for not working. I get paid less while I'm working so I have a paycheck when school is not in session. Furthermore, while I may not have students over the summer, that does not mean I am not working. I have spent this summer doing a summer movie program for my students because there is no where for them to go in our small town. This is not contracted time, but something as their teacher I choose to do. I also spend my summer at workshops and writing curriculum units. It would be best to not judge someones profession unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.

John in NY: What makes you think teacher's salaries are substantially less? Locally we have many teachers making over $90k a year, not counting any summer classes they teach and/or coaching they might do. Now add to this that it's only for 180 days a year and that each day includes less then 5 hours of actual teaching I have to wonder why more people aren't disgusted by this?

Some readers compared the American education system to that of other countries.

yardbird1: Oh pahlease, not all children are educated in other countries. If a child can't cut it in many countries, they are only educated until 8th grade. In countries that do educate all, like Germany and Switzerland, teachers are respected and paid way more than here.

GabeK: Let's get the facts straight. Yes, most Europeans do go 13 years and yes, many only go 8. That's because they split off after "Junior High" and MASTER a trade for 4 years after the split. Not everyone goes to university, but everyone leaves the system with the skills to earn a decent living...

Lori Ceangailte (-High school teacher): "In Europe they go to grade 13." I dispute that. I live in Sweden, and obligatory schooling here begins in grade 1 (the children are 7 years old when they start) and ends in grade 9 (age 16). The school year is 180 days, 6 hours a day. High school is voluntary and, if the student chooses it, lasts 3 years.

bdougherty: Students in other countries who perform well are not coming out of public schools, they are attending the best private schools and most of their teachers are Americans. I know because I have been teaching at international schools for the past decade and would never return to teach in the US (in a public school) – the reason being that classrooms back home (and the kids in them) are not conducive to teaching and learning.

And finally, a teacher offers a comment about commenters:

julie: I don't want sympathy- I want to not be villainized. The average working stiff is not discussed on the internet by 8 million people. I like my job and even though I would love to be paid more- who wouldn't- I'm happy with my compensation. I'm unhappy with being accused of being a lazy loser all the time.

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soundoff (1,675 Responses)
  1. phearis

    If you think a teacher's job Starts at 9am and ends at the 3pm bell, you're beyond ignorant. The three teacher friends I have, have at least an hour of work and about three hours of work after the school days ends. I know a lot of you failed basic math, so let me add it up for you. 1 hour before class + 5 hours of school + 3 hours after school = 9 hours total.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • New Gawker

      So basically a normal work day for everyone else.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Scott

      Of course they failed math. Your friends taught them, Remember, Idiot.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Bart Hawkins San Antonio TX

      Yep, accepting your math (given chaperoning, coaching, grading, and all the rest) .... that works out to a work year of roughly 1500 hours.

      Chaps, coaching, and "all the rest," by the way, boys and girls, offer EXTRA PAY, so our little mathematician is being just a tad disengenous in its comments. Counting vacations, etc. (i.e. normalizing the salary to a "real" work year, taking into account the generous pensions, and so forth), the average annual (normalized) income for a teacher in the US is about $80K per year, and more than that with an MA, MS, or even college credit beyond the 4-year degree.

      Beyond all those considerations....those dedicated teachers will do what nurses, network administrators, firemen, and others who love their vocations do....their very best.

      Those that don't can work where they deserve to.

      Burger King.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • SciTeach2012

        "The average teacher makes over 80K per year"? SERIOUSLY?!!!! Yeah, sure, SOME coaches and SOME chaperones, and SOME club sponsors get a stipend (which, in most cases here where I teach) is less than $1,000. Add $1,000 to the $37,500 that the average teacher (with less than 10 years experience) makes here in FL, and you TOTALLY do not get $80,000.

        July 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • matt

      I dated a HS teacher for years, getting up at 5 am every day to be at work by 7

      July 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Robert

      My child's teacher works hard,no doubt....but given I work 10-12 hours a day routinely, for 12 months a year, I do not think teachers are heroic in dedicating 9 hours a day for 9 months....

      July 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • SciTeach2012

        Just curious: what do YOU do for a living? Because, unless you are the leader for a group of people who are disrespectful, don't want to hear what you have to say, have ZERO self-motivation, and no intention of doing anything more that the bare minimum, then you have NO idea how hard a teacher's job is. And, yes, the school year is only 9 months long, but I don't know a single teacher (myself included) who actually ONLY works for 9 months. Summer is spent attending training, preparing lesson plans, working on classrooms, developing strategies for motivating students who don't want to learn....please don't just assume that teachers lay on a beach for 3 months while the rest of the world slaves in corporate America!!!

        July 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Kel

      So, take out :45 for lunch and breaks and you are working 8:15. Quit your whining.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Stefan

      A 9 hour work day is pretty normal, folks. I don't want to join in on the witch hunt here, but I don't want to hear teachers complain about their work hours/days. I average 50 hours a week at my job and I don't get summer vacation. I know a lot of teachers use their summer vacation for job training, which is great, but if I want to do that I have to take night classes.

      No, there's a reason people are teachers. For a good chunk of them, it is because they love kids, and they have a calling. For another good chunk of them, it's because it's a job where, once you are in, you can get tenure and be impossible to fire.

      All that said, it isn't our teachers fault. It's our school system's for trying the 'one size fits all' approach. I remember when I was in school (I always went to public school, by the way) my teachers would often spend 25% or more of their day disciplining wild kids. Kids who had no respect for authority or in some cases, kids who needed special education but were not being supported. Few children WANT to be in school, but if a child is actively trying to ruin school for the rest, it is not the teachers obligation to help him/her. It is the parent's obligation.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  2. Nick

    So as a teacher you are paid at a rate set by your union and your school district. To all of those that complain about what they are getting paid and the hours you work, i say this to you. QUIT.. JUST QUIT! Because when you do, there will be 5 people in line to take your job. Let me say this, i know teachers work hard, but don't nurses? don't military personal? Don't police officers? Don't truckers? Don't factory workers? IF you don't like your pay find a better paying teaching job, that is your right as an American. By me a teacher with 10 years experiance and there masters degree teaching 2nd grade is making 70K! Oh and that's not a lie. Then you go two school districts over and its 45k a year. Now wait, lets throw in the hours required by your contract thats right your contract and your benifits. You forget about those pensions and insurance policies. So even if your making 45k a year with those benifits on top its adding a lot. I ask this of any teacher, how much of a pay cut have you had in the last 5 years? I bet all or almost all will say none. Well come on over to the construction world where you can make 20k less a year than you did 5 years ago, your insurance goes up 25% to 50% every year that comes off the top of your check and your 401K NOT pension sucks. So for the love of god stop whining about how hard you have it. Why do we stay in the jobs we do? Because its our passion, and its our love. Here is another tid bit of news for people, you know teaching is the only profession that when you get your Masters you get a pay bump, but you are required to do no extra work/responsibility. No other profession is like that. I understand why they do it, because we want the most highly trained teaching our kids.

    As for pay, the local school district around around here has there contract set up where a teacher is required to work 190 days. They are required to work for 8 hours with no paid lunch and they start at 27k a year. ok so lets do the math, 190 days X 8 hours is 1520 hours per year required by your contract. divide 1520 hours into 27000 per year is $17.76 per hour. PLUS and I say plus your pension and insurance. Now wow, almost 18 per hour to start off a job? That's pretty good. IF you work more than your contract that is on you, no one else. I know the standard response to that is you can't get everything done in a day if you don't work an extra 4 or 5 hours per day. So why do you do it then? Because you love the job that is why, just like why I stay in the construction industry, its my passion. So for the love of god stop complaining about how you don't make any money, if you want to make more work a full year, find a nother job during those two months off. Get a different job.

    Now one thing I will always stand by a teacher and say parents need to start parenting. Personally your not baby sitters, if a kid doesn't want to learn then they don't need to be there. Make the parents parent then by having to educate there own child.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • jacee

      I can't even read past your first poorly worded, grammatically incorrect and misspelled sentence.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Yep

      So you think making 17.76 before taxes after spending 4 years in college and then another year getting your credential is making a good living. Why not just go get a job at starbucks and within 4 years you'll be making about the same. And yes, they give benefits at starbucks as well. No wonder education in this country is lower than it is in Somalia! By the way, in your construction job when you run out of wood do you go to the store and spend your own money buying more wood for the job? Didn't think so. Teachers spend their own money to help with supplies and other necessary items to teach the kids. What other profession requires that one? I do agree that everyone is working harder for less: teachers, firemen, police officers, etc. Where is all the money going cause it sure isn't trickling down like some people like to think. GO USA!

      July 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Defender of Ernie

        Everyone on here is ignorant and lazy. Why aren't you people working?

        Everyone on here is claiming they work harder then every other profession. Yet, here they are on the internet writing on a blog.

        Keep working hard people!

        July 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tom

      You're exactly right, Nick! I'm a teacher who is getting paid really well to do an easy job with all those other benefits you mentioned. I love it and would be foolish to quit my cake job!
      Tom

      July 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  3. across_the_ocean

    The mayor of Chicago knows it all about pluses and minuses of the longer school days and about the studies conducted on the matter. He, though, keeps a different target in mind. At least in the big cities the schools serve as a part time jails (and look that way too). They keep students off the streets. And longer school days are intended to keep them off the streets longer. While so called 'underserved' students are in school they have less chance to peddle drugs or to use them, to participate in gang activities. The parents of such students wuold applaud the decision, as they have less care for them, and schools will have to feed the kids more with longer days too.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Bobington

    Teachers have better benefits, more days off, high pay and less work than more people, but they still compain constantly.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • phearis

      the average teacher actually works 9 hours per day and gets paid for 8. Their "Time Off" is full of lesson planning, grading papers and reports, and they have to put up with 40 arrogant spoiled little brats on a daily basis. I will guarantee your ignorant backside has more time off than a teacher.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mark

      Dear Bonehead Bobington,
      I see our talk about reviewing and editing your own work before you post (publish) it has not taken hold. What you MEANT to write was, "Teachers have better benefits, more days off, high pay and less work than MOST people, but they still COMPLAIN constantly." instead of "Teachers have better benefits, more days off, high pay and less work than more people, but they still compain constantly." Since you are typing on a computer that has a spell check, it means you are ignoring your spelling errors, and that is pretty pitiful since the computer UNDERLINES THEM WITH A RED DASHED LINE. I cannot directly cite you making an error when you wrote "less work than MORE people" but it reads awkwardly. You may have caught these errors if you HAD BOTHERED TO PROOF READ before you went into your rather childish diatribe. Let's try this lesson again. I don't have a red pen, and you are really a taxing student, putting me through all this over and over again. I will be monitoring your work. Proof read what you write before you click on the little "post" icon to your lower right. Good luck.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Woodrow

        And now for Sir Ken:

        July 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • teach

      uhh. if the job is so awesome, how come you don't teach?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • EE in Maine

      It's not the teachers complaining but the hateful GOP/Tea Nuts complaining about their pathetic taxes. having been married to a teacher for 15 years, i know it is no pic-nic. I'm an electrical engineer and my job is a breeze compared to theirs, and their benefits stink. Here in Maine teacher's retirement fund was combined with the general fund, and it's often empty. Teachers are not the problem, uneducated people are.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  5. A 2nd year teacher

    All you non-educators make me laugh and cringe all at the same time. Read spiderlords entry and you'll know why. None of you know what its like to teach. No negative comment here has been made by someone with real experience. I teach in an inner city school where all my students read below grade level and receive free lunch. It's a blessing to have the opportunity to impact these young people's lives but I make less than my buddy that's a concierge and sits surfing the internet all day.

    And that brings me to the worst part of the American education system which is also the biggest problem with our education system and that is our culture. We as Americans don't value education nor the people involved in it. Until that changes you can bet your butt we'll continue to dive in global education rankings....and for all my other teachers out there, stay strong, keep trucking, and forgive these non-educators for they speak from a platform of ignorance.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • modern day

      to be fair most college educated people make less than people who receive tips + wage

      July 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bobington

      You must be a terrible teacher. Maybe you should concentrate more on getting you students up to grade level in reading and less complaining on the internet.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • Mark

        Dear Bonehead Bobington,
        I believe what you meant to write was "You must be a terrible teacher. Maybe you should concentrate more on getting YOUR students up to grade level in reading and less complaining on the internet." You see Bobington, it is not grammatically correct to write "concentrate on getting you students up to grade level" in that sentence. It would be a forgivable error if you were just rambling about politics or something, but you are discussing education, ragging on a teacher you've never met, and this makes you look foolish. Yes, I am rather long-winded about this, but that is because I don't have a little red pen to correct your error. Are you bitter? Perhaps you should see the counselor.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • Woodrow

        Mark – a teacher calling someone bonehead on a forum. Now that's really mature. I'm guessing that you're an elementary school teacher? Here's to hoping that you have a very short career.

        July 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • ChrisF

      From one teacher to another, thank you!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • EE in Maine

      My wife taught at the roughest school in the city. Poverty, missing parents, child abuse, drugs, and then there is this damn NCLB (No Child left Behind) to some how live up to. Every day she would go to work, wondering if her life was going to be threatened. The uneducated in this country blame the teachers.
      I for one have loved every teacher I have ever had, and to this day I hold them in the highest regard.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  6. Robert

    Here's an idea. How about instead of complaining about school system this and teacher that, how about parents actually help us educate their children! I know, I know crazy huh? I have one hour with your student. Do you understand this? One hour a day. You could really help me out by making sure your student completes their homework, comes to school on time, and if I contact you about their poor grades you help out by doing something about it at home! All this talk about how school systems are failing, shoot, I see a lot of parents failing as well.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • A 2nd year teacher

      Wow Robert, who would've thought parents actually had a role in their child's education???? That idea is so novel and great, I wonder how much better our jobs would be if we had parents who actually cared instead of complained. It goes back to our culture and what we value most in our society (money/fame, but sadly not education).

