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

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

by John Martin, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, a teacher offers a comment about commenters:

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

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soundoff (1,675 Responses)
  1. Annie

    Longer school days can also mean less time in disfunctional homes. By the way, many of you, with your negative comments about teachers, that might be your home.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  2. S~

    Teacher are not the bad guys... Their union is.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Oman

      What you are saying is you don't want teachers or any worker being able to organize and push for what they believe is best for them. Please, indiviuals have no real voice or power in our society, only by organizing can people advocate for change. The problem is not unions but students and parents who refuse to take responsibility for their lack of work ethic. We don't blame the doctor when the patient refuses to follow his advice...but when the student fails to work and apply the knowledge provided/presented by the teacher...it's the teacher's fault? You can be the greatest teacher in the world but if the students refuse to learn or work than nothing can be done.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • remy b

      What union? I live in Texas.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  3. eroteme

    Longer hours for school students? Haven't heard much these days about the anti-obesity suggestion that we shorten the school day so students will be able to go home and exercise. One possible solution might be to go light on social studies, which many of our students only excel in, and pursue such things as adding, subtracting, reading, etc., which apparently is so difficult for them to learn.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Annie

      If it's so hard for your kids to learn basic addition and subtraction, why not go out on a limb, and help them at home? Or would that be taking some responsibility as a parent? Wouldn't want to do that! Easier to blame the teachers.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:07 am |
      • Oman

        Your exactly correct. I never hear about holding students or parents accountable...oh wait that will occur when all the schools are privatized and the politicians (to protect their corporate minders) will change the tune to "Blame the students/parents."

        August 1, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  4. badcyclist

    The people who complain about how "overpaid" teachers are happen to be the same Tea Party losers who: (a) think everyone who isn't them is overpaid; (b) hate minimum wage laws; (c) think no one other than themselves deserves a pension or medical insurance; and yet (d) attack anyone who criticizes the hyper-rich as class warriors. These people are just tools, and god help us if they elect their favorite plutocrat this November.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  5. rbud

    I also keep hearing about the "extra mile" thing, folks that is your job! Everyone does that to keep their job.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • tigerteacher

      So it is my "duty" to...

      ...visit homes to express academic concerns because mom and dad have no cell phone an no car?
      ...come in early to pack weekend packs of food because 60% of our school is on free/reduced lunches and need assistance on weekends?
      ...spend hours on the phone with community assistance programs so one of my families can get heat in their home in the dead of winter?
      ...go to court to testify in custody battles between parents because I've been subpoenaed?

      The list could go on and on. These are real examples just from last year alone. Please don't tell me about teacher duty.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  6. Steve the teacher

    I am a teacher. I have taught for 11 years, and have enjoyed my job. I get paid for 187 days of work. I do not get paid for breaks at Christmas, Thanksgiving, spring break, or summer. Sure, the district stretches my salary so I get a check each month, but those are unpaid days, which I am ok with, after all, I am not working those days. I would not have a problem with accountability based on testing. I don't believe worksheets are the solution, I don't teach to the test, I don't give a ton of homework, and guess what.... my scores on state testing are the highest in the district for my grade level. Now, I am sure some of you are thinking I must get the 'smart' kids.... think again... I usually have kids 1-2 years below grade level at the beginning of the year. I work my butt off, and get paid very little for doing it. I do it because I care. Bring on the accountability, come watch me teach, I don't care. My room is an open door, just be ready to see learning and teaching, not sitting and trudging through worksheets... I may be act crazy when I teach, but the kids are on task almost constantly... and the results are evident. Toss the teachers who sit and text all day, and get some energy back in school.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • rbud

      Most jobs get two weeks vacation, 3 after 5 years, 4 after 10. Figure your pay out by the hour and compare it to other job requiring the same education. I would be willing to bet most teachers are at the top of the hour scale!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

      I agree with you, I teach very similar, getting the students to discover answers not find them in text, they need to understand not restate

      July 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  7. LH

    Wow got to say I find it sad that some of these people couldn't even stay on the topic of longer school days, and just went into how teachers get this time off, and this many hours, and don't really do much work. First off let me tell you teachers at my school will stay after to help you with what you need on top of what they need to do, this can take up to two hours (now hitting 8 and a half hours plus any time they put in in the morning). Second, yes teachers get summers, but they do NOT get the full summer kids get. They have to start learning anything new that will be used that year, they DO have to go into the school and do work. They have to start setting up their room (which by the way they pay for most the stuff in there out of pocket), they have to start look through the curriculum, and planning out how their going to keep us interested and cover everything they need to, then they have to start going to all these meetings before the school year. So if you think it's an easy job where you get good pay and all this time off, think again. Teachers don't get all that great pay (no it isn't terrible and you can make a living), but you have to add in the cost of the things they NEED for the classroom that the schools will not supply. As for the time "off" it's not very off because you WILL be doing work, yes some at home, but you do have to go in. Think about what people really do before you talk, because I can promise you only few people can handle this job for as many years as teachers do.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Jennifer V

      THANK YOU. I am a teacher – I am going into my fifth year of teaching high school. No one can get mad at teachers for having summers off until they are in our shoes. We do set up our own rooms. We do pay for stuff out of our own pockets. We use a lot of our time and teachers who work hard deserve summertime and all of the breaks we get. Thank you for what you said. I am so tired of people wanting to become teachers just for the 'summers off' Not everyone can be a teacher. It takes special people like the people I work with every day.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  8. Teacher

    I am a teacher and love my job of 10 years! However, a longer school day is not the answer! We need more parental support. And to all the people that made comments about our vacation time and short days... We are paid less then most babysitters. We all have 2nd or 3rd jobs because our pay is so low. We are not paid over the summer, we just divide our checks by 12. Teachers are working hours after the last child leaves for the day! Get a clue! You have no idea what we do...and I have not even started on what we deal with regarding our students. Stop beating up on teachers!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  9. rbud

    My husband has been a teacher for a long time and I think a very good one. He is a retired school principle. Forgive me for saying this, he is paid a good wage, he has better hours than any other profession I know. most weekends off. two weeks at Christmas, spring break, summer weeks and many many many holidays through out the year. I am tired of hearing teachers complain about their jobs all the time. He is home by 4.30 every day, some dances, etc. come on, there are many other harder jobs. If you could listen to teachers talk and see the emails with bad grammer, and don't get me started on the bad spelling in the emails.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • jbri

      Was he a Principle or a Principal?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Paula

      You are kidding, right? You complain about spelling and claim your husband is a "principle"?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • sped teacher

      Uh, it's spelled principal.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • scottmartinrowe

      I'm dismayed that you use your husband's experience (one person) to bash against the teaching profession. If my students used that kind of counterargument, they would not pass the state high school exit exam as it is a logical fallacy (a general fallacy of using a poor example, maybe a hasty generalization, but a fallacy nonetheless). That said, my principal is at school before everyone else and leaves after most everyone else. She is usually on campus during the summer. I'm glad your husband had it so easy.

      By the way, it's spelled "principal." An easy way to remember that is that the principal is your "pal." 🙂

      August 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Joe

    As an employee of a school system (not a teacher, but in technology) I can tell you this. With EVERY profession you just need to understand the bell curve. In my 20 years with my local school system I've come to the conclusion that we have a few great teachers, a few awful teachers, and most fall in the middle...they come to work...do their job...and go home. Just like everyone else. I have been in EVERY single classroom in our district and I've chatted with every teacher and since I'm not an administrator most teachers are very candid with me and I will tell you that most teachers want to do a good job, but outside pressure makes it hard. Honestly, there are too many administrators in our district making HUGE sums of money that do nothing more than blow smoke to make themselves look more important. Teachers do have a very hard job without the higher ups making things more difficult. Now...with that said...I will also say that most of the teachers in my district don't put in the hours they are supposed to. In most states the public can request proxy log information and I think the tax payers would be surprised to see just how many hours out of the day are spent on the Internet doing other things besides work. We had one teacher literally spend 6 hours a day surfing the Internet looking at hunting and fishing sites...that teacher is now a Principal. One day we had to down the network for an upgrade that we were doing and we had sent out an email that saying the Internet would be down for about 10 minutes, but after we downed the connection...within 2 minutes we were getting calls from teachers complaining that the Internet was down...(a little FYI...wanna make a teacher mad...take their Internet away or block Youtube or Facebook). Another teacher told me that she was upset over having to move classrooms...not that she didn't like the new room...but that her old room was next to an outside door...and that now she couldn't be late for work like she had been. Teachers are always quick to blame the parents, but I've heard a number of teachers complain that certain parents are always around and won't leave them alone. Again...this is from 20 years as a classified employee and would argue all day that what I have posted is 100% true (BTW...teachers can complain all they want...but its the classified employees that REALLY get the shaft...teachers view us as personal servants and a lot of us have degrees and only make half what teachers make).

    July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Missy

      I've heard the same things Jon ~ thanks so much for saying that. Yes, there are great teachers, but like in all areas there are those who just are there to do a job and go home. I've heard soooooo many teachers brag in my face about the time off they get in the summer while I have to work. It has a lot to do with the person – some good, some great, some bad. Not all teachers are saints.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Sarvis


      The same could be said for classified employees. There is a bell curve for that group as well – especially the technology related employees. You wouldn't believe how many are angry because that want to make the big bucks but could only get a job with a school system. Or the ones that take weeks and weeks to fix a minor computer problem. Or the ones that become drunk with power because they control the information portal. Or the ones that can't keep a network up and running. Or work with multiple operating systems. Or the ones that ignore help tickets because they don't want to leave their offices. Ad nauseam.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  11. itscion

    Do teachers really think that the private sector doesn't work well beyond their paid time? If you want to keep a good paying job, you spend your own time and money keeping your skills relevant. That's just the way it is.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Teacher

      I am a married mother of two children. I teach in a private school. I have 3 degrees and have one several teaching awards, yet if I were a single parent my pay would qualify me as below the poverty line. Don't make comments you know nothing about.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
      • Missy

        You have "one" several awards??? Really?

        July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • S~

      I went from Fortran to COBOL to Ckipper to Foxpro to Visual Foxpro to .NET.... And still learning..... Java...CRM....etc...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • skepticnotcynic

      itscion, no one is bashing what you're doing. Apparently, you think its fashionable to criticize my profession, even though you have never taught or worked in a school system. I promise I won't criticize your profession, whatever that is. Understandably, you probably have low performers who you work with, just like in any profession. You probably have employees that play the political game and keep their jobs, even though they should be on the chopping block. That's life. Few employees do an amazing job, most put in their hours and do a mediocre job, while few deserved to be fired. That's life.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Zanatos

      I am a new high school teacher with a masters degree in secondary education. I make around $43,000 per year. During the school year, I work an average of 11-hours per day, including lesson preparation, grading, and office hours. I often come in early and stay late to attend meetings with parents and counselors, develop individual education plans for students with disabilities and special needs, assist/supervise the student council, booster club, sporting events, and chaperone school functions. All of these additional duties are unpaid.

      During summer, I must attend seminars and college classes to meet continuing education requirements. (Teachers have to be re-certified every three years.) In addition to developing lesson plans and assessments, grading papers, and actually teaching, there are budgets that have to be written, supplies that have to be inventoried and ordered, professional development and other meetings that must be planned and conducted, and annual performance appraisals that must be completed. Also, since state standards and course materials constantly change, teachers can't simply use the same lesson plans from year to year. Some materials can be re-used but virtually everything has to be reviewed and updated to ensure it still meets the requirements.

      High school students are extremely challenging to teach. You have to get their attention and keep them interested and establish and maintain discipline while creating a relaxed learning environment. In my experience, teaching is much more of an art than a science. Everyone thinks they can teach, but the reality is more challenging than most people will ever know. But I am not complaining here. I love it, and I wouldn't trade my job for anything. However, I take exception to anyone who says or thinks that I don't earn every single penny of my pay.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  12. tigerteacher


    I am a fifth grade teacher in an urban area of a major metropolitan city. I teach in a high needs district where many of my families can't afford transportation, proper housing, or steady meals for their family. I have been fussed at, called names, and occasionally cursed out for doing what needs to be done for my students and their families. My wife teaches second grade in a neighboring district with similar demographics and needs. We are professional educators who do a professional job and pride ourselves on going the extra mile to ensure we reach the whole child. We both have advanced degrees.

