January 27th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

My View: An education crisis that never should have happened

Courtesy National Education Association by Sara Ferguson, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Sara Ferguson is a 20 year employee of the Chester Upland School District where she currently teaches Literacy and Math. She is a third generation educator in Chester Upland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Widener University, a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Cabrini College.

When I visited the White House for the first time, as a child, it was my teacher who brought me there. This week I returned, as a teacher and as a special guest of President Obama during his State of the Union Address. It was an honor to be in attendance, and I am grateful for the attention my struggling school district has received. However, if there’s one message I hope is heard across the country about the financial crisis in my school district, it is this: It’s a crisis that never should have happened.

Let’s back up for a moment. We have long had financial troubles in Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania. The majority of students here come from families living at or below the poverty level. More than 70 percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, which is more than double the state average.

In January, though, things went from bad to worse. Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett cut $860 million in state funding, which meant a 14.4% drop in funds for Chester Upland. Cuts like these disproportionately hurt school districts that are already financially distressed. On top of that, state funding was cut most dramatically in the districts that needed it most.

We then learned that our school district did not have enough money to make payroll. The 204 teachers and 64 support staff in Chester Upland were told we might not receive our paychecks.

This was a crisis for our community, because our students need teachers. It was also a crisis for all of us teachers and support staff personally, because we need to provide for our own families.

With the leadership of our the Chester Upland Education Association, though, we came together and made a decision. We had a responsibility to provide our students with the education they deserve. We decided to keep working as long as we could make ends meet.

I’m proud of my colleagues in Chester Upland, because I know that not every profession would respond the same way. Once you get into school and you get into the classrooms and see those children, though, you aren’t thinking about money. It’s not dollars and cents.

Many people have taken a positive message from this crisis, as the country has seen how our community pulled together in defense of our schools, holding candlelight vigils, and how our union worked with lawmakers until emergency measures were taken.

The most important message that needs to be heard, though, is that the financial crisis in Chester Upland School District was no anomaly. It could happen to you.

At the root of the problem in my district and in yours is an inequitable system of funding public education. As I write this, politicians across the country are trying to balance their budgets on the backs of students. They are making excuses for not giving students and teachers the tools they need to be successful. Meanwhile, too many of our school districts are nearing a fiscal crisis which threatens their students’ academic future.

We need to turn these misplaced priorities on their head. Education must be at the top of our list, not the bottom. Our students have a legal right to a quality public education, and we have a moral and legal responsibility to provide it for them.

To get our country back on track we need to invest in education. I was proud to hear that message from President Obama at his State of the Union Address, and to know that he understands why teachers and support staff devote our lives to our students. We need more politicians to speak up and say the same thing.

We need to pressure our lawmakers to make the right decisions, tackle the big issues, and rebuild an economy that works for everyone, not just for some. We need to ensure equity in education funding, so that all students can reach their full potential – not just the ones lucky enough to be born into a wealthy zip code.

I know that the economy and job security are on all our minds, but we cannot lose sight of the big picture. In addition to teaching future generations to think critically and be leaders in our democracy, public schools also prepare them with 21st century skills so that they can compete in a global economy. If lawmakers shirk this responsibility, the economic future of this country will be bleak.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sara Ferguson.

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Filed under: Policy • teacher unions • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (1,192 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    She really doesn't seem too bright. Perhaps she should choose another career....something that doesn't require robust critical thinking skills.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • BBoy705

      So you don't think she's bright because of what, her passion for her profession and her compassion for her students? What is your genius level recommendation, that we stop funding poorer districts because the students aren't white and middle class? Try thinking beyond your blind ideology!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • my2cents

        From 2006 to 2011, the district's student population declined 4,300 to 3,600 (-16%), however, the number of district employees increased from 590 to 720 (+22%), furthermore the district’s operating budget inceased from $83 million to $114.million. Education IS very important. As such, we should insure that our tax dollars are effectively managed and wisely spent. Looking at the numbers above, while not the whole story, it does give the impression that the district's financial situation is not being properly managed. All too often it seems, when a local school district is insolvent, the first battle cry is too "save" our schools and secure additional funds or tax revenue. While sometimes this is indeed required, it should not be done until, absolutely, the districts finances are fully scrutinized, hard decisions made, and the school board and district management put under a microscope and held accountable. . .

        January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • A student

      Your statement seems a reflection of someone no smart or compassionate. You should go back to your XBox or PS3, instead of making comment which is too complicated for your mindset.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mondo

      Wow Ryan. How can you defend your comment? You're part of the poison in this country. Do society a favor and jump off a cliff with a big hole in your parachute. Stupid!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Investment Banker

      Ryan: You are both ignorant and not compassionate. Teaching is a profession that makes all other professions (of students) possible. Without a compassionate teacher like this honorable teacher, underprivileged students will suffer more.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • The Engineer

      Those that can, DO. Those that cannot, teach.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Pointless1

      To the engineer... You were taught by one at some point so I guess your skill sets as being an unemployed engineer are working out for you? Kudos...

      January 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  2. Janananananaa

    I am surrounded by educators and I don't understand this average of $50k salary. New teachers hired in the last five years with the pay freeze? Try $36k.

    $36,000/180 days /30 students /6.5 hours =$1.02 an hour. That's more like it.

    These benefits everyone touts? Every teacher I know spends 50+ hours a week at their school, not to mention the time included to plan and prep at home. When the parent calls the teacher's cell phone to discuss their child while their family eats dinner? When the school unlocks after the one week cleaning period in the summer and 75% of the staff goes back to set-up? When these teachers spend evenings watching their students' games or spend those evenings coaching to earn some extra money?

    We are losing incredible individuals left and right because they can't make ends meet with what they are paid. They can't effectively teach with the amount students in their classroom. They are being held to state standards mandated by people who have not stepped foot in a classroom in decades (if ever). They are being stretched to the breaking point and are choosing to leave the classroom for some place they are valued, accepted and appreciated for what they are worth. Students, our future, is suffering irreparably.

    Please, please, please stop demonizing teachers for what they do with what they have.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • toughtimes

      The unions are the problem – when will people wake up and see that?

      January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Teri

        The problem isn't the unions. Without the unions, the teachers would receive less pay and benefits. The problem is the school districts putting so many restrictions on the teachers as well as them not being able to separate the smart kids from the ones who can't and/or don't want to learn. Being forced to educate and having your skills assessed based on a child that doesn't want to learn is not fair to the teacher. Why are we teaching things in 6th grade now that used to be taught in 4th grade a generation ago? That's not the unions.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Investment Banker

        Union is a problem, but not the major problem. The problem is a low respect for educational achievement and teachers. In the past, any high school dropouts can get a blue color job easily. No one cares too much about education. The mass import of poverty and low educational standard from the south through amnesty, and illegal aliens also dampen the prospects of good education. US is now out-educated by Europe, China, India, Singapore, etc. Well-educated students are our future. Devoted teachers, including this honorable lady, are assets that make us feel confidence about our children.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Jon

        THE UNIONS are NOT the problem brainless. The unions in this country raised the standard for all workers since the 30's.The problem is politicians financing endless wars, a monetary sytem (Federal Reserve) that is a scam, and a value system that pays the super rich endless more dollars each year to make more money off their peon workforce. TAX THE RICH BABY TAX THE RICH. In the 50's millionaires paid at the 90% tax rate. Lets go back to that again and the problems will be much less severe.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • Pointless1

        LOL – my wife's union gave everyone a check for $400 a month or so ago and will get another $200 next month to help cover the cost of our Governors increase to make teachers pay an additional 3% out of their already pitiful salary. Ya.. unions are so bad... That's over a 143 elementary schools in the district not to mention middle and high schools...

        January 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • borismkv

      Can I still demonize the administrators and teachers union leaders that make 6 figure salaries? Those people are the real problem with funding our school. Too much of the money is spend on administration work that just about anyone with a college degree can do. It never makes it to the teachers, and what money they get has union dues subtracted from it on a compulsory basis.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Rick

        Do you know what a day in life of a school administrator is like? Although I understand where people think they make too much, you have to understand that as an administrator YOU are the fall guy, YOU are the face that gets blasted when things go wrong.

        Administrators have to put up with parents who don't make sense, only care about their kid not getting trouble and have no concept of the school as a community, and then they have to manage teachers who have a whole host of issues they deal with throughout their day least of which is getting all tasks completed during a standard work day. The phrase, "there are not enough hours in the day" is a common saying among administrators. Not to mention the program to become an administrator is expensive and daunting at that.

        What makes me laugh these days is that everyone thinks they are a professional educator and can make things fair for all kids, parents, and staff without actually spending time in a building. All theories look great and all action plans, algorithms, and statements of fact make sense. But when you are face to face with an issue, and are feeling the heat of the community, the way you deal with that is where admins make their money.

        Also if a program fails does a teacher get canned? No, not after long processes of remediation and repeated offenses(which by the way I partially agree with, people need to be able to make mistakes to make them better) But if an admin makes that call BOOM out the door faster than you can imagine. Sure the spin is there was another opportunity or whatever but that's how it goes.

        Administrators shield the teachers from the state, the parents, and in all cases provide a net to support them when dealing with the students. Students have been shown by society that teachers don't deserve their respect. This whole discussion speaks to that. Administrators provide a set of public supports to protect those teachers. On top of which, schools DO have business aspects to them, budgets, transportation, Curriculum Development, Technology and Network Management, Public Relations, Community involvement, Activities for students (much like a park district). Schools are education plus all the aspects it takes to run a business, therefore they are expensive and you need admins to do the things they do so that the teachers can FOCUS on the kids.

        People just don't get that...

        January 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Patch

      Your math includes dividing a salary by the number of students taught, and I would like to understand your logic in that. Most jobs pay based on time worked, whether hourly or annually, with the number of customers served or workers supervised or any other similar measure playing no part in that pay rate.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Andy L.

      Selective math. Divide by 30??? I am a very strong supporter of good teachers, a stronger supporter of parents parenting so that teachers get to teach well behaved kids, but please don't skew statistics. It's done enough as it is.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • Teri

        Thank you. I started to point that out as well.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • glj

        Was thinking the same thing. Not sure where the 30 came from, as you have 30 students in the classroom and can only spend X amount of time with each student in an hour..

        January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Jared

      Janananananaa,

      Why did you add the number of students to the equation? I understand that you are trying to make a point, but please do it using factual information.

      $36,000/180 days /6.5 hours =$30.77 an hour. That's actually more like it.

      I agree that educators deserve more money, I thank God every day that I went to school in an area where the value of a proper education was understood. When you add deceptive information to your argument you are giving up the high ground for shock value.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • rwbj

        You actually think teachers work only 6.5 hours per day,? Go talk to a teacher and find out just how many hours a day they work. I was a high school teacher for 10 years and I WISH I could have worked only 6.5 hours per day. You have no idea of what really goes on, but then I guess the sky is a different color in your world.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • lynne

        Jared – this math is based off the insulting comment out there that teachers should be paid for what they do – babysitting. Babysitters get paid hourly, per child. Average class size = 30. Hence, the math. This shouldn't be intended for an actual reference to teacher pay (unless of course you think it IS babysitting, in which case, I'll take it)
        Thanks for thinking we aren't paid enough, though 🙂

        January 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Jared

        rwbj,

        The sky is blue in my part of the world, but I do see things from a different perspective. I am 33 years old. I hold 2 degrees, both in engineering. I have served on the board of trustees at a college in North Carolina for 2 years.

        As I stated in my initial response, I do feel teachers should be paid more. (I should have added a statement of quality teachers, but that is a seperate debate) The math in my response was based only on the terms that the original poster stated, which are that teachers work 6.5 hours per day, and as a non-educator I certainly can't speak to the number of hours worked per day so I accepted the figure of 6.5 hours per day.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Cathy

      I completely agree with losing people left and right because of the pay and devaluating the profession. In addition to people making decisions who haven't stepped foot in the classroom, the public needs to know that benefits used to be good. They aren't in alot of districts anymore. In our school district, the family contribution for medical insurance for a family of four is over $1000 a month. That is not a good beneifit. Starting salary is around $40,000 in good, well funded districts. There is no way someone can support a family on that salary and pay $1000+ per month for health insurance. Now, add day care costs to that. Look up the payscale and benefits for your local school district before you teacher bash about making too much money.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Chuck

      "Divided by 30 students"? I hope you don't teach math ...

      I agree that teachers often get the short end of the stick as far as funding and pay and benefits go. But your pay rate calculation is inane. Those 6.5 hours you base this upon are the same 6.5 hours whether you have 3 students, 30 students or 300 students in the classroom. The number of students has no effect on the hourly rate ($36,000 / 180 days / 6.5 hours).

      I could similarly come up with screwy hourly rates for just about any profession - factor in the number of phone calls a receptionist handles, or the number of shirts a dry cleaner cleans, or the square feet of wall a painter paints ...

      January 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Whiners

      Blah, blah, blah—9 hours a day—and then they call you during dinner? Puleeze! Come work for corporate America where you are theirs 10+ hours a day, no breaks/lunch (you get to slam food in meetings if you are lucky) and you are expected to respond 24/7 via email, text, etc..to OUTSOURCED support resources that happily work 24/7 in their country of origin. Freezes (or cuts) are everywhere last I checked—and many non-teachers alike give up lots of personal family time (like dinner, or whatever) to do your job. Or you won't have one.

      ALL of us are in challenging positions of compensation vs available jobs vs future—and most of us do NOT have a pension or a union—or time-off that covers the tons of time our kids have off from school.

      We instead get reviewed (every 6 months, which can be harsh) with the message that "you need to do more—but there is no raise" yet the bigwigs take home the cash—which quite frankly messes with your psyche. And god for bid you take off when your kid is sent home sick for the upteenth time.

      It's all a mess because of greed—including you.

      STOP buying cheap crap made in China. Don't support companies that outsource products that could be in the US. This would create JOBS. Don't whine when products will then be more expensive (be OK with it because Americans are making a salary—and friggin' but less crap!). Help make American companies (with American made) products profitable. If jobs were brought back to America—perhaps companies could consider educational opportunities for these jobs and help support a failing educational system.

      I fear 40 years out if we don't flip our mindset in America to America as a collective. We need to be healthy before we can help others become healthy as well. If we die-off what then happens to the world?

      It is a vicious cycle—and sacrifices—new ideas all around are necessary.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • Jon

        See what happens unions. YOU become a slave to the wealthy.That has always been the game. Why do you think these sleez ball GOP governors are doing the dirt work for the rich by bashing unions? Sounds like you NEED a union.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
      • victor

        As a veteran teacher, I can tell you merit pay is not the answer. Last year I would have made "big money" and this year I'd be probably making minimum wage. My group last year came in to school performing low, but ended up doing well by the end of the year. This year, my group came in low and is not making the progress I would have hoped for. I'm not teaching any differently or working any less, in fact I'm working harder than I ever had and spending more time than I ever have. The difference is behavior issues and home life. I can get low functioning students who listen to me, to meet the standards. However, I can't teach kids who have major issues and don't want to learn. Anyone with half a brain would notice that family life and behavior greatly impact a child. Last year parent participation and support was great. This year, I've had the worst turn out for open house, teacher meet and greet and poor support for behavior issues. This year I spend half of my time dealing with discipline, which neglects the children who want to learn. In 2012, a general ed. classroom can be filled with children who have both social and academic problems, with little support. Basically many general ed. classrooms are now a melting pot of regular ed. children and "higher" performing special ed. children. If you have not been in a school in many years or do not personally know a teacher, you’d be surprised how the classroom environment has changed. So do I deserve to make half of what I made last year because my children choose not to listen and because parents don't follow through with consequences and reinforce academics at home? The problem is that our politicans will lead you to think that all of these academic problems stem from the school. They will do whatever it takes to make it look like they have a genuine concern for education. These issues go deep into the homes where the family structure has changed. People need to start valuing education and valuing our educators like we once did. It’s sad when parents write notes to me without addressing me as Mr. , spelling my name wrong and sometimes just write Dear Teacher. It’s also sad that many times I don’t meet the parents until the last day of school, even after repeated attempts for a conferences and ample opportunities to come in for fun functions. Again, I cannot make these people become involved. So if parents don't value educators, it's obvious children will not either. A well behaved, motivated and socially normal child will be successful no matter what school they are in. Governments think that by dangling money around to districts that are going to comply with new teacher evaluations and who will agree to merit pay, will solve all our issues. These poorly researched practices will do nothing but knock down teacher moral and discourage others from entering the profession. These politicians who make these ridiculous laws only enter schools when it’s time to campaign. They have no understanding of how a school should really function. Below are two other examples that show our government doesn’t get it. First, research shows that children learn foreign language easiest at a very young age. We also know that this world is now a global economy and being fluent in two languages is more important than ever. So why aren’t we teaching foreign languages to every child starting in kindergarten? Why do we torture children buy trying to make them learn a language later in school? Second, research has shown early intervention and preschool is very important. So why does every child not get to go to preschool in a real school? Only some districts have preschool, which is funded by grants. And even when a district has it, it’s a lottery, so every child can’t go. It’s ridiculous that our federal government can’t fund the two above examples and can’t pay teachers appropriately. Stop beating up teachers for the mistakes of our government and severely dysfunctional homes. And all you complainers who comparwe the private sector to education need to stop. Blame our politicians.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Blaise Pascal

      Why would you divide pay by the number of student? Letter carriers don't get paid by the house.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • SBinF

      Which teachers work 6.5 hours? I'm contracted to work from 8-4....most teachers I know have similar obligations. I'd kill for a 6.5 hour work day!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  3. Cathy

    Wow. More teacher bashing. I started reading all these posts, but realized it is the exact same thing over and over again. Everyone complains and nothing changes. I've worked in the corporate world and the teacher world so I can see both sides. I have also volunteered in several committees in my local school district in Texas. Here is what I think.

    1. If you want to attract good quality people you need to pay a competative wage and get rid of nepotism.

    2. Pay for performance and taking a harder to staff job (e.g. Low Income, Special Education, Math, etc). However, have a balanced view of performance. The Gates foundation is undertaking studies to determine the most effective way to get a quality teacher in every classroom.

    3. Zoning and Equity Issues. All of you know there are inequities in funding districts and schools. School districts zone students often times making a "rich" school and a "poor" school. It is a case of the middle class and upper class parents complaining more and being involved in making sure THEIR kid and THEIR school is good. Forget all the other kids. We can't blindly increase school funding, but we can look at zoning, quality of teachers, and funding inequities.

    4. Shared responsibility. Parents and teachers have to share responsibility for student success. Parents need to do their job, but teachers have to treat parents with respect as well. There seems to be a huge problem with this in many schools I've seen. Either parents are disrespectful to teachers, or teachers are complaining about how terrible parents are. This is crazy!! It is exactly what is happening on this forum. The blame game with no changes and no results.

    5. Stop the teacher bashing. If you want to attract quality people to the profession, the job has to be well respected. So you want to pay low, bash the profession, and constantly put down teachers, and attract high quality candidates?? Good luck with that. Why do we respect business people, doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc and not educators?
    There are smart and not so smart people in each and every profession, yet we don't demean the whole entire profession.

    Let's take some positive steps in the right direction instead of putting down teachers. This teacher in the article worked without knowing if she would be paid. This is unacceptable and not a good way to attract quality people to the profession.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Scott

    While this sounds nice and all, this is about someone maintaining their pension. The school is in financial straights, but you've got 20 years in and should relatively soon be able to start drawing a state pension... but if you quit you won't get it....

    January 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Ollie

      That is all State employees could hope for until a few years ago. No 401K, only annuity funds and a pension.

      Do you begrudge me that? A 60% pension? That I have paid into my whole career?

      January 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  5. ranch111

    I'd be looking for a new job.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Scott

      Not if you had any idea of the cushy pension she'll be drawing in the next few years.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Chet

        Oh? Enlighten us.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
      • Mike

        Let’s talk about pension.... Are YOU going to get social security when you retire? Teacher don't. If you worked another job, then became a teacher will you get your full social security benefits from your first job?... No! If your spouse died, will your get a social security check? Teachers don't. The retirement system for teachers is far less than the private sector. Someone like you can draw a pension AND social security, but teachers cannot. It's not a free ride buddy.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Penone

        @ Mike – Do teachers contribute to Social Security????

        January 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  6. nugun

    Let's ask what the real problem is...

    Based on the figures I could find. The school district is spending $10,000-$30,000 per student per year to provide a sub-par education. Ask yourself what sort of education you could get for your child for that amount of money?

    Enrollment
    3,700 – 5,003 students

    Budget
    $51.1 -$113 million

    Drop out rate of between 35%-50%
    30% on reading grade level
    20% on math grade level
    0% on science grade level

    COST/PUPIL BUDGET
    $50,000,000.00 $85,000,000.00 $110,000,000.00
    STUDENTS 3700 $13,513.51 $22,972.97 $29,729.73
    5000 $10,000.00 $17,000.00 $22,000.00

    Meanwhile, 85% of the taxes on my house is a school tax. A tax which is only slightly less than my mortgage. This is not sustainable.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Paul

      lol you are full of it no one pays an amount close to their mortgage in property taxes unless your mortgage is $1000 a year.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • Penone

        Ummm...then you must not live in NY.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Illinois

        Wake up!
        I pay $7K in taxes, $2400 one district (grammar and middle) $2700 another district (high school); that yields 5100 just for public schools. Catholic school in my district is 4700 per year. You do the math. I do not LOL when I get my tax bill. Time to break the system.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • gj2001

      where does income inequality start

      January 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • jrog100

      You numbers are fictious, as is your argument.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • A teacher

      The problem with this logic is that teachers cannot control what we get.....

      Take a Porsche and put water in the gas tank ind it won't start.....put in low grade fuel and it will soutter.....put in high test and it will roar!

      You could pick the best high school in the country and the worst high school in the country and do a complete faculty swap.....and you know what?.... student achievement would not change that dramatically!

      I as a teacher cannot ever completely compensate for crappy homes, drugs, alcohol, poverty.....prep schools and upper middle class schools do not have to deal these issues at all so their kids obviously do better. These poor neighborhoods need more money and smaller classes then the prep schools and middle class school district but instead they get the exact opposite. Vouchers, unions, accountability, all do not matter until we address this!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • Sadie

        My parents never said "gee that teacher is doing a crappy job- look how bad your grades are" MY parents said" you're grounded every Friday night until you bring up these grades" and didn't care one bit about my complaints about the teacher. It was MY responsibility to learn.......!!!!

