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. Renee

    Kids need to go to school year round– like a job. The longer they are out of school, the more trouble they get into (because their parents don't parent or, they are left unsupervised too long). Our juvenile facility is overrun with trouble makers that are getting younger and younger every year. There is no place to house them all, and the parents don't even care to come and pick them up– some are willing to pay the fines to keep them confined away from being such a negative influence on the other, usually younger kids. At least, while in some sort of school or structured environment (besides lock-up), they have a chance to hopefully do better.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Rick

      Renee – Educators are not baby sitters, although the perception of most people ( like yourself ) is that they are. The behavior of children does not become the responsibility of teachers, regardless of how much time is spent with that child on a daily basis. That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of parents. However, teachers often have to assume that role because of the reasons you listed. Perhaps it would be better to have parents become and held accountable for their own child(ren)'s behavior than to put the onus on a person who is not responsible for teaching a child had to conduct themselves.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Sarah

      As a student and if I went to school year around, tell me how I would I be able to earn money for college? I can't work 40 hours a week during the school year; I'm sorry you can say it's possible all you want, but it's not, not when you already stay up until 2 in the morning on nights when you don't have to work, doing homework. Also since it's harder to get into college now-a-days, and since I'm from the upper middle class I will recieve almost no financial aid, and I plan on paying for college MYSELF, it means either a) I won't be able to go to college and will end up stuck at McDonalds for the rest of my miserable life, or b) I'll find someway to make you pay for my tuition as you seem so set on not allowing me to earn as much money as I possibly can. Also even if the troublemakers are in a "structured environment" it's still not going to stop them from getting in trouble or sent to juviie. Just because their not surrounded by their house walls isn't going to stop them from doing their drug deals. I agree our country is a bunch of idiots for the most part, but year around school would result in lower-class kids who would have a harder time getting into college due to their economical status rely on jobs, espcially more so during the summer, to earn money to pay for their future education. And I've actually totalled up the number of hours I spend at school, at work, and doing homework-which is a seven day job- and it's over double a typical number of job hours resulting in nearly 90 hours per week. And that's not including summer assignments.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  2. Tony

    The entire school system needs revamped. It would be nice if every student in the country, at any given time, were "on the same page" as their peers. You can't even get that in adjacent school districts. Move your child from one district to an adjacent one and suddenly they're either way behind or way ahead of the other students in the class.

    Another thing is that high school curriculum should be geared more towards preparing student for life AFTER school (i.e. entering the work force or attending college). More emphasis should be on teaching students not planning on going to college basic skills needed to land a job after graduation, for example. I have used extremely little of what I was taught in high school in my prefessional career, and I can tell by what my daughter is being taught that she is going to be the same way. At least she is taking (electively) JROTC which teaches leadership skills useful in any job market, military or not.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • BooseyBoo

      I agree that there should be alternatives for students who are not going to college or university. However, I disagree with limiting an education on what interests you. People needs exposure to things outside of their little realm of life. Exposure to new and different things, hopefully can help people figure out there are more things in life than what they are currently exposed to and they might find something else that they want to do as a career.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |


    1. Parents-All too often parents today are trying to be their child's best friend, rather than being an actual parent who
    teaches their kids morality (right from wrong and respect)

    2. Students-I call this generation the Call of Duty kids who have no respect for human life or for adults. These kids have
    never been taught manners and think life is like Burger King were you can get it your way!

    3. Funding-Too many children come from poor impoverished communities with a weak tax base structure to fund their
    schools. States across America are cutting education funding but also increasing teacher accountability without
    giving them the tools and resources needed to increase student achievement! What a contradiction!

    4. Wall Street & Billionaires-The powers to be in Wall street and the billionaires of America think that just because they
    have money makes them qualified to know whats best for our schools. And judging by how Wall street blew up our
    economy, we frankly don't need their advice since they can't even run their own finances.

    These billionaires and Wall street want to WALMARTIZE EDUCATION on the cheap. They want to fire qualified
    teachers and replace them with a younger, cheap non union labor force that will also be replaced after a few years
    with even a younger more ignorant workforce. Who benefits? Corporations and the Republican Party who were able
    to weaken the Democratic Party's own power based (Unions). Except for Illinois, who the Democratic Party is
    CANNIBALIZING their own power base supporters such as unions and teachers all in the name of staying in power.

    5. Politicians- Politicians throughout America who have zero teaching or educator qualifications are making school
    related policies or passing education laws that they fully don't understand the impact of what their doing. Politicians
    need to let the educators make education decisions. After all, if you were sick you would go to a doctor, right? If your
    car broke down you would go to a mechanic, right? Than why is it politicians are making laws attacking teachers and
    schools across America that they know nothing about?

    6. Charter Schools- Politicians who don't have any educational experience or knowledge think that by replacing all
    public schools in America with charter schools will be the silver fix all solution. Charter schools were never designed
    to replace public schools but rather serve side by side to the public school.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  4. really

    Folks, stop blaming teachers for your retarded children. I've had a public education for most of my life, and I'm doing just fine. Most teachers deserve far better treatment than they are now receiving.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  5. crush

    Give a student a timer. Send them to school this year and have them click on the timer when they are actually participating in real learning (time on task) activities. Add up how much time is wasted on non learning activities. You will be shocked.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  6. Cincinnati Mom

    Please don't add one minute to the school day unless you give the kids back their recess first. When I was a child, there was 15 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at lunchtime and 15 minutes in the afternoon. Now the kids are lucky to get 15-20 minutes at lunchtime. If a child gets too wiggly, the teachers take away the recess as a punishment and advise the parents to give them ADHD medication. When will we realize that the brain is connected to the body? Physical exercise increases mental alertness. Will a longer school day really help the kids or just provide more daycare for the parents?

    August 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. Steve in VA

    Longer days are not the answer, better curiculum is needed. Stop teaching to acheiving the right answer on a mandated standardized test and teach what is needed to succeed. Teachers, for the most, teach what is mandated by the school board.
    I am shocked by what my 12 and 14 year old children don't know, and the grades (higher than I would give) thay are awarded. The education system in the US has fallen prey to politics; foreign children are not smarter than ours by birth, they excell by the virtue that their governments have better methods, and teachers that don't have tenure or unions.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Cielo

      No their children are NOT smarter at birth, BUT the ones in foreign countries that don't measure up academically are not allowed to continue in that venue. In the US, we force ALL students into college prep classes, whether they want to or not, whether they are capable or not.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Katelyn

    Put it this way, every single person has had a teacher in their life. If not, you wouldn't be able to read this article or write these posts. Respect teachers, do not demean them.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  9. iceload9

    This will do nothing if parents continue to refuse to accept their responsibility. If you child is failing while not doing any studying or homework, it is not the teachers fault. If your child is getting failing or close to failing grades, it is the parents responsibility to find out why. The parents may have two or three students, teachers may have 90, you figure who's closer to the problem.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  10. giggity

    No, why? it is more educational to play farmville on FB, or read the bible

    August 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  11. Burbank

    Nothing is going to matter much until these lazy, deadbeat parents get involved in their child's education and discipline the way it used to be. My first grade class had 52 kids and we all got a good education. Parents were involved and made sure we did our homework every night and dished out consequences if they found out we acted up in school.

    Lack of parental involvement is why teachers complain if there are 20 kids in the classroom. If parents "don't have time" then they shouldn't be having kids in the first place! We are overpopulated as it is. Parent up, or opt out! It's not rocket science!

    August 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  12. abbydelabbey

    long school days and longer school year - a dual track system - let those who wish to go to college/university go one track, those who would prefer a different path - vocational schooling with an apprenticeship

    August 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  13. Doug

    I would like to respond to all of the comment on teacher performance. I teach SS, this is an untested subject for Middle School students in my state. If you will pay me for performance how do you do it? Do you pay me according to my homeroom? That is unfair if other homeroom teachers have students who can grow academically the most and I have students who can grow academically the least. I am in favor of pay for performance but it must be fair! Fair for AIG teachers to Gym teachers to SS teachers to all school staff. I have yet to see a model that is fair. Now lets turn our attention to the demographics of the school. I teach in a district with 65% free or reduced lunch, 35% of the parents do not have a HS diploma. Is it fair to pay me the same way as a system across the state near a University, that has less than 5% free or reduced lunch and 100% HS graduation rate? I have a great idea if you force a pay for performance I will have to live with it. Students in my state are restricted from driving if grades are not met, lets remove child tax credits for parents if the child does not meet expected growth each year. The impact of this would force parents to be a parent and work with teachers to educate their children!

    August 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Sam

      If you were paid based upon your knowledge of grammar and writing skills, your salary would be zero. You should demand a refund from your alma mater (for all of you NEA members out there, that means the college or university from which you received your degree) as well sa your primary and secondary schools; obviously none of them taught you basic writing skills...and now, you're passing your lack of skills to another generation. I would not be shocked to learn that you're the NEA's teacher of the year.

      August 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  14. Sara

    really? Long days, extended school year? Is everyone nuts? I bet most adults can't sit in meetings or seminars or more than a couple hours before they start thinking of other things and wishing it was over. But yet CHILDREN are expected to sit for 6 plus hours and be able to retain what is taught? How about we go back to the "old" days and have morning and afternoon recess with shorter school days and shorter school year and teach what needs to be taught rather than all the crap that is not needed just so we as Americans can beat China in the MAP/Computer testing (hows that for a run on sentence!)...My grandparents and parents are the smartest people I know. But when they went to school it was the basics of learning, but the difference is that they retained it and learned from life expirences.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  15. Jenn

    I have a problem with the assumption that smaller classrooms is the answer simply becuase at one time I fel the same way. We passed a state law where I live restricting the number of children per class. It didn't work and if anything the education system here is worse. I agree with the posters about a year round school year with multiple breaks. We have that as a "pilot" program in a few counties and it has been very sucessful. That and the testing guidelines put forth in NCLB while well intentioned are incredibly expensive for incredibly ineffective and questionable results.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • MitziW

      You're right. Smaller classes help, but they are not the total answer. A longer school year helps, too. One reason I believe my new private high school is so successful is that we offer kids so many more options, including so many dual credit college-level classes and private internships. They basically design their own curriculum around their own needs and interests while still meeting the basic state standards. If our government would allow all high schools to operate this way we would have happier and smarter grads!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Cielo

      Well Jenn, you are then unaware of the longitudinal studies that PROVE that smaller classrooms provide better results. There is time for more one-on-one, catching problems earlier and having a positive relationship with the teacher> Maybe YOU don't think it works, and that is purely anecdotal. In REAL LIFE, over years and in many different situations, smaller classrooms DO provide better test reults AND better student satisfaction.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  16. James

    There is a reason that Education Majors are called MRS degrees.

    Teachers are pitiful these days. About 1 in 10 actually want to the teach, the rest want a paycheck and a government pension.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • MitziW

      There is some truth to this. When I was just staring out thirty years ago, people would say to me, "You're so smart! You should be a teacher!" Now I get, "You're so smart! Why are you still teaching?" SIGH!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Brian

      While it may be a female dominated field, there are some of us "Misters," so you may want to rescind your MRS degree comment. Also, 10 of 10 teachers had to go through at least 4 years of college which they paid tuition for in order to be a teacher. With what we put up with between parents, students, and the bureaucracy, please don't claim that we're seeking a paycheck. If I wanted a check I would take my degree in history and head toward law school, not stand in front of 180 teenagers over the course of each day. Believe me, we don't do it for the money or the time off, we do it because we care about the students.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Alex

      This is absolutely untrue. As a teacher I can tell you that most have a passion for teaching and the ones that don't have been burnt out by all of the demands from the state and federal requirements. People who pursue a life in teaching are so dedicated to the students and to their profession. No one who thinks that teaching is an easy job would ever go into the profession given the minimal salary. Texas teachers begin by making $27,000 a year. It only makes sense that people who have a passion for teaching would put up with such a small paycheck.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  17. Spoiled Teacher

    I work from 8-3, I take 4 months off in the summer. I never work weekends. I hate children and will throw a giant party the second I retire on a fat state pension because I'll never have to see another snot-nosed brat again.