    This is the life we choose. We made a clear commitment to put ourselves where not everyone wants to be. We adore our jobs. I don't want special treatment. I don't want to dodge accountability (my scores speak for themselves). What I want is for the bullying to stop. It isn't fair for people who, genuinely, have no context to make generalizations about the work I do or how I do it.

    What I feel we lack here, friends, is compassion. Why do I always have to defend myself? Why do I have to feel guilty about making a paycheck for the hard work I do? Why do I have to justify the length of my contract? Do we really think it's a no-effort job? I encourage all of you who are passionate about how terrible of a job I'm doing to go to school, get your degree, and get yourself in the classroom. Teach for a year and let me know how it goes.

    How about this, instead, I won't pretend how to be a banker, a store clerk, a doctor, a mechanic, etc... and you don't pretend how to teach. Deal?

    Okay, that was a bit cheeky, but honestly: the lack of respect and compassion is stunning. I would never allow one of my students to be so rude to a classmate or speak so poorly of someone else's chosen career. I, like many teachers, are heading back in the classrooms this week to gear up for another school year (unpaid, a week before contract starts). I hope each teacher has a blessed year and continues to do the hard work necessary to make each child a success.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

      I agree, It's as if being a teacher is a bad thing.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Canadian Teacher

      If it is any comfort, teachers are shown the same type of 'disrespect' north of the border. Despite having taught 20 years, I still work – on average – 60 hours per week. Some weekends, I have spent 10+ hours on homework, neglecting my own children in the process. I will spend 3 unpaid weeks this summer preparing for my new grade and the 8 subjects I will be teaching in September. I suppose the approximately 10 weeks of overtime I put in per year are balanced by my coveted 'summers off'. Like many teachers, I spend at least $1500 per year on supplies for my classroom. I still wouldn't change my choice of career – I love teaching children – but I am not encouraging my own two children to go into this profession. I am used to reading all the slanderous comments made by people with an axe to grudge against some rotten teacher they had as a kid, but I wouldn't want my own children to work in a profession as bashed as ours has now become. Tiger teacher – for what it's worth – your students know and appreciate your efforts (even if they don't always express it). Quite frankly, we should be grateful to be surrounded by young people every day...that scenario is much preferable to working with miserable, judgemental adults – the likes of which tend to flood these message boards.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • skepticnotcynic

      TigerTeacher, that was a beautiful post. I couldn't have said it better myself. Keep up the good fight and good luck to you this school year.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  13. Andrew

    In theocratic, rightwing Indiana, teachers are up against Supt. of Education and his corporodestructive "We don't need no steenking money" reforms on Indiana's already beleaguered education system and his insane and destructive attacks on teachers unons and their place in collective bargaining among Mitch Daniels GOP douchiness has us all wondering why our insanely committed teachers stay here. Thank whatever deity you please that they do. Especially against the "christians" who've taken tens of millions for religious education while closing other schools. To hell with "education reform", Melinda Gates, charter schools, extremism and corporatization of our most structural asset. Burn in hell, GOP.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Andrew

      Destroyer of Education Tony Bennett.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Tom

      Andy, oops, I meant Andrew,
      I have taught for 15 plus years in Alaska at a very diverse elem. school. I am 55 years old and have worked at more jobs than you can count. Hard labor jobs, easy retail jobs, and everthing in between. Teaching is the first "professional" job, oops, I meant career I've worked in. It's EASY, FUN, and REWARDING. After 2-3 years of OJT, it's cake. I will make $75,000 dollars in my 16th year, plus tons of excellent benefits. Great health care, retirement, vacation time, and more. Teachers need to be scrutinized, monitored, and evaluated 100 times more than we are now, but our union won't allow it. We are protected and privileged spoiled babies. My students work their butts off for me because I respect them and they respect me. Test scores are usually very good. So, Andy, you've just been "schooled" by a real teacher. Liberals screwballs like you are the reason for the downfall of Rome, oops, I meant America. Burn in hell Libby!

      August 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  14. bcinwi

    those who can't.....teach enough said

    July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Andrew

      If you're into extreme simplicity and colloquialisms.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Mike

      I did. I teach what I did for a liviing. I still jumped to teaching because of how much fun running a classroom is.

      Is it rewarding for you to have an opinion based on nonsense?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  15. evansellers

    Talk about hard work! John Martin at CNN writes and intro paragraph and then pastes a bunch of other people's writing and he gets credit for the byline for the "article."

    July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  16. Count the days

    I'm tired of reading the same complaint again and again... can you all please realize that 180 days isn't that much less than any other profession. PLEASE realize that a 5-day workweek for one year (52 weeks) is 260 days. Take out your various standard holidays and no matter your profession you're probably floating closer to 230. Add to that the realization that a non-teacher can take a trip whenever they've saved up vacation time and a teacher is restricted to vacationing at the same time as every single child and family in America (assuming they're not busy planning, grading, or dedicating themselves to your children in some other way). Strange– I don't think I've ever heard a complaint about a dentist (no offense to any) who works 3 days a week, spending maybe 15 minutes per child and makes $150k+ a year.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Missing 20 days in Florida

      For Count the Days... I would love to work where you do... we get an extra 10 days off outside of weekends (5 holidays and 5 sick/vaca days combined). Thats no where near the extra month you are claiming. I would love to have your benefits! As for not complaining what my dentist makes... he is not paid by our taxes. That being said, teachers are underpaid, under resourced, and put through hell... at least in Florida. I would rather work all my extra days than do their job!! Not enough money in the world to put me in a room all day with 30 kids!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  17. Andy

    As a degree holder in economics I've considered this particular problem (education "utility maximization" if you will) while mowing my lawn or on the john or like a couple of times while I was watching paint dry. Seriously.

    I've wondered, what if you set up the classrooms and the environment like a game. (Game, as in using "game theory.") Let's take mathematics as an example. Here's one "game" I've considered:

    On day 1, have the students take a baseline test, and tell them it is "for credit" just like any other test. (it's not) Say there are 40 students in the class. Break them up into eight groups of 5, and have the top five scorers be "captains" of the groups. (You dont have to tell them. It might make them look nerdy or something, and maybe they get bullied.) From there on out, announce that the top performing group overall will receive "bonus points" on the tests. (IDK how many would provide the incentive.) You might also need external incentives, like the top performer gets a class off on the day of their choosing or something like that. (Kids like their instant gratifications as well as the long term ones like the test result boost.)

    With this kind of "game" I feel there would be so much incentive for kids to teach each other...to call each other at home and make sure they're prepared. I feel this would be very organic and lower the hourly burden on teachers, and if successful you could actually SHORTEN days and let the kids work more at home.

    Kids need rest at that age. Teens need a lot more sleep than other age groups. We're running them ragged already the way things are.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  18. Mike

    I have to side with the debater named 'Julie' – I don't know of any other profession that undergoes such scrutiny when the ability to measure their success is based on so many factors out of their control (family support, income, neighbourhood reality, etc).

    I'm a high school teacher in Quebec, on the summer break you're all upset I get. True, I'm relaxing and mentally resetting from a long year of doing my level-best to make my courses as interesting as possible. And the other half of the time, I'm poring over materials and redesigning my lessons to make them even more meaningful for next year. Do all teachers do this? No, of course not. But more do then the general public give credit for.

    Teachers are no different than any other profession – you'll find fantastic motivated ones, and some that are less so. But there's an underlying social contract that *most* teachers follow that says we'll put in as much time as needed to see the job done – the flipside of that contract says that we'll get the R&R time needed to properly start the process over again in the fall. Is that every teacher? Of course not, but have you been impressed with the extra effort of every doctor you visited?

    I started my career in private industry, and made the jump when I had the chance to try subbing and fell in love with teaching. I've seen both sides of this debate – and I can tell you that by the time teachers get to June, we still love what we do, but we're outright desperate for some downtime. If you think otherwise, you really haven't walked a mile in our shoes.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Dan

      A mile in your shoes? It sounds like just old fashion hard work to me. I work for an insurance company as a trainer. I do lesson plans, I am making and changing power points, creating manuals etc. I work nights at home, weekends and I do this for a full year. Many of my friends are teachers and I hear the same argument about pay. It is very tough for me to support them, when I feel I do what they do for a longer period of time and the pay is equal. I cannot get another job during the summer and make additional money. I cannot plan my Christmas shopping around winter break and my vacation around summer break. There is no such break in my life. I know it is not easy being a teacher and seems to be getting harder. I respect you for that, but when you work only 1/2 a year and get vacation and sick time on top of that (maybe 160 days total) it is tough.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • GD

      I am in a similar situation as you! By June, I need my break & I wish I had a lot more time during the rest of the year for all the work that I do to tailor the lessons to individual needs..

      July 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  19. The Resolute Voice

    As a long-time teacher and education mentor, the problem to solve is not just push for longer days and shorter summer vacations. It is to grow determination and a better joint effort by teachers with students AND parents to teach real skills and make sure students learn them. Make the grading as tough as it is in other countries and deliver real knowledge and thinking ability, not just social justice and diversity and excuses that address both often with less learning and excuses. That practice only denies our students their true destiny.

    I was educated in a public school system with much shorter school days, longer vacations and long lunch hours and recesses. Our school was a small one, and the town didn't have tons of money. I even spent 3 years in a one-room schoolhouse in Vermont with 8 grades taught by one teacher. But we LEARNED. Why? Because the teachers and the students were a united team and we worked hard to succeed. We also learned how to think and be creative and explore our world and did so together, but still remaining unique individuals with our own dreams.

    Our schools can do the same today and in the future. We just have to want to do it badly enough again.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  20. Plse

    Education is composed of many factors that yield success. The educator is only 1% of the equation. The remaining 99% comes from the student, parents and the community.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  21. Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

    Before you go bashing teachers about making too much and not working very hard take this into account.

    Members of congress work about 140 days a year

    Speaker of the House = $223,500
    House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders = $193,400
    House/Senate Member & Delegates = $174,000

    tax payer money

    July 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

      I don't see anyone saying we need to go to their job and watch them. Just sayin

      July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

        You do realize they have interns who help them, I have several friends who work on the hill and I can tell you that most of them do a lot of the work. Oh and right its great when it takes the congress weeks to vote on whether or not the sauce on pizza is a vegetable or not.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Missy

      There is no comparison to those two jobs. They deserve each and every dollar – they are the law makers of this fine nation and probably face death threats all the time. I think they deserve more! Teachers are paid very well where I live ($47-$55/yr starting) so I don't agree at all with your comment.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

        Well under your definition I'm sure we need to start paying police more since I'm sure they receive death threats, oh don't forget famous people, oh and I'm sure some teachers receive death threats. Oh wait I'm sorry I'm sure you have never heard about students going off a killing people or anything like that.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • Missy

        I guess you missed where I noted that they are the law makers of this fine nation. That in and of itself takes more time and energy than I can imagine. Most don't live at home because of the trips they have to make to DC and when they are home, they are in front of their communities. Do you have to live away from your family for a better part of the year for your job? There is no comparison. I think your objection to congress has to do with your politics and not the jobs themselves.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
      • rbt111

        Are you nuts woman?

        They deserve each and every dollar? You really believe that? Are you a member of congress, work for a member of congress or benefit directly from the high pay received by a member of congress?

        July 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
      • Missy

        Are you nuts woman?

        They deserve each and every dollar? You really believe that? Are you a member of congress, work for a member of congress or benefit directly from the high pay received by a member of congress?"

        No. Yes. Yes. No but I have studied political science and know the system – to a point that I know I would never do that job! Are you trying to make a point or just ask questions?