        January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • glj

        Sadie you are so correct. My mother did not blame the teacher for anything, it was my fault.
        But she would also reach out to the teach and get involved. Now days I do not see many parents doing that in my Granddaughters school district. From what I hear from the teachers the parents expect the teacher to do all the work. This is a two way street.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • Penone

        I'm curious. What do you think money will do to solve the problem?

        January 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • rebiii

      Wow, those teachers are really ripping us off! And the students aren't learning anything! My hat is off to you for exposing this scandal.

      While you're at it, could you do a line by line analysis for me of the several trillion dollars that we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Much obliged.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Chris

      I have no idea if your figures are correct or not, they certainly make no sense. "0% on science grade level", what is that supposed to mean? In any event, the massive sums of money spent per child on education you quote are not going to pay teachers!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Teri

      It in no way costs $10K-$30K per year to educate a student. Not saying the schools aren't paying that because in most cases, they are. Even Alabama spends over $10K/year per student. I don't know why all states don't go to a voucher system and let the private schools fight for the kids. If private schools can educate a child for half that, then why are we giving kids a sub-standard education for more costs? It makes no sense. And, if schools had to compete for their students and funding, they'd spend it far more wisely than when it's just a given handout.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • A Local

      Interesting detail about Upland Chester District's money... because of their financial situation the state mandated that all their funding has to be controlled by the state instead of the local government/school district, because supposedly the state could fix the district's spending issues and get it back on its feet. And now Chester Upland is in *worse* financial condition than previously. Whoops.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  7. Derek

    Here's a thought...allocate money from the 25 separate Athletics programs you have for the Chester High School. Cut the programs and start funding Science, Math, Literature and the Arts. Being a jock doesn't prepare you for life, nor does it help you succeed. It may help those who make team feel better about themselves, but it does bugger all for the rest of the student population.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • CW

      That's a great sentiment, but those athletic programs bring in much needed supplemental income as well as fostering a sense of unity, teaching children how to play in teams and fostering school spirit. These are important qualities too.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • MoJo

        No there not......

        January 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • John

        Which looks better on a resume, I got A's in math and science, or I can punt a ball 50 yards? (sorry, most high school jocks never come close to going pro in sports)

        January 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Derek

        Just did some Googling, and I found a rather odd point. I live in Pennsylvania, and my son attends the Perkiomen Valley School District, Student population of 5900 as of 1/2011 with a budget of $87,339,650 (2011-2012 school year). The blogger works for Chester Upland School District, student population of 4000 as of 2010 with a budget of $114,695,510. SO, they have 2000 fewer students, and more $30 million more per year? And they can't make their bills?

        Links:
        http://www.chesteruplandsd.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/398383/File/Superintendent's%20Office/Budget%20Items%20Student%20Services%20%20Instruction%202010%202011revised%20%5BCompatibility%20Mode%5D.pdf?sessionid=ac7d5da3fd62c9a989c24af922deca0c

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_Upland_School_District

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perkiomen_Valley_School_District

        January 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Brian

        Make the parents of these students who play sports pony up some cash. Works here in New Jersey. Let the parents pay an "activity fee" whether it's football or band, or a musical. Do fund-raising on top of that, and charge admission for the games and make them more community-oriented to attract more people who will pay at concessions too. THen consolidate with a nearby district or at best at the county level to reduce redundant administrative costs. THINK.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • mnn234

      Is this a joke? Being an athlete teaches you more about life then any of those other classes. It teaches you confidence, how to work as a team, how to time manage. The problem is the teacher's union. If you aren't a good teacher, you should be cut, period. There are plenty of younger teachers that would love those positions and would probably be a lot more effective AND probably cost a lot less. So have one older teacher who doesn't care about teaching the students who is just waiting for their pension/retirement or have three younger teachers, who aren't jaded yet, who can really make a difference? I'm sure there are older teachers too who are really effective, I'm not saying cut all older teachers – just pay the teachers who are making a difference and get rid of the rest. And teacher's need to make concessions – most ppl have to pay for part of their health insurance and fund their retirement – in these times, if they really cared about the students they would compromise and take those cuts. Cutting athletic programs or programs you don't see value is putting these students at even more of a disadvantage.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Ben

        Just saying...but a kid that punts the ball 50 yards might get a nice scholarship, regardless of grades...

        January 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • Derek

        It's not a joke at all. Athletics are an add-on. They might bring in money for the school, but not enough to pay for itself. Rather than have coordinated athletes, the schools should focus on better educated students. 1 year after high school, no one gives a crap about your rushing yards, they care about your language skills, math skills and critical thinking skills.

        Athletics are a luxury some schools cannot afford.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Relictus

    I wonder why schools have non-teaching staff. A teacher is easily smart enough to share some of the other tasks that make a school run. While a janitor is unlikely to teach math, a math teacher could spend a half hour with a mop. Or spend a half hour acting as the receptionist or principal. Or spend one day in every five fulfilling a non-teaching role (maintenance, accounting). And why not expect the students to help maintain the school, too? Instead of "gym" class, once a week, have the little monsters spend time cleaning. I was a Boy Scout, and we spent a lot of time volunteering. It was fun.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • FormCritic

      You don't have teachers being janitors because you need them to....(drum roll)....teach!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • Reason & Logic

        Sorry, the school band was disbanded so there was no drum roll for you.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • A teacher

      To Relictus....Use some logic.

      Lets say a school has 8 periods a day.....and you pull a teacher each period to cover as "janitor" or "receptionist"...... at the end of the day you have used up the equivalent of a whoile teacher.....and more importantly....you have used up a full teacher salary!

      Janitors and Receptionists make 1/3 of what a teachers makes. It makes full finanacial sense to have a full time janitor....receptionist....cook....etc....

      January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Katherine Bray

      Would you ask a CEO to mop? Teachers don't have the extra time to do support staff's jobs.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Reason & Logic

        I'd love to watch a CEO mop, clean toilets, distribute the mail, work on a spreadsheet, or throw sand on an icy sidewalk. It might just make them aware and appreciate the work effort of the 99%'ers.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Huh?

      Yeah, great idea. Let's make the teacher, who is already asked teach a 8 hours of lessons in 5 hours of classroom time (if their lucky), and is already working a 9+ hour day inside the school, and will then spend their evening grading papers, working on lessons, etc, to take some time off of their easy schedule there to clean the floors or answer the phones in the office.That sounds like a great way to improve education in our schools. Not to mention these are certified professionals you are talking about, along the lines of engineers, doctors, and lawyers with advanced degrees and unpaid time already spent on a year or more of internships. Also, while we are at it, let's put more people (already living at the poverty line) out of work because that will really help the economy too. I apologize for the sarcasm, but to take the time to actually write out this type of suggestion just seemed entirely ridiculous to me.
      If we disregard the negative impact getting rid of thousands of school support staff employees would have on the economy, maybe the more logical suggestion to replace those staff members if for people like you in the community to step up, get off the internet, and go to the school. You are just as capable of answering a phone, mopping a floor, or emptying trash as anyone else.
      People need to start thinking. Teachers are not the problems in our schools. Politicians, misplaced spending, incorrect budgeting, and parenting are the problems. I think we all need to take a long look in the mirror first if we want to change the system because it starts with each one of us.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • Jon

        Amen!! I am a teacher. Have been teaching in public schools for 12 years, and another 13 now in private schools. Got sick to death of being poor. And I mean poor. With a family I finally decided to open an online business on the side. I make more online than teaching. It is sickening how many people think teachers make big money. If you teach find something you are good at and capitalize selling it online. Otherwise even the best intentions may wind up in the ditch when you can't pay your own bills. Financial worry doesn't make your life any easier when trying to teach and stay healthy mentally and physically. By the way, I spend around two hours a week running my online business, and 50 hours a week teaching. Go figure.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Dan

      You obviously have no clue as to the demands on a teacher. We already have to fill the "extra" time with parking lot duty, cafeteria duty, and any other extra responsibility you can think of, as well as coaching and extracurricular activities. Removing support staff would be ridiculous. Also, how many parents these days would be OK with giving Junior a mop? Zero. That's how many. The second it was attempted you would hear "lawsuit". Not a very sensible post.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • lynne

      As a teacher, I feel I have to respond. I can't promise to do so completely without anger, but I hope to get my point across anyway.
      I teach high school in a very poverty-stricken inner-city area. We get paid for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. 40 hours, in the 30-40 thousand a year range. NO TEACHER I know works only those 40 hours. In addition to class time, we attend mandatory development and curriculum seminars, faculty meetings, and additional supplemental meetings. We attend saturday and after school tutorial. Many of us coach; many of us are asked to head a club. Virtually ALL of us are asked to chair a committee (or three). We have even more additional district meetings. Somewhere in there, we have to plan our lessons, grade our papers, call the parents, and attend our hall, bus, and lunch duties. All this brings the average teacher's work week to ABOUT 70 hours a week. Since I coach (a choice, I realize, before you point it out) mine hovers around 80-85.
      So.... When exactly WILL I find all this miracle time to clean the school, discipline the major cases, apply for grants, deal with the school board, answer the school phone, etc., etc., etc.??? Schools need money, bottom line. Every teacher I know spends at least 100 out of every paycheck to buy paper, glue, crayons, and all the other necessary supplies because our school has no money to provide it. Teachers are the lowest paid of all professions requiring a degree. Yeah, I could bail. But SOMEBODY has to do this. It is so easy to sit behind a desk and berate schools for not having what they need. Come do what we do and see what we see; keep snacks in YOUR desk for the kids that leave school knowing they won't get dinner so at least they feel better walking out of your room. How dare you.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • rwbj

        Well spoken, Lynne. I did the same thing for years as a teacher. No on sees what teachers do outside the classroom. The parents only see the grades, the conferences, etc. I taught, coached, curriculum committee, discipline committee, producer of the school musical, and worked two jobs to make extra money. I got two weeks off in the summer (unpaid) between the end of my summer coaching schools and the beginning of the next school year.

        I heard someone say once that those who can't do teach. I replied that those who said that were clueless and could never teach. Keep up the good work!

        January 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • Penone

        Lynn – what will money do? If you get paid more will you teach more? Are you holding back because you are not compensated enough? Are other teachers doing that? Explain to me how, if I put in another $50 million dollars into a school district that the education level will increase?

        January 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • lynne

        Penone – HOLDING BACK??? Where in anything I just wrote did you see any evidence of me holding back? I put in EXTRA time and effort. I not only plan and teach but I create games, hold tutorial sessions, and motivate my students knowing full well that I will not be compensated for it. I care about what I do and I care about my kids, so if I have to buy my own supplies? Fine. If I have to work unpaid overtime? Okay. If i have to allow my students to stay in my room after school and bring them food so they have a safe environment to do their homework in? That's fine too.
        Just because I think it would be NICE to be treated as the degreeS holding professional I am doesn't mean I won't still DO MY JOB to the ABSOLUTE best of my ability regardless. I just don't see how you interpreted ANYTHING I said as me in any way slacking off.
        Can you read? Are you aware of how ignorant and insulting you are?

        January 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Penone

      Having the teachers do those type of tasks is just not feasible (time) and quite frankly demeaning. BUT – the idea of having the students do it – well, that is a different story.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  9. John Martin

    This is the exact reason I left the teaching field. Our government has chosen bombs over books, and there is no excuse whatsover for the lack of funding we experience as a nation within our public school system. What type of child can we as a nation expect to raise with the current conditions?

    January 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Reason & Logic

      The problem is that the war machine is funded by deficit spending and hidden appropriations.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  10. jpmiller99

    Vouchers for all please. Then, successful schools would flourish and bad schools would fold. Enough of your worthless opinion of what's "fair". All that matters in the end are success and failure, and the public school model is a failure because it won't allow bad schools/teachers to failure. As a matter of fact, public education continues to subsidize failure.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Vouchers or not, teachers must be paid. There isn't anything "fair" about expecting somebody else to teach your children, but in America, we have a tradition of caring about education. Maybe you are not American.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        You missed the point. Vouchers would enable successful schools to attract more student, and with them their vouchers to pay teachers. Like any successful business. Charter schools usually do well, despite getting less funding per student than normal public schools. Our current form of public education subverts the price mechanism and let's bad schools stay open and drain resources that would be better used elsewhere, including paying teachers.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        By the way, I don't expect anybody to teach my children. Teachers teach in return for a salary, which is paid for my state, federal, and school taxes.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
      • jrog100

        JP: Charter schools should do well- they don't have to take everybody. They don't have to take any EC children, poor children, handicaped children, etc. If a student gets kicked out of a charter school for bad behavior and in some cases bad performance guess where they go-that's right! Right back to public school. Charter schools get to pick and choose their students, don't have to offer busing or lunch for the "free/reduced" lunch crowd, and yet they get the same amount of "per pupil" money from the county without offering any of the exspensive extras public schools are required to do by law.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • Penone

        @Jrog – No..no...no.... the school doesn't pick the students – the STUDENTS (via their parents) pick the SCHOOL. i don;t want some gov't bureaucrat deciding what type of education my child gets – I want to decide!

        January 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • rwbj

      I could not agree more, JP. I was a high school teacher for 10 years and though it was in a Catholic school, I saw examples of bad teachers and bad curriculum that were absorbing limited financial resources. Vouchers would give parents the ability to chose the better schools with the better teachers and promote those schools while letting the bad schools die. Beyond vouchers, however, is the fact that parents have in greater part removed themselves from the education of their children. Parents should be required to meet certain minimum requirements in support of their chld's school work order to be eligible for vouchers. Accommodations would have to be made for working parents and families with multiple children, but it is critical that parents become more involved in the education of their children. After those years of teaching I have learned that it does begin at home.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Ollie

      As long as you try to make it simple, you will spout simplistic, ill-informed condemnations of schools, teachers, whoever suits your blame. Education is NOT simple; each student is unique as are their needs. Each community is different, each state approaches funding differently. There are impoverished areas that cannot sustain any funding. Not at the state level, and not at the local level. If you understood how schools are funded, how property taxes, levies, and the like really work for schools, I might give an ear to YOUR whining. But you don't get it, or if you do, you don't care.
      And I spend on average $400 a year to have supplies in my room for students – and I teach junior high. Elementary teachers spend much more because they do so many different things with students to advance learning. Not to mention having extra items for emergencies like sweatpants, sweatshirts, socks, snacks, etc.

      I am lucky to have taught for 24 years in my hometown and have yet to see a failing schools here, but to you, jpmiller99, you spout a party line about vouchers that will never work for the majority of America's school districts and communities. In large cities, I might get the possibility of true choice, but where I live . . . One high school, one jr. High, five elementaries. Next available choices? A VERY long commute. Also we have about 60% free and reduced lunch. In case you didn't know, that is a measure of poverty – just like in the article above. How can parents in these conditions make a choice that they can't afford? Board their child in the community down the road? The community just like their own, with a depressed economy or tax base? Maybe send them off to the big city . . . maybe they could stay with you?
      Be part of real, sustainable, visionary solutions. As is, your tired voucher line is simply just in the way.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Jake

      You're assuming that the problem is 100% the schools and 0% the students. Of course, it's likely a mix, but taking a poor student and putting him / her in a better school could improve the student's scores, or it could just bring down the scores for that better school. Charter schools do better because they have kids who's parents can afford to pay for them to go to school – this means they're likely to be smarter in the first place and they are likely to have certain expectations / support from their parents that poor students may not have.

      Just saying, sending bad students to a different school (and wasting huge amounts of time transporting them) doesn't seem likely to solve anything.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • jpeak

      School perform poorly based on the students...talking a group of inner city kids in a failing school and putting them into a county school would only cause the county school to do poorly. Vouchers only get the kid into a school..it doesn't do anthing to get the students to read, do homework, study, write, proofread and on and on. I worked in an inner city school and can say that most of the teachers showed up everyday ready to teach, only to be called a bit@& when asking a student to sit down. Or called a MF for asking a student to turn in their work. The school I worked at was one of the worst in the state and it was not from the teachers. YOu want better schools you better get better parental involvement. There is a reason why inner city schools do so poorly no matter what state you go to. What, all the teachers in all inner city schools in the United States suck? It's called not caring about getting an education. It's called not reading to your child because you don't know how to read. It's called you're 12, 13, 14 and now a parent and you could care less about your education. So what are you going to say about your child's education? So tired of people blaming teachers for the impact of poverty. You want to fix schools, then fix poverty. The really sad part is the only way out of poverty is education. Throwing money at students will never make them care....only the parents and community can do that. And as long as parents and community don't care about education, schools will fail.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Don Shake

    ugliest woman in america (her or michelle obama

    January 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Edgar St. James

      She is THE face of militant black females in America!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        So, she gives away her time, and now you want her to wear Hollywood makeup? You are shameful, both of you.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Steve

        What is militant about what she wrote? Her view is different from yours and she's black, so that makes her militant? I can't wait to hear your ignorant a$$ cry when Obama wins his 2nd term (and I don't even like Obama).

        January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Steve

      And you must be the dumbest.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Karl

      Eff You!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Linda Green

      Your mother is !

      January 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • mom

      Wonder what people would think of you?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bianca

      You should really be ashamed of yourself. This woman works for free to educate America's kids while our government could care less.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Vee

      Clearly nobody taught you anything about staying on topic; and since we don't have the luxury of seeing with you look like (Thank God), I can only imagine that you resemble the bottom of my shoe, based on your comments. This woman is a teacher–and she is intelligent like the First Lady, Both of whom are people of substance: not air-head pageant contestants.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Johnnie

      I have prayed and asked forgiveness for you, your tongue, heart and mind that you used to describe your fellow human being created by God I serve.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • A Hammer

      Tough choice.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  12. iceload9

    It took a group effort to get us into this fix. Costs for education soared when every special program was started and every special need satisfied. The reality is we can't afford "if we can save one child" and never could. What we ended up with is a watered down education system that caters to everyone and educates very few. The success stories are the ones where the students care takers value education, work with the teachers and administrators. And most importantly are not blaming everyone else for their failures to instill these values to their children.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      She wasn't blaming anybody; she just wanted to be paid for her work, which she was giving away for free. And don't think she is making a lot of money.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Chandler

      This quote sums up the BIGGEST problem with our school systems: "We need to ensure equity in education funding, so that all students can reach their full potential – not just the ones lucky enough to be born into a wealthy zip code."

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Taylor

      Really? It's the special kids' fault? I suppose you have some type of statistics or evidence to support the assertion that schools are underfunded because of special ed programs? No, of course not, because you're an idiot.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  13. MEMAC

    Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

    Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

    That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

    Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

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

    LET'S SEE....

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

    What about those special

    education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

    Wait a minute - there's something wrong here! There sure is!
    The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days= $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–
    a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      You wouldn't send your own children to a teacher that was paid so low. You wouldn't put your kids in classes with 30 kids, so that your own dear little Johnny has no help and can't learn. You hate America don't you?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Hmmmm.

        What you're saying makes no sense. That is what people do every day! And, how does that have anything to do with hating America?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cody

      Clap........clap....clap.clap (I am starting a slow clap) Great comment

      January 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • ps

      And the ones who do not perform well never get laid off! The unions make sure that they sit in some back offices doing desk-work to keep their paychecks! The special education departments are a wholesale fraud! They want to label our kids and keep them under their wings so that they keep themselves afloat! Our kids and parents are made to suffer with no real goals or objectives. Just fancy misdiagnosed labels and very little in the form of services or education!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
      • TeachersRpeople2

        you did not read all the way down or did not understand the post.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      LOL! I almost responded before I finished reading that! But, you need to realize too many people will not get to the bottom of it in which you state that if we paid teachers $3 an hour times 30 students that teachers would make $585 a day! Heck, if I got paid $3 an hour per student times the hours I work with them, I would make $1080 a day! Heck, I work over the summer each year too, so my pay would be $216,000! Wow!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Mike

      Well said, and it puts things into quite the perspective.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • mom

      Teachers don't make much to babysit our kids. Use the above calculations except add the fact of what the average hourly wage a babysitter earns and multiply that by 30 kids and merge that into the equation.

      Then ask yourself if teachers are really overpaid. I think not. More likely underpaid.

      I'm not a teacher but I have a great education because of teachers.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Bob

      According to your math we work for about $1.42/ hour. So for the the $3.00/hour that the parent would pay, over half of it goes to the school. Is it troubling to anyone else that administrative costs are so excessive?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  14. Bill

    READ ATLAS SHRUGGED! As long as you are willing to sacrifice yourself you will wind up on the short end of the stick...

    January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      That is one of the most vulgar books ever written. I knew a strong supporter of that book, who needed help at one point due to a chronic illness that caused him to lose his job, and he finally admitted that every single recommendation in that book is WRONG.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • drb

        You should seriously consider finding a therapist.....

        January 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      That book was written by a woman with mental problems. she dated a serial killer.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      That book was written by a woman with mental problems. she dated a serial killer.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  15. NoSense

    If we haven't had the war(s), all of us could have been living in a much better life. The government would have headache trying to figure out how to spend all those surpluses. All of our schools would be well funded, roads would be fixed, small businesses could make their ends meet, research projects could be completed – all people would be happy. If our politicians are our servants (so as all of them claimed), then they should not be paid until all of us being paid first. The matter of fact is, in this so called most democratic country in the world, rich will always be the rich and poor will always be the poor because only the rich can enjoy the freedom to be politicians and decide how to spend the poor's taxes.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      Your dreaming. There will always be more "needs" "wants" "desires" than can be funded. That's what a price mechanism is for, and why government funded services are always over subscribed.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • ME

      Without the wars, you'd have one of the local nutjobs dictating our economy. Or we'd be sucked into yet another regional war when somebody finally climbed to the top of the pile. That war would have very few elements under our control and, as a result, greater costs in both human lives and material.

      These wars were CHEAP compared to the alternative, and your wishful thinking won't change that.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Kavinsky

    Teachers love to complain about being teachers.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Anti-Americans love to complain that America requires all children to be educated. She was giving away her time; you are giving only nastiness.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      she was not complaining about being a teacher at all! She said she was proud of being a teacher and of her fellow teachers. She complained about the fact that certain school districts are struggling and that there needs to be a better way to provide funding for our future which are our students. You must have stopped reading.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • EnlightenedOne

        He couldn't finish reading it, just like he couldn't finish junior high.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  17. Mike Rotchitches

    This is why teacher get walked on; they have no clue on how to negotiate sensibly. Teacher need to be paid. They're degreed professionals. If they can't advocate effectively for themselves, how can they advocate for the children.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      Agreed. But here's the deal. Districts only have so much money to spend. You can pay teachers more, and get by with fewer teachers so that you can still manage your budget. Maybe higher a few less expensive teachers aides to pick up the slack.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  18. ps

    Uneducated, lazy teachers have been failing our kids for over 3 decades now. All they can talk about is feeding their families and hiding behind their unions. I have news – educate yourselves and our kids, and better in tough subjects like science and math. Our kids will grow up to be as productive as the Indians and Chinese. Then you will see the returns in the form of steady paychecks.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bill

      Why don't you pull your head out of your rear end. We have been failing you?