      July 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  7. mscopes

    We need educated, awesome teachers in our schools who are working for the children, not for the money. If we wanted to make a ton of money, we would not have gone into teaching. We do it because we love it. Yes, there are teachers out there who do NOT need to teach. I agree. But there are many more out there who are trying to get a teaching job (like me) and are having trouble getting a job because inefficient teachers are hiding behind tenure. I think tenure needs to go. That's where the accountability comes in.If you know you can be let go (yes, there still needs to be due process), then you have a stronger incentive to work harder. Teachers have to work with the students we get (we can't pick only the smart, fast learners) and should not be judged on the fact that a kindergarten student can't read at the end of the year. We need to look at the fact that the child had never been in school, knew NO letters, sounds or numbers and judge the teacher based on where the child started and where the child is today. He may not be able to read, but if he learned all his letters, sounds colors and numbers, that's a big step for him! (and it's a lot of hard work for his teacher!)
    For all those who feel teachers are lazy, don't deserve any more money and don't work hard...Remember, the children we teach will be the people who take care of you when you are old and gray- doctors, lawyers. nurses, physical therapists, pharmicists, etc. You might want to make sure you get the best teachers by paying them well and giving them the respect they deserve. We are not babysitters, although some parents think we are. If you think you can do a better job, come on. Join the ranks! There's nothing to stop you from quitting your job and getting this cushy job you think we have. And, by the way, I don't repeat the same lesson plans every year. I change it up. I may use the same principles from the previous lessons, (it's called a curriculum and we have to use it!) but I am always looking for new ways to teach. Teachers are required to have a certain number of professional development hours every year and guess what.....some of them come in the summer. I spent 3 summers in a row taking classes to learn how to teach a new program or learn about changes to an existing program. We do work hard, so please understand that we work at least a week or two after school is out and a week or two before school begins. Which in my case, gives me about 5-6 weeks off in the summer and that does not include any professional development hours/days that get added in. Stop knocking the job and come do it if you think you can do better.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  8. Guido

    What gets me, as a former teacher, is why any teacher would ever vote Republican. This is the party who has made a living, a very good one at that, on demonizing teachers. Between office holders and the mouthpieces in the media, they use teachers as a rallying point to raise money and enrich their friends. Who do they appeal to, the same people who as students had no time for learning, just wasting time for themselves, other students and teachers. Because they didn't become rich making crude remarks, destroying books and in general, making asses out of themselves, they feel the need to show that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. Another generation of wasted opportunities for their decedents, and this country.

    Wake up America, when you make teachers less important than rappers, basketball players, and the Kardashians, you will never raise this country from the mess the past 30 years of negativity has brought.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • India B.

      How correct you are, sir! When education is perceived as important as sports, a new day shall dawn!

      July 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Fred

      The first part of your argument is total garbage. The second part is totally correct.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mark

      What gets me as a teacher, is why anyone worth less than $10 million dollars would vote Republican. Sadly, I believe the answer is religion. It leads to a slowing of the mental processes and makes people political robots. (Read the comments on the Chick fil A stories if you doubt me.) What ALSO gets me as a teacher is the way they spell that name, Chick fil A, and their horrible advertisement that reads, "Eat More Chiken" Good old fast food spelling. They are putting me "thru' hell, and I don't even believe in hell,or heaven, or god.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Woodrow

      Guido – I'm glad that you're a former teacher.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • EE in Maine

      Guido, I agree whole heartedly. First, we need to eliminate the party of NO. Second, get rid of the Bush legacy: NCLB. Third, expell or allow to leave, disruptive students that refuse to learn. I know there are those out there that are more liberal than I that would say we must keep them in school and try to get them to learn. NO, the needs of the many, out weigh the needs of the few, or the one. One young adult can be so disruptive that he/she will capture 80% of the teachers time and everyone else will suffer. If this young adult does not want to be there....let them go.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  9. Erich

    Before you start throwing teachers salaries under the bus, think about politicians, what they get paid, and how much of their time is spent raising funds so they can get re-elected. Are we getting our moneys worth out of them? I really doubt it.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  10. Woodrow

    This is almost funny if not so sad. 1) Kids have a longer school day than most parents end up working thanks to excessive homework, 2) Doing something that is ineffective even more doesn't translate into something that's effective, and 3) warehousing kids even longer in a place that, for many, is a hostile environment, isn't healthy. I swear, the solutions people come up with are insane. The best speech that I've heard on the topic in recent memory is a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson (google it). We're treating kids like they are an industrial product and school is an assembly line, and their solution is to simply making the line longer? Insane.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  11. Tom P

    When we want teachers what do we ask for? 4 years at least of education, 1-2 years of student teaching, and an student loan bill of $60-120k. So, what do we do when they ask for a decent salary? We say, "Well you only work 9 months of the year! Why should we pay you $60k a year?"

    If we don't want to pay them so much, we should look at ways to shorten the required college term, maybe down to a 2 year program. But remember, teaching is a vocation. If you don't make it attractive, people will choose a more viable and profiitable area.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • modern day

      what college are they going to that costs $120,000 for 4 years?

      July 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • monrose

        Lots of colleges cost that much money. If I didn't have scholarships and a father who could actually afford children, I would have $120K in debt from college. With a minimal loan I was able to go to a great school, receive an outstanding education, be prepared for a real job, and be compensated that way that I am now. Money well spent, and I am still (happily) paying on my loans.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Woodrow

      At-will employment, Tom. Feel free to find another position. Did someone lead you on to think your starting salary is 6 figures? And btw – don't act like a 4 year degree and 1-2 yrs of an internship is extreme. Nearly all professions (not jobs...professions) require that and more. My dad was a public school teacher for 36 years. He NEVER complained because, as he put it, "there are benefits that I get that don't come with other jobs." It was his CHOICE of career, and he got a fulfillment from it that he wouldn't have had at a sales position. He didn't bemoan the fact that he didn't make as much as the sales guy, but he didn't expect that the sales guy would be asking him for part of his longer summers, stable pay, tenure, pension, or consistent schedule either. I respect my dad a whole lot for that.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Dan

      We don't have a problem paying the best teachers, Tom. The problem that we the taxpayers have is that, thanks to your unions, we have to pay the crappy teachers the same amount. We have to watch the young teacher get laid off, regardless of talent, because of union seniority rules. We aren't here to demonize teachers; We simply want the best for our children and our tax dollars to be used efficiently.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  12. kathleenrobinson425

    There are some interesting and innovative textbooks out there that have classroom projects, research, and critical thinking activities, fantastic color graphs and illustrations. Unfortunately, in many school districts the teachers are not allowed to teach from them because the district has bought an ouside curriculum that is boring, confusing, and does nothing to even address test scores. This curriculum is required, teachers have no say in it, and all it does is use up millions of pages of copy paper and tons of copy ink, produces inferior graphs, charts, and maps, and includes so many pages and so much time that the teacher has NO time to actually TEACH any of the skills or concepts. I know a longtime Senior English and AP teacher who says that with this system he is no longer a teacher, but a curriculum delivery system, and an inferior curriculum. And he was the most creative, motivating teacher that school system had.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  13. India B.

    What works for one school does not necessarily work in another. Much ado about the education system is made, yet nothing really changes. Textbook companies are like the mafia–they put their big bucks into lobbying to be sure they stay in charge, just like the unions. Personally, I'm an Independent voter who typically votes Democratic, and although I'm a union member and a high school teacher, the union does both good and bad things. With the union, we have benefits, yet single people get screwed on insurance while families get a great deal; teachers with multiple preps per day and singleton teachers get zero extra compensation.

    The biggest problem is that people simply don't seem to 'family plan' considering the point we are at in time and history. It costs a lot to raise a child and to live comfortably in the U.S. At least half of all parents do not have the adequate time, patience, money, or ability to properly parent their children. Fortunately, the other half are doing a good job. If we look at the fact that at least half of our students (depending upon SES of your students) are not properly parented, this leads to: not reading or doing homework at home; coming to school hungry; family problems such as alcoholism, violence, et. al.

    The worst part of being a teacher is that the public seems to think they know all about how to teach since everyone went to school. I do not claim to know how to perform a surgery or fly an airplane just because I've participated in those actions, so why does the public think they know so much? I'll tell you why–because most people cannot admit to themselves that they have done a poor job of educating their children at home, teaching them proper behavior and respect of others, or that their child is average. Of course everyone thinks they are an amazing parent and their child is a genius–just look how people grade themselves as drivers!

    As soon as we create a system similar to some European systems, where students who are not college bound go to trade schools, the U.S. will WIN. The 'bottom third" of students isn't because they're dumb or lazy, it's because they are completely disinterested and see zero relevance to what it is that they are learning. If we had a system to allow them to go towards areas they are more naturally inclined and show ability and interest in, then we would graduate a large portion of students with skills for the working world who are currently falling through the cracks. Do you know how depressing it is to work in a low-income school and have brilliant students who do not attend college due to lack of funds? Or kids who are lazy or average be able to attend university?

    People also need to realize that good teachers burn out because they are the ones who get the enormous workloads and are asked to do all the extras for a building, department, district, and state. I love teaching, but as a singleton teacher with four preps per day, my workload is outrageous. The only thing that keeps me going is my students, and my time off. It's not time off because I'm lazy, it's so that I can get prepared for my next school year or semester, take courses to keep my license up to date and my methodology up to date. It's certainly not for the paycheck–please; those of us with advanced degrees in highly specialized areas are giving YOU, the public a deal!

    And lastly, don't complain about the teachers who are rigorous and give your kid a 'C"; rather complain about the teachers whose courses are so easy that nearly everyone 'earns' an A or a B. Some of us have a high standard and require children to work and be challenged. If the courses were easy, they wouldn't really be learning anything, now would they?

    July 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  14. BobZemko

    It all depends on what your definition of "hard" is.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. uneducated

    Schools need to prioritize vocational programs and be more like college. My school had ZERO vocational programs and prepared ZERO kids for working and never introduced them to jobs they might be good at. Every kid graduating was unprepared for the real world, it was up to college to teach them useful skills.

    Get basic education out of the way early and hit vocational education hard in high school.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  16. Jim Hahn

    Teachers do not get paid anything close to what they are worth. The future of our nation is at stake here. People don't have a clue how much work it is to be a good teacher. The average High School teacher has more than 150 students. If each of them has an assignment once every two weeks that takes 10 minutes to grade, thats 1500 minutes or 25 hours of work for just one assignment, never mind the preparation time and never mind the parent-teacher interactions. Next time you think that a teacher has it easy, you try it. Bet you don't make it past the second hour, let alone the 8th, 9th or 10th hours.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • modern day

      most teachers grade assignments and tests in class now, its more educational for the kids to hear the answers and it saves them time after class

      July 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Pliny

      If teachers are responsible for 'the future of our nation'....then why are we treating them like we do?

      Why do we let them form/join unions? Their role is far too important to be handed off to a union.

      Why don't we have standards to judge teachers? Why do teachers themselves (and their unions) fight this?

      Why can't we FIRE bad teachers? There are PLENTY of bad teachers. If they are soooo important...why can't we do something about the crud in their midst?

      Teachers want it both ways. They want the perks and recognition. But they want the safety and protection of collective bargaining.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Lark

      My daughter's fifth grade teacher was paid over $101,000.00 this past year. She alone made more than our family's combined income and my husband works 12 hours a day. Southeastern PA teachers have it made in the shade. Long summer breaks, holidays off, great benefit packages and a whopping pension to look forward to, so they can continue their life of leisure and travel.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • Marker

        You're an idiot. I like your embellishment but please do your research. In case you weren't aware all school districts post their salary schedules for public viewing. Look it up. I did for your area and you're severely wrong. With a master's degree and at least a 10+ service year schedule boost teachers are maxing out at $78,000. That's with a master's degree. Many teachers are making the norm which is around 40,000 and less than the average salary for a Pennsylvania resident. Do some research, then you can post an opinion, but please try to make it educated.

        July 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • EE in Maine

        Lark, you either a LIAR or are seriously misinformed. Are you sure the person teaching wasn't the principal getting back in the classroom. Perhaps the school superintendant layed off most of the teachers so the principal had to teach.
        Teachers get paid minimally for what they do. If your looking to spout Tea Party HATE, you had better get your facts straight, and they be ready for a fight.

        August 1, 2012 at 7:55 am |
      • Lark

        I have the facts. Our principal makes over $118,000 and the teacher who taught my daughter's fifth grade class last year made over $101,000. Another teacher in our district (friend of mine) also makes a six figure salary. Our teachers are paid very well. It's fact and it is public knowledge. Since I never mentioned exactly what school district we are in, it's not possible for you to be checking "facts" about the salaries in my specific school district. Southeastern PA is a big area and I'm sure salaries do vary among districts. Maybe your area has teachers that are not compensated well but in our school district they are paid very, very well. Our out-of-control property taxes are proof of that.

        August 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Lark again

        I have the facts. Our principal makes over $118,000 and the teacher who taught my daughter's fifth grade class last year made over $101,000. Another teacher in our district (friend of mine) also makes a six figure salary. Our teachers are paid very well. It's fact and it is public knowledge. Since I never mentioned exactly what school district we are in, it's not possible for you to be checking "facts" about the salaries in my specific school district. Southeastern PA is a big area and I'm sure salaries do vary among districts. Maybe your area has teachers that are not compensated well but in our school district they are paid very, very well. Our out-of-control property taxes are proof of that.

        August 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • David L

      Teachers are not getting paid what they are worth, but that is their own fault. Through the unions, the teachers force the taxpayers to subsidize the teachers that are getting paid MORE than their worth. There are plenty of BAD teachers out there, and because they've been tenured, will never be fired, so they rest on their laurels. I'm not saying all or most teachers are like this, but there are plenty of them out there.

      This limits what I CAN pay the good teachers. I would love to pay the good teachers $100k to continue their work, but that requires that I'm able to pay the bad teachers $20k, or even fire them. Until the unions stop shooting themselves in the foot, the teachers are going to continue to be undervalued.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  17. Jerome

    If we want to have the best population and be the best nation. We need to have education be the career path that is held with the highest regard. Imagine if all those intelligent people figuring out how to screw us over in Wall Street took all that imagination and intelligence in our schools!?