    Hi, I'm every teacher ever!

    August 1, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • giggity

      you sound bitter

      August 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Blunto


      August 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Cielo


      August 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  18. MitziW

    More contact days are needed. Two years ago I left public school teaching to join a year-round Montessori high school. The results have been amazing! With smaller classes and more-motivated students and parents we were able to graduate our first two seniors in May with their high school diploma and associate's degrees simultaneously. (and that included a semester of professional internship)

    August 1, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  19. JOSE-USMC-0311




    August 1, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • JOSE-USMC-0311


      August 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Southerner01

        The schools in those poor areas have less money for teachers because they have to spend it on metal detectors and security guards. Also, none of the good teachers want to work there because they are afraid to. Get the gangs out of those schools, and get rid of the culture that teaches yhat being educated is uncool and the money will matter less. My kids go to a sububran school that is not nearly as well funded as the urban schools inside the city, yet only one of those urban schools has better outcomes, because the kids grow up thinking that learning is bad.

        August 2, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • MitziW

      Very, very true. This is why many families in my area are turning to private education or home schooling. I don't care how great a teacher you are. Forty kids in a room is too much to both manage and teach effectively, especially with so many special needs kids (SPED, ESL, ED,etc.) mainstreamed in with the "normal" kids. Try this on for size: my last public school group was 1/3 learning or behaviorally challenged, 1/3 non-English proficient, and 1/3 "average". I got them all to 98% passing on the state exam. Then I left, exhausted and burned out beyond recognition. I didn't put in 8 hour days. I put in 15 hour days. It simply wasn't worth sacrificing my health anymore.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Doug

      This is not true in every state!

      August 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  20. Self taught

    Education is like a giant jigsaw puzzle with borders or boundaries. The teacher gives you few pieces to get you started.

    Those who are enthusiastic about finding more pieces change their destiny.
    Those who are passionate about finding new pieces change the world.

    August 1, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Self taught

      no borders or boundaries

      August 1, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  21. Self taught

    Education is more focused on knowing than it is focused on thinking.

    It is hard to learn or teach when you are focused on knowing.

    August 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • WRG001

      I think you are right. HS was about knowing...in undergrad I learned how to learn...in grad school, I learned how to apply knowledge. There is no reason that all of this cannot take place at the HS level...

      August 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • MitziW

      I tried teaching kids how to think in public school. My administration and my department shot me down for not "teaching to the test".

      August 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  22. hansen and gretel


    I think you mean fallacy, acc. to Urban dctionary, phallacy is Deceptive or false appearance of one's own penis size.


    August 1, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  23. IB_Chicago

    I see this much more as a social and community related issue. Parents and communities need to start valuing education. When that happens, the schools begin to reform on their own. I was a strong student growing up...not because I had outstanding teachers (my teachers were fantastic, but, frankly, I barely remember them and are uncertain of their influence), but because I had parents who expected good grades and were willing to roll up their sleeves and get deeply involved in my learning, and I had a peer group whose parents had similar education values as my family. These values uplifted our school and demanded outstanding teachers - I went to a public school whose teachers were so good that they elected not to participate in the Union because they felt that standards would be lowered as a result.

    Parents, make your kids read this summer. Write out math problems for them to complete. Ask them questions about the books they are reading. Make them write letters to their grandparents. You will be amazed with what just 30-40 minutes per day of active summer learning can lead to this Fall. You don't need much $ and resources to prevent summer brain drain.

    August 1, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  24. Blackcurry

    My daughter is a resource teacher in a public school with behavior disordered kids. She works longer hours than what she is paid. I've seen her spend her entire evening working on Individual Education Profiles.....a different one for every student in her class. I've seen her spend her own money buying aids and motivational toys for individual kids to help them learn. She believes that each child should be taught the way they learn and doesn't take the "one size fits all" approach because she knows that doesn't work. I've seen her take on the school board to get a child placed in the correct facility for his or her type of problem. During the summer, she attends seminars and trainings as well as teaching safe crisis management classes. Now she is a resource teacher who helps other teachers get the supplies and teaching aids they need for their students. The kids at her school are there because their parents are convicted felons doing time, drug and alcohol abusers or low functioning adults who shouldn't have had kids in the first place. These kids have been abused by their parents and seen people murdered right before them. I am very proud that she is a teacher because she has helped many kids that nobody else gives a damn about. She has earned and deserves every penny she is paid.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  25. adam

    Interesting...I've worked as a public school teacher and in industry and will say that being a high school mathematics teacher was not the beautiful picture many disagree-rs paint. For those of you who believe that teachers only work 5 hrs a day with the 10 days off and 5 personal days and the summers for yourself; please put your money where your mouth is. As you yourselves suggest, this must be the greatest job ever. Leave your current profession, get your teaching credentials and get to the classroom and show the rest of them how it's done. Otherwise your talk of just how much harder you have it is just that...talk. I thought not. You too, could have all those benefits that you claim are so awesome and that you wish you had. Good day.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • WRG001

      Agreed, Adam. This piece just fits in with the climate of bashing public sector employees and professional unions. There are many more hours of work that go into teaching than the time spent in front of the class.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  26. RecentEducationGraduate

    If people really want to make a change to the quality of teachers in the classroom, it needs to start at the college level. They're the ones who are training most teachers. The education classes I took at my college were very easy, there was nothing representing a weeder class, and although there was a GPA requirement to stay in the program, it wasn't nearly as high as I thought it should be. It wasn't until my senior year during methods and student teaching that it finally felt like I was being challenged as a future educator. It's really hard to judge how good a teacher is once he or she is in the classroom because there are so many variables, so take it back a step and see how our teachers are being trained and who all is making it through the program.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  27. tidho

    I think a lot of teacher's do put in time outside the classroom. The real phallacy is that everyone else in the professional work force doesn't. 9to3 + 2 hours at home is still less than 8to5 +2 hours at home.

    Until they accept private sector level accountability for their performance, their profession will be attacked by the public.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Cielo

      We Do have accountability. But until you folkd in teh corporate world realize that teaching is NOT something that is like manufacturing, you don't understand the difficulty. I get students in 2nd grade who cannot read. And yet I am supposed to get that student to the same point as someone who IS reading on grade level. I have students who frankly have low IQ, and yet I am expected to have that student perform academically the same as a normal student. This is a profession where we DON'T get to pick our materials, timeline or goals. And yet we are held accountable to create "perfect" models. Accountability measures for teaching can't be like a simple accountability model for making widgets. I always do well on my performance reviews. I care about my students and bust my hump to help them be as successful as possible. But it's not fair to be held in blame for students that can't/won't make the effort.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Heather

      Who's working 9-3 +2 hours at home. I teach and I am school from 7-5, with no lunch break (I have students who need extra help) and very few, if any, restroom breaks and then I go home and do 3-5 hours of work many nights during the week. It's kind of hard to get grading and planning done when you have students there whom need assistance, or parents coming in to talk about students, and all the meetings we have to attend for this committee and that. Say what you will about my lunch break...you choose not to take it, blah, blah, blah, but if I did and wasn't there to help the kids then it would be said that I am a bad teacher putting my lunch needs over the students, etc, etc, etc.. We're damned if we do, damned if we don't. If this is such a cushy wonderful job, by all means...please step in and join the ranks.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • coderedlobster

      I get paid $48k a year. I'm taking home the same pay every two weeks that I did six years ago because our insurance costs continue to increase each year, and they drop coverage on items. We may get a raise this year after two years of pay freezes; however, that raise per paycheck will only cover the increase in my insurance coverage this next year, plus I'll have to pay for dental coverage (which got dropped this year). So actually, I'l be taking home less in pay than I did this year (about $20 per check, which adds up over the year).

      I don't pay into social security. My state has it's own retirement system, but by the time I retire, it may not be able to support me (kind of like social security). So I have a separate 403b that I pay into. I'd like to put more into it because right now, it's not going to be enough when I retire, but right now, I can't afford to. Big fat pension? Yeah, not bloody happening.

      When I retire after 32 years of teaching, I'll only be making $62k. Our "raise" each year ranges from $500-$1,000 depending on what salary step you're on. Like I said before, that barely covers insurance increases. So those saying that we make $90k don't understand that teacher pay largely depends on where you are teaching in the US. Teacher pay largely depends on cost of living as well. Getting a master's in my district doesn't increase my pay per year more than $1,000. Some districts pay a little more for having a master's, but not much more.

      I get paid for 10 months of work spread out over 12 months. So while I do get pay checks during the summer, I'm not getting paid for that time off. It's simply that my pay has been spread out over 12 months instead of 10. A lot of my trainings in the summer are paid for by myself. I spend a lot of my own money on supplies for my classroom because my school doesn't supply us with those supplies. We don't get donations of supplies either. I teach in a large low-income area, so I'm providing basic supplies like pens and paper to a lot of my students beyond supplies used for projects and the like.

      As far as only teaching 5 hours a day, that doesn't mean that I'm only at my job for that amount of time. I'm required by my contract to be at my school for 8 hours. My contract runs 8-4. I teach six 50 minute classes. I have to be on my game for 50 minutes at a time five hours each day. It is mentally exhausting. The other three hours I'm not in front of my students, there are other teacher duties we have to take care of. It's not like I get 3 hours of down time. Things range from lesson planning to calling/meeting with parents to department meetings to grading to whatever else needs to get done. I have a 30 minute lunch and a 30 minute study hall. Even in the study hall I have to oftentimes give a lesson.

      I'm not going to go into all the other stuff my job requires or the extra things I do because others have covered that well enough. But would I give up this job? Heck no. There is hardly ever a boring day (save for state testing days). My students are funny and work hard (well, most of them). I get to be one of the few positive influences for many of my students, and I love seeing them understand a concept and that light bulb going off when they finally get something. I get to meet so many different people through my job, and I learn so much from them as well. I'm definitely not in this job for the money. I'm in this job because it's the best job I can imagine having.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • NJTeacher

      Here's an example of how teacher accountability would look if it were applied to the private sector.

      You are a worker on an assembly line. Your ability to keep your job, or get a raise depends on meeting a set rate of "passing" parts. Each year, your rate is set on your performance from the preceding year.

      Each year you are given a random assortment of components to make the parts you are required to produce. You have absolutely NO control over the parts you are given, and no recourse on how they affect your ability to produce your parts. The parts you get are the parts you get, no ifs ands or buts, and you have to provide a better rate of passing parts than you did last year or you don't get a raise, get a poor performance report, or possibly lose your job.

      Some of the components are exceptional and require no modification to produce passing parts, and in fact will surpass the requirements for passing. Some of the components are average, and will produce passing parts most of the time. Sometimes the average components won't pass but you can't tell when you get the part if it will produce passing parts or not. As you work with the component you may be able to modify it enough to produce passing parts. Some of the components you get are never going to produce passing parts, no matter what you do. Remember you have no control over this and no recourse. You get the components you get and can not change that. You have to make your passing parts or possibly lose your job.

      As bad as that may sound, you have it good compared to your colleague who is specifically tasked with producing passing parts exclusively from components in that last group.

      That is the kind of accountability most people expect from teachers. I wonder how most private sector workers would fare under such a system.

      Now add to the above that some of the components will be able to shut themselves off, and no matter how much you try you cannot make them into passing parts. And the company that produced those components has no accountability and is complaining to your boss that you are expecting too much from it, making it work too much or tells your boss to make "exceptions" for their components.

      A system that looked at/for improvements for each student compared to their performance the year before would be better, but still doesn't take into account each students natural abilities or competencies and differences between subjects. I teach high school chemistry and biology. The two courses require different skill sets. Biology has more rote memorization, and chemistry more application. It is not uncommon for students that did very well in Biology to struggle in Chemistry, and vise versa. They are both "science" courses so I should be able to produce more passing chem students from passing bio students each year. It doesn't work that way. It certainly doesn't mean I won't do everything I can to engage all of the class, and provide help and support to the students that do struggle.