      I can't get kids to turn in a simple assignment. I can't get parents to give me a phone number that works so I can call them about their kids performance.

      You want to blame someone? Blame lazy ass parents who AREN"T parents.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • ps

        Wow! Look at the language our teacher here uses! That proves exactly what I was saying – you guys need an education yourselves first! Ow, and do clean your tongue! You will learn something!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Mike

        Don't worry Bill, it's the internet; which means common I.Q. of posters is about 60.

        There are a lot of stupid people in this country that quite literally look at education with disdain; probably because they are too stupid to pass a class that isn't P.E.

        The best part about these clowns is they are usually fiercely pro-life – but as soon as that kid pops out you best not teach him well or help him go to college! Nope! Cut all of the funding that helps a child develop into a valuable member of society! All that matters is that he pops out of his mom by force if necessary. After that, who cares?

        Uneducated, religious partisan ideologues are the worst kinds of people. So don't take it personally. I support our nation's teachers and am absolutely in support of increasing their resources and pay, for the future of our children and our country.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      She talked about teaching for free, and trying to keep the community together.
      There are two laws you may not be aware of. 1. There is a minimum wage which requires that people who work are paid. 2. All children in America must have an education. To address both of these issues, it was necessary that the teachers get together and keep their school going; they used the union to bring attention to the issue. Do you really want the families of teachers to starve? Do you hate America that much?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • Tee Cee

        Elizabreath, the wide sweeping, incorrect claims you keep making are sad. They make you look stupid.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        It is correct that teachers must be paid. It is correct that American children are required to have an education. What country are you in?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Teacher1

      Wow, that was a really ignorant comment.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Jason

      Replace the word "teacher" with "parent" in your post and you have your answer to our educational problems.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • ps

        Parents are not the ones complaining about not getting their paychecks here! You teachers want a paycheck for your frugal educational services! That is the topic here. Learn to read!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bob

      If you are so educated, then educate your own children. I learned Sciene and Math. Why didn't you? You need to take responsibility for your own progeny, and stop trying to blame someone else for your shortcomings.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • ps

        I am an engineer and I taught my own kid all through his school years! You would not know since you cannot even spell science correctly! This is exactly what I was talking about!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        How many hours in a day are you willing to teach your own children? Are you saying that you shouldn't work too? Or are you saying that your wife should stay home and teach? I'm guessing the latter. Every country that has tried that model ends up with each generation having less and less of an education, so that eventually all the children can do is memorize a few things. Guess where I'm talking about... places that have attacked America on 9/11. I want my child to have at least a high school education, trained by people who majored in English, History, a foreign language (we want to sell to others, don't we?), Science, and Math. I'm strong in science and math, and many people have their areas of expertise, but not all areas of expertise. This is why we have schools. Yes, it is up to parents and children to work hard, but we can't just get rid of the whole system, and fall back into ignorance over a few generations.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      Do you volunteer your time in the schools to see what teachers do? Do you do your job without pay?

      As far as those really important subjects, we lose teachers in those fields because they can be better paid, and work less, outside the field of education. Plus, those fields of study require expensive equipment to teach 21st Century skills and many districts do not have the money to purchase that equipment. Most of the standardized math tests can be easily passed if a student knows how to use a graphing calculator. Most urban districts can not afford to buy calculators for the students and the parents can not afford to buy them for their children because the good ones cost over $150 and get stolen by other students whose parents can not afford to buy one.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Bill

      Given your level of generalization and stupidity it seemed to be the only language you would understand. Seems I was correct.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • lynne

      Dear ps,
      Uneducated? I hold a degree in history, an education license, and an ADDITIONAL concentration in social studies, just for kicks. My thesis has been published in a reputable historical journal. What is your definition of education?
      Lazy? I work an 80 hour week, between the 3 committees I am in, the sport I coach, the club I sponsor, and the extra time I work in order to plan, grade, and contact parents (when the number works and I am not getting cussed out for calling). I receive absolutely NO overtime, even for the mandatory extra things I do.
      Please don't spout nonsense when you have absolutely NO CLUE what you are talking about.

      Love,
      A Very Concerned Teacher

      Dear Bill,
      Bravo, sir. When the 16 year olds I get read on a 2nd grade reading level because teachers have been bullied into passing them by parents who refuse to answer phone calls, attend a conference, or EVER in general back a teacher up, it is hard. We do all we can. Thank you for your hard work in the face of overwhelming odds stacked against you.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Bill

    I am a teacher and a teacher in a non-union (right to work)state. While the decision to keep working without pay may be considered admirable, my opinion is that these people just set the fight for decent pay for teachers back. They sent the message that, "even if you don't pay us anything, we will keep working". All this does is enable politicians and parents to continue to undervalue the work that teachers do.

    Had they decided to not work, a probable result would have been that parents up in arms and calling the school district and the state demanding that this situation be remedied. What happened was that nothing changed, the boat wasn't rocked and the teachers AND students suffered, until the politicians got their heads out of their collective butts.

    I love my students, but I also expect to be paid my salary. I have to live as well.

    As for those posters that start throwing around the good old, "I'm a tax-payer" mantra and use it as a trump card to demand whatever. Guess what? Teachers are tax payers too. We don't get tax breaks. (at least not in my state) and we don't get overtime either, though we certainly put it in. I personally have no children, yet I still pay school taxes. So effectively I pay my own salary for no direct service.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Sarah

      And to stop working would send the message that "money is more important than anything, we don't really care about our profession, so you shouldn't either." As an educator in a right to work state I am proud of what these teachers have done. They are selflessly giving to their students what they rightfully deserve: A good education. Of course they need to provide for their own families, but I think it's admirable that they are looking out for the children and not just themselves. In my district, we are majorly understaffed. I give to more kids than any one person should reasonable be able to handle. I should get paid twice what I do for the # of students I have, but I don't. I'm not going to quit my job because I'm doing the job of 2 but getting paid for 1... I love my students and I want to see them succeed... even if it means I have to make a big sacrifice! I'll cut my cable TV and turn the heating down to save money or use the money to buy my own supplies if it means I'm giving the next generations a little something they families might not be able to.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Keith

        Sarah, you're love of teaching is admirable. However, teachers have to draw the line somewhere. On a whole, how are the teachers' situations going to improve if they continue to work for what they consider "unfair" wages? The cold hard truth of the matter is you are going to have to fight for yourselves because frankly, I've got my own life and my own fights to deal with.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Sarah

        Keith, I agree, there has to be a line somewhere... but if a person is able to sacrifice themselves I think it's admirable. I hope teachers in this kind of a position, not only care so much about their students that they are willing to keep working, but that they also care enough to fight hard for their profession... not just quit the job and leave everyone in the dust! After all, who is the biggest loser in the end (no matter who's the failing one)... the students!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  20. ArtInChicago

    I am not saying the children don't matter. But a teacher's time, knowledge and skills also matter. If its quid pro quo, sure, in a partnership make a sacrifice for the greater good...for a limited time. My contention is management will see this sacrifce as bargaining chip when they offer little to no salary increases, increase class size, etc., because a teacher was willing to work for free.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Postman

      Do we really need another black martyr? Gimme a break.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      Funny, in most lines of work there are no negotiations on salary, working conditions etc...

      January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • jrog100

        That's not true at all. When I wasflipping burgers at night to pay for my college I asked for and got raises. I asked for a got a raise bagging groceries in high school. As a teacher with a state-set salary schedule that has been frozen for four years now, there isn't anyone I can ask for a Cost of Living Adjustment increase because though I have many bosses from the lowest assistant principal to the state superintendent, none of them have the power to increase my pay.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  21. Mike

    From the picture, I can't tell if she's trying to smile, or just having a stroke...

    January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • samantha

      that was a really stupid remark, Mike 😦

      January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  22. Tee Cee

    "When I visited the White House for the first time, as a child, it was my teacher who brought me there."

    Stop right there. THIS is written by an educator?? The first comma does not belong. And the teacher took you there. The teacher did not brought you there. How sad. I didn't read any more. But that speaks volumes. Also, her face looks like it does not smile often.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      At least she didn't say "brung me there"

      January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      "Who brought me there" is a phrase; "who" is the subject. Commas also can show expressive language. There are few grammarians that use commas rigidly. Oxford has dropped the comma rules.

      She is grammatically correct throughout her statement. You, however, would not give one second of your time for free, except to bash somebody who is helping children.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • Tee Cee

        Really? You know this about me? Huh. You are a genius! And "brought" is incorrect. Unless she is still in Washington DC as a result of her class trip.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • R.C.R

      You are obnoxious and inconsiderate to the big picture. Your sitting where ever you are being anything but understanding of the current situation. Instead of critiquing someone on there grammar maybe you should go teach for free and work for ends meat. That's if you are even qualified too, Why not applaud her for her efforts and dedication to her school district. I don't see your face on the cover for valor and honesty take a look in the mirror at yourself and ask "why am I here am I making a difference in my community or country". United We stand divided we fall!!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Tee Cee

        HA! You did that on purpose. Right???? Please say you did.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  23. JQP1122

    Correct me if I am wrong but the U.S. spends more per capita for a child to attend K-12 than most if not all other countries in the world...and where do we rank for all that $$$ spent? I am not exactly sure but I know it is not at the top and I know it has been slipping over the last several decades. So maybe just maybe the answer is not just throwing more $$$ at the problem. Good teachers or bad teachers, highly paid teachers or under paid teachers it all makes little difference if parents do not emphasis education and carve out the time to focus on their children. Education starts at home.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • TeachersRpeople2

      the problem with per capita amounts is that everything is lumped into it. If a student lives in New York City, it cost more per capita to educate that student because it cost more for everything there. Per capita is not just about the teachers' salaries, but the principals' , the janitors', the lunch ladies', the bus drivers', the utilities....

      Agreed that we need the parents on board to truly educate but well meaning legislation has legislated responsibility away from everyone!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  24. Andy

    The comments here show what a hate filled society America is.....

    January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      If you mean people that "hate" to pay for benefits for other people, then I agree.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • Wondering

        Pay the teachers what they should be paid and make sure it aligns with the private sector and you won't

        January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        Public sector teacher make more than private sector teachers because of the unions. I am not sure what other position in the private sector that you would align teacher pay too?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Dee

      Andy, you are so right. We spend a lot of time worrying about terrorist attacks. However, it is the unbridled hatred in this country that will ultimately bring America down.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • cls2641

      While the tone of some of the comments could be better, the underlying reality of what they are trying to say – THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE ARE NOT FUNDING EDUCATION! – is correct. Please don't fall for the rhetoric that we're not "Investing in our kids." We are investing in our education system to a greater degree than any other country in the world – and we're getting terrible results. The problem isn't with the money, it's with the system. If the sytem isn't fixed, more money will NOT help. It baffles me that saying that "More money won't help" leads to the response of "You don't care about kids." As if those that wish to dump money down a failing rathole are doing the kids any favors...

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  25. Edgar St. James

    Widener University, Cheyney University and Cabrini College...are these even accredited colleges?

    You get what you pay for. In this case. Not much.

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

    January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Brian

      What an incredibly ignorant, mean-spirited comment. Had you two cents worth of education yourself you might have recognized the names of those schools.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • R.C.R

      The nerve to us the abbreviation of saint in front of your name insults anyone of religious background. Second all three Universities are accredited colleges. You sit there and try to belittle her monumental efforts for keeping the hopes and spirits of children alive. Why aren't you there with your prestigious degrees from you accredited colleges or Universities teaching these underprivileged youths? Oh wait I forgot your to busy making disrespectful remarks about this Great woman who is.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Teacher in America

      The "Those who cant do, teach" quote is overused, ignorant, and insulting. At one point in your life you had a teachers. Those teachers knew a lot more than you did. You are ABLE to DO because SOMEONE TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DO IT. Teachers, parents, mentors, and even peers TEACH YOU. You would not be where you are DOING whatever it is that you are doing without some sort of education. If you are that adamant about the worthlessness of teachers then I challenge you to go and find every teacher you ever had and explain to them why you believe that everything they did for you, everything they taught you, was absolutely worthless. I challenge you further to tell these people that they cant DO anything. What I DO is teach people to think, to write, to read, to solve problems, to care for themselves and each other, and to be good human beings. I am simultaneously an educator, parent, counselor, advocate, and yes sometimes I am even a provider. I must use my own money to provide for students who do not have or whose parents will not provide for them. This includes school supplies as well as clothing, food, and personal cleanlinesss supplies. When my students are very ill I must teach them in their homes, or at the hospital. On occassion I have dropped off assignments at the jail. I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO WHAT I DO FOR ONE YEAR. Let me know how you handle it, if you can.
      PS. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree and speak 3 languages. I can DO many things. I CHOOSE to teach.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  26. Andy L.

    I applaud the teacher's dedication in this story and empathize with the plight of teachers everywhere facing budget crunches. My problem with the situation is the declining level of education in the USA which does not reflect the amount spent on education. There is no direct relationship between cost per student and outcome. If, as a nation we spend more per student than say China or India, then why are they not performing as well. I would gladly support a merit based pay scale were the best and most successful educators get paid well, but that comes with the ability to drop teachers not performing at the expected level. The unions are hindering that process. Obama speaks eloquently about increasing pay for good teachers but never mentions the latter point. Campaign contributions and lobbying from the SIEU may play a role in that.
    All these arguements about summers off and what not. Most of us have jobs, some are harder than others, some pay more or don't, but it becomes petty to just argue back and forth over it and not come up with solutions like a merit based pay scale.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      Then you must be an advocate for socialized medicine, because nowhere in our entire economy is the relationship between cost and quality more skewed than in our health system.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • john

      I taught in China. Kids do tons of homework – yes they complain, but they do it. They aren't spending tons of time on sports or other extracurricular activities, so the ones that do go to school, do very well. My daughter, when in China, would get 1-2 hours of homework per day in China – in 1st grade. Here, she spends 5 minutes and is done. We need to have our students concentrate on their studies and not screen time in front of the TV or computer.

      Also, Chinese education is compulsary till 8th grade. Many millions of children don't continue on with their studies, so to compare American children to Chinese children's test results isn't fair. The educated and well off families can afford to send their kids to school and keep on them about achievement. Here, parents don't want to be bothered and have handed over their children to the school which wants to keep them happy so that they don't go elsewhere and they end up loosing their funding.

      Just my two cents...

      January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bob

      How do you assess merit, when it is not the teacher's performance being tested? I can put in everything I have to prepare a student, but when it is testing time they take the test. I have had students that stayed out all night at Wal-Mart then come in and test. I have seen students that have taken tests after using drugs. Evaluations are a joke too. I had an administrator evaluate me several times a year for at least 45 minutes. Teachers across the hall had evaluations completed witout being observed once.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • victor

      As a veteran teacher, I can tell you merit pay is not the answer. Last year I would have made "big money" and this year I'd be probably making minimum wage. My group last year came in to school performing low, but ended up doing well by the end of the year. This year, my group came in low and is not making the progress I would have hoped for. I'm not teaching any differently or working any less, in fact I'm working harder than I ever had and spending more time than I ever have. The difference is behavior issues and home life. I can get low functioning students who listen to me, to meet the standards. However, I can't teach kids who have major issues and don't want to learn. Anyone with half a brain would notice that family life and behavior greatly impact a child. Last year parent participation and support was great. This year, I've had the worst turn out for open house, teacher meet and greet and poor support for behavior issues. This year I spend half of my time dealing with discipline, which neglects the children who want to learn. In 2012, a general ed. classroom can be filled with children who have both social and academic problems, with little support. Basically many general ed. classrooms are now a melting pot of regular ed. children and "higher" performing special ed. children. If you have not been in a school in many years or do not personally know a teacher, you’d be surprised how the classroom environment has changed. So do I deserve to make half of what I made last year because my children choose not to listen and because parents don't follow through with consequences and reinforce academics at home? The problem is that our politicans will lead you to think that all of these academic problems stem from the school. They will do whatever it takes to make it look like they have a genuine concern for education. These issues go deep into the homes where the family structure has changed. People need to start valuing education and valuing our educators like we once did. It’s sad when parents write notes to me without addressing me as Mr. , spelling my name wrong and sometimes just write Dear Teacher. It’s also sad that many times I don’t meet the parents until the last day of school, even after repeated attempts for a conferences and ample opportunities to come in for fun functions. Again, I cannot make these people become involved. So if parents don't value educators, it's obvious children will not either. A well behaved, motivated and socially normal child will be successful no matter what school they are in. Governments think that by dangling money around to districts that are going to comply with new teacher evaluations and who will agree to merit pay, will solve all our issues. These poorly researched practices will do nothing but knock down teacher moral and discourage others from entering the profession. These politicians who make these ridiculous laws only enter schools when it’s time to campaign. They have no understanding of how a school should really function. Below are two other examples that show our government doesn’t get it. First, research shows that children learn foreign language easiest at a very young age. We also know that this world is now a global economy and being fluent in two languages is more important than ever. So why aren’t we teaching foreign languages to every child starting in kindergarten? Why do we torture children buy trying to make them learn a language later in school? Second, research has shown early intervention and preschool is very important. So why does every child not get to go to preschool in a real school? Only some districts have preschool, which is funded by grants. And even when a district has it, it’s a lottery, so every child can’t go. It’s ridiculous that our federal government can’t fund the two above examples and can’t pay teachers appropriately. Stop beating up teachers for the mistakes of our government and severely dysfunctional homes.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  27. Keith

    The Mitt Romneys and hedge fund managers want to thank you for working for free so they can continue to pad their own wallets with what would have been your salary. Wage theft. The worshippers of Mammon have done an excellent job of overturning fundamental American values in their pursuit of greed. It is time for the vast majority of Americans who still hold dear to the true American values that hold our society together to repair the damage that has been done by those who would destroy our society in pursuit of an extra dime.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  28. skb mom

    There are few comments here about how much teachers get paid etc. First of all most teachers only get paid 10 months our of the year, the months they work. Second many have a masters. I strongly recommend that you compare salaries of other professions with masters such as an MBA (masters of business administration) or an engineer with a masters to what a teacher makes before you decide that a teacher gets paid too much. I guarantee that most of you are going to say that a person with an MBA and an engineer cannot be compared to a teacher. That just shows how much we value teachers and what they do.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • kimberly

      what about social workers? There are plenty of professions that are underpaid. Everyone wants a part of the funding.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • bfpierce

      It isn't the teachers, or the social workers. It's the Government Administrators and Local Administration that absorbs a vast majority of the funding. Get rid of the middle men and you'll begin to see districts start to break even.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • jheron

      Although I value teachers and think they deserve a good wage I have to say that a teaching degree is by far the easiest degree to get at a University. I have friends that studied education and I would see what they had to take. They had it much easier than myself and other people focusing on other fields.
      Do I think being a teacher is easy? Nope, not if you are a good one, but getting a degree or masters in education compared to other disciplines....there is no comparison.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • jheron

        And I agree with BFpierces' statement. The administration is the largest problem in the education system. They cut teachers before they would ever look at cutting back on its own administrators.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Rupert

      We spend an average of about $8000 per year per student. Even if the class size is only 20 kids, that is $160k per year. If teachers aren't being paid enough – maybe you need to ask where all that money is going? The problem is that most school districts are run by former teachers – not business people. So there is a large amount of waste in the system. I run a business staffed by "professionals". We spend about half our revenues on our people. Why aren't schools doing the same?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • The Engineer

      That's because it is MUCH more difficult to become and engineer and the work is much more demanding.
      Simple, we are worth more.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • TeachersRpeople2

        And how did you become an engineer? Was it a teacher or group of teachers who pushed you to that career path?

        How often do you have to take additional course work to maintain your engineering credentials? Is it less than 48 hours per year? Additionally, in your more demanding job that is worth so much more, do you have to break up fights? Instruct crowded classrooms? Meet with hostile parents? Not get to use the bathroom for five hours at a time because you are not allowed to leave your work space until lunch? Have your merit as an egineer based on the outcomes of other people who randomly decide to do their assignments, but you get all the blame? Use your money to purchase the tools of your trade so that you can do your job? Deal with the extreme social issues that come with instructing the homeless, the under- nourished, the refugee, the non-native speaker, the child of prisoners and/or drug users? Have your tires slashed because a student thought your car was another engineer's who gave him a detention? No?

        In your mind teachers are worthless and engineers are worth so much more, but once you are an engineer, you are always an engineer, no one takes that from you. But once a teacher becomes a teacher, he/she must constantly prove he/she is worthy of being a teacher through course work, evaluations, and an extremely long list of tasks. In addition, if a teacher is caught doing anything that is slightly illegal he/she loses his/her teaching credentials. If you made a poor decision and got caught drinking and driving, would you lose your engineering job and have no chance at another one? Teachers are held to higher standards than even pastors and priest, doctors and lawyers, and most certainly engineers.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
      • The Engineer

        LOL
        That's funny. Answers Yes yes and yes. I also have to deal with asbestos and radionuclides. We have to to get continuing education too, only ours matters to more that a few snot nose brats who aren't there to learn. No one forced you to be a teacher. You simply took the easier path through school and are whining about the results.
        I taught at a university after getting my Ph.D. and knew in one semester that it was a waste of my talent. Therein lies the difference, my skills are transferable to the REAL world, yours are not. This is why my education cost more and is harder to obtain. You chose the easy path through school, now you must live with the consequences of your actions.
        Boohoo

        January 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  29. PghMom

    Why does everyone keep pretending that schools with 70% of its students living at or below poverty level can achieve the same success that an affluent school can? How can a 3rd grade teacher overcome a lifetime of a child not being read to? A home in which the children are left unsupervised and stay up until midnight and fall asleep at school? Homes in which there's no one willing or able to help a child with homework or at least make the child attempt homework? I am NOT saying that all poor homes are like that – but many are. How are teachers, no matter how good, can overcome a child's problems if a family does not value education. Let's not forget that PARENTS are a child's primary teachers and need to take responsibility for creating a proper environment at home to facilitate learning.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Moord

      Amen! Every day, I go home from work, turn the TV off, and (as any cruel slave master would) force my children to do their homework. Even when their fingers are too tired to do homework while I cook dinner. After dinner, they're allowed time to play/relax before being read to, and then to bed by 10. (I get off work at 6, which makes dinner late, but hey at least it's not McDonnalds.)

