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. mickey

    LuLu15 says move to Las Vegas where teachers top out at $80,000 a year. I live in Las Vegas and I have taught here for 15 years. I know many, many teachers and it's funny but I don't know one who has topped out-NOT EVEN CLOSE TO TOPPING OUT. So, I have read most of your comments, and I must admit that I have formed a conclusion about the knowledge that you possess about teachers and I must say it because no one else has taken the opportunity. YOU ARE AND IDIOT. You know nothing about why a teacher teaches. You know nothing about the long hours we put in during the day and you certainly don't know the long hours we put in during the summer. Why don't you do some research into what it takes to make the average pay in Las Vegas and still have the dedication that we have. Education has taken a major hit in the last few years. If you had to put up with half of the stuff we have had to during this time, would you still be a teacher. Our futures are in great doubt but we still are there every day. Why don't you get some education yourself and know what you are talking about before you open the cavern you refer to as your mouth.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • pogojo

      If you want your child to get a good eduication send them to charter schools or private schools, get them out of public schools, public schools have failed we are 26th in the world, they only teach progressive subjects in public schools

      January 28, 2012 at 1:51 am |
      • sandy

        I taught at a charter school for a year and left after being highly disappointed. The emphasis was on the arts. The campus didn't have a library and the only technology available had been donated by a teacher: 10 aging laptops for a student body of 200+.

        BTW, my district hasn't given its teachers or support staff a raise of any type in ten years.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:09 am |
      • Emily

        I'm GLAD to hear about a school focusing on the arts for a change. In my time in public and charter schools, it's clear where students make the most personal growth: in the art and music rooms. Why? Because they aren't being forced to regurgitate information, and their creativity isn't being stifled. Obviously, other things were wrong with this school you were teaching at, because a cultivated arts program is usually the sign of a fine school.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:40 am |
      • Harlem Teacher

        While there are good charter schools, there are more bad ones. The truth of the matter is that charter schools are not the answer; and I have yet to see long term research that proves they are. I did my student teaching at a charter school and currently work at a public school. My school received an 'A' when rated a few years ago during our review. Then, a charter school was given permission to open in our building, forcing us to share space. Since they have extra money available to be spent in a variety of ways, better equipment, and many after school programs, we lost a considerable amount of students. We no longer even have a 6th grade! This caused my 'A' school to lose money. I've spent the last month buying my own paper and ink because our school didn't have the funds for copies, let alone the other supplies I purchase for my classroom. My school's rating dropped to a 'B' this year. Why? While we need to tweek some of our approaches in our lower grades, we mainly had our grade reduced due to our school environment. We lost points for aesthetics. Meanwhile, the charter school (who steals our students by handing out flyers to our families) has a 'F' rating in terms of education and an 'A' for their environmental score, giving them an overall grade of a 'D'. Why would they open a charter school in a public school that was performing well? Why would they allow it to stay open? The answer isn't for the benefit of the students, it's where the charter school's funding was coming from.

        January 28, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Anna

      You are right. I worked at daycares when I was younger and now know several teachers. From observation, no way are they coming home at 3:30 and getting tons of vacation time. They stay late working on lesson plans, speaking with parents and organizing their class. When I was a daycare worker I saw how during the summer, they remained on campus for mots of it, reorganizing their rooms, and readjusting lesson plans. They were back long before school commenced again. This was all time they do not get paid for. Many receive little support from the administration, are hobbled by teaching to the test and dip into their own pockets for supplies for their students. None of them were rolling in the dough or making more than a middle class income. The reason behind the rage against teachers is nothing more than ignorance.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  2. Not True Joe

    This is garbage. The GOP wants nothing more than to have us teachers work for free. Thanks a lot, lady.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  3. David

    Yeah, sure you'd teach ... but you'd live on homeless on the streets! Give me a break! Stop writing such lies. You would NOT teach if you were not paid. If you did, how would you pay your bills, eat?

    Articles like this do a huge disservice to teachers. Society - politicians and (most) Americans like to talk the talk about how important education is and about how teachers are so important .. and what a "valued" profession it is. But that really isn't true. It is just talk. Articles like this one play right into their view. What is their view? That teachers don't do it for the money ... that ...they do it because they care. That is just "society's" talk that really justifies what they mean ... that "teachers can be paid terrible wages".

    If people truly cared about education, they'd pay for it, they'd pay teachers like the well educated professionals they are ... and treat them with respect.

    Instead, politicians (and school districts) want to break the unions so they can fire good tenured teachers ... b/c new teacher grads out of school ... make far less than those with experience. All of it comes down to money, NOT to better education.

    Again, such stories like this, just contributes to the decline of education and the decline of how society values educators. Very sad.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Anna

      The article states: "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." It says nothing about working indefinitely without pay and ending up homeless. The writer appears to agree with you – that education is not valued and teachers are getting the short end of the stick, jeopardizing the futures of American students.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  4. amadeo122

    If it wasn't for teachers none of you would read and write, you would be backwoods republican ignorant inbreeds. So be thankful that at least a teacher gave you the chance to be able to live like a human being instead of a instinctive survivalist monkey.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • David

      My parents taught me how to read and write BEFORE I began school. It's sad how many sperm & egg donors there are these days, as opposed to REAL parents.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  5. Danny

    Per openpagov.org Sara Ferguson gets paid over $75,000 per year plus benefits. No wonder she can afford to work a couple of weeks without pay.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  6. Pointless1

    LOL... you are so off...

    January 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  7. lynne

    Reading so many posts, it has gotten to hard simply to reply to individuals.

    To all those who belittle, cut down, insult and otherwise demean teachers:
    I teach high school in poor urban setting in a Right to Work (non union) state. I make less than 35K a year. I work roughtly 70-80 hours a week. Teachers have dozens of extra duties, responsibilities and additional things they are required to do that are included into their salary. We are NOT paid for our summers, though we work through most of that for no extra pay. We buy our own supplies because our schools cannot provide them. We are facing rising class sizes with fewer resources and fewer teachers. We do all of this in buildings that are often in disrepair due to lack of money. We stay late into the night trying to call parents who are not involved and don't care that their son or daughter refuses to take part in their own education – just because they have given up doesn't mean we get to. And then we have to hear all of YOU who tell s we are worthless, underqualified and lazy.
    As i have said on other posts, I LOVE my job. I love becoming someone my kids trust, and I adore the look on a student's face when they GET it. I hate this part. The part where we become the villains to people who have no idea what they are talking about. I'm not asking for 100K a year and overtime. All I want is some respect and a cost of living raise once in a while, like any other DEGREE HOLDING (degrees in my case, but hey) PROFESSIONAL would receive.

    To all those who have been supportive in your posts:
    Thank you so much. You have no idea what your thoughts mean to me. It is nice to know that some people still care.

    Are there bad teachers out there? Yes. Same as there are poor examples of every professional career out there. Most of us work hard and give all they have in the face of hate and ignorance like many of you have displayed.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • lynne

      TOO hard, excuse me. Emotional typing is poor typing, my apologies.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Teacher

      I know what you mean. I am currently working on my PhD. I am paying for that degree out of my own pocket. I do so because I want to make a difference. It is upsetting to be villified just because I want to be paid more than I am being paid now. I do not work for free. I could not afford to do so. I have not had a raise in four years. My health care costs have gone up. I spend lots of money buying supplies for my classroom. I spend lots of time putting together lessons. I read lots of journal articles so I can put best practices into effect in my classroom so my students have the best chance possible. I call parents who do not care.
      This is good here; Listen to him tell what teachers make:
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU&w=640&h=360]

      January 28, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Emily

      I wholeheartedly agree with your post. THANK YOU!

      January 28, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • unowhoitsme

      Today good teachers are the minority. I applaud you for your hard work. But the majority of American teachers need to get out of the profession as we score between 26th and 35th in the world in math and reading compared to other countries. The unions have created an opportuntiy for those job seekers looking for a way to "put their time in" until retirement and there's no way to get the out once they have tenured. Our children have suffered at the hands of these teachers. New York has a room where these teachers clock in and sit ALL DAY and STILL COLLECT THEIR PAY, but are no longer allowed to be with children. This country is doomed if we don't change the education system immediately. Instead of investing in education, we'll be investing in more prisons. Education prevents poverty and crime. It needs to be a priority for everyone in this country.

      January 28, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  8. i disagree

    as long as teachers continue to work without pay, people like mitt romney will realize that he doesn't have to pay them. no pay= no work.

    it's time to stop getting taken advantage of.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • SpenderH

      I'm just thankful that you refrained from making unfounded, inflammatory political statements about an issue you know nothing about. Wait, strike that. Try looking up what Romney did for education in Massachusetts before you make more stupid comments.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  9. abby

    Our children require and deserve a quality education. For too long administrative costs have eaten into the budget; school district administrators make huge sums of money, but the teachers do not yet reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies for their students. Yes, there are bad teachers and there are bad administrators and bad senators and representatives. There are bad students. And bad parents.
    But what matters most? The children.
    But it seems that what matters most to some folks is undermining and denigrating one of the hardest professions - being a teacher for ungrateful parents, non-supportive administrators, indifferent students and complaining taxpayers who refuse to recognize that teachers educate the future.

    Oh, well... Let's keep blaming the teachers. It's easier that way.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Call me an airplane

      Our own society has let down our children...but wait a minute...doesn't that mean WE'RE ALL AT FAULT???
      That's going to mean that our society will have to take a good, hard look at itself.
      You're right....we'll just keep blaming the teachers.
      Won't solve any problems, but at least our society won't have to reflect on what it's doing wrong.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • shelly

      "but the teachers do not yet reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies for their students"
      Seriously??? I have been a teacher for 20 years. Students come to my room every year without basic supplies such as pencils and paper. I can either provide a pencil and paper or watch a child sit and do nothing. So, yes I provide supplies out of my own pocket. Is it my responsibility? No. Will I continue to do so, absolutely.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  10. Danny

    Chester Upland is one of the worst performing districts in the state per openpagov.org. 7% of juniors are math proficient and 24% are reading proficient.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • scranton

      It seems CNN has a bad habit of reporting only one side of a story.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • insiderknowledge

      I was waiting for the performance stats to come out.. Look its a simple equation. Poverty= low performing.. For those that point out the performance in a poor district its like being shocked that smokers have higher rates of cancer then non smokers.. DUHH.. Look at every poor county or district in the country and you'll see the same thing.. So i pose a logical question to the audience.. Is it logical to think that every teacher or most teachers in poor districts are terrible and are therefore to blame for the low performance or is it more likely that socio economics play a huge factor in the performance in these districts?

      January 28, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  11. Daniel

    In a Country that Kim Kardashian makes $250,000 to show up for a party or a baseball player makes $22 million to hit a ball 3 times out of 10 and a teacher makes $38,000 year...there is just something wrong with this picture....

    January 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Brad

      Amen, brother! However, this is a societal problem and not a quick one to change.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • jOE

      More... corp CEOs get 15 Million and we call them heros. Oil CEOs get 150 Million and we call it free markets. Health Care CEo get 150 Million a year and we call it good and we call any healthcare reform socialism. We are so backwards. We reward execs who send american jobs oversees...and we have america convices all regulation is bad. Deregulation has made the wealthy rich and burned the middle and lower classes. Teacher pay is a hot topic. IN some cases, teachers who coach and laod up make a very ncie living, maybe even above average in some states considering all the other benefits, but it is a paltry some compared to principles, vice principles, school administraters. Look... why dont we pick on them too....is it because they are non-union, funny how that works.

      January 28, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  12. flash

    To those who feel teachers are underpaid, they have to take into consideration the time off that teachers get. I don't know of many jobs that give two to three months off throughout the year. And most jobs require an eight hour day, five days a week. Teachers work a seven hour day, with one or two days a week that require you to stay later than classes to ensure students get home, or on buses. If you factor all of these things in, they are not making bad money. It also depends on the location(chicago teachers make $53000/yr) and the type of school. The ones who aren't making the money are the catholic school teachers($27000 for a science teacher in high school) and private schools.

    Another thing is that education should start AT HOME, not in school. You are doing your child a HUGE disservice by not teaching them to read, right, and do basic math problems before they get to first grade or kindergarten. THESE ARE YOUR CHILDREN, AND YOU ARE JUST AS RESPONSIBLE AS THE TEACHERS IN SCHOOL FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUR CHILDREN. You can't blame the teachers if the kids come to school completely illiterate.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • flash

      Oops, that would be write, not right.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Carolina Teacher

      I get to work at 7:30 and leave try to leave most days by 4:00. I stay until 5:00 on Thursdays. I also bring work home with mr some nights. Oh, and I have two kids and help with their hw at night. I also attend workshops in the summer...not paid. I also do not get paid I the summer and have to stretch my money out. It is a harder job then most could even begin to imagine.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Lillian

      As an educator, I agree that the pay is not that terrible (depending on where you live) considering you get the summers off. However, to state that teachers work a 7 hour day is an outrageous injustice. Your contract dictates an 8 hour day, you arrive early and leave later than students. Additionally teachers spend a considerable amount of time planning lessons and grading assignments at home. All hours you are not calculating. Additionally, teachers, counselors, etc are required to meet with parents whenever it is convenient for them which is not always during the regular work day. It comes down to the fact that teachers are doing the most important job in the world, (yes I really believe that) the future of tomorrow rests on their shoulders and we pay them less to educate our students than we would to babysit them.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Teacher

      Are you serious? First, get the correct facts, and then GO and TRY to DO a teacher's JOB for a day. don't dare judge what you obviously do not understand.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Holly

      Flash...we do NOT get 2-3 months off. We have 2 months where we are jobless. JOBLESS! We do not get paid during that time unless it is prorated from our 9 month paychecks, which for me, barely covers my one bedroom apartment and basic bills.
      I don't understand where that gets lost in the translation.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
      • Danny

        Sara Ferguson gets paid $75,000/10 = $7500 per month and she has 2 months of summer vacation. Per openpagov.org

        January 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
      • Anna

        Danny: Sarah Ferguson has also been working as a teacher for 20 years. 20. I made her salary in my first year as an attorney. And I know teachers. They aren't sitting around all summer. they work most of it, cleaning their classrooms, reorganizing, revamping lesson plans, preparing for new students who have serious special needs but are being mainstreamed etc. And they don't get paid for that. People know too little about what teachers really do.

        January 28, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • TeacherLover

      My wife is probably the best middle school language arts teacher in NC public schools. She happens to work in a small school, and there is no county supplement. She is highly qualified with an ivy league education. Although she has other experience from previous jobs, at 40 years old with six years of teaching experience, she currently makes $31,000 a year for 10 months of work. She attends several conferences in the summer and has to attend classes to keep her certification current (on her own time and at her own costs – without any financial assessment from the school or state).

      She averages 9 hour work days, including required after school meetings, activities, grading papers at home, etc. The school just announced that next year, they will take away their 5 teacher work days, so they will need to do all of this work on their own time as they will be required to teach students an additional 5 days.

      It is heavily frowned on to take vacation during any other time than school holidays.

      Pay increases and step increases have been frozen for several years.

      Teaching is a ministry and requires very special people. Your children would be very fortunate to have my wife as their teacher.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Mel

      You seem to have a way with numbers, but somehow I don't think you studied statistics.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Pointless1

      I love when people who clearly know nothing of the educational system start talking as if they do.... Makes them look as foolish as they did in class when they were there in the first place. Some people just can't be taught....

      January 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Hilikus00

      lol, because grading papers and lesson planning isn't work. The only work done is teaching for 7 hours a day. A lot of teachers put more hours in in 9 months, than many do in 12. If you think they get paid for 12 months, you're misinformed. Traditional schedule teachers who get paid 12 months a year, do so because they had their check divided to continue receiving a check during the summer months.

      These people mold the future of our nation, yet many make less than a McDonalds manager(No disrespect to Mcd's managers...just as far as importance to the future goes...).

      January 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • misha

      Looking back on my teaching career, I can not remember a day when I had the luxury of "punching out" after 7 hours. This evening alone, I have spent 3 hours at home working on progress reports and assessment data...after 9 hours at school today.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Kate

      I am completely astonished by this comment. I have worked in a fairly decent school district for three years since graduating college. I do not have my summers off, or even my weekends, for that matter. I have been waitressing since I was in college, every weekend and all throughout my summers “off”. I take home my student’s work and grade papers on a Sunday afternoon, and buy supplies out of my own pocket I do agree with your comment about how learning starts at home and that parents play a huge role in teaching their child, but the rest is garbage. I do not teach because of the money, I teach because I love inspiring children.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Adair

      If you think a teacher's day ends when the students have gone home, you are wrong. I frequently take papers home to grade, spend hours a week searching for new ideas for lesson plans, and create PowerPoint presentations etc, nights and weekends. I arrive 7:30 and leave 4:00 to 5:00 and continue my workday at home. And yes, like most teachers, I purchase supplies for students out of my own pocket as well as supplies to get the job done; such as, computer paper, printer ink, pens, pencils, books to help with lessons and the list goes on and on. I spend time during the summer working on lesson plans, college education classes and educational conferences. I do this because I want to and I care about the quality of my student's education. Most teachers I know do the same.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  13. Socrates

    Most of you think that this is a simple problem with a simple solution??? Eliminate the ""bad" teachers, but it will have very little effect on our educational system. Our educational systems reflect our society and all of its growing problems. Broken families with no transmission of manners or morals from one generation to another. Parents too busy with everything except their children. And trying to be a "friend" to your children before you establish that you are their parents is another issue. No Child Left Behind is teaching to the test and true education and development of the student is forgotten in the process. I could go on but to what end? Just go ahead and blame the "teachers" and go back to what you were doing. Meanwhile the problem is growing and we as a society will reap what we sow!

    January 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Sadly we have a society that treats education with disdain. We laud those who are in sports, musicians, and the like. We mock the "nerd". We have legislatures that have restricted Science and Social Studies education to promote a political agenda. There are great examples around the world of how to improve our educational system; but, we refuse to consider those ideas since they might lead parents, children, teachers, businesses, and politicians to have to all put in their part.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • MentalRay

      It's a very very simple solution. In my town in PA, 97% of tax dollars go to the "broke" school system. They can't raise the percentage without laying off police. All they have to do is raise taxes so they can afford to pay Neshaminy PA teachers, some of whom make $80 to $90 a year, their current salaries. This would also fund the salaries of the layers upon layers of redundant management, superintendents, aides, ect ect.

      Seriously, I think they should just eliminate sports from school. It is non-educational, and think of the millions upon millions they could save from not having to build football stadiums and gymnasiums

      January 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
      • Mel

        In my state, state wide costs for administration is around 5% of the budget. Find any company that operates on such a slim budget for supervisors and administrators. Look at most large companies. Their management people make many multiples of what the workers get, and the gap is widening. It is time to stop the myth of the "layers upon layers of administrators." School problems are complex and firing administrators will do nothing to solve the social problems that exist in schools.