        August 1, 2012 at 12:02 am |
      • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

        teachers spend hours working after school, helping students, and not seeing their families everyday, its nothing new. Yet the fact remains that how can someone who has interns do a lot of work for them, only work 140 days a year, get an amazing pension, not have to deal with accountability, be the root cause of the financial crisis that we are in, spend money irresponsibly. They are one in the same, both government employes but one works less and gets paid more.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:07 am |
      • Missy

        Your comparison is amazing to me but I'll reiterate what I said before. My daughters teacher last year spent a total of 2.5 hours a day in front of her. The rest of her time was spent "putting together a plan and doing extra work for the student." My daughter spent the rest of her day going from room to room, teacher to teacher (those of whom did actually work all day – ie Spanish, gym, etc...) but did not have face time with her teacher. That teacher has been doing that job for 10+ years. She has the 2nd grade down pat and has her "plans" done years ago. She just copies them from the year before. Her teacher also made about $65k last year and worked 9 months. That teacher, that I saw with my own eyes, walked into the school 10 minutes before the bell rang and had her coat on walking out the door 10 minutes after the bell. Not all teachers are saints. Not all deserve the pay they are getting – which is a LOT more than I make for 12 months a year. Not all should be "saints" in our eyes. People are people. Some good, some not so good. I'm just tired of people portraying all teachers as gods. Comparing the job of a teacher to any other profession is ridiculous! There is no other job like a teachers.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:16 am |
      • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

        That's one experience you have had with one teacher please do not generalize other teachers because of this. I can tell you that it takes me 6 min to read each of the BCRs on the back of the test, Last year I had 141 students, that means that I spend about 14 hours just on that part not including the short answer response, I also have to grade 2 essays by my students and that can take up to 30 hours. believe me I'm not the exception here many teachers around the country work their ass off and have to deal with petty people who do not understand how difficult it is to be a teacher.

        And any way I'm not comparing the job I'm comparing the how funny it is that people complain about teacher pay when people in congress make more and work less. Using your own logic you should probably stop complaining about education since you are not a teacher and do not have the same job.

        August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • yetanotherteacher

      Let's not forget that those folks also take time off to campaign and spend our tax dollars to fund it. Maybe it's time to start calling for accountability for our government representatives. Let's vilify them for a while and call for political reform because they're doing a lousy job and we're paying them with our tax dollars.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:05 am |
      • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

        I agree completely

        August 1, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  22. Matt

    As the son of a retired teacher and husband of another, I can tell you that SOME teachers work very hard and very long hours during the school year and put up with some incredible stuff from parents.

    As a former student I can tell you SOME teachers took the job as a way to have good benefits and summers off, and could not care less about the kids in their classrooms.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • TeacherPerson

      It wasn't until I was a teacher that I realized all the behind the doors stuff that goes on. I know you've had a taste of it, but you don't know what behind the work effort those teachers may have had. I'm sorry you had bad experiences and I'm sorry that you had bad teachers. Still, there are things that have to be done outside work hours that are mandatory. I doubt it was as easy as you seem to imagine even for the teachers on the lower level of your rankings. My mother is a nurse, my best friend is a doctor, and my boyfriend is an engineer. That doesn't mean I know the ins and outs of their jobs.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  23. Scoundrel

    Why don't you get off teachers' backs and leave them the hell alone! It's bad enough that they have to deal with your rude-ass spawn every day, not to mention deal with you–the parents–and your temper tantrums any time little Johnny comes home feeling like he had a bad day, undoubtedly due to his own incompetence, yet he decides to blame it on the teacher instead! YOU THINK TEACHING IS EASY? DRAG YOUR ASS IN FRONT OF A GROUP OF UNGRATEFUL BRATS AND TEACH. Oh, and teach perfectly, too. Every student needs to place in the 99th percentile. Go on, do it. Do it so you can have those sweet benefits and long vacations. Whiners.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Kimmie

      Scoundrel is right on. This is why I quit teaching. Thank God if you're teaching in a better environment.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  24. Sandy

    As a teacher I've heard the usual resentful comments people who are not teachers and do not understand what today's teachers are expected to do make. We aren't just teaching an academic subject. We end up being counselors, social workers, and in too many cases the only positive adult role models our students have. None of this includes the extra curricular activities most schools expect teachers to be involved with. I don't know a single teacher who isn't emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the school year. When I hear someone say I wish I only worked 9 months a year I tell them well you should have become a teacher. The response is almost always oh I could never to it. Being a teacher is hard work period, and it gets harder every year. Society as a whole is in a downward spiral on many fronts and the kids we are trying to educate are a product of it. American teachers should get the pay and the respect teachers get in most other countries in the world.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Mike S

      No wonder our kids are failing in school, did you bother to read what you wrote???? I think you should go back to school for a bit. Teachers now a days teach nothing but liberalism, socialism and comunism and thats what is scary.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Mike S

      No wonder our kids are failing in school, did you bother to read what you wrote???? I think you should go back to school for a bit. Teachers now a days teach nothing but liberalism, socialism and comunism and thats what is scary

      July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  25. phneutral

    ATTENTION PARENTS: The school system is not supposed to raise your children. They need to be fed, rested and ready to learn. No one can do your job for you. No wonder schools are in trouble.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  26. Memories

    Think of your teachers you had in K – 12 grade. Do any of them bring back any memories? Did they make an impact in your life? I remember my 5th grade teacher and my high school English teacher. Both are significant because they inspired me in my profession today. Thanks Mrs. Lenihan-Sauter and Mrs. Weeks!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  27. itscion

    Why are there so many teachers that feel they are above critism? You work in the public sector paid by tax dollars. You are in the public eye, like it or not. We watch our children go to school and some years they come home energetic and enthusiastic. Other years, they need to be pushed every minute just to keep up. That is directly attributed to the teacher. Any parent that cares, knows ahead of time which teachers to request to not have. Why? That teacher is awful but the system protects him/her and the parents need to deal with it. Start policing your own. Start actually caring enough to improve the system by calling out the bad teachers. Start firing the lazy "just in it for the summers off" teachers that we all see and know exist. Stop caring more about your precious union than you do our children. When I see that, I'll believe that teachers as a whole actually care.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • skepticnotcynic

      It's that simple. Everyone in the private sector is clearly efficient, productive, and worthy of promotion. There are low-performers in every industry, no matter if an employer has more autonomy to fire a private sector worker. We work with humans, you work with a product. Please don't compare apples to oranges.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
      • itscion

        There's that protecting of your own again. The comparison is has nothing to do with the "product" is everything to do with the input.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Zanatos

      Teachers don't feel they are above criticism. However, it is ridiculous that every parent seems to think they know more than teachers do about educating and assessing students.

      If it is such a breeze to teach, then I challenge you to give it a try. Get your masters degree and teaching license, and land a job at a good school. Then every day, be sure to tell your principal and fellow teachers how their pay and benefits are far too generous.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  28. concerned mom

    I am a mom of three kids who often volunteer in the classrooms. I have experienced excellent teachers and incompetent teachers. I have met caring parents and lazy parents. Our children will perform to the fullest when competent teachers work along with caring parents. Another problem of our public schools is that smart students are held back during the class until all not-so-smart (because they are not well prepared at home by their uncaring lazy parents) students are all caught up, wasting hours at school. It is not how many hours are spent at school. Key is all kids should be well prepared at home so that their time at school is spent on learning, not for catching up or doing homewoks. I have no understanding or respect for parents who sent their kids to school without finished homeworks. Often their excuse is they had soccer practice, baseball game, swim meets.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  29. skepticnotcynic

    As a public school teacher approaching 10 years in the classroom, I honestly don't know how anyone could last beyond 15-20 years in our current educational climate. If you speak to any veteran, who has taught 15 years plus, they will tell you it has never been worse to be a public school teacher, especially in our neediest schools. Most of the best teachers leave these schools for greener pastures and a better quality of life in more affluent districts or private schools. Unless you're a masochist or Mother Teresa, most educators, who have the skills and experience, will leave a school or district that serves mostly economically disadvantaged students. The country has been reforming its educational system for the last 100 years, but the current ed-reformers are more ruthless, greedy, and powerful than ever before. Before you dog a teacher, imagine yourself giving a presentation for 30-40 kids/teenagers for 5-6 hours a day, which most likely involves multiple preps and hours of grading. And this is only half the job. Wouldn't it be nice to sit in a nice comfortable cubicle, attend mostly useless meetings all day (we also have these), work in front of a computer, and occasionally surf the web. Oh, and that lunch break that you get with your co-workers while I'm on lunch duty eating while I stand. If we extend the school year, there won't be too many effective teachers left in our public school classrooms.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  30. Brock Landers

    No sympathy for teachers at all, you have 3 months off, you can work a second job to supplement. You just need to blame your own system, i will move to wherever there is a highly rated school and that's that, stop whinning and teach these retards how to read and count.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • skepticnotcynic

      Very clever. You must have been educated in our public school system.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • InVT

      What a load of crap. Teachers work a lot harder than you do, for a lot less.
      It is worthless wh#res like yourself that are the problem. You confidently make up whatever garbage you want and pretend you know what your talking about.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
      • Eeyore

        HIlarious, InVT. You can't even figure out how "you're" is different from "your".

        And yet you blame teachers for every shortcoming. How hard did YOU work as a student? Not very hard, evidently.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Eeyore

      You're completely ignorant. Teachers don't get 3 months "off". In my district, we are not paid from June 14 through August 20th. We are expected, during that time, to study a new electronic grading procedure, a new curriculum, and prepare on our own time without pay.

      I have taught for 34 years and barely earn 60 grand with a Master's degree.

      If you think this is such a cake job, why aren't YOU doing it?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Eeyore

      Pretty funny to see that Brock can't spell "whining", isn't it? Brock claims he'll move to any district that "succeeds". Too bad for you, Brock, that to do that, you'll have to earn an income that will allow you to move into the neighborhoods where these schools are located-and that would be the highest socio-economic area in your state.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Lindalou

      Obviously, you didn't have very good book learnin' in your cabin in the woods Brock. Aside from the 3 R's, most teachers would educate you on manners when talking about someone with a disability. But since you spelled whining, whinning...I guess you really were just there taking up space waiting for the moonshine money to come in.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  31. Momofterrors

    the teachers working nowadays are lucky to have a job, and in all honesty many of them should not be there – the ones that are dedicated and live for the job are great, but others do see it as a cushy number. Universities are seeing a drop in the teacher training courses as there are no jobs available. In Scotland we normally would go to nursery from age 3 – 5 although this is not compulsory but the government does want to make it available to all – we then got to Primary from age 5,for seven years, and then 4 years at Secondary, although many stay on for 1 or 2 years, then go to college/university. I find the Canadian system very poor academically and the American system even worse. I qualified as High School Teacher in the UK and was certified to teach in Arizona and now work in a University in Canada so have seen most options. Pupils need to go to school for at least 48 weeks of the year and yes, extra hours afterwards couldlbe used for homework and revision, not necessary teaching. There are enough unemployed, newly qualified teachers out there who would love the opportunity to gain some experience. Teachers need to be accountable for the skills our children are learning – nowadays there are too many excuses, with excessive claims of ADHD etc, or mental health issues, yes some are accurate, but many now are just chilldren playing the system or even worse parents wanting extra resouces for their children and not realizing this will actually hamper them later in life.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

      I agree that there needs to be accountability but there needs to be more accountability on the students, it is almost impossible for me to fail a student, we have a minimum 50% grade even if the student leaves it blank. You can bring the horse to water but you can not make it drink.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • skepticnotcynic

      Your comment speaks for itself. You work at a university and are clueless as to the challenges of what it is like to teach in a public school in the United States. Enjoy the ivory tower.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  32. Missy

    I love teachers, don't get me wrong, but the face time that my kids have with their teacher is awful! I worked it out for my daughters class last year & I was also a math helper each week. Her teacher was teaching her for 2.5 hours a day. The rest of the time was going from one class room to the next, to different teachers teaching different subjects (art, music, gym, computers, spanish), going out for recess, going to lunch, and going to the bathroom. That doesn't account for all the time spent in the gym listening to the principal or whomever giving the kids a pep talk or the trips they took during the year. I'm amazed that any teacher in this school district has any homework to take home and grade - they have 4+ hours during the day that they aren't in front of their kids. What are they doing exactly??