      January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  30. Charlie

    Stop telling me teachers are underpaid. I'll believe that when they start leaving their jobs for other jobs. Teachers get their jobs out of college and they never leave. If things were that bad you see them quitting and leaving on a regular basis.

    Actions, speak louder than Words.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • S

      Actually, droves of teachers ARE leaving for other professions. For example, I know four right now that are pursuing other degrees to get careers outside of the field of academia. And all of these teachers that I know have been teaching for fewer than five years.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      I'll believe teachers are overpaid when I see the best and brightest college kids voting with their feet by majoring in education.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Craig Edward

      A lot of teachers do leave. I have been teaching for 16 years, and in that time, more than 50% of the teachers that I have know have moved on to other professions.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • teacherdude

      They actually do leave. Most teachers leave within 3-5 years of starting. It is staggering how many new teachers I see quit within weeks of starting school every year. Read up on your statistics before posting ridiculous comments. Do a quick search and you will find this to be true. Many districts have programs in place to try and lower the statistic but it is still at around 50% leaving the field before 5 years.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • john

        They leave not because of the pay, but becauue of the B.S the school board, unions and liberal principals impose. They are told how to teach and what to teach, no matter what the skill level of the kids....any way..its the liberalization of society by govt run schools....what else do u expect..

        January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Kat Pruitt

      Charlie, I am a retired high school teacher. If a college graduate considered money a priority, he/she would never go into education. My husband and I both taught for over 30 years. We have never regretted our decision to stay in the classroom even though our salaries were not commiserate with our education and dedication to our students. We are proud of our chosen career, and, I think our sons would tell you they benefited from our vocation choice as well. It wasn't and never has been about "making money." We were, as many other teachers, called to our profession.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • john

        great...more retired obama voters...living off state govt tax dollars....

        January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Loren

        John, if Kat and her spouse taught for 30 years then they BOTH paid into the Social Security program for all that time. Therefore your assertation that they are "living off of state government tax dollars" is not only untrue, I consider it to be borderline defamatory. They are receiving the retirement support that they PAID for, you hateful tool. And by the way, SS is a FEDERAL program so they are in NO way living of of STATE tax dollars. Thanks for being a prime example of someone whom the U.S. educational system failed.

        Oh, and Kat, the word you were looking for was commensurate, not commiserate. Did auto-correct reach out and touch? LOL

        January 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Pop011

      I would suggest to you to do their (no, I am not an educator) job for 1 year and then evaluate whether they are paid enough for the amount of work they do.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        Pay is not determined by what you "think" it's worth. if they can't fill positions, then they pay more.
        That's not the case with public schools, with possiby the exception of math/science teafhers.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Patrick

      Charlie– Teachers ARE leaving their jobs, in increasing numbers. According to a Forbes article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/03/08/high-teacher-turnover-rates-are-a-big-problem-for-americas-public-schools/) the attrition rate has jumped 50 percent in the last 15 years.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Steven

      Silly Charlie,
      Wages are compared with those having similar educational background and years of experience. Teachers generally have a year beyond the B.A. and continuous "professional development"; and it takes up to 20 years to reach the top of the salary scale of up to $100,000. Teaching is a profession, requiring distinct skills and dispositions. One does not pack up on basis of money alone, considering the investments in credentialing, nevertheless, about half do bale out during the first 5 years.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • xxsevensxx

      You mean, quit their jobs as teachers to....what? Be doctors?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Whaaaa?

      Yes, because everyone does things for the money. Are you nuts? Teachers spend over three extra hours at school preparing for the next day or the week, without pay mind you. They have to put up with parents, who believe that their children can do no wrong, which, if you went to school, you'd realize was a sham. Try doing your job with both your hands tied behind your back and hopping on one leg, then tell me that teachers don't deserve to get paid a little more. Must be really cozy under that rock, why don't you crawl back under it and come back out when you have something intelligent to say.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Jboitx

      According to the US Department of Education, 25% of new teachers leave the profession after their first year, by their third year, the percentage of teacher attrition (not attributable to retirement) is close to 50%. Apparently we do leave our jobs. With frequency.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Relictus

      Teaching does not pay well, but it is an honorable profession. I work with a former teacher – former because he got laid off. The way that teachers are treated in my home town is pathetic. Their jobs have NO security, even with the union.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Teacher

      Charlie, it may not seem like it, but teachers do leave their jobs all the time. Studies have shown that about 50% of teachers leave the profession within their first five years of teaching. I'm attaching a link below, with an article from 2006:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/08/AR2006050801344.html

      I also have personal experience with this. I was one of 29 teachers hired by my school in 2004, and am now in my eighth year. Of those 29, only myself and two others are still working there; most of the ones who are not have left the profession entirely.

      As for pay, it is consistently low. Many districts like mine are working on outdated contracts, or the teachers are not working on contracts at all. The way my district works is this. Teachers start with very low pay compared to other professions. Each year, there is a very small step increase in pay for experience (my first increase was literally $25 for the year).

      A teacher can work from approx. $38,000 per year in their first year and not hit $50,000 until they have worked for about fifteen. In year 20, and again in year 21, teachers get large raises, and some in Florida can make up to $75,000 nearer to the end of their careers. Of course, that depends on them getting to that point. Aside from very low starting salaries at a time when most teachers are trying to save for houses, cars, new marriages, etc., other teachers are stuck on the scale. My district has had contract disputes since 2009, and as such teachers have been denied their step raises. This means that teachers in year 19 have stayed on the year 19 step, even if they are now in year 23 of teaching; these teachers have missed out on an at least $5,000 pear year, that they are simply not getting.

      Now, plenty of teachers do teach simply because they like making a difference. Low pay doesn't matter and they get by. Others do want to leave the profession, but the economy being what it is right now, a lower-paying job is better than none at all.

      Also, I know that you didn't bring this up, but I'm sure someone will... yes, teachers get summers off, and as such they deserve lower pay... sort of. The truth is this: Teachers generally work a 7 -7.5 hour day with the students. The majority of their day is instructional time. They also have a grading component, which can take hours per week, and when put together, many teachers (like myself), are spending a minimum of an hour per day extra grading work. For me it actually works out to about another 350 hours per year, which is a full-time summer job. Even if that were not true, most teachers do have jobs over the summer, and several have an extra job during the school year to make ends meet.

      That being said, Winter Break is nice.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        Merit pay is the answer. A 23 year teacher isn't necessarily any better, or worth more than a 10 or 15 year teacher.
        Teachers need to join the real world when it comes to compensation. (Ie Pay is normally dictated by tenure.)

        January 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • OrangeAlumna

      First, let's address some issues about teacher pay. We are paid by contract days: you work 187 days, you are paid for 187 days with the funds stretched out over 12 months. Next, the question about wanting more money: seek other professions. That happens more than people think. The average education graduate from the 1990's taught 2-4 years. That's it. They got a taste of the classroom, and left for higher paying careers. Oh, yes, those 2 months we have off in the summer? Those are taken up by seminars for advance placement training, in-service training for up-dates on state-mandated testing, in-service training on new techniques, up-dates on school law pertaining to discipline. These are anywhere from 3 to 5 to 10 day sessions. Vacations? Not on what we make. Time not spent in training may be taken up by a second job. Finally, lets look at those non-educational things I do: comfort the child who comes into my classroom with a red handprint across her face, reassure and encourage the boy who just learned he'll be a teen father before summer, find resources for the child who cannot afford a graduation cap and gown, go into my pocket to buy a spiral notebook because no one at home will buy one. The list goes on.

      I worked my way through college, paid my tuition, bought my books on my own dime. I have taught for 24 years, and continue to teach in an urban school. The kids in my classes are good kids, but 90% live below the national poverty level. Their parents are uneducated and value their ablity to work above their ability to learn. Sure, we send the best and brightest to college and university. It's an uphill struggle to get the majority to value post secondary education. Why? Disengaged parents. Uninformed parents.

      I love my job. I love my students. Do it for no pay? No way. I'm a single parent; a widow. I have a home and children of my own who need my support. I need to continue to be a productive member of this society. I contribute to the growth and development of our most precious resource: our children. A teacher who works for no pay underminds those of us who value what we do.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  31. willie

    Talk about a fluff piece. This story makes no sense and only seems to show support for the president in an election year. What was the point? We all know education is underfunded, no one disagrees with that. Is she saying we should all work for free? What about the corporations who make millions publishing school books filled with stealth corporate advertising, are they volunteering anything? No they are not. Sadly, education seems to be the last thing going on in public schools. If the president really wants to do something positive about public education he would get the corporations out of our classrooms and offer citizens the opportunity to invest tax free dollars into those very same schools, much like is allowed for non profits. Nothing could give us higher returns as a society than investing in our coming generations education while keeping corporations out of their lunchboxes.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Steven

      Dear Willie,
      You seem to be totally unfamilar with what is going on in public schools. For the past 15 years, as an elementary school teacher in Manhattan, I have observed teams of dedicated, brilliant teachers at every grade level provide academic instruction in every subject every day. You appear to have fallen for the "Waiting for Superman" myth promoted by the corporate interests you criticize.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  32. Anfscd

    Spending more money doesn't equal a better education. The US spent a combined $1.13 trillion dollars on education for school year 2010-2011. Federal spending has more than doubled from 1970-2006 for K-12 and scores have remained virually flat.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • john

      ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Kat Pruitt

      Most teachers, if asked, will tell you that simply reducing the ratio of teacher to number of students in a classroom, would greatly affect the quality of education the students would receive. It's simple math. In high school in the late 90's, I often had a classroom enrollment of over 150 students a day. Shortly after I retired, it jumped closer to 180 students per school day (six classes). The district added a sixth class and more days to the school year without any kind of compensation for teachers. We even lost a planning period in the changes. It is true some teachers are not effective and cannot relate to their students and/or subject matter, but they are a small, small minority. Most teachers I know are dedicated to the students and their profession.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        A lot planning period. The horror of it all LOL...

        January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Steven

      Perhaps it would be more accurate to look at per student expenditures on an inflation adjusted basis. If it still turns out that the per student cost is more, then take a look at the new curriculum, the slick textbooks, the test prep and testing industry, the investments in 21st century technology to compete in the world marketplace. And in a uniform culture, like Korea, with parents pushing for chance of their kids getting into the better schools and having fees waived, of course, one can have larger class sizes. But here, with a few troubled kids, with a few not knowing the language, with both parents working, or there being only one parent, with the demands and expenses of IDEA for special ed, I expect that schooling might be a bit more expensive these days.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • PJP

      Well, schools are getting less and less money every year... so we'll see soon enough if giving schools less money is effective.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  33. Mr Fixit

    I work for RotoRooter cleaning sewer and waste lines. I make 2X the salary as my teacher neighbor next door. Plus bonuses. Funny how society pays (values) my removing a turd more than someone developing the mind of their child.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      At least your job has some value to us...how about 'professional' athletes and the millions they make, what is their contribution to the society? How/why is their compensation so much higher than that of a teacher or plumber or, yes, even yours?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • Thomas

        Their compensation is so high because it is linked directly to revenue generated. Sports teams make multi-millions of dollars in revenue (from sports fans) so they can afford to spread some of that revenue to the player's salaries.

        The same can't be said of school teachers. There is no direct source of revenue that the school makes so that like a sports team this revenue can be part of a teacher's pay.

        Notice that neither are paid according to any "moral value" you might want to impose. It is all about revenue. So comparing sports figures with teachers, while emotionally satisfying, is not very logical.

        I think that everyone can agree that teaching is a noble profession, but it is a public service funded by taxation and not commercial revenue.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • john

        duhhhhh...because they can do athletically what millions of other people cant.....ANYONE can get a teaching degree...dont be a hater, heck, I am an RN....lots of folks can do my job, but I dont whine about others making more money than me or if I am valued by society, salary has nothing to do with how you are viewed....everyone hates lawyers,,,but that make a lot of money...anyway..its the liberal way to be envious of others becaase of their own lack of talent etc.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Charlie

      Anyone will teach, not too many people will remove the turds.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • Dave

        Wrong, anyone will NOT teach. There are a lot of whiners who gripe about how easy a teacher's job is and how they are overpaid, but those whiners don't seem to have what it takes to become a teacher. First one has to be intelligent enough to know that statements like "Anyone will teach" are factually WRONG. As to your assertion that teachers take jobs and then never leave, that is wrong too. The state I live in loses 25% of the new teachers within one year and 50% withing three years; they go to jobs that pay more and require fewer hours. The ones who stay in teaching do not do so for the money; they stay because they care about the students, often more than the parents who are perfectly happy if their children do not learn anything as long as they make the sports team.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • daveil

      Clever comment but not very believable as even if your pay is greater I doubt you can compare on health pension benefits.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • Darth Cheney

        Even if they only received the same compensation, his point still holds.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • john

      "Developing the mind of a child" Yea right. As a whole..govt run schools are a failure, not due to pay, but due to liberal curriculums, teachers unions....and lets face it, most teachers could not get another degree. Oh never mind..your a liberal. Go flush some turds.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • Darth Cheney

        I think Fox News flushed quite a few turds into that toilet bowl between your ears.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Dave

        Why is it that CONservatives whine about liberals in education but do not have the intelligence, courage, social concern, or other characteristics necessary to become teachers? If you don't like liberals teaching your children, go to college, get a degree, get licensed to teach, and then teach. Oh, wait. You are a CONservative so all you can do is whine about those evil liberals {tm} while CONservatives do nothing.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • Monica

        Excuse me John, but it looks like you need the help of a teacher. You need some practice with your grammar. There is a difference between YOUR and YOU'RE. Look it up, study it, practice it, and once you are able to master an elementary skill feel free to make as many ignorant comments as you wish.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
      • Steven

        Apt replies. A survey, obviously biased, found that viewers of Fox not only are less well informed, but less intelligent as well. My older siblings are hooked on Fox, and it really makes conversation difficult.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • Monica

        No one will take your opinion on education seriously if you are unable to express yourself in an educated manner.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  34. Nope

    While I think it's somewhat noble for those teachers to accept no pay and continue to teach, it's kind of stupid on their part as well. They've set a precedent now and when/if the budget problem is resolved, why should the state resume paying them again? They've already showed they have no problem working for free.

    And teachers (at least here in VA) don't need higher pay. You want to adjust pay for people? How about the people making less than $25,000/year? Those are the people who need higher pay. The average teacher salary in VA for 2011 was $51,903, more than double what I make and they get a 3 month paid vacation every year and probably 10-20 holidays off each year.

    The problem with our economy is that wage disparity is too high. Sure people should have the right to make as much money as possible, but no one should be paid less than the poverty rate, that's just stupid. Minimum wage needs to be much much higher than it is currently. If you make minimum wage and have 1 kid, you're only ~ $1,000 over poverty. How are people supposed to save money for emergencies or retirement? How are people supposed to rebound our economy if they have to spend every penny on basic necessities? Minimum wage should be at least $12/hour which would give that person (and any dependents) ~$1,200/month extra over the poverty level.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • PATeacher

      This isn't about making a point or setting a precedent, it is about helping our students. Should we sacrific their education on the altar of politics?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
      • Conservative educator

        I suspect an unbiased review of the curriculum would reveal that you already have.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • marsha haggstrom

      NO teacher gets a 3 month paid vacation! It boils my blood when I hear this! Get your facts straight! We are paid for 10 months only!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • TeacherinGA

      Nope,
      I am sorry you are too ignorant to understand the situation. Teachers do not get paid for the summer or the days off at Christmas. We are under contract for a certain number of work days, not full year. Do we get a paycheck during those times?? Of course! They pay us through out the year for our 190 days so that we do not have months at a time without money. Please understand the situation before making an absurd comment.

      And if you want to talk about pay? What other profession with the majority of employees with graduate level degrees pay half of what those degrees are worth? Most teachers do not teach to become rich (we know what we are getting into), we teach because we want to give back and help children be more successful then even ourselves.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Capitalismisfair

      Don't preach about the wage gap. There will ALWAYS be the rich and poor and those of us who were fortunate enough to be born in the US or who live here now are also blessed to be given the ability to change the economy. The wage gap exists because we allow it to. Minimum wage increases only result in price adjustment to make up for lost profit. That's basic logic. What NEEDS to happen is people who are unemployed NEED to seek employment instead of living off of the government and those who are not paying enough NEED to be supported by charity organizations. Did you know that before 1932, when the NEW DEAL came into effect, charities and churches gave much more to the poor and impoverished than they do now? Giving dropped off when Americans accepted the NEED for government support. People don't need a HAND OUT they NEED a HAND UP.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • Mani

        This is the TRUTH.

        I love it!

        When you are born in America, from the riches or the rich to the poorest of the poor you are born with the right to do whatever it is that you want to do. Most American's take advantage of it and don't acknowledge and place blame on someone else and stand in line looking for a hand out. Instead of trying to lend a hand.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
      • Peggy

        Capitalismisfair,

        I come from a line of business people and teach entrepreneurship to young people. Your analysis is cold, heartless and wrong. It makes me want to first regurgitate, then cry, then become a Socialist. Look up social responsibility.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Dave

      Nope: Do you gripe about the football coaches at the state universities? I bet their pay is in the millions of dollars per year. Using the typical measure of a teacher's work time, I will measure a football coach's work time. Let's say a team plays 15 games a year and each game lasts four hours. That means that a football coach works 15 games * 4 hours = 60 hours per year. Let's say the coach is paid $1,000,000 per year. That means the coach is paid $1,000,000/60 = $16,666.67 per hour. Wow! Talk about a cushy job. Especially since I have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of people say they could do a better job than the typical football coach. Can you think of any other government employee paid that much per hour?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • XL120315

      So your solution is to what? Have the teachers walk, close the schools, don't educate the young who in turn can't get meaningful employment (outside of McDonalds), and what do you think that will do to our country in the long run? A whole generation of minimum wage workers with no education, can't read well enough to vote or sign a contract, and their next in line to run the country. Brilliant.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Al

      Perhaps a little more application of yourself in school would have given you the tools to be making more than $25K per year. Being a teacher is a professional position, that requires significant college education.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  35. Rick S.

    What is the problem? We have some teachers working without a guaranteed paycheck (work w/o pay) and others in other parts of the country who couldn’t teach an elephant to be big getting huge paychecks (pay w/o work), or worse yet others not working and still receiving paychecks (think New York City).
    The question we should be asking ourselves is “What is the Problem?”. Is it the teachers, the politicians, the parents, society, or something/someone else? Personally, I think it is the system. Our system of education does not work. Most of the kids entering into college need to take remedial courses because their education to that point doesn’t give them the tools to pass the freshmen level courses. We have states that have, want to have, different “levels” of high school diplomas (this is stupid really), one for college-bound students, one for “work-force bound” students, and maybe one for welfare-bound students. All students should be taught as if they were going to go on to college. We have teachers with tenure who can’t be fired and still can’t teach the subject worth a damn. We have teachers’ unions that keep striking or threatening to strike to get more benefits and raises when the result of these raises and better benefits is not a better educated student body. We have states and local governments throwing millions into “after school programs” when their kids are failing school. We have parents (yes, part of the system) who don’t care if their kid even goes to school. We have Federal, State, and County Governments putting thousands of dollars toward education and really getting nothing in return (New Orleans paid over $9,000 per student per year for education from 1998 to 2003 and during that time only 5 students from New Orleans public schools qualified for the State’s Tuition Payment Program (TOPS) during that period).
    So we need to get back to the basics. Sports are secondary, art is secondary, music is secondary, everything else is secondary. If the kids at a school cannot pass their grade level exams then the school should not have a sports program, or a music program, or an art program, and they should not be teaching cooking. Sports is not a necessity and although some would disagree, neither are art or music, these can be taught after homework and chores.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • TampaBayFan

      I agree. I was schooled in a private school that focused on core education (science, math) and liberal courses like English and literature. I think I came out well rounded and have a successful career. Other peers from my school became doctors and engineers. And we didn't waste our time with sports or art because it didn't exist.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Relictus

        Arts are linked to crafts, which is the backbone of manufacturing. Discount the Arts and you waste the talents of some of your students. Good entertainers can easily outstrip excellent engineers in pay – and the perks can be great! The idea that all Arts are a namby pamby waste of time is dangerously wrong. Innovation comes from creativity, which is fostered by the Arts.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • Mani

        I don't think extracurricular activities take away from education. I think they should be very much apart of it. I was in both sports and music and I did pretty well for myself. I went to college and I now have a successful career. I also think they both played a hand in keeping me interested in school. As a matter of fact, studies show that student who are involved in extracurricular activities excel in school far more than students who are not. So, I think your opinion on that, is just that, an opinion.

        The issue isn't extracurricular activities.
        They've cut funding to extracurricular activities for decades and the education of American students hasn't gotten any better.

        Let's leave person opinions out of this.

        The issue is that America don't not place great enough important on educations. PERIOD.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Peggy

      I am a grandmother. My daughter is a single parent with a thirteen year old daughter. We are not rich. We are community volunteers and work with youth. I really commend this teacher and her colleagues.

      On a yearly basis we pay $17000 for our thirteen year old to attend a private school. Remember, we are not rich but we budget and sacrifice to make this happen as she was not flourishing in the public system. This teacher reminds me of the dedication one would find in better public and private schools.

      Since 70% of the students are financially disadvantaged, the other 30% could form a pool and make a donation to the union on behalf of those teachers, just a suggestion.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • DrD123

      I seem to recall from HS (almost 40 yrs ago) that certain European countries have a two-track system of secondary education. One track is for students who wish to go into skilled trades. The other track is for students who wish to go into what we in the U.S. typically refer to as "professions." Not to say that skilled trades aren't professions, because many of them in fact are. We seem to have developed the notion that every young person MUST have at least a 4-yr degree.. Let's face it, not everybody is equally capable of this, or will be happy working in a "profession." If the U.S. had more young people who were shown the real value of a skilled trade, maybe we could keep more jobs here, and have less of the pillaging by "professionals" that we seem to have.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Steven

      Seems you have been blinded by information, but not guided by logic Rick. Apart from all the other nonsense, 50% of teachers quit during first 5 years, and that is after investing heavily in credentialing process and probation. True, just a few get booted after surviving that, and surviving the crucible of the classroom and 100 parents. But you underestimate the power of administrators to sit on a teacher's head with observations, comments, assignments, and intimidation to drive out all but the most callous.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  36. BubbaCo

    So much of teaching depends on where you live. My wife and I both teach, and together we make well over 100K per year. During the school year it isn't unusual for us to work 15 hour days and take work home on the weekends, but we enjoy our time off. We'll retire in our mid-50's with a decent pension, plus we're saving quite a bit due to the fact that we decided not to have kids. Big new house, new swimming pool, car, travel...it's not a bad gig if you can handle it...and many can't. We've seen many people get chewed up and spit out, so it isn't for the meek.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • marsha haggstrom

      Amen, my brother! Been there for 38 years and still counting, loving every minute!