        Why not argue that we have too many officers in the military, the privates can fight the war alone, a couple of corporals can direct the troops.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  14. Carolina Teacher

    I have been a teacher for 16 years and I make $38,000 a year. I have not had any type of a raise in five years. I pay $293.00 a month into a retirement fund which is not matched by my county or state. I am always baffled by those who talk about all teachers get in retirement.....guess what....it is my money! Also, there are a lot of people who respond to teachers with....sorrynyoupicked that job.....don't complain.To a certain degree they are right. However, don't you complain at what I get wi my job. It is a job that judges you bases on what teenagers do.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Danny

      See if they have openings in Pennsylvania. Sara Ferguson gets paid $75,000 per year. And her union won't let her take a pay cut.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  15. scott

    It's too bad they didn't just dismiss the lowest performing 5-10% of the teachers. It would solve the financial probleam and more importantly give the kids a better education. Too simple I guess.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Are you up to taking a position in education?

      January 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Holly

      I personally don't know of any low performing teachers, but I do know students who's parents have never once come to conference night, checked grades online, or participated in any part of their child's education. Everyone is looking to teachers to correct this "problem" when they need to start looking at is the parent's responsibility. Education either gets reinforced at home or it doesn't.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Mel

      Why not just dismisss the 5-10% lowest performing students, problem solved!

      January 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  16. JDee

    This is part of what's wrong with the system. Many teachers care so much that they'd keep doing what they do without pay. Really? Not me, I'm an amazing teacher, and I care a lot, but I'm not going to work in the morning if no paycheck comes in. If other teachers took a stand, schools would cancel classes due to loss of teachers, kids would have to stay home, parents would have to find babysitters, and all hell would break loose. Then, the govt would listen. It's sad when people would work and not get paid...I'm sorry, thank you, I'll sit home.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • scott

      If you are a poor performing teacher I wish you would stay home. If you are outstanding one I wish you would get a raise. It's the fact that your union protects you from being reviewed as either that I object to.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • Mel

        These simplistic answers, "it is the union's fault," are based on an idealogical bias, not any facts in evidence.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  17. tstorm

    Most teachers haven't had a pay raise in years. Not even cost-of-living. Yet they take money out of their own pockets for school supplies and put up with a bureacracy that is quick to put htem down no matter how large their classroom, how many hours they work a week, or how underfunded their schools. Why conservatives chose to pick on these people who do a job most peopel would disdain and walk away from is beyond me...

    January 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      If we attack the teachers, then we can ignore the fact that our society is anti-education and opposed to a sense of common responsibility.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  18. DALE

    We invest a tremendous amount of money into Education. The money that should be going to schools in the lower middle class on down neighborhoods, including poor black families is beting siphoned off nationally since the 1986 amnesty (and residual affects related to it) by illegal immigrants, chain migration, anchor babies, and many new illegal immigrants because of the incentives and the expected new amnesty on the horizon.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • James

      Your comment suggests that you have no clue how schools are funded.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
      • DALE

        federally,state, and property tax

        January 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  19. Surthurfurd

    On the notion of merit pay: Should we pay police officers less if they work where there is more criminal activity? Maybe we should pay soldiers less when there is a war and they are not keeping the peace as well?

    January 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Keith

      For all the teachers on here talking about how they are not paid enough and there hours are too long and the system is underfunded I agree, but ITS BEEN THAT WAY FOR AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN ALIVE. So why in the heck did you take the job??? You knew what you were signing up for!! I am a police officer I take home less now then I did when I first was sworn in, but I am greatful for my job and bennies because I knew what I was signing up for so I dont complain about low staffing, lack of training, and dangers of my work. so please just stop we get it you have hard jobs that you dont like (even if you say you love it if you love it then you wouldnt comlain this much)

      January 28, 2012 at 3:01 am |
  20. jim

    I see many comparisons made between the military and education. It is important to remember that education is a long term investment, but it is no less important.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  21. Robttt

    The article is about a PA school. check out the link that Lulu15 posted. I live in PA. There are teachers in the country I work in that make $106,000 a year. Not top math and science teachers. Art teachers, librarians, shop teachers. If you think those are reasonable salaries for a job that has a pension paying 87% of salary for life, you are delusional. Everyone agrees there are states where teachers are underpaid. PA is not one of them. Want to make more money? Compete like real professionals do. Glad you're retired. Hate to have you in front of a classroom

    January 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • triger589

      Very well said.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • professionalstudent

      Then the county, real or imaginary, in which you say you work pays more than double the average teacher salary in PA (and in MA, where I teach). Could you tell me which county that is, so I can see if they're accepting applications? I've got excellent references, and a master's degree with a first-class transcript. Do you think maybe you could put in a good word for me?

      January 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • Bill in Langhorne

        In Bucks County PA, the teachers in the Neshaminy School District are currently in the fourth year of working to a contract that expired in 2008. The average salary is around 80k/yr with teachers at the top of the 11 year scale at 97k a year. Currently the teachers pay nothing for their cadillac health care plans, receive a bonus of 27,500 when they retire (eligible after 11 years) plus receive free health care for themselves and dependents after they retire until they are able to use Medicare at age 65. In addition after 35 years of service they can collect 87% of their salary as their pension. Check out the local paper phillyburbs.com for more info on the on going labor impasse. Most teachers in the U.S. are underpaid but not this group who are trying to retain most of these outrageous benefits.

        January 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Paul

      I have yet to meet any teacher making even half that much... and my wife was a teacher for many years at a school district in a very well-to-do area. She and her fellows were paid above the average for teachers in PA, and the thought that any of them could have ever made a six figure salary is ludicrous. I've seen the schedules for pay in several very high end districts, the top tier was always 5 figures. What district are you in, I'd love to know.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
      • Bill in Langhorne

        Do some research, every individual teachers salary is a matter of public record in Pennsylvania. In the school districts that surround Philadelphia (Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties) many of the teachers in these suburban areas who are at the top of the salary scale make near or over 100k annually.

        January 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • PC

      I would like an explanation as to why math and science are more important life skills than vocational and arts education. Obviously, you have not kept up with brain research about how students truly learn. Math and science skills are useful, no doubt, but not the only skills necessary for a balanced life. We need all of the subjects to be integrated and well-taught. Student needs are being met far better now than 40 years ago. We are investing in students with special needs to help them function in the real world. That didn't happen in a regulay school back then. We are recognizing and dealing with social/behavioral/economic issues in schools now that weren't addressed even 10 years ago. We need to have an array of subjects, techniques, and talents to meet these needs–and yes art, music, dance, cosmetology, shop, nursing, and other subjects will be the way to do it.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  22. The_Mick

    According to another report: "...the school board only regained control of the [already heavily in debt] schools from the state in 2010, and nearly half of the funding for the Chester Upland district goes to charter schools, one of them run by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's largest donor. Add on a 20 percent cut in the district's state funding, and you certainly have the ingredients for a disaster—one in this case only narrowly averted (so far) by the sacrifices of unionized teachers and support staff." Don't work a second for those right-wingers who act like you don't count! You're only making them less criminal! As a retired teacher who's seen the public complain about teacher pensions -but not complain about teachers in most counties starting at salaries LOWER than starting sanitation workers, working 300 hrs/yr MORE than the average full time worker, and not receiving any company stock or matching IRA or 401k benefits, I'd tell the teachers to demand MORE money up front and not work one minute without pay. The VERY conservative magazine Forbes says that teachers -including benefits- are the 3rd lowest paying profession requiring a college degree. The job is so stressful and low paying that in may cities they have to recruit teachers from 3rd world countries: 10% of Baltimore City's teachers are from the Philippines. It's time for the teachers to agree with the right-wing that they should get what the "free market" will pay. BAN recruiting foreign teachers, reduce pensions, and then see what you have to pay to get people to go into teaching. You'll have to raise starting salaries at least $10K per teacher on average, across the country.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  23. Lulu15

    OpenPAGov.Org...Chester Upland teachers salaries..check it out and see for yourself

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

      You have got to be kidding, the pay these folks make. I mean education is really important, but everyone is making the bucks not counting the benefits. Just unreal. Prime example of why unions need to go. Bankrupted Detroit, Post Office (soon), transportation... and we "working people" foot the bill! Another example of gov't gone bad.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  24. Brian G

    For every "bad" teacher who shouldn't be in the classroom, there are at least a dozen "bad" parents who are completely indifferent to their children's education ... it is a teachers job to educate children; it is a parent's job to teach their children to value and respect that education ... you want accouontability, here's how to do it ... your kid fails to test at grade level ... ??? ... then you lose your deduction for that kid on your taxes ...

    January 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • BooseyBoo

      Sing it, Brian G!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Lulu15

      And yet another teacher that does not want to take accountability for their less than adequate teaching skills.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        Inadequacy is on both sides of the aisle. The problem is with the system and politicians that make it too easy to scapegoat teachers when little Suzy or Johnny fail. Especially after the teachers has tried to contact the parents on numerous occassions with no response. Bureaucratic educators and politicians only care about being re-elected and point the finger at teachers to ge the vote. Yes, there are bad teachers but there equally as bad parents who pop kids out without the ability or forthought of how to properly raise a child. It is too easy to blame only one side. Open your eyes and wake up.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Teacher

        Some teacher ended up causing you to have very poor thinking skills. Perhaps you should sue. It would be an open and shiut case.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • triger589

        Points deducted for spelling Teacher. lol

        January 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • Tyler n NJ

        For every good teacher, there's a terrible one. But its not just the teacher's fault that their students are derelicts. Most parents couldn't give two flying frogs if their children are even in school... much less breaking other laws.
        Consider this: You need a license to drive a car, but you don't need a license to raise a child.

        January 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • annieonymous

      And just what percent of people in this school district pay taxes and therefore, 'get a deduction'? Think about it. If you say they should get less aid, then they will be screaming about starving the poor and innocent children.

      The real problem is that for the last 20 years, politicians tried to throw money at underperforming districts. No improvement means they must need even more money. Still underperforming.... how about more money. Where I live, the underperforming St. Louis City school district is spending nearly $16k per student. In the 'Blue Ribbon' district I live in, spending is only $10k (and going down as the politicians want to take even more money from the performing districts and hand it to the under-performing districts).

      January 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Anna

      But what about kids with learning disabilities and other special needs? Would their parents get penalized in your scheme?

      January 28, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  25. Mrs.Teacher

    Who are these teachers making $60k-70k a year? Not all teachers make this kind of money. I am a teacher that makes $34k a year. I teach in a rural public school where the majority of the students live below the poverty line and receive free lunches. I work 60-70 hrs a week and I deserve a raise. Yes, I get 2 months "off" during the summer, but that time is also spent attending workshops, meetings, and preparing for the following school year. I'll never understand why there are so many people against teachers getting paid what they deserve. I am a professional educator, not a glorified babysitter, and should be paid and treated as such.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • PC

      I have to respectfully disagree that teachers "get paid" during the summer. Their pay is prorated so that for 9-10 months they do not get a full paycheck so that during the summer they still have a monthly income. Even with this precaution, and due to low salaries, many teachers work at a 2nd job during the school year and get a 3rd during the summer when they are not in the classroom.

      No, I do not believe that teachers get paid for a 2 month 'vacation' .

      January 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  26. Tim R

    As a teacher, I find most of the posts on here to be ignorant, uninformed, and for lack of a better word, stupid. EVERYONE should be applauding this woman and her colleagues, not demonizing them. 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 a thought. What happens if these teachers don't go to work? What happens to the kids? Answer: 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 5:43 pm |
    • Lulu15

      Let's get this straight...she has not worked for free.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • AANV

        @Lulu15: What are you?? Anti-education? Anti-teacher? Anti-children? What sane human being argues against any of these things? At least the politicians have the excuse of the difficult task of choosing between funding entire states, cities and counties... What is your purpose in contradicting a number of well thought out and well written posts by real educators?? They're taking the time to voice their opinion and experiences (which is their absolute right) and all you have the gall to do is come back with little quips here and there that have no substance or value – you're not even debating anything. Maybe you need help with the issues that are making you so negative and quick to torment others...?

        January 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  27. Robttt

    This issue differs greatly across the country. Ms Furguson teaches in one of the poorest districts in PA. Even in that district teacher salaries top out at $80,000. The pension for a PA teacher is 87% of salary for life after 35 years (that is not a misprint – 87%). Move to some of the counties west and north of Philly (Bucks, Montgomery) and there are districts where teachers can make $90,000 after 15 years and the salaries top out in the $95,000 to $100,000 range. Many of these teachers are in the top 5% of all wage earners in the USA with benefits that no one else has

    January 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • professionalstudent

      If you'd read the entire article, you'd have seen this toward the end: "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." She agrees with you and laments the disparity of educational funding between the haves and have-nots.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Jim

      Good for them getting an education and developing a high demand skill.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Lulu15

      And I can guarantee you that at least 50% of the teachers are topped out at $80,000 for 9 months worth of work.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
      • JA

        And I bet you have no problem with the Wall St analyst who sits at his keyboard all day and throws pencils at the ceiling when he's bored, yet has a $150k+ salary.

        Reading your comments, I honestly can't tell if you're trolling, or just stupid. My money's on the latter.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • BooseyBoo

      Lulu,
      Do you think teachers only work an 8 hour day? Think again and there is no overtime.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Not worth $8,888 per month plus benefits. 80,000/9 months – 8888.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        I am not a parent..but am quoting from various posts relating to children..."Children are our most precious resources...blah, blah blah..." yet always parents want to low ball their children. Cheap day care, cheap food, cheap education yet some of the parents think nothing of driving around in 60K dollar vehicles all the while complaining about how expensive everything is.

        It is hypocritical to ask someone else to fund a childs education when parents themselves are not willing to invest more into the children. Teachers work upwards of 14+ hour days. Grading homework for 30+ students times 5+ classes a day doesn't happen within the confines of an 8 hour work day and then factor in meetings with parents (when you can get them to come in), dealing with unruly, disrespectful children and when you do meet the parents you know where it comes from. Those distractions during the classroom take away from the actual teaching and it is against the disruptive child's educational rights to boot the brat out because it must be the teacher doesn't like my child...paleeze!

        I have several relatives and friends who are teachers and everytime I see them I cannot understand how or why they can put with such sheer disrespect and disregard from the population and society at large that LOVES their children. More power to them and shame on people like you.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Stephanie Laymon

      Have you checked on those salaries? Many of those belong to what our district calls "lead teachers". These are supervisory positions for educators who have advanced to overseeing less experienced teachers. These lead teachers also are 12 month employees rather than 10 month. The response to this article is ridiculous. So doctors and lawyers should also work for free?

      January 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Lulu15

        OpenPAGov.Org

        January 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  28. teacher

    the problem is that teachers do not generate income the way business people do. nonetheless, teaching is equally as important as business. anyone got an idea for a solution?

    January 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Steve

      Pay teachers based on performance. If you're good at it then you're worth a lot of money. If all of your students are coming up short then you don't deserve to paid anything besides what the going wage is for a babysitter.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • Dan

        Pay-for-performance is a good idea in theory, but there are too many things that can go wrong with such a model. Students' inherent abilities, for example. Would you pay a teacher a large sum to sit around and simply let a classroom of talented students perform? Would you dock a teacher pay if his/her students struggle to understand the material, regardless of the teacher?

        The primary/secondary educational systems in the U.S. do need a bit of an overhaul. The problem is, no easy solution exists.

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

        You are placing 100% accountability on teachers. What about student and parental accountability? Oh wait, that would mean parents ARE responsible and accountable for their and their childrens' failure. Geez!

        January 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • JA

        Parents responsible for their kids? In this day and age? Surely you jest!

        January 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
      • Jim

        Babysitter pay! I would love to make that as a teacher. Let's see, $7 per hour per kid with a class of 20 kids. $140 per hour. Now my official day is 7.25 hours. Subtract my 1/2 hour lunch, 1/2 hour planning time and even the 30 minutes I'm contractually obligated to stay in the building (doing work that can't get done when you have a class in front of you). Forget all the building meetings, phone calls to parents, extra work you take home, that's for free 'cause it's fun, correct. So say I have kids in front of me that I'm babysitting for only 5.75 hours. Multiply by your chump change babysitting money $805 per day. I contractually work 189 days a year but yes, there are 3 days in the beginning of meetings, 1 at the end and 2 during the middle. So really 183 x $805= $147,315.
        I'll take that babysitting job, as you so well put it!
        Jim

        January 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
      • SPED teacher

        Fine and dandy unless you are a special education teacher. Then success should be judged as the student making IEP goals and educational progress at their own level.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Stephanie Laymon

      That's not true. Teachers are tax payers, grocery shoppers, car buyers, mortgage payers, etc. Teachers do generate revenue just like every other gainfully employed person.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  29. George

    this article is ridiqulus! Our education is not, that, bad, or i mean it isnt that, bad. ya know? comon,

    January 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Emily

      Is this a serious comment? Stating our education system is not that bad while misspelling "ridiculous" and using horrifically bad grammar?

      January 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  30. teacher

    While I admire these teachers' dedication, I'm kinda' miffed that they facilitate education budget cuts by taking up the slack through volunteerism. If I can't pay my water bill, the water company doesn't give me water for free. Water is no less important than teachers. If a state can't pay its teachers, the teachers shouldn't give the state their services for free.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  31. Oy

    Maybe teachers would be more appreciated if they didn't take every opportunity to tell you how they are teacher and how bad it is to be a teacher.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • John

      Maybe if teachers got fair pay and a little respect, you'd hear that argument less often.

      And by the way, I'm a business person, not an educator. But I'm where I am today because of my teachers, and I'm smart enough to know that.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Oy

      Well, I'm actually married to an educator. She doesn't go around telling the world how she is God's gift to them, though.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • Teacher

        I feel sorry for your wife. It must be terrible living with someone who does not value the job she does.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • teacher

      i don't appreciate being part of a generalization you've made about people who have the same job as me.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
      • professionalstudent

        Ditto.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Dorothy

      I have great respect for teachers. Teachers do a lot of good things but they do not get the respect and pay that they deserve. I support public education I think that every child in this country deserve a good education no matter what side of town, county, or state that you come from.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  32. Jonathan Davis

    I'm getting a little tired of hearing how the liberals want to live off the government teat. Do the following. Google "education ranking by state" Find a map and print it out. Now ask Google " Tax money returned to states vs taxes paid in" Find a map or chart and print that out. (The easiest was the 3rd entry returned by google, but have a look around). Lastly Google Red states vs Blue states. Print that map out. Now if you compare them, you will note that the redder a state is,the more likely it has a lower then average education listing, and more likely it gets greater then 100% back in tax benefits. Take New Jersey; it gets $.61 back for every dollar paid in and has a higher then average education rating. Then look at Mississippi, the lowest education rating in the country , couldn't be any redder and gets $1.84 for every dollar it contributes. So apparently if a liberal like me wants to suck on a teat, I'm going to have to push you out of the way first.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Teacher

      Thank you!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Teacher

      Thank you! Very appropriate.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • professionalstudent

      And many of these states sucking front teat do not require their teaching applicants to have a master's degree, nor do they pay teachers anything resembling a reasonable wage. Now that you mention it, where does that money really go?

      January 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  33. DanP

    Lulu15...you watch a lot of Fox News don't you? Ever try to think for yourself?

    January 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  34. Lulu15

    Each of you teachers know a teacher that should not be teaching. Those are the ones us parents have to hear about at the end of the school day. What is your receommendation to weed out the old to bring in the new? How much will the old hag get paid when she retires? 75% of her current pay for the next 30 years?