    Give them (teachers ) better compensation, remove automatic tenure and stricter standards. Better teachers will come in and bad teachers will leave

    July 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Katie J.

    I can tell you a HUGE part of the problem here in FL is not the hours spent in the classroom, it's the teaching happening in that time. I work at a private school where about half of our teachers started in public schools. Each and every one will tell you they would not ever go back to a public school, even though they made more there. The curriculum is pathetic and very few teachers even know how to implement it. And those that do run into problems with administration when they want to do anything past the bare minimum.
    I don't think anyone in FL would argue that our public education system is strong – especially since the economy has forced all sorts of new limits or taken away funding and classes. I know every state is different, but here in FL they have tried adding time to the school day and tried year round school. Neither lasted more than a single school year because they did nothing to help and only stressed out the students and staff.
    That's great that NY teachers can make $90k a year, but here we aren't even making half that much. And we DO work plenty of hours outside of classroom time, so anyone who says they don't believe it is just blissfully ignorant. Keep believing teachers are overpaid and underworked – that's very helpful. If you don't know what you are talking about, just don't speak.
    Unfortunately there are many different problems with our education system, from students to teachers to staff to curriculum to budget issues..... The list goes on and on. To think that we can wake up and fix it tomorrow is wishful thinking. But if everyone works together (instead of bashing teachers) then we can progressively work towards a solution that can put EVERYONE back on top!

    July 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  19. Bubba™

    The problem is that you loonies hate us educated people. You always have and you always will. We can't teach you anything because you are bucketheads, and that's why teaching is pretty much going to be for the wealthy from now on.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  20. HenryMiller

    I can't speak for anywhere other than Wake County, NC, but the high schools here use what they call a "block system" of scheduling-squeezing what used to be year-long courses into a single semester by having fewer classes per day, each class about twice as long as what they where when I was in high school.

    Sounds good. It's not.

    Mostly, those longer class periods are used by teachers individually coaching the dullards while the smart kids take naps. Really. The only apparent requirement is that the kids not snore.

    This is ridiculous!

    The schools may or may not need longer days, but they sure as hell need to have the kids awake and being taught while they're in class! And the teachers shouldn't have to waste everyone's time coaching the thick-wits and ignoring the brighter kids!

    July 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  21. Confused

    Can we please address the REAL problem? It's not about bad schools or bad teachers, it's about bad parenting. A child that comes from a family that understands the importance of education and supports academic success are the children that learn, regardless of how long the school day is or who is teaching them.
    I was lucky to live in a neighborhood that had a high number of both jewish families and asian families, both cultures that have traditionally valued education very highly. It was COOL to be smart in my school, the kids at the top of the class were usually the homecoming kings and queens and some of the most popular kids. Unfortunately, most schools are not like that and being smart or academically successful in most schools means that you are a target for bullying or cast out as a nerd. Nothing will change until parents start making educational success the number one priority for their kids.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  22. Josh

    There are teachers who work very hard, and put in long hours.

    There are teachers who leave school 12 seconds after the students leave at 2:35pm.

    I know that my kid's 5th grade teacher would put in long hours. I remember my kid bringing me a note home from his teacher. It was almost 6pm when I got it. I called the teacher's direct class room number, with the intent to simply leave a voice mail acknowledging I got the note. I was totally shocked when the teacher actually answered! She still at work, that late. I was very impressed.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • ChrisF

      The hours we put in would shock most people...even if you look at the ones that leave at 2:36, I am willing to bet they are up at midnight or the crack of dawn grading, prepping, ect.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  23. Martin

    I don't teach but I'm married to one (and have a son who's training for the profession). Although some teachers can just do their classroom time most have to do a lot of subject preparation and grading – school may be out at 2:45 but she's rarely home until 4 or 5 and she works most evenings and a good chunk of the weekends.

    As a job it sucks - I effectively subsidize it. I can think of a lot better uses for advanced degrees in Physics (or Math, for that matter). As far as I'm concerned let the whiners educate their own kids if they think they can do better. (Which, of course, they can because they don't really know what an education actually is....)

    July 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  24. Actually a Teacher

    I am a high school English teacher at a US News Week Gold Medal public school.

    I don't have time to read all these posts considering I work a full time summer job to make ends meet, but here are my 2 cents as someone who plans to enter politics after teaching to fight for educators at the top level.

    – Teachers need to be paid more and held at higher standards to improve education. 1 out of 3 new teachers quit, a majority of which are the better of the 3 and know they can earn more elsewhere. Though I noticed some people state that some teachers earn 90k, that is the 1% of teachers.

    – Longer days are not the answer. Shorter summers might work, but you need to pay teachers more.

    – All teachers do excessive amounts of grading and planning outside of school. Time spent in front of the students is only half the battle.

    – Though unions are great, they protect bad teachers as well as good, and prevent better pay to retain the best teachers.

    – Our education system is currently not working properly and needs a massive overhall.

    – Other countries have better education systems because they are well funded, and the communities hold educators at a higher level like doctors and lawyers.

    I expect everyone to have an answer, but these are mine from experience.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • norm

      Amen......People birth them, don't raise them and leave them to the schools. Can anyone say "free child care feeding and raising"?

      July 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • sevans90

      @Actually a Teacher really spell "overhaul" "overHALL"?
      My English teachers taught me to carefully proofread, but I understand and agree with your sentiments 🙂

      July 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Greg

      As an English teacher at an award winning school, I would expect, at minimum, you knew how to spell "overhaul" correctly. Sorry, I couldn't help but notice the error.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Catherine Alyce Cantrell

      and the choir said "Amen"

      July 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  25. Patrick Horan

    Seems to me that, now a days teachers make good money to send out homework! It is stunning the amount of homework these poor kids have to deal with. I personally think they are way over payed for what they do! When i was in school, teachers actually taught IN CLASS! Now all they want is more money, more money. Holy smokes, do something to earn it for Pete's sake,and Lori's, and Matts, and Emily's, ect.........

    July 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Actually a Teacher

      Kids who do homework do better in college. Proven through research. One of the most important lessons is independent time management and working.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • Also, actually a teacher

        First of all, not every student will (or should) go on to college, so, why assign lots of homework to every kid.

        Secondly, research has repeatedly shown no correlation between achievement and amount of homework.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • Actually a Teacher

        I would like you to not assign homework, including studying, and see how much of your curriculum you cover.

        Also, no college is not for all kids, but a student who graduates from a college prep school is better challenged to tackle post high school. experiences.

        July 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • kathleenrobinson425

      I went to elementary school in the 1950's, secondary school in the 1960's, and we had PLENTY of homework. You can't get kids today to do any homework. And my mother checked my homework for correction, and my father helped me with algebra. The World Book Encyclopedia and dictionary were revered in my house. We weren't rich either. My high school graduation present from my parents was a Random House UNABRIDGED Dictionary You've got to have parents who care and call out spelling words and vocabulary words to their kids, who listen to them read aloud ( I remember my dad listening to my brother learn to read in first grade). Now you get students who enter your classroom who may as well be carrying a sighn that says. "Just try to teach me. I dare you." Learning is work, just like anything else. Teachers can teach it over and over in a dozen ways, but there has to be at least an milligram of desire in the student to learn it.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Nygirl

      Poor students – too much homework? Do you honestly think spending an hour being taught a specific skill in math or facts in science means your child will retain that knowledge? Seriously? Homework is to practice and reinforce skills learned that day. I am all for homework – that's my son's job – TO LEARN.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
      • BB

        Exactly. Success comes from practice. I don't think anyone is shocked by how much work it takes to be good in sports or music. The same should be applied to academics.

        August 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  26. Bubba™

    My wife's retiring after a career in teaching. She was never paid what she deserved, and had to deal with incompetents who had no idea what she did but were glad to make it harder. She made a better life possible for thousands of people, and I wish they were all dead right now and that she'd spent her life working for a magazine or book company. You don't deserve to be taught, only trained like dogs and then chained to your posts; it's all you want and all you understand.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  27. eduk8

    Much of the problem lies in the public's perception of teachers. For example, the picture that CNN has used for this article is misleading. I am a second grade teacher, and I NEVER sit at a desk. In fact, I had my desk removed from the classroom to make room for more learning centers and workstations. I am on my feet all day long. What a misperception!

    July 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  28. spiderlord

    My fiance is a high-school teacher. She works 14 hour days during the school year, 6 days a week. She works from 7-3 (an 8 hour day) at the school, then comes home and does grading and lesson planning from 4-10pm. Including commute, she has a 16 hour day. During the summer, she works an 8 hour day revising lessons, analyzing student performance, and trying to rework her curriculum to be more effective. Overall, she works substantially more than a full time job. She doesn't get vacation days during the year, gets 3 non-rollover personal days a year, five sick days a year (with doctor's note, which she can't afford to go to), and gets paid $32,000 a year. Hour for hour, her pay is less than her stepsister, with only a high school degree, makes per hour at Target. Her benefits are not terrible, but not great, and she has to pay for most of them. No teacher at her school has received a raise in the past five years, and it has been over a decade since a raise that matched inflation was given. This is a women with a BA from one of the top ten colleges in the country, who speaks two languages fluently.

    At least three times a week, she is told that she is the problem, that she is overpaid, under-worked, and lazy. Her problem students have figured out that they can punish her for enforcing rules by simply refusing to write answers on standardized tests, for which she will be blamed. She is one of the brightest and most dedicated people of my generation and is seriously considering quitting teaching in spite of her love for the children, because she suffers nonstop character abuse for simply being a teacher and makes so little money she won't be able to afford children of her own before she is 40. We've done the numbers, and she could make more money for half the effort doing data entry that doesn't require a college degree.

    So next time you decide to smear teachers, remember – this is the kid of person you're going to drive out of the profession by doing so, not the bad apples.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bubba™

      The trend is towards "training" today: teach them the basics and omit literature and art and other humanizing courses, because they are "liberal." Why should a student and a soldier get different educations? They only need to follow orders to be happy. Let US think for them.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • mc

      So what you are saying is she has a job like every other person in America... except that she gets tons of days off and a great retirement plan and a job that is almost impossible to get fired from?

      July 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • sbretz

        Would you please describe your occupation and pay too? It seems only fair after claiming that the description of the teacher is an average american experience.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Guido

      I can assume that your fiance is in a southern state. I taught for 40 years in Pennsylvania, and I would never consider working outside the northeast. The pay is bad, the students, to a large extent come from families that don't value education. Being abused in the press, along with by students, whose parents teach them to bring down other, rather than raise themselves up, is the way to go.

      What gets me is why any teacher would ever vote Republican. The party has made a fortune for itself and it's idiot mouthpieces in the media by continually running down teachers and the education system.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • wakeup

      My business work is the same way.. I put extra hours in after work.. carry a blackberry and answer emails all night and during vacations. All this does reflect in my preformance review and what I accomplish. Then our pay is based on our preformance. So – it sounds like she would definately benefit from an accountability system.

      I do not think longer hours are going to help – we need more accountable teachers .. with pay increases going toward the ones who do excel.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • guest

      i couldn't agree more. there are 4 teachers in my family and my best friend is a science teacher in an underperforming high school. i don't know anyone who works as hard as they do, including working on papers and curriculum during "vacations" and staying up late grading papers, putting together tests and class work, etc. it's not like when i was a kid and teachers really did have it easy. these folks bust their butts and rarely get any support from the parents or administration in their schools. the kids cannot be disciplined either because the parents will sue or file complaints (I'm mnot talking about physical discipline). kids don't get left back anymore, either. it is terrible. an idiot who can play basketball gets 10s of millions of dollars working part time, but teachers have to constantly defend themselves for the crumbs thrown to them. this country is full of anti-education idiots.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Ethan

      Seriously grading and lesson planning for 6 hours a day. Come on no one believes that.

      Lesson plans from year to year don't change much if your teaching the same grade.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • ChrisF

      Tell her thank you...we need more like her! I have debated the same things....ignore these people, they obviously do not have a clue.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • julie

      Thank you.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  29. fourth81

    Longer school hours are not going to work when the educational system itself is broken. And for all of those people who talk about teachers needing to work harder or longer, you've obviously never met a teacher before. My wife loves her job and regardless of her contract hours, she always works above and beyond to give her students what they need. If students need to stay after school, my wife isn't getting home until 6ish. If students need more supplies, my wife is using our money to spend it because the school can't foot the bill. My mom even makes hats and scarfs for some of the kids that can't afford to completely clothe themselves. Not to mention that teachers don't get vacation days and get next to nothing in sick leave. Do you know the hassle for having another person run your class when you're out?

    It's a slap in the face to hear people say that teachers don't work hard enough. Perhaps a few teachers do take advantage of the system but teachers like my wife enjoy the job; she doesn't ask for more money even if she wants it because she loves working with the children and gets excited about providing learning materials for them. Some people just need to realize that they know nothing about teaching and should come with that disclaimer before posting in this thread.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • mc

      Oh, my. I am crying for your wife. Must be tough. No vacation days? I don't get 10 days off in a year! You must be a union worker.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Actually a Teacher

        You probably make more than $33,000 a year, whcih is the average starting teacher salary in many states.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • guest

        awww, don't be jealous of union workers. join a union yourself, form one if one isn't available. i don't know how the working class of America got it in their heads that it is bad to be in a union! just shows that you didn't avail yourself of a good education in the field of social studies/history. any working class person who is against unions is against themselves. unions guarantee fair wages, good hours, benefits and a retirement plan. shouldn't you want that too? or do you like to be a slave to your boss, who sets your hours, wages,etc and can fire you if your kid is in the hospital and you need time off?