      January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  37. GaryB

    Seems like a lot of people on hear have been drinking too much of the coporate anti-union koolaid. A few facts about the techer in the school district my kids attend...

    Nearly half of the teachers in my district hold a masters degree or higher. That means that between the bachelors, teaching certificate and masters they spent at least seven years in college. Academic standards for incoming teachers are actually higher than at the local private school.

    Starting salary is about $35,000. In Southern California, this is less than the starting salary for many professional occupations (to put things in perspective, the average house in the neighborhoods where they teach costs over $500,000). Average salary is $59,000 – not great when compared to other professions with similar education requirements.

    The teachers in the district contribute towards their health benefits. Teachers with families can expect to pay several hundred dollars per month towards their health insurance (just a tad less than I pay as a private business owner). They do, however, belong to a health network, so they do get lower cost office visits and lower deductibles than one would get in the private insurance market, but its not free and the benefits are certainly nowhere near the "cadillac" benefits enjoyed by corporate executives.

    The teachers do enjoy a pension plan that is a litttle better than social security. But their retirement benefits are only a fraction of those offered the local sheriffs (an occupation that only require six months of post high school education) and firefighters, and their pay is considerably lower as well. Teacher also contribute some of their wages towards their pension.

    On top of all that, the teachers in our district took a voluntary 9.7% pay cut two years ago.They did that so fewer teachers would have to be laid off and class sizes wouldn't grow to terrible levels.

    Before you criticize teachers and blame teacher unions for all your local government's overspending woes, I suggest you do some research, You might find out that the garbage being spewed by your local conservative politicians is just that... garbage.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Keith

      stopped reading after "hear"

      January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • John

        Well Mr. spelling, your sentence lacks a subject. Fail.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • laps

      the average teacher might make $59k per year, but that is for 10 months of works, so to make a valid comparison with other jobs, you should be comparing teachers to people who make 20% more – $71k. During the school year some teachers work more than the negotiated minimum and those teachers should be commended for putting in extra time. Unfortunately, most don't. Also, most people who make $71k per year work more than the minimum required and they are also educated people.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • Dave

        laps: Do you gripe about the football coaches at the state universities? I bet their pay is in the millions of dollars per year. Using the typical measure of a teacher's work time, I will measure a football coach's work time. Let's say a team plays 15 games a year and each game lasts four hours. That means that a football coach works 15 games * 4 hours = 60 hours per year. Let's say the coach is paid $1,000,000 per year. That means the coach is paid $1,000,000/60 = $16,666.67 per hour. Wow! Talk about a cushy job. Especially since I have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of people say they could do a better job than the typical football coach. Can you think of any other government employee paid that much per hour?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • N.T.

        Try comparing hours instead of days worked. Most jobs only require that you work for 40 hours a week. As a teacher, I work a minimum of 60, and next week I'll end up working 70 because progress reports are due. I'm only able to type this now because it's my lunch period.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Steven

      Right Gary. So much propaganda by the for-profit charter school "Waiting for Superman" break the union, hound out the expensive, crowd. I have read that Eva Moskowitz, here in NYC gives herself $400,000 for running 4 charters, burning out non-union labor, and using political influence to shut down "failing" schools.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  38. TampaBayFan

    I commend her, but this also sends a message to politicians and school distrcits. Make the teachers work for free, and we can allocate money to other areas, like higher salaries for politicians and school administrators. Everyone up the school faculty chain should also work for free until a clear message is sent.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  39. Reggie from LA

    Dear Idiots. I am not a teacher, but have taught on numerous occasions. Now Romney earns hundreds of millions of dollars, being admittedly being unemployed. I can live with that. Capitalism. Teaching and surviving teaching is one of the hardest jobs imaginable, doing it right, and doesn't ALWAYS pay what these folks are worth. That's how a lot of you numbskulls are able to articulate your ignorance in the blogosphere. Geezis, people can be so pathetically stupid and bigmouthed.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Keith

      >"being admittedly being unemployed"
      >" Teaching and surviving teaching is one of the hardest jobs imaginable, doing it right, and doesn't ALWAYS pay what these folks are worth"
      >Calls people "numbskulls" and "pathetically stupid"

      Confirmed for moron. Moving on.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Staley

      My wife is a private school teacher in a multi-grade classroom. I wish those who are complaing about teacher Furgasons' article need to go and observe my wife's class. One thing that I have come to know about teaching, you have to love and enjoy what you are doing.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  40. Josiah

    I love all these people who have never taught having an opinion about what's right in education. Unless you're been a teacher, sit down, your opinion doesn't carry any weight.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      I am talking about the business of running schools. I have plenty of experience in that realm.
      What happens in the classroom is not why school districts are going bankrupt.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Charlie

      We are all educators in some way shape or form. By your logic, if you have never run a business you shouldn't be deciding what is right for a business.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Keith

      "Unless you have taught your opinion doesn't carry any weight"

      Well, in that case, you're not allowed to have any opinion of how our country should be run unless you've been a President.

      >Idiots, idiots everywhere.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  41. Necole

    Okay, when you have had a freeze on your salary for 4 years, 3 pay cuts every 9 months, and you have to bring food, clean, council, mentor, dress professionally even though you have to do physival labor, provide security, supplies, teach, and still have to continue your education over and over to keep your license/position, work many UNPAID hours, lesson plans, and learning a new program, or a new process every 3 months. Standing in the heat/cold, breaking up fights, get cursed out by parents all the time/every day or cell phones and clothes and grades and the price of tickets or books, and then going to parents home to inquire about their child missing 65 days out of a 180 day school year. All while your superiors and the country says its in the service of children. Let me say this, not many teachers reduce their efforts to educate children, we still spend our money for their needs, we still put in the effort, searching for funding to take them on trips, and show them the quality of life. I plan to get out of education because I made more sitting in a cushy office doing half of the work without the stress. There is a difference between sacrifice and just being murdered emotionally and financially. I work at a school, not as a teacher, but I have friendships and associations with teachers, and if you didn't know MOST teachers in Nevada have second jobs, they aren't living off the school districts pay comfortably. We are not insensitive and lazy... we are abused and undervalued.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Keith

      Yes, all of that sounds terrible. It's almost like having a publicly funded school system isn't working out. Hmmm..

      January 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  42. Lila

    Thank you Sara, you are an amazing person!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  43. Mike

    3 monts off with pay...incorrect. They have their "Normal" pay for the 9ish months spread out over 12 (like a escrow accout). YOU try to teach to a class of 30 2nd graders! They are 2nd graders not universiy students. they can't lern in a lecture hall setting which is what is happening to them because school districts cant afford enough teachers. And lets not forget that when they get home, there is still grading, phone calls, and planning (because their "planning time' at school was used up dealing with meetings, student needs, making copies of the plans they did last night)

    January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      I don't understand your logic. Their pay is spread out over 12 months, but they still don't work for 10 weeks over the summer. The summers off are a fact, but the pay is spread out so that they don't have to worry about budgeting.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • PATeacher

        I spend 8 out of those 10 weeks off revising my teaching materials, preparing and organizing my classroom, meeting with support staff to make sure I know the needs of my new students before they arrive, and doing professional development which I pay for myself. I get the same 2 weeks of vacation that every other full time employee gets. I don't understand where this fallacy about teachers having summers off comes from. I work 50 weeks a year, 40 hours a week.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • Lauren

        Not all teachers are paid over the summer. Some systems allow the 9 month pay to be spread over 12, other systems do not, forcing teachers to work. And FYI–many many teachers attend professional development activities over the summer that take them away from their families.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • Anna

        Your logic about having 3 months off is not correct. Perhaps there are older, tenured teachers who can finally afford to be off during that time, but I know no one who has taken an entire summer off. Teachers teach summer school, take second jobs to make ends meet when the salary they do have is not enough, and are required by state law to do continuing education to remain licensed every 5 years. This means they need to go to workshops or go back to school to work towards advanced degrees, and very little or none of it is reimbursed by either the school district or the state. Therefore, the salary that is already stretched so thin due to salary freezes or cuts also has to pay thousands of dollars in continuing education costs just to remain licensed to be able to have a job that doesn't pay all the bills in the first place. It is only the elite few that are able to take that kind of time off during the summer. I have been a teacher for 9 years, and I have never had a summer off. This is the propaganda that politicians and school boards dish out when trying to cut teachers' pay. You need to find out what actual, hard-working, dedicated teaching professionals do with their so-called "vacation" time.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        Oh please. What you are all talking about are optional activities followed by very few teachers. You have what is called a 10 month contract, which means you are expected to work 10 months. This is how you choose to spend your free time. Most teachers that I know spend their summers at the beach or the community pool.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • Anna

        State law mandates for continuing education, professional development, and licensing requirements are not optional. It is not a choice, it is a necessity to spend your time fulfilling these requirements.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  44. Doug

    Wow. Our greedy teachers eat their young. They would not even accept a pay FREEZE for a single year, they get all teary when we are forced to reduce numbers.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Katie

      If anyone can read what this guy said, THANK A TEACHER.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • Doug

        I was home-schooled. I thank my Mom.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Doug

      We did however, have voluntary cuts by some admins.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
      • John

        I certianly would not thank your mother for teaching you any manners. I've met many socially-maladjusted, religious freak home schooled kids who have difficulty functioning in society becasue they can't for the life of them understand why the rest of the world does not bow down to the beliefs and ideals of thier family. Condesention and self-righteousness thier sword and shield in thier quest to survive an awful world plagued by freedom of thought and diverse perspectives.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • Doug

        That's awful, John ! You should really think about renouncing your family. Perhaps emancipation is your best bet.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      Teachers have been taking pay freezes all over the country for several consecutive years now. What reality exactly are you speaking from?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • mundakaman

        The Number one problems with the School is Teachers Union. If they abolish union for Teachers, There will not a financial problem inthe school. I gauratee it. I pay way too much property Tax, I don't have any children in school.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • Doug

        I'm speaking from the reality of having been the one that ASKED them. The answer was swift and it was no.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  45. Frog Face

    she should not be allowed to work without pay.....she could sue later demanding payment.
    there was story a couple years ago about a old women who volunteered for the county for 45 years....doing work that any payed employee would do.
    when she retired she sued for payment....the county was ordered to pay her millionnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnns

    January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Me

      This would only worsen the problem. Now that the government owes her millions which takes away millions that could be put towards education. I think you are missing her point. She and the other teachers could have easily gone home and not taught because they weren't paid. Instead they CHOSE to continue to work for free for the children. The schools told them that they weren't going to be able to make payroll, so it's not as if the teachers didn't know and were being duped into working for free.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  46. Jim in San Mateo

    Education is an investment in this country's future and we are flushing the opportunity down the toilet because we can't see further than our next paycheck. China's currently creates 10 times the engineers we do. Their goal is to create 100 times the engineers we do. That being the case, where do you think research, design and manufacturing are going to be taking place in the next 50 years? It isn't going to be here because no one will be smart enough to do it.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • jpmiller99

      We spend a fortune on education, and what do we get for it, political science and fashion merchandising majors?
      More money won't make kids want to do the hard work of math/science.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  47. jpmiller99

    Vouchers for all please. Then, successful schools would flourish and bad schools would fold. Enough of your worthless opinion of what's "fair". All that matters in the end are success and failure, and the public school model is a failure because it won't allow bad schools/teachers to failure. As a matter of fact, public education continues to subsidize failure.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  48. DJ McFly

    HEY SARA: What Do You Do The Other 3 MONTHS Out Of The Year?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Kim

      prepare for the next school year while living off of money she had to SAVE from the rest of the year. Yeah, she gets 3 months off, but she doens't get paid for that time, which effectively reduces her monthly income significantly. Many teachers use that time to prep the next year, extend their education (at their own cost)or by working in summer school or outside jobs if they need the extra money. Many teachers I know barely get 2 weeks off in the summer when they are done with summer school.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Steven

      Let's see; an ignorant person is implying that the mandated 185 days of in-school teaching somehow leaves teachers free to enjoy months of leisure, as if every day off were not counted in salary negotiations, and virtually all of a teachers' time off is preparation for the classroom.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Susan

      She probably has a summer job so she can get to a reasonable annual salary and pay for school supplies the district can't afford. If you were a teacher you would understand that they need a break from dealing with children, parents, and administrators.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  49. Ron

    I am a little suprised by how many people are making comments like "You're worthless because you work for free." Really? These teachers sacrafice so YOUR childrens ecudation is not disrupted and you have something negative to say? The fact is teachers ARE a essential. Unfortunately, like everything in life a few bad apples will spoil the bunch, or at least the reputation of the bunch. Those underacheiving teachers should be dealt with and unions should be more proactive about indentifying the bad apples. But all teacher should not be viewed as "UNDER ACHIEVING UNION LEACHERS". As parents it is YOU who should be upset that those responsible for your childrens education are not properly compensated. Its your kids that are losing out and that is the exact reason those teachers went without pay. They saw the bigger picture and they were selfless enough to go without pay. No those are the type of people I want teaching my kids.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Ron

      Damn, this wireless keyboard makes me look like my teachers were working for free. LOL

      January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Eddie

      yep I agree there are bad union teachers and bad non union teachers. Its a fact of life get use to it and do our best to idenify the bad ones and get rid of them.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  50. BooseyBoo

    As a society I find it humorous that we want THE best education for our children yet do not want to pay for it. For such an important job as teaching our "precious" children, teachers salaries are pittifully low. No one wants their taxes to increase to keep great educators and attract new ones but will always justify why they NEED a brand new car with all the bells and whistles that come at a huge price and lets not forget the rims too.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      Nah...we capitalists do not want educated consumers. Dumb consumers are the best. They keep buying s#it they don't need with money they don't have so we capitalists can continue to ship our money off to the Cayman Islands you know...Stupid americans are good for capitalism. So lets keep them stupid. It serves us well...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
      • Teacher

        You have effectively summed up GOP policy over the past thirty years.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • Darth Cheney

        Nailed it. Someday, way too late, the 1% and their attendant sheeple are going to find out that in eroding the consumer base of the entire economy, they have in fact destroyed the economy completely.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • jim

      People don't get paid in accordance with the importance of their jobs, but with how well they do those jobs. With that standard in mind, I think the vast majority of teachers are already greatly overpaid.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
      • mpouxesas

        d@mn, I should have been a teacher!!!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • Nathaniel

        Much as I'd like to spend time pointing out the error in that thinking, I'll just say this – OH MY, YOU ARE DUMB!!!

        January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        Some are overpaid but so are alot of Americans...regardless, it is too easy to put this problems soley on the backs of teachers in stead of where it truly belongs. Parents who expect someone else to raise their children with little to no involvment except for the procreation aspect.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Anfscd

      More money doesn't equal a better education. The US spent a combined $1.13 trillion dollars on education for school year 2010-2011. Federal spending has more than doubled from 1970-2006 for K-12 and scores have remained virually flat.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • mpouxesas

        Do you know how/where exactly this amount of money was spent? Please check and see if it was on TEACHER salaries... You'd be surprised to find out that a lot of it went to cover administrative costs, building repairs, public policy (!), custodian/maintenance/etc...need I go on?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  51. school counselor 724

    I think that none of you know what you are talking about. If you have ever worked in a school, or a facility where your children are babysat all day long, you might understand. Everybody has an opinion and most of them don't make sense. Try managing 700-1200 children a day. With every known problem in world. Poverty. Hunger. Abuse, several different kinds. Illness. ETC, ETC, ETC. Show up to a school and spend some time and see what goes on. Yes we have all dealt with hardship and a lot of us have gotten thru and been successful. But not everyone can do it. The food chain is long, and distinguished. And we all have to bear the burden, not just the teachers. Parents and home life are the real issue. If you haven't gotten that yet, you never will.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • charliethetuna

      Wow....where to start. My wife is a teacher so I see both sides. I can only speak to NJ and all issues change depending on the state you live in. For NJ, 2/3 of taxes go towards local school districts if you have little state aid. When state budgets get reduced, what else is going to happen...families of poorer districts pay little towards their kids education so their pot of money is less. In NJ, the voters said enough, hence Gov Christie. There are many ways to reduce education costs without impacting education. One BIG one for NJ is to regionalize school districts. We don't need almost 600 superintendents for almost 600 districts…just one example of wasted money. Also, teachers unions need to cooperate and grow up....stop whining and help with a solution.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  52. Omar

    This woman seems like a good teacher. That said, working for free isn't any kind of answer.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  53. Frog Face

    so she basically believes her teaching is worth nothing....people who do labor for free and think its good are people who dont believe their labor has any value.
    esp if someone else is profiting by your free slave labor

    January 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Ghibelline

      Not everyone measures worth in dollars...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • MrThor

      So basically anyone who volunteers believes their work has no value. Ignorance is bliss.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • CJ

      uh i think it was about the kids! wow you can see from some of the stupid responses on this subject that education is lacking in America!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • btru

      I think you misunderstood the article, she worked for free for a time, while they were figuring out where the funds were coming from. Those teachers who could survive without the pay for awhile decided that it they would continue until the issue was finally resolved.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  54. Pete

    Good for her students that she can afford to do what she does.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  55. JRev

    Any teacher complaining about their salary being too low is flat-out lying. Several people in my family teach, either privately or publicly, so I know the deal. They are compensated VERY well (at least in GA they are for public teachers) and get huge increases for higher education ($7000 instant increase for masters, another for phd...again, public only). They are taken care of generally-speaking like the police and fire-fighters, before all other state workers. And yes, they get lots of holidays and of course summer off (spare me the bit about "spreading the salary out over 12 months"...you get paid well for a 12-month salary). It's a tough job, but no one made you choose your career, so quit using that as a crutch. I'm very appreciative of good teachers, but I'm sick of hearing any teacher complain about their salaries, especially in public schools. You can be the worst teacher in the world and easily achieve a $60,000 salary within 10 years here in GA by going to any online school to get a master's degree. Anyone that disputes this simply is lying and doesn't know what they are talking about. It took my 15 years to achieve that salary as an engineer and I do not get 3 months off for free, in addition to bunches of holidays and LEAVE on top of that. But yes, let's spend more on education itself, but teachers? No, they don't need any more benefits than they currently get...sorry! I'd like to see more tax benefits for those going to private school as well. Talk about inequity...private teachers are the ones who need help...they are working for MUCH less and often have to deal with kids with emotional problems like mild autism.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Len

      That is total BS. I know in many areas of Kentucky and Indiana, we start with a salary of around 28,000 with a degree. We also get crappy benefits and no bonuses. No one takes care of us. Also, that time off is a joke. Just because the kids get off doesn't mean teachers are off. I spent a good part of the summer in inservice, and I was NOT paid for summer. The only way a teacher is paid at all is if they decide to spread their pay out throughout the year. A good teacher also spend a lot of their time planning lessons, grading, and helping students with issues...at least that is what I did as a special education teacher.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • JRev

        Then you should move. I stand by my post. My wife is a private teacher making almost 40k and she's only taught for 4 years, but she's pretty special. Another family member only makes 48 after teaching about 9 years, but after you add in the master's and upcoming phd, it'll be 65k easily...so about 10-12 years maybe. I started at 28k myself and built up to 65k over the course of 15 years, with a highly-regarded engineering degree. Again, no one asked you to choose teaching as a career, so quit complaining about the work you do to prepare...that preparation time diminishes over time with experience. My family do work hard, but they don't complain about their pay or lack of benefits, vacation, etc. You can say I'm full of BS, but that does not make it so. Teachers, for the most part, are compensated quite well financially, have in general VERY secure jobs (even during a bad economy), and the benefits beat out most any other career on the planet. I suggest you go to any easy online master's school, and get your pay bumped up...that's what my sis did.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • rahul

        i dont know what failure company you worked for or how poor your performance must have been to only have made that much after 15 years with an advanced degree in engineering, but that's pathetic. My family is all engineers, and their pay increases have been much higher than that throughout the years. (thats both my generation and my father's generation, and he retired after his 35th year of work)

        And on the issue of teachers, i personally believe that teachers with trackrecords of good performance should be paid as much as any successful engineer. I don't think ceilings for salary should exist based purely on the kind of job you have, but purely on results.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • czerendipity

      Agreed, as someone who has a family member who teaches at two schools and makes about $100k a year. In Oregon.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
      • czerendipity

        But that family member works their A** off for the money and puts in lots of overtime. The person deserves it, but my point would be that they can make as much money as they want if they just work for it. Kind of like everyone else, huh?

        January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Len

      Also, if it took you 15 years to make that salary as an engineer, I think you are lying. Most of my friends who are computer engineers started off making that salary, many of them after 5 years, with a masters making high seven digit salaries to low eight digit.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • Matt STL

        As an engineer with many engineer friends, I'll attest that your "friends" are not engineers if they are making 7 to 8 digit salaries after 5 years. They may have engineering degrees, but they are not doing engineering work. 6 digits is possible, even starting out, depending on the industry, but the 50k to 75k after 5 years would be the average.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • Nicole

        Really, Len? 7 or 8 figures? I had no idea that engineering was so lucrative.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Tom Workman

      The facts you state will never be reported by the liberal press. If money was the main issue in education we would be the smartest country in the world. The USA produces some of the most expensive dummies in our education system

      January 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jim in San Mateo

      You don't have a clue. Starting salary rank for Georgia is 14th out of 50 states. Here in California, we rank 48th because the education has been cut and cut and cut again. A receptionist makes as much as a teacher here. Teachers also work harder than most people think. Yes, they only teach for five to six hours a day, then they have to do lesson plans, paper work and grade tests and papers and that's a lot more than 10 hours a week.

      Your teachers have it better than most.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Steve

      Ignorance is bliss my man. You must be a very blissful individual. You also must be a terrible engineer. I received my BSME in 2010 and made 61k in 2011. Took me all of 3 months after graduation to find that job.