    January 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • marrod

      Listen, for every bad teacher there are dozens that really care and should retire getting 75% of their pay.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • John

      LuLu, I see you complaining an awful lot about the salaries of teachers. Remember your claim below that teachers make $60K against the starting military salary of $14K? I just did some research. Here's the data:

      Per the 2012 salary table published by the US DOD, the starting salary for an E1 is $16,548.00 – and this is with less than 3 months experience. This position, while critically important, does not require a college degree – just a willingness to fight for our country and good physical / mental condition. The job comes with substantially discounted meals and lodging, as well as absolutely free medical care for the enlisted man and the members of his / her family. After three months of service, the E1 gets a raise to $17,892.00, and then substantial raises each year both for years of service and promotions in rank.

      By contrast, the average school teacher, first, must have at least a bachelor's degree (and, unless a person is independently wealthy, the debt that goes with it) in order to take a job that, in many parts of the country, offers a starting salary that is comparable to E1 military pay – but with no housing discount, no PX, no free medical care. Teachers' jobs are not backed by a $500 billion federal defense budget, so they must often pay for their own school supplies and other essentials that are *required* to do their jobs out of pocket, thereby lowering their pay even less (imagine telling soldiers they'd have to buy their boots?) This means that teachers start making *less* than the members of the military, despite having to go into debt to take the job.

      Now, as fas as where teachers 'top out' – that varies from state to state, county to county, just as where one 'tops out' in the military varies by rank, experience, etc. But in Florida, a teacher with a doctorate 'tops out' at $62,494.00. An E9 with 20 years of experience, by contrast, earns over $66K per year.

      So, an enlisted man with a high school education and 20 years of service makes over $66,000.00 / year. A teacher with a PhD – that's an average of ten years of higher education – makes $4,000.00 less per year than this, without the benefits that members of the military receive (and deserve), but with the additional cost of ten years of higher education.

      You don't seem to think members of the military are overpaid. I don't either. But teachers are paid less and do a job just as important as the job of the military. If you're going to complain about the salaries of one, complain about the salaries of both. Otherwise, get your facts straight before you start running your mouth.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • Lou

        Only 1% of enlisted make it to E-9. Not a fair comparison. They usually in up in the E-6 or E-7 range. What do the top 1% of PhD teachers in schools make

        January 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • just me

        Military personnel may also be called upon to live in conditions teachers will never be asked to do and they live every day knowing the very real possibility of giving up there life. Unfortunately teachers have been killed in school shootings however they do not live with the "real possibility" of it actually happening while our soldiers do. When you consider the life given up, the pay is worthless.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • Lou

        also forgot–regarding the medical and PX/BX/Commisary and housing–although you are correct that it is technically free stuff (not in the service members' paychecks) the DOD factors it in every year as far as compensation goes. I know cause it gets sent to my house every year. I guess my point is that 10 years of education does not make you worth equal, more, or lessor value than anybody else. It depends on the profession. No way in hell you would be able to keep the necessary military members if there wasn't benefits and pay to keep them around. Many still leave because of the demands of the job. Not other career demands as much in the U.S. I don't feel comparing the pay of the military to teachers is a good one to make.

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

        I realize that members of the military are called upon to make incredible sacrifices. But – to use an argument that has been used here with regard to teacher salaries – guess what? They *volunteered* to do the job. So if they're willing to do that job for, I don't know, $40,000.00 (on average), how about we just have them do it for $20,000.00? Or for free?

        That's a ridiculous argument, isn't it? And yet, it's the argument that people make with regard to teachers on a regular basis. Bottom line, and the original point of this entire thread, is that we should all be OUTRAGED that these teachers a) are in a position where it is even possible that they would not be paid for their work; and b) that these teachers have opted to work for free.

        Teachers do as much for this country as members of the military do, since without a literate country, there's really not much here to defend. Yet, they get absolutely none of the respect – none – that members of our military get (and deserve).

        Lou, you're right that comparing teaching to serving in the armed forces may not be the best comparison to make, but I wasn't the person who originally made that comparison. I was simply pointing out that teachers serve at *least* as important a role in our country as the members of the military do, but they get no respect for their hard work or even something like pay equivalent to the pay people with similar educations in other fields receive.

        That should outrage all of us – especially if we care about the future of this country.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • John

      Lou – The absolutely top that a PhD can earn in Florida (which I used here because it's right in the middle of teacher salaries) is the $62K +/- figure I quoted above. That's it. Period. There's no 'top 1%' factor. It's better to say that the top 1% of military folks are E9, and the top 1% of teachers are PhDs, and that the military folks make more than the teachers with far better benefits.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • Lou

        John–I see your point. I pulled up the BLS.gov website regarding this issue and their numbers for average salaries are quite a bit higher for the entire. It's also a few years old. take a look at this link: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos318.htm#earnings
        I see your overall point about years of education not equaling a great salary. However, I still don't think it's a good comparison. How many PhD's put their lives on the line for their students on a regular basis? Are forced to move to places they have no desire to go? Frequently works days/weeks/months without a day off? Remember, the teachers can quit if it's not worth it to them. The military can't until their contracts are up.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
      • John

        Lou, I'm with you. See above.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ollie

      Weed out the old? Bet you want that cheaper, 1st year surgeon working on you, too. Do you know how long it takes an educator to figure out how to manage student discipline, keep up with the paperwork, and learn the curriculum process? I didn't think I was above water until I'd been in the classroom for about 6-7 years. What we need is a system that can attract and retain the best. None of what I hear from any education critics wants to address that. All I hear is 'fire them' and hire better ones. And where is this pool of better ones you think is out there?

      January 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
      • Teacher

        The better ones are lining up at the doors to make $35,000 a year to help pay off the $75,000 in loans they had to take out in order to be licensed as a teacher. They are begging for positions where they are vilified in the news every day and can look forward to years of hard work with no raises and ever increasing expenses such as health care. They can expect the administrators to ask them to do more work every year. The best part is that they will pay so much money out of pocket so that the students have materials in the classroom. They love the idea that they will call uncaring parents and get no results. Who would not want to be seen as a miracle worker- that person that takes a magic Harry Potter wand and waves it over a poor performing student's head and turns that student into a brain who maxes out all of the high stakes tests. None of these eager newbies would ever quit in the first five years. No, they are willinhg to wait until an ungrateful public tells them that they are not doing a good job and boots them out the door so that the next person in line for a teaching position has an equal chance to fail.nfortunately, the disregard for education also extends to college and now college is being priced out of many people's budgets. Teachers do not get the respect that they deserve. If I were looking at a profession today, I would not choose teaching. I do not wonder why many teachers do not make it into five years as a teacher. I do wonder why they would choose it in the first place when there are so many more jobs that will pay them better given the same smount of education.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • BooseyBoo

      For every good good parent there are more that are not so good so please do not only place blame on one side.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Lulu15

        And those bad parents are fired and their kids are given to foster homes for qualified adults to raise.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
      • Stephanie Laymon

        @Lulu15 – there are plenty of "bad parents" who still have custody of their children. I work with foster children and there are also bad foster parents. Your view of the world is very narrow. You should get out more.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Stephanie Laymon

      Regarding bad teachers.... ADMINISTRATORS

      January 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Stephanie Laymon

      Regarding bad teachers...ADMINISTRATORS

      January 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • Stephanie Laymon

        to finish the remark... ADMINISTRATORS have the power to remove bad teachers, regardless of tenure, however many of them choose not to follow the procedures to do so. However, this issue has no substance regarding teachers who are working for free.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • professionalstudent

      Every cop knows a cop who should not be a cop. Every doctor knows a doctor who should not be a doctor. Every lawyer knows a lawyer who should not be a lawyer. Every carpenter knows a carpenter who should not be a carpenter... Congratulations on discovering the obvious.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  35. studdmuffins

    The unionized employees must despise this woman.

    What bothers me is the level of education it takes to become and maintain teaching credentials these days. Why on earth does it take a Masters to teach elementary school children, or even middle school children for that matter? High school at the pre-college level I can understand. I'll tell you why. So the unions can demand higher salaries for a system which is failing our students across the board.

    Studies are showing that phonics, the old standby, works far better than whole-word memorization. Yet those with the advanced degrees are not willing to stand up in this fight. Why? Because with whole-word a lot more teachers are needed for the intensive study (extra classes) needed to bring kids up to grade standards.

    Penmanship. Another dead art form brought to you by your bloated school system. Wonder why kids have no patience and short attention spans. As silly as it sounds, penmanship made students focus, usually for several pages at a time, on one task. Over the course of several weeks the student had to meet a certain timeline with letters and numbers contained 'within the lines.' In the most simplistic way it taught concentration, focus, attention to detail, motor skills and the alphabet - all without the need to hire reading specialists. Ours was taught by the same teacher who taught addition and subtraction. Oh, she also taught social studies. She must have been a Rhodes Scholar because she was able to do all that without so much as a room assistant. You know what else she did? Maintained discipline in her classroom.

    Wow.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Taran

      Yep, that is pretty much the way I remember it too.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Robert

      Why would the union be mad? The article states that the teachers and the union leadership were the ones who decided to keep working.
      Penmanship is a different issue. I agree that it is lamentable that things can't be like they used to be. But the reality of the world we live in today is the main problem. One big difference is that people just don't write as much as they used to. Email, text messages, and facebook have replaced mailing letters to keep in touch. Even job applications are done on computers (both in the professional and retail worlds). So schools would be doing a disservice if they weren't teaching computer literacy and keyboarding. That means we have to add to the curriculum but we don't get to add more time in the school year... so something has to be cut.
      Also students today just don't do homework the way they have in the past. That isnt' a cop-out, it's a sad fact. So teachers can give all the writing assignments they want, but when 70% of their students just consistently don't do it, what is the teacher supposed to do? Fail 70% of their class? Again, the sad reality is that too many of the parents of those 70% of students with F's will percieve the teacher as the problem, not their child. So teachers have to find some way to get the same results as we have in the past with students who won't do as much work as they have in the past. There isn't an easy solution to that problem.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Teacher

      Since you know so much about the classroom, maybe you should be a teacher. Of course, I think that maybe you "handle" says a whole lot about you as a person.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • professionalstudent

      I would say that most of us unionized teachers would agree with Ms. Ferguson. As to your diatribe on phonics vs. "whole word" (you mean to refer to the "Whole Language Approach," usually just called "whole language,"), you are utterly uninformed and any information you think you have dates to the last century. As to your Rhodes Scholar teacher, she failed to teach you subject-verb agreement, as evidenced by your second sentence: "...become and maintain teaching credentials." If you want to insult teachers in an open forum, get all your little grammar duckies in a row first, and then consider reading a book. I apologize for the insulting tone of this argument, but I feel it is warrented in this case.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  36. gypsyboomer

    Think a minute. Every single person who has posted here can thank a teacher for getting them to this point. Whether or not you agree with current education policy do not blame teachers for the economic conditions in the country. And as a personal note to LuLu15 grow up.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • studdmuffins

      Alas, the teaching profession has changed for the worse. Do not misinterpret, as some surely will do. Teachers are not the problem - the system has changed for the worse and teachers are the visible physical presence of that system. It goes with the territory to take the flak in any profession.

      I work in IT. I cannot count the number of times I have been screamed by end users for server hardware failures. It's not my fault but I become the physical embodiment of any problem. It just does with the territory.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • studdmuffins

        Typos for trying to respond via tablet. Sorry.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Mike

      Well said, on both counts.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  37. sumday

    What amazes me most is when budgets fall short the first thing the public and gov want to do is cut funding to things such as schools and gov employees. Does the public have any clue how much gov spending goes to private for profit companies? Even though both the private contractor and the teacher will be paid out of the tax payer wallet it is publicly alright to ask a teacher to take a pay but unfathomable to ask a private contractor to a pay cut. The gov spends more money on private contracts to private companies than it does on gov employees salaries, yet that is the first thing to be attacked when they need money. The public will cry about how much money is spent on the education system or how much a gov employee makes, but then think nothing of the gov awarding a million dollar contractor to a private company. Public perception is it’s wrong for a gov employee to make XX, but acceptable to award a contract to a private company that is going to make a profit off public taxes which then enable them to pay their top employees high salaries. I just wish the gov and the public would hold private companies who receive public funds to the same standard as they do gov workers. If you are willing to lay off teachers, or ask them to take a pay cut then why do you not ask or demand the same from private companies who have public contracts?

    January 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  38. Latesha Obama

    Abolishing Teacher UNIONS is the quickest and best way to improve education in the US. It will allow states to FIRE poor teachers and HIRE High Performing Teachers. It will incent teachers to perform at their BEST.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • sumday

      oh save your lies- truth is it is seldom the teacher that is the problem, more often than not it is unruly kids who don't want to learn and unreasonable parents that do not spend any time helping their kids learn but then expect the teacher to give THEIR kid special attention. We could do everything you just mentioned but that wouldn't improve 1 thing bc you would still be left with the root of the problem- undisciplined, unmotivated, disrespectful kids & parents who spend no time helping their kids learn but demand, blame, and expect the teacher to do everything. If you really want to improve schools the very first step should be repeal of the no child left behind law, and then move to expelling all the trouble making kids.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Taran

        Everything you said is pretty much why I turned down the "troops to teachers" program. That and the fact that I would not have been allowed to give students the grade they earned. No student allowed to get a failing grade, even if they earn it.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • Michael

        You both are missing the point. Firing teachers will save you some limited monies but the school system will still go broke. This problem began when schools were tied to property taxes. That in and of itself is not evil but it leads to disportionate levels of funding for education. When we do that someone will always go to the Supreme Court and argue there is no seprate but equal and justifiably so. About the only real good fix here is to tie funding to the state coffers and all property taxes that were going to the school district will now go to the state coffers. That way fluctuations in market value will be shielded, everyone will still pay the rates they are accustomed too and it places the education in public schools under state mandate, not Federal. The Fed has no business in education, that's liking telling a car dealer in La Habra that GM will make the rules for how they talk with customers. It needs to be controlled at the state level and all contracts need to be handled there. Do away with the million local groups of do gooders that think they understand the big picture. Additionally, if you were to send your child to a private school then those taxes should be sent to that school as part of the tuition. Make the thing inflation proof and quit using it as a political football. Us screaming about it year after year is becoming a Rome burns while Nero fiddles.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Stephanie Laymon

      Teachers can be fired with Unions and tenure. It just takes an administrator willing to do his/her job. So how is that the teachers' or Unions' fault if someone is not willing to do their due diligence?

      January 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  39. Stacy

    I do wonder what would have happened to all those politicians if funding for school was cut when they were growing up. They received therir education, but don't want these younger generations to receive one. What does that say about these politicians we put into office. It seems to me that onece we vote these people into office, they start caring for their own agendas, and show just how much they don't like their fellow Americans. Come on US are we as citizens really that stupid that we are going to keep allowing them to do this?

    January 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Latesha Obama

      CNN just reported today, that the US Spent LESS on Education decades ago, but with better RESULTS internationally.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • Teacher

        Of course, the dollar was worth lots more then. Also, we did not have to include students with disabilities in the test results. Most of the rest of the world still does not include students with disabilities. Many do not include students from low income families.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Whit

      It's easier. Schools are all based on test performance, and not how much a child actually learns. Keeping the younger generation dumber and at a loss is a good way to ensure nobody questions any actions of those who run the US. Far fetched? Maybe. But what else explains it?

      January 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  40. tim

    this teacher's not working without pay....

    January 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Stacy

      Nor should you!! Or any teacher for that matter. I don't think the politicians realize that these students are the future, and someone has got to teach them.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Greg

      Tim
      Then go collect garbage I am tired of being blackmailed by incompetent teachers who work 8 months a year and collect $70K. Pay raise, pay raise, pay raise and your answer is to increase my taxes. I pay enough! Find some other way to make a living and STFU!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • triger589

        AMEN Brother!

        January 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
      • Joshua

        Sounds like you wouldn't mind working for free then. Wait, what was that? Guess not. We all pay taxes. I'd rather see it go to education instead of funding all of these social programs.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  41. Lulu15

    I think the teachers should take a pay cut and the kids should all get new IPADS. Afterall, it's about the kids and not the pay. Right teachers.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • lulu's an idiot

      It's interesting that people always make it seem like teachers are so greedy and don't do a good job. I am a 4th generation educator and can tell you that the biggest difference between what I do and what the other generations did is what I have to do to make up for a complete lack of help from home because of uneducated hillbillies like yourself. Kudos, way to dump on those who are dumped on every day.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Shouldn't you be grading papers instead of being on the web at 1:16 on a Friday afternoon?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Fart McStain

        If you were a good teacher you would try to educate lulu, and not call him a hillbilly. I'm sure those values were passed down generation to generation in your family.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  42. Taran

    I was a teacher for 5 years in the military, probably the job I enjoyed the most in my career. I just loved watching that "light-bulb" come on. So when I retired I was encouraged to check into the "troops to teachers" program. I did and did not like what I found out. Teachers have almost no recourse for disruptive students. I mentioned that I would give students the grades they earned, if they fail, they fail. I was told, "Well, you can't really do that." During the interview I figured out how this country is graduating people from High School at a 4th grade reading level, with some of the better students at an 8th grade reading level. Money never came up, but I decided not to do it if I had to pass students that had not earned it and am not allowed to do anything about disruptive students.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • TG

      And the sad thing is, the reason you can't fail a student is the same one that cries out for school improvement: parents, politicians, and policy wonks. Oh, and they would also like you to improve the scores (not learning) with less money than before.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  43. MM

    Not Whining,
    I am a teacher. Two paycuts in 3 years. Insurance has doubled to $500 a month which is essentially a third paycut. I am taking a college class now (out of pocket money). I work 60 hours a week. The holidays that we have off, you will see me working. During my 3 month paid vacation which is really 2 months, I am taking 3 college classes and paying for them myself. How many professions require so much? I chose to teach because I am good at it. I teach because it is a worthy profession. I am not a whiner. But.............

    I can only take so much hatred from people that think teachers are all on easy street. Sit in my class for an hour and see if you can do this. It has become hard for me to pay my bills, because of cuts and public view.

    Teachers are hit with the economy just like the rest of you... it shouldn't be you against us. I am on your side, struggling like you, trying to do the best job I can do, when public opinion is against me. Why? What did I do wrong?

    By the way, I have no pension like most of you, I pay into my own retirement.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • John

      I also am a teacher. We don't get "paid summer vacation". We get paid for 9.5 months of work. We have the option of spreading our paychecks out to cover the full year, but it isn't mandatory. So, in effect, teachers are unemployed for 2.5 months.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Whit

      I just want to say keep up the good work. If there were more people like you, willing to work at things they are passionate about instead of just typing about things they wish they could change, we would all get a lot more done. Good luck with your schooling!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • college librarian

        Actually Whit,
        I know a lot of teachers like MM. Taking classes, continually improving themselves, working over the summer in their classrooms, coming in on Saturdays. I worked full-time while taking a full-load in graduate school. I still take classes and attend workshops to improve my skills. I get tired of people acting like educators are lazy.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Teacher

      I agree with what you say. I am paying for my PhD so that I can make a difference to the students. I am doing this to become better at my craft. I have not seen a pay raise in over four years and my insurance costs keep going up. It amazes me how much the profession is maligned. If these tea partiers actually believed that we make all this money and have all this time off, why are they not beating down the doors to get one of these cake jobs?