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  33. Matt

    I teach in San Francisco, and after 11 years in the profession, with the last 7 in the middle schools grades, I still make less than a MUNI bus driver. THAT IS FU#$&^#*&$!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  34. Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

    Tim I'd hate to say it but maybe you just dated some bad teachers??

    July 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  35. NM

    I'm a new teacher, and honestly I can't imagine a more exhausting and emotionally draining job. I work 70 hours a week during the school year... i have to work during the summer since I can barely pay rent on my salary. Even though I'm working 35-40 hours a week during the summer, I'm only getting paid for 16.

    Anyone who thinks teachers are lazy... Please, I beg you, come and stand in front of my classroom. Many students only come to class to appease their parole officer, or to take advantage of the school's daycare. I love my students, but they are challenging to the extreme. They are the kids who have been kicked out, failed out, dropped out of other school systems. The most marginalized, the most in need of a good education, but the ones who fight it the most. The video of the bus monitor being harrassed on youtube? That's my kids on a good day.

    I wake up at 2 in the morning to plan my lessons. I give up my lunch periods to counsel students in crisis. I stay afterschool to tutor kids who need extra help.

    Never ever tell me that my job is easy or that I'm lazy. If only that were the truth...

    July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • DeeJ

      as the parent of a graduated child, we've been thru our share of teachers of all types – those who go the extra miles and those who run out the door just ahead of the kids. my husband grew up in the netherlands post world war II and we have had many conversations about the differences in his schooling vs. what his and my daughter's schooling was – he went 400+ hours more per year than our girls did – class of 2004 – and that included sat mornings. now, he went to a parochial school, kids getting out of line incurred an immediate response of the teacher, if you misbehaved in school, your parents were told and you were in trouble at home also. all of this has to do with a more disciplinary mind set, parents actually parented – sometimes more harshly than was really good but also, there was a lot less disruption by students in the classroom. kids were expected to pay attention, do their work, have their homework done and get good grades. somewhere, this has changed even since i was in school here in the states in the 70's and it's not to the true benefit of our children.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  36. Nancy Johnson

    I just retired as a special ed. teacher. I have been teaching for 21 years. For the last 4 years, our district (thanks to the California budget cuts) our district has cut cut and cut and furlough days were implemented two years ago. I used to get several hundred dollars for classroom supplies to help teach my students how to be independent. Now I had to do fund raising so I could buy food for the class cooking lessons that the fundraising took away my teaching time. I was supposed to teach 2 more years but when I found out that several programs I had implemented were to be cut and the number of aides would be cut. yet my classroom size would be increased. Thank goodness that the disrict offered bonuses for early retirement.. I loved my job and the rewards my students give me as they progress toward independency, but with all the stress the district bestowed on the teachers, it was no longer fun.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  37. teach

    Isolate behavior problem students from the general population, this equals a positive learning environment. Secondly, the IEP is killing the American public education system. Parents and kids take advantage of the system claiming out of control behavior is a manifestation of their disability. The student gets a talking to and they are back in the classroom doing the same thing the next day. You want parents to take responsibility for their children, fine the parents for inappropriate student actions. I but then the parents will lay down the law at home when they lose money out of their pocket

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  38. TeacherJen

    It's people like doctorguy and George that have no clue about the field of Education. "Teacher" said it best about how our salary works and the kinds of things we do on our "breaks". I may have been "off" all summer, but I've been working on things to prepare me for the next school year. One summer, I took Master's classes over the summer. We are always working.
    On another note, longer school days would not necessarily help. Kids only have attention spans that are so long. What we need is a longer school year. I agree that too much learning is lost over the summer. The reason there is so much homework now, too, is because due to the ridiculous amounts of testing and classroom misbehaviors, teachers have very little time to teach. Thus, they have to rely on the homework to help fill those gaps. Problem with that becomes the parents. The lack of parental support in today's society in regards to education is also one of the biggest problems.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  39. Tim in America

    I've dated 5 women that teach, I've never seen 'hours of preparation, grading paper, etc.' (on a daily basis). I've often seen it every now and then, but NEVER daily. I see that comment over and over, and it is clearly an exaggeration (or lie). And when I am lied to, I never trust any other comments.

    But I love and admire teachers, ignoring the misleading facts, I think they do a great job. And I don't think America is doing that poorly. No matter where you are in the world, as a general rule, the closer you are to the perfect climate, the lower scores you'll see on exams. But you can combine that with other factors like: family wealth, family education, how much one is exposed to other cultures and history, age targeted vocabulary in entertainment (US: 4th grade). Add that all up, and you would expect the US to be worse than Finland and better than Fiji. (it is)

    Assuming you can outdo the above, is like assuming you can change a law and there will never be a case of a crazy person killing a bunch of people again.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Teachteach

      It is not fair to lump all teachers into a group based on your observation of 5 women you have dated. Personally I choose to complete my prep work before/after school not when I'm with my significant other.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  40. graciegal

    I am a science professor at a technical college. I just finished my third Ph .D. I gross 54k for 9 months, and an additional 4k over the summer if i teach. It's insulting, yet i do it for the future nurses and allied health students i am training. Anyone who thinks 58k gross for a teacher with three Ph .Ds is fair needs a reality check.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tim in America

      That is such a frustrating comment: Why teach, if you care about money that much do something else. The fact is, that there is value you get by teaching that a coal miner cannot get. Just like 'stay at home moms with PhDs' (who get paid $58k less than you) They choose to do that, because there is value in who they work with. And are you willing to give up all the benefits? Most teachers have pensions that kick in during their 50s. If you were a Computer Programmer or Engineer there'd be no such thing as a pension and chances are there won't be Soc Sec either (you would work until you were 75).

      July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • 1crusader

      I agree .My daughter and best friend are elementary school teachers, as was my brother.He has a Master's degree, and became an adjunct history professor at a small university.All 3-my daughter, brother, and friend-live in different states They put in long hours.My daughter and friend bring work home almost every night and weekend, and buy school supplies for their students.None of them make a lot of money.My daughter lives at home with my husband and I.They are demonized by politicians and the public, and are made scapegoats for societal ills and budget problems alike.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  41. Nostalgia1

    Our public school system is a JOKE!!!! Why you ask? Because the teachers have NO AUTHORITY to instill discipline. If they do, they are labeled racist, bigot, bully and even sued. I attended Catholic School for 6 years. We all wore the same clothes (White button down shirt, black slacks), if you spoke without raising your hand you were punished, if you didn't turn in your homework you were punished, if you spoke back to any teacher you were punished; normally paddled or stand with your arms out stretched until if felt like bees were stinging you. Guess what? When I transfered to public school in 7th grade I was doing 10th grade math, 9th grade English. The teachers thought I was gifted. Not gifted; just given an education while I was at school. Our public school teachers have the responsibility to educate our kids, they also need the authority to make sure it happens!!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Andy

      I dont agree with pain as a punishment, but I would agree with expulsion. BTW. Some of these schools have this INSANE idea that suspending a student is certainly a punishment. Either put them in detention, or expel them...unless the suspension has a specific purpose like if two kids get into a fight and there needs to be a cooling off period.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Nostalgia1

      I forgot to include that it only took a couple times being paddled or holding your arms out stretched before you learned to raise you hand to speak and never ever talk back to a teacher or any adult for that matter. After the first week or two the classrooms were all about education and students not acting like fools. The teachers had the parents support and the staffs support. Until that happens in public schools, we will continue to produce idiots and criminals. Hey Obama, can you help?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  42. Ann

    Those who have nothing but negative to say about teachers, remember that we all went through school. Without them, no other profession will exist. Our parents were our own teachers too. If I have nothing positive to say, I might as well shut my mouth. That is our nation's problem. We are big on "talk". We are not proficient in walking the "walk"! If all teachers are grossly ineffective, let's all homeschool our children and walk in the shoes of an educator. I bet all bashing will cease.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • itscion

      Actually Ann, home schooling and private school enrollment is on the rise.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • Yourteacher

        Really? Please check the facts. Across states, many Catholic schools are closed or combined. Of course catholic schools are not only private schools available, but they are most.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  43. Rick1948

    I don't know about where you live, but here, our students are going to school nearly a month longer because of our being inundated with so-called "teacher work days". Now, these teacher "work days" always seem to have to occur on a Monday or Friday where they conveniently provide a three day weekend. Also, I've been over at the school on a teacher "work day" and you could shoot a cannon down the hallway and not hit a teacher. Methinks they're not working as hard as they espouse.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Matt

      Me thinks you are naive and insensitive to what teachers deal with on a day to day basis.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  44. disgustedvet

    Now Teachers.Imagine you are home at the end of a long day dealing with students who don't want to learn and parents who do not care and supervisors who do not listen to your ideas. You are tired but happy that you did your best under these trying conditions. You turn on the TV to your favorite Network and see your President speaking to the Teachers association ( what ever they call it ) and he says YOU didn't earn that good feeling,others earned it for you. Would you still think he is a swell guy ?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • god thats inane

      Really? That makes sense to you?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

      If you are referring to the comment made by president Obama it wouldn't really work here, since he made the statement while addressing businesses, what he means is that most new businesses use some sort of loans, tax breaks, and aid from the government and that is what this was in reference too. So I do not know how this relates

      July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  45. Heidi

    BTW, I am not a teacher

    July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  46. Mr. 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

    I find it funny that people who do not teacher believe they have the answer when it comes to teaching. That would be as if I walked up to some cops and said" take a break, I've seen a few episodes of law and order, it's all under control". Give me a break!, As a teacher I can tell you that I work at least 10 to 12 hours a day, I also have my phone on after school so students can call me if they need help.People need to realize that intelligence is an ABILITY. Just like being fast, strong, a good artist, or a good reader its all about ability. Some people believe that the best teachers in the world can make a difference, yes sometimes but if you take a person who is 5"3 and have Michael Jordan show them how to dunk, is it his fault that you cant or is it you're limited by your own ability. We have to realize that some students will excel in areas such as reading and math, where other students will excel in art, music, gym, and it should be fine. I would much rather be the country in 12th place and reading, writing, and math, because we are a nation of innovation and vision and that's whats we need to focus on.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Andy

      I've never taught, but I know the answer. Its the same as what I would tell my mechanic if I had recurring car problems. They're fired. Or, you wont be getting my business any more.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • itscion

      Give us a break.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • Andy

        if you're a good teacher and you were under the same conditions as the mechanic was under, you would be getting a raise, not a break.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  47. Lee

    Quit putting people in jail for victimless crimes and legalize marijuana and tax it equals more money for education.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  48. littlebarefeet

    OH, THIS IS SO ..........after 25 years with literally thousands of children, ranging in age from Kindergarten to 12th grade, I walked away from a system that exhausted me mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was the music teacher, and every single student passed thru the door of my classroom in a week. There is SO MUCH that needs to be done but, most importantly, those who make the decisions and create the programs should be VETTED for their MERITS. And, I do not mean evaluated by some crony who golfs with, or parties with, or lunches at the club with whomever is being nominated to do the designing. Some of us, full of life and energy and hopeful positivity going in were crushed by the often unethical and even immoral treatment handed down by those with the least to offer the children.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  49. texasteacher

    Here's a perfect compromise: Rate teachers on their students' performance. Then let the teachers rate the parents of those same students. The problem is NOT in the classroom. It's in the living room at home.

    As a teacher of both advanced and special ed students in a high school science setting I can spot a student with educated, caring, responsible parents from mile away.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Caitlin

      Though I don't believe ALL blame can be placed on parents, a large portion certainly can. I work in a very disadvantaged district where 94% students receive free lunch. And yet, like you say, I can see within the first few minutes of the school year, who's parents care (enough to HELP) and who's don't.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
      • Missy

        I've heard that argument before first hand – that because I couldn't help out in the classroom that I'm not a good parent. I'm not sure that the school understands that being a single parent, I work....a LOT. The amount of homework my kids get on a daily basis was more that I ever had in a months time! I don't have time to help the teachers – I have my own job! I have to spend hours helping my kids when I get home from work...I don't have the time. My kids go to a public school that my tax dollars pay for – no, I won't help out at a fund raiser! You already have my funds!