      It's pretty clear you have no idea what you're talking about and must live in an untouched part of the US with respect to the recession. Teachers don't get enough credit. They shape our childrens minds. I hope that you don't spout these "thoughts" of yours off around people that may shape YOUR childrens minds. It would be too bad if they received as garbage of an education as you apparently did.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
      • JRev

        Testy much? I went to one of the top 4 engineering schools in the country, but I only got a BA and stopped. I work in public sector too, hence my lower salary. You've missed my point entirely. My only point is that teachers get paid well in general (CA notwithstanding apparently) and I am tired of hearing them complain about their perceived lack of compensation. I have loads of family and friends that are teachers and I believe they would all agree with me 100%. I never implied once that teaching is not a hard job.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Eddie

      60,000 ain't much now adays but its a pay. they do get great benifts. but we need to continue to support our public school.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • alb

      1. Mild autism is not an emotional disorder.
      2. REALLY?! Know your information before you speak...
      http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/human-resources/teacher-salary-schedule

      January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • JRev

        I assumed my sis knew what she was talking about, as she's the teacher. Regarding the other, my bad, no offense meant.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • nathaniel lindsey

      There are those who think Teachers who teaches without pay is low on quality. It is not, it shows that these Teachers care about the children that they teach. I believe that the local and and state government, should realize this and act favorably regarding the children of their state.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Teacher

      You don't have a clue about what you're saying. Your information is garbage and if it weren't, you'd be describing a teaching job that's exceedingly rare. Try more along the lines of 38k/year for 5+ years of higher education, 10-12 hour workdays, and a slew of stressful complications that nobody should have to deal with. You need a few months off every year just to keep your sanity. If you disagree, then you've never taught and therefore have no idea what you're talking about.

      Come back when you have something to say that's grounded in reality.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bill

      Jerry, my wife has spent upwards as much as 1500 dollars per year on materials related to work. I'd think you'd be hard pressed to find someone in the private sector that spends that amount out of pocket for there job. Some may spend more, some maybe less, but all teachers do to some degree. There is no crying about it ... it's just the way it. They just want people to know some of their salary are put back into their classroom when there is a lack of materials that are needed. By the way, contrary to what you may think, not every state has teacher unions.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jeb

      Didn't Georgia just force teachers to take furlough days? And doesn't it cost money and take plenty of time to get a Master's degree, even online? Most teachers I know spend 2-3 hours working on their job every day after the kids have gone home. You make it sound like being a public school teacher in Georgia is a breeze. I believe you're intentionally misleading people.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • richard

      Yea, and I am sure what ever you do there are well compensated people that suck at what they do ...heck maybe it's you. and if your in a business I am sure you have found away to either screw your employees or the government even if you are terrible at what you do. Point is quit villifing teachers.They are the bedrock of this country. But your type are happy to see a professiopnal ball player make tens of millions of dollars to catch a ball.....that's why this country is failing....it's priorities are messed up.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Sparky

      You must suck as an engineer then...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Matt STL

      I think what's not being discussed is the maldistribution of funds in public schools. If you are in an affluent area, then yes 60k or higher could easily be attained. In the less affluent areas where, there are still children that have to learn, this salary would not be reached without the assistance of corruption. I live in Illinois, so I know a little about that last part. As socialist as this sounds, each school district should have the same funds per child enrolled available with a minimum amount to sustain the the maintenance of the school. That dollar amount would be for students and equipment. Without doing this, you get the revolving door problem. A school district cannot pay high salaries, so they compromise and get low quality teachers. These children do not learn and therefore do not prosper. The teachers are not the only factor, as parents, environment, and lack of supplies hinder their learning also. This is why you have many children living with Auntie who lives in a better school district than the parents can afford to live in just to get their child a better/safer education.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Really

      Wow, you really don't get it. First off, 3 months off? That's what everyone wants to throw at us!! Ha! In order for me to earn more money at my job, I have to go to school during the summer!! What a novel idea!! Many companies pay their employees to get travel to seminars etc. to move up in the company. Guess what I get to do? Yep, you guessed it. Pay out of my own pocket (not cheap) to move over on the salary scale. Our NE salary scale ends at around 50,000 at most schools (with a master's) Boy, that's a huge salary. Do the math also. The school pays me a SALARY!! They also determine whether I get my pay over 9 months or 12!! I'm paid a certain amount over 12 months instead of 9. DUH!!!! I'm still paying on my student loans/masters since 1993. Now, I'm really feeling rich!! Oh, and what do you have to say to all the NE teachers that work at a year round school with the same salary? They get longer breaks and more of them throughout the year, so ya better start bashing them. If the system is set up to have these months off, then that's the way it is. Stop bashing us for the way we're paid and what months the kids go to school. I will be happy to come for the 3 months of school and take classes or do whatever the district asks. BUT REMEMBER, I AM SALARY, SO THEY BETTER BE ABLE TO PAY ME FOR AN EXTENDED CONTRACT.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • Thomas

        "In order for me to earn more money at my job, I have to go to school during the summer!! "

        Wow in my industry, I have to go to school at night while working a full year. I would love to have a job where I could go to school during my "summer break". Most of us have to squeeze in our CEUs at night school.

        So what are you teachers complaining about again?

        January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  56. Jerry

    While I applaud Ms. Ferguson; I also have to agree with the post by teach. America can not simply continue spending funds we don't have. The unions continue to get away with unabated robbery and there are some so called "teachers" that should not be anywhere near a classroom. Schools systems are afraid to get rid if these worthless teachers because of union threats and law suits.

    It's about time school systems across our nation grabbed the bull by the horns and confronted the unions and the worthless teachers that are the ones that are really holding our students back and increasing costs undeservingly.

    However, we all know that this is not going to happen while the federal government (Obama and his administration) continues to coddle the unions. After all, he desperately needs their votes come November 2012!

    There is no way that any school system in our nation will undertake such an endeavor while this president is in office. Any school system that undertakes such an endeavor, will end up loosing some funding as punishment by the Obama administration.

    There you have it! Intelligent supporting/opposing viewpoints are welcome.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Katie

      Many people in my family are teachers too and if it weren't for their spouses pulling in a nice paycheck, they wouldn't be able to afford to feed their families. Anyone with a graduate degree (one of them has 2 graduate degrees) who gets paid under $50K/year for the hours they put in (and don't give me any of that baloney about them getting summers off) is underpaid. I declined the traditional path (I went into business) and I work part time – four days a week, six hours a day – and my weekly check is almost as much as my sisters', who has been teaching high school for over thirty years. She works at least five days a week, often ten hours per day – at school – and will usually spend four or five hours on the weekend at home grading papers, filling out paperwork for the school, or doing the mandatory committee work for the school. Throw in all the other things she has to do for the school on her own time – attend meetings, see parents, go to rallies/games/plays/dances – and she's earned those six weeks she gets off in the summer (during which she has been known to teach summer school or attend summer school herself.) She will spend her own money on extra supplies for her students and will put in massive effort to fundraise for something she wants for the classroom or for a field trip. Don't tell me she's not underpaid. Not when they keep taking away her benefits and she takes home less than she did three years ago.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Staley

      Would any other adminstration do any better than the current? I think not.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Papa Joe

      Jerry I know u probably mean well, but that is total B.S. Do u really believe a standing president of the U.S. will punish some small school district he probably doesn't even knows exists? "NOT" Bush did everything wrong one can possibly do as a president! Two crazy wars for WMD that did not exist, Afghanistan for God knows why, tanked our economy and now the "Rs" blame it on Obama as he continues to try to repair the mess he was handed. If the wars never happened do u think that money could have helped the education in all our school districts? I served 3 tours in Vietnam so I talk with a heavy heart as we continue to lose man & women over there for no "Valid" reason. Time to rely on Specialty Forces & Drones to take care of business. Boots on the ground is old school and a WW 2 philosophy. I will not apply any more unless we go to WW 3. Tactical Hits and targets! Thus cut the military spending by cutting the number of men & woman in the military saving $Zillions and finally, finally we can begin to repair the damage did to our country

      January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Papa Joe

        Terrible typos LOL And yes I am a retired teacher with a Masters Degree. LOL

        January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  57. Jim

    How will paying teachers more improve the quality of education? Are they only teaching to a certain level now based on what they are being paid? If they were to be paid more – would the students learn more? I don't think so. We're spending more money than ever on funding for schools, yet results are suffering. I don't think money is the issue here.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Len

      Actually, yes it would. Many people who would be amazing teachers don't go into teaching because of the pay. If you are an expert in math, would you want to be an engineer making 100,000+ a year, or a teacher who at retirement may make 40,000 after teaching for 20 years. The numbers just don't work. No one in their right mind would go into a position of working in poverty for pennies. Teachers salaries are going down in many areas, not up.

      As well, not's not forget that the average teacher spends more than 40 years in the classroom. It's more like 60 with preparing lessons. As someone who was a teacher, I can tell you everything isn't cut and dry. I also spent about 30 to 40% of my salary buying teaching supplies because the school wouldn't get me what I needed to do my job. This including writing utensils, paper, and the things kids needed because their family was just too poor. Things get expensive when you are doing this for more than 300 kids a day in a high school. In the end, I was living in poverty before I gave up and just started my own business. It wasn't that I hated teaching, I just couldn't afford to keep doing it.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Len

        sorry for the typos. That's what I get for being on the phone with a client and typing at the same time.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • John

      So you believe paying them less will solve the issue? Will you be motivated to higher levels of achievement if your employer cuts your pay?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Matt

      I don't know, probably the same way that paying CEO's more improves corporate performance, right?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
      • Len

        You also realize that most CEOs worked thirty years to get to that position, right?

        January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Jim

        So subscribing to the belief that teachers will perform better if they are paid more suggests that they are only working to their pay grade. I don't believe it. It has been my experience that teachers work very hard and have a passion for educating children, however, throwing more money education has proven not to be successful. There needs to be a better way.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  58. AL

    What is the author's annual salary? Many other state-funded jobs in PA had the same threat of not being paid because of the budget crisis, and I bet none of those workers made anything close to what teachers make. Also, if she is complaining about teachers working and not getting paid, why don't the rest of us taxpayers complain about teachers NOT working for three months during the summer, yet STILL getting paid then?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      Because most of the time teacher pay is spread out in 26 bi-weekly payments so they receive a paycheck in the summer months....but I guess you did not bother with the statistical fact that teachers are the second lowest paid PROFESSIONALS (only better than social workers)...but you probably don't know or care what paid professionals means...need I explain? In other words, individuals with a master's degree...but anyway, you still think teachers are overpaid so...read my other post (to pay them as babysitters per hour, $3 per hour to be exact, per child per day, etc...)

      January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chris

      My father was a teacher, as is my sister-in-law and daughter-in-law. I (and they) have never heard of a teacher who gets paid during their break unless the teacher specifically request to have part of their pay deferred so that they receive a check in the summer. Perhaps you should check your facts before spouting off.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Teacher

        I get paid during the summer. One paycheck on the first of every month, year round.

        Just sayin'.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
      • Teacher

        ...perhaps you should check your facts before spouting off.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Teacher

      First of all school is out July & August (2 months); Second: we work every weekend and untio 10:00 at night grading, coaching, planning lessons, workshops etc. In the end, I get minimum wage. Yes, it beats working at walmart, but with a college degree and Masters, we're underpaid relative to accountants, lawyers & wall street hedge fund managers with similar levels of education.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
      • Keith

        >compares working for a public school to working for private companies

        Here's an idea, grab some experience working in public schools while doing a NOTICEABLY good job and then start applying for PRIVATE schools. Honestly, teaching isn't unique in the sense that teachers have to "off the clock"; a lot of jobs require you to put in extra work "off the clock". If you were a part of a decent MS program you should already know this.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Tessa

      Because they don't get paid in the summer, that's why you don't hear people complaining about it. However, they do still work in the summer, usually preparing for the next years classes or even running summer classes. Now shush.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • John

      They get paid salary, not hourly, so the constant whining of having summers off is a stupid statement. And given the mandate to teach all year, they would do so. Convince your state to require it and your school board to require it and it'll be done. But then also be prepared for an increase in your taxes. Not to pay teachers more, but to pay the increase costs that go along with keeping buildings open all year and providing all the other services that go along with sending kids to school. I'll just bet you'd squeal like a stuck pig if that happened.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • kerrij01

      I am guessing AL you don't know many teachers, those summers off aren't as long as one would think. My mother and my wife are teachers and growing up there would be nights my mom would not get to bed until well after midnight grading papers, creating lesson plans, then be at school by seven the next morning to do it again. Not too mention deal with parents that believe their kids can do no wrong. My wife spends weekend during the school year grading creating lesson plans, then during the week doing much of the same. It is a thankless job yet a rewarding, a job that seems to be the most ridiculed by folks who have no idea what goes on in a class room or what goes into teaching a class of 30 kids all of whom could be on different learning cureve. Summers off are a small compensation for the time put in.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  59. PA Insider

    Chester-Upland SD's crisis has been a long time coming. They have consistently been the lowest achieving SD in all of PA while recieving proportionally more money than any other SD from the Commonwealth based on their Aid Ratios. This school was even privitized until the company recognized it was a losing investment. There is much more going on in this district than simply Governor Corbett's budget cuts that caused their financial distress...though it certainly didn't help.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  60. Common Sense

    The issue is how jaded, bitter and divided this country is in regards to anything to do with politics. Everyone is drinking the kool-aid and everyone is doing the politicians jobs very nicely: keeping us in a fight against each other. What everyone should be asking each other is this: what would happen to the Federal Government if everyone in America decided to NOT file taxes for 1 year? What would happen if everyone banded together just once and used the single resource left: money, to make a statement? We have no more Thomas Paines, Martin Luther Kings, Malcolm Xs in this country, there is no element of unification left in the bones of the American Flag. No one pays attention to the slow demise of a once great people. It is the PEOPLE that make a country NOT the other way around. Quit squabbling. Rally together and make the most important statement of your lives: ENOUGH.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • wakeup

      thanks you for the post – i am sick of seeing one party fighting against each other

      January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Ghibelline

      Everyone's a sheep but you, got it.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  61. Tom

    What an amazing American!! Reading articles like this make me feel torn. On the one hand, it gives me hope that there are folks out there who care so much about the future of this country, and about what they do personally, that they're willing to sacrifice their own livelihoods for it. And on the other hand, it reminds us that we as a nation shamefully pay teachers, undeniably one of the most important jobs in this country, pennies . At any rate, Ms Ferguson, thank you for your service to our country and to the next generation of Americans!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  62. Steve

    It is unfortunate that in our society, some people feel that working for free is honorable and the right thing to do.
    If I recall history, that was the very definition of "Slavery". Now, why would people want to repeat the very thing they say left a horrible mark on this country?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Daniel

      I agree. Her hearts in the right place but what she's doing is wrong.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Harold Blue

      Um, dude... Slavery? So, you are claiming that they are being forced? Come on...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Quant

      You sir are an idiot. You probably would downplay a Soldier's heroism for jumping on a grenade to protect others, as well. You are probably a really selfish person.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jane

      Steve, the difference between slavery and this woman's actions is that she teaches for free out of the goodness of her heart, while slaves were forced to work for free, under threat of violence and death. I have also taught children without expecting any pay, except for the feeling of knowing I made a difference. It's called volunteering.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Slavery isn't working for free. Slavery is working for free and having no other choice. These teachers had a choice, and I commend them for the one that they made. We need more selflessness like that shown here in country.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  63. JustaDad

    I applaud your efforts as a teacher, kids are very definitely worth our efforts. Your situation is dire but NOT unlike many much more highly trained professionals in industry who have watched their careers, children's future and homes vanish.
    First reaction was to cringe when you mentioned your UNION. Union pay scales have expanded over the past decade while other professions have faced at first stagnation, then contraction and finally evaporation.
    Welcome to the club of the 15% of Americans who have learned that Jobs and Careers are not a right. Jobs and the temporary security the bring are a privilege. It is shameful that now, a public employee of the State pleads for money to continue her employment when the administration turns a deaf ear to the private sector jobless who are being eaten alive by insane energy, tax and fiscal policy,

    January 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • John

      "the private sector jobless who are being eaten alive by insane energy, tax and fiscal policy,..."

      You are being eaten alive by someone that will do your job for much less than you will, but you appear to be a partisan hack.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Len

      hate to say it but education is one of the few careers that still need unions. I know in the school system I used to work for, the union fought to keep our wages at 29,000, rather than get dropped to 26,000. Might I also add that is for a starting teacher with a MASTERS degree? Oh, and lets not also forget that many states force teachers to get a masters degree to keep their certification. The system is very wrong...and it's the main reason that good teachers are leaving. Why would I work for that with a master degree when I can start my own company or work in another field for nearly double the pay?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • AJ

      I don't know if you realize this but teachers make less than most jobs in the private sector. As a first year teacher I make just a little over $20,000 after taxes. If I used my degree in the private sector I could double that. I know that I made my choice to make an actual difference in the lives of kids whose parents spend less time with them than I do. All of the teachers in the district that I am in have not recieved a pay increase in almost 5 years. When the pay was increased it was by 1.3%. Don't mock a union that you clearly do not understand. That women has a bach. degree and two masters and she most certainly makes less than a private sector employee with equal education. The problem is that we have moved from a country that values intangibles to a country that values how much money someone has. Look at Wisconsin, the governor does not have more than a High School education and he has the ability to give himself a $7,500 raise while cutting $800,000,000 from school budgets. People need to start hating on the rich and powerful that get to make decisions for the rest of us. I feel for anyone who has lost their job in this economy but I also feel that anger is being pushed in the wrong direction. We have a presidential candidate that makes over $30,000 per day and complains about having to pay almost 16% of it in income taxes. I pay 30% and don't make that a year. Am I to blame for this countries issues, NO.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • RonCee

      Who is much more highly trained? She has 2 Masters Degrees.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  64. Dave S

    I think their agreeing to work without pay says something horrible about the values they as teachers are teaching. Obviously teaching is worth nothing. Why should the students care to learn when no one will even pay the teachers? Why should the students get an education and a college degree, when a bunch of those with degrees and middling jobs (the teachers) now don't get paid for them?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Ghibelline

      Did this get linked to on an objectivist website or something? Is that why all these people who see only dollar signs are trying to shame her for being a decent human being?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Tim R

      As a teacher, I find your comment (and the myriad of others like it) to be ignorant, uninformed, and for lack of a better word, stupid. They are working for FREE because they VALUE EDUCATION. They aren't looking at it as a dollars and cents issue. Would they love to receive paychecks, certainly. They understand, however, that if they do not charge ahead full steam they are doing an incredible disservice to their students. Teachers don't go into the profession because of the money (and shockingly not even the "2 months paid vacation" – which by the way is more than made up for by the insane amount of hours we work the rest of the year. 65-70 hours/week including weekends and holidays planning, grading, coaching, calling absent or uncaring parents, etc.). They CHOOSE to be teachers because they want to see kids succeed in creating a life for themselves filled with strong morals, values, and the potential for a promising future. THAT is the reason they teach, and the reason they will not just walk off the job.

      So can your "blah, blah, blah" they don't value themselves idiotic opinions and open your eyes. They are working for free because they see the value in what they are doing above and beyond the financial compensation they receive. I can tell you one thing for certain. Their students will show much more appreciation for their continuing to to show up day in and day out without pay than anyone like you will ever truly understand. Students respond to, and ultimately learn from and model themselves after, teachers that show a sincere concern for their individual well-being.

      I leave you with one question. What happens if these teachers don't go to work? Answer: The kids don't go to school. They lose role models, support systems, and often times one of the only people they have in their lives that actually believes they can be something more than a poor, uneducated, drug dealer or McDonald's employee.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  65. xxavier

    what if we cut foreign aids use that money to provide funds for schools, communities or to america period?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Dave S

      Get some education yourself. Foriegn Aid is a TINY portion of the budget. Eliminating it entirely and putting it all into schools is so little money no one would notice.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • Tom

        What a foolish comment. Foreign aid is a MASSIVE part of the US budget.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Len

        Actually, Tom, foreign aid is a tiny part of our budget if you look at the numbers and the percentage used toward helping other countries.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • twh

        Foreign aid, overseas nation building, policing the world is destroying our economy at home. Wake up. Research these things and vote for the candidate that will cut all the needless spending.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
      • mil

        no its not!!! not TINY by any means have u ever participated in foreing aid?? because i have...and as much as we as Americans like to help the cold reality is that only the people that are in-need are truly the only ones that can help themselves!!...i been to 3rd world countries where they have resources such as potential for agricultural development (great land, good rain) and instead people would just rather lounge around while we did all their work!! i live in southern california and we are lucky if we get at least one day of rain.!!! and also im a Latina immigrant i came form nothing!! maybe you need to go see other places...im not saying dont help..but honestly we nee help here first

        January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Foreign assistance by the Department of State in the 2012 budget is $32 billion. The total of US requested expenditures in 2012 is $3.7 trillion. That makes foreign assistance .86% of the total budget. Not nearly large enough to make a dent in anything.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  66. Kevin

    Public education is socialism. I thought socialism was a bad thing in the USA? Free market capitalism and all that.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • OWS 99%

      Socialism is only bad when it takes care of the poor people.

      As long as the 1% benefit from the laws they lobby for, Socailism is perfect.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Shire

      The most socialism in America is heaped on corporations in the form of tax subsidies and taxpayers providing them with double the profits for doing nothing. Capitalism is a joike they bring out when the corporations want more money.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Our military is socialism too. As are veterans affairs.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  67. shut_up

    obama didnt invite any unemployed for the sotu address. he only invited minorities to make him look good. well he will never look good as he to is a free loader............

    January 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Kamikaze

      As he to is a President he looks good in minorities front.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  68. So it is

    Stop blaming the rich for the life in the slums.Education is very important in schools but it should begin at home.I grew up in a disfunctional familly but I succeded.Anybody with half a brain and hard work can make it the US.Many social programs are a waste of money.There are people colecting welfare as a main source of income.Section8A pays many of my tenants rent while some do drugs or others drink to much.Their kids attend school where they get free lunch ,Some grow up to have children with their fiance and the poverty line is perpetual. Unfortunaly there is no end in sight since nobody could enforce Parenting.If you have a machine shop with junk machines you most like will make junk

    January 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • chf

      So basically you're saying that you live off welfare. Your tenants receive 'Section 8a' money for the gubmint, who then use that money to pay you. If they stopped receiving those funds, you wouldn't get rent anymore. That'd be a win-win for us hard-workers and not so good for you living off of tax money.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  69. shut_up

    Sara, if you are a teacher then you failed for the past 20 years. The same bunch you say you taught are living below the poverty level and they keep having kids???? what is wrong with this picture?? the taxpayers are very tired of people like you whining and then get invited to odummys campaign party(he says sotu speech) shut up and take care of these people yourself as i elected to work and not have children i couldnt afford...............