      January 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • A

      MM – Bingo. what most people don't realize is that many teachers today have NO pension plan, NO retirement plan, NO social security coming to them. In my state, any teacher hired after 1998 has NO pension/retirement. Our entire retirement system is that the state takes 10% of our salary off the top to *save* for our retirement. And then the citizens complain that teachers should get nothing and that money is really taxpayer money and should be spent on something else. So, the only way we can have retirement money is what we can save AFTER 10% has been taken out.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • dave R

      My wife has been a teacher for 9 years. I make 3 times what she does, and she works many hours more than me. She gets to school 6:30 AM and leaves at 5 PM, comes home and then grades for a couple hours. On the weekends, she spends at least 8 hours preparing lesson plans for the week. She is very dedicated to her job and always gives her best. It is frustrating listening to all the bad talk about teachers....sure there is a certain percentage that are skaters, just like any profession, but most work very hard. Its not easy dealing with students, parents and their bosses. I agree the unions are a sour point, but we should be paying teachers more, not less. If the kids of today are not properly educated, this country will continue to go down hill even faster. We will no longer be a super power nation, but a nation full of McDonald's and WalMart employees!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  44. Ann

    I don't understand how in the universe the school systems are still having as bad results as they are and where all the money goes that keeps getting poured into the system. (our state started up a lottery that was supposed to pour tons of money into the schools). It doesn't appear to be going to teacher's pay. The whole system is messed up and needs a complete overhaul. Perhaps they should look at other countries and find one that has the best school system and see if that idea works. Status quo is unacceptable.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • MM

      Anon,
      The money goes to admin. They spend thousands on new programs yearly to cover their butts then scrap it for something better the next year. I see much waste in my district. Rooms of books and barely used programs. The district staff keep finding ways to make their jobs seem needed.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Teacher

      If you look at the actual amount that the lottery brings in, it is far less than what it costs to operate schools. What the lottery HAS done is keep taxes from rising even higher than they already have.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • A

      Ann – In my state lottery/casino money went to the schools, but all the money that went to the schools BEFORE the lottery/casino money was pulled and used for other things. So the net gain for schools was nill.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  45. Steve

    "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." Inequitable system in the district? On the backs of students? Someone elses falt for not having tools (aka money)? All complaints but no solutions offered except maybe asking someone else to live without so she can live within and feel good about herself not letting the education of a few fail. If you love these kids so much, die to yourself continually without complaint and trust in the true love that exits, if any, within your district and try even more doing without for the kids to have more. Money is not the only answer, but I will admit, it makes things go a little easier. A child will learn if it realy wants to. High pay for teachers, new schools, tools, and sports programs do not make a child want to learn. Make them want too and then you have the best tool money cannot buy.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Paul

      This woman is willing to work for NOTHING. NO pay, no paychecks, nothing. All just to make sure the kids continue to get their education without interruption. Her expenses (mortgage, car payment, groceries, etc) aren't going to go away just because she isn't getting paid, and nobody has even thought about what's going to happen to her insurance. Is the district even going to be able to maintain payments on that? If not, she adds medical expenses to the list.

      If she's a little bit ticked off and pointing a finger, I figure she has the right. And if you are standing there criticizing her, I figure you don't. I doubt that you or pretty much anyone on this board would accept such a situation in your own lives, just because you believed you were doing the right thing for children.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  46. RonnieReagan

    When you allow the 3rd world to invade (not legally, and under a controlled process, migrate to) your country, why would you expect anything less than 3rd world performance in the school system?

    When you enable an entire class of people to suck off the teet of the middle class through Welfare, Section 8, etc rather than WORK HARD, what do you expect their children to do in our schools? Tell me – why would you expect any different? Crazy is to continue doing what you're already doing, and expecting different results.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  47. Loud&Clear

    Perhaps the government might consider holding parents accountable as well for their children's education. Students who have parents that prepare them to read before entering school, help them study and do homework fare much better than those who feel it is only the school's job to educate their kids. Educators cannot do it alone. Why does no one criticize a professional athlete's salary, but deny educators a right to make fair wages? Our society's values are skewed!

    January 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Alex

      Professional athletes are paid by the Entertainment Industry. That is why they have such high wages; teachers on the other hand are paid by the government.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Teacher

        And taxpayers fund stadium after stadium so the teams can afford to pay those high salaries to players.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Fart McStain

        And they get tax money to build those stadiums because it brings in vast amounts of revenue to the city, which in turn can pay government workers. Except for the Bengals anyway.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • John

      Let's go further. Let's give tax breaks to parents whose kids score well on standardized tests and let's raise taxes on parents whose kids are a drain on society.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  48. Reasonably

    Working for zero pay is not only wrong, but dumb. Sorry – I admire your sand, but question your reasoning.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Lulu15

      They are still getting paid. She has never missed a paycheck.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Yes, speaking about possibilities. Read the article, you'll know why it was mentioned.

        kthxbye

        January 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Trench

      You should ask the thousands of volunteers that help to make this country better what they think about working for free. Not everyone is purely motivated by money.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • John

        Nevertheless, teachers should be paid a fair wage.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Teachers are there 40+ hours a week.
        Volunteers only do that for a very limited amount of time, unless they have a huge amount of money backing them for necessities.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  49. John L

    I used to live back there. I live in colorado now. Does Chester not have casinos now and where is that tax money going??

    January 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  50. Just for Fun

    Amount of money it cost to protect Tom Corbett via: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/how_much_is_it_worth_to_protec.html

    2008-09
    Total: $2,988,922
    Overtime: $502,759

    2009-10
    Total: $2,975,848
    Overtime: $482,598

    2010-11 (up to March 18):
    Total: $2,433,511
    Overtime: $557,284

    January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  51. Lulu15

    Young men and women join the Army everyday. They start out making $14,000 a year. They go to Afghanastan to fight and die for your right to wine and complain that you ONLY get paid $60,000 a year. I have never heard a soldier complain about their pay. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Latesha Obama

      The ONLY ONES whining are the LIBERALS that are dependent on Government for a JOB and WELFARE.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Bijouandbucky

        Just the liberals, huh? If the republicans get their way everyone on Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, Unemployment will have their benefits reduced or eleminated, not just the liberals. The Republicans who have been laid off and need these benefits to keep food on their tables will be out of luck and on the streets begging for change, just what they asked for.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Sean

      I would agree that teachers are at least as critical as our soldiers ( although I might question the tasks the soldiers are assigned, I would not devalue a single soldier ).

      The difference is, of course, that the soldiers aren't spending 4+ years learning their trade, nor are they paying for that training out of their pockets. Teachers do.

      Now, if you want to set the pay metric based on a starting soldier's pay, let's talk about politician salaries. Or lawyers.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • T Patt

      I hope you go to work and ask for your salary to be reduced to $16,000. Also you should reject any promotions or raises from now on. Soldiers make $16,000 because the military takes care of their food, clothes and health care. They live in military housing and shop at military commisaries ... that's what they signed up for!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Publius Novus

      If you have never heard a soldier complain about their pay, then you have never spoken to a soldier.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Ummm, ok, I served in Iraq back in 2006 you twit.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • sumday

      I was in the army and I as well as many others complained about our pay, you also neglected to mention that w/ that 14K comes free rent, free health care, free life insurance should you be killed, and 3 free meals a day. Also teachers pay is on avg around 30K not 60K. One other thing soldiers do not have the option not to go to work if they don't get paid. When Clinton was in office it almost came down to us not receiving our pay during a budget crunch (but that was avoided) and I promise you when that was close to happening there were plenty of soldiers who were complaining and saying they would have to go awol to support their family if they didn’t get paid.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Cielo

      A starting soldier ALSO has all of his/her expenses PAID; food, shelter, clothing. The rest is basically spending money. For a teacher, our "salary" is continuously diminished because of rising costs of everthing from medical insurance to milk. NOT TO MENTION that many teachers (like me) spend a tremendou amount of our salary ON OUR CLASSROOMS when we SHOULD be given basics like pens, pencils, paper, etc... in order to teach. Imagine if soldiers had to BUY their weapons and ammo! If they did, THEN you'd have a valid argument!!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Whit

      14k is an entry level position salary. The Army is an entry level position. Military are afforded benefits (free housing, medical care, college tuition) etc. I'm not saying military should be paid less/more, but it's apples and oranges.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Julia

      An 18 year old soldier is getting $14,000 and free room and board. An 18 year old (soon to be) teacher is attending college and paying for it, probably volunteering in some capacity with children, and working a part time job on the side to scrape by paying for school and living expenses. A first year teacher is probably making in the range of $20-35k, depending on where they live. That's after 4-5 years of paying for education, working as a student teacher unpaid for a year, and volunteering time working with children to gain experience. A teacher making $60k has many years of experience and advanced their education. Your point would make some sense if you looked at the level of experience of the teacher making $60k, and then compared that to the salary a soldier with comparable experience.

      This whole "soldier fighting for you to whine" thing is old and wrong. Soldiers are fighting for you to take advantage of the amazing opportunity you have in America to get yourself educated and knowledgeable before spouting off without thinking or knowing anything about what you're talking about.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • Whit

        "This whole "soldier fighting for you to whine" thing is old and wrong."

        Thank you. It's like the end all argument, sheesh. Like people who say "it is what it is".

        January 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Ken

      What an asinine mindset. Most teachers I know work nearly double the amount of hours they get paid for. You're comparing them to soldiers beginning in the Army? What are you nuts? That's an absurd comparison. It doesn't take brains to join the army, in fact, I think it demonstrates either a lack of brains or desperation. It's also an alternative for those who weren't either disciplined enough or smart enough to go to college. That's like comparing someone working at a fast food restaurant to an engineer and saying the engineer should be ashamed that they earn so much more than the fast food job. Well buddy, there's a reason why there are differences in pay and if you're not smart enough to figure it out you should be ashamed of your lack of intelligence.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • OhPlease!

      Blah blah blah blah blah. Shutup, sit down, and wait for us to tell you to go bomb some brown people.

      A hired killer is a hired killer regardless of what color the uniform. Celebrate death some more though, Hezbollah would be proud.

      (That should significantly rile a couple of you up)

      January 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Teacher

      Actually, YOU should be ashamed of yourself. You pulled a number right out of the air and made it up and then posted it as true:
      http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/money/basic-pay-active-duty-soldiers.html
      A soldier starts off at $17,892.00. Of course, if the soldier has a degree (like teachers are required to have), then they would start off as an officer $33, 941.00. If they have an advanced degree, they normally would start off as a Captain with a salary of $45,256 that increases to $63,263 after six years.

      Now I am not saying that they do not earn every penny and more, because they do. But with equal education they do get paid more than teachers in many areas of the country.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Make good use of my tax dollars and go grade some papers will ya.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • Mike

        I think the 15 in LuLus name is his age.....

        January 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      I'm not trying to start an argument here since I'm ex-military and know the whole lineup... but housing (or at least living establishment) is mostly handled for you on top of your pay. It's not like the civilian world where you recieve one lumpsum of money and you need to fend for yourself.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Mike

      You have never heard a solder complain about their pay? You are making that up, right? Either that, or you have never spoken to a solder.

      I bet you want to cut our solders pension, medical, and all the other hings they get to.....

      January 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Nope, they should get a pay increase. They should get paid the same as NFL players.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Paul

      I've heard plenty of soldiers complain about their pay. It's one of the most common topics to come up, that they aren't paid very much.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  52. faboge

    If you spend more money than other industrialized countries why are you ranked near the bottom of all nations in Math and Science?

    January 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Latesha Obama

      Spending more money is the only Solution that the Obama SKUNK knows, and is another form of WELFARE.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Whit

        Because Obama is the very first president to expand spending on...anything. Geesh. Stupidity should be considered a WMD.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Stacy

        You really are a MESS. The PRESIDENT is not to blame for your stupidity but I guess you have to consider the source lol

        January 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Republican much?
        It's like they were trained.. wow.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Peter

      NCLB

      January 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Lulu15

      Exactly!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Calin

      Only 40 % of the money spent on public education goes to pay teachers' salaries.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • RonnieReagan

      When you allow the 3rd world to invade (not legally, and under a controlled process, migrate to) your country, why would you expect anything less than 3rd world performance in the school system?

      When you enable an entire class of people to suck off the teet of the middle class through Welfare, Section 8, etc rather than WORK HARD, what do you expect their children to do in our schools?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Whit

        Soo..Mexicans, Africans, Indians...they are all to blame for the nations failing educational system? That's a new one! Culture be damned!

        January 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  53. Latesha Obama

    Why is the soluton to every problem by the Obama Skunk and Liberals is to WASTE more Money. If teachers really cared about students, they would DISSOLVE TEACHERS UNIONS, which would allow the low performing teachers to be fired and the top performing teachers to obtain better results.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Sean

      Free market doesn't exactly work in that manner when you effectively have a single employer. Putting aside geographic relocation for a moment, most cities have a single school district that teachers can work for. Or if there are more, it's usually only a couple which make salary matching a likely outcome.

      Not that I'm a fan of unions. I think they take a bad situation and make it worse. But when you have teachers working for free, politicians will behave like politicians. You need some group to stand up to them, and as we can see, it sure won't be the teachers themselves.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • TeacherinGA

      Not all teachers are in teacher unions. Please check your facts before lumping us all into your stereotype.

      Some of us teach in states that do not allow unions.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • darryl

        And that is a tragedy! Workers must have the right to have collective bargaining. I imagine that states where teacher's unions are frowned upon have no issues with their workplace.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Tom

      As a teacher;
      The problem is that our educational system is broken. You can throw all the money at it you want now and it won't fix it. One problem lies in the fact that we are now pushing every child to go to college. Statistics show that less than 40% ever graduate from college. Currently, we are cheating the other 60+% by not giving them any skills to make a life for themselves. Afterall, our curriculum is designed to send all our children to college. Our second problem, sadly, is that parents no longer really care about their children. Whether it be because they are too busy trying to feed their family or they simply don't have the skills to "direct" their children, kids now are lost. Many of these lost kids are mingling together and getting into trouble and doing drugs. Our current educational system has nothing that these kids can even relate to – is English IV really going to do anything for these kids. No, and the kids know it. We must re-do our system to again ready our children for the lives ahead of them, whether it be college or some other REAL trade or job. Our job is to prepare them for their future, not just teach them about Edgar Allen Poe.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Stacy

        Very Well Put!!! It will take a lot more than money to pull education back on the right track.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • darryl

      Yes, it is the unions that have destroyed America. Do you think for a minute that the rich care about the middle class and poor? Do you honestly believe that corporate America will do the "right" thing for their workers? If you do believe this then let me point to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s when people were expected to work in unsafe work settings where it was the almighty profit that mattered. Do unions have issues? Absolutely. But if you think disbanding unions will make America better than be prepared to have your new home's electricity done by someone unqualified. To have your workplace become a fire hazard and where your bosses can lock you in to keep you working beyond what is reasonable. Don't think this can happen? Then check out the Triangle Shirt fire. Do your homework and become more knowledgeable.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Cielo

        Thank you!! Unions have served, and continue to serve, an important function in counterbalancing the greed and self-centered interests of businesses. It is the conflict between them that creates the balance. We need unions.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • M. Hopp

      You obviously just heard this from somewhere and have no idea what you are talking about. On one hand you are correct that union's do harbor "bad teachers". However, that is not the only thing that unions do. For example where I teach in Georgia, where there are no unions, we are run by a very incompotent principal with no regard for his employees. He gives directives by insulting and intimidating the faculty. We are now stuck with this person and have no recourse or anyone to turn to for help. He is running the school into the ground and if we had a union there would not be this problem. So in closing please be mindful of what you are speaking about as you are part of a cancer in America that looks down upon teachers and education and have no clue what you are talking about.

      Respectfully

      Concerned TEACHER

      January 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Teacher's union protect bad teachers, no quotations needed. I was molested by a teacher in high school. I told and he was put on PAID leave for a week to "investigate" and was brought back like nothing happened. This wasn't the first case against him either. I was then told to go on home schooling through their extended school for kids who failed a grade. I was an honor student who was then disciplined because I came forward. He is still teaching there and I have even been called back by the detective to retell my story for another girl that came forward. Saying bad teacher is an understatement and the fact that he was protected by all of this is disgusting.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bill

      The key in this article is not what teachers make, but that the school system received so little funding it couldn't pay the majority of its obligations. No matter how much the school system wanted to it wasn't going to meet the educational responsibility placed on it.

      As a republic, we educate our citizens to they can participate in governing and our economy. Our failure to realize the education we provide is what builds the middle class and the middle class drive our economy as workers, consumers and citizens is what is driving the economic and government unrest we are experiencing.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Marcus April

      Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It has worked out so well for Wisconsin. IT's the darn unions causing all of the problems. We need George W. Bush back. He would fix everything! (I am hoping that everyone here has enough intelligence to pick up on the sarcasm!) Oh, it was Obama that started World War I and led to poverty in most of our third world countries. How much did he pay in taxes last year?

      January 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Ken

      Many teachers would love to get of low performing teachers but they also don't want their job to be at the whim of a vindictive principal so the teachers union is a ballast against unfair and arbitrary dismissal. Teachers unions are all bad or all good but they are still necessary.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Paul

      Any teacher can be fired at any time. The union contracts just make sure that the administration has to have reason to fire them, but believe me, they can find a reason at any time. It takes a bit of time, and a bit of work, but there isn't a single teacher in the state of PA who can't be disposed of within a school year should a district have a mind to. The union provides a lot less protection than you seem to think.

      And why is it that everyone seems to think that teachers shouldn't have the right to collective bargaining? Every other profession has that right, with some exceptions, why are teachers so different? Without the unions, teachers would still not be getting a living wage at any level, they'd be at the mercy of capricious and fickle administrators, and they'd have no route to complain or dispute issues in their workplace. Like it or not, given the monopoly hiring power any school board has, unions are absolutely required still today.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  54. Latesha Obama

    There is no correlation with the amount spent on education and results. Washington, DC spends more per student in education by far, than either Maryland and Virginia. Yet Washington DC has the lowest scores. Parent participation is a better indicator of education performance.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ken

      Parent participation is the portion of the education picture that is not discussed nearly enough. The first teacher in a childs life IS the parent and they should never quit that job. We taught our kids to read BEFORE they went to school and did not ever stop helping with there education. Guess how well they did. The biggest shortfall in education today is the lack of parental involvement. Teachers have the students for less the 40 hours a week. How many hours do the parents have their kids? Do the math.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Becky

      After reading a couple of your posts, I just wonder who these Democrats you talk about are. I'm a democrat, I work, I pay my bills, I am far from lazy, but I do think that it is the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak. The weak, as in the unemployed, underemployed, disabled, elderly. I am proud that I live in a country that TRIES to protect those that can't protect themselves. It isn't the fault of the government that people are dishonest and lazy. The government has no choice but to expect people to be responsible and honest–sort of goes with the innocent before guilty thing! Because individuals failed to instill any values in their children, is no ones fault but their own. That is why we have laws, if they get broken, someone is arrested. If this seeded crowd of Democrats you apparently are running with are breaking the law, report them to the police and get some new friends!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      Washington DC is a poor example, as anyone who has been in the area knows that the social culture of the civilians in that territory is not exactly education-friendly.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  55. Sean

    Another point worth mentioning: There is this fear that these teachers are the last line of defense for the children. That without them, the children will be a "lost generation". This is not, in fact, accurate. PARENTS are the first and last line of defense for their children, NOT the teachers. Without these teachers, parents would have to step up and fill in the gaps.