        July 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • History Teacher

        Teaching is a profession that requires annual training, years of schooling, entry tests to get licensed, and personal time outside of contracted hours...even for those teachers who don't deserve to be in the classroom. I ask that all of you complaining about the little amount of personal time you get and the your own struggles with low pay, you are obviously not in the same type of professional position. I have never met someone who has had to go through all of the hoops teachers do, are called professionals, and don't have over a month of personal time they can take off, plus sick days. Teachers have to meet all the requirements of professionals (different from a job anyone can apply for...requires prior training, education, and proof of competency at the job; i.e. doctors, lawyers, physicians assistants, welders, etc.) and yet are treated with less respect, less pay, for working hours that are very similar. I've read some comments about the amount of homework teachers give, or the amount of hours people see teachers working...these have to be comments about personal experiences or things they've seen done by a VERY limited amount of teachers, but they take this and make very damning statements about every teacher. If you have problems with bad teachers take them up with the individual teacher, but if you think I should respect you and your job without every seeing you or knowing your work habits, then the same courtesy should be given to me by you.
        I've never been trained to be a master plumber, but I can install a sink in my kitchen. However, I am not certified, nor would I be good at plumbing an entire home. Some non-teachers can probably give a lecture on the causes of World War II, but they are not certified, nor would they be any good at developing a year long World History class that identifies the skills, lessons, facts, and concepts needed to understand the meanings of history and how to use them in effective and current ways. More over, non-teachers probably won't be good at creating whole classes, units, and lessons that allow students of multiple backgrounds, interests, and abilities to develop the skills, know the lessons, remember the facts, and understand the concepts while trying to get them to pass a test that if they fail means they won't get credit for the class. All the while being criticized by people who are not colleagues, have no training, and are not qualified to teach. I would never criticize a master electrician, or a contractor, or a train conductor about their jobs and pretend I know what goes on during their work hours, and how much they should be paid. If America (300 million people) is falling behind in education world wide does it seem more likely that millions of teachers are all just bad and not worth their pay, or that the system is broken in ways that prevent students and teachers from succeeding?

        July 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  30. Ryan

    To those complaining about the amount of hours "teaching"; I'd suggest to you that (in CPS at least) teachers spend more of their time babysitting than teaching. Some of the folks pointing the finger should look in the mirror at how much time they spend enforcing homework and study habits with their kids.

    Place the greatest Geometry teacher in the world with a 10th grader who cannot do basic multiplication and you will NOT get results...Must be the teacher's fault, right? People need to wake up. The country is going to hell due to lack of accountability and it starts with lazy students and their even lazier parents.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • fourth81

      Damn straight. Good post.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • mc

      Ryan is a teacher, and part of the problem.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • FloridaTeacher

      Amen! I am a teacher. I have a Masters Degree and I am Nationally Board Certified. Students will only value what their parents make a priority. Until every parent in this county steps up and changes the priorities in the household, nothing will ever change. It is a SOCIAL PROBLEM, not an EDUCATIONPROBLEM. I see it year after year:
      Dear Mrs. Soinso,
      Please call me if Johnny seems a bit tired today.
      We went to baseball and we did not get home until after 9. (REALLY? The day before our big state exams?)
      Then I am held accountable for his being tired and unfocused. Some people in this country look at their children as a meal ticket for the future professional sports player they are cultivating because that is what our society admires and respects.
      I just spent 30 hours in training this summer, unpaid, it is expected of me. I have no problem with people having higher expectations of me. Why then can I not demand higher expectations of the families I serve?

      July 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • EE in Maine

      Ryan, Exactly parents are a seriously large part of the problem. My wife would always say the only parents that would show up for parent teacher conferences were the educated parents that valued education. The kids who were doing good had parents that showed up. Now contrast the poorest inner city kid with one parent, ie a latch key kid. Those parents were doing their best just to keep their own head above water, much less help a kid with any homework. Kids would come home to an empty house and have to find their own meals. MANY inner city parents HATED their own education and blame them for their plight, and thus HATE the education system today. They fall into the trap led by the Tea Nuts, ie "Teacher are bad", and the entire reason our taxes are so high.
      Parents, in my opinion ARE the problem.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  31. Alison

    I have read the vitriol posted here. Some have a point. Others do not.

    In my school district, the average teacher salary is about $50K. Also, about 90% of all teachers here have a MA in Education. While many do take June and July "off" (August is spent getting ready for the upcoming year), many do not–they teach summer school. Those who do take the time "off" often spend the time in a classroom maintaining / updating their own credentials. They are learning how to be better teachers DESPITE the fact that they already have Master's degrees in their field.

    During the school year, they very seldom put in a 40-hour work week. Most of the time, they put in longer hours. How many of you have tried to grade the amount of work required of our kids? My children, in 4th, 6th, and 8th grade, each do several assignments a day. If they have graded assignments in even four of the 6-8 subjects they have daily, that teacher has to grade over 100 assignments a day. The Middle School teacher has to grade five sections of the same assignment, and at a class size of about 30, that equates to 150 separate assignments. Even if each assignment only takes two minutes to evaluate (assuming a best-case scenario where everybody in every class gets everything right and she doesn't have to give feedback or figure out where the student is missing concepts). She doesn't have TIME to grade assignments that measure a deep understanding of a concept or thinking skills, as those take longer to grade than the CHECK THE CORRECT ANSWER type assignments. This is in addition to her planning period (which is often taken up with meetings). This means that after she is done teaching for at least 5 hours a day, she must grade (another two hours) and plan her lessons for the future (depending on where she is in her career, this could take as much as two hours). That is a total of nine productive hours per day during the school year.

    Yes, she gets four-five days off during Thanksgiving. That's not uncommon. Yes, she gets about a week off around Christmas. So do many other workers–my grandparents, for example, were always forced to take their vacation over this time as the manufacturing plant they worked for shut down. She does not get the same days off that the students get–those are Professional Development days, where she receives MORE training on how to better educate our kids.

    My point is that teaching is not just a job; it is a labor of love (if you don't love it, you get out real quick and get an easier job) that should pay a living wage for the region. In my part of the country, that's about $50K.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • rusty

      Couldn't agree more with you. My wife teaches special ed in socal. This is her 4th year teaching and she makes 43k a year (9 mos)which she chooses to receive spread out over 12 months.Her contracted start time is 7:30 am and contracted end time is 3:00pm with a 40 minute lunch break. She rarely leaves work before 5pm and never gets a lunch break. usually is tending a child who is having an issue or meeting with other faculty.
      While the Union will fight to protect her in time of need, we both agree it does more harm than good. between tenured teachers and union protection there are unfortunately several teachers who are there only to collect a pay check. I think if teachers knew their butt was on the line each year they could re-prioritize and become more effective teachers.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • John

      Teachers have it easy. 20 years of the same lesson plan with MINOR modifications. 3 extra months of vacation a year, which conveniently allows the teacher to get an MA in teaching very quickly...which in turn bumps up their salary sooner than someone working 12 months a year while going to school. Scan Tron Grading systems that require no time at all. If you are music teacher lets review the bonuses, Marching band – bonus, Jazz Band – Bonus, Concert Band – Bonus – after school independent student lessons – Bonus – Summer time student lessons – Bonus – "Thanks Flo" Sign me up!

      July 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Dee

      I've worked at k-6 school for 15 years in a non teaching job, I work side by side with teachers and I can tell you first hand that many are good people but none are overworked. For any teacher to say differently is simply not truthful and they have no idea what it takes to work in the private sector. In my entire 15 years what have seen is after testing at the end of the year which well BEFORE school is out that there isn't a teacher I have ever known that continues TEACHING! That is just a fact which can be proved out. Also drive by any school an 30 min after schools out see what teachers are still there and just who are these teacher doing all this work to their class rooms during break, go look. Just take a look. No need for this arguement the facts are in your schools right around the corner go look see who's there. What do you see the students doing that requires all this extra at home work the teacher complain about? Our students need more help IN the classroom then the ONE teacher that is there, it's that simple.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  32. Dave

    I wanted to leave a long comment , but I have to go prepare my lesson plan - wait a minute -- Reading writing and math have not changed in 100 years - why do I need to prepare for class

    July 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • mucyk

      You're no teacher. Reading, Writing and Math have changes substantially in just the past 10 years. Furthermore, it is the techniques that are used to deliver teach these subjects that have changed. Guided Reading, Writer's Workshop, Math with Manipulatives are all examples of pedagogical techniques currently in use where I teach. It's an ever changing game, just like everything else.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • mucyk

        Should read "changed".... not "changes"

        July 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Dave2

      Clearly, you are ignorant. Must not have paid attention when you were in school, and certainly haven't paid attention to the events of the last few decades

      July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Actually a Teacher

      Pretty ignorant to think that subjects haven't changed. English is the most complex language and changes constantly.

      Most importantly however is the fact that methods are changing. Technologies are changing. Textsbooks are changing.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  33. kgt

    What kids need isn't more time in schools and more academic time. They need more rounded education environments including more time spent in music, the arts, and physical education. We additionally need to be instructing kids with life skills, such as time management, money management and communication skills.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  34. Prairieson

    Let's stop kidding ourselves over what teaching has really become. It's a huge jobs and votes program for the Democrat party puppets and their union string pullers.

    Any job that requires you to be in a union, is going to put the "product" (in this case – students) last on the list of importance. I'm sure there are good teachers who care about their students but they are the minority. This is an assembly line, no different than GM or Chrysler. The union rules the work place. The kids and parents don"t have the power to do anything about it.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  35. RichmondGiant

    My wife taught public HS for 8 years. My brother is a career teacher in Philly. My sister in law a retiring teacher in FL. I've got some insight from those that do the work.

    First, extending the length of the day or the school year are interesting propositions that have some merit. But I suspect most teachers would assert that it's the content that needs work first. Across the nation, Teachers Unions have become useless protectors of the status quo and partisan puppets. Administrators make policies and plans that are almost completely out of touch with the needs of the classroom. Schools are forever changing styles and methodologies chasing after the latest fad method – usually at the expense of the core fundamentals. And finally, teachers are forced to structure curriculum on passing farsical standards tests instead of focusing on teaching. It's one thing to teach students to memorize facts, it's another to take time to help students learn to think critically and understand what all the facts mean.

    Funding is a perpetual issue almost everywhere. No matter how much more we spend on education, it never seems to trickle down to the classroom. Or is usually squandered supporting the new teaching fads at the expense of core supplies. Every teacher I've known almost always ends up paying for basic classroom supplies like paper, whiteboard markers and erasers, etc out of their own pockets. Planning times are eaten up by useless meetings full of administrivia so grading is done at home, often late into the evening at the expense of the teacher's personal life.

    In short, there are massive systemic problems that first need to be addressed. Adding an extra few minutes to a school day, divided by 6 periods, is about useless. Working longer into the summer when the current sessions are a case study in inefficient chaos is unlikely to yeild much. And, of course, a longer school year is unlikely to come with extra pay for teachers to work those extra hours. First, fix the system with a focus on learning and the core subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic, THEN think about other tweaks.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  36. Objectively Moderate

    If being a teacher was so easy and paid so well, everyone would want to be one. As it is teacher's are underpaid (considering the value they bring to a society), underappreciated (as everyone blames them and not the students or parents when the students don't learn), and are mocked by people who have never taught a day in their lives. I am not a teacher but have tremendous respect for them as I have a number of children and know the patience required to teach.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • mc

      Blah blah blah. I have many friends who are teachers. They smoke pot, drink, get DWIs and talk openly about how great their salary is when hours worked are taken into consideration. They all have tenure on their minds. That is it. I am tired of teachers complaining about how they have to deal with bad parents and bad kids. Guess what. I have to deal with those same parents but at my job. Cause I work with them. Every day. They are called co-workers when you leave the world of schools. We all work with them. And they are hard to deal with. Only at the end of the day, I have no union looking out for me. No retirement plan waiting for me. I get 10 days of vacation a year which I hardly ever take. I will never get a month, or months off, like teachers do until I am old and retired. Teachers seem to think the rest of us go to these perfect jobs everyday while they suffer. Reality check... life is hard. Work is hard. People are hard to deal with. All said and done, teachers have a really good gig. Period. Stop whining.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • michaelmariano

        Your post really strikes me. If you life is awful why would you wish that on any one else? Where is the American value of progress and a desire for a comfortable, healthy, and sane life style? As an executive my life is pretty cushy, my wife is a professor and works far harder than anyone I've ever met and that includes a lot of CEO's and Executives. I hope your life is better and I hope you fight to better the lives of others. I hope everyone gets to live like I do. I go on four vacations a year, been to 38 countries, 44 states, been able to take years off in between jobs because I make enough to save. Why can't everyone live well? Why do we all insist that the middle class has to have sucky lives.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Terry

      Teachers are not underpaid. Market determins pay. If teachers were underpaid it would be hard to find a desireable canidate for any open role. However, we know there are more than fifty qualified/certified candidates for every role. If they were truely underpaid people would not be entering the field. It is supply and demand.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • norm

      Can any of you replying negatively say PARENTS? I am tired of parents not attending conferences, not being able to contact them when needed, and NOT having them participate in school activities regarding their students. Quit blaming teachers and look at what is raising these students. Walk a mile in my shoes before you open your mouth. Most of you could not handle a classroom. While I love my students, they are less of a challenge than their parents.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  37. Alex

    Longer day? I would be happy if the time could be restored. Last year my daughter's school cut 6 mins from each day and 4 days from the school year. Right now the school is scheduled to have 180 days but it is subject to being cut by as much 5 days. I haven't seen the bell schedule yet to see if more time has been cut from the day.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • mc

      What is their reason for shorter school days? Teachers complaining? Unions?