    January 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Techsupport

      So it's the responsibility of teachers to not only teach kids reading, writing, and math, but also when to breed and with whom? When are parents going to take responsibility for what they produce? Why not just give your kid up for adoption if you don't plan on teaching them or nurturing them yourself. Teachers are not there just so you can have the convenience of not teaching your child right from wrong.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Ghibelline

      Also, she's a teacher, not a wizard. We don't vilify cops when crime goes up. You wouldn't call a 20-year veteran of a bad neighborhood a failure (I hope) because there's still crime. Why hold teachers to such a high standard?

      January 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Sam

      There's little I can say to change you're mind. You took one look at this teacher and SOMETHING - we needn't say what - must have left a bad taste in your mouth. People like you have been bashing teachers for collecting too much pay while children fail to graduate. Here's a school district whose teachers sought to directly address that by voting in their union to FORGO PAY. You people have been champing at the bit to see teachers fired or stripped of pay and benefits for years. It is very entertaining, therefore, to watch you labor to maintain your justification for despising this woman now that she has agreed to the absurd terms conservative people like you have posed.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  70. John Kantor

    You'd be a fool to be a teacher today. And she's a fool.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • John Gabriel

      Imagine if every teacher stopped teaching because he/she thought that only a fool teaches today?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  71. Matt

    I don't have a boat because I can't afford to maintain and store one. I don't have a kid because I can't afford to send one to a decent school. I'm not going to vote for any levy to subsidize a lifestyle choice. The concern you express for the well being of your children should've been considered in the planning phase, not after you combined the genetic material to create them. I'm sorry your drunken grope fests produced offspring you were ill equipped to provide for, but without consequences, then discretion is irrelevant and I'm old fashioned enough to believe your consequences should be your own, that way you'll learn from them. The collectivist hallucination is that we're all on a team working for the common good. Unfortunately, successful teams cut their weak players. As our multicultural and inclusive society doesn't have any mechanism through which to cut the underperforming, it is doomed to failure. I have no interest in being on any team that punishes competent players for the sake of weak performers and their loin fruit. Put in a mechanism that brings sterilization to anyone with a GPA of 2.4 or below and I'll shift my position. In the meantime I'll choose the liberty to succeed and fail without any penalties or safety nets.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • OWS 99%

      Yea, because only people who are wealthy should have kids.

      Right now the financial system is rigged towards the top 1%. A lot of things can be changed, but they keep perpetuating this money grubbing system built on making themselves rich at the expense of others.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        Everyone needs to be responsible for their own...the rule of thumb today is if I cannot afford children (or whatever) then it is societies responsibility to "help" me afford them. How many poor today purchase junk food, cigarettes, booze, lottery tickets? Certainly, they should be able to indulge but only after THEIR responsibilities are taken care of first, i.e., their children. How many people drive in big honking SUV that cost a lot and not to mention the gas, insurance, maintenance, etc...instead of a more economical vehicle. Everyone wants to live large at someones else expense. It has to stop because that mentality is what has financially and morally bankrupted this country.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Len

      I find your position quite funny, since those who are usually the most successful are those with 2.0 or higher in high school. Those with a C average are the ones that are inventors, CEOS, humanitarians, scientists, and those who benefits our society the most. I know more people who were in honors when I was in high school that are now on food stamps. The difference is what you do with that education. Many kids also just don't benefit from the type of education they receive because it's forced on them. They go to college, study what they want, and then all of a sudden that GPA goes up. Things aren't cut and dry, especially when you are dealing with people.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Hmm, I'd like to see where your statistics come from.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • John

      You can't afford any of those things because you failed to obtain an eduction the puts you in a position to work at a job that provides you with enough income to afford those items. Quit your whining and do what it takes. NO ONE will hand it to you.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Brett

      So, can we assume your GPA was below 2.4 since you have voluntarily chosen to effectively sterilize yourself?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Teacher

      Go buy a gun to protect your property because I am tired of paying for the police to protect something that you are too lazy and thoughtless to protect yourself. Buy yourself a bulldozer, too, to make a road so you can go from your house to your job because I do not want to have to pay for your indulgence in using a car. While you are at it, please make sure that your house is made 100% of concrete because I do not want to pay for the fire department to protect something that you should have built better. Go hire a soldier too, because I really do not see a need to protect what you have earned from little brown skinned or yellow skinned guys who want to take it from you.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  72. John

    There will always be folks that will do something for nothing, out of the sheer enjoyment they receive for doing it. The REAL question here is, will there be enough of them to educate the population of the United States so that it can continue to compete in the global economy. The answer, in my mind is, not on your life. We all have a minimum standard of living which we are willing to accept. Fall below that level and we'll do what it takes to obtain a satisfactory standard, and if being a teacher doesn't do it we look elsewhere.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  73. DJ McFly

    IF YOU UNION LEACHERS WANT A BETTER TEACHING ENVIRONMENT............Take To The Streets Like The Union Goons In Wisconsin Did, Along With Your DemoCRAP Buddies.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Daniel

      Buzzz buzzz buzzword fly...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  74. GailS

    If nothing else, we should have a "Teachers' Day" in America. There are so many good teachers with excellent ideas like Sara Ferguson who get little or no recognition. And no, I'm not a teacher but I do appreciate them.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • DJ McFly

      YES, GOOD TEACHERS.....Not The Union Leachers That Can't Be Fired For Incompetance.....FACT CHECK "TEACH RUBBER ROOMS"

      January 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • AJ

        Here is someone talking about something they don't understand. A school administrator can fire a teacher with probably cause at any time. That includes not being an effective teacher. However, the reason it doesn't happen is because when someone becomes an administrator and make $80,000+ a year, they become lazy and do not want to fill out the necessary paperwork. It is not hard to get rid of a teacher, the higher up's in the schools just need to actually do their job. Nice try though.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Dana

      Good teachers? Not in elementary schools around here. 4 years and I have yet to see one.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Daniel

        Maybe your just a bad parent?

        January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  75. DJ McFly

    GRADUATION RATE IN PENN.
    PRIVATE SCHOOLS....NON UNION TEACHERS..........................96%
    PUBILIC SHOOLS WITH UNION LEACHERS................................62%

    January 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Paul

      Private schools also get to pick which students they educate.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
      • Yakobi

        Private schools can also adjust their tuition and afford to pay people what they're worth.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Gandalfthegrey

      That is not a legitimate comparison. The students are not the same. Too many lurking variables, as private school students tend to be more affluent and have more resources.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      I, for one, am sick and tired of those over-paid teachers. Their hefty salaries are driving up our taxes, and they get more holidays and vacations than you can shake a stick at.
      It's time that we put things into perspective and pay them for what they really do...baby sit. We can get baby sitters for less than minimum wage. That's right, we could pay teachers $3.00 an hour per kid. And we're only going to pay them for the hours that they work, not for breaks like "planning time", lunch, "recess monitoring, or "bus duty".
      Let's see. Three dollars an hour times five hours of work. That comes to $15 bucks per kid for the day. We'll pay the over-educated ones with a master's degree the minimum wage for taking care of each kid. It's only fair. Heck, we'll even round it off to $6 an hour.
      Now, how many kids do they teach per day in an average class? Maybe 25? (Hey, even if it's 40 kids, they're still doing the same thing, so lets not count those extra 15 students) OK then...$15 dollars times 25 kids. That's $375 per day for those with bachelor's degrees and $750 per day for those with master's degrees. We'll leave those with more than a master's degree, and teachers with experience out of our calculations for now
      Hmm, that sure sounds like alot, but remember...we're only going to pay them for the 180 days that they are actually working. We're not gonna pay them for all those vacation days.
      So let's see...that's $375 times 180 days = $67,500 per year for those with a four year degree.
      Whew. And those with master's degrees would make...now figure...that's $6 times 25 kids times 180 days = OMYGOSH!!! $135,000 per year!? Then we'd have to pay those with more education and experience an even greater amount.
      Hey! Minimum wage is too good for teachers.
      Oh, and I suppose you want money to buy supplies for the kids too.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Dalton

        I like your plan! I'd actually get a hefty pay raise from the $49k I'm making right now. And I have a master's degree and have been teaching for twelve years!!!

        And you don't even mention the hours BEFORE and AFTER school we spend grading papers, or working on lesson plans, or making copies, etc.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Teacher

        Where do I sign up!!! As a teacher of 17 years with a Masters Degree, plus graduate hours in my field that allows me to provide my students to earn dual credit in high school I would be very willing to operate under the pay scale you propose here. Currently I am salaried at a level well below your proposed level of a teacher with a bachelors degree. You need to get this out to all the states and local districts as it really sounds like a great plan.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • sadly mistaken

        To those that believe that teachers are making $67,000 a year are SADLY mistaken. If they are making that much, they either have been teaching for 20 years or it is an administrative position. Most teachers in public school START OUT making less than $30,000 a year. Secondly, teachers spend more time with these kids than the parents. They are having to do the part of teacher, parent, psychologist, coach, etc. Then their job doesn't stop at school. They take these kids home with them. Now, I am not justify the teachers that don't give a crap and are there just for a paycheck but don't generalize EVERY TEACHER as being overpaid and doing nothing. And this mess about having kids and you can't afford them. You don't know these folks situation! You don't know why they live where they live our why they have kids. Quit generalizing. To all you GREAT TEACHERS... You reap what you sow... Keep sowing good seeds into these kids and you will reap a great harvest.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
      • Melissa

        You are an absolute idiot!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Jessica

        That sounds fabulous. As a teacher myself, it sounds like a perfect pay-scale and I wouldn't even need the pesky annoyance of school loans to pay off if I was only labeled a "babysitter"! Also, get rid of bus duty, planning time, recess duty, lunch duty, personal purchases to enhance the classroom environment and ensure that every student is accommodated for. Sounds perfect.... however, it raises a few questions.... What happens when someone gets bumped getting off the bus and starts crying? Somebody slips off of the monkey bars at recess, who will help them? Feelings are hurt and lunch and your child feels isolated and insecure; who is there to monitor that? A child who doesn't have snow pants and other gear can't play outside in the freezing temperatures, I suppose it's too bad the teacher doesn't have a few extra pairs of snow pants / gloves/ scarves, etc in their room to lend kids. How about kids who come in hungry? Too bad the teachers wouldn't purchase extra classroom snacks. The list could go on and on. I made a choice to be an educator and I truly do love my job, but I am tired of people saying they don't matter. I teach them the necessary academic concepts, but I also have the opportunity to help them learn how to share, help someone in need, gain a sense of independence, etc. A good teacher can be the difference between your child's success and feeling of self worth and a year where your child shows little to no personal and academic growth. Stick a true "babysitter" in the position and see what happens...

        January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Richard

      Teachers in Ontario-Canada earn between $65,000 and $120,000 each and they are the same whiny, left-wing union slackers teachers are everywhere.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • mpouxesas

        Richard, now you're telling me??? d@mn, I should go to Ontario....if I am to make this kind of money, screw my job!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • kevin

        I'm in Ontario, and we have great teachers. We have a community that supports them. We realize the value of raising smart, thoughtful, conscientious students instead of bashing the teachers, who help keep them from growing up as stupid rednecks. What kind of society do you get if you have only stupid people? How smart will the future generation be if you denigrate the teaching profession and lobby to rediuce their wages? Just how stupid do you want the person who keeps you alive in old age to be? Stop fighting and start helping. Instead of being upset about soem people having good union jobs, why not push to make it so everyone can have a decent job and not have to worry all the time about making ends meet? Is it better to attack those who have banded together to demand a decent wage? BTW – I'm not union, and I'm not a teacher. I just see where the low-wage spiral takes us all.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • jwalzak

      I think those numbers have more to do with the families and homes the majority of these kids come from, rather than whether or not a teacher is part of a collective bargaining unit. There are not many kids from poor families, with limited resources to add to their children's education outside the home, attending private schools.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • AlanMichael

      The differences in the percentages are due to the families and the economic environment they come from not the quality of teachers or unions. You should know that.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Shire

      Private schools don't take kids who have behavior problems or learning issues. The kids who come from private school where I live are usually about 3 to 4 years delayed by middle school and end up in special education. These same kids got A's and B's in the private school. Studies have shown that when profit is the motive for a private school the kids do less well than in public school, especially in math and reading.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Tex71

        When profit is the motive...then profit will be the #1 priority. It is amazing how little awareness there is of this fact. Why does it surprise anyone that private industry does a terrible job of serving the public, when profit is more important than quality of service? We pay more per capita for medical services than any country in the world, and still have the sickest, unhealthiest population of any industrialized country. Why does that surprise anyone, when investors want their dividends before sick and injured people can get treatment?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • hoosierclyde

      Private schools don't have to deal with the special-ed kids either

      January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Kim

      Yeah, the parents who are paying to send their kids to a private school are going to be on their butts about getting their work done. If the kid doesn't, he can get booted with no refund. Public schools don't have that luxury.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  76. David

    Praises to Sara for expressing what every teacher in this country knows. Parents don't even realize that their children are required to meet the state/federal government's expectations and that schools are punished when children are NOT prepared to learn due to misplaced values at home.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  77. Gandalfthegrey

    I teach. I would not work for no pay. My kids are as important as the kids I teach. They need a dad who works. As it is, I work lots of unpaid hours after school, on the weekends, and in the summers. That includes writing, tutoring, and not just grading. As for a comment about the Cadillac benefits teachers, get, well that is not true in my state where I have had to pay over $700 a month for family medical insurance. The summers off are not paid vacations. My paycheck is just spread out through the year as a courtesy to me. One that I do appreciate. And I work year round, because I do teach summer school. I agree that states have money, they just choose to spend it elsewhere.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  78. Texas Teacher

    As an educator, I find it deplorable that the state and federal government "experts" on education have either never been a classroom or have been far removed for years from the current classrooms. As a nation, we need to pay teachers their due because as much as non-teachers say," you all get summer vacations paid" and other nonsense statements like that, teaching has changed because teachers have become more like baby sitters who pamper their students to get things done. If the public wants to pay us baby sitting fees, by all means. I would be making over $500 a day for baby sitting. A true and deep look into education funding is needed and truly revamped. These students are the future and the way our education system is headed, we have a bleak future. I recently looked at various university stats on incoming freshman, and many of these universities are requiring that these freshman take remedial courses because they were unprepared for the college level. Our school systems have become a "pass the buck" system where the elementary schools push students through in order to get them into middle school, no matter what, even if they are unprepared. Same thing in the middle school happens in order to get them into high school. By high school, students are very deficient in English and Reading and the other core classes. Then the high schools push the students through because once they graduate, it looks good on the school system because they have graduated students, but with no regard as to their preparedness for college. What spurred this type of pushing through students is a serious misinterpretation of NCLB (no child left behind) which in itself, is a useless and ridiculous piece of federal legislation meant to stick the federal government's nose into state business. There are many aspects that can go on and on about the failure of our education systems nationwide, and I truly hope that who ever wins the upcoming elections at both the state level and national level, takes a LONG hard look at education, because thenonesnwho are suffering or are going to suffer are the students.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Gandalfthegrey

      Rick Perry spent $800,000 on his failed presidential campaign and tax payers are footing the bill (source Austin American Statesman). Money well spent. He was the best thing that ever happened to education in Texas. (Note the sarcasm.)

      January 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Texas Teacher

        I'm definitely not a Perry supporter! The financial isssues he has put this state into are hurting in every aspect and education iis definitely there. I can't believe that theses politicians claim to be for education but yet the funding is not there. These people line their pockets with corporate monies but yet want to cut funding. Funding for school districts here in Texas is one of the worst thought out policies. Where I teach, the district gets roughly $5000 per student ( give or take a couple hundred) in a similar district north of where I teach, they have similar numbers, similar populations of students (practically identical in every aspect except in my district people pay MORE property taxes) that district receives close to $2000 more per student. Why? The Texas legislature or Texas education Agency has yet to explain that. This is part of the injustice that is being done to students and teachers. I purposely left administrators out of this because they make a ridiculous amount of money compared to the teachers on their respective campuses, and not to mention the superintendents and their cronies. Corruption is everywhere unfortunately, and the students are the ones suffering, and the teachers are the ones having to deal with the higher ups and all their red tape. Teachers were once regarded as a respected profession. Now, one of the most disdained.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  79. CT Yank

    Times are hard everywhere. I would like my dentist to take a 25-50% pay cut so that I can afford much-needed dental work. I would like the supermarket to reduce prices so that I can put meat and fresh produce on the table. I would like the police and fire dept. unions to work without pay because they perform necessary public service, and their community obligation should be more important than maintaining an income.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  80. DJ McFly

    CUT THE GOLD PLATED BENEFITS OF THESE UNDER ACHIEVING UNION LEACHERS (New Name For Teachers)

    January 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Dear DJ McFly

      Go to hell. Seriously.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Texas Teacher

      Step into a classroom please and you won't last a day. You think it's so easy, step up and find out.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Dana

        I used to teach. 3 years in high school, English. I know what it is and I know first hand how teachers can slack off. My child suffers with the teacher she has this year. Mean, useless as an "educator". The kids call each other "gay" and she pretends she did not hear. Lunches stolen from backpacks, she has no clue. Half math explained at school, I have to finish her job at home, hey good I earned another degree in CS, I know my math, my kid's lucky. But I know for a fact other kids in her classroom aren;t as lucky as mine. BOOOOOOOOOO to teachers!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
      • @ Dana

        Um, maybe YOU should step up as a parent if you think your child's teacher is so bad. Perhaps what your child chooses to tell you is not 100% truthful..... If you are so anti-teacher, maybe you should volunteer to work WITH the school instead of bashing it...as most people seem to want to do. If you don't like something address the source...your local school (or school board) and stop blanket blaming teachers....... You (and people like you) are one of the major negatives in the education system today!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • PATeacher

        Dana,

        Forgive me, but I doubt you taught high school English. Your writing is too poor. I'm sorry your child's teacher is not as effective as you would prefer, but you might consider taking your concerns to the principal. He's likely to be more receptive than strangers on the internet. As a highly effective, nationally certified 5th grade teacher in a very low income school, I hope that you give teachers another chance. Many of use work very hard for our students and their parents. Don't let a few bad apples spoil your opinnion of us all.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Daniel

      I wouldnt do that! Teachers get payed crap as it is. Also the job they do is literally the most important one in the country because teachers have a direct impact on education which in turn has a direct influence on the economy. We need to be making education look like a more appealing career not less! American children are already for the most part incredibly stupid. I had the luck of being able to afford private high school and receiving a top level education but now that I'm in college I am some day staggered at how poorly educated my peers are! How does one get through high school without learning what a molecular compound is?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Paul

      DJ- did you have issues at school? I'm trying to figure out where this hatred is coming from .

      January 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • rhope

        He's a troller!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  81. Will

    Your sacrifice is exactly why teachers suffer. If teachers refused to work for such low pay, the pay would increase. We would actually value what you do because you value it. If you think what you do is so important that you would do it for free, why shouldn't we let you? For your own sakes and the sake of us all, grow a backbone and quit! You get no sympathy from us because you do this to yourselves. Why should students even listen to you if you value what you do so little that you would do it for free?

    January 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • skeptic

      Most teachers have no marketable skills anyway and wouldn't make it in the private sector, end result is they'd still be on the public payroll.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
      • Daniel

        I think that teaching is a marketable skill. To say otherwise is simply stupid. I mean I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you went to school. I'm sure you had teachers who were just idiots who didn't have a clue what they were doing but I certainly hope that you also had teachers who could teach with skill and keep students engaged and actually learn. We need to be elevating the teaching career to attract more smart skilled people to it not the opposite. I'm convinced many of this countries problems are rooted in in a lack of education.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        Do you really think that after receiving a bachelors degree that teachers have no marketable skills? Many states require masters degrees. So in all those years in school, teachers develop no skills? We may mostly have soft skills, but many companies want people with soft skills to deal with clients. Not to mention most teachers skills in writing that are seriously lacking in the current culture. I could work in many places. I CHOOSE to teach because I want to pass on my love of my subject to the next generation.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Shire

        Teaching is the most marketable skill in the world, ask any business where they need people with a degree. Your assumptions are very wrong.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  82. Sean

    The teachers are continuing to work for free, right? Do you realize what message you, as highly educated and trained professionals, are sending to the politicians? "Our expertise and training are worth so little, you don't have to pay us". Sure, they'll hear that you care about the kids, but this may come as a surprise to you; they don't care. Despite the number of times we hear "for our children" from your average slimeball politician, they don't care about them. All they see is a chunk of money they can redirect to their campaign contributors interests. And they can do that, because you are willing to work for free.

    So way to go, Mrs Ferguson, in perpetuating the problem.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Korey Brodzik

      Say anything like that again, and I'll find you. Mark my words.

      Seven three four
      Seven five one
      three nine one seven

      January 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • zada

        Oooohh, scary Internet tough guy.

        You sir...are a moron.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • mdb1218

      Agreed!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      I agree with Sean. They've only managed to de-value their profession by doing this.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • AlanMichael

        I disagree, they didn't devalue their profession, they've show how dedicated teachers are to their profession.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • Sean

        AlanMichael, they've certainly shown dedication. And while we, as a society, normally like to encourage that behavior, when you are dealing with politicians it becomes a liability.

        Right now, I can guarantee you, politicians everywhere are getting funny ideas about cutting budgets because of this group of teachers. They like...no LOVE...that teachers are apparently this committed to the children, it means they can treat their budget issues at a lesser priority than...well..pretty much anything else.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Tbyrd

      I agree but if teachers go on strike then they are told that it should be about students and not money. It's a catch 22.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • Sean

        The strikes you mention are all about PR. Sure, the administration will say they should be committed to the children. And the teachers can respond that it should be a team effort taking care of the children. This would put the blame BACK on the administration for not valuing the students.