      Private sector and teaching are truly an apples and oranges type of situation. You cannot directly compare the two. That doesn't mean teachers shouldn't be accountable, but the system HAS to be able to take into account the differences in a class from year to year and between subjects.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  28. Self taught

    I think that a simple campaign to get the message across to everyone that you have to teach yourself and the teacher is there to help YOU do that would help everyone in and out of our education system.

    A teacher can neither make you learn nor can they stop you from learning. Only YOU can do either.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  29. Self taught

    Good teachers:
    • have a sense of purpose;
    • have expectations of success for all students;
    • tolerate ambiguity;
    • demonstrate a willingness to adapt and change to meet student needs;
    • are comfortable with not knowing;
    • reflect on their work;
    • learn from a variety of models;
    • enjoy their work and their students.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Self taught

      They also don't think saying "what are you smoking" is a good debate tactic.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • southhillspgh

        I didn't realize we were in a formal debate. If that's the case, please provide actual evidence demonstrating that public school educators do not have social security deducted from their paychecks. That is, I am assuming, the primary tenant of your actual debate position, that public school teachers should have a higher calculated annual benefit due to the fact that they don't pay social security. Since we are formally debating now, and I shouldn't use pejorative statements such as 'what are you smoking' then, by all means, let's debate sir. Demonstrate your position through factual evidence or acquiesce that you are outmatched in this particular exchange and should have left well enough alone subsequent to my adolescent admonishment.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
      • DV

        To southhillspgh: Not my debate to enter, but here's your evidence, from the state that leads the nation in education:

        http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/2members/20active/20membership.htm (third question down).

        August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • Self taught


        Get back to me after you have actually read the government publication I provided on the subject.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  30. roxymusic65

    I am a husband to a high school math teacher. She has a master’s degree in Mathematics and has worked as a teacher for 22 years. She loves what she does and more importantly kids love her and “fight” to get in her class. She teaches advanced classes such as Calculus and Statistics. Now, for all of those who think she works “only” 5 hr a day/9 months a year listen carefully because I will tell you the truth … my wife spends 8 hr at work from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm. She comes home where another load of work averaging 3 hrs waits for her. And when I say this I truly mean it … she does lesson preparations, grading and enters the grades manually and in the computer system twice (once in the high school system and second time in the local community college computer system since these classes are acknowledged on a college level). Her weekends are similar … she works up to 8 hr. each Saturday and Sunday literally. She makes 62k and our health coverage is costly … $750 a month in premiums. Now an average mathematician would find out that she works for 50 weeks a year and has around 2 weeks of vacation when you spread these hours year long … pretty much as any employee working for a small size company owned by a republican supporter who pays only 2 weeks of vacation for first 15 years.
    For those who compare the US educational system to Europe where I am from … the educational curriculum is unique and equal for any school or any kid there so every kid learns the same subject regardless. Some kids are better some not … but each school teaches the same. And yes there is school called gymnasium which is equivalent to the US high school but prepares gifted kids for college. Other kids who do not show academic values during their elementary/middle school years would proceed to a 3-4 year trade school free of charge. But here in US the educational system is designed to make money … that’s why these trade schools exist to profit from kids who otherwise would have earned their trade school degree through high school years but instead have to extend their schooling for another 2-3 years beyond the high school where some of them struggled anyway. I believe there are bad teachers who do not work enough and take pride in that but please for the sake of majority of hard working teachers show them respect.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  31. jcvet33

    I went to public schools back in the 60"s and my elementary school teachers could have been doctors or scientists. Very smart. I am now a veterinarian and I recently went to one of our local schools to talk to my sister in laws 4th grade class about vet med. They no longer had chalk boards only dry erase boards. All of the schools 4th graders had been crammed into her class for my presentation. I moved everything to write on the board and there were no dry markers as she just sat at her desk clicking a computer that put everything on a screen and she just reads it to the kids. Some teachinhg huh? They sent someone to find me a dry marker and 15 min. later they found one somewhere in the school. I once asked my sisteriin law who the vice president was and she had no idea and worse she didn't care. This is who teaches our kids today.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Self taught

      Are you seriously saying computers HAMPER education?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • BooseyBoo

        You have missed the point! When teachers ONLY use a computer (as was his description of the classroom experience) then yes, it is a problem. Not utilizing all tools in the classroom but reading verbatim from a powerpoint is NOT teaching but regurgitation. The man came to the classroom to talk to students and at the least the teacher should have been prepared for her guest speaker. UNSAT!

        August 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • amarconi

      Yes teachers have done away with chalkboards- not the end of the world. Dry erase marker boards aren't even the newest things out there. Just because you've managed to find ONE idiot out of the hundreds and thousdands doesn't mean that all teachers are like this. It would be like judging our country based off the people you see on MTV...they don't represent us all nor do they represent the average American.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • gears4head

      How many times do we have to hear this type of story? There are bad teachers, investment bankers, police officers, mayors, etc. There are, yes, bad veterinarians.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • George

        Pretty easy to get rid of bad police officers, bad mayors, chose not to use bad vets, etc. Ever tried to fire a bad teacher? You would need to find them beating a child with a stick in the middle of the street with a bus load of nuns video taping the whole thing in order to even begin to get them fired.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • southhillspgh

      Nothing like issuing a sweeping generalization to prove to people just how intelligent you are. So, because you went to one school, visited one classroom, that was run by an obvious slacker, you feel it appropriate to denigrate the entire profession?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • DV

      Sounds like you're a real expert on today's education system. Now maybe I'll go ask my local dry cleaner for enlightenment about the veterinarian profession.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • jcvet33

      I also run a veterinary hospital and I need to hire HS graduates. I have a little 20 question test I give that I got off the internet called everything a 6th grader should know . I added a few of my own like making change and 1/4+1/4=. No one has made a 100% score and the average is 8 misses. I have given it to hundreds. The only 100 was made by a little girl in vet school.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • George

        Why did you feel the need to say "little" and "girl?"

        August 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
      • DV

        Fair enough. I've also seen many sick animals in my life. Does it mean that those in charge of curing them aren't doing everything they can to help?

        August 1, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  32. Chris

    Everybody knows of an educators making a decent salary. My bottom line: I am a rural high school educator in state that values education??? 12 years of teaching experience, salary $35,500, limited benefits – 10 sick days, three personal days (I am not a union teacher), instruct and prep for 5 different classes/day, 20 minutes lunch time most spent sitting with students, no pay for three months out of the year, $70,000 for student loans for undergrad and grad school. Love my job and students (not their parents), a very conducive job for time to spend with my own children but "always" looking for something different – Any corporate trainers needed in the North Dakota oil fields?

    August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • George

      Reply to Chris – What about the spring breaks, fall breaks, Christmas break, etc. ? Now we are down to about 8 mionths of work for $35,500.00. So, let's be fair and add one-third more to that salary in order to fairly compare to the real world people who work year long. That means you are making a salary of about $ 48,000.00 on a YEARLY calculation. You complain that you don't get paid during the summer – well, cry me a river – you don't work DURING THE SUMMER. Don't like taht job? There is a solution – QUIT ! I'll bet you don't however, cause the salary and benefits are too good.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:50 am |
      • 1Greensix

        The only way a teacher can get a higher salary is to take additional college classes. The only time that colleges offer most of the classes most school district will accept for credit are ONLY offered in the summer. What would you do if you were in that Catch-22 for your next raise? Do you take home hours of work every week to do at home? Most teachers do? Does your boss make formal observations of your work three or more times a year, sitting and watching you for an hour at a time? If you think it's so easy, invite thirty kids to your child's next birthday party, (most of whom Hate your kid) and have a fun six hours with them. Then tell me how easy it was. Then think about doing it five days a week. Remember, teacher do not get a single day's vacation. They work a contract. However days it take to fullfil that contract is up to the school distirct. They could say do it seven days a week. When the contract is done, teachers are out of work, withou pay. Just like any other contract employee of any other job. They do not get paid for those month off. Not a dime.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • Pointer

        George is a troll.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  33. amarconi

    I work in the "private sector" but am the child from a family of teachers. Teachers are no more a villain than a cop or firefighter. In fact they're just like us...because they are "us". Teachers and other public sector workers are our neighbors and friends and just like us work hard for their pay. My daughter's kindergarten teacher lives a block away. I know she doesn't make a lot of money and I know she has a family to raise and do I begrudge her my tax money...no. She taught my daughter to read. When my daughter grows up and has a successful career (as a fashion designer if she gets her wishes) I'll have that teacher to thank. I know I owe Ms. Dorenzo my third grade teacher, for getting me interested in reading and my seventh grade cranky librarian for telling me that I couldn't possibly read Les Miserables (proved her wrong!). Also I can't forget the lessons I learned from my mother who is also a teacher- too many important lessons to enumerate here. Instead of railing on teachers find some time this next school year to thank one for SOMETHING. How often do you think they get calls about what they're doing right?

    August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  34. Matt

    I am a teacher. I love it how people are praising themselves for working 10-12 hours a day. That translates to less family time, less time with your own kids (if you have them), less preparation for school for your kids.

    On the other hand, I am a teacher that is sick and tired of ineffective teachers making lots of money for no reason other than seniority. If you assess schools by data (graduation rate, tests, etc), we must assess teachers in the same way. We need to most effective teaching workforce in order to get the best results. That's how any industry works – hire the best, weed out those that are not great, and results will follow. As long as this does not happen, education will continue to lack successful results – academically, socially and morally for our students – and that is sad...

    August 1, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • George

      That should read "who," not "that." Great teachers we have here !

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Heather

      Matt, I don't see it as praising myself for working long hours, just stating a fact. I have kids and a family and I do everything I can to spend time and support them. I just don't sleep! I agree, an I, too, am fed up with the few that are ineffective and can't teach, but I don't necessarily blame the teachers or the unions for that. I blame the administrators. There are systems in place to remove bad teachers or to help those that aren't making the grade, but it seems that these teachers somehow slip through during observation time. Perhaps, this is because they are all planned out and the teacher can put on a dog and pony show. I think observations should all be unannounced and let the admin see the real teaching. Administrators also need to quit worrying about giving a low score and just do it if the teacher isn't cutting it. I think this all stems from the whole "we have to nurture everyone's self esteem and make sure no one gets any negative comments" movement. If more people didn't get a trophy just for showing up, we'd be in a better place.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  35. Simple

    Each and every one of you that thinks its so easy needs to spend one week in a class room owith a teacher.

    See what it really is like.

    Or what? Is it true! Your not willing to spend any of your own time, other than complaining, to advance your childs education.

    pur up or shut up

    August 1, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • George

      Reply to Simple – That should read "who," not "that." Some teacher, you are there !

      August 1, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  36. Joe

    I find it interesting that any article about education turns into a back and forth about teacher salaries, hours worked and bad apples. During election years politician scream that our "system is broke and we need to fix it." Parents blame their kids teachers for their children not learning and having to much homework. Taxpayers want to pay less and bash the unions. Instead of problem solving and figuring out how to improve education we bash it and move on.

    I think it all goes back to the fact that we all sat in school and had good teachers and bad...we remember the bad and we all think we know what teachers do...since we all spent 12 years in school watching them. It all looked easy and we all had breaks and summers off....their jobs are what we all wish we could have. But in reality unless you have taught in your towns school you really do not know what they do, how they do it or what challenges they face. Think about your own job- would you like someone who thinks they know what you do to judge you- I love the show Undercover Boss just for this reason- the bosses always are amazed how hard some other their workers jobs really are! But the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!