    Maybe it's past time something like this happens, to highlight the difference between societies perspective and what is healthy.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Kerry

      Sean, that's a great point, but a lot of parents are not involved in their childs education and there is nothing schools or teachers can do to make up for that.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Sean

        Nor should they. That's my point. Maybe this is exactly what parents need to kick start the realization that THEY ( the parents ) are responsible for their children's education, not any third party.

        You have to create value in the minds of your subjects, and nothing is quite as effective in creating value than taking away what they previously enjoyed ( and took for granted ).

        Of course, there'd have to be follow through on that; otherwise the administration that put these teachers in this position could just make up whatever story they wanted to spin the public opinion their way. The teachers would have to combat that PR with their own.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • Latesha Obama

        Democrats put their dependency on the US Government, because they are too lazy to provide for themselves. The more government spends on WELFARE, the more people RELY on the US Government. It becomes an endless cycle.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • almwdj

        Latesha: I'm a Democrat. I'm not on welfare. I make $150,000 a year. I spent 15 years working 70+ hours a week, every week. Now, I'm slacking by just working 45 hours a week. And you just called me lazy and dependent on welfare. Can I make some broad generalizations about someone with a first name of Latesha now?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Chris

      Exactly! Most parents expect miracles from teachers. If parents don't help kids with their homework or study with them for tests, then they are going to fail. This is what happens... and then they blame the teachers and say they can't teach. Well how about YOU the parent take some responsibility!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Ken

        And what it does it tell the child when the parent doesn't get involved in their education? It tells them it's not important. Probably not the intended message but it's there nonetheless and becomes a large obstacle to overcome.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  56. B

    I think it is funny when people say teachers should strike to demand better conditions and pay. Most of us are in right-to-work states in which the unions are nothing more than something else to take $400 a year from our pay and give us nothing in return. The districts decide what they can give us based on what the state decides to fund. If we were to strike in most places, most of the states would fire us, hire from the large pool of college graduates who are seeking jobs, and then sell it to the public as a great idea to save money.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  57. Kerry

    This is a great post that got burried:

    Rachel

    I teach. I am passionate about learning. I will never be rich, but I love my chosen profession. That is enough. I am working on my second masters degree. I will get a $4,000 per year raise next year. I will never make more than 60k, even though I will have two masters degrees. I'm not asking for more money, I just need enough to pay my bills, drive my 2006 Altima, live in my 1400 sq ft home and take my son to the beach for 1 week during the summer. That is enough.

    I buy school supplies every year: 25 boxes of markers, 25 boxes of colored pencils, 25 packages of pencils, 50 glue sticks and 100 composition notebooks and at least two new sets of chapter books for the class. I apply for grants to fund my classroom projects and pay for the extras out of my own pocket. I am not crazy or trying to undermine the plight of teachers across our nation. I am trying to give my students the best of myself so they can go on to escape the culture of poverty they are raised in.

    All I ask, is that you support your local teachers. The only reason they teach is because they care. True enough, there are those that are in the wrong profession and that is what we get to hear about, their mistakes, their inept decisions. However, when we hear of something good, something decent, we attack because it threatens those of us with a dependable salary. Don't do it. We are Americans, we respond with valor and pride. Let this noble act become something that represents our country rather than becoming a threat to our security.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Lulu15

      You should move to Las Vegas. Their teachers top out at $80,000+.

      Enjoy your 3 month tax payer paid vacation in June.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Kerry

        Lulu, if it so great, why are you not a teacher?

        January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • GDaddy

        Hey Einstein, teachers don't get paid for the summer. They get paid for 183 +/- days and spread it out over the year. The 3 months off you refer to is no different than a lay off.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • John

        They ought to top out at much more than that, just as would be the case in ANY OTHER PROFESSION if a person did his or her job well. As far as the 'three month paid vacation' goes, last time I checked, people had decided it was too expensive to run year-round schools, even thought every possible study shows that year-round schools work better for everyone. So, Lulu, if you don't like the fact that schools close during the summer, either lobby your state to implement year-round schooling (and prepare to pay the taxes it'll take to keep the schools open during those times of the year), or be quiet.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • TeacherinGA

        Lulu,
        Please educate yourself. Teachers do nto get paid for their summers. They are under contract for a certain amount of work days and that is all. Summer days and any other time off is unpaid. Check your facts before making an ignorant statement.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Because I did not go to college. I make just as much without a college degree. And I owe no student loans.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
      • Lulu15

        So you get paid 12 months out of the year for working only 9 months out of the year. What a crock.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Lee

        Your statement is the kind of ignorance that overwhleming in our country now. Teachers do not get 3 month vacations. Most schools do not get out until June and we go back in early to mid August. Teachers have to return to school before the students. Most teachers use the summer to attend professional courses, take additional college courses and plan for the next school year. I generally spend a couple of days a week in my classlroom during the summer organizing and planning.

        Perhaps you should try teaching – most people I know would not last one day in a classroom.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • jms

        Lulu, teachers get paid for 10 months. At least I do. I work September through June and that is what I get paid for. I am paid for an 8 hour day but usually put in 10 hours a day or more. On the weekend I work at least another 3 to 5 hours. Add all that extra time I work above my 8 hour per day work week and I basically pre-worked all of my summer. Nothing come for free, teaching is not as easy as people think.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • TeacherinGA

        Lulu

        Again, your lack of education is showing. I work 190 days a year. I get paid for 190 days a year. They spread my pay for 190 days a year over 365. How is that a crock? 5 work days a week, 190 days a year equals 38 weeks of pay.

        Please stop commenting. It only shows your ignorance.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • Sarah

        I teach. I am under contract for 185 days. That is all I get paid for. I have the option of spreading out my 35K salary over the 10 months I work or 12 months. I choose 12 months, since I still need to eat and pay my bills for the 2 months I am not working (but when I am taking classes toward recertification, which I pay for out of my own pocket). We do NOT get a "paid" summer vacation. Our contract days do not include summers or holidays. Please educate yourself before you make ignorant statements.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Ken

        Yes, enjoy that vacation after working 70-80 a week for nine months. It's well deserved at the pay rate most teachers get which is nowhere near 60K. That's the very top end for most school districts and most good teachers burn out way before they get there.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • Katina

        What paid vacation???????? Spoken like someone who has no idea what they are talking about. Teachers get paid for working 9 months it is just paid over a twelve month period, so please do not think you are somehow giving something for nothing. Many teachers educate themselves over the summer break going to many seminars, tutoring students, or teaching summer school. So, stop with the snide remarks about what you think you know. Many jobs have paid vacation and paid sick leave but trust me summer vacation is neither. What needs to happen is that people need to pay for classes then there would be no need to encourage people to value education because there will be a price tag attached. Parents are the factor that is missing in schools. Many teachers bring supplies they don't need, extra food they do not eat, and attend extracurricular activities their children are not involved in because there are parents who are not involved, or have to work and cannot be as involved as they should be. If you are not going to contribute a solution stop contributing to the problem. Things wont get fixed until people stop pointing fingers and overlooking the very real question everyone needs to ask themselves and that is what can I do to help? We have become a nation of very selfish people only caring about ourselves. We want to moan and complain about politics and how much is being spent until it is our specific benefits that are being cut then it is the sudden need to galvanize and discuss strategy. Teachers deal with a lot of unruly and disrespectful students mainly because in the deep abyss parents seem to raise their children in there is definitely the lack of both!

        January 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Fortunately or unfortunately, if money is even remotely an issue on the radar for yourself, you do not become a teacher...
        I salute teachers, and I wish the system would fix itself for their sakes. I guess I should rephrase that with government-run teaching positions. College and privately-run are paid well.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bill

      Kerry, consider yourself lucky. I'm a college professor and I never get raises and I barely make 45000. I have a wife and three kids. We barely get by.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Emily

      I so agree with this. I'm just starting out as a teacher, and I LOVE what I do. Teaching, for me, is not about my salary; it's about my students. We need to keep supporting our students and making sure they have every resource necessary to succeed.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Lulu15

        We need to weed out the old cranky teachers and hire fresh faces for our children. They deserve so much better. Good luck Emily!

        January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Kerry

        Emily, That's great, until you have kids, and have to get a bigger house, two cars etc, etc... pay does not keep up with the financial responsibilities the older you get, at least it does not in Texas. I will have three kids in college at the same time. I have NO idea how I will do that.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • Emily

        @ Kerry
        I appreciate your input, but I can handle my finances. My students still come first.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  58. Neil

    As a Pennsylvanian, I am amazed at how vile everyone has been toward Gov. Corbett as he tries to address this problem since former Gov. Rendell took control of the district from 1994 to 2010 and did little to nothing to address it. Education is important, absolutely, but the amount of fear that was shown prior to the education cuts in our state VERSUS the reality that indeed, districts let go retirement aged teachers AND laid off excess staff is no where near the doom and gloom that we were supposed to experience. Solve the economic problems, pay the people we need, and quite making fiscal decisions based on emotion and union pressure, and more for the TAX PAYERS who pay for it all.

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

      That is all and good. There is nothing wrong with having the right amount of personnel in place at a school or district and I agree with you 100% on that. My question is do they have the right amount of teachers and staff though? What are the class sizes? Are their enough special needs teachers for all the special needs children in the district? Are there enough experienced teachers in a school to help the in-experienced ones? Letting go of the most experienced teachers is not the best of ideas, even if they get paid a lot more because the turnover rate for new teachers is extremely high. I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but there was a study not too long ago which has something like 50-60% of teachers quit in their first 3 years. So letting go of the teachers who havn't quit, and hiring new teachers won't work, since 1 out of 2 of those new teachers will quit...

      January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  59. Dave P.

    Another whiny story from a public school teacher. The fact is in most areas public schools teachers are extremely well paid with excellent benefits and pensions for working basically 9 months a year. Most people in the private sector have been taking cuts for years now. Full health care? Full pensions? try finding that in the private sector. Stop your whining, take a few cuts like everyone else is and just shut up and do your job.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mike

      Do you know that teacher get no social security while people like you can draw a pention and social security?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • Mike

        PS, I' not a teacher, you can tell by my spelling, but I do not think it is right for them to have no SS benefits.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • Dave P.

        Let's see..... a full teachers pension.... or social security benefits... which would I choose? hmmmmm....

        January 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • Mike

        But you can draw a pension and ss. Techers can not.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • MM

        Not Whining,
        I am a teacher. Two paycuts in 3 years. Insurance has doubled to $500 a month which is essentially a third paycut. I am taking a college class now (out of pocket money). I work 60 hours a week. The holidays that we have off, you will see me working. During my 3 month paid vacation which is really 2 months, I am taking 3 college classes and paying for them myself. How many professions require so much? I chose to teach because I am good at it. I teach because it is a worthy profession. I am not a whiner. But.............

        I can only take so much hatred from people that think teachers are all on easy street. Sit in my class for an hour and see if you can do this. It has become hard for me to pay my bills, because of cuts and public view.

        Teachers are hit with the economy just like the rest of you... it shouldn't be you against us. I am on your side, struggling like you, trying to do the best job I can do, when public opinion is against me. Why? What did I do wrong?

        January 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • Anon

        Guess you missed the part about there being no such thing as a pension in the private work force...

        January 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • MM

        By the way... I have no pension. I pay into my own retirement. I apologize for my grammer, as I foolishly typed out of anger.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • lynne

      Hi Dave,
      Now granted, I teach in a Right to Work state (non union), so I cannot speak for states like PA, but allow me to clear a few things up.
      Teachers (at least in NC where I am) are the LOWEST PAID of all professions requiring a degree. We do not receive overtime. Most of us work WELL above the 40 hours we are paid for. My week clocks at about 80 hours a week. In this state, average teacher pay is below 40K a year. Most of the people I work with have second jobs in that private sector to make ends meet.
      In this state, teachers do not get full benefits, unless we pay to supplement by paying extra. Still, we receive better benefits than many, so I will concede this point.
      Pension works out to about 60 percent of our paycheck. And we do not draw social security.
      We are often required to work for seminars, meetings, tutorial, etc. with no additional pay. Also, here, we do NOT get paid for the summer months. Sorry, make that TWO additional jobs we hold in that case then. Oh, and we also usually buy our own supplies, too.
      Please, if you have never held this job, don't presume to know how hard we do or don't work and how much respect and compensation we get. I chose this job, and I love it, and in the current economy I am grateful for the income. But it is really not too much to ask to wish that we could live in a world in which we were viewed as valuable professionals and treated accordingly.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
      • John

        And what about those 3 months you don't work?? What about all your vacation time?? Give me a break... You only have to teach 181 days a year.. Thats all you do... I don't know any other job that pays this much for soo little... Most teachers get huge teacher pension that they don't have to pay anything into... Only government jobs allow that...

        January 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • Kerry

        Well said. The "haters" have no clue, but they love to talk about something they know absolutely nothing about. You can share personal stories all you want, but they refuse to believe that we make less than 35k a year and get great retirement packages. Move to Texas and be a teacher if you think it is so great.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • lynne

        To answer you (again, since it was in my original post), we do NOT get paid for those (2) months. We simply do not get paid. Hence the at least 1 and usually 2 extra jobs we all hold. We sign our next year's contract to commit us to the school, but we are only paid 10 months of the year (which, if you do the math, is what we work – we come back to work early and leave late). Did you even read my original post?

        January 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • Lee

        John

        You have no clue. Most professionals get paid for 40 hours and week and then get overtime for additional hours. This is not the case for teachers. My work day starts at 630 and ends around 4. Please keep in mind that when you have a classroommof children all day there is not time to contact parents, grade papers or do the other paperwork required by schools and districts – this stuff has to be done after hours. Also, in the county in SC where I work, high school teachers are required as part of our contract to sponsor school clubs and attend extra curricular events- with no additional pay. Most of use buy our own classroom supplies too.

        Teachers teach because we love it. It is not a profession for the faint of heart. You can do your job (if you have one) because you had teachers. We will never be rich, nor do we want to be. However, all professions depend on teaching and teachers and the education community would like to be acknowledged for our contributions.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • Anon

        Lynne, regardless of the fact that you do not get "paid" during your time off, you still make a salary equivalent to those who work all year, and generally no one gets overtime. I work well above 40 hours a week myself, 52 weeks a year, and will never have the option of a pension or overtime pay, nor will I get 3 months off to work another job. I have experienced many teachers throughout my schooling that were horrible at teaching and could not, nor ever will be fired. If I were to do my job poorly, I would be gone in a heartbeat.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • John

        Lee.. please.. So compare your 9.5 month salary against professionals and you will see you probably make more... If you teach young kids, They don't go to gym class? Music class? Art Class? Lunch?? You don't have time to do these things?? You teach older kids... You only teach 5 classes a day.. that gives you 3 free periods a day no matter what grade you teach.. Lets not forget your free pension you don't have to pay for and your incredable health benefits you receive... And like yo said, you choose to be a teacher not to be rich but now you are demanding more money for doing the same amount of work you always have?? Try that is the real business world...

        January 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Ken

        It's truly amazing how stupid some people are when they decide to denigrate another profession then their own. Try teaching a year first. If you approach it with the fervor of a good teacher you'll find they are grossly underpaid. I work in private industry and while I don't get 2 months off (a more accurate amount of teacher time off) I do get my evenings and weekends off which is more than I can say for most teachers I know.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • John

        Lee you only work 181 days a year... Compare your salary with almost everyone and you will see that you make much more then professionals make in 181 days..

        January 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • John

        OK Ken.. you probably work some union job also.. I know plenty of teachers... you are full of it... Most professionals work well over 40 a week and don't get paid for it either... I don't get paid overtime until I work 100 hours extra

        January 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • lynne

        John,
        First – we do not work 181 days a year. Students are at school 180 days a year. Teachers get to school two weeks early and are there a week after students are gone. Then we attend summer seminars that are considered part of our pay, on average about 3 weeks out of the summer. In my case, and most thers i know, we do summer tutorial for those needing summer school, again for no extra pay. There are weeks and weeks of work built in to those TWO (count them, TWO) months that the STUDENTS are on summer vacation. Please, comment all you want, but don't be ignorant when you do so.
        Second, I will reiterate... I love my job. I am grateful for it. I work as hard or harder than most people (as I well should, anything worth doing is worth doing well). My main objectives were to 1. dispell this insane vision you had of teachers living a life of leisure and 2. express my wish that an entire class of hardworking people could be viewed as such and not villified or complained about incessantly. I hope that you do not have to perform your job under a microscope, and I hope that you don't have to read about how many people think you are lazy, uneducated and unqualified.
        I cannot speak for PA but I make 34K a year, including the 6 weeks of work I perform (not including my other 2 jobs) during my "2 month's paid vacation." It isn't a horrible job. But it isn't easy either.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Anykka

        When you went into teaching, I'm sure you were aware of the perks as well as "aspects" of your job. I knew I would be exposed to radiation, have to occasionally wipe up people's vomit or wipe their butts when I went into radiology. I am not paid extra for doing some of these things even though it's not exactly in my job description. I have lost over 600 hrs. of pay in the last two years due to the bad economy. This means staying home without pay. Do the math. I 've lost over 4 months pay. I agree with other comments here. Teachers get their salary spread over the months they are working, but; it adds up to being paid yr. round and not for only the working months. Plenty of teachers retire fairly young with a nice pension,but there are many more people in other jobs that have to basically work until death because all they get is social security and cannot live on it. There are many jobs that you bring home your work and aren't paid for that time. When I am called out for an emergency in the middle of the night, I do not get paid until I get to the hospital. I am not paid for my driving time, my gas, or my loss of sleep. I've never heard more complaining than from teachers.

        January 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Red65783

      More media brainwashing trying to convince teachers they should be willing to work for free. Disgusting. We would ask very few professions to work for this and no professional should be expected to work for free. Also, you all who say that teachers are well paid and have great benefits and have these three month long vacations, give me a break. You are such a part of the problem because you are misguided and just wrong. Some may receive these things. It is not the norm. ALL of the teachers I know work about 60-80 hours a week for low pay and are expected to devote their lives, free time, and yes summers to work. They have committees, extra duties and must be at the beck and call of parents and administrators. I know and love several teachers. They work in the summers, every summer. Everyone thinks they can teach and that it's easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • BobbyGB

      Try small (and recently mandatory poorly government managed) pensions, bad healthcare coverage with high copay, 36k take home, little work resources, and the blame if a student fails. In short, over mandated and under funded. This isn't a whine, this is a WAKE UP! You honestly think teachers have it good? How many people go into teaching for the money and benefits again?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Emily

      It's clear that you didn't read the article. Maybe your teachers growing up were too busy whining to help you with your reading comprehension? That said, the author is explaining how she GLADLY gave up her salary in the best interest of her students. This is about our children's education, NOT teacher salaries, and if you worked in a public school you would understand how dire the budget situation is. Private schools obviously don't suffer as much as public schools when state governments cut educational funding because of tuition.