        It's simple marketing. The administration typically has more slimeballs with a passing familiarity with truth ( read: politicians ), who are naturally better at this kind of thing that the teachers, which is why teachers need to make an effort to combat them on the public's terms.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  83. ProperVillain

    Yeah, to quote the Joker "If you're good at something never do it for free..."
    I admire her sacrifice but things like this just make it easier for the higher ups to take advantage of the every day worker. I'm sure none of the admin people, district managers, etc work for free. The second they start to donate time is the second everyone else should. It's ridiculous that this is "expected" now.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  84. Bill

    Listen – When it comes to bombing, we have the money. When it comes to feeding or educating, nothing. 1) No money to feed your school kids because we just spent a trillion & change on a meaningless war, invading the wrong country based on false intelligence. But hey that's freedom. We kept you safe from non-existent enemies so you can now starve. Plus 2 trillion in opportunity costs, upcoming veterans expenses etc. That's the price of freedom. 2) When there is a threat to your school kids from terrorists, nuclear armed Iran etc. – we will spend all our money to protect them so they can find their own food. They can fund their own education – FREEDOM!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Right On

      Absolute reason education is a mess is funding... Fund the wars, not the future. If you look at the budgets of states and federal government you see where our priorities lay...

      January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  85. Paul

    Education is the most important investment a country can make to safeguard its future. Without an educated youth nothing else matters because everything else will eventually fail – defense, medicine, industry, everything relies on people that are educated.

    For a country that considers itself the leader of the free world we are dangerously short sighted. We deny funds to safeguard our futures because we fail to recognize that education underpins everything that we are. Some however deny funds out of spite – they perceive funding education as giving someone something they don't or didn't have.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  86. Thinking7

    She may be a good teacher, but she sure glorifies Obama when he has done nothing at all helpful to this country. He is a liability.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Daniel

      I love this. Obama did more for this country in 4 years then Bush did in 8 and yet he's still vilified. I don't agree with Obama on every issue but he's been extremely successful militarily and to a lesser extent economically.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Gene Cole

        Obama? Four years? Was it math or writing that you slept through in school. Obama has only been president for three years. Although, to be truthful, it seems like four years. Or more.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Bob

        He has not done anything militarily. He has no background, and takes credit for operations planned and executed by people far better than himself. As for the economy, he has risen the national deficit and taken on more debt to sponsor government work and social programs. He has stifled business and increased government handouts.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • AlanMichael

      I bet you can't explain your statement. Notice how all the Obama hater speak in generalities. "he is destroying America" "He hasn't done anything" "America is on the edge of disaster" etc, etc.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  87. alan

    Everyone who has attended school thinks that they could teach as well...that is is somehow easy. I would bet 99% of those folks would not last a day in the classroom. For far too long the education system has been hijacked by people with zero knowledge of how schools work.....how they really work. Folks with an axe to grind blame the unions when in reality, it is the union states where scores are the highest and the non-union states where scores and graduation rates are at the bottom...check it yourself.
    Charter school are another joke...they pick and choose students, not taking SPED, behavioral issues, ESL, and challenged kids but on state tests, they score at or below public schools who take all comers. It's just a sick way to privatize education. When the GOP want to kill something they start handing out vouchers...school vouchers, social security, healthcare, etc....just a big con folks.
    I think the stupidest thing is that folks think they are saving money when they make school cuts...in realty, they are cutting their own throats. It costs 50K a year to keep a prisoner in jail......pay now or pay later.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Korey Brodzik

      Hello! I attended college with her, lets put it this way she "spread" easily if you catch my drift. Fornicated with our frats dog in my bed. We usually call those women "easy".

      January 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Daniel

      I agree I'm always suprised when people say teaching is easy. I know their is know way I would want to put up with those little arrogant spawns that I see all over the place nowadays

      January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • ellie

      None of these statements are true. The states with the strongest unions are doing worse and paying more for that privilege. Charter schools on average have the same percentage of special needs and low income students. And the truth is many non teachers would not be good teachers. But that is not the problem. The problem is that many teachers are not good teachers, and we cannot get rid of them.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  88. Shire

    I can assure you the state has the money, they are just choosing to enrich the riich and cuts taxes on corporations instead of funding schools. Do you not realize your actions are enabling them to keep cutting the district funds? The next expectation will be that no teachers get a paycheck at all because they are willing to do it for free. I understand your concern for the kids, but it is time the state decides if they want to enrich the wealthy or take care of state residents.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Paul

      Colorado recently agreed to continue to give oil and gas companies tax breaks yet refused a 0.5% tax increase to fund education.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Korey Brodzik

        What did I tell the others Paul?

        Shush up.

        Seven three four
        seven five one
        three nine one seven

        Call me if you "got beef".

        January 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  89. ghj

    I understand what the author is saying. She and her colleagues should be commended for working w/o pay. I'm wondering if they still had their health benefits.

    But I think unfortunately this article can have a different affect. I admit I am not a cheerleader for teachers, administrators or public education. Cause what I'm taking away from this article is teachers can be paid less(or nothing at all) and still manage to survive financially.

    Therefore, the article is actually saying teachers are paid too much and school districts can save money by paying them less(or if possible, nothing at all). Those savings can go for books, supplies, maintenance and whatever else school districts need to function.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Former Teacher

      ghj, you're kidding, right? Teachers make too much money? When I was teaching, I worked an average of 60 hours per week and spent much of my own money to equip my classroom. Your idea that teachers should be paid less or nothing at all, is absolutely revolting. Teachers are professionals and deserve much more than they make. Would you like to be paid little or nothing for your job? Shame on you!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • mpouxesas

      Then, maybe you should work as a teacher ...since they make lots of money ...you know...

      January 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • JAS

      To ghj: Yes, you make it clear that you (and many others who posted to this) are neither fans nor cheerleaders for teachers. Your bias is clear and you've chosen to interpret the acts of this group of professionals as evidence of their cushy life style. I'm not sure about you but in this economy, the average American is living paycheck to paycheck. Missing one paycheck (even if paid twice a month) would create difficult decisions for their own families. Surely, some teachers are in a two-wage earning family and may have a bit more of a safety net. Before you judge, however, ask yourself this question: Would you go to work and do your job every day if you knew that you would not be paid? If you answer yes, would that mean you are overpaid?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • ghj

        Well since I'm a mother I am not paid. I chose to stay home with my children because I fell it is the most important job in the world. And I wanted to be there for my children and keep tabs on their education. which often meant teaching them myself. I even pulled one out of high school and let her finish up on her own at home.

        I know many people think a mom at home is worthless but I also know they are wrong.

        The thing of it is, for me, I feel it is the children that drives education, not educators. I believe that if parents organized and decided to keep their children home within 3 days things would change dramatically. You see, if there aren't students there is no need for teachers, administrators, buildings, etc.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  90. Sharon

    Yes, I do agree that education should be a priority and should be funded.

    What I DON'T agree with is that those funds here in NJ are not used to fund education for the most part, they are used to fund teacher's and administrators cadillac benefits, which they don't have to kick in for, teachers that are double dipping (collecting a pension from one state and getting a full salary from NJ, which will eventually lead to a 2nd pension), and salaries that are through the roof - while parents are now expected to kick in for sports, fund raise for "school activities and field trips" multiple times throughout the year, and pay one of the highest property tax rates in the nation.

    Most of us here in NJ (and everywhere), are cash strapped and cannot afford higher taxes. In addition most of the parents in these schood districts have faced downsizing, pay cuts, and no raises for years on end, and have NO retirement except for what they've paid themselves (401K) - "getting our priorities staight and putting education first" needs to include teachers and administrators, too, not just taxpayers, who I think have been more than patient. Recently, when asked to - teachers threw a hissy-fit about kicking in a little for their health insurance and taking a pay FREEZE for 1 year. We're in the quandry we are budgetwise b/c everyone has their hand in the coffer EXCEPT for the taxpayers. As taxpayers, I think our priorities are straight, those of us that work as teachers, government officials, and administrators need to examine ourselves and see where I priorities really lie.

    Please know that I am only talking about those teachers in most suburban (not urban) districts of NJ - I know several great teachers in other states and urban areas that are making next to nothing. They are good people, talented teachers, and should be paid accordingly. I'm not here to bash teachers, only to call for equality!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Shire

      They are bworking without pay, what more do you want an official slave designation?

      January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Tim

      Well said Sharon! We have the same issue here in NY. The Teacher's Union is so strong that they've negotiated these unsustainable contracts. Guaranteed raises, step increases, full salary pensions, they pay practically nothing into ftheir helth care and complain that they have to pay. They collect unemployment during the summer months. It's just unbelievable. For years my district has increased taxes on average of about 10%. One year the school put a 21% increase up to vote, and the voters are now voting these down.. Thank God Cuomo passed the 2% tax cap, but unfortuanately we are still paying too much. The taxes today are driving people out of town and out of state. It's great that Obama wants to invest in education. I'm all for it as long as the funding comes from the Federal Government, and not on the backs of homeowners. It's really kind of funny because our Govorners are very similar but Christie takes more heat in the media – I think that is because Cuomo is a Democrat.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Bob

        The majority of the taxes that you have to pay are to sustain the cesspool that is New York. It is no better than California. I have driven through it once and that was enough for me. You can blame the education system all you want, but the citizenry is the problem.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Bob

      You do realize that teachers have to pay into their retirement system? It is set up similar to a 401(k). The funds are deducted from our pay and matched by our employer(the state)just like yours. Unlike your individual 401(k) all state employees get to utilize the teacher retirement system without having to pay in. The only benefit we get is basic healthcare insurance. Dental and a myriad of other things are not included. It costs teachers the same amount that you would pay to cover a family. We have the same economic realities as you.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  91. TONYA1954

    With that nose, she looks more like a boxer, and not a very good one at that.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Nikki

      What does her nose have to do with the article?

      January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • Dee Dee

        I am with you on that one....her nose has nothing to do with the article! She deserves to be commended for being a caring teacher. Those are so hard to find these days. Especially work without pay!??!!! Don't think I could do that very long.....smh!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      Great people talk about great ideas. Petty people talk about others (and their appearances)

      January 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Enuff

      Your comment about her nose is inappropriate. What is wrong with the lady's nose. You people are amazing. I am sure she proud of her Afro American features....

      January 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • sue

      what?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Gandalfthegrey

      Rude. That comment should not be allowed in this forum.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  92. Rick

    The unfortunate part of this problem is that it's not a new problem. Education has gotten the shaft for well over a decade, even when the economy was going good.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Dr. David D

      As a professional occupation teachers enjoy many benefits accorded to the 'professions'. Professionals are represented by organized associations that set the standards for the profession, determine educational requirements including continuing education requirements, award certifications, provide limited collective bargaining, and so forth. Professional are generally salaried or bill for their services instead of hourly wage earners. Professional are accorded the respect of society in addition to higher earnings in proportion to their level of education. Professional have great autonomy in the practice of their profession. Think doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers vs. carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, office workers. One of the 'disadvantages' the professions have is the requirement to act in the best interest of society including charity or 'pro bono' work. All professionals provide free labor and work at times. Teachers, as the professionals they are, can expect to provide unpaid work and they should be honored and grateful to do so. As a physician, I do and am honored to provide free medical care to on a daily basis to the poor and elderly who cannot pay. Some teachers need to stop whining and act like professionals.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • Tom

        1) You compare the profession of teachers with physicians as both being "professionals", yet gloss over the fact that teachers make pennies in comparison. Imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to work for free when you're already scraping by.
        2) You end your comment with "teachers should stop whining and act like professionals". Did you not read the article? This teacher loves her job so much that she is working for zero pay. That is professional.
        3) I encourage you to take doctor out of your screen-name, and discontinue mentioning it in further posts. You make the rest of us look terrible.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  93. Twist

    Too many politicians cut funding in all of their districts and then a year later turn around and claim that the problem is teachers because they're getting XX% of the now diminished funds because of their contracts. We need to set hard and fast minimums as to what districts are allowed to fund their districts per student.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Pigdad

      Baltimore City and washington DC have some of the highest funded dollars per student in the country and the results are deplorable. The problem is not always funding, sometimes it's just simply what they teach!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • mpouxesas

        I think it is best said that education is at the bottom of the priorities list and as if this is not bad enough, many parents are not part of the picture. My parents, although only 5-6 grade graduates (!) believe strongly in education. They made sure that indeed the first and most important learning environment for any mammal is the HOME. This is one major factor ignored by many people, including politicians. Of course it does not help the fact that thugs who are paying those clowns we call politicans run the country, and their lobbying interests resting with the ..bottom line, make MORE money on the backs of the people, so make up wars, support obscure companies to make billions on offshore accounts etc at the expense of the american people because it is...socialistic to think of your OWN people....and god forbid we revert to socialism. Never mind the fact that it is artificially created and maintained this system of stupid consumers buying crap they don't need with money they don't have to only benefit the rich...

        January 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • John

        Not just what they teach, it's about the moral fiber of the children in classes. If they come from homes that do not promote good values a teacher isn't going to be able to change that... they're pretty much dead before the starting gun.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Cliff

      However, it is also important for all people in a hard-hit community to contribute, much as this district did. Unfortunately, I see many other districts where the community is broke, and the schools demand pay raises and increased benefits. In PA, many citizens have not seen pay increases for several years, yet their government and educational unions will not tolerate a full pay raise on an annual basis. This drives increasing taxes on decreasing incomes and reducing property values. The math doesn't work.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • teacher

      => Pigdad, You can't thoughtlessly blame teachers for poorly performing schools/students without considering other factors in children's lives that contribute to their failure.
      We've been talking about the decline in education for years and teachers receive 100% of the criticism. What about the parents? What about societal factors such as television programming becoming more violent, vulgar and crude than when we were children? We've got a few generations of children and young adults having grown up in a culture in which being attractive and or witty is more highly valued than being genuinely intelligent. Many children and adults don't know how to deeply consider their answer to a difficult question. Their habit is to give an off-the-cuff answer and change the subject. (do something maveriky, for example).
      How do you want children to learn critical thinking skills in a society in which social networks have replaced sincere friendships and spellcheck and calculators short circuit cognition?
      The technological advances we've made are wonderful, but the undesirable side affects are that people no longer have to wait for an answer. Since everything is immediate, people live in a perpetual state of spontaneity. How can we learn to think criticallly in such a world?
      I personally find that categorically blaming teachers for children's inability to think critically or to acheive academically is superficial reasoning. It's too easy to just blame one component of children's education without seriously analysing the societal context in which children live.
      Things to consider when doing such an analysis:
      the teacher/the school (of course!)
      does the child have a more satisfying relationship with their Mom & Dad, or with the TV and the fridge?
      Does a child know the difference between a real friend, and a FB friend?
      can the child do complex mental math?
      can the child write properly (spelling and all) with a pen and paper?
      is the child getting enough exercise/healthy diet?
      does the child spend enough time outdoors?
      does the child watch too much "reality tv"?
      does the child read enough quality literature?
      does the child do real work?
      how much time does the child devote to pursuing their leisure activities?
      how do the parents regulate all this?
      does the child accept authority?
      has the child been allowed to fail at something? (a genuine need in all people that current pedagogic and cultural trends try to forego)
      WHAT VALUES ARE BEING TAUGHT TO THE CHILD?

      January 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • mpouxesas

        You forgot to mention that children are in school only about 6 hours a day (that is 1/4 of their day, or nearly 1/3 of their waking time). As I mentioned earlier, the first and MOST important factor in raising/educating children is their home environment. And as you may know, 54% of our kids nowadays come from the so (PC) called non-traditional homes (a PC way of saying f-ed up homes). Invariably for some legit some not so reasons, kids do not have the appropriate caring and nurturing home environment where valuable lessons (beyond the ABCs and reading 'ritin' and 'rithmetic') are taught/learned. We are accustomed to send our kids to school (because we pay our taxes) and expect the teachers to do, along with their jobs, our job too!

        January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  94. jkrizan

    Take heed of this paragraph: "The most important message that needs to be heard, though, is that the financial crisis in Chester Upland School District was no anomaly. It could happen to you." Are you listening, Taxaphobes? Stop whining and moaning and pony up so that our kids get the education they need to succeed.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • jpmiller99

      Hey, I have an idea. Why don't you pay for your kids to go to school and I pay for mine? How fair is that!!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  95. PJ Paul

    Standing ovation to our school teacher Sara Ferguseon.BE HAPPY STAY BLESSED
    My beloved wife of +38 yrs marriage, MA / Bachelor of Education, first employed as lecturer in college on temp.basis
    then remained for + 23 yrs as Punjab Govt.High School teacher, 1974-1999, so dedicated to wards her students homework
    ,carried their home work note books home, checked and signed& scored, dated,today we feel proud her students enjoy
    the most highly teaching/administrative/engineering/ doctors positions in India.
    Here I am saddened to say, the prevailing caste system in India,reservation and preferences in admissions/scholarships/free
    books,merits gone down to the lowest,the brilliants + AA scorers stand behind for admisstion/recruitment/out of turn
    promotion INCOMPETENTS/ far far below graders say not even D, superseeding the experienced
    What would we expect from a he/she a D grader pass out,recruited as High school teacher,and then promoted to the highest
    position,when he/she not even solve 5th grader math /algebra problems....
    Here in USA, we value education, we value our teachers, we value our community, the veterans in educagtion field, tipped
    for top position....but in mine country politicians(reserve category) more weighty,....
    Not the end here the tops,teaching staff posted in far flung areas,separating their families, the reserve category posted
    next to their door fronts school....

    January 27, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • inva

      I'm guessing your wife wasn't an English Teacher....too bad- you could use some lessons

      January 27, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Mechok

        Shame on you for making such a senseless and nonconstructive comment. The man is simply sharing his unique experience in order to enrich our dialogue on the issue. I personally admire people who have the courage to learn another language and try to express themselves despite criticisms from people such as yourself. Perhaps if you spoke another language you might understand and respect him. But given your response i would find it very unlikely.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • PATeacher

        You might try to read a little more closely... it does say that he is from India, and that his wife taught there. He made a lovely tribute and you spit on it. Shame on you.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • Tex71

        I'm guessing you don't know where the Punjab is – you probably think it is somewhere in Texas. Maybe you should have paid a little better attention when you were in school; but you probably prefer to blame your teachers for your ignorance.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  96. Pigdad

    There is no way the Union will let her work without pay. They need to have money (dues) coming in so they can bribe those in Washington.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • steve

      "With the leadership of our union, though, we came together and made a decision. We had a responsibility to provide our students with the education they deserve. We decided to keep working as long as we could make ends meet."

      I would recommend trying to have an open mind and reading things before making a statement that will make you look ridiculous.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:23 am |
      • Pigdad

        Sorry, unions exist to promote mediocraty and stifle creativity. They steal hundreds of millions of dollars from hard working people to promote their agenda.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • Ghibelline

        Very good, Pigdad. When caught in a moment of ignorance, rather than backtracking, correcting yourself, or (God forbid) reassessing your own critical thinking skills and cognitive biases, you went straight to your talking points. You're almost ready to be a pundit.

        January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bugeye

      I guess you're mad because you never had a teacher insisted that you read they entire piece. I'm sorry.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • teacher

      Best wishes on improving your critical thinking skills, Pig!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  97. teach

    We also must do a better job not to squander the funds that are available, in good times and bad. Too much investment in unused/underused technology, too much investment in teacher national conferences when information is easily accessed via webinar/broadcast, no thought or plan for how teachers survive future lean times. The current state of furlough is sad, perhaps if a contingency plan were in place this could be avoided. In higher education we have such plans, in the worst case the entire faculty agrees to have retirement contributions suspended, teach additional classes without addtional compensation to elimnate temporary instructor costs, and reduce salary by 25%, up to 50%. This plan is considered when times are tough,no one can complain and no one can pretend to be a "saint" for making hard choices.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Yakobi

      In higher education, the most important thing is you have the option of raising tuition to offset the drop in state funds. K-12 education doesn't have that option.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • teach

        This is true. It adds to my point that some organizations take the time to prepare for lean times and also focus on reducing wastefulness, even when these hard times could be far off and rare.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • teacher

      I really have no idea where you work. As far as I know, no University faculty has or would ever agree to those conditions. If they did, they would be agreeing to defauit on mortgages, credit card payments, car payments and so on. It boils down to the fact that many right wingers do not want public education to succeed. It amazes me how little people are willing to invest in the future of our country, the chikdren. Those children will grow up and hopefullty invent new products and come up with new ideas and solutions to help our country to continue to lead the world.

      I would like to point out that the teacher in this article has TWO Master's degrees. She is like a lot of teachers in that we continue our education to be better at what we do. Even with those advanced degrees, many of us are still living paycheck to paycvheck. Many of us have not seen a raise in years and have had to cut things already. We spend money out of our own pocket to buy school supplies for the students and many of us contribute food so the kids do not go hungry after they go home.

      I work lots of hours, as do most teachers. Many teachers have second jobs in order to make ends meet. Yes, this teacher and the union are doing the right thing. The big question is how long can they make ends meet when they have no money coming in.

      For those of you that think teaching is such a cush job, go ahead and go to school to become licensed. You are more than welcome to come into a classroom and teach for minimum wage.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • shut_up

        sara, not only wants the taxpayers to give these students free lunches, bus rides, free health care , etc, but then all for the taxpayers to give the students parents that are non taxpayers, medicaid, welfare and what ever else she thinks that they deserve??? condoms would help as it seems the only thing they know how to do is have more uneducated babies. obama to the rescue. wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

        January 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • jpmiller99

        Stop whining about what you choose to do. If we ended public education and only publicly funded private education (vouchers) every child would have a choice where to go to school, and successful schools would flourish while crappy ones would fold. Then, you have the opportunity to share in the "success" of your school.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Jerry

        Cry me a river. I would be really curious to know the number of teachers that "really" purchase classroom supplies. I would bet that it is insignificant. I am basing my opinion on the fact that some teachers are claiming to hold two jobs; while some claim that they can not meet their financial obligations as well as put food on the table.

        Is there something out of "sink" here! Just asking!?

        As for the unions; most of them are simply 'leeches" that keep the school systems from doing the best job possible for the students and their tax-paying parents.

        January 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • teach

        Do a little research and you will find abundant examples of faculty/staff furlough plans, including one recent furlough accepted by the California State University system back in 2009 (1st hit on Google, "faculty furlough"). It is a standard idea and must be implemented on occasion.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • DOCinPA

        My heart goes out to you, Teacher. Ignorance certinly is bliss!

        January 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • Teacher

        I googled "faculty furlough" like you said and guess what? You were lying. I guess you did not think anyone would check.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  98. Rhonda

    Kudos to those who had to make the sacrifice in the name of doing the right thing and in the names of all the children who's lives they've touched. You will forever have an impact on those children. Your blessing have increased 10fold. God bless you and everything you do.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:35 am |
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