    Comments about longer day- I don't remember where I read about this or what country it was...the country had a LONG school day. It started with the kids getting to school and having morning classes taught by teacher #1, meanwhile teacher #2 was in the workroom with other #2 teachers planning her afternoon lessons and consulting with other teachers, practicing her delivery, working to make the lesson creative and interesting and being critiqued by the other teachers. Also any other teachers of her subject and grade level worked with her and they all delivered the same lesson to their classes...so the lessons and assignments were the product of thought, practice and revision before being presented to students. So back to the day- students broke for lunch (which they brought) and then had afternoon classes with teacher #2 while #1 teachers got their plans and lessons together for the next day. At the end of the afternoon session the students met in smaller groups with teachers 1 and 2 to do "homework" or to work on small skills they were having problems with.....next the students were dismissed to their "athletics"- all kids played a sport everyday and the sports were run by the community. School dismissed about dinner time. On Saturday the school buildings were used for more community run activities- theatre, music, arts etc.and again all children were involved as well as parents and the community. So the teachers did not have a classroom- they had a workspace in a community teaching room- they worked together on lessons and improving. Their supervisors could be involved with their planning and execution of the lessons....thought it was an interesting idea- the schools were community buildings, parents were involved and teachers were happy

    August 1, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  37. Self taught

    When figuring the relative pay for teachers who are public employees one must consider that public employees do not pay social security. That is a burden that the public employees reserve for the rest of us.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • southhillspgh

      Teachers don't pay social security? What are you smoking? Drudge report is on a different URL sir.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:11 am |
      • Self taught

        .ssa.gov/pubs/10051. html

        August 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • Pointer

        If I haven't been paying Social Security, someone has been stealing a heck of a lot of money out of my paychecks for years now! I gotta find out who...

        August 1, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • just me

        Southhillspgh, I'm a public school teacher and I do not pay into social security. I pay into a state retirement program called teacher retirement. When I finally retire I will not get any money from social security for my public school teaching.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • BB

        Not sure if this issue has been cleared up already, but teachers paying into social security seems to vary by state. In New Mexico teachers pay into a retirement system and social security, but in Texas teachers only pay into their retirement system not social security.

        August 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • Southerner01

        The teachers who don't pay SSI are in states that have serarate teacher's retirement plans. They either pay into that plan themselves, or it is part of the total compensation cost of the teacher paid by the school. In either case, they are not freeloading off everyone else's SSI because htye are not eligible to collect Social Security when they retire, just their own pension.

        August 2, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Ex-DistrictEmployee

      They also don't draw from it. And they still pay into a non-elective retirement plan. In Texas, it's called TRS. They're paying – just not for you.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • Self taught

        If you do not know that is a much much much better deal I would recommend you look again.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Teachers Care

      Are you kidding me? Teachers and all other professions pay into SSI. That is just nuts!

      August 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  38. mary

    The whole problem is the lack of respect. As long as teachers aren't respected by society or the parents, the children won't respect us. And since they don't respect us, they don't see any reason to learn. We could fix most of our educational problems simply by restoring respect to education and to teachers. In most of those better performing countries teachers are respected. Students are expected to work. Education is considered important. We can change everything else: school day length, school year length, curriculum, and on and on, but it won't work without restoring respect.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Self taught

      Respect starts at the top. I have read many comments from teachers who do not give or receive respect to or from the bureaucrats who manage the system.

      If there is no respect in the system how can you expect respect to come from outside of the system?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Chris

      You hit the nail on the head Mary!

      August 1, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Sparky

      "The whole problem is the lack of respect. As long as teachers aren't respected by society or the parents, the children won't respect us. And since they don't respect us, they don't see any reason to learn. We could fix most of our educational problems simply by restoring respect to education and to teachers. In most of those better performing countries teachers are respected. Students are expected to work. Education is considered important. We can change everything else: school day length, school year length, curriculum, and on and on, but it won't work without restoring respect."

      This is part of the problem: You want "respect" for teachers first, without recognizing that respect must be earned. Teachers are more respected in better performing countries perhaps because they are better performing.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:25 am |
      • BooseyBoo

        An old saying..."You may not respect the person but you must respect the position they are in". Children should respect the position and the person. It is BS to think that a child deserves the right for a teacher to earn their respect. That is the problem with this society. A child is not the same as an adult and until parents teach their children to respect others, including their parents, that is the biggest problem we have. Children are not my peer set nor am I theirs and they must learn to distinguish that although their parents want to be their friend and on the same level, I do not.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Pointer

      You are so right about the need for respect, Mary!

      August 1, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  39. TiredOfPaying

    The single most important thing to do to better education in our Public Schools is to BRING BACK DICIPLINE! Teachers are handcuffed by the politically correct rules towards corporal punishment and the kids know it. The result is schools full of undiciplined punks.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Self taught

      Sometimes those undisciplined punks are being taught by other undisciplined punks.

      They are easy to spot. They are the ones pointing most of their fingers outwards when addressing our educational problems.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:14 am |
      • DV

        Profound. Did you teach yourself to think like that?

        August 1, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  40. Scott

    All the people ripping on teachers here at 9 and 10 am (I'm not ripping on them, nor am I a teacher); shouldn't YOU be WORKING right now instead of browsing CNN? Pot calling the kettle black on "how hard I work compared to teachers..."

    August 1, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • George

      Reply to Scott – ever think about people who don't work that nice daytime job, but work second and third shifts, retired, etc. You are a govt. employee, aren't you?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Teachers Care

      Love it!

      August 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  41. southhillspgh

    Here's a novel statement: If your child is failing, it is 100% your fault as a parent. So, perhaps another hour or two apart from your obviously toxic influence on your child throughout the day is a good thing.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  42. ACE

    Longer school year? First off, as lazy as kids are getting you will have a higher dropout rates, Secondly, You will have higher taxes because you know damn well the money hungry teachers union will want to be paid MORE. And the Parents who do not want anything to do with raising their kids that is why they shove them off to CAMPS during the summer will like the idea. It all goes hand in hand

    August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • southhillspgh

      Did you really just say 'Money Hungry Teachers'??? Thank you, I needed something to chuckle at this morning.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  43. bobcat (in a hat)

    Have the three R's changed so much that it now takes longer to teach them. Teachers have always had one of the toughest jobs, IMO. There have always been and always will be those students that do nothing but take up space, biding their time until they're old enough to drop out. It used to be that the teachers were givrn the authority to control the activities in their classrooms, but now if they even look at a child the wrong way, they are brought up on charges. People always want to blame the teachers if their child is not learning. Look at the child first and quit being an enabler. Longer school days are not the answer. Most in my generation came out very well. The biggest problem is the children not wanting to learn, and no matter how long you keep them, they will not learn.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  44. BigSir

    Stop blaming teachers. If your kid is not learning just look at yourself! Don't expect silk from a cow's ear.
    The students of well educated, involved parents are the ones prepared to learn in school. This is true from K to college.
    An hour teaching does not equal and hour in any other job. An hour teaching is an hour long business meeting where
    you are the leader and only presenter. Try doing that 6 hours a day. You couldn't!

    August 1, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • ACE

      Why not just make the school day 14 hours. Just look at all the good that can come from it. MOST of the problems are from Parents, But don't totally leave out lazy teachers. They are all not hard and honest working. Very Few actually are.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:02 am |
      • Teachers Care

        How do you presume to know that most teachers are lazy? That is a ridiculous assertion. You do not personally know MOST teachers.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  45. Sad but true...in NY

    I have a question. Why cant I choose how to spend my school taxes? I have two children in private school, but still have to pay school taxes that go to the public school system. My local school district is legally obligated to provide the transportation to the private school, and the local school district is legally obligated to provide the textbooks for my kids to use at their private school. I can also opt to put my kids in a local charter school, and have my school taxes used to pay for that, why cant I direct my school taxes to a private school of my choice if I am unhappy with the local public school system?

    August 1, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • southhillspgh

      I don't like the roads in my neighborhood, so I shouldn't have to pay taxes for them. I also have a private family doctor, so I shouldn't have to pay taxes for the local hospital. I've never needed the local police force for anything so I shouldn't have to pay taxes for cops either.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Cielo

      As a member of a community, you are supporting an educated population. It's NOT just about your children. I don't have children, never have and never will. And yet my school taxes pay for my community to proved education for the next generation of citizens. Look beyond yourself and your immediate benefits. Our taxes pay for things in our community, whether we use them or not, whether we like it or not.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Home

      I wondered the same thing today as I put in my order for my home school supplies for the fall. I choose to keep them home and therefore have no help from the school system...can't set up a time to use their library, go to assemblies when they have special guest, participate in after school sports or borrow textbooks for the year....but again my choice to keep them home- and have my taxes support everyone but my own kids....

      August 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  46. Bill

    Teachers spend more time COMPLAINING about their job than people in other professsions; that is for sure.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Cielo

      We spend more time DEFENDING our professions than others have to.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  47. JoJoJo

    Teachers would get a lot more respect from the community at large if they did work year-round. If school were year-round with a week off periodically (time off for students only), teachers would have the opportunity to do their prep work during that time off. I've been a corporate trainer for years. We're on platform 8 hours a day and prep for the next day the night before and during our non-teaching weeks. We also have to travel which is often on the weekends if the class is a week-long session. I don't think any begrudges the salaries that we get. Students would do better going to school year-round and teachers would be treated with more respect.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • BB

      There are a lot of costs that will go along with year long school. Even if teachers taught all year keeping their current salary, there are a number of support personel who get paid hourly. Costs for buss drivers, class room aides, secretarial/office staff, custodians, cafeteria workers, and physical plant workers would increase because they usually work hourly. Also, fuel costs, energy costs, and food costs would increase. Another thing to consider is that many northern schools do not even have air conditioning. Some schools down south only have swamp coolers which run ok in May and September, but they may not be very effective during humid summer months. Who can learn when its is hot?

      August 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  48. Mr. C.

    I always get a kick out of the non-teachers ideas about how much teachers make and how little they work.

    I've been in both worlds and I will agree that teaching can be a sweet deal. I have taught for over 20 years now and make a decent wage, although nowhere near what I see posted here. I actually made more $ in the private sector and didn't do any more work there. But I enjoy teaching, it suits me.

    As far as the time off goes, it is a nice option, however, if you take the summer off, you don't get paid. Where I work, there are no unions so that is something I don't know about, and if I decide to work during the summer, which I have always done, my pay is only 1/6 my 9 month salary, meaning I take a large pay cut. But I still gotta pay the bills.

    So, yeah, there are definite ups. But there are also a lot of downs. Yet, I personally believe this is true for all jobs in one sense or another.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Self taught

      All of the really great teachers I have encountered never stop pursuing more education for themselves. Continuing education can fill a summer.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  49. Todd

    I have always found the Sob Stories of the Teachers and how hard they work to be arrogant and ignorance on their part.
    They are a professional career. In my state at least they get paid a professional rate per hours work akin to what an engineer makes, when you adjust for time offs and other benefits.
    Most of professional careers that pay the adjusted amount, have a lot of the same issues... It is called real life. Most jobs we are expected to get our work done, if that means going unpaid overtime then that is what we do.
    Most teachers haven't seen the world outside of academia. They start School when they are 4 or 5 years old, they stay in school until their early 20s then get a job working in the school, and occasionally taking some extra classes. They really don't know the BS and all the hard work that other people do, for similar pay. Yes some things are hard and some thing are easier. But it is life.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Dave

      hey Todd, have you ever worked as a teacher? I've been an engineer in high tech and in the military with the reserves as well as a short stint in the energy sector in a government regulated industry. Now I'm a teacher. Here are the facts I've experienced:
      – I got paid more in the private sector
      – 9 months of the year I worked as hard or harder than my engineering days (including when I worked weekends, travel etc)
      – the time off in the summer is a great perk
      – the system, political correctness, parents, etc are huge cons
      – The sports, clubs etc are extra volunteering, on top of the mandatory supervisions, and are expected
      – All the perks and all the cons added together and I have found the compensation – fair

      Try walking a mile before blowing your horn. The worst people I have worked with, in any industry, are the ones who've only had one job. They have no clue or perspective.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • NJTeacher

      In the school where I work as a Chemistry Teacher, ALL of the science teachers worked in industry before getting into teaching. I worked in industry as a research chemist for 13 years before getting into teaching. One of our Biology teachers is a PhD, and worked in the Pharmaceutical industry before being downsized. I don't know enough about all of the other teachers at my school but I know at least one of the History teachers used to be a lawyer before going into teaching.