      I'm an incredibly sick of ignorant people judging what teachers do and what they deserve. Once you yourself have taught for a few years, judge away. Until then, don't try to assess the value of something you don't actually understand.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • A

      Do teachers still get pensions? In my state, pensions went out in 1998. If you were hired after 1998, your sole retirement plan is that the state takes 10% of our pay out and tells us that's our retirement plan. Then, citizens complain that it's their taxes, and teachers should get no retirement/pension, and urge that our retirement "plan" be spent on something else. So, after removing 10% of our pay off the top, the ONLY retirement money we get is if we can squirrel some away in a 401K. And we will get NO social security even if we worked at another job for 10 years and paid into social security BEFORE becoming a teacher.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Katina

      Wow Dave,
      You must not know any teachers personally or you would have written from a point of knowledge and not opinion. I pay into my own retirement fund and I have two but no one is matching my funds. I wish that you would go volunteer at your local schools one elementary, one middle, and one high school! Just spend the day! Then make further comments!

      January 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  60. Hahaha

    Yet America spends more on education than all but one or two countries on the planet. Unions are poison and the teachers crying about bad pay should look to the parasitic organizations that have bankrupted these states. Too bad our children suffer as all the money spent on education lines union member pockets with the children fighting for whatever scraps are left over.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  61. Lulu15

    If the union would have accepted a pay freeze two years ago we would not be in this mess. The governor should be able to regulate teachers pay based on the current economy. Teachers always say they did not become a teacher for the pay. Sooooo, take the damn pay cut. There is NO money.

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

      Ridiculous. They certainly didn't take the job to have pay cuts, either. Can we 'regulate' your pay in accordance with economy?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • Lulu15

        My pay has been regulated for 4 years. My step increases were frozen 3 years ago, I am furloughed 8 hours per month, I took a 2.5% pay cut and my health insurane premiums doubled.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Whit

      wow, and you just laid back and took that, huh? Sucker. Stop being bitter towards the people that won't be treated that way.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Yeah, it's the economy stupid. I gladly took the paycut. Better than having staff laid off with no income at all.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  62. M

    While I appreciate every bit of this teacher has shared regarding her experiences and tribulations, her song in praise of unions killed it for me. When are American's going to realize that Unions are just as corrupt as the Corporations they protect labor against?

    January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Exhausted by the rehtoric

      I agree that her union should have backed its staff and taken a stand. However, I thank God for my union at least once a school year. Without them I would be unemployed and even worse off financially than I already am.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Lulu15

        All indusies in America have laid off and taken pay cuts over the past 3 years. Why should teachers be any different?

        January 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  63. Exhausted by the rehtoric

    I have been really disturbed by the vicious diatribe that has been sparked by this editorial. I started to type a long rebuttal and then deleted it. There is no point. No one is going to change his/ her mind based on even logical arguments. I am a teacher, I buy school supplies (about $1200 a year), I work after contract hours and am not compensated, I spend my "vacations" in my classroom doing WORK for my students, I have taken a 14% paycut over the past several years etc, etc, etc. Haters don't care. They just attack what they don't understand nor would never choose for themselves. It saddens me that I have become public enemy number one when I thought I was going to be a child's hero.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Exhausted by the rehtoric

      Excuse the grammatical errors. Emotions require editing.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • chiavarm

        I support teachers and I don't buy the argument that this is no money. The rough cost to send a child to public school is 10K to 13K. Just do the math. My daughter's class has 20+ students. It 200,000 dollars enough to teach a class? Where is all that money going? It is definitely not going to a teacher's salary!

        We all work for the money, we need money to survive. I don't see any teacher being compensated for their necessary required education. There is financial mismanagement of funds.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Lulu15

      And yet you did not become a teacher for the money. Yeah right.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • London

        Lulu15, you obviously don't have any children in public school, if any children at all. Do you think the doctor making $500K per year is going to care for you if you have no insurance? Do you think that same doctor is going to buy instruments that he needs to cure his patients if the hospital he worked for no longer provided such equipments? I very doubt it. You obviously did not read and understand this article one bit. How do you expect teachers to teach without getting paid? Will you be paying their bills, their mortgage, their insurance premiums, their gas, their car payments, their hospital bills, will you be putting food on their table? I doubt it. If you feel you CAN work for free and survive, then I suggest that you get your butt over to that school and start teaching those children yourself. Have a heart and some compassion and quit whining. You probably see your children's teachers as your personal baby-sitter anyway.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Will I be paying their bills and their mortgage? Why yes I will. I am a taxpayer and they get paid with taxpayer money.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • cynthia

      It's easy to be hateful when cloaked in anonymity. I suspect a few of the people spouting negativity are trying to further some kind of political agenda.

      Education, however, is an issue that transcends politics. Like you, my sister is a teacher. If teachers were fairly compensated for all that they do, they would be millionaires. Keep fighting the good fight, you are ensuring the viability of our country by educating the future.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Megan

      As a teacher, nothing gets me more upset when I am told what a cushy job I have especially with the summers off. I am NOT off in the summer, I am unemployed. I have to figure out how I am going to divide up my paychecks through out the year to cover my bills during my "vacation." In any other business, if you were laid off for 8 weeks, you could collect unemployment, as a teacher I am on a year to year 10 month contract. I pay into my benefits and I may see some of my pension IF I am lucky. Know what you are talking about before you attack. I agree with this teacher, I pay out of pocket for so many of my supplies, when is the last time a business worker did that?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Lulu15

        Let's say you get paid 45,000 year/10 months = $4500 per month. And you are complaining about buying $1 crayons. Geez.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Emily

        At Lulu15–

        Have you gone shopping recently? Use some common sense! School supplies for a classroom cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year. It is painfully obvious that you have no idea what you're talking about and have never taught before. Besides, this article is NOT about teacher salaries–it's about what the government used to and should still provide for public school students.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • ChestnutMay

      I have been astonished over the last few years as America turned on its teachers. The idea that teachers, with all their education and experience, don't deserve a middle class life is preposterous. Furthermore it was not teachers who brought down the economy. I don't blame you for being discouraged, You're being unfairly scapegoated.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  64. Joi Gibson

    It saddens me to hear the negativity towards teachers from certain folks in the political arena. This teacher is a shining example of the profession.; shame on those who denigrate them – especially when doing so for political points.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  65. honest abe

    She's CRAZY! She wants teachers to work for free? As a teacher.... I will never do that. She works for free while the Superintendent and their cronie staff collects $90-150k per year throughout the crisis!!! Stand up for yourselves teachers!!!! FIGHT!

    January 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Exhausted by the rehtoric

      THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one. Their union is weak and while, I applaud the sentiment I still have bills to pay.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  66. Mike

    What is so upsetting is that teacher bashers have never, EVER been involved in education.
    They love to scream about the pay of teachers and administrators. Did they even take into consideration that many teachers and all administrators are required to have at least a Masters degree, or a PhD to hold their positions? What are those degrees holders paid in the private sector? Administrators work all year round and do not get the same time off as the kids (is that a suprise to the bashers?) There is NO social security benefits paid to teacherrs (suprise again bashers). Sure there are some bad apples, but you are to eager to use sterotypes instead of actually educating yourself on the issue.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Lulu15

      All employers in America have given pay cuts, reduced hours or cut staff over the last three years. Sorry teachers, the gig is up.

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

        Lulu15

        All I can say at this point is I hope you do not have children. Also, since you obviously are not educated on how paychecks work..$4500 is BEFORE taxes, insurance and retirement. $1 for a box of crayons....how about when you need 20 or more over the course of a school year.....paper, pencils (believe it or not, some parents do not send supplies to school with their children), glue, tape, scissors-none of this is provided for us.

        Please do not ever have children! You are a teacher's worst nightmare. Try to do our jobs-I give you about 30 minutes before you run screaming out of the building.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Lee

        Other professions do not have to buy their own supplies, stay after hours for tutoring, grading, or paperwork and they are not required to attend extra curricular functions and stay after hours for conferences.

        I hope you do not have children

        January 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • Lulu15

        LOL...my son graduated last year and I have a sophmore and the teachers in our school district are so nasty to the students. They have no idea how to motivate their students. I say fire the old hags and hire from the thousands of graduating students that will be more than happy to take any pay and benefits offered to the because "they don't do it for the money, they do it for the kids".

        January 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  67. Jared

    lynne,

    That is a sad indictment on the state of morale with our educators if there are members of the teaching community that view the responsibility of leading a classroom the same as babysitting. I know that in any profession there are going to be the morale anchors who try to make sure that everyone sees the empty glass, and I also know that the long term quality of professionals will be determined by how they are integrated into their profession.

    My question to you is this, after you made the decision to become an educator how long did it take to start hearing the negatives about your decision? Did it start with disgruntled educators while you were in college, or from a morale anchor once you began teaching?

    January 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Kerry

      Negatives from other teachers, or the general public?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • lynne

      Hi Jared,
      The babysitter remark is not coming from teachers – sorry to have misled you. The same people who are busy calling us lazy and incompetent on this comment feed are the perpetrators.
      Every teacher I know cares about their job and their kids. I teach in NC, so while we get paid very little, we continue to work very hard. Somewhere along the line, we stopped being viewed as valuable, educated and trained professionals and began taking insults and backhanded comments from people who would not be where they were today if not for the effort of at least a few of their teachers. I hate that many see me the way posters here seem to, but I don't get to abandon my students to look for more pay. Somebody has to teach them.
      Thanks for your thoughts, and I am glad you seem to view teachers with a little more respect and empathy.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  68. Charlie

    I will believe that Teachers are underpaid when they start leaving for greener pastures.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • John

      No offense, Charile, but that's an idiotic statement. It presumes that the only reason people do a job is because they can make a lot of money doing that job. How about taking pride in one's work, or the satisfaction one gets from knowing – for certain – that the person has made a positive change in someone's life? We all need to earn a living, but these rewards are what keep teachers teaching.

      To teach for no pay, though, is misguided indeed.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Kerry

      Charlie, that’s a poor way to measure. I feel many never get into the profession at all because of pay.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • rahul

      if pay was the principle reasoning behind selecting a job, the country would break down and no one would do anything of cultural or societal value. we'd all just manage hedge funds.

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

      That seems to be a common sentiment. We won't plan ahead for a better future, we'll wait and play catch up. When the poor start arming themselves and revolting, that's how we'll know something's wrong. In the meantime, wow, this cake is good!

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

      This is a ludicrous comment and demonstrates exactly what is wrong with so many people in our country. Luckily there are still some people left in the US who are not motivated by greed. Teaching is a selfless profession and attracts people who are committed to bettering not only our future but the individual lives of children. It has never been a profession which attracts people driven by money. So just because teachers aren't leaving for "greener pastures" doesn't mean they aren't underpaid. It just means they care more about the children they educate.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Joe America

      They do DumbA$$! The average teacher changes professions within 4 years of teaching!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Exhausted by the rehtoric

      Interesting . Problem with this statement is that there is no where to go when one is an educator. A teacher (in California anyway) cannot move from district to district looking for higher pay. There are caps and limits to how many years of credit one can bring to a new job. Once I hit the milestone of having been a teacher for ten years (ten YEARS NOT tenure) I became stuck in the district where I teach. Moving to a new district would result in my losing a significant amount of money (for example moving one district north of where I am would result in a $15,000 a year pay cut plus a loss of benefits as they pay less towards health insurance etc). I guess I could move from elementary school to middle school (nope, pay is the same) or high school (oh, would have to go back to school and get a different credential for that and oops, pay is the same). I could get a master's or PHD and teach at a JC or in a college (oh, they pay less and it is nearly impossible to get hired on full time or gain tenure.) Hmmmmm, greener pastures??

      January 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Lee

      Then who will be left to teach? Without education there are no greener pastures.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  69. Paul

    Nurses once faced the same issues that teachers face today. They were required to obtain a bachelors degree but they were paid as if they had not graduated high school. This was because it was assumed that people in a 'helping profession' should prioritize the welfare of their patients over their own well being. It was also assumed that nursing was a 'woman's profession' and therefore not important. Instead of bowing down to these demands nursing fought back. Now nurses are among the best paid profession requiring a bachelors degree. In addition the quality and body of knowledge held by nurses has increased (even if the health care system as a whole has issues).

    Teachers should learn from the experiences of the nursing profession instead of giving in to pressure and stereotypes. It would benefit everyone.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Kerry

      Well said Paul.
      One problem is that teacher salaries come from tax dollars, so it's always going to be a struggle to get an increase, especially where there is no unions, like her in Texas where teachers start around 30K in my town.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • raggedhand

      You're absolutely right. But if memory serves me, one reason it changed was that there were massive nursing strikes and many nurses left public nursing for more lucrative privately run hospitals, causing shortages that forced the public hospitals to compete. There are still nursing shortages and so the pay is higher. Teachers, on the other hand, work for the government, not private corporations and since 95% of all teachers are government employees, theres not private sector that teachers can flee to. So the government, being a virtual monopoly, can keep wages low.

      Teaching is also considered "woman's work" and so wages have not kept up with traditional "men's" government professions. Until the public sees teaching as a profession and not public-sector baby-sitting, teachers will always be in a pink collar ghetto and have lower wages when compared to other professions that require upper level degrees.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lee

      As a former pediatric RN with 20 years experience armed with a BSN, though not required in the state of NH, I resigned to become an elementary teacher 9 years ago. I changed careers for many reasons. Reflecting back to what I had as a nurse (superb pay, pension, OT pay, paid vacations. Here are other examples of what I liked about nursing such as autonomy, working with terrific and dedicated nurses, docs., physical therapists, etc) I then chose education as a passion. What I did as a nurse was for the most part educating the ill and injured. So I took what I learned from this life experience and transferred it into a year long experience. I could now see growth and development, or lack of, over a longer period of time.(Time spent on my ward was 2.3 days on average). I wanted to be a guide for these children. I feel I have accomplished this as one of my goals. Teachers in my district work Aug-June per contract. I work most days 7-4 pm and sometimes longer(time beyond 8-2:45 not compensated for). I work during the summer months in my class prepping for the new year(1 week on ave, no pay) I work during the summer at a local store in town. I take courses to increase my knowledge base. Time and cost on me. What I am trying to say,is that teachers work just as hard and are just as dedicated as those who work 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. I am not complaining that I only make a fraction of salary that I once made as an RN.(BTW I took out a loan to pay for my education to become a teacher). I enjoy teaching. The kids need someone to act as a guide. I do it for the fun of teaching- It is fun, but only try it if you can manage 250 ?'s a day(On average) One significant item: My student's state test scores are either proficient or above proficient for the entire time I have worked as a teacher. So having "fun" teaching doesn't mean videos and recess...It does take effort and work. As a nurse I could temper my education for one child and one family. As a teacher I need to differentiate my instruction to 18 students, for the school year. Not an easy task.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  70. nolibs

    Well she is no beauty but my hat is off to her...

    January 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  71. animejay

    in NJ, the problem we have with school funding is due to there being too many school districts with too many principals and superintendents make ridiculous amounts of money with lumpsum payments for unused sick and vacation time when they retire *at their highest pay rate*.

    January 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  72. janelle

    This woman has 3 college degrees, is she really saying it's all because she was lucky enough to be born in the right zip code? There was no hard work or sacrifice on her part to get those degrees? Really!

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

      Of course hard work and sacrifice was a part of her education. I think her point was that some have advantages based on where they live, while others who may have the same work drive and dedication as her simply were not afforded the opportunity. It doesn't really matter if you are willing to run the race if you are working the concession stand.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • teacher

      What she is saying is that each state funds school districts at different rates. Most often states fund the more affluent districts by paying out more per pupil and lower socioeconomic districts with less funding per pupil. I kwork in a district that receives $6000 per pupil (lowest in the state).... another district in my state that is more affluent gets a little over $14000 per pupil.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  73. Dan

    My youngest daughter is about to graduate in the spring. When she does we will no longer have any kids in public school. I am looking forward to not having to deal with the public school system that keeps getting worse every year. I can't imagine how much worse it will be very soon. The main problems are incompetence, waste, district politics, and a student body that more and more mostly consists of kids who don't want an education.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  74. Newt Gingrich

    She should become a school janitor.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • UrAverageJoe

      lol – brilliant – see, Newt, that kind of forward, positive thinking is why you should be president!

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

      Newt, you should become one, after Rommney kicks your butt in Primary. He He He!!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Joi Gibson

      Now that's a good one. That would probably go right over Newton's head 🙂

      January 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  75. sammy

    I don't see where someone is working for no money. She said "....we might not receive our paychecks." Therefore this might not happen and more importantly it has not happened yet. Im thinking some teachers will be laid off and this is what the Chester teachers are fighting against.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  76. Joe

    Do you know what they call people who work for free? Slaves.

    Demand what you are worth or be a slave.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Chuck

      Yep

      January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Randy

      Actually in this case they are called 'volunteers'. Forced labor = slave.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • John

      You said it, Joe. I could not possibly agree more. And Chuck, you're also right. This is not only a national disgrace, it epitomizes everything that is *wrong* with this country right now. You know, I'm actually not surprised that 'Big Money' (in this case, the state) would do everything it could to retain as much of its money as possible. But the reason they're getting away with it is that these teachers are *enabling* and *encouraging* this behavior.

      For all of their good intentions, these people epitomize what is wrong with our country right now. We all know this country is in a mess, but we've not only quit speaking out in any way that matters (posting to this blog doesn't count); we actually willingly comply with the demands placed upon them by an inherently corrupt system.

      If we really want this country to be different, then we have to demand the changes that we want to see. So I issue this challenge: instead of our posting to CNN.com about this issue (or in addition to that), how about we take the time to send a short letter to the office of the governor of PA telling him that if he doesn't restore funding for these teachers immediately, we'll all do what we can to ensure that he is not re-elected, whether or not we live in PA.

      Any takers?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
      • unknown

        Awesome. I totally with you guys.

        Why don't we take this to the national level. In protest of the on-going policies, and all the troubles we are in right now, we need to make a statement. We need to send a very clear statement to the political parties, and the timing couldn't be any better than this.

        LETS NOT VOTE IN THIS ELECTION, FOR ANY POLITICAL PARTY. LETS ABSTAIN FROM VOTING........

        That way we tell these two parties, that what is going on in this country is NOT right. And we DO NOT agree with this a bit. And we will NOT tolerate.

        How about that.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  77. DOCinPA

    Some of the responses to this post point out the eternal truth – Ignorance is bliss. My heart goes out to those that chose education as their vocation. In my sixty plus years, of all the teachers and educators I’ve known, I have never known a single one – NOT ONE – that chose this career for money. Their dedication is incredible, their love for their students unsurpassed. I laud each and every one of you for your courage in the face of such battiness and right wing disdain for knowledge.

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

      Absolutely....but the Chester Upland teachers should not be doing this for free. This is wrong. They should be getting paid. This is a NATIONAL DISGRACE. As an American I am appalled that she isn't getting paid. Chester-Upland may be a bad area, but our country is not in that much financial distress. Pay HER!!!...PAY THEM!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • hello?