        August 1, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • itscion

      Amazing that there are still teachers out there that think they cannot be the problem. It must be the parents. In some cases, yes. In other cases, it's the teacher. Just admit it and move on.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Hanks

      I am glad you don't teacher English, or we would all be in trouble.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • Hanks

        @texas Teacher

        July 31, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  50. oppie

    Question... What about COLLEGE GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT? They still exist in USA.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  51. LA

    Teachers are not the problem. The problem is called bad parenting! I have said it before, and I will say it again. You can have the best or worst teacher. It is still the parent that is the main teacher.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Parent & Teacher

      A class full of well parented kids can be destroyed by bad teaching, a condition created by the following: tenure-lose it,, increase merit based pay, "Hey ho unions gotta go!" (jokes aka incompetent teachers are only kept in their positions by the union, ditch the theorists(School of Ed psuedo-theorists with the quasi-intellectualism..."the outcomes, the assessment, blah, blah, blah.") Teach, just teach. Simply. We've (U.S.) have killed what was once a great system, unfortunately there is not much to rebuild, nothing to repair...U.S. Education is D.O.A. Kill it for a year, start over.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  52. john

    Absolutely, many teachers work hard...some don't, but all are protected, especially when they have tenure. We shouldn't criticize the hard work of many teachers but it is absolutely reasonable to ask when they have such employment protections and why their unions have been allowed to negotiate pensions and benefits far above what almost all other fields receive. We cannot afford the pensions of decades past. Those pensions could be used to spend more money on the kids...but that is rarely on the table for discussion. By the way, non-tenured teachers should be paid more and some tenured teachers get more than what is fair.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • John

      (Different "John")

      My wife has been teaching for 25 years and makes $45000 a year. Her pension will give her 70% of her retirement salary. If she retired today, that would be $31,500. That's only "far above what almost all other fields receive" because companies have found a new way to hoard their money–get rid of pensions!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Bill

      Yes, teachers get pensions, but in CT anyway, they don't get social security and they pay into those pensions. You trust teachers with your most precious treasures–your kids. You want them to teach them the curriculum, keep them safe, keep them from being bullied, keep them relatively happy, even entertained. You want them to teach YOUR kid in an individualized way that works for THAT KID. That's 120 kids getting special attention and individualized learning. Over the summer, I spend time every day on school preparation for the new year–updating my website, creating new lessons, reading new criticism on the literature, I even go to yearbook camp for a week with my editors. I'm in contact with the leaders of the school paper all summer long. Weekends are grading catch-ups. I'm HAPPY to do all this for what I make. I'm thrilled with my job. But I just don't want to hear how we're all lazy and sucking the tax payers of their resources. Look at what you waste money on in your town. Besides the police and firefighters, there is no more important employees of your town, and there are no more important contributors to you property values. If your district sucks in education, you're property values go down. Teachers are an investment, yes, but one of the most important ones taxpayers can make. Teachers make far less than the average person with a master's degree does in the business world, jobs that aren't nearly as important as teachers. Pay MORE and you would get the best and the brightest, paying what I could make as a head bank teller to a starting teacher is just going to ensure you don't get the best and brightest. The really good teachers are basically donating their time because they could be making more teaching at a University or in the private sector. Think it's so easy and overpaid, I'll show you where you can get an application. Ready to sign up? Didn't think so.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  53. Linda Loiselle RN, MSN, APRN, CPN, MCC

    Teachers are the most hard working individuals in the US. They want their students to be successful. I teach Nursing and my only hope is the students are clinically competent, and have empathy for their patients and their families. If they have that I know I've done a good job. As a per diem at a major pediatric hospital I want to make a difference in my patient and their families, then I know I'm successful. I love being an Nurse!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  54. Teacher

    If you child is not learning, then look in the mirror. There are bad teachers just as there are bad accountants. Teachers have become babysitters to parents who just want them out of the house for 8 hours.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Memories


      July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  55. joe1795

    To anyone who says that teachers are overpaid, I disagree. I am currently in high school, and compared to other careers requiring the same amount of training, teachers are under-compensated. All of my teachers have a Master's degree or higher and make between $50,000-70,000. I have a teacher with a PhD who only makes about $75,000. Teachers spend a lot of time out of class preparing, tutoring, mentoring, and grading. Most are truly involved and deserve to be compensated for it.
    I would love to become a teacher, but the low salary is an extreme drawback for me. I will be attending an Ivy League University and hope to be compensated based on my training. I could go to business school (which I probably will) and get a job right out of college making $100,000+, or I could go to college, get a bachelor's degree, get a master's degree, and still have an extremely hard time finding a teaching job where I only make $40,000.
    Teaching is a great profession, and we should try to draw the best and brightest to it. It's extremely important that students learn from well-educated and intelligent people. Increasing teacher workload and lowering salaries will only lose the best teachers to other professions. An investment in a teacher is an investment in a student.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • TeacherPerson

      I have been teaching for 8 years. I don't know anyone that makes $50,00. When you consider these numbers, you also have to consider the cost of living.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • richww2

      "I could go to business school (which I probably will) and get a job right out of college making $100,000+"

      Someone is going to be in quite a bit of shock when he looks for his first job right out of college....not going to be anywhere close to 100k.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  56. baatman74

    I see a lot of people using lots of words to show how well they can write, but after scanning most comments I see very few ideas for what the real probems are and the solution. As a former counselor for children, I can tell you that 80% of the education failures come right out of the home. Schools are warehouses where kids come to be fed information, given homework. Home is where the real education comes from while the parents interact witht he kids doing homework. A caring parent sends a ready kid to school, ready to learn. NOW, since the schools have fallen into the 'baby sitter' mentality, administrators are into making kids feel good about themselves, classes in golf, bowling, basket weaving, how to use which fork at dinner, morals &* ethics are all parent duty teaching. If the school would get back to teaching the 'Three R's' we would be back on top of education by Thursday. To all you nayesayers, when my son startted 1st grade, he could read, write and communicate at the 5th grade level. If me, why not YOU?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Andy

      First as a side note, Morals and Ethics is a complex and enlightening subject matter which can prepare people for legal professions or a broad range of consulting positions. But I get what you were saying.

      The solution is simply what you said. Learning happens at home. There's no reason a parent cant buy any textbook and all of the required information to teach their own children these subjects. There's maybe a reason the parent cant hire his own teachers, since they cost money, but parents can also organize with other parents to par down the cost. There's maybe a reason the parents couldnt afford a private school. But there's no reason to keep beating our heads against a brick wall trying to fix something that is unfixable. It is impossible. What's it going to take for people to figure this out?

      July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  57. Linda Loiselle RN, MSN, APRN, CPN, MCC

    I am a Registered Nurse and teach Nursing. Teacher are the hardest working profession in the USA. The only thing they want for students is success. As an RN I can tell you I only want to provide excellent care for the patients I care for. I also want want my students to realize how important safety, knowledge, and the ability to speak to their patients and educate. That way I know success.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Alan

      I'd say nursing is far more difficult than teaching.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  58. JT Meyer

    I am currently in my 8th year of college. I have had some professors who are gifted teachers, and whose students rank in the top 1% on national standardized tests in our field of study. I have other professors who consistently are unprepared, and lack expertise in our field of study. We, as students, must work hard to learn the material despite having a poor teacher. We read on our own, and seek opportunities for additional lecture and lab time from the better professors.

    This should not be happening at any level, but I am sure it happens as much at the K-12 level as it does at the University. Graduate students can overcome a poor teacher. I am not sure a 6-year-old can. We need some method of objectively measuring teacher performance, and of holding teachers accountable. Making the school day longer, or the school year longer won't help.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Andy

      There is no possible way to have "objective" accountability except for if the customers (individual students/parents) have the ability to fire/hire teachers. With mandated schooling, that is hard enough, because the student and/or parents that don't want to be there can flunk all they want...they still have to go. With government cutting the checks it is even harder because there's probably hundreds of separate elections you would have to win to get real change. (State/Federal Legislature, local board...I could only guess what else) So you have to elect a guy to tell a guy to fire a bad teacher and even then you have to hope to avoid some kind of law suit.

      There is NO other way to have accountability, because every individual has different expectations about what makes up a good education for whomever wants what.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  59. Andy

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

    LOL, Robert. I know a bunch of kids that could learn a thing or two from sitting in a cardboard box alone for a while.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Rob147mz


      July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • JD

      without their Iphone?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  60. Deb

    Where I come from there are a lot of homeschooled families. Those moms manage to do in half a day what teachers can barely accomplish in six hours in the public schools. Remove all the extra fluff in the schools and you can shorten the day!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Andy

      Hmm. What is the student teacher ratio is these so called "home schools?"

      July 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • fritz

      Deb: Of course those mothers can manage to do what a teacher does in half a day, they have about 5% of the number of students to teach. So in reality, they are taking about 12 times as much time to do what a teacher does. Also, they won't have to worry about as many variations of behaviour, learning abilities, other parents, management, meetings, etc that REAL teachers have to deal with.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • Andy

        Fritz: Given these obvious constraints, it certainly makes sense for people to homeschool or private school their children. There's the fix.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  61. Marc

    Oh please give me a break. Fire them all and outsource these positions and put an end to the unions.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  62. oppie

    Have better idea... STOP OLYMPICS... this will teach them higher education and higher learner.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  63. Disanitnodicos

    Yeah, teachers work hard to indoctrinate our children with cultural Marxism and revisionist history.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • tastycles

      You say that as if you ever actually learned anything in school. Idiot.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Bill

      Yes, they give us a test to make sure we're liberal before we get the job. That's the least helpful comment I've read on here yet. Yes, the math teachers are teaching the Marxist formula for the area of a triangle. Be useful or keep quiet.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  64. Ignorant Parents and People Are The Problem

    If people only believe that teachers work a nine to five job then they are sadly misinformed.
    The salary is not that great compare to the hours and that many parents (probably the jealsous ones who wrote the story) feel that schools are baby sitters and their lazy sassing kid not performing are gods gift to all and its the parents fault for not motivatiing.

    Reality is parent needs to also push and monitor their childs progress and teach their child to respect and try hard.
    THe other reality is jealous non ambitous people feel that these teachers makes millions and have the best insurance.
    If the USA is to compete then pay to play and give the tearchers a real salary and bennies.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  65. Jml

    Many eons ago when I was in college, I took some courses (2) required for a teaching credential. After learning about all the restrictions, rules and lack of flexibility in the curriculum, I felt I did not want the hassle for the low pay at the time. Some of my friends did teach, and they would work a second job and a job during the summer if they had a family. They also bought equipment and books for the school. Sure, there are some bad teachers out there, but in no worse numbers than some of the folks here that really have no idea how hard the job is.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  66. oppie

    I HATE THIS STUFF.... Last time. They put higher education and NO VIDEO GAMES. You heard the news saying why people stop buying video games.

    People realized video games need math, physics....