      Are there many teachers who go into the profession straight out of college. Sure, but there are many of us that have had private sector jobs before making the switch to teaching. I also know a goodly number of people that started out as teachers and then went into the private sector after finding out that it wasn't quite as easy a life as they thought it would be.

      I've seen a number of schools offering "teacher for a day" programs for various political leaders so they can get a better idea of what it is really like. Most have come away realizing it's not as easy as they think.

      August 2, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  50. rapierpoint

    "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!" What a crock! I think most of us wish our job was limited to 296 minutes a day (with the same pay we're getting now). For those that are confused, what the person is saying is that they wish they only had to work 5 hours a day. Not to say that most teachers don't put in more than a full day's work, but this statement is just silly. It would have been much better to say they wish their job was limited to 480 minutes a day, like the average 8 hr a day worker.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  51. Al

    Maybe it's me, but during my years in school I felt that at least half of the students didn't belong to be there. I also felt about half the teachers were unqualified. Just because you have a degree doesn't mean you can properly convey information to others.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Dave

      ...and in general most people believe they are above average.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  52. Jake

    My father has been a math teacher in the public school system for nearly 30 years and is well respected within his district. One thing that I constantly hear him say is how much things have changed for him in that time. Between the administrative politics, cookie cutter standardized tests, overbearing parents, and lazy students, I wonder how much of his energy he can possibly put into actual "teaching". EDUCATION IS EVERYTHING. For both individuals and societies to thrive, they must be able to provide a service or be useful in some other sense. They rely on an education to do these things. I believe that the American education is completely broken and outdated, so it is very difficult for most students to truly learn and become educated. Human beings are not wired to learn by being lectured, yet nearly every classroom at every level of schooling in the country is designed for it to be this way.

    I've done a fair amount of research regarding different methods of education, and the one that seemed most effective had "homework assignments" that were just video lectures on the desired topic. Then, the next day when the students came into the classroom, problem sets related to the video lecture were given out and the teacher had time to personally help their students work through problems. You can read more about it yourself, but test scores and comprehension for these students increased exponentially. Check out Kahn Academy if you have never heard of it, it uses a similar idea.

    When it comes to compensation, think about this: In Western Pennsylvania (where I am from), a DAYCARE WORKER would make significantly more money than a teacher if they were to look after 25 kids for 8hrs/day 180 days/yr. A school teacher does the babysitting, and also must try to connect with their students and teach them skills they need to become productive members to society, and they make less than a daycare worker!

    I agree that there are plenty of situations where poor teachers get paid more than they deserve to make and do not adequately educate our youth, but we can't expect miracles if teachers aren't given the proper resources to succeed. PROPER education is one of the most important investments a society can make, and we need more people to realize this if we are going to turn things around and put ourselves in a situation to thrive in the future.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  53. Toni

    "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."
    This is so alarming to me. What is the US doing wrong? Our kids go to school from Pre-K (age 4) to 12th grade and still struggle to have academic skills. What is Sweden doing that we're not?

    August 1, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • drowlord

      It's the same in Finland.

      What's wrong with American education? Absolutely everything, starting with our 17th century ideal on what an educated person is. Our goals are archaic. We shouldn't be striving to create a Renaissance philosopher out of every kid. The way we emphasize art, music, history, and literature is utterly self-defeating. People with a productive mindset are trained to be frivolous, and the most successful people in school emerge without useful skills to ply.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Barb

      I had a Swedish exchange student in my class this year and she breezed through the work; one of my top students. She said that she had not seen a multiple choice test since 6th grade. She and my student from Finland both explained how there was much more emphasis on analysis, critical thinking and writing. American education has always focused so much on what you know rather than how you can explain and analysis. With the advent of the individual laptop use in school we have to prepare our students in a very different way. Welcome the Core Curriculum Standards which have been introduced in the U.S. I am encouraged by the change in focus to critical thinking, collaboration and analysis- useful, yet challenging skills for some of our students. This will not be a simple transformation, but a needed one. Parents will have to be educated on these expectations too. We've lost a strong family component and support for students in America; I've seen increasingly more dysfunctional families and kids since I started teaching in the 1970's. We're still doing great things in America, but we have enormous changes before us that will raise the bar for teachers and students. We're up to the challenge though.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |
      • mdwesterngrl

        the problem is all the testing. we learn for the tests only. our schools are based on an old industrial model. This is not the fault of the teachers. It is a belief system around education that needs to change. It is time to change the system.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:18 am |
      • BooseyBoo

        Most kids would probably fail if they had to analyze and use their brain.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Teacher in FL

      I think the difference when looking at scores of USA versus other nations that are out scoring us is that we test everyone, other nations are only testing those students who chose to continue their education on what we would call a college prep level. And by everyone, I mean to include those who are taking the advanced courses, those who are in remediation, and those who are EMH (educable mentally handicapped). Maybe if we could filter the scores then we would gain a better picture of USA ranking in the world.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  54. Concerned

    There are multiple flaws within our educational systems: #Unions, inverse pyramid structure, & uninvolved parents.
    First: the unions are not comprised solely by teachers representing their co-workers so either restructure the unions or get rid of them. Second: the hiearchy of the educational system has way too many supervisors, superiors, and or administrators who don't teach and suck out too many tax dollars meant for teachers salaries and school supplies. Third: if the parents aren't actively engaged in helping with their kids homework assignments and disciplining them when problems arise then their kids are most likely doomed to be the "child left behind" and becomes another law enforcement problem because of drugs and bad associations..

    August 1, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  55. str8whtguy

    I've been teaching at the college level for the past 7 years, after a very successful career in private industry. Trust me, I certainly don't do it for the money. If I were to return to industry, I'd make at least double what I am now. And still, I put in more hours, year-round, than I ever did before. But I truly love what I do. My students are like my kids – I care about their well-being, I worry about them, and I"m intensely proud of their accomplishments. I keep a box of tissues in my office for a reason, and I tell my students every semester that they're paying my salary, and to get their money's worth.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Nichole

      Good for you. You have to love what you do, especially teaching.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  56. Lois

    The problem is that the question at hand cannot be generalized. I've seen wonderful, dedicated teachers work ridiculous numbers of hours at home and put their "all" into teaching in the classroom. Sadly, I've seen some who throw stuff on the board for the kids to do so they can return to their computers in the back of the room, never check assignments (even "misplace" some) and run out the door the minute the final bell rings. Most teachers are in between those two extremes. You can't generalize!

    Yes, some kids would benefit GREATLY by extended school day. Some would not. Those who sleep in class because they were up playing video games all night (or up with parents fighting etc) would just get a longer nap, those who skip would get more time to hang out in the bathrooms etc. – and those who want more help would get more help. I think the answer lies in finding WHICH students and WHICH teachers would be best for extended education.

    At the senior high level we have an alarming attendance problem and many of those who DO attended are not motivated to learn; therefore do nothing (and I mean NOTHING – not even bring a pencil!). Forcing them to attend even more school will not address this real problem. Let's get them THERE and WORKING/LEARNING first; then talk about extending the experience.

    BTW, the teachers who inspire the above students to learn??? Well, it won't be those sitting in the back of the classroom...and I worry that if salaries are not competative with industry, the better teachers who are willing to give it their "all" will chose another profession. As someone else said, school boards hire the best they can get – it's not like there are these brilliant people waiting in line to get a job so they can make a medium salary and put up with abusive parents, students and administrators! This is especially true of math and science majors who can do much better working in medicine etc.

    So the lesson is – appreciate and honor the truly dedicated teachers who do this because they LOVE it. Pay they them well, bake them brownies and send them good kids now and then. They are our only hope!

    August 1, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • str8whtguy

      Thanks, Lois. Well-said. Some of us really do care about teaching. Maybe I'm naive, but I truly believe that most of my colleagues, at least in my school, are very dedicated and care about teaching and their students.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  57. Julie S.

    According to Forbes magazine, the average American works 1,797 hours each year. A typical teacher school year is 190 days. In order to work the same amount as an average American, we need only put in 9.5 hours on each of those 190 days. I would say most teachers do that and more, including working on the weekend and over summer break.
    Someone earlier said that she is happy with her compensation, she's just sick of being maligned as a lazy bum. I agree. I am okay with having the lowest-paying career for someone with my level of education. I knew that going in– nobody becomes a teacher because they want to be a millionaire. But I am sick of people pretending that everyone else on earth works 365 days a year, 12 hours a day. Teachers do a year's work in 10 months. Yes, I get 12 weeks a year off and lots of 3 day weekends. If I didn't I would burn out, because during the school year I am often at work from 7-5 with no breaks and bring my work home with me.
    I would be fine with a year-round calendar, which are usually a system where those 190 days are spread out more. It's not like I make enough money to go on vacation every year.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  58. Jim

    The conflict here is that we live in a capitalist society with a semi social education system. People are engrained to get the best X their money can buy. Where there is demand and profit there will be greater resources and a higher quality of service (in general). This can drive better teachers to higher paying jobs within private schools or higher paying districts. Conversely it gives a perception of less value to public school as it is "free." So we're fighting ourselves by pressuring people into a non premium service while trying to make it seem so.

    The closest solution we've ever come to is the ability to issue credits which would allow someone to move their kids to private schools and get credit for the money they would have paid through other means (taxes) to the public school. That would be more capitalistic and consolidate resources and demand. The other option would be to become more social like in Europe but that would take decades of culture change to alter our perceptions.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  59. Cosmo

    Cant teachers collect unemployment for those 4 months off.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Exhausted teacher

      No we cannot collect unemployment during summer because we are employed. What kind of question is that? Also, I know no teacher that gets 4 months off.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • jue


      August 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  60. M. M.

    Teachers get no paid vacations or paid holidays. They get paid only for those days they work.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  61. Oscar Pitchfork

    LIke everything else, there are good reasons why some people become teachers and there are bad reasns as well. Some people, like clergymen or doctors, feel a genuine calling to do it-they feel they have to try and help people learn, and they STRIVE TO DO WELL at it. Others, can't seem to do anything else, and they figure "how hard can it be?", while others know that performance is (or was, maybe) largely subjective, and hard to prove you weren't working that hard. Until they come up with a really DEFINITIVE teching and testing method for those wanting to teach, you're going to get a mixed bag of good teachers, mediocre teachers, and real losers.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  62. May

    A lot of our teachers today are spoiled, some are hard working and making a difference (about 1 out of 10 – my personal statistic only). The lazy, tired and spoiled need to be fired – with no tenure (retirement) benefits and that would send a message. If youre not in it for the kids and the satisfaction that you are making a difference, one child at a time, then get out and save us all. Parents, children and the school systems suffer because of these bad apples. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Dave

      Hey, why don't we weed out the bad apples in every industry and job. Imagine how much better the world would be.
      Are there bad teachers – yes
      Are there a lot of them? – not that I've found, and much less % than other industries
      Only want the best? – You'll have to pay more and no one wants to do that
      Personally, I want the store clerks to stop talking to each other and texting and serve me but not much chance of that.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • hansen and gretel

      bahahahaha that is really funny! I am going to try that with my doctor! Shouldnt you be in this for the self satisfaction of healing people one person at a time?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • BooseyBoo

      Can we fire the lazy child and parents???