      Thank you and all teachers, my kids have come so far with good teachers and I happend to live in afailrly well off district in America. In fact we near the top in national polls. I have 1 child and 4 step kids, Do any of the nay saying TeaPublicans out their have a clue what it is to teach 30 kids at the same time? In patience alone these folks should be getting 50k a year (yes including the Summer spent requalifying and taking more classes). Why do we cheer when some low life venture capitalist makes a million a year with may be a 4 yr liberal arts degree and contribute NOTHING to this country that isn't based on selfish greed and we want to minimalize the greatest JOB this country has ( I mean K-12 teachers)? Why......do some of you curse them and complain that they are too organized with Unions and when 1 teacher in 10000 is bad you look at that as the NORM? Why? Because you are selfish self centered greed and war mongers who only care about big business and the so called "free market" which was bought and paid for by the sweat of millions of Americans over the century's......sheesh. This issue really gets me.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • DOCinPA

        You're seething, as am I. I hope and pray that, like the citizens of the "Recall Walker" ilk, we continue this indignation right up to election day and run these hacks right out of America!

        January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  78. John

    I appreciate your sentiments, but I think you're absolutely insane for continuing to teach for no pay. When you do this, it sends the message that your profession is, in fact, worthless, and that paying teachers the salary they deserve for a job well-done is somehow optional. Neither of these things is true, and while no one wants students who are already suffering to suffer more, you and your colleagues need to realize that this situation will *not* change (and, in fact, is likely to repeat itself) until you take a stand for yourselves and quit trying to stand 'in the gap' for the person who has *actually* caused your students to suffer – the governor who cut your payroll budget to zero. This is the person who should be acting with all haste to rectify his mistake. For you to work for free while this person does nothing validates it.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Chuck

      EXACTLY JOHN. Why don't we have all our doctors diagnose and do surgery for free. Our police officers can catch the bad guys for free....trash, road workers, etc. These people went to school for a long time. I am sick of the disrespect. For the record...I am not a teacher. I am in sales...and there is no way I would be doing my job for $0.00

      I wonder what the country would think if Romney had requested some of his employees worked for free in order for him to make a bigger profit when he sold the company. Oh wait....he just laid people off instead.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
      • JOSE0311USMC

        TALKING ABOUT FIRING WORKERS BY ROMNEY...MANY EMPLOYEES ARE FIRING WORKERS FOR THE WRONG REASONS...OLDER WORKERS WHO HAVE A FEW YEARS TO COLLECT A PENSION ARE FIRED ON PURPOSE SO THE COMPANY DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY THEIR PENSION. NOT 401–K BUT COMPANY PENSION. A LOT OF EMPLOYERS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A BAD ECONOMY TO GET RID OF THEIR OLDER WORKERS...IS WRONG.

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

      Absolutely true. Other professions did the same thing and they are struggling.

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

      Nobody is or was "working for free". These teachers and their union are well aware that they will get paid and that Pennsylvania State law requires teachers pay to be the highest priority liability. The fact is that even if the state had not kicked in a few more million that these employees would be paid, maybe not on the normal payday but shortly thereafter when the Union forces liquidation of other assets to do so. They also understood that the odds of ever needing to do even that were somewhere between extremely slim and none, as politically the state has to fund them – just after a bit of politics gets played.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • Chuck

        I live here in PA, and not too far away from the Chester-Upland school district. They actually might NOT get paid.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  79. truefax

    The problem is too much the political excess. Each school district has a superintendant, that have hr, assitants, ect... In a state like New York all of those salaries (i.e. administrative budget) become entirely too burdensome.

    Schools need principals, teachers, librarians etc.. the rest of it can be done at the county or at the state level. Seriously WAY too much spending in adminstrative budgets by local school districts. Fix that and it's problem solved at least in NY.

    The issue is most voters don't want to give up local control of the school board... Can't have it both way's people.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • blog-ReadingThinkingAndWriting-com

      That is the heart of it... great point! Just like most companies in the U.S. today, those who do the least get paid the most and those who actually do the work get paid as little as possible and are often under the threat of layoff.

      In my opinon, teacher and medical professional are the two most noble professions one can aspire to. I come from a family with quite a few educators and I have the upmost respect for those who put the children first which is required to actually be a teacher... regardless what certificate a person may have.

      The Founders of this nation were firmly commited to public education with Jefferson and others dedicating much of their remaining lives, after leaving office, to its pursuit. It seems some are trying to force us into a privatization of education... that will be the beginning of the end, in my opinion, if we end up in that scenario.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  80. Dante666

    What we need to do is change our education system to a private (for profit) company. We need to run the schools all year round. We need to pay people based on their skills (not tenure) and we should pay them well. We need to make certain that a student graduates with the skills to find employment – we unfortuately believe every kid should be taught to go to college. Wrong focus – train them to find employment. Not all of gods children are smart enough for college

    January 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Ron

      If you were to suggest doing something like this in the financial sector people would scream 'socialism'.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • MP in VA

      There is no possible way to convert public education to a private-based system. Such a system would lack stability. The real problems lie in the fact that communities do not want to pay the money needed for real administration of employees. What we currently have are administrators who are not equipped with expertise, time, or resources to truly monitor and assess teachers. Also, curriculum requirements are so opressive that there is little time to spend on each skill and remediation–especailly at the middle and high level is rare for the everyday student. I agree with you that we need to get rid of the 3-month summer break. Cut that to a month and give more time off at quarter breaks for teachers to plan the next quarter.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Anthony

      First of all, not all of who you call "god's children" would call themselves "god's children."

      Second of all, EVERYONE is smart enough to go to college. The idea that IQ is this set in stone, determined at birth trait is just ridiculous. With quality teachers who are both motivated by teaching as doing some social good AND by the money they're paid, the education system might get better.

      Also, as a middle school teacher in a low-income community (granted, for only 3 years so far) I've seen way too many teachers do EXACTLY what you're doing. Making excuses for kids. Either blaming it on their lack of inherent ability or socioeconomic status. We need to stop making excuses for our kids.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Mike

      Privatizing will not work. I know this 1st and. I work for a contractor that took over social services. The profit goes to the companies. They NEVER put money back into the program to make it better, and we have not had a raise in 7 years. After 19 years I make only 37K, and I'm in management with a BA.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Whit

      I really, truly hate it when I see someone say that not everyone is smart enough for college. Baloney. Not everyone is intended to be a Harvard Law grad, but higher education and continued education is something that should be available to everyone who desires it. It's not a matter of 'smarts', it's a matter of construction and desire. Resources should be made available, constructive elementary education needs to be implemented, and a general encouragement to people who believe the lie that they are not smart or worthy enough for higher education. If you are projecting your feelings of 'not being smart enough' onto other people, you need to take a hard look at yourself. What makes you think that you couldn't receive some form or higher education?

      January 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Whit

      Also, saying we need to focus more on preparing kids on how to find jobs rather than be so focused on a college education. What in the world do you think college is doing?!! Well, to be fair, maybe I should say "what college SHOULD be doing". Yes, there are skill sets you learn in the 'real world' that are valuable and not taught in school, but it can go both ways.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  81. Muhammad Anwar

    There are couple of lessons learn from this. 1- Unions are not bad, they serve a purpose in crisis. 2- Teachers love their students regardless of money. Teaching is a profession and every teacher makes a living by teaching, but they also care for their students, and in this case they have exemplify this care and concern. We often see charitable organization asking for funds to help the students in developing countries, i guess we need a charity to look after the issues children face in our own country. Sara, my hats off to you and the teachers of your school district, way to go, we are proud of you. May GOD bless you and your school district. May GOD give your republican governor a sense to govern with justice and reason.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Thinks2010

      Corporate america constantly complains that it cannot find enough people with the training and education they need. It is time to ask corporate america to support public education in a meaningful way, perhaps a 1% tax on profits. Corporate america invests in all the other tools, infrastructure and resources it needs. It should also invest in its most important resource, people.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  82. gimcy

    The Chester Upland School District has been using up all their allotment and asking and receiving more $$ for years. They are unable to pay their bills and don't have any idea where the money went. They beg for more time after time. This time the state of Pennsylvania said 'No' and NOW it goes ballistic in the media. These teachers will get paid a little late, that's all.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  83. Frank

    I respect teachers. I have been a teacher but, in the long term, offering to provide the services of your profession for free is a disservice to the profession. Teacher receive low pay as compared to the education level required to practice the profession. Don't demand too much compensation but you should ask for fair compensation. If you don't then you de-professionalize your profession in the long term. Teaching positions get filled with anyone with a high school diploma and a pulse. That doesn't help the children, teachers, or society as a whole.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • ann

      precisely, well said.

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

      You obviously don't live in Illinois

      January 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      You obviously were not an English teacher. Sheesh...

      January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Hodge

      A high school diploma and a pulse? Really? Ignorance must be bliss. So, take your happiness and enter a classroom. I doubt you'll last a week.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  84. tracie

    What is wrong with this lady? Why does her face look like that?

    January 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mike

      Whay does it matter. Why do you look they way you do?

      January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • UrAverageJoe

      wow – intelligent analysis . . . why is your brain like that? what is wrong with you? lol

      January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Colleen

      That is what you got out of this? Pathetic. Superficial. Stupid.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Cindy

      Oh Grow Up Dirt bag.

      This woman is sacrificing her lively hood to educate our children. May God Bless and Keep you.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  85. Parent

    I take my hat off to teachers like Miss Fergusen who did make a sacrifice for those kids because she saw the bigger picture. I can't say that for some teachers. I am grateful every time my sons come in contact with one of the special ones who care more about the kids than the pay check. We need to honor and appreciate them.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • daveinla

      I agree. Our teachers do a fantastic job.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Chuck

      I agree with your statements but what is the community going to do to reward this altruism.. Most likely nothing. They will use her and the others in her district to criticize teachers even further. Teachers receive the most scrutiny out of any profession in our society and the job is very hard. Our society likes to pretend that this is some easy job, backed by a thuggish union and nothing could be further from the truth. These teachers rely on the unions because they would be walked all over without them. Tom Corbett should be ashamed of his voucher plan – it has put an end to an already financially strapped district. And the Chester Upland school district needs assistance in managing their funds.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  86. daveinla

    Privatize some school districts. Take burden off taxpayer.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • hello?

      Are you currently doing drugs?

      January 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
      • Muhammad Anwar

        Either that or he is just Romney rich, answer to all problems is money.

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

      An armed burglar is breaking into your home. Why should I pay taxes to protect you? Protect yourself or hire a private security firm.

      After all, its all about ME and I shouldn't have any responsibility to pay for governmental services that benefit us all.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • whozits

        Actually, this is happening in a lot of towns that have gated communities. The regular folks get their police department rolled into some regional policing group and local patrol vehicles are manned by undertrained, part-timers who get paid by the ticket. This is also happening in rural areas where funds are low. The diparity in services has grown significantly since the 'Me' decade (80s) and, in some cities, the poor get no service at all.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  87. Kurt

    Education or Health Care? Housing or Health Care? Housing or Education? It's nice to be able to afford everything, but we have to stop being all things to all people and start making some tough decisions. I chose education and housing, but I make just enough that the upcoming Heath Care is going to force me to buy or be fined – which means I lose my house which means I lose my kids' education (both in terms of location and "nest egg"). But at least I'll have health care "just in case" instead of the home I need or the education that will help my children do better. At least if I did not have health care, and I had a major medical issue, I would THEN lose my house instead of losing it before. Seems these folks need less talk about health care and more talk about what's going to keep them alive in the immediate future. I say repeal Obamacare and distribute its funding more appropriately.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Jenn

      From a bumper sticker:"It will be a great day with the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a new airplane and schools get all the money they need." The choices you present are not the only ones available.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Chris

      The problem with your logic is that, according to non-partisan analysis, the Health Care Reform Act SAVES money over time. If we can reduce the rising costs of health care, we will have more money for other programs. Getting people into preventative programs rather than using the ER is good for everyone.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • UrAverageJoe

      We can afford it all – just repeal the unpaid for Bush & Reagan Tax cuts, stop starting "patriotic" wars and unpatriotically refuse to pay for them, stop paying corporations to ship jobs and our tax base overseas, get back to a government controlled by people instead of by corporations and the filthy rich.

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

        Well said Joe

        January 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  88. Josh

    I am in PA, and our teaches say 12% raises and full medical, or they will NOT teach. Oh, and their pension fund needs a few hundred more million too.

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

      NAME THE SCHOOL DISTRICT!! OR ARE YOU JUST FULL OF IT (HATE I MEAN) ??

      January 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • Josh

        You are correct. I was wrong.

        For Parkland, their 2007/2012 contact gave them a 24.5% increase. Check it for yourself.

        Oh, I just love it when any of us gets to prove you wrong, again.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • UrAverageJoe

        And you're getting this information from where? I find nothing about a 12% increase or a 24% increase . . .

        January 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • NY tax payer

        With this link you can look up Pensions earned by NY teachers and admistrators along with their retirement date and last salary. Many are close to $100K, even thos that retired 7 or 8 years ago. http://rocdocs.democratandchronicle.com/database/teacher-pensions-new-york

        January 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Jacob

      So let me understand were you stand.

      Teachers should make what then? As much as your insurance CSR person you call? So what 40k is enough for a teacher salary?

      BTW as far as this article goes...how is having to work for free the "American way" of doing things. You work you ought to get paid to do the job. Don't agree with this women at all.
      Also a 12% raise? You are full of it, not anywhere in the country has that happened. BTW the 100k salary you are talking about you need a Masters degree AND 20 years in the profession.

      In the private sector with a Masters degree you can sometimes find a job close to 100k to start with (depending on the field)

      So what exactly is your point? That teachers aren't worth it? That teachers shouldn't make ANY money and they are a bad way to spend taxpayer money?

      No really what is your point?

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

        "Also a 12% raise? You are full of it, not anywhere in the country has that happened."

        Parkland school district. Though not 12%, but 24.5% increase under their current contract.

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

        "So what exactly is your point? That teachers aren't worth it? "

        That issue is more of what the tax payers, who many have lost their jobs or have seen little-to-no raises themselves, having to pay that 24.5% salary increase.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • Jacob

        It's NOT a 24.5% salary increase...

        See below

        And just to add to it that contract you keep talking about

        "The district will save $3.2 million as a result of teachers’ contributions to their health care costs."

        January 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jacob

      you do realize that 24.5% number you put there is totally bogus right?

      You know that as part of the deal "The contract grants educators a 4.9 percent salary increase over five years. However, teachers must pay higher co-payments for their family health plans and, for the first time, they must pay for single coverage, according to a joint statement issued by the district and the Parkland Education Association. As a result, teachers will receive a net salary increase of about 3.5 percent over five years."

      So it's nice of you to leave little things like that out huh?

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

        No, 24.5% is still 24.5%. And guess what, the rest of the tax payers have additional expense for their families too, including paying for heath care.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • Jacob

        No it's not...where did you learn to do basic math?

        So your basic premise is because some taxpayers are having it rough EVERY SINGLE person who is in government (police, teachers, fireman) should be fired, make less money and not get any benefits?

        Really? All I can say to that is WOW I always heard about people like you but never thought you actually existed...

        January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • Shwa

        Josh,

        4.9% a year for 5 years is not a 24.5% raise. It's a cost of living raise every year for 5 years. Wages are expected to go up on an annual basis to keep up with inflation. In the private sector, that would be normal and accepted. If my company didn't give me 5% every year, I would effectively be making less and less money each year that passed.

        But I can understand your outrage, because clearly your teachers did poorly in teaching you.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • san

      As a pa teacher who just took a pay freeze and an increase in the payments I make for my healthcare, I think that you really do not know what you are talking about. No teachers have had a 12% pay increase this year. Name your district and cite your sources of information.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  89. Ray

    Although I applaud these teachers for rising above and making education their priority, the underlying problem of school funding in PA is the Union system. Education in PA is not working because every district has examples of teachers who are blatantly horrible at educating children. In fact I'm dealing with one such case right now. After following up on my son's complaints about a specific teacher I have found that she has a long history of being an ineffective teacher. In fact it is so bad that students and their parents are well aware that the teacher does not have a firm grasp of the material she is suppose to be teaching. It is these bad teachers and the protection the union system provides them that allows for the general public to look the other way at public school funding cuts.

    The public is well aware of the bad teachers and the inability of school districts to use the same methods as private industry to address employee issues. This has been an on going thorn in the side of those property owners who have to write out that check every year or pay an extra couple hundred dollars on their mortgage payment each month.

    Teachers need to stand up and tell the union that protecting bad teachers is hurting them all. We need a right to work law in PA and allow teachers to opt out of the union. We need a law requiring all public teacher pay raises be merit raises within a range established by a contract. Teachers need to look in the mirror for some of the answers to public school funding issues.

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

      Pure garbage. I as a teacher am sick to death of hearing from everyone who thinks they know why education sucks. Stop funding no win wars and begin to invest in education, end of story.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • san

      The Union does not provide the sources for the teacher. The teacher has budget which the can't go over. There is no such thing as a bad teacher, but there are classes that choses to be out of control. If there is not any taxes or funding for schools, then we will not have schools.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  90. ann

    I'm in my 9th year of teaching in NC, I make 35,000/year...we haven't gotten a raise in 4 years. NC is a "right to work" state, which means no unions. I am grateful to have a job. Although to Ms. Ferguson I might ask, "If you are willing to work for free, why should the county worry about making payroll?" Teachers are notorious for being martyrs.

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

      Here in PA, our teaches make upward of $100K, and get 12% raises even with the economy sinking last year.

      Dare to offer anything less than 12% and they will be on strike the next day.

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

        Yeah Josh, name the school district where teachers got a 12% raise last year . . . and provide a link to where you got that information . . .

        January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Josh

        PS: The school's administration did forfeit their raises last and this year due to the economy. But not the teachers.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
      • Christine

        Just because you posted it on the internet does not make it true. Tell where the teachers in PA work that they are making 100K per year....and if you could follow up by telling me which school district got 12 percent raises last year. Neither of those statements is accurate, so don't worry I won't be expecting a reply.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
      • UrAverageJoe

        It's just the voices in your head Josh. The district and administration you talk about is not real. Let me know if you need a referral to a clinic. As long as the voices are saying nice things, you'll be okay . . .

        January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
      • Robert

        Do you have anything to back up that $100,000 figure or does it just "feel" right since we all know that teachers are overpayed, lazy, and ungrateful. Becuase according the the US Department of Labor, the average teacher salary in PA is around $55,000. ( http://www.bls.gov/ro3/oespateachers.htm ) And yes, there are definitely some teachers who ARE lazy and don't deserve what they're being paid.

        But at the same time, you get what you pay for. Consider mathematics. According to the Department of Labor ( http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos043.htm ) the lowest 10% of people with math degrees made less than $53,000. So while we all would like to have a smart mathematician teaching our students, we are only willing to pay them one of the lowest possible salaries they are likely to be able to have. And at the same time a large segment of society is yelling that they're already overpaid.

        If you only point to bad teachers as a way to justify cutting money from education, you end up with teacher salaries that are less and less competative. So schools have less and less GOOD teachers even applying and we end up with all our intelligent would-be teachers in other fields and our classrooms are being led by the bottom of the barrel of educators (and the all-too-scarce good teacher who just loves teaching too much to do something else).