      July 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  38. Heidi

    Teachers are not necessarily the entire problem for poor educational standards. School administrators/school boards and politics contribute a critical part in the poor academic standards in US. However, teachers and their unions need to play a more active role in holding their incompetent teachers accountable and should welcome yearly exams proving their skills.. just doctors and nurses and firemen and any other professional. Teachers, who are public servants will conintue to be critized for not doing so. School year needs to be longer but with highly competent teachers who are highly paid for the 8 months they work. Their salary should reflect the average salary of their community work force and should be sustainable for the community.Teachers are first in line to balk at a longer school year. One wonders why they chose the career path to serve the public in their community. The kids and society in general are victims here...not the teachers.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • A teacher

      @Heidi

      Just for the record, in most states teachers have to pass a battery of certification tests just to be licensed in the first place and to renew their licenses (typically every four years) they have to show continued development through coursework or professional development. Unless you are in a district nice enough to subsidize some of those costs (and very few districts do that anymore) the burden is placed on the teacher to stay licensed. Each of those tests average around $80 and certification ranges anywhere from $40-150. So just to get started as a teacher you can pay as much as $500 out of pocket, JUST TO START LOOKING FOR A JOB. And the process starts over again if you move to another state. Also what other job requires offical transcripts be submitted everytime you apply for a new job or want to go up the pay scale. The hidden costs of being a teacher are ridiculous at times and the public has no idea what we go through. I moved from the midwest to the southwest because it was the only opening for a rookie teacher that I could secure. I work in a difficult school seperated from friends and family and for the year I made about 30k before taxes. The majority of the public doesn't have clue #1 when it comes to what teachers actually deal with. It would be nice if people would get off our backs and look in the mirror sometime before casting blame where it is neither wanted nor needed.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  39. NorCalMojo

    What a load of nonsense.

    The teachers will get their union scuttle any efforts to improve it.

    We've seen it 1000 times.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      I love how people point to the unions, politicians, liberals, conservatives, rich, poor, parents, etc... as the problem. The problem is most US citizens refuse to allow any reform that would make us raise the actual quality of schools. What most of us want is to make it all someone else's responsibility.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  40. Dee

    'Villanized' isn't even a word. It's VILIFIED. Way to prove the naysayer's point for them. *sigh*

    July 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Errogant2

      http://www.websters-dictionary-online.com/definitions/villanize?cx=partner-pub-0939450753529744%3Av0qd01-tdlq&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8&q=villanize&sa=Search#906

      Crow, you are eating it.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • A concerned teacher

      Dee,
      Are you a teacher? Do you have school-age children? If you do have children in school then why don't you spend an entire day in their classroom either helping out or simply observing? Most comments I have read of this nature come from people who aren't very conversant with a teacher's responsibilities either in class or out of class and during school hours and after school hours. I am a teacher of over 20 years experience in elementary and junior high and I have observed that our job has become more challenging and less fulfilling for two primary reasons: 1. increasing lack of support from the home 2. increasing lack of support from site and district administration. The 2nd reason is why we need a union to keep school districts honest. The first reason is more of an indicator of the difficulties we face as a nation and a culture. I believe that parents need to spend more time being their child's parent and less time as their friend.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • Marker

        Amen! I second the, "lack of support from home" comment!

        July 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  41. DL

    We shouldn't educate everyone – we still need Soldiers, TeaParty members & religious nut jobs

    July 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • ProudUSMCwife

      Excuse me? Did you really just call our military uneducated? First off, what does that have to do with teacher and student days? Secondly, my husband is highly educated and AFTER getting a degree chose to enlist. I know another Marine with a Master's and he is also enlisted. How about attempting to follow the discussion at hand and not making statements that are completely unfounded.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • heyman

      Get a clue you tard! You are the problem here. Your liberal welfare life is bringing down America. Life is a lot differenty when you leave your moms basemen!

      July 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Drudake

      DL;
      Clearly you've never served in the military. Today's warriors are more highly educated than you might think. I've got a BA in biology and an MS in hospital administration and served as a Soldier for 24 years. Don't lump us in with Tea Partiers and religious nut jobs.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  42. Smith

    Here is part of the problem with performance assessment of teachers and comparing them to each in order to decide which teacher is doing the better job and should get paid more; so many aspects of teaching are not the same even for teachers of the same grade in the same building. Some teachers may be in portables, some in the building. That makes a difference because kids are walking further to get to other things so class time is lost. More experienced teachers tend to be assigned the trickier kids (academically and behaviorally), so each classroom doesn't start with the same make up of students. Different classrooms have different technologies available, some classrooms may have a smartboard, some may not. Classrooms vary in size, some rooms have space for small groups and traditional seating, some require a little adjusting back and forth, again, lost time. Until there is a way to standardize every classroom so that each teacher has the same challenge, I don't see how we can base salary on performance.
    Also, although unions do protect teachers, remember that they protect teachers who advocate for children. Protection from the union means that teachers can raise concerns about mold, kids bringing in weapons, class sizes getting too large, unclean bathrooms and so forth. Without protection, they are not as free to do so.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Sandra Martin

      Very well stated...thank you.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  43. ronjayaz

    FASCIST CNN CENSORED MY COMMENT.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Aaron Chaney

      Romney vs. Frankenstein (Obama)

      Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • Dee

        This was pretty much the most off-topic and idiotic comment I've read on this thread. And thats saying a lot.

        July 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
      • Rettas Vegas

        I'd rather not vote for a PANDERBEAR, I'am voting for OBAMA! Yes he can, with our help!

        July 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • db3

        Or, you could get off your lazy @ss and do some research, but it's only for the position of the leader of the free world, you're right, just wing it. And people wonder why politics are so messed up in this country. Amazing.

        July 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • ronjayaz

      See my Facebook under Ronald McLoughlin.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Me

      Always do!!! It is not just you, they do it to me all the time cause I don't agree with their position!

      July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Bet

      No, they didn't. Do you really think CNN has humans who read and make value judgements on every single comment? It's a filter, and it flags certain words or parts of words and boots comments that contain them. So if you want to say "const.itution" , you have to write it creatively, since the filter flags it because it contains the word "t.it".

      It's a program, not a person.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  44. Surthurfurd

    This is not about the: parents, politicians, teachers, pundits, talk show hosts, or businesses that want to ensure summer vacations. It is about the needs of children. As a teacher I demand: Children First.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • William

      I am going to regret this..... I have and understanding of what children first means, I would like to know what you think "children first" means.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  45. Serena Joy

    Parents are in favor of longer school days or years purely as another means of achieving taxpayer-funded daycare.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • imjustsaying

      That's my thought. The logic of sitting a kid in school longer makes no sense. I get the idea of more school days but longer school days? Sure, add a few hours of school to the end of the day but don't be surprised when scores don't change, more tax dollars are spent, and teachers complain about kids sleeping through the last few hours of the day.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • mc

      As a new father in an expensive world where both parents have to work and our children are getting dumber and dumber, I don't see why we would not want to extend school days. Teachers, and pretty much all union positions need a wake up call. Your selfishness and self importance are destroying this country. Stop whining. Your job is not that hard and you don't deserve special attention and protection.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • Anellis

        Perhaps you should try it, then.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  46. Surthurfurd

    I am a public school teacher working in a school where 100% of the students are on free lunch. Support at home for the students regarding education is limited and most adults in the area think week to week as opposed to year to year. My students are the ones such extensions are targeted toward.

    The fact is there is a limit to the amount of information a child's brain can retain (simplifying things a bit) in a day. We do need more time in school; but, not longer days. We could even use shorter days. What we need is much longer school years. We have taken up lots of time with testing and at least the people imposing the tests can give us those days back in instructional time.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • mc

      Really, then tell that to the Asian schools that have longer days than us as well as higher test scores.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • guest

      Surthurfurd:
      right on. longer school years. 9-5 days, to coincide with working parents hours and to allow kids to sleep normal hours, and less standardized teaching so the teachers can teach. my special ed 4th grader (in a dedicated special ed classroom) had to waste half a year in class trying to prepare for the 4th grade standardized testing even though she is reading and doing math on a second grade level!!!! it frustrated her, her teacher and me, but we had to do it, even though we knew what her grades would be. this country is in sad shape and it is not the teachers' fault.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  47. William

    While every comment has merit, the one major item that is missing from this disscusion is accountability. Students, especially the older ones, need to have accountability in their grades, lessons, work, after school activities, etc... This is lacking in the American Educational system. There are pleanty of stakeholders in education that want students to do well. From parents to politicians. All seem to think that they have the answers when in fact none of them do. Case in point, I personally love when people talk about changing our system to the European model when in fact most of Europe does not include Special education of ANY kind. If your child is found to be special ed, then you are on the hook for educating them. The point on pay to me is interesting because most teachers have advanced degrees and recieve half of the pay of other industries for the same education. Education is the only industry that I know of where you can have a PHD and be on food stamps. Educators go to school for most of their lives and do not get compensated for it, people in other industries normally stop after four years. Educators are one if not the only fields that have constant training and seminars that are mandatory for certification that we do not get compensated for. You get the training and keep your job OR you don't, it is that simple. We buy our own equipment, I have yet to meet a teacher, or educator, that did not have a second job to pay for supplies. We get yelled at by parents, second guessed by fellow teachers, social workers, para proffesionals, politicians and people on blogs. Our retirment system is robbed from by the state and federal governments and we are told that it is just too bad. We work second jobs and put in for social security, but can not recieve it. (Illinois) All the while we get up go to work with a smile on our face and try and teach kids how to read, write and do math, because the smile on a childs face is the biggest high in the world. The question that I have for all of you is, thinking of all that I have said, How do you teach a kid to read and write on the day that Dad asked Mom for a divorce? Or a fourteen year old just got beat up by her boyfriend in front of her mother and mom did not do anything? Do you think for a moment that they are going to learn ANYTHING that day? Or the next? How about the child that is claiming to be hungry but has two hundred dollar shoes on so they do not feel embarassed next to their friends? These are REAL examples from every day in every school in America.. It starts with accountability, and maybe not just the children.....

    July 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  48. Husband of a teacher

    It is so tiring hearing the complaints of teachers. No, they don't have dream jobs, and classroom teachers aren't going to get rich. But it is not an exaggeration to say that they don't put anywhere NEAR 2080 hours per year (your standard 40 hour work week), considering summer vacation, holidays, etc. As an hourly wage, teachers do fine especially when you consider they have guaranteed raises, irregardless of performance, resulting in very high salaries later in their career. Now, you add to that their benefits, like a incredibly generous pension and factor that in to their salary and it is one of the highest per hour paying jobs out there! I am TIRED of hearing the "woe is me" cries from the teachers, because when they are retired and polishing all that money that just keeps coming in,, they'll be looking out the window to a whole lot of folks on the street that didn;t have government backed pensions and whose 401ks tanked. So, what IS the value of knowing you will always be protected from that? The unions would have you believe there is none. Go ahead and calculate the "actual " hourly wage of a teacher, including salary, benefits, and pensions (etc) and you will be shocked to see what that hourly wage is.

    That being said, I am 110% in support of better wages for teachers, but unions have to give. Teachers should get starting wages near 6 figures with potential salaries well into the 6 figure range, and a 401k like everyone else. It would expand the talent pool and help to relieve states of the burden of these crazy pensions. It would have the added benefit of ensuring a teacher that no longer "wants" to be working isn't sticking around for a few more years just so s/he can collect their full pension. (and don;t even TRY to dispute that, as there are definitely teachers like that).

    July 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • John

      That's not true in all states. You must be in Wisconsin or California.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Ed Witkowski

      I would also like to add, let's look at a Teacher's Day AFTER school. They come home with 100 test papers to grade (4 classes of 25 students). Now each answer has to be checked if it is right or wrong and comments are written down on the papers. So you figure 2 minutes each Test? That's 200 minutes right there. That's roughly 3 more hours of working but now you are at home still working. and the grades have to be entered into the computer (another half hour to an hour.) and then tomorrows classes have to be prepared (handouts copied, questions for worksheets created, etc.) and that's another hour AT LEAST. So we teach all day and then go home and do another 5 hours of school related work. OH I guess you didn't realize teachers did all that did you!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
      • Sandra Martin

        Thank you Ed!

        July 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • George

        Most teachers have students grading each others tests and/or they use multiple choice tests, which sure don't take long to grade. Further, with all the "study" periods teachers use to just get the time passed, they sure should have enough time to check papers. Teachers with outrageous pay for 8 months of the year and wonderful benefits – CRY ME A RIVER !!!

        July 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • jo

        Four classes with 25 students in each? Only in Dreamland. Try five classes with 38-40 in each. 20 minutes for lunch (during which you have to serve as lunch monitor as well). And don't forget the extra classes a teacher has to take on their own time and own dime just to continue to be employed. I'd be happy if the school day were ONLY 9 hours worth of work each day!

        July 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • mike

        Ed, you are exactly right. My parents were both teachers. They graded papers at least an hour or two every night.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • Dee

        Our students need more help IN the classroom then the ONE teacher that is there, it's that simple.

        July 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Wife of a Teach

      My husband teaches high school and I can assure you he works over 2000 hours a year. During those vacation times, he's working on lesson plans. While not all teachers work as hard, I know many do. He doesn't complain about the pay. He works that hard to be an effective teacher and good role model. And while he puts in more after hours work (grading essays, tests, papers and working on lesson plans) than I do and he has a Masters Degree and I merely have a B.S., I make almost 3 times more in salary and my benefits are actually better. I also want to note that "good teachers" in his school are usually given the "bad students" because they have a better chance of getting them to pass the standardized tests for the school district. So by trying to measure the "bad students" that have been assigned my husband against the "good students" that have been given to lazy teachers (these lazy teachers, by the way, get to use my husband's lesson plans since they can't produce their own), you have put my husband at a severe disadvantage. Every school district/school works differently, but that's my feedback. Oh, and my husband also hates the unions.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rettas Vegas

      The teachers union in Las Vegas, NV was the ONLY union in these extremly tight budget restraints that would not agree PUT OFF till a better economy, contacted PAY INCREASES, as Support Staff Union members did, AND we took masive staff cuts, they took none.
      Our local Teachers Union cares more about money, and benifits for it's members, then it has for students, this is very clear in Clark County, NV. I once was a huge supporter of teachers, now that I work for the district, I see close up many, many teachers that are unskilled, unmotivated, lazy, and now GREEDY to the point of taking dollars out of our classrooms with no concessions in a very, very bad time for our Valley. SHAME ON THEM!