      August 1, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  63. The_Mick

    "Wish my job was limited to 296 minutes per day!" Me too: I was a teacher. I went from being an industrial research chemist to a public school teacher and my total annual hours went WAY up. And note that many of the days the kids are off -including the summer- teachers are working. The average teacher spends 300 more hours working than the average person and is engaged in real work a higher percentage of the time. Even more for elementary school teachers. Teachers from another school asked me about a fellow teacher's marriage: "We've seen him eating alone in restaurants during some evenings." I explained it to their satisfaction in one sentence: "His wife is an elementary school teacher."
    Note also, that even with nice pensions the VERY Conservative magazine Forbes ranks teaching as the 3rd lowest paying profession requiring a 4-year college degree. Before the recession, most large school systems couldn't find enough Americans who wanted to do the job, so they went overseas to find teachers: 10% of Baltimore's teachers are from the Philippines.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • SFW77

      So teachers put in extra hours? What makes that an 8-9 hour day? So do all workers, in fact, most have to work 10, sometimes 12 hours. Sometimes even more. And for salaries equal or slightly more to what teachers make, on 1 or 2 weeks vacation at the most. And while you may have to plan, attend conferences, etc SOME of your 4 months off, I am pretty sure it is not all of them. I highly doubt they spend every weekday of their summer vacation working So cry me a river.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • Irate Teacher

        You people who are saying "cry me a river" and "we don't work the same hours" are totally ignorant. I would LOVE, just LOVE for you to come into a school, deal with EVERYTHING that goes on (IEPs, Ignorant Parents, Pushy Parents, students who could care less, students who are challenge students who can't read, Principals wanting you to do EVERYTHING to help a student pass, people who think they can walk in without appointments and tell us how to do our job, etc etc etc) and just try to make it. I WISH I could sit in my little cubicle, go out to lunch and go to the bathroom when I wanted. YOU ALL SHOULD GIVE TEACHERS A BREAK. I seriously HATE the people who are so blind to see what actually occurs. Oh yea, and those of you who can read, write and solve equations, oh yea, where did you learn that from, how are you making your 100s of thousands of dollars? Oh yea because of a teacher. Give me a break!

        August 1, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • NYC Esq.

      To the poster who mentioned a man who was eating alone at restaurants because his wife is an elementary school teacher..I am sorry but there is no reason why an elementary school teacher needs to be breaking her back putting in 90 hr work weeks. If she is doing that, then she is simply not utilizing her time efficiently. There is no reason why a teacher needs to be working until late hours of the night on a regular basis, especially elementary school where there is a set curriciulum and the teacher need only follor the state syllabut. if she is spending 5 hours every night just marking papers or preparing for the next day, she is prob doing something wrong. That man's marriage was falling apart for other reasons, and I am sure it has nothing to do with his wife's choice of profession.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  64. Thomas

    I've worked in teaching and in IT. I wish I would have stayed in teaching. Hours are more reasonable, hardly any travel needed, benefits are better in the long term, etc. Money isn't that much worse than IT considering how many days off I had as a teacher.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  65. Mike

    Not sure where everyone here is from but in NYS, for every teaching job there are thousands of applicants. It cant be quite that bad, can it? Despite what the whiners say, teachers have a very good deal. Within about 5-7 years they have great salaries, untouchable benefits, tenure, plenty of time off, and have a thug union to protect them at all costs. This whole concept of "extra time" put in is just union fluff. I have teachers in my neighborhood and they aint working all night correcting papers. They also enjoy a TON of paid time off and a bunch of sick/personal days just in case. The union is the real problem but the teachers love the union since they get massive benefits & protection from the mafia...err.... ummm...union. Taxpayers get held hostage by the union as well. Its a rackett.

    August 1, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • steveTX

      Perhaps I should move to NY to get all those great benefits you speak of. Here, in Texas, I have been teaching at a college level for 22 years (full time plus additional classes every semester and only one half summer off in all those years). I may get medical insurance, but as far as other benefits, my 401K has less (after 22 years) than our chancellor makes in 1 year. I have never made more than $70k in one year (and that one I taught the equivalent of an extra semester).

      So, I don't get all those months off you claim (unless I don't want to pay my bills). I may only be at the school for about 6 hours M-F, but I easily spend 2-4 hours at home on work related issues, and very seldom have an entire weekend free of work.

      I can also guarantee you that those teachers working in middle-schools and high-schools spend even more time in their "off hours" doing work related chores.

      So until you actual have been there, keep your 'opinions & unrealistic beliefs' to yourself; because that is all they are.

      ...and just for your info (before you spout about real world): I was an electronics tech for 3 years, and then an avionics tech in the USN for 4 years prior to going to college to get where I am. And the "real world" was far easier.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:17 am |
      • NYC Esq.

        Steve in Texas: yes you need to move to NY. The teachers in Long Island, in particular, are paid better than 1/2 the civil servants and even some doctors and lawyers, and certainly with half the debt. A gym teacher in my husband's high school gets paid than the most senior social worker or entry level attorney in my area. What exactly do gym teachers do that would merit a salary of almost $ 100K? That is what boggles my mind!

        August 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • NYC Esq.

      Mike, I totally agree with you. My husband works at a school district here in Long Island – Nassau County. 75% of the teachers he talks to are all pulling in 6 figure salaries – many of them working as part time tutors or summer counselors or teaching a summer class to add extra income. By the time they are 60, most are already retired with comfortable retirement/pension benefits. I do real estate and usually come across loan applications from teachers and one in particular had me completely awe-struck – a 28 year old 5th grade teacher in Commack pulling in an $ 82K salary. Her husband had a PhD in Psychology and only made 65K in the private sector. There is just no reason why someone that age should be commanding that high a salary..and she isn't the only one..Its absolutely disgusting.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
      • Se t

        I am Physical Education teacher in NY not a gym teacher. I work in a gym. I took Human Anatomy, Exercise Phys, Kinesilogy,and Biomechanics. All these courses are harder than an Ele Ed major believe me. Try teaching in the inner city co teaching with 55 kids in a small gym. Teaching skills while keeping them safe and preventing fights with a lack or no equipment. Teaching cooperation, sportmanship, manners, respect, etc. Believe me staying in a controlled setting a classroom is not easy. Try a hot gym with many moving bodies. Planning is everything. That is why many administrators are former PE teachers.

        August 1, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  66. Self taught

    I have always wondered where the us against them mentality in our society came from. Now I see that it comes from our education system.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  67. Mary

    Longer school days are not needed. If the parents and the teachers would get up off their lazy behinds then these kids would learn what they are being taught in the first place. BEFORE anyone gets their panties in a bunch I am a proud mother of 2 children. I stay active in their school lessons. I do homework with them at night. I help with reports, I talk with the teachers on a regular basis to see if there are any issues and occasionally I actually pick one day and spend it at the school and go to class with my children. No they do not like it, but they stay out of trouble and do their work as they do not know when I will come up there. STOP BEING A LAZY PARENT AND GET INVOLVED. These kids need the parents as well as the teachers.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  68. Mia

    Reading posts like these made me NOT want to use my teaching degrees. Yes, in my state you are required to have a Master's degree in order to teach high school. It is clear that most of you do not fully understand the hard work, long hours, and preparation just to graduate and pass boards. If you think that we sit at a desk and waste your tax dollars while you are busy doing "real work" wake up and get a clue! Between the constant political dog fighting, the district and union bureaucracy we have to please, along with a broken and misguided system which tells children that in other countries would be told to take up a trade to go to college where they face inevitable failure. Not to mention dealing with overtly ignorant comments by people that have not been in a classroom since they (hopefully) graduated high school. If you want all students to learn, you must provide adequate resources for them and their teachers. Not to mention giving the teachers some time to actually teach the content and skills needed instead of teaching to the standard of some arbitrary test that promotes mediocrity. I didn't spend 6 years to get 2 degrees only to be told that I am incompetent, lazy, and a waste of your precious money. But perhaps if you worked as hard as I have, and as many other teachers have, you might understand.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Rob

      Great post, Mia. I was a high school teacher for 2 years (after getting my MAT) and my wife is an elementary school teacher (for 10 years). The social stigma that is placed on teachers by so many who speak half-truths is unbelievable. They have a thankless job - they cannot win no matter what they do. And all of my wife's colleagues, to a person, are similar in their feelings about their chosen profession. They love it, they put hard hours into it, they deal with things that no one else deals with, they get frustrated by the red tape and scrutiny they face; but they don't complain about their salary (no more than anyone else does) and just wish they could have more time to actually teach their kids instead of jumping through the hoops that a lot of non-educators want to the put them through. They also acknowledge there are many teachers who are NOT effective - just like any other profession. But to lump them all together is absolutely absurd. And that's what many in the general public do - let's find a scapegoat for what's wrong.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • E

      WELL SAID, people have NO IDEA, I bet they wouldn't last a week

      August 1, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • totalwoman10

      Right on target! What you said is true. When teachers are respected maybe education will improve in this country!

      August 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  69. Mags

    The tourism industry in any state that makes its money during the summer would flip if the school year was extended into the money making months(June July, August). They would most likely be the loudest lobby against it. The states would buckle under pressure from such a large tax base and extending the year woulod never happen. Not to mention all the families that have purchased houses at the beach who would not be happy about sacrificing the investment for a longer school year.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  70. joeymom

    Scott, the regular ed teachers in my district work 195 days, with 5 personal days and 15 sick leave. Most, however, also work the summer sessions. Special ed teachers work more- many kids cannot handle breaks, they need the therapy and routines.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  71. The Brain

    I wish the myths about all the perks teachers receive (only work for 9 mos, summers off, evenings off, lucrative pay, getting to leave work at work, weekends without doing school work, a 6 hr work day, and that they don't spend personal funds on children were debunked.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  72. wtliftr

    I teach- I'm at school 750 minutes each day. I did the math. I'd love for you bashers to teach for one day... No, not all of that time is teaching, but I'd like to see the bashers spend their lunch time in a noisy cafeteria with your class and four other classes of noisy children. Or do you have a quiet lunch by yourself in a cubicle? Or do you get to leave work for an hour with adult coworkers in a nice restaurant?

    August 1, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Courtney M.

      I thought I was clicking Like, but ended up Replying. Just wanted to say I agree with you.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Robert

      Really? 12 1/2 hours at school, a bit exagerated unless you don't want to go home, come on, if you do spend more than half a day at school each day, please, get a life outside school.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:05 am |
      • Robert

        I did. 🙂

        August 1, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Al

      You mean you actually get a lunch? Occasionally I have enough to run to the cafeteria and grab something to eat, in between all of the meetings/work I am expected to get done. More often than not, I do not have lunch... and still work 9-10 hour days... 5 days a week... all year round. I'd love to be able to work ~180 days a year, have a typical 6 hour work day (with occasional overtime), and spend my lunches in a cafeteria filled with students of any age group.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
      • Nick

        Then do it! You said you'd love to because it's so great, so what's stopping you? Hmmmmmm......

        August 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • NJTeacher

      Don't put in your 750 a day but here's my schedule: I arrive at school about 7AM (students arrive at 8AM). I leave around 4, the students leave at 2:30. That "extra" time is not spend sitting around having coffee. As a science teacher there is a LOT of prep work that needs to get done setting up lab experiments for the next day, cleaning up after that days work. Then I go home and spend, on average 2-3 hours a day grading papers, preparing future lessons. My weekends are spent grading and preparing lessons. So on average I put in about 70 hours a week (10 hours a day) but I'm only paid for those 296 minutes (5 hours). I'm curious if most people would put in that much "overtime" and not get paid for it.

      Oh and my summer off! While I have made my weekends free, during the week I am spending a good 5 hours a day, reworking lessons, looking for new resources, so that the course will not be the same from year to year to reduce the ability of students to hand down work to incoming students, creating a curriculum for a new course the school will be offering. Inventorying the chemicals in the school to be in compliance with applicable laws.

      In my opinion, what needs to change is not the amount of time the teachers put in but the amount of effort and the respect for learning that the students put in. Last year in one of my Honor's sections I had a student complain when I gave them a question on a test that assessed their understanding of a concept. If the student understood the concept, it was an absolutely trivial question, if not then it became more difficult. Student asked when we'd ever done a problem like that in class. When told it was there to assess their understanding of the concept, the student rolled their eyes, said "Oh my God, you've got to be kidding", and then left the question blank, and complained to their parents, who in turn complained to the school. This was an Honor's Chemistry class! I'm not sorry, nor do I make excuses for trying to make the students think. How do people think students are going to succeed out in the real world to solve real problems, in whatever field they choose, if they can only ever do problems exactly like what they learned in class?