    July 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  67. low on the totem pole

    1) it would be nice if everyone here could have a conversation instead of a heated arguement 2) there is a way of getting rid of unqualified teachers, even if they have tenure. it requires having administrators that are willing to do their jobs to start and follow through with the process. 3) no wonder our educational system is such a wreck, we are all yelling and screaming at each other rather than sitting down to put effort into fixing the MANY problems that it is experiencing.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bill

      Yes, every district has ways to get rid of ineffective teachers. I've seen it happen, but you have to be really bad and even not liked by co-workers and admins to have it happen to you. I agree, the system isn't wrong, the administrators having no guts to do it, or keeping people out of personal loyalty, is the issue.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • I teach

      I agree there are ways to get rid of a teacher even if they are tenured. We just need to have people in those position and communities to point it out and do something about it instead of making broad terms that all teachers are bad and lazy and don't do anything.
      I am a teacher at a small school and I work hard everyday getting to know my students so that I can teach them the best I can so that they can succeed in life. Other than my teaching duties I also sponsor three activities and put in a lot of long stressful hours for it. I wouldn't give it up for anything. My husband can attest my life revolves around the school students and my job. I love my job and it's hard to even imagine leaving my students but all our the negativity towards my profession makes it hard to believe I'm doing something that's worth it. All I hear is that teachers do nothing. They have no accountability ( because for some reason people think we can compare our national average for students knowledge to other countries and we don't match up) and get paid too much.
      First on the accountability you can't compare our national average to other countries because guess what we educate everyone in our country. It doesn't matter if you have a mental disability or you haven't shown up to school for almost half the school year . We test all of them and all of them are in our score where as in other countries if you are going to just work in the fields or in a manual labor job or don't feel like school is important or live in the middle of no where so there isn't a school in there area, you aren't tested. I believe as a whole overall our country is the best educated. Now back to how we could look at accountability is to have testing to see student growth (like MAPS testing) not testing just to see if you got students to a certain point. If a teacher is doing their job I can guarantee you they can raise the level a student but I cannot promise you they can get all students to a certain high level because there are too many variables. then if a teacher can't raise students knowledge consistently then get rid of them. Put some accountability on the students too. Right now as it is basically if a student shows up for 13 years to school and doesn't misbehave too much they get a high school diploma no matter if they even tried to learn at any time because we have such a big push not to have anyone fail. Give the students a test they have to pass to graduate high school. I asked why we did not do this in my state to one of the higher ups in my state and i was told its shows drop out rates go up then . Well there's our problem we are giving diplomas to students just so we can say they didn't dropout not that they are at the level a highs hook graduate should be.
      Lastly about pay I am in one of the lowest paying states in the second lowest paying district and if I stay where I am at till I retire and have my masters + 9 I can only reach 50000. I don't know many of professions with a masters that can only hope to get to 50000 with a lifetime of work( yes that means if you take into account only 9 months of work I would only make about 4000 a month before taxes)which I don't know of many professions that u can work in for 40+ years and get a masters and retire on those wages, even government workers.) I'm not upset about my pay though I will gladly work for those because you get more out of teacher then money you get a feeling that you are doing something important. I don't want more money I just want more respect for what I do. Yes there are bad teachers just like there are bad employees in every career but you don't have everyone grouping everyone together on the profession and saying they are basically useless.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  68. jaddajadda

    Yes, teachers work hard. Just think of all the effort it takes to threaten the life of the governor of Wisconsin, to terrorize his family, to urinate and deficate in the hallways of the Wisconsin state Capitol–teaching isn't easy. Maybe next they'll concentrate on teaching children how to read, write and speak complete intelligible English sentences.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Bob

      What a tool. Opps, you spilled a little Tea Party Kool Aid on your shirt.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  69. ckfl

    My husband leaves at 5:30 for school every day to get there by 6am and stays until 5pm. He does prep work and grading every Saturday – usually from 7am-2pm. He worked in industry very successfully, felt called to teach chemistry. He makes a lot less, works with very frustrating students and parents (those who don't care) – but feels like every day, he is doing something that matters. We can't afford to use the health insurance offered to him – it would take most of his paycheck. He has single parent teachers at his school who can't afford to put their children on the county insurance plans. Eventually many good ones leave because they can't afford to live like this. We are fortunate that I work and have fairly reasonable health insurance options. Yes, there are bad teachers, but there are many, many more who care, work hard and sacrifice for what they feel is their calling.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  70. Teacher

    I am STUNNED that anyone thinks a teacher's day ends with the school bell. Having taught high school, and now college, I spend almost my entire evening preparing and grading papers. My day is ALL DAY! I love what I do, and am grateful for the chance to help students realize their potential, but because I give it my all I am exhausted at the end of each day. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly is misinformed.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Bill

      Take a survey sometime by watching teachers leave school and all to their cars Note the time and tally how many are carrying work home.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Johnny

      Me, too. I teach. I prep. I grade. The job doesn't stop at the classroom door.

      There seems to be wide-spread denial of how much effort teachers put into prep-work and yet everyone knows actors spend hundreds of hours rehearsing and athletes spend hundreds of hours practicing.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
      • Jabber

        Compare salaries for the pro athletes and actors to that of teachers....big difference. Most teachers can't afford season tickets.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Bill

        1) People hate teachers because of their own bad educational experiences. High school is tough, it's a tough time of life to get through, and they deep down blame teachers and take it out on them when they grow up. 2) The bottom line is they want to save money in taxes, so if they can justify teachers being spoiled and overpaid, even without any basis for it, they can make themselves feel frugal and not cheap. 3) I don't see them applying for the cushy, overpaid job.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • 1crusader

      You are so right.My daughter and best friend are teachers.My brother was a public school teacher also before becoming a college professor.My daughter and best friend live in 2 different states, as does my brother; but they all have voiced the same frustrations.They work long hours-including nights and weekends- grading papers, making lesson plans, filling out reports.They don't get the support from parents, nor administrators, at times.My daughter and friend buy school supplies out of pocket sometimes, but don't make a lot.Teachers are being demonized and scapegoated by politicians .It's a shame because most that T know work very hard, and do care about their students.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  71. Heidi

    Here in Buffalo the only thing the teacher's union is fighting the school district on is the method of rating teachers. The teachers union would like to not rate teachers on the performance of students that are absent more than 50% of the time. Sounds reasonable to me. Nope the school district is fighting this one and court and there are those that are arguing that it is the fault of the teacher if the student decides to skip class becuase the teacher is not making it engaging or exciting enough.

    *eye roll*

    July 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  72. Caitlin

    I am a second year teacher with a Master's degree making 45k a year (I'm contracted for 10 months–note to those of you claiming teachers have 4 months off during summer... not so much!). During the summer, I usually dedicate a solid 3 weeks to planning and/or setting up my classroom. With no budget, I spend ~$500 or more each year for classroom supplies and materials. I get to work 2 hours before the students do and leave an hour or so after they do (making my work days 10 hours).

    Though I love my students, I cannot imagine instructing them for longer than I already do each day. I would, however, advocate for no summer vacations and personnel to conduct after-school extra-curricular activities. With education funding constantly being the first cut, I highly doubt either of these things will happen. Truthfully, from inside the classroom, I have an interesting perspective and can confidently say that I am terrified for the future of America. Unless the public school system changes markedly in the next 10 years, I can say with certainty that my own children will not be attending public schools, even in the best districts. We are truly failing our kids, and mark my words, we're headed for failure based on the abilities (or lack there of) of younger generations.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  73. Danielle Teacher

    For thoses who are giving negitive feedback about teachers, come into my classroom for a day and let me see how you do. If you have nothing to do with the education system, I mean actually in a school district you only see what you want to see. I work for a small town. I have my master degree and teaching for over 6 years now I only make a little over $33,000. I spend my own money on supplies. I take time from my family to put forth extra effort to help students. Before putting blame on the school district, lets look at the other causes of school systems going down the drain. Families not helping thier children, government thinking they know whats going on in the actual classroom, No funds, studnets not having the ability to know how to act in a classroom due to outside issues. The list will go on and on however, until we stop blaming each other and solving using real soultions everything will keep getting worse. Thank you.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • JT Meyer

      Danielle, your grammar, spelling and punctuation are atrocious. No wonder education in this country is a mess!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • mucyk

        I hate to agree with you.. but as teachers, we should definitely proof-read before we post. Unfortunately many people will focus on the mistakes and not the message.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
      • Curmudgeon

        I like your rhetorical style: focus on the missing apostrophes, while ignoring completely the substance of what she's saying.

        No wonder the country is such a mess!

        July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • Bill

        Typical. It's a quick website post. I'm sure most of us aren't editing and rereading what we write. This is the answer of someone who just heard an argument they can't beat or don't understand. If you don't have something logical to contribute, just keep quiet. You probably thought you were so smart when you thought of that rebuttal. Because it really helped children. It really took into account her valid points. No. You hate teachers. Just say it. No matter what she said, you'd have a smartass remark that got us nowhere.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • rotorhead1871

      proof read....proof read......and proof read again....

      July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
      • its a message board

        and you're correcting grammar, hahaha....stop. its common on message boards. just relax. Or better yet go on Twitter and correct everyone you find using zero punctuation and poor grammar. that'll keep you busy. GEEZO PEEZO!!! Its the INTERNET A WILD WEST OF GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION! WHEEE!! BLAM BLAM apostrophe! Apostrophe!! Catastrophe!!!

        July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • rotorhead1871

      you are in the trenches so solve it..and quit making excuses...

      July 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
      • Bill

        We do what we can to solve it. We're not asking for you to solve the problems so our jobs are easy. We are just saying it's tough so stop whining about how "cushy" our jobs are. I've seen teachers walk into a class with a bunch of inner city kids with their heads down that won't pick them up, where it's downright dangerous to try and correct them. You teach those kids.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • danielle rossi

      Don't brag about your education until you are ready to proofread your posts. Your errors only support those who complain about teachers not having the skills to educate our children. Teachers work hard and the majority are devoted to their students. Unfortunately the majority of people only know public education from the student's position. The education of our children should be a team effort – teachers, parents, and students. Each member of this team needs to do his/her job and be held accountable.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  74. Heidi

    If you want year round schooling then you better get the money for AC's in those school buildings. As a parent school volunteer, I near faint away after a couple of hours in those brick buildings on a hot June day. Everyone is dripping sweat and miserable. All the windows are open, fans are running but heat and humidity are overwhelming.
    My husband in the past has worked his summers for special ed- same thing, theser poor disabled children are sweating it up in wheelchairs! in buildings that are hot boxes. Children who already have health issues and trouble with autoregulation of their temps should not be subjected to 100 degree rooms. To me that is ridiculous. Longer days- foolish, longer school years definitely makes sense.
    All teachers bring home work, it has always been that way. They are also required to volunteer for afterschool activities or committees. They are required to complete continuing education yearly. The standard education for a teacher is a Master degree. How many out there actually have the motivation to get a Master's? You can claim teachers are lazy or stupid the fact that they worked to get their Master's disproves that. And as for salary with an advanced degree they are on the low end compared to most with advanced degrees. I always hear people spouting $90,000- where? who? Not in my area, perhaps a teacher with 30 years in but after 30 years don't most people earn the more than they would at say the age of 30? The starting salary is quite low and you have to jump hoops for tenure and yes, tenure does cut out many.
    Those who were too lazy to work hard and get a good paying job like to whine and complain if others have it better than they do. If being a teacher is some easy job then go be one. Guess what- you will be shocked how hard it is to handle 20 5 year old (some with special needs, cause we are mainstreaming now) and get them all to do their school work.

    For those who complain- do a week of teaching, lesson planning, grading papers, handling troubled children and dealing with parents (some of which are loons)- then you can talk about how "easy" it is.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • rotorhead1871

      teaching should be a real full time job...not 180 days a year....

      July 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
      • art

        rotorhead1871, Please tell us what you do, so we can judge you without having ever walked a mile in your shoes.

        July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  75. G

    One of the fundamental problems is that we teach kids to pass tests. Not to learn the materials. if the teachers could explore subjects and let students explore subjects with more time, the students will learn. We also have taken music, art and PE out of school, so the kids who excel in these areas are not getting the stimulation they need. You want to know why we have a bunch of fat kids, they don't know how to play. Where do the adults learn to play..a lot of times at school in PE or recess. It is fine to focus on the subjects, but let's add more to the day to give the kids the extras again.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Cashawk

      Thank the politicians, business leaders, and publishers of standardized testing for the "teach to the test" mentality that now pervades the world of public education. Teacher bashing will not improve the system. Collaborative work between parents, students and teachers is needed – no more, no less.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  76. Joe

    Unionized labor will ALWAYS argue for greater pay, fewer hours, and artificially low rates of hiring. This is what unions do. They create artificial shortages of labor in order to keep the price high.