      July 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • mucyk

      " Guaranteed Raises"... another myth. Ever hear of the " housing crisis? When your salary is paid through property taxes and those values have UNIVERSALLY GONE SOUTH, guess what happens to salaries. Have you guessed yet?
      They are REDUCED through furloughs, or reduced outright. My wife had her salary reduced by 6.5% this year. I get three furlough days... I am free to work at home.. no pay. Furloughs DO NOT take time from students, only planning days , which are already student holidays. No raises in 4 years, quite the opposite. Meanwhile the COL and insurance payments have risen quite nicely. THINK before you post.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  49. spent

    How much education is required to make a good "consumer" anyway?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  50. Jason

    You can not base a teachers success on how well their students perform. As a teacher I get whom ever is sent to me, I do not get to pick my students. To compare me to someone running a business is not right. It would be the same as forcing a business owner to randomly get his employees off of an unemployment list, with no interviews, no selection process and then blaming the failure of his company on him.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • DK

      I agree with you Jason. If we pay teachers based on children's performance, no one will ever want to work in inner city schools or teach difficult classes. Ridiculous.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  51. No Longer Days

    Longer days isn't the answer. First, let's start by cutting the summer break back. Then let's stop making teachers take furlough during the year. Finally, parents need to reinstil respect at the home. Many kids come to school because they are forced to go, in turn acting out and taking valuable time from other students. Get back to the basics of being a parent and start supporting teachers instead of constantly thinking your child is the sweetest angel and getting angry when teachers call you in for a conference in hopes of helping your child.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  52. APB

    Perhaps it might work to have school available all year like the colleges, but not required. That would enable more students to stay on track and enable more reasonable scheduling, including for elementary school a recess and at all levels a reasonable lunch period as well as time for all needed areas of education, art, music, p.e., home economics, etc. Longer school day would also make it easier for an adult to be home when children arrive, preventing children from being unsupervised.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • TommyVIO

      Schools are available all year... it's called Summer School which you can enroll your kids into. =)

      July 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • Chris in MN

        Not entirely true. Many districts only offer summer school for students who are in need of extra help. The funding just isn't there for optional summer school classes.

        July 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  53. joeymom

    I vote for the longer year. My kids thrive on routine, so long summer breaks are a disaster for us. Longer days would mean less time for me to be teaching them things at home they need to know about- and we're already drowning in sent-home busy-work (why can't I spend that time reinforcing skills in a way my child likes learning? Why do we have to fill out a stupid worksheet with a skill my kid has already mastered?) Also, all of my kids' teachers work at the school year-round. After the regular school year, they are working on summer programs for a variety of students and needs. They have 1 week after the school year to complete paperwork and prep for summer, two weeks before school starts to prep their classrooms and set-up for the year. They basically get a week off at winter break, and a week off between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer programs. That's the same two weeks everybody else gets, only you get to PICK which two weeks YOU get off.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  54. citizenUSA

    No, I don't think longer school days is the answer. What a butterfly effect it would have. Parents/teacher timetables, daycare schedules, bus driver schedules etc. And what about the poor kids? We hear plenty of stories about how overwhelmed kids are with homework already. You can try to cram as much stuff into someone's head but is it all going to take?. They're up at the crack of dawn and hone late enough as it is. We all know there are extreme levels of education systems in this country. My state happened to be regarded as one of the best in the country. I made it my business though to be studious but had plenty of free time. It was a matter of time distribution. Sure, I missed out on some stuff for studying and for all my efforts I didn't make CEO of some conglomerate or a political figure but I'm not a bum either. I think kids are too free at home. They think once the bell rings everything "school" is over. Parents have to make a study time before TV, going out etc. I aslo think that if the schools are having so much to teach, they need to take a good look at what they're teaching. I want all students to be well-rounded and have access to sports and extra-ciricular activities but it seems that some may be intruding on what's more important. I'd like my kid to be able to play the trumpet but not at the expense of not knowing who was the first man to WALK on the moon. I think that's more important than knowing the plot of "Catcher in the Rye". I think there is some value in learning about events that took place long, long times ago but so much has happened in the past 100 years I think it beneficial to teach our children about more current events. Teach them to be concerned about the world and each other. Teach them about real life. How many people have ever needed to figure out when two trains will meet when one train leaves Chicago at 5:15 PM going 130 MPH, heading for New York at the same time a train leaving New York is heading for Chicago at 119 MPH? There may be a handful of people in the whole country that may need to know that. Even though I learned so much and I think I'm fairly intelligent, most of what I learned was not in school, or at least I don't feel that way. Kids need to be kids and need free time.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  55. Public School Teacher

    Longer school year- fine
    Days- Hell no. Lots of points have been made about the recess, naps, and specials being taken away and still test scores go down, even with more time on core subjects. This DOES NOT WORK.
    Teachers are required to stay educated with current practice their entire career in order to just keep teaching. We take courses, go to summer schools, participate in professional development and are constantly being held responsible for YOUR children.

    Some problems are certainly the expectations of parents- "it's your job to educate my kid, if they're failing it's YOUR fault".

    Well, to that I say- how many notes went home, how many homework assignments did they receive no parental support, where is the discipline for bad behavior, and where is the support for school and teachers?

    I have witnessed parents PUT DOWN teachers in front of their kids! How are children going to learn to respect these people when all they do is question them and side with their parents who fail to teach them anything useful.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • TommyVIO

      I totally agree that parents should play a big role in educating kids. Even a few minutes each day just to look at what kind of assignments kids get for homework, should already help a little.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  56. TommyVIO

    It's not the school year that they should make longer or a shcool day. What needs to be done is put kids to school at an earlier age. Currently, kids start 1st grade at the age of 7 yrs. old, some start at 6.

    I think that kids should start learning the basics (1st grade) when they are 4 years old and this will give 2 more years to have all the later (more advanced) education to be broken down into more grades (years). So 1st grade (4 yrs old), 2nd grade (5 yrs old), and then split all the rest (until 16, which is 9 more years) up to 11th grade. After 11th grade, let kids (16 yrs old) decide if they want to continue for higher education.

    The reason I think that kids should start school at 4 is because a child at 4 can learn and absorb information much better than a child at 6. And so on, the more advanced learning will also be done at 2 years younger which will produce a lot smarter kids and also make it easier for the kids to study.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • crabman

      thats called daycare - 4 and 5 year olds are not ready for all day in school you are way off base

      July 31, 2012 at 11:44 am |
      • TommyVIO

        At 4 years old, children are ready for full day. I have a daughter less than 2 yrs old and she is in daycare (full day) and is doing fine there...

        School or no school, I will definitely start teaching her to read, write and basic math as soon as she turns 3.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • SAR

        Crabman, TommyVio is not that way off base. My kid was in pre-school. I also started teaching my kid to read and write at 4 years old. By the time she was in 1st grade, she was reading at the 3rd grade level. She knew too much and was bored. So now she is in a gifted program. She is 9 and reads and speaks better than most high schoolers. But she is also a child and not too grown. She has a love of learning. Children absorb a lot at a young age. I also teach her at home the stuff she doesn't learn at school. I say its because I started her at a young age. Parents also have to be involved.

        July 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  57. Tate Miller

    The American school day is a joke by international comparisons. A joke both in length and in many cases in content. We have a lot of good teachers in this country but our school systems largely condone mediocrity among students, staff and faculty. I detest the trend of the last 10-20 years of putting more and more responsibility on the parents. Wrong! We send our kids to school for teachers to teach. We do our job at home but we do not need teachers or administrators telling us what and how to do it. I feel very badly for the kids who have no parents to help them. The more schools promote this parent-centric teaching model, the more it handicaps disadvantaged kids. Lengthen the school day, get control of the classroom and teach. That model works elsewhere; why not here?

    July 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • John

      It doesn't work here because you view teachers as overpaid fast food workers. Teachers don't have the authority to discipline their students.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • s parisi

      You mine as well HOME SCHOOL your children. That's what you are doing now. When your children comes home with 2, 3 and sometimes 4 hours of homework per night even in grades as early as second. What do you need teaches for..Right all the fund raisers, extra fun activities, etc. Our public schools are a joke!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  58. Dan Ak

    Education will continue to decay as society in the US has for the last 40 years. When both parents left the homes to go to work for more money, they left the children home to fend for themselves. This practice continues today and will continue as everyone struggles trying to pay bills and reach the American Dream.
    Longer school years would compensate for the loss of learning during the summer months. The development of adolescent brains does not need the break to refresh like some think. In FACT the opposite happens, just like a body builder sitting on a couch for 3 months. This encrouches on teachers time to reteach for about 3 months to get the students back to learning mode. Compile this by the first 6 years of education and a 7th grader is now at a 3rd grade level of education.
    The curriculum is not needing any changes but the structure of education practice that everyone fits the same mold does need change. All little Suzies are NOT going to be doctors and they all shouldnt be in the same class. If a student doesnt meet the requirments for a level in education they should be retained or retaught till the complete this level. They should not be moved on to the next grade. Parents are the ultimate deciding factor against educators in this decision. they dont want Johnny to have a self esteem issue.

    Face it- until the family takes care of raising the child, education is doomed!
    In 10 years as a teacher- I have never had a parent conference with a student whos parent wasnt involved in raising them! Parents chose to have a kid now they need to be responsible and raise them correctly.

    I raised 3 kids doing just that!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Principle

      congradulations, now I hope you didnt break your arm patting yourself on the back.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  59. crabman

    yes the slackers are out there have seen it first hand-i was married to teacher for 18 years and i can tell you first hand no one sees the work after school before school weekends and anything in between and what i learned is that the admin needs to step to the plate --

    July 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  60. Taz45

    we dont need longerer days in scool but we needs to get longerer vacashions.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • National Teacher of the year

      Taz , its apparent you need more time in school to learn how to spell.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • SAR

      Taz45 you should have had longer school days and an extra English course.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  61. Sergai Karamotsov

    Studies have shown that as spending per student goes down, test scores go up. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why this happens? If you guessed that with less money the administrators have fewer new "experiments" to try on their guinea pigs, err, students, give yourself a cigar!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  62. Sergai Karamotsov

    I want to see a graph of spending for the US Department of Education and student scores. I'm gonna bet that as spending for the DoE goes up, test scores go down. Probably 1:1 slope. Therefore, using modern logic, let's keep the kids in school longer so the DoE can make them better students!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  63. Teacherwife

    My husband is a public school teacher with a Master's degree and last year coaching track, teaching summer school, teaching an extra test-prep class, running scoreboard for basketball some nights, and giving up his lunch period all year to work for extra pay, he barely cleared 50,000. He could have easily entered into a much more lucrative profession, but he chose teaching because he wants to make a difference. He is at work from 6:30am-4:30pm on a normal day, arriving a little early and staying a little late to prepare, and when he comes home, he grades and plans an average of 2-3 hours at least per night- often much more. Maybe some teachers who don't work as hard are over-paid, but the good ones are usually underpaid. We're not complaining about his pay, but I just want to set the record straight that the good teachers deserve every penny they get and then some.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  64. Unions are killing Education

    We need to destroy teachers unions. Make teachers compete like everyone else. The improvement in our education system would skyrocket if we rid the system of the textbook teachers. Too many teachers get their tenure and just mail it in. That is destroying our student's ability to succeed. We need to develop a system that evaluates teachers based on student performance. Teachers should want this. The better, more innovative teachers will start getting paid higher salaries and lower income school districts will be able to keep decent teachers.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Justin

      What you're basically saying is that its not the teachers, but the structure of education. They're only teaching and doing what they've been taught and has been done for ohhhh like the past 200 years. Open a book and teach.

      How about changing the classes they teach and how they teach. Don't blame the teachers themselves. Blame the parents that send their kids to school every day and expect them to come out smarter.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • Dan Ak

        Justin- Well said!

        July 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Taz45

      I agree completely.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Dee

      A lot of folks use that term "textbook" teacher without really understanding what it means. As much as most of the teachers I have talked to and worked with–and, being a certified teacher myself–I would absolutely love not to have to teach out of a textbook ALL the time. Unfortunately, with ridiculous and ineffective laws such as No Child Left Behind, we are required, by law, to prepare our students for the cookie-cutter standardized testing provided by the state. Yes, a lot of kids are able to function like this, but there is minimal time for actual application of real-world usage with the material they learn. And that is incredibly sad to me. I wish I could create a curriculum designed to encompass ALL student strengths at the pace they can comfortably learn at instead of forcing them to learn something that might not even interest them within a given amount of time. It's just not feasible. And until the US population begins to realize that we don't exactly have as much control over our classrooms as they think we do, we can rally to change that and give the STUDENTS the tools they need to succeed.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Jason

      You can not base a teachers success on how well their students perform. As a teacher I get whom ever is sent to me, I do not get to pick my students. To compare me to someone running a business is not right. It would be the same as forcing a business owner to randomly get his employees off of an unemployment list, with no interviews, no selection process and then blaming the failure of his company on him.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  65. Syfre

    There does not need to be longer school days. As it is there are fewer and fewer recesses and activities for students in school meaning that students are sitting in classrooms longer than ever already. Obesity among children in or society is a real problem. I unlike most do not blame one thing whether be our diet, video games/tv or lazy parents. Instead I blame it on our society. Our entire existence from the time that we 7 till we retire is about convincing us that we are supposed to be sitting. Of course sitting consistently is one of the worse things that can be done for the human heart as well as for blood flow to the legs. Sure we need to be eating better but truth of human existence is that we are not supposed to sit we are supposed to stand the vast majority of the day. Recently they cut the last recess from my nephew's school my sister was given the choice between putting him on ritalin or taking him to another school because he had an "unnatural" amount of energy, he's 9 without a recess for god sake. Sure efficiency in school should be increased, but the school day should definitely be lengthened.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Justin

      Completely agree!!! Extending days and the school year is backwards thinking.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  66. CrashingWaves

    As the daughter, granddaughter, niece, and girlfriend of teachers, I can honestly say that they are some of the hardest working individuals. Yes, there are bad apples out there as there are in any profession, but for the most part every teacher I know puts in hours after the students go home grading papers, preparing lessons, fine-tuning their approach. During the summer, all put in hours prepping for the next year and taking more classes (to help fine tune more and it is required to remain certified). They don't make huge pay. Most of the time the "increases" reported are not for one teacher but divided among all of them. Most will tell you that they need a little longer day and that they need less summer break to ensure that YOUR children are getting the best possible education. But they also need YOUR support. Instead of trusting our kids are getting their work done, WE parents need to ensure we are helping them, checking it. When there is a problem, we need to support our teachers. Education needs an overhaul. But we, the parents need to be part of that overhaul, not expecting someone else to completely handle our children's education...whining when we don't understand and continuing what our teachers are teaching.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  67. rich livinton

    I see this constant trend in the reader's responses smilpy referring to teachers and whether or not the school day should be longer or if a teacher is ineffective. People have to take their children into account as well. Kids will only learn when they choose to or if their parents push them. Unfortunately, at least 50% of parents out there do not care about their child's education and with that mentality drilled into the child the teacher cannot fully teach their student. It's a sad reality now. Oh well, China and India will soon take all of our jobs and our kids will have no futures.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Sbbdly

      Only because they are willing to work for 3.00 and hour.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Justin

      I doubt our children will not have jobs, but it sure would help if what we taught in the classroom and at home were relevant to the real world, post college.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  68. pro-ed

    do you really want to know what it's like in the teaching trenches? check out:

    http://blockheadededvanities.com

    get educated.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  69. Ryan M.