      August 1, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  73. Yolanda

    I am a school counselor. I left the practice of law so that I could work with children, teaching them important skills they would need for life. In order to do so, I had to go back to school and get a masters degree. This is in addition to my undergraduate degree and law degree. I make substantially less money but I feel fulfilled professionally and emotionally because, at the end of the day, I have made a difference in this world. This is why I teach. This is why my colleagues teach. We care. We give up so many of our weekends and evenings, as other professionals dp, planning and preparing. Please give everyone who works and cares about our society the respect they deserve.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  74. WV Gleeman

    The problem is the systems and the teachers unions. Unions have their place in many instances but when the biggest advocate for a teacher is their tenure and not their students performance something is wrong. They don't get paid what they should and that results in lesser quality. Look at your average board of education. You will be lucky to find a board with a member that has been in school in last 4 decades. Another of the problems...

    August 1, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  75. Self taught

    If the students will not put in the extra time themselves I really don't think the teacher will be able to force feed them much.

    Do your homework!!!

    Parents need some help with learning how to teach the kids the value of education. Not just the value of grades but the value of knowing how to teach oneself what one needs to know now and in the future.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  76. jsl

    I really get tired of hearing how hard the teachers job is. Try taking a job where your body is worn down every day with physical labor. Where you go home at the end of the day just plain worn out! Where your joints ache from lifting, pulling, squatting, etc.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Robert

      Teachers are not worn out from aches from pulling or lifting, they are worn out mentally. Do you have kids... try dealing with 25 to 30 of them at a time, all day. Trust me, not easy. Especially when a lot of them are not well behaved, that is not the teachers doping, we, teachers, get the kids we are given, no matter how they were raised. Polite or not, respectful or not. And if parents do not respect teachers, how do they expect their kids to respect them... which makes the job even more difficult. 50% of teachers quit in the first 5 years because it's just too hard.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • Self taught

        which are quitting? The good ones or the bad ones?

        Has to be the bad ones because the ones that are left are busy telling us how great they are.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • The Brain

      The brain works the hardest. Time you learn to use it!

      August 1, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • freedomringingnow

      If you dislike your job then retrain and obtain one that fits your life style. If one does not change their jobs to one they like then they are to fault themselves.

      I remember one HR person telling me decades back..."No one will make you take the courses, training to help you acheive your goals and that is up to you to accept or not" I took her advice and took advantage of tuition reimbursement, online work training, computer classes in programming, business courses, MBA etc. etc.
      I was amazed to see people sitting back and saying I don't have time or I have kids maybe later when free money or partial payments were waiting to be used. The sad news is those that sit on their laurels got rifted first and had harder times to place as their resume looked blank.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • DisugstedNY

        You are naive. Just because you decide to retrain does not mean you will land a good job in your field of choice. Unemployment is very high and the effects are widespread.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • K_Teacher_RI

      @jsl: You obviously don't know many teachers. As a K Teacher, I am constantly squatting, bending, arching, etc. Just because I don't work in a coal mine, doesn't mean that my job isn't strenuous.

      Disciplining teachers by extending the year, day, etc, isn't the answer. Parents and children are not held accountable anymore. The fault lies with everyone else, except themselves. In RI, where I've been teaching K for 20+ years, I have steadily seen the disrespect for teachers grow, and the responsibilty of parents decrease. Parents must be held accountable for their children, especially in an age where technology and impulsivity run the roost. Adults and children alike are used to getting things when and how they WANT them, not how they NEED to be. It's time that parents grow up and take the reins.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Jax

      I worked in the restaurant business for 7 years to get through college and after. I am now a school counselor. It was easier waiting tables for 12 hours a day. As a school counselor, I work 220 days a year, have at least two 15 hour days a month, work 6 Saturdays and year minimally, and am required to do an additional "20 hours" of professional development on my own time while 18 hours is done directly after school and my contract time. I do more paperwork after my contract hours than most people can fathom. My husband is a teacher. He and I rotate watching our child on the weekends so that we can each get done what we need to for the following week. Neither of us can put in for overtime so no one considers it and it cannot be accounted for. I say all of this not for sympathy, but to put things in perspective. Educational overtime is not accounted for so, please stop saying we only work so many days and hours.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Steve

      I worked in a very demanding physical job before I became a teacher – I was a printer – shee fed and web. I doesn't compare to the exhaustion I feel when I come home from teaching some days! Even with the 100 weeks I sometimes worked as a printer. If you have never worked in a particular occupation – don't try to tell someone how hard the work is. Volunteer in an inner city kindergarten – you'll feel it then

      August 1, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Rob

      Hmmm...you just described my wife when she comes home after a day of squatting, kneeling, lifting, and dealing with 20 kids. Being mentally tired is just as real as being physically tired - and she is both. Please don't paint such a broad brushstroke. How about sitting in a class for one day and see what they go through (mentally and physically) and see if you still think their job isn't 'hard'. Just as hard as what you do, I'm sure.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Nicole D

      jsl- try being a Kindergarten teacher, and then tell me that you aren't worn out, physically, by the end of the day! Please don't judge, when you have no idea what it's like. I don't judge other's jobs, please don't judge ours. Everyone should work hard at whatever profession they choose. I'm a teacher and love my job- I don't complain about the pay or the long hours- I work hard because I love what I do and love my kids.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  77. Robert

    I'm a teacher and I'm a bit angry reading all these negative comments. First, if teachers did not have the "breaks" they appear to have, there would be no teachers because there would not be enough time to do what we need to do.
    Second, (I know lots of people will take this wrongly but it's to show you need to respect teachers as we respect other professions) how about firemen who spend hours a day playing cards and just waiting for a fire, and policemen who spend many hours a day just sitting and driving along in their cars. No disrespect, we owe these people our lives and well being, as we do to teachers. Of course there are bad seeds everywhere.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Steve

      Robert, well said! People who work for the public do not get the respect they deserve.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  78. Marty Richards

    I am getting very tired of our students being compared to the rest of the world. Has anyone ever done a study on the happiness of our children as apposed to those in other countries? Scholarship is not the only thing in life. Sure it is great to say you are the smartest, or most educated. But do we ever ask those people, are you you happy?

    August 1, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • thr17

      Actually, there have been studies done, and of the countries who rank above us in education, in almost all instances happiness and standard of living are higher than those in the US.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • BooseyBoo

      Will happiness pay the bills when these children become adults? While happiness is an important aspect of life so is education.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  79. d-kallim

    For many years now there have been many attempts to try and change the way we educate our students. Longer school years, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, Whole Language, High Stakes Testing to name a few and we are still no closer to improving outcomes. The only constant in all of this is that social economic analysis is the best gauge for student, teacher and school performance. It is unreasonable to think that education alone can solve the problem.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  80. Jasie

    Chicago is no shining light for the rest of the country. They are deeply in debt and everybody knows they have the dirtiest politics in the country. The kids would be better served in the homes. It's the parents who should be improving the home. What we don't need is more of teaching our kids how to think, and more indoctrination.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  81. Thomas

    You can argue that teachers are overpaid; you can argue that they get "built in vacation"; you can claim that they work short hours, but there is one thing I have never seen those who criticize teachers for these reasons address: Roughly FIFTY PERCENT of teachers will leave the profession within five years. For all the anecdotes I hear, I have yet to have a critic explain to me why half the people in these supposedly "overpaid, cushy, vacation filled jobs with short work days" would be leaving in droves. (especially after investing the money in getting degrees in education)

    August 1, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Robert

      Because it is a very difficult, stresssful job to do. Facts show that teachers, nurses, firemen and policemen have the most stressful jobs. Taking care of a classroom full of teens is not an easy job

      August 1, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  82. oldfart

    A Doctor is giving teachers grief about their working hours? Gimme a break. (Of course i am not counting the hours spent being "courted" by Pharmacuetical and medical equipment companies).

    August 1, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  83. Rico

    Does anyone really think that longer school days or less vacation time will come at no cost to taxpayers? The question isn't whether more time in the classroom will benefit students (logic would dictate that it would), but whether that is the most effective way to spend more tax dollars on education. The fact is that taxpayers have demonstrated little to no interest in spending more on education (understandable, given the economy), so this type of plan isn't all that realistic anyway. Still, if we pretend that the funding actually existed, increased instructional time probably isn't the magic bullet. It's been my experience (as a veteran teacher of 15 years) that investment in instructional technology gives the biggest bang for the buck. Proponents of the type of plan described in this blog are probably either of the mind that teachers are lazy or that public school is glorified daycare. I don't chime in and tell doctors, for instance, how to do their job. Not sure why they and others feel so qualified to tell me how to do mine.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • LOLZ

      Year round school would help students hold onto what they learn. Do you really think 3 months without stepping foot in the classroom helps you remember anything?
      Also how is education the 1st you want to cut when the economy is bad? An educated workforce is a profitable workforce. You sir are not a teacher and obviously full of feces.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mike

      We spend enough on education, thanks. The problem is that most of the money gets sucked up by the benefits & salary vortex so there isnt much left for the students. The adukts working in the school system benefit more from all that money than the students do. Thats unions for ya – robbing taxpayers and lining their own pockets. Their solution is to just throw more oney at the the schools. Yeah right.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • BB

      You are on to something. A longer school year seems like a good idea on the surface. I am sure a lot of people who think teachers don't work enough hours think it would be great. However, even if teachers worked year long on the same salary (which I think would have to increase), the cost of education will go up. Hourly/support personnel will have to be compensated, energy and food bills will have to be paid. And like I mentioned earlier, many schools in this country don't have proper air conditioning.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • BB

      Good points.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  84. Robert

    I was a teacher.... but after two years of spinning my wheels I have called it quits. The whole system is just horribly broken. I got in trouble for failing students who didn't do their assignments (even after giving in class time), for giving up my lunch hours to tutor kids individually (they had an unfair advantage), and because when my school district did not hire anyone to fix the broken equipment in my classroom I did it myself.

    After gaining weight, having my marriage suffer, and working 65 hours a week for $1400 a month I am so unbelievably happy to have a normal job where I can be appropriately compensated for my 7 years of college.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Robert

      I should clarify, $1400 take home pay.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:15 am |
      • Steve

        obert, I feel bad for you. I too feel that after 12 years, I start my 13th this September, it is time to go. What non-teachers are doing here and many politicians, is ruining the public school system.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • Steve

        Robert, I feel bad for you. I too feel that after 12 years, I start my 13th this September, it is time to go. What non-teachers are doing here and many politicians, is ruining the public school system. Maybe most would like to see the system privatized, take away the coolective bargaining, reduce salaries and benefits. Watch costs sky rocket then and try to find teachers. Who wants to the ridiculed by students, administrators, parents and the public for less money. Teachers take a lot of PD for classroom management, content material, technology integration, etc. ans some are leaving after five years or less for a job with more respect.

        August 1, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  85. Beep Boop

    This made my morning, I stopped reading at this point "Dave, we looked it up. A 2010 study of other research studies found that sometimes longer school days are effective, sometimes not." haha...Sometimes, dave, it works. Sometimes not. 50% of the time it works 50% of the time, mostly, unless it works 100% of the time 25% of the time that it is studied 30% of the time that its not 40% of the time it is. See? So...yea..totally it works man, stop asking questions.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  86. 0Patrick0

    The trouble with many of your commenters is that they haven't a clue what teaching involves. I spend 30 hours a week just marking papers and preparing classes, Add that to the "296 minutes" a day coloradom alleges teachers work and that's a damned long work day. Much of my weekend is spent working as well. Even the preparation never gets easier because the works I teach continually change year in and year out.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • claybigsby

      congrats, welcome to the real world.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  87. Doctor e

    Stop degrading teachers. Let me give you a scenario, much like a television show coming on this fall.