    Start with abolishing unions for school administrative personnel. Then abolish the teacher's unions. There are PLENTY of people with the skill set and interest to become teachers, but due to limits on hiring and firing, openings do not occur in accordance with economic reality.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • John

      You got it, Joe. Unions exist to get the absolute most for their members while giving the absolute least. These are NOT the kind of people we need running our schools! Bust up the teacher unions and you'll start getting some results.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • mucyk

      Joe, Joe , Joe. Listen carefully... NOT ALL TEACHERS WORK FOR UNIONS. Check it out....http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-02-23/news/30101220_1_union-battle-teachers-unions-test-scores

      July 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Bill

      If it weren't for the unions, teachers would still be in a one-room school house where they work just for their room and board.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  77. DAK

    While there ARE "teachers", there is no such thing as "teaching". There is only "learning", ...and learning is not a spectator sport, PERIOD! Put the responsibility for learning where it rightfully belongs: with the student and, by extension, with their parents.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  78. DoctorDonna

    doctorguy said: I just fail to understand why it is so difficult to put in an accountability system for teachers and why unions oppose it so much. As taxpayers, I feel like we give them lots of things that most people do not have. Teachers get great benefits,[O RLY? YOU MEAN THOSE HIGH PREMIUMS AND DEDUCTIBLES MY CORP HAS BECAUSE WE’RE TOO OLD AND EXPENSIVE TO INSURE?] get summers to do as they please [O RLY? YOU MEAN ALL THAT CONTINUING EDUCATION I’M REQUIRED BY LAW TO DO?], get every weekend off [O RLY? DRAMA CLUB IS FOR FUNSIES] and get instilled vacations for winter and spring breaks [LIKE YOU WOULDN’T YANK YOUR KIDS OUT ANYWAY BECAUSE GREAT AUNT MILLY IS IN TOWN FOR THE HOLIDAY?] on top of their personal and sick days [YOU MEAN THOSE BANKED DAYS I GET NO REWARD OR PAYMENT FOR NOT USING?]. I know that many teachers use their weekends and “breaks” to plan, but they get to use this on their own time [YOU MEAN THAT TIME I COULD SPEND WITH MY FAMILY OR OUT IN THE COMMUNITY?] and do not directly report to someone at these times and class planning time severely decreases after several years [HAVE YOU HEARD OF COMMON CORE AND THE NEW ALIGNMENTS? TELL THIS TO MY DEPARTMENT CHAIR WITH 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE WHO IS COMPLETELY REDOING HIS METHODS AND TAKES A NEW COURSE EVERY OTHER YEAR. MY PLANNING HAS NOT DECREASED IN SEVEN YEARS BECAUSE I HAVE TAUGHT SOMETHING NEW EVERY YEAR AND NOW I HAVE NEW STANDARD REQUIRMENTS] However, I digress.[YOU ARE A CHAIR] I just think that given all these niceties, tax payers should get to see that the best teachers are the ones with the jobs and getting their money.[YOU DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO CALL YOURSELF THE DOCTOR.]

    July 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Bill

      Here's the problem, the only ones qualified to judge a teacher and know if they are successful or not is another teacher. Test scores don't tell the story, observing one class isn't going to do it. Who is going to evaluate and fire teachers? How do you know who is good or bad? The only ones who really knows is other teachers and the students who care enough to judge teachers on ability and not popularity.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  79. Willow

    So, let me get this straight. We have an obesity epidemic in this country and people want to make kids sit even more at desks during the day?

    It's not the hours, it's what is being taught and the quality of the subject material, as well as things like parents not taking an interest in their kids when they come home from school.

    Making the kids sit even longer at their desks each day is not going to benefit them if the real issues are not solved.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  80. Bill

    In a discussion about education, maybe there should be a grammar/spelling/punctuation filter...

    July 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Bill now your sounding like my 3rd grade teacher Mrs.Harris a real shrew.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • MIkeyZ

      I disagree. There is no better way to assess the state of education in America today than to judge the content of populist opinion. That includes judging their grammar and spelling.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  81. Scott

    Let's ask the doctor what happens if he gets a patient who has led a very unhealthy life. The doctor tries to suggest alternates to the patient, but the patient ignores. Then, the patient dies. Is the doctor guilty of malpractice because of the patients bad choices about their health? Of course not. Should we have teacher accountability? Yes, probably something. But, until the influence and impact of parents can be figured into the equations, I don't know what that looks like. Parents have a much larger influence on a child's education than a teacher does. If the child won't listen to the parent about their education, does anyone seriously think they will listen to the teacher?

    July 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • John Jackson

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

      July 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • yessir!

      BINGO. It's not the students most of the time, its not the teachers most of the time. It's enabling, lazy parents that want to be good ole friends with their kids and cant, just cant staaaaand to say no when lil Brandi wants to watch Jersey Shore.. and noooo no way can you ban them from texting till homework is done! its just cruel and unusual punishment!!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tim

      Scott, you are a sage individual. A student of average intellect with outstanding parents who hold him/her to a high standard will perform better than students of high intellect who lack parents who are involved. This is the truth that most people quite frankly do not want to hear. It is so much easier to point the finger at one profession rather than take a look at what is truly the primary (not sole) problem: the staggering amount of broken, dysfunctional families existing in our deteriorating culture. Most people today are quite frankly too selfish and self-absorbed to make the sacrifices that are necessary to be a good parent.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  82. Educational_solutions

    School attending should be structured like colleges. After all isn't that what schools are suppose to be preparing students for? Schools should be open with both day and evening classes. The traditional 9-5 family no longer exist. And some students are more alert in the evening than early morning hours. Students could sign up for classes and extra-curricular activities the same as they do in college. There could be the basics, of course (reading, math, history etc.) and also music, tennis, swimming drama classes. The more active a child is allowed to be the better attention span they have and the better they learn. Music, especially learning to play classical music, such as piano and other instruments actually helps a child retain and do better mathematically. Learning and retaining what you've learn become much easier. Also being introduced to a foreign language at a very early age, makes learning a foreign language and retaining the ability to speak a foreign language much easier later in life. Learning just the basics of Latin, makes learning almost any foreign language easier and even enhance verbal, word and word definition skills. America's schools are so little house on the prairie style. Traditional schooling is boring. After the first 15 minutes in a classroom students have mostly tuned out everything the teacher is saying.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Gene

      Couldnt agree more. I taught high school and college both and I feel the way high school is structured DOES NOT PREPARE students whatsoever. I was able to give my students a more collegiate approach because of my background and taught at the remedial level and I had many students who never thought they would go to college who did because I was able to prepare them properly. High school is too much one size fits all and should absolutely be more like a college where students could focus on their interests and also take classes at different times etc. You hit the nail on the head!!!!!

      July 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  83. Philip Dailey

    As ateacher of 28 years experience, to fix our education is simple: make the students do their homework, parents.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Educational_solutions

      Philip, many teachers I've known assign homework, but very rarely check it. They just assign in because in some schools they're required to.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Homework is given from lazy teachers PHILL.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
      • Meh

        This is the dumbest comment on this board. Maybe that has ever been written on CNN ever.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
      • tastycles

        You're a ridiculous person. Homework is key to lesson planning.

        July 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  84. Bob Labozetta

    As one who has taught in public and private education in two states for over 33 years and worked in the private sector for nine years, I can attest that today's teachers – compared to past generations of teachers – are better educated, better trained, and as hard-working as ever. However, American students do not match up with their Asian (specifically, Chinese) counterparts because they just do not work within the same educational system that requires personal accountability and commitment to a longer school year. I have taught many students from China, and there is a far higher percentage of them that show more attention to detail, reflective thought, persistence and diligence than American students. They come from a cultural heritage that puts the onus of learning upon the student and provides more school days in the year so that more time can be spent in learning content (not necessarily more content). This reduces the American requirement of review at the beginning of the school year, thus allowing the teaching of new material sooner in the curriculum.

    And do not get me started on the negative effects that helicopter parents have on their children's development.

    One should read "Outlier: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell to understand why the cultural heritage of China – for so long an agricultural and feudal society – enables Chinese students to out perform American pupils.

    A longer school day is counter productive. Teachers usually spend more than eight hours a day five days a week teaching, prepping for classes, constructing and correcting quizzes/tests/essays and research papers, moderating clubs and student activities, coaching sports, supervising after school activities, and more. Moreover – unlike many professionals and workers in the private sector – teachers usually take additional education or training on their own time (after school, weekends and summers) rather than during teaching hours.

    The longer school day does not make sense. The longer school year does.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Bill

      Yes, students today don't care as much, and they don't fear as much. The respect level is down for all adults.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  85. Richard

    I cannot believe some of the self-serving and ignorant comments I've read from people. I am a retired teacher and I've never had a job that was so difficult. If it's accountability you want, why don't we make some of the "tax paying" parents accountable for their lack of parenting skills. This is not to say that all, or even most, parents are like this, but teachers must teach whoever enters their class and many parents are like that. As far as the "wonderful" pay and time off that teachers are supposed to have, I suggest that the constant requirement for Staff Development and the need to supplement our "good" income to support our family is an unknown factor. This is not to say anything about the large amount of money a teacher is required to spend for materials that used to be bought by the system, is necessary, and is no longer purchased by the school.
    I think picking on teachers is getting tiresome and you all need to find another scapegoat.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  86. Robin

    Parents are all children's first teachers and best teachers. The state of the schools is not so simple as to simply blame teachers or the administration. If parents want children to learn they have to help the teachers by engaging with their kids, having conversations with them at the dinner table, reading books that the kids like so there is some common ground. The DVD player in the car needs to be turned off. Household tasks need to be done as a whole family activity so the kids are engaged and the "right" way to do this is modeled. Parents, kids, aunts, uncles, Grandparents, government, tax payer– we all need to be real and say this is an "us" problem and not a "they" problem. Talk with kids but also... listen.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • TrueGrissel

      Robin<> are you saying, It takes a Village?

      July 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  87. Wolfman

    A lot of teachers claim that students don't need the break in the summer. I as a concerned student can say with a clear conscience that we do. By the end of school, I was so unenthusiastic about school that I was looking forward to the finals, and what came afterwards. Students need a rest period, just as some marriages require vacations. Teachers also claim that the students forget things during vacation, and that's true, but two weeks of school will remedy that. Students deserve a break, and I hope that this "ancient" tradition is upheld.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  88. Doc

    Isn't it easy to comment and criticize in a pack mentality for something for which you have no actual personal experience? As others have said, all the required planning and grading that goes with teaching is done before or after school hours. I have 3 family members who are teachers in K-12. A 40 hour work week is virtually unheard of for traditional classroom teachers. Try more like 50 – 60 hours. And for most, that's on a salary that is less over 12 months than they would get working outside of education with the same level of schooling. Some say, yeah, but teachers get summers "off" so they can earn $$ at another job. Where are teachers going to get a job for 2 months that doesn't involve saying, "Would you like fries with that?" I mean, seriously.

    But they feel called to do what they do and so they take the financial hit. And now they have to take being vilified by people who have absolutely no point of reference for their comments. Are there bad teachers out there? I'm sure there are some, but most work very hard and in return get nothing but grief from the peanut gallery. Nice. What a proud moment for our society.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  89. Jeremy

    Wow, everyone is always an expert on all things education because everyone went to school. I have been in education for 17 years now. I was a secondary English teacher in the fourth largest district in the nation for five years, and then was a counselor for PK- 8 at a private catholic school for four. Then I moved across the country and was a secondary counselor for a very successful high school in Arkansas for seven years before becoming a counselor for a charter school of the arts. I can tell you that my contracted year is for 210 days a year. This is what I am paid for. But I also have to get 10 non paid professional development days a year which brings me to 220 days a year of which I only get paid for 210. I do not know how many other people have to go to work for ten days every year and not get paid for it. I had to have a Master's degree to even become a counselor and it was a 48 hour master's with a 600 hour internship. In order to get raises in education, we must continually get more hours of education that we must pay for ourselves, and of course we must have the 10 days or 60 hours of professional development each year. One three hour masters level course towards and advanced degree counts only for 12 hours of professional development!! My work day is from 7:45 am to 3:45 pm and I get a half hour lunch. I get no prep period, so there is no time off for me. I do not get extra money for giving up my prep period, and I am still on a teacher's salary schedule. My wife is a first grade teacher and I watch her spend easily 20 hours a week planning and grading on her own time! We each just spent about 500 dollars of our own money getting our offices or classrooms ready for this year, and we will continue to spend our own money during the year.