        Unions have their issues, but the anti-teacher stance so many people have embraced is going to lead to many more problems than anything the unions are doing.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • Chris R

        I live in PA. The teachers in south western PA did not get a 12% raise and do not make $100K a year. There are some administrators (principals and the like) that do but teacher salary doesn't approach that number. It is possible for them to make a decent salary f they have advanced degrees (masters and phds) and have a couple of decades on the job. I don't get people like you – I'm sure on one hand you are complaining about the failings of the educational system but on the other you want the people who are educating our children to make less than a bartender. It doesn't make sense to me.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • lynne

      I'm with you – Hooray NC. I feel your pain.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Texas Teacher

      Texas is also a right to work state. We work for free a lot– we are always asked to do things that they should really pay for, like remediation on weekends.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  91. Scott Johnston

    When a school district's budget is cut by a certain percentgae, and when they know how many teachers they need, then everyone's salary should be cut by the same percentage – from the superintendent on down to the janitor. That way, everyone still has a job and the kids have a teacher! Why don't they do that?

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

      Would you be willing to take a substantial pay cut to do your job? Teachers are already notoriously underpaid. Why should the teachers in the poor district, with a low pay scale already, take a pay cut and not the teachers in the privileged districts? States have a duty to provide THE SAME education to all children resident in their state. No discussion.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Glenda Breaux

      That makes too much sense. The bitter history and adversarial contracting processes lock both sides into following decisions trees that lead to ludicrous decisions. Historically, in these sorts of situations and negotiations, the most flexible side got taken advantage of time and time again, alternatively, until they both say "no more" and set up the zero-sum games and preset courses of action that don't allow for common sense and good reasoning skills to have their intended effects. This is how the financial side of our Education system works.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Doug

      What you are saying is that if there are budget cuts, the teachers and staff should bear the entire brunt of the budget cuts. This might sound good in the interest of protecting the kids, but it insulates parents and leaders from the consequences of their decisions. What incentive do voters have to fund schools if teachers are simply going to swallow any funding cuts? How would you feel if your employer said, "I am cutting funding to your department by half. However, I still want to achieve the same productivity, so I won't fire any of you, I just want you to do the same work that you have always done for half the salary." If you agreed to this, what would stop him/her from doing the same thing next year. Would you be willing to do your job for free?

      Parents and government leaders need to realize that when the cut education funding, it affects the quality of education. It is a shame when the kids have to suffer, but the kids are suffering because their parents (and other voters) do not value education enough to fund it fully.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  92. glorywilkins

    As a teacher of 8 years who often remained at school for hours afterwards to tutor students I understand and appreciate her dedication but I do not agree with what she and others are doing. She shouldn't be working for free in this manner, if she and the other teachers refused to work during the school day it would force the district, local leaders, community, and the state into taking further action. Doing this just allows them to continue to not confront the problems they are facing. I know they are doing what is best for kids but it is also the responsibility of everyone else to make the same sacrifices and right now teachers are making the biggest sacrifices while everyone else passes the buck.

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

      I would gladly work 12 hour days monday-friday 8 months of the year to get the other 4 months off. Problem is I don't like kids very much and I don't have the patience to teach. But wait, according to teachers unions, those aren't job requirements, so it looks like I'm the dumb one.

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

        ? Please let me know which school district gives 4 months off. I will leave mine right away as we do not get 4 months off.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • Art

        You really shouldn't write about things that you know less than zero about. The average teacher works more hours per year than the average worker. The average American does not have to deal with hundreds of darlings everyday. Most kids are good but those that aren't can make your day a hell. But you know all this stuff because you're an expert on teaching.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  93. Investment Banker

    If a nation does not value its devoted teachers as an asset, that's the end of this nation. South Korea, and post-Mao China are the two countries now getting back to the track of respecting teachers, and honoring educational achievements. In my neighborhood of L.A., I can see thousands of aspiring foreign graduate students from these aspiring countries struggling with their studies at USC and UCLA's libraries. Our kids must work hard. The parents must encourage their kids to work harder at school. Good teachers must be honored and treated as an asset, but something that will be the first to be disposed of when budget is tight. A small rise of tax for those who earn a million a year will help to fund our education system.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jon

      In this country we only honor football, basketball, soccerball, and goofball. Along with pizza and beer. That is why education fails.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  94. Rachel

    I teach. I am passionate about learning. I will never be rich, but I love my chosen profession. That is enough. I am working on my second masters degree. I will get a $4,000 per year raise next year. I will never make more than 60k, even though I will have two masters degrees. I'm not asking for more money, I just need enough to pay my bills, drive my 2006 Altima, live in my 1400 sq ft home and take my son to the beach for 1 week during the summer. That is enough.

    I buy school supplies every year: 25 boxes of markers, 25 boxes of colored pencils, 25 packages of pencils, 50 glue sticks and 100 composition notebooks and at least two new sets of chapter books for the class. I apply for grants to fund my classroom projects and pay for the extras out of my own pocket. I am not crazy or trying to undermine the plight of teachers across our nation. I am trying to give my students the best of myself so they can go on to escape the culture of poverty they are raised in.

    All I ask, is that you support your local teachers. The only reason they teach is because they care. True enough, there are those that are in the wrong profession and that is what we get to hear about, their mistakes, their inept decisions. However, when we hear of something good, something decent, we attack because it threatens those of us with a dependable salary. Don't do it. We are Americans, we respond with valor and pride. Let this noble act become something that represents our country rather than becoming a threat to our security.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Investment Banker

      Rachel: Thank you for your fine effort. Keep it up. The nation is thankful for people like you.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
      • Texas Teacher

        No they aren't! Have you read all the posts. These people hate teachers.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Stop...

      paying for things out of your own pocket. You think you are helping but you are not. Every time you do that you validate cuts to education funding.

      Do the best you can with the funding they give you. If they want to know why you don't have the classroom supplies you need then show them the budget you get for classroom supplies.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • hello?

      First of all thank you. Secondly sometimes I wish teachers would just strike and walk out the GOP and Tea Party members of congress do not care about our children they do not promote or put education as a high enough priority. The number one priority of all law makers should be. 1. We the people (meaning are ALL Americans living at the standard we expect in regards to health care, education, jobs) are the most important issue. 2. Infastructure and vision for America's goals as a nation and also goals for our grand children and their children. 3. Defense- NOT OFFENSE. 4.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Kerry

      Great post! I'm going to copy it to the top so more can see it!

      January 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Dave P.

      Why do you feel that we need to put teachers up on a pedestal more than any other profession? You make 50 -60 grand a year with full benefits for working 9 months a year. Do your job. That is what it is. Every other job has it's good and bad things to it as well, but no one whines about their job as much as the teachers do. If you can't do a job without complaining and whining about it then it is time to find another profession.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • san

        We do not whine, the public whines. We do what we can, it is the media and anti-teacher groups that do the complaining. By the way, if you call working without a paycheck and saying something about it – whining – you might have to rethink what you consider whining to be.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Art

        The average teacher works more hours per year than the average worker in this country. Does an actor on an hour long TV show only work and hour? After all I only see him working an hour. Does a prosecutor only work when he's in court? After all I only see him when he's in court. Get it now you dolt?

        January 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • Ollie

        You come do my job, Dave P. You'd cry like a little girl the first time you had to deal with a student discipline or work 16 hours every other weekend correcting student essays.
        You obviously have no idea, but you talk all loud like you do.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • Lee

        Whine? whine? What are you talking about? I make less than 40K/yr and I have been working as a teacher for 6 years now. I love my work. Money is secondary to my life. I live by my this credo... My family , My own life, my job... Isn't that what adults should aspire to do? Love their work.- Yes. Your life should positively impact society . yes? I need to pay my bills and my children's college tuition etc. But I make due.Do what I can I do to make this a better place to be? So many americans are caught up with me me me. Get off it. Why not be the beauty that you are and contribute where you can. ? So I chose to be a teacher. good for me. I love being a guide to the the young so OUR country will be a better place to live in the long run. What if there were no teachers/ Then what? .... More whining I suppose.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Dave P.

      And before you go and rip on me for my response. My girlfriend is a teacher and a damn fine one. She loves her job and gets great pleasure out of helping her kids and their families. She comes home often with a big smile on her face about the good stuff that happened that day. Where she works she makes a hell of a lot less than the average teacher. Although she would obviously like to make more and could make more elsewhere, she feels needed where she is and does her job with a smile and whines about it less in a week than you guys do in 5 minutes. You all need to remember what a teacher is suppose to be and stop worrying about just yourself and your union. Because when you start worrying more about yourself and your union then you stop being a teacher.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • san

        Your girlfriend is a teacher so you know all about teaching. Guess what, my boyfriend is a neurosurgeon. Do you want me to operate on you?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • Lee

        This is for San- You have no class and have no compassion for someone who has respect for people around him. He is relating to what he has experienced. Do you know what CSF stands for? If not, you have not been listening one iota to your boyfriend. Do you ever ask Why do you do what you do? What is your passion? How can I compliment your life? Please. You are just shooting from your hip. Teachers and doctors are part of the american fabric and you just 'dissed one profession. Ask you boyfriend, which person inspired him to become a neurosurgeon? I bet it was a teacher....

        January 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • just me

      You are a diamond in the pile of fool's gold!! If only there were a process to award higher pay to teachers who think as you do!!

      January 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • Lee

        Just me- I don't know if you were replying to my comment or of the above. But thank you if it were meant for me.If it were aimed at the above, I too thank him for recognizing what is valuable to our society.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  95. Johnnie

    Thank you Ms. Sara Ferguson that you have responded upon the divine calling, denying yourself to perform an assignment bestowed upon you gracefully by your God Almighty to glorify his name. "Suffer the little children and come unto me" these spoken words by Lord are challenging the fabric of our pledge of allegiance as "one people, one nation under God." And Sara, to those who have eyes and cannot see, have ears yet cannot hear, may God's goodness, compassion and grace rest upon them, and especially those who criticize your calling, "But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

    January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Tee Cee

      Hey, can I get some Lotto numbers?

      January 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  96. preston

    The topic of under paid teachers in our country has always bothered me! We pay people in the entertainment and professional sports industries very well, yet we barely pay the people who matter. Here's a radical idea: setup a scale for pro sports players and have them donate a chunk of their several million dollar salaries to our teacher's income accordingly. E.g. if they make $1mil or less they donate $10k; $1mil -$2mil donate $75k; $2mil-$4mil donate $300k; $4mil-$7mil donate $600k; $7mil+ donate $900k. If they whine, explain to them, with heavy satire, that they play a game and teachers prepare the next generation for life; I think they can forgo that new lambo or west wing addition. Then pat them on the ass and take their money.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • janelle

      That donation that you speak of is called income taxes. And yes, they already pay it.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Jon

        Not nearly enough though. People making more than 5 million a year should pay 75% of their income in taxes.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • preston

        Right, but the taxes that are taken from their paychecks is distributed. It doesnt all go towards teachers. Thats what I was getting at.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Derek

      Or we could just privatize the education system. None of the professions you mentioned is paid for by the Gov't. If an actor sucks, he doesn't act. If a Pro-baller sucks, he gets cut.

      Give me a voucher on the school taxes I pay and my son will be in a private school next week.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
      • Texas Teacher

        Private schools in my area are aweful. They are run by church ladies making less than $19,000 a year for the sole purpose of not teaching evolution to kids. I actually had my child in one for awhile. I thought private school was best. She didn't learn how to read and had to redo first grade in public school. Good thing I started her a year earlier than public school.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • dinabq

        "Give me a voucher on the school taxes I pay and my son will be in a private school next week." - Derek.

        Really? From my property taxes of $650/yr., I paid $157 for K-12 schools. I have no children. A private high school in my area is about $10K. So how will that voucher thing work again?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • preston

        To me, it doesnt matter who pays them. Nobody, who contributes so little around here, should ever make as much as they do.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  97. govspy

    Yep. This is why our country sucks.

    A woman is willing to work for free because we're obsessed with paying for frivolous things like the NFL, NBA, Reality TV and crap like that, but we freeze up when asked to pay for public schools.

    Yeah, blame this woman, it must be HER fault. You people embarrass me for being an American.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • N

      I pay more than my fair share of taxes. Whatever I spend the rest on is none of your business so take a hike.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Jon

        Just wait. The time is coming when the voice of the 99% will overwhelm the interests of the 1% and then you will pay more, much more if you are a millionaire. Learning social responsibility is something teabaggers need to relearn all over again.

        January 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        Social responsibility?? There are two extremes of social responsibility; where poor people expect the rich to pay for their inadequacies; lack of education to obtain a better paying job & poor life choices that affect their chieldren and the rich however do pay for the inadquacies of the poor but it is NEVER enough. When is it ever enough?

        Stop looking for others to take care of your own resposnsibilities.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • N

      30% of every paycheck and 15k in property taxes, your understanding of the system makes me wonder if you are American....

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

        So,....what are you guys eating for dinner tonight?

        January 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • andrew

        Does it make you wonder what quality of education they may have received?

        January 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • George

        Im thinking pizza.

        January 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        How many parents are aprt of the PTA, PTO or whatever it is called???? When you have more parental involvement that schools know what to do with then it will be a point well made.

        January 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  98. alan s

    One can't dismiss Ms. Ferguson as just another pretty face.

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

      hahaha

      January 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  99. DaveMKE

    I know she doesn't mean to come off this way, but the article really sounds like she's saying, "Give schools unlimited budget, or else it's your fault our kids aren't learning."

    If the school was going to lose 300 people, why didn't all the teachers agree to a 15% pay cut to keep everyone working? Is everybody working for 85% of their pay worse than 300 people working for no pay?

    January 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Investment Banker

      or the rich paying a little more tax to share the cost of this nation building.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • BooseyBoo

        Parents should shoulder a little more of the cost than they do instead of looking for other to do so.

        January 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Your math is questionable.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Doug

      Why don't you go to your own employer and tell him (or her) that no matter how much he cuts your salary, you will continue to perform your job at the same level? Unless you are willing to do this, I have a hard time seeing how you could begrudge teachers who aren't willing to do the same. Why would your employer ever pay you more if you are willing to do the same job for less?

      The voting public needs to realize that if funding for schools is cut, it will affect education. You are asking the teachers to absorb all of the impact of funding cuts. While this might seem noble, as it protects kids from the negative effects of funding cuts, it is unfair to the teachers. Put simply, if the voting public decides to cut school funding, they need to realize that it will have repercussions - class sizes may rise, classes may be cut, etc. Maybe in a down economy this still makes sense, but we need to man up and accept the consequences of our decisions, not expect teachers to insulate us from these consequences.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  100. Common Sense

    Imagine, we've all been criticizing each other, griping about the author of the article and generally being dissentious to a criminal fault. Yet no one is speaking about how to rally around one major actor: WE are the masses. WE are the proverbial "THEY". WE have more CONTROL than anyone even can understand. Find it within yourselves to stop for a moment, think about the American Flag for a few moments and what it used to mean and what it was supposed to stand for. Where are we? We are allowing the politicians to lead us by the nose simply because we don't want the responsibilty? Because it's easier to keep griping than to hike up your skirts, even you men, and get into the muck? The voting booth is no longer the battleground. Wake up you rabble rousers, become Americans once again and instead of crying out " The English are coming! The English are coming!" start withholding your taxes both at State and Federal levels. Don't file. Make them feel the pinch for once so they can stop spending YOUR money on wars and anything else you deem inappropriate fund allocation. Get their attention! You want to OCCUPY Wallstreet? Get your investments out, divvy them up among several local banks. You want the government to pay attention? Withhold your taxes, everyone of you, just ONE year, or file late if you're a coward-and we know who you are by the ranting and raving being done on this one issue. TAKE A STAND. Get their attention by withholding their salaries and DON'T pay taxes!!! See what happens then. That is the ONLY resource left to any person living in this country, citizen or resident alien: money. Withhold the way the government does. After all, YOU'RE paying their salaries, they work for YOU. NOT the other way around. "There once was a dream that was Rome....." Will you let America fade simply because it's easier to rant and rave on a post such as this one or will you drink the kool-aid of "one person can't make a difference"? Where is our Flag bearer and bugle blower? What will YOU do now to defend your COUNTRY? Stand up, make a choice: be part of the solution. Obviously being part of the problem isn't helping you. So the dare is this: HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY CARE? AND HOW BRAVE ARE YOU? If only we could bring MLK back, Thomas Paine, George Washington...any of the founders we would have someone to rally behind,and believe in. Instead we choose politicians and complain about how incompetent they are and how things are not what they should be. Yet, YOU choose them! You buy their agendas and double-talk. You get lost in the myriad inane details of their private lives and don't ask the hard questions. HOW CAN YOU ASK SOMEONE ELSE TO DO THAT WHICH YOU YOURSELF ARE NOT WILLING TO DO????? Good luck to us. America will be a footnote right next to Rome someday if we don't rally with each other and stop saying "THEY", it's time to say 'WE" and stand united. No race, no religion, no creed, no political party, simply: PATRIOTS. Or is that gone too?

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

      My God man! PARAGRAPHS!

      Your teachers failed you.

      January 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Common Sense

        Troglodyte.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Common Sense

        FYI: Not "Man", "Woman".

        January 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Common Sense

        We'll put you on the side of the cowards: "I like to gripe but not get involved". No one will accuse you of being a Patriot., don't worry. You can remain part of "THEY" and be safe that your griping rights will be defended by the rest of us. Sleep soundly Derek.

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

        I volunteer as a local EMT, volunteer as a firefighter, and routinely donate to the school my son goes to. Your post was poorly worded, grammatically flawed and ill thought out. Don't like criticism? Stop posting tripe on the Internet.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
      • Common Sense

        I enjoy criticism and even thrive on it. It means someone is paying attention. Now, read my post once again and figure out if you're the coward sitting on the sidelines griping or the one getting into the muck and getting things done. Concentrate on the grammatical errors and you missed the point. Concentrate on something other than what's past your nose and you'll get somewhere. Good luck grasshopper.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Common Sense

        Derek: I certainly hope with all your volunteering you are able to keep down a formal job and not be on unemployment. That means the rest of us are footing your bills. If so, you have no room to gripe. If you have a formal job PLUS you do all this volunteering then I'll be the first to shake your hand and give you a heartfelt "Thanks".

        January 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
      • Derek

        I'm sitting in my office in the 33rd floor of a high rise in Philly making more than I ever thought possible. I owe that the Suanne Moechel, librarian at Lawrence Central HS.

        January 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • Common Sense

        OOPS! Gotta watch those errors when you post Derek! I do believe you forgot to type one word in that last sentence!
        But seriously, those of us that have a desire to achieve some level of success usually owe it to an educator. For me it was my english teacher in 10th grade. Guess what Derek? English isn't my first language. Would you ever have guessed it? You'll probably say yes just to be spiteful. However, English is now the only language I know as "home", my roots go as far as Pennsylvania and no further. Had it not been for the wisdom of my 10th grade english teacher I would not know what being a "Patriot" really means. We either pull up an oar and start rowing together or we'll all sink together. I'd rather not sink if it's alright with the rest of you. I believe in America. I believe in her spirit and her devotion that lives within every one of us. Now, let's just tap into it and do some good shall we?

        January 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • ChestnutMay

      Speaking as someone who (unintentionally) withheld taxes from the IRS, let me assure you that it's best to stay on their good side.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
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