    All the power goes out. Chaos ensues. Who will know the basic skills to survive? Well, in all liklihood, some who do will be teachers. Teachers have to know how things work in order to help others learn how things work.

    In case of disaster, I am sticking with the teachers!

    August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  88. belladonna

    I've had a number of people tell me I'd make a great teacher; however, I have several friends who are current or former teachers, and after talking to them, you couldn't pay me enough to teach American kids. Between the brats, their parents, the administration, the school board, the state legislature and the feds – to say nothing of the idiocies spouted by people who have NEVER worked in the profession – there isn't enough money, bennies or pension that could tempt me into a classroom.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  89. Caroline

    I think teachers get a bad rap, but I also think that teachers don't always consider what people in other jobs have to deal with as well. I have been working for over 20 years and have never been able to land a job that makes more than $30,000 per year. Half of my jobs have offered no health insurance and more than half have no pension plan (that is a thing of the past). Also, I hear many teachers say they don't get respect at their jobs. Well, there are tons of us who get no respect! That's not confined to just teachers! Try being a secretary sometime! And I realize that dealing with the kids and parents at school can be a total nightmare. One of my best friends has taught for 15 years. I have attended class with her before to visit. One thing I can say though, at the jobs I have had, we often deal with many adults who ACT like children, only we are unable to tell them what to do! My friend outperformed me in salary and also had the summers off. Five years after I started working, she had had more vacation time in 1 summer than I had had in 5 years! I told her, I know your job is hard, but you can have a mental breakdown every summer–when can I have one?

    August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  90. Glen

    i keep seeing in the comments from people about how teachers get 3 months off in the summer. Well, just try to have a discussion about having school year round and those same people will be crying foul about how kids need a break, that's too tough for the kids. Look people we need a shorter day, and a longer year. Stop vilifying teachers for having the summer off when you no darn well you would not support year round school!

    August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  91. Katelyn

    Put it this way, every single one of you has had a teacher. So obviously you did not get where you are today without one. Respect someone who teaches, do not demean them. These posts make me sick.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  92. johnnyfi

    This seems to miss one key element. We spend a ton of money and teacher time and resources on kids across the learning spectrum from truly brilliant to heavily handicapped. Most of the "countries that have passed us" don't do that. Longer school years and school days can't fix a system that expends resources on that broad of a group. That said, do we want our educational system to be only for the smart? I'm guessing not.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  93. Southerner01

    Korean high school students attend school from 7am until 10pm. They study hard the entire time.

    Our students attend from 7am until 3pm (roughly). Teachers waste entire days showing youtube videos. The eight days after standardized testing at my daughter's school were all spent on "fun" activities. The rationale was that 8 days was not enough time to start a new subject. I've seen an entire house built in 8 days. How is 8 days not enough time to teach comething like calculating the area of a polygon?

    If you combine those eight wasted days with the other days that they did "fun" things (week of thanksgiving, last two days before christmas break, etc) They don't get anywhere near even the advertised 180 days of instruction.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Jwhite

      Wow. Talk about I'll informed. I work in Korea right right now in a public elementary school.. My students are in class from 9-2. Then many go home and their parents help them with their homework. The ones who CAN AFFORD IT OUT OF THEIR OWN FAMILY's POCKETS go to private academies to study other subjects. It is extremely expensive. It is not public school teachers who teach these classes. In fact, it is illegal here for public teachers to hold a second job.

      You want to talk about wasted time. Wow. How about in Korea. The students have final exams two weeks before class is finished. After exams nothing is done. I've worked in the US too. Far more is done in US classrooms. The problem is too long of summer break. Poor schools are failing. Parents don't care. Kids don't care. Under qualified teachers. And too many good teachers leave the profession for more high paying less stressful jobs. Korea doesn't have as great a difference in income inequality. And their families place a much higher importance on education than in the US.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  94. In Support of Teachers

    I'm not a teacher, but I am a parent who sincerely appreciates and supports them. They deserve our support as parents, and we need to complement what they do in the classroom at home. It is not fair to expect that teachers have no authority to keep order in their classrooms and yet are solely responsible for our children's education. Where are the parents who help with homework? Where are the parents who make sure that education is a high priority in the home? I have witnessed teachers being cursed at, disrespected, and/or completely ignored by students who know that no matter how outrageous their behavior is, or how poorly they perform, somehow Mom & Dad will be convinced it is all the teacher's fault. They will go to school to complain about the teacher, insist that something be done about the teacher to fix the problem, and never once think that the child might be a big part of the problem. If teachers aren't allowed to maintain discipline in the classroom, or enforce school or classroom rules, then we have only ourselves to blame when kids figure out that they really don't have to do much to "pass." Think about it the next time you are getting your cup of coffee and the kid behind the counter can't figure out how much change to give you without the aid of the cash register.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  95. Karen

    Yes, by all means, let's hire better teachers. According to market theory, there should be lots of people lining up for these high-paying, low work-time job. Recruiting should be an easy job–just pick the best. Well, guess what. That's what school systems do–they pick the best applicants they see. Some of them are wonderful, thoughtful, gifted intellectual beings whose skills and dedication to teaching are superb. But some are not. Where are the summas and the magnas and the PBKs–law school, med school, MBA programs, other graduate programs, because that's where the market will reward their effort. Rather than argue about who works harder or longer, let's look at the reality. When people criticize teachers, they are implying that the schools should now open their doors to the highly qualified teachers that for some reason they didn't hire before. Well guess what–they're not there. Schools hire the best people they can, and then work very hard (yes, during vacations and summers) to help them improve their schools.

    And those of you who talk about 90K salaries–those exist only in union states, mostly in the Northeast. Those of us in "right-to-work" states make at best half of that salary. Car manufacturers moved to the south for this very reason–and it explains why Detroit is shrinkingl So don't tar every teacher with the "union" brush. I'm not going to get into a discussion about the value of teacher union–I'm just saying that the people who blame teacher unions for high salaries and an unwillingness to reform education should realize they're talking about only a small portion of American teachers.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • unknown

      I'm a teacher and I'm not married. I can't even live off of my salary. I have a ton of student loans and I definitely don't receive 90k a year. I barely get half of that. I work from 7:30 until 6 some days just to try to stay ahead. I love teaching and I think that all of my time is used to improve my teaching and to improve student activities. My summer is filled with courses on trying to better my education, but we are not paid for them. Good teachers deserve more pay, but bad ones are being weeded out, which they should have been a long time ago. We are now observed almost every week with our program. The stress is way more than what other professions go through. We have to deal with rude parents that expect us to raise their children, b/c they are too ignorant to do it themselves. They come to school unfed and never ready to learn. But then people put us down when our scores are not proficient or advanced. People that are not in the teaching profession don't have a clue.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  96. Bobette

    I am an elementary teacher. I would like everyone who thinks we have a gravy job to come into my classroom and spend one day and just share whether or not your opinion of our jobs has changed. I teach in a district with about 75% poverty in the middle of IL. Most of our kids don't get the sleep, food, baths, etc. that they need to even be out of survival mode when they get to my room in the morning. I cry for those who don't know where they're going to be sleeping from night to night, let alone which adult, if there is one, is going to be in charge of them. I work in a 2nd job over the summer, don't go around crying about my paycheck, but also hate to hear those who've never been in a classroom make judgements and comments that don't make sense. Just understand that we aren't in the classroom that Opie Taylor was in where kids sat politely in rows, showed the utmost respect to everyone in the room, and had the desire to do their very best on each task.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  97. sputnick1

    Must be nice to have that short of a work day. I usually work 10 to 12 hours. Do some quick math ... 10 hours is 600 minutes. Get off your ars and do some work.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • 10101

      Read the article further than the headline – the time spent in front of students is not a teacher's complete workday. I see you can do quick math. Thank a teacher.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  98. Jeff

    If I knew now what I didn't know then... I'm a teacher entering my 5th year and wish someone would have told me everything teaching entails. The amount of grief we put up with is unbelievable. I've yet to meet what people are calling the "prototypical" lazy teacher who is hiding from a "real" job. I also want to know how many people out there with a masters degree would be willing to work for 34k a year? Our degrees cost the same as your business degree. Someone earlier commented that their teachers get 90k and only teach 5hrs a day??? Tell me where and I'll crab walk to that job. I teach 8 classes a day and get a 15min lunch before I have to watch the hall. Then I get to go to practice and coach disrespectful kids just so their parents can complain even more and cuss me out in the stands while my wife and 4yr old are in front of them. All this slice of heaven just so I can go to work on pivot irrigation all summer just so I can pay the bills. Yes the benefits are good, but tell me whether you'd like to pay 200 dollars less a month for health insurance in order to make 15k less a year than others with a bachelors? I'll break down the education problem and make it very simple. There is a coddling of kids these days that leads them to never developing intrinsic motivation and also getting an inflated vision of themselves. Many kids don't have to work at home, get told they are the best daily even when they don't excel, and are agreed with by parents when they show complete disrespect to teachers. Now, in the classroom we need more teachers, which is impossible. Every year the budgets are cut, which means there is no way any new teachers will be hired. Because of this, you have teachers teaching 20+ kids for 45min/day. Each of these kids has their own way of learning, and might need different forms of instruction. Problem is, you need to pick who gets the help. You can't help all of them each and every day. I have a paraprofessional who reads tests to 12 kids in my 6th grade class. 12 out of 40 kids need their test read to them, and that's just the kids with individualized education programs (SPED). If that para is not there, the kids just have to take it with everyone else. We have one SPED teacher for way too many kids and she always has kids in there, so we can't send them there. But no, all we do is drift through the day and pick up our fat paycheck each month so we can vacation for 4 (???) months a year (might go to Maui....). Like I said, if I knew how much criticism teachers faced on a daily basis from kids, parents, and the general public I never would have joined the profession. I like teaching, just hate all the negatives that go with it. What I see happening is college students will be scared away from teaching. I saw the job as one where I could make a difference and that would be enough to justify the smaller salary. With all that is going on, I see college students not willing to put up with the BS and choosing different professions. This will lead to the brightest kids going on to do other things and leaving lower level people to take teaching jobs. So keep up the good work bloggers.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Lois

      Just wanted to offer my support. I've been in education for 17 years and can't wait to retire. I have gotten through by telling myself I'd be "one of the good ones" but I really don't have my heart in it anymore due to the behavior of both parents and kids. Hope that doesn't happen to you. It IS a good life, especially if you have a family. Just be one of the good ones!

      August 1, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Al

      Don't give out the garbage that "Our degrees cost the same as your business degree". They may cost the same, but loan payments are tied to your income. Your payment as a percentage of your income is no more than anyone else. Also, ALL of your loans are forgiven after 10 years. For all private sector jobs, those payments extend to 30 years. The benefits you job provides you are worth tens of thousands of dollars, and those benefits are not available (or extremely rare) in the private sector. A teacher earning $35K has the equivalent income of someone in the private sector earning $50k+.

      August 1, 2012 at 9:23 am |
      • Kp

        Al, not sure where you are getting your "facts"from. I have never heard of a loan forgiveness program after ten years just for teachers. Perhaps is a special program in the combat zone of big city schools. As for salary it took me 25 years and two masters (which I paid nearly all for on loans) to finally make the same level of benefits that my nephew made his first year out of college with a B.A. In accounting at 60 k. . I have spent all but three summers either teaching at near baby sitter wages, or attending class. I couldn't afford to go anywhere. I have never had a paid vacation. I know boo who for me. I love everything I do except for the uniformed public who think I got it made with some kind of huge benefits, financial ones little, but the rewards for helping develop young minds are huge.

        August 1, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Juanita

      I'd like to add that the teacher turn over rate is 50% in the first five years. If the job is so wonderful why are teachers leaving in droves?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  99. William1956

    Kids are all ready starting school earlier and ending school later. They don't need a longer school year.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  100. pro-ed

    Teachers have it easy? Puh-lease – get a clue:


    August 1, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Tina Tapy

      You are uninformed and a fool.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:50 am |
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