    What has changed since the glory days of the 50s and such? The family. The average teacher today does TONS more than any teacher then, and is expected to do much more.

    When a child goes home to: divorce, disorder, lack of discipline, lack of structure, mixed marriages, parent(s) at work, etc. then it's not really hard to draw the obvious conclusion.

    What has changed, indeed.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Kat

      I agree with Ryan below, and Lori above.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Dan Ak

        I agree too!

        July 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Sheila

      Ryan, what do you mean by "mixed marriage"?

      July 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • Ryan M.

        Perhaps I misused the term, but I meant a marriage after a divorce, where a new "mommy" or "daddy" are in the picture.

        August 1, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  70. Matthew Kilburn

    Finland produces some of the best test scores in the work, and has a school year not appreciably longer than we do. The idea that we have a school calendar based on an agrarian economy is a myth...agrarian work is done in the spring (planting), and fall (harvesting)...these are the two times when children are in school the MOST.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Ryan M.

      Many American schools are going to this "year round" model. Indiana, for instance, is requiring all schools to be in compliance this year.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  71. bavarian71

    Sending kids to school for longer every day does not magically improve performance. It just reinstates the average American approach to education; "it is not my fault. It is the schools fault." What many people seem to neglect here is the role of parents at home. Where is the accountability of the parents? If a child shows up to kindergarten being well behind their peers, it often ends up being blamed on the teachers for the rest of their academic career. Education reform needs to include accountability for all three members involved: Teachers, students, and parents. Then our system can finally advance.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  72. Eric R.

    As a senior in high school in Indiana, I have experienced both effective and noneffective teachers, longer school days, and shorter school days. From my experience, the best thing is not longer days but more effective curriculums, and more enthusiastic teachers. I've learned more in one day from an effective teacher than in one week from a teacher who just cant get their point across. Also summer's are an important piece of my education, I use it to obtain real world skills, working close to full time jobs and interning with political and government organizations. Rather than just building my reading and writing skills all year I can gain real life skills.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Ryan M.

      You sound like a well-rounded young man, and you are using your "off-time" well. Unfortunately, there are too many students who don't take advantage of the opportunities around them. Be a leader among your peers for this kind of activity.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  73. evansellers

    Plenty of these comments bemoan the fact that teachers have summers and weekends to do as they please, only work a few hours a day, and get big pay checks. For those of you that think that is the case and are jealous feel free to join the ranks of teachers. There are tons of places that have a shortage of teachers and plenty of routes to alternative certification and licensure. You should make the switch instead of being jealous. Our students need hard working folks like you!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  74. obethetimes

    Longer school days might have the unintentional effect of increasing the drop out rate.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  75. ItsTheKids

    Quit pointing fingers and take responsibility. Cirriculum and teaching abilities have not changed much, maybe even improved over the years, but the student body has deteriorated. Family, parents and especially students need to take personal responsibility and want to learn. The tools are there for those who try. Stop blaming the teachers and look in the mirror.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • BooseyBoo

      but...it is so hard being responsible for oneself.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Dan Ak

      Thasnk You! 100% correct

      July 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  76. Laurie in Spokane

    I'm not sure a longer school DAY is needed, but a longer school YEAR surely is, with 2 to 4 week breaks throughout the year. That would eliminate the need to waste the first few weeks of the present new school year reviewing/remembering last year's teachings.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  77. thinker

    Maybe if the government stopped sending troops to afghanistan and close that billion dollar base in iraq, if not all of them, or continue giving taxpayer funded contracts to lockheed and martin, boeing, or any company that produces bombs, and instead divert all of that money back to education where it belongs, we could again be number 1 in education. But I mean that makes way too much sense for it to be "American."

    July 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • BooseyBoo

      The reason we are not number one in education is that people on the local level do not want to pay for their childrens' education but rather look to the federal government to fund it along with their strings attached... We complain about high taxes (55% for schools) from property taxes to fund schools but the feds direct us how to spend the money because we accept block grants and lunch program money. Deny the funds, teach your children and get a better quality education with no strings attached.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • School Auditor

        I have audited school districts my entire career. The Feds have no say in how property tax dollars are spent. The only time they have a say in how money is spent is when a school receives grant money from the federal government. This comes from as you said school lunch, special education, and ARRA funds just to name a few. And the way they "tell" the districts to spend the money is through guidance detailing what is an "allowable cost". Such as supplies, or teachers salaries, but only for those qualified to teach the program. The Feds actually protect your tax dollars by making sure that these funds are not spent improperl and by requiring districts to payback funds that were spent improperly.

        July 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  78. Doug

    So much of the education system is run by government. From what I see Government has never done very well at anything except running a military and police operations. Education is something that parents need control of. A Parent know their child better than anyone. I have utilized private schools, charter schools and public schools. Schooling my children has been a difficult process to make sure they get the best education possible for what I can afford.

    My oldest child went to charter school until through the 9th grade, then went to a public high school for one year. the public school told my wife and I she needed remediation cause Charter schools are poor. My daughter went to one year of Public school, took her GED and had a BS degree by the age of 20 and and MS degree by which she started 2 years later by age 24. MY second child went to charter school until 6th grade went to public school until 9th grade took the GED had an AA by the time he was 17 and has been working full-time since and is working on his BS degree 3-4 credits a semester. My third child went to private school through the 10th grade and then went to public High School for a week and then took her GED. She will complete her AA at the end of this fall semester and is in the process of choosing a university to get her Bachelors degree.

    Each of those children saying that the Public education system was a very poor education and that the help at home was better than the classroom. My next child is in public school and is doing just fine but I have no charter school option and I do not have access to the private schools at this time. My last child has special needs. My wife and I spent many hours trying to get special help for this child in the public school system. The schools said they know how to handle her and give her an appropriate education. After 3 years the public schools finally gave up and agreed that they did not know how to handle her. Now we have to deal with all of the behaviors that the school used to try and get her to learn as well as the thousands of dollars of incentives that have enabled her manipulative behaviors that her special school is now having to deal with. Had she been put into the appropriate school she is at know it would have been better for her and the public school.

    Parents know their children and schools government needs to give up on providing education and let parents decide where their children go to school, weather that is the local school down the street or the school across town or even in another city. Parents typically will do what is best for their children and education is one area where parents want the best for their children. Parents will utilize available resources to make sure that their child(ren) get the best education the child can get.

    I personally have had 3 children in totally different schools and driven them to these school so that each child got the education that was best for each child. That was my choice. Other parents would make the same choice. My choices in educating my children have shown that my children over 18 are college educated and still continuing their education to BS degree and Masters degrees. My younger children who know what choices they will make but I will make sure they have the best opportunities I can give them. Fighting for school choice is the best I can do to help other families in their struggle to educate their children. Fighting for school choice is a difficult road in that Teachers Unions do not approve, school districts do not approve, and those that do must fight against the powerful lobbies that are making money from public education.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Jane

      I totally agree! The parent is the child's best teacher!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Guido

      Obviously Doug, you have tried school choice and it didn't work. You send your kids to private and charter schools, and when they don't work you bring them back to the public system to see if they can fix all the problems. Great that you kids have so far all turned out to see education as a path to the future, how come you have never noticed that they did it only after recovering from the mess you have made of their education. Now you have a special needs child, and where do you go, the public school. Everyone is welcome at the public school, we have to educate, or at least try to educate them all, in spite of their parents.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  79. Katie

    When I taught in the public school system in Memphis we scheduled out recess, and nap time was taken away from kindergarten along with their recess. Did it help them learn better? No. The kids were over worked, and unable to concentrate by the end of the day. They maybe got 40 minutes of physical activity a week from PE and they were completely antsy and unbearable to be around by the end of the day because they had absolutely no way to release their energy. If you want to lengthen the school day had it include some form of unregulated physical activity so our students can be healthy and learn proper social skills which the playground teaches us.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  80. Anthony H

    I feel a longer school day isn't needed but a longer school year would be beneficial. This concept has been applied internationally and the rest of the world has the test scores to prove it. American schools sit significantly behind the world and if we could adopt a different model for our school structures this could greatly improve our chances of better preparing our children for the future. Charter schools have been extending the school hours and schedule for some time now and they have been showing results. I currently am in the military and plan on getting out next year. I am passionate about children and education, so I plan on becoming a teacher in either Baltimore city or DC and hoping to become a factor in the education field.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  81. Take A Number

    Most of the people asking for these rule changes finished school when summer vacation lasted from sometime in june until after labor day and most turned out ok. Except for the ones too CHEAP to hire a baby setter and want the schools to baby set. I am 71 years old not a school kid.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Justin

      In Response to "Take a Number"

      Love it!!! Schools aren't meant to babysit!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Andrey

      As someone upthread pointed out, practically everyone of child-bearing age in US finished school when students had a proper summer break and turned out just fine.

      Eliminating the summer break may benefit the dual-income crowd who get to make their kids somebody else's problem during the summer on the taxpayers' dime, but that's about it. There is more to growing up than just warming up the seat in school for 8+ hours a day. Plus not every kid has a great time in school socially, and taking away the summer break takes away an opportunity to get away from all the crap for a couple months.

      As the article indirectly points out, extending school days and school years unfairly punishes students who have the intellectual capacity to learn and retain the material in nine months, and it's not at all guaranteed to help the folks who are too dim to do the same. I was a student not too long ago myself, and I'd say let the kids who earned it have a well-deserved break, and send the dimwits to summer school.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  82. Jane

    Kids do NOT need longer school days! It's hard enough to make it through 7 hours as it is. Kids need to be kids and not sit at a desk any longer than they have to! I don't agree w/everything they teach kids anyway..Most of whats in text books are lies! English, Science, Math is all that is needed!! Can do away with the fictional history they're teaching and filling our children's heads with a bunch of lies as to why to U.S. is so awesome & stop making our children mindlessly saying the pledge of allegiance since kindergarten,when they don't even realize what they are saying!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  83. myreply

    changing a culture that doesn't value education and school would help too. entertainment, sports, celebrity, and fashion are valued higher than studying, education, and knowledge in our modern culture. students see movie stars, music singers, tv shows, and sports celebrities elevated high but academics and school achievement are considered less important in light of them. many students want to be famous sports stars or well known singers but not famous scientists or well-known mathematicians. motivation is important in getting students to apply themselves in school when there are so many cultural distractions

    July 31, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  84. Steve

    If they want to lengthen the school day, let it be for longer recess, physical education, or hobby classes. The last thing the kids need is the added pressure from trying to cram more into their heads. Teach the kids how to live and keep a proper perspective.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Michael

      I am with you Steve.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Brandon

      I wish there was a Like Button for your comment! I went to Private School, which clearly is better then public, and the Entire School Day was set up so that the last 45 Minutes of everyday was "Project Time"... It was a time to WIND DOWN from the day before going home, each week was a NEW project, a new brain twister, a new way to motivate us to realize that YAY we get to go to school and do something fun after we do whats required. It worked out really well

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  85. Brandon

    In My High School, we had some lazy teachers. One of them made you do all the assignments in class, then at the end, gave you all the answers and had you correct and grade your own papers. Many people just didn't do the answers they didn't know, and filled in the blanks when answers were given. The other Teacher decided that in all of his SENIOR Classes, that all assignments would be done at home like normal and graded like normal, but in the end, as long as you showed any kind of EFFORT, No Student would Fail his class! So just slide on by with effort and you pass. Did you learn anything? I don't know, but you tried, so you gradutate!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Brandon

      Really! It said my last post couldnt go through. Sorry for double posting

      July 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  86. Tony

    The school day should be SHORTER. My kids learn more at home over the summer than they do all school year.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • wow

      must be nice to not work.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  87. Brandon

    In My High School, there were a few teachers that should have been paid far less then most. 1 teacher, ran her class under the guidelines: We will learn everything in class, do ALL of the homework, in class, and then after you finish, i will give you ALL THE ANSWERS, you will mark what you did wrong and turn it in, NO PAPER is graded individually, you grade is based on Participation and HONESTY... Really? So why do the homework, wait for her to give you all the answers, she wasn't paying attention anyway! The Other Teacher ran the class also on the PERFORMANCE system. In All of his Classes with SENIORS, The Homework was done AT HOME like Traditional Teachers, Assignments were graded like normal, however, in the end, he had 1 rule... As long as you TRY.... NO SENIOR will FAIL THIS CLASS! Meaning, even if you just Slid on by doing the least amount of work but made it look like you were trying... You would PASS his class and graduate...