    My wife works well over a 60 hour work week every week, between planning, meetings- sped meetings, 504 meetings, faculty meetings, and parent meetings, grading and teaching. But she only gets paid for her 190 days and 7.5 hours a day she works per year. That is what she is contracted for. This is what people do not understand. She is a contracted employee, and she gets paid for her CONTRACT. If she was paid hourly, If I was paid and hourly rate, I would get paid much more. If my wife was paid 6 dollars an hour for each kid she was just "babysitting" forget teaching... she would be getting paid more. Babysitters get paid more than teachers do. One more thing...the great benefits... for our insurance... it costs 900 dollars for health insurance for the family. Not cheap. That is more than many mortgages. Now... that all being said... my wife and I do not want to leave our professions. We love our jobs, and we are good at them. We are just so tired of hearing everyone tell us that we are paid too much, or that we are lazy, or that they could do our jobs better, or that we should be held accountable. Heck.... if you know how to do it better, we are willing to learn from you!!!! Come and show us!!! When states threaten teachers that they are going to come in and take over schools... teachers laugh, because if the states know how to do it better, the teachers WANT TO KNOW HOW!!!!

    THe fact is, society has changed. When I was a kid, my father, who was also a teacher told my teachers that if I ever got in trouble at school, he would believe the teacher over me, and that I would get in trouble bad at school first, and then double bad when I got home... period. No questions. He never wanted to hear from the school. He never did. I knew better. Teachers do not have that support anymore. Now days, parents are on the phone if the students don't have the right teacher, or the right lunch period, or if a paper wasn't accepted because it was late, or because the kid forgot to turn it in....or if the kid got a "C" the parents are suing the teacher!!! Is that what your boss does for you in the real world? Is this what we want to teach our children? What if we judged our doctors by how fat their patients were? What if we judged our dentists by how many cavities their patients got? After all, they told their patients what to do, right? Should they not be held accountable?

    July 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • mary

      What an excellent response! As a fellow teacher, I want to thank you for the well written post. But I think your words mostly fall on deaf ears.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Smiles

      Thank you Jeremy–very well said. Though it has its challenges, I love teaching. I have 28 Kindergarten students who are in full day class, with myself as the only teacher. I'm able to get the majority of the students to read, however it's never good enough. Administrators fail to look at the progress of the individual child. It's all about outscoring our neighboring schools, even in Kindergarten. Poor kids; they're going to be burnt out by the time they're in 2nd grade...

      July 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Jabber

      Thanks for your "right on target" post. I am a retired teacher and three of my four children are teachers. Siince school was out on June 1st my daughter has spent every Monday in her classroom without pay getting ready for the fall term. Today she spent 6 hours painting bathrooms in the school building without extra pay. She will do this for the next 4 days so all of the student bathrooms will have a fresh coat of paint when the kids arrive in the fall. All the people that are complaining need to drive by schools and see how many cars are in the parking lots during the summer. Most of these cars belong to teachers who are at school getting classrooms ready for the new school year and they do this without getting any extra pay. Anyone that does not have a family member in education can't possibly imagine how hard it is to teach in the public education sector.
      I was 40 when I graduated from college as a single parent of 4. It took me ten years to pay off my studnet loans. I was 48 when I got my Master's Degree and 55 when I earned my Specialists Degree. That was 8 years of college at my own expense and time. My top salary was $57,000 with 20 years experience the year I retired. I worked in the business industry in various positions for the first 20 years of my adult life. Never did I work as hard in business as I did as a teacher. In business I never had to worry about child abuse, drug abuse, being subjected to parents who thought their children did no wrong, lesson plans, IEPs, standardized testing, grading papers, parent conferences, classes to renew my teaching certificate annually, constantly changes in the curriculum, and a mountain of other paperwork. In business I answered to one or maybe two bosses, not the Board of Education, the Superintendent, the Principal, the Assistant Principal, the Curriculum Director, the team leader, or the parents of the 120 middle school students I taught every single day for nine months. In business I never took my job home and was always paid overtime for anything over 40 hours per week. In business I arrived to work at 8 a.m. and the labor laws insisted that my employer give me a 15 minute break in the morning, an hour lunch break, and a 15 minute break in the afternoon. I would leave work at 5 p.m. and leave any work not completed that day was waiting for me the next day. In education I would arrive for work at 7 a.m. to supervise students eating breakfast at school. I would go to my classroom and begin teaching at 7:45 and continue teaching until lunch. At lunch I was expected to take 30 students to the cafeteria and sit with my class through the lunch break. At some point during the day I would have a 45 minute planning period filled with team and parent meetings (No time for planning). Students were dismissed from school at 3:15 at which time I escorted them to the bus line and remained with them until all the bus riders were on buses and off the school property. Then I would supervise the students who were supposed to be picked up by parents by 4 p.m. (I did say "supposed to pick them up"). Then there were after school meetings with parents, teachers, or some sort of committee meeting or additional training to attend. Phone calls to parents for students that had been absent from school 2 consecutive days with reports to be filed, and the list goes on and on and on.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  90. TrueSeeker

    My wife is a teacher, which does provide me with some perspective. First, the view that teacher only work a few hours a day is seriously off base. It is true that they may only be teaching classes for 5-6 hours a day, but there are also several hours of preparation, grading, and managing and endless stream of 'issues' that come up. So it truly is fair to suggest teacher have a short work day - they don't. Also, while they do get a big summer break, most teacher devote a lot of this time to planning lessons, or otherwise improving their craft.

    From my perspective, if you want better schools, we need a combination of: 1) Proven teaching programs, 2) Accountability, 3) Incentives for great success, and 4) The ability to terminate teachers who are not sufficiently helping students advance. Also, on the accountability issue, it needs to be relative. For example my wife has a number of special needs kids in her class, and while they are advancing, it is unrealistic to expect them to become Honor Students. in other words, the measure of accountability should be based on progress as opposed to purely grades.


    July 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • TrueSeeker

      Wish there was an edit button... Should be 'unfair'.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  91. HomeSchoolingParent

    "Teacher" misspelled the word 'someones' it should be spelled someone's.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • san

      You are not writing any better than the so-called teacher. You have a run-on sentence.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • HomeSchoolingSucks

      Wow, you mean a teacher made a mistake? I forgot they aren't human! They're not allowed to make mistakes! But that's not really the issue here is it? You don't like public education, so you decided to home school your kids. I'm sure they are so much smarter than the public school kids as well, because I'm sure you have advanced degrees in all the subjects that are taught in public school. Get over yourself. Everyone with a brain sees through your vain attempt at TRYING to look smarter than someone else. I could keep going, but I'll make more grammatical mistake. I hear those are destroying our youth! Won't someone please think of the children!...

      July 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  92. TrueGrissel

    I just love these comments, When I was in school I could tell I had incompetent teachers, shut up no way in hell were you intelligent enough grades k-12 to know the qualifications of you teachers or the quality of their education. Fools all.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • BV

      TrueGrissel, it is easy to see that your teachers were incompetent.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
      • TrueGrissel

        BV I don't remember but you need to explain your comment.

        July 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
      • puckles

        LOL!!! And LOL to their reply ! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

        July 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  93. alphag

    People often overlook the fact that the average psychological disability will not be diagnosed until the person is twenty-five years old. This is also about the age that the repeat criminal offender will be killed or incarcerated.
    Until then, they are in the public classroom and looked upon as normal or average. If a teacher can't get them to learn or conform, it is considered a deficiency in the teacher.
    Oh yeah, the teacher is a taxpayer also. Not only is he/she paying a portion of their own salary, they are also buying school supplies to aid them in their lessons.
    For three years there have been students in a classroom without textbooks. The first year it happened, there were new books in the bookroom but no one on campus knew what budget to deduct their usage from. Everyone was aware that new textbooks had been adopted for the next year and the unused old editions in the bookroom were to be thrown away. I went to thesuperintendent with the problem and he gave me an ultimatum, he said he could get me the books but that would no doubt cause me problems with administration on my campus because I had gone over the principals head when she did not know how to assist me. POLITICS!!!!
    Education needs to be revamped by the business industry. The taxpayer is the customer, the teacher is the technician, and the student is the product. Some technicians can repair anything, some products cannot be repaired. If the customer doesn't point out the problem, the technician cannot fix it.
    This is getting old and boring. Contact me if you want to talk about misappropriated funds, the lawsuit Texas school districts has filed against its governor. Taxpayer dollars being used to fight an official elected by the taxpayers.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  94. Please

    The picture of an educator sitting at a desk (old school) reading from a book with perhaps ten attentive white students made me laugh. This is no way a typical classroom.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  95. nah

    We dont need longer school days. We need more effective teachers, or better yet get rid of public schools which are outdated anyways, and fund cyberschooling. All public schools seem capable of doign these days is leeching taxpayers money for teachers pensions. While i cannot even afford my own pension.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Carol R Brown

      Just as most people in the private sector pay into their pension funds, teachers do the same. People who work in the private sector often get matching funds from their employers added to their pension funds, many school districts match funds for teacher pensions. Teacher pension funds are often used for investments by the managers of the funds. In the case of my state,NY, this is handled by the State Controller. In good times, the fund makes a profit and school districts get some or all of their money back. Teachers however do not get any of the profits added in to their pensions. When times are bad as they are right now, the funds some times lose money. Right now the stock market is doing well in spite of a slow economy. the problem is that a large number of teachers have retired in recent years, adding to the burden of the retirement funds to pay out. How does anyone expect the brightest and best to enter the teaching profession if they have to have a master's degree, have to pay for most of their own classroom supplies, have to make 30 or more students fit into the same mold each year, get a starting salary of $35K per year and end up with a small or non-existent pension? We all want to see the very best teachers in the classroom while at the same time trashing the teaching profession and disrespecting teachers. We can't have it both ways.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  96. TrueGrissel

    Our civilization is like an insect colony, the need for drones, workers, soldiers, and some directing is needed to continue the species. We're fine people.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  97. Perplexed

    What cja probably meant was that an overwhelming number of students in poor, high crime, inner city neighborhoods are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. They witness or hear shootings, rapes, gang violence, domestic violence. They too often have parents who were not prepared to have children and are neglectful or worse. Education, including math, is the last thing on their minds. That's why so many are terrors in the classroom. Yes, it's just about impossible to teach under those conditions. Please visit inner city schools before you comment.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  98. Todd

    A lot of people are complaining about the amount of homework their kids get – my understanding is that teachers have started going heavy on it in recent years because studies have shown that developing independent work skills from a young age has a big effect on long-term success.

    That said, most teachers do work very hard. The actual time they spend in the classroom is only part of it (all those homework assignments have to be graded!). There's a lot of planning and prep work, as well. Most of them make between 35 and 40 k a year, which really isn't much for such a time-consuming job with so much responsibility. They earn in the same range as something like an admin assistant or office manager who rolls out at exactly five and is never expected to work from home at all.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  99. LB

    When are people finally going to question the parents?! I had mediocre teachers in a public school. Some were ok, some were terrible, one or 2 stood out. I was prepared for college and my career though because I had parents who read to me at an early age. I have kindergarteners who have never seen a book before, maybe if mom didn't spend every last penny on her nails and cigarettes she should have bought a few books for her child.
    My parents let me experience real life situations like paying a cashier, using manners at a restaurant, being kind to neighbors. I was ready for college not because of great teachers but because of great parents...Shame on America to pick on overworked underpaid teachers. Does a dentist get a poor evaluation because his patient has cavities? Does a cardiologist lose her job because her patient has a heart attack?

    July 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  100. walterj

    If you think teaching is easy, try it sometime. But record the event. Have somebody honest tell you how you did later. You will probably not want to upload your record to YouTube.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Perplexed

      Amen! If they are in a middle class suburban classroom they will be overwhelmed and tired. If they're in an inner city classroom they will be burnt out and quit before the school day has ended.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
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