    July 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  88. Rick

    "In Europe they go to grade 13, and obligatory schooling here begins in grade 1 (the children are 7 years old when they start) and ends in grade 9 (age 16). The school year is 180 days, 6 hours a day. High school is voluntary and, if the student chooses it, lasts 3 years." This is part of a quote from Lori Ceangailte (-High school teacher). I lived in England back in the 60's. They have a similar program. You went to school until age 14. After that, you either went into apprenticeship or you continued school. In apprenticeship you learn a trade of your choice. By the time you were 18 you had the skills to open your own business or work for a large company. Over here a student has to get a job and a loan, so he or she can further his or her education and there is no guarantee that job will be there when he or she gets out of school because the business owner is more interested in hiring an idiot off the street so he can pay them minimum wage with no benefits. I see no reason why America could not have the same program as these other countries. I don't think it would cost any more than it does now if it was done right.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • mjg

      I to think that we should adopt a similar program as Europe.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  89. Soliciting Blog Comments Is Not Professional Journalism

    Soliciting Blog Comments Is Not Professional Journalism

    July 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  90. NOT MY CHAIR

    i hate all these teachers saying that their job is so hard and that they work so hard... if so why is it that our standards for education are lower than the rest of the developed world? maybe you're not working hard enough.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Anonymous010

      If you think it's such an easy job, you're more than welcome to try it. Maybe then you'll have the faintest idea of what you're talking about.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rick

      It's not the teachers, it's the school board trying to save money at the expense of our children. We need to address the school board and take an active role in what they say and do.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Michael

      It's because teachers have no control over students anymore and those students that misbehave interrupt learning for the others. So yes, teachers do have to work harder now.

      If the teachers were able to punish kids like they did when I was in school most student problems would be less. On top of that, if the parents would "properly" reprimand their kids at home the schools would not have as many problems.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • Anonymous010

        Michael – Excellent point. I've watched kids get more rude and more disrespectful as time goes on and throughout all of it, my hands are basically tied – my options are tolerate it or quit. The worst thing I can do to them is kick them out of class for the day, and if they refuse to leave, I have to call security to handle it for me. It would be lovely if I could put into my syllabus some sort of cell phone grade penalty clause, but that got shot down by administration.

        The lack of discipline today's parents are instilling on their children is more than likely the #1 reason we're doing so poorly. It used to be that schools could discipline children, but parents screamed about that, so now we can't do it, the parents themselves won't do it, and we end up with dysfunctional, selfish, lazy and irresponsible young adults.

        July 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Hank A

      There are good teachers- that are under paid, and there are bad teachers (that you can't get rid of only moved to another school)- that are over paid. Kids lose a lot over the Summer and should be in school all year long with 2 week breaks throughout. Add one hour at the end of the day as a study hall for homework and to review with kids that need help. Get rid of the teachers Union and things will improve. American kids should be taught at least 2 languages from kindergarten on. Most of the developed world knows a minimum of two languages except for us " they should know English" Americans. Parents need to be involved and push their kids or assume they will be working a manual labor job when they grow up. Nothing wrong with that, but that should be the expectation.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • urthlvr

      Because money flows to the rich districts and does not flow to the poor districts. I suggest you walk a mile in a teacher's shoes before you criticize them. They deal with the parents of kids who think that their kid deserves a good grade regardless if the kid actually earned it. They deal with kids whose home life is a wreck and very likely didn't get breakfast before school because mom has to work 2 jobs or a 3rd shift job and isn't home yet. It isn't like a teacher waves a magic wand and PRESTO knowledge flows into a kid's brain. Teaching is a two way street.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Lindsay

      I think the reason why our education system is failing more every minute is because people criticize the teachers for "being lazy," yet some government leaders keep cutting money for education while pointing fingers at teachers, distracting people from what is really happening. Sure, some teachers are bad, but instead of demanding their heads, maybe we should try to find out why some teachers are ineffective and try to help them change it instead of cutting their wages, pensions, and union rights. Taking more things away from teachers will only make things worse. If you value the future, you need to invest in it.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • PeterC

      The reason our standards are so low compared to other countries is not because of teachers, its from the change in the parenting culture of this country. Accountability has move from the students "Why did you get a bad grade?" to the teachers, "Why did you give my son/daughter a bad grade?" Yes,we have poor teachers but we also have many good ones who can only do so much with parents like you hovering above them and with limited resources.
      Parents today act more like BFFs with their children rather than being a parent and allow their children to sit in front of a computer/video game all day long. No wonder our Kid today are DUMB.
      Also, on final not, most teachers start their day an hour before school starts, prepping for classes, and their day ends whenever they finish grading and recording you childs school work. Sometimes as late as 10pm. (Thats how late I would be up grading papers for kids who I knew did not write half of their papers.)
      Yes, I am trained as a teacher but because of cut backs have found a new career in Corporate America.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Ed Witkowski

      Well it sounds like you are such a Master Teacher yourself, since you see all the problems and short-comings of the rest of these phoney teachers that your talents are going to waste. Please do us all a favor and come into the teacher profession. Get a classroom of your own immediately and start showing the rest of us teachers how to do it right. Please. We need you to show us how it's done. We have no idea. We only spent 4 years getting a bachelor degree in our content area and then another 2 years getting a Masters Degree on the Methods and Philosophies behind teaching. But hey, by all means, if you are a NATURAL, and know better than us, please show us. If you are as good as you say you are, you will be on the NEWS and you will be a celebrity teacher!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  91. Michael Sawyer

    1. Parents need to be held accountable for their child's learning as well, with stronger partnerships between teachers, school admins, and parents being formed to help foster a strong learning environment for kids.
    2. The arts need to be brought back into education. Creativity inspires learning and ingenuity, and gives application to reading, writing and arithmetic.
    3. School environments need to be changed. Bullying, peer pressure, cliques and social pressures need to be mitigated early on and de-emphasis of these destructive normatives need to be incorporated into class curriculum. Kids cannot learn when worrying about fashion, being cool, being picked on, not fitting in, etc. We need to boost positive self esteem while combating the negative self esteem.

    Making kids go to school longer and for more days with less breaks is irrelevant if the same environment that destroys education is still in play.

    Oh, and all of this has to be done with school budgets being slashed by 5 to 15 percent a year. Good luck!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Theophrastus

      You make very good points. I think there should be a few more though.
      4. Re-Organize school boards so that those who know how to teach are participating in the decision making. Most members of school boards have Zero experience in the class room. In many cases the teachers are actually better educated than the school board.
      5. Better fund vocational classes and schools. There is not a job shortage there is an experience shortage. The manufacturing facility I work at has a number of job openings but we cannot find experienced people to fill the position even though the area we are located in has a fair number of unemployed.
      6. It is not just the arts that need to be brought back but it is the Sciences, History, and Civics that are needed as well.
      6A Sciences help develop an understanding of the natural world around works and helps develop logic skills
      6B History helps develops ethics and morals
      6C Civics show how our government works, it is astounding to see so many people out there who do not even know how our government is structured and much less on how it is suppose to work
      7. There need to be a decreased amount of emphasis on sports. Yes they help develop teamwork, leadership skills, and number of other benefits but we have become so obsessed that these virtues of sports are being overshadowed and often forgotten.

      I hope you agree with me these additions to your list

      July 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  92. rjp34652

    UNDERPAID & OVERWORKED. UNDERSTAFFED & UNDERBUDGETED. Teachers need to work harder and longer? Who are you kidding? They aren't allowed to do their job now and they're expected to put in more time? To what purpose? To what end? The kids are dumb as hammers and expect reward for non-achievement. Spoiled and rotten, that's the ticket.

    High school grads are entering the college system completely unable to read, write, perform simple mathematical calculations and execute independent research. The only thing left to them is to enlist as cannon fodder for our military adventures. Throw out the computers and get back to teaching basic skills.

    but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    July 31, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Ed Witkowski

      When we say teachers are UNDER-PAID we aren't saying MORE MONEY in our pockets will magically fix all the problems and suddenly our Education system will rise in the ranks of the global education comparisons. As if we are holding our education ratings hostage for more money. We are saying, teachers can't afford to be teachers and are going to OTHER professions just to pay their bills and stay out of debt. So we are LOSING lots of good talented teachers because they can't afford to continue teaching YOUR kids while they continue to go more and more into debt just to pay their rent and buy food and clothing for themselves, when another job they are ALSO qualified for will pay them DOUBLE and they can live an easier life without going bankrupt.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  93. Rick

    Longer school days will not make the students learn more. What is needed is a better school curriculum. I have seen more students graduating with little or no ability to even write or spell and even less math skills. They come out of school without the knowledge to compete in the job market unless they go to college. A student should be able to get a job right out of high school without having to get further education. How can a student learn those important skills in little more than 20 minutes per class. Eight classes in one school day? For what? They don't even remember what class they were in after they get home. The first thing they do is sit in front of a PlayStation, Computer or Xbox for the rest of the day. Teach them the three R's first. Then teach them what they want after they master those qualities. Most teachers today are more interested in getting a paycheck than caring about what their students learn. I don't blame the teachers, I blame the school board for suggesting they cut certain classes just to save money. Saving money has cost this nation a lot more than just jobs. It's costing us in education and we are fast falling behind the rest of the world. Education should be number one in America. Jobs number two. Without education, you can't get a job. Let's teach our children how to become leaders instead of followers.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  94. Joey

    Don't lengthen the school day. That cuts out time for extra-curriculars before and after school. That is not the answer. There are good teachers and poor teachers- changing our system won't affect that. Lengthening the school year is probably the best option but will be met with a high amount of resistance from the current youth.

    The real answer to our problem is addressing the key issue, by asking; what is the problem? –> Most kids don't *want* to go to school to learn. So, how can we change their image of school into something positive; change learning from a daunting, boring task, to an interesting, interactive exercise?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  95. Wrenn_NYC

    All this when, if go and research the story (which was only partly posted on CNN) you discover that the reasons behind this are that 1) Chicago schools have the shortest school day and 2) adding the time would bring the school day in line with the average nationwide

    Why is this an issue??

    July 31, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  96. stupidpeopleoti

    Getting rid of summer vacation for students would be the worst thing in the world for these kids. Summer vacation gives kids time to unwind and be kids; experience the world that enhances life. Constant schooling would be monotonous and create even more rejection.

    Summer vacation also gives kids a chance to pick up summer jobs and gain extremely important and valuable experience in the workplace. It allows them to save money for college, which has become ridiculously expensive.

    Finally, don't bag on teachers for their work hours. They may only be at school from 8-3, but they take assignments, essays, tests, and other projects home with them to grade. Teaching is not a job for slackers.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Horus

      @stupidpeople –

      1) I worked while in school (weekends)
      2) 2-3 months off from anything is not productive and causes regression. There are studies that indicate apprx. 1mnth regression in english, and 3mnth regression in math.
      3) Year-round programs are not "every day all year". They commonly work in 6 week on, 2 week off cycles. This provides "down time"
      4) I would never criticize the efforts of dedicated teachers – my wife spent years in a classroom

      July 31, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Andy

      How many professions get the luxury of leaving their work actually at work? It seems like the only people who are able to have free nights open are people who have trade jobs, such as construction works, electricians, and plumbers and these people usually work long hours anyway. The excuse that teachers have to do work at night is just the same as the rest of most of the working world. And the excuse that kids need to unwind is totally not true, I think children need to be pushed harder and work for each and every one of their grades. I didn't graduate high school all too long ago and I felt that it was way too easy and could have been challenged a lot more. I think these kids need to be challeneged and maybe have a fire lit under their butts, but im sure you will get the unions complaining about this because they will want 25% more added on to their salary and hold the children's future hostage to get their "deserved" money.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:21 am |
      • dcmcgrain

        I disagree pretty strongly. I'm a teacher in my mid-20s. Most of my peers are professionals – IT, accounting, insurance (not agent, but service provider), marketing. I know many in manufacturing too. None work at home or outside work hours on a regular basis. My housemates arrive at work at 9, leave at 5 and don't even check work email until they are in-office the next day. My IT friend has it rough in that he travels frequently, but he still doesn't actually work when he's not on-site.

        They all make more money than I do – in many cases significantly. When they work beyond work hours, they get paid overtime or compensated with extra time off. Those who really work too much frequently just negotiate a raise. And while I grade papers from 5-8pm most nights, they go to the bar or the movies or who knows where.

        I'm not complaining, really. I get my summers off – though I work through them too, to increase my revenue and improve my teaching. But I just don't like people blaming all teachers and calling us overpaid. I work in a private school which pays 5-10% less than public (right now – it caps at a much lower number as public school teachers continue to receive raises). I agree that the single worst thing about education is the tenure process and the pay by seniority. But I also know that the added requirements and standards implemented by bureaucrats around the country are worthless – they have little to do with what goes on in the classroom, in a students mind or in the real world. They are about creating numbers for the sake of creating numbers. But teachers get blamed for the failure. Teachers also get for holding students accountable.

        My school doesn't use standardized testing as public schools are required. I teach AP though and my scores prove I'm doing something right. But even in my school, the accountability on students is lacking. I'd love to forward everyone the emails I receive from parents when a student gets a bad grade – even if its because they didn't turn in the work or simply didn't follow directions. Somehow that's my fault.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Michael

      Amen!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  97. creative36

    If the student has football practice the practice would be ending at night. then dinner. When would you have time for homework?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • BooseyBoo

      Football is so much more important than doing homework. You definitely have the right mentality.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  98. Horus

    IMO education in the US will never change until there is a true culture shift in how education is valued here. We value entertainment and braun. Look at our society – ball players, pop stars, movies, etc.... that's what our culture places value on – even though we like to talk about the importance of education, we'd rather have courtside seats, back stage passes, etc... than pay a little more toward educating our young. Longer days are not the answer, but a longer, more consistent school year could be. "Summer Vacation" was not originally a vacation. Schools shut down out of need for children to help with the harvest. Now it's become some sacred symbol of freedom that many kids don't grow out of even into adulthood. Retention of material, and less redundancy could be accomplished by mandating year round school. That's just a start.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  99. Kandrakuv

    As a student of 13 myself, I can say that a longer school day at first sounds like armageddon. Then I get to thinking that it would allow for more "specials" (art, music, phys ed and foreign language), longer classes, and possibly a longer lunch, which makes the idea of a recess possible in time-strapped public middle schools. Over all, it sounds pretty good.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  100. alfredo

    you have to be a teacher with lots of passion in your subject area. respect and love your students. treat the staff and administration as your allies. have multiple contacts with parents. talk to your students as people with needs and wants. have integrity. respect yourself and honor the profession always

    July 31, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Kandrakuv

      Indeed.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:07 am |
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