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Are Public-School Teachers Underpaid?
National Review ^ | 11/01/2011 | Andrew G. Biggs

Posted on 11/01/2011 9:11:48 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Education Secretary Arne Duncan thinks public-school teachers are “desperately underpaid” and has called for doubling teacher salaries. In a new paper co-authored with Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation, I look into whether teachers really are desperately underpaid, or underpaid at all. Jason and I find that the conventional wisdom is far off the truth.

At first glance, public-school teachers definitely look underpaid. According to Census data, teachers receive salaries around 20 percent lower than similarly educated private-sector workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says teachers’ benefits are about the same as benefits in the private sector. But both the salary and benefits figures are dubious.

Most teachers have Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in education, and most people with education degrees are teachers. Decades of research has shown that education is a less rigorous course of study than other majors: Teachers enter college with below-average SAT scores but receive much higher GPAs than other students. It may be that a degree in education simply does not reflect the same underlying skills and knowledge as a degree in, say, history or chemistry. When we compare salaries based on objective measures of cognitive ability — such as SAT, GRE, or IQ scores — the teacher salary penalty disappears.

And the real world bears this out: Contrary to teachers’ insistences that they could earn more outside of teaching, we show that the typical worker who moves from the private sector into teaching receives a salary increase, while the typical teacher who leaves for the private sector receives a pay cut.

If salaries are about even, benefits push teacher pay ahead. The BLS benefits data, which most pay studies rely on, has three shortcomings: It omits the value of retiree health coverage, which is uncommon for private workers but is worth about an extra 10 percent of pay for teachers; it understates the value of teachers’ defined-benefit pensions, which pay benefits several times higher than the typical private 401(k) plan; and it ignores teachers’ time off outside the normal school year, meaning that long summer vacations aren’t counted as a benefit. When we fix these problems, teacher benefits are worth about double the average private-sector level.

Finally, public-school teachers have much greater job security, with unemployment rates about half those of private-school teachers or other comparable private occupations. Job security protects against loss of income during unemployment and, even more importantly, protects a position in which benefits are much more generous than private-sector levels.

Overall, we estimate that public-school teachers receive total compensation roughly 50 percent higher than they would likely receive in the private sector. Does this mean that all school teachers are overpaid? No. But it does mean that across-the-board pay increases are hardly warranted. What is needed is pay flexibility, to reward the best teachers and dismiss the worst.

— Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: commies; education; manhaters; nea; overpaid; privatize; publicschool; teacherpay; teachers
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1 posted on 11/01/2011 9:11:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Some are; some aren’t.


2 posted on 11/01/2011 9:13:01 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm at no additional charge...)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have less of a problem with what teachers are getting paid than with the fact that they are protected and get paid that regardless of whether they are any good at the job.


3 posted on 11/01/2011 9:14:29 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: WayneS
Some are; some aren’t.

And some aren't worth keeping in the position - except they are anchored there because of tenure.

4 posted on 11/01/2011 9:15:20 AM PDT by Godzilla (3/7/77)
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To: SeekAndFind

5 posted on 11/01/2011 9:15:30 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: SeekAndFind
...most people with education degrees are teachers.

Considering the mindless crap that is taught in course of an education degree, no other segment would hire them.

6 posted on 11/01/2011 9:16:12 AM PDT by Rudder (The Main Stream Media is Our Enemy---get used to it.)
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To: WayneS

Also factor in that they have summers off and only 180 workdays!


7 posted on 11/01/2011 9:16:29 AM PDT by jimmyo57
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To: Buckeye McFrog

“What is needed is pay flexibility, to reward the best teachers and dismiss the worst.”

Says it all.


8 posted on 11/01/2011 9:16:50 AM PDT by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Free Market dictates that your appropriate pay is merely what it would cost to replace you with like kind and quality. For teachers, which is not that hard of a job, that figure is far lower than what they get now.

FTR my wife and I home school our kids and have done some classes for other’s homeschool kids, all for free. In two hours a day, we produced kids that are all WAAAAAAY above grade level.

If anything, as a profession, they are over paid, especially when you factor in bennies and job security and the over all lousy work product (see Occupy Wall Street for the residue of our education system).


9 posted on 11/01/2011 9:17:59 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Bingo!


10 posted on 11/01/2011 9:18:03 AM PDT by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm at no additional charge...)
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To: SeekAndFind

If they think public school teachers are underpaid then they ought to try working in Christian and other private schools that don’t get taxpayer largesse.


11 posted on 11/01/2011 9:18:51 AM PDT by Liberty1970 (Daddy to Lily Ann, born 3:50 AM, 10/15/11, 9 lb/4 oz. of joy!)
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To: WayneS
Are Public-School Teachers Underpaid?

Some are; some aren’t.

There are a few exceptions, but ...

Do away with public schools, provide vouchers to parents, let parents spend them on competing schools and teachers in the free market along with their own money to the extent they want special teachers and programs, and the answer will be NO.

Until then, given the power of the unions and the dead weight and inefficiency in the civil service, the answer is and always will be YES.

12 posted on 11/01/2011 9:19:58 AM PDT by Zakeet (If it ain't broke, the Wee Wee will fix it until it is)
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To: SeekAndFind
The education system is a tool for blackmail by the crooks in government. Tom Tancredo said that the state of Colorado paid $2B for welfare for illegal aliens and the could not find money for schools so they wanted to raise taxes. Our government spenders blow the money on their pet projects and force us to raise taxes to pay for schools.
13 posted on 11/01/2011 9:20:28 AM PDT by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The best teachers can put their curriculum and course lectures online and let anyone across the US access it.

Fire the teachers we don’t need- and that would be most of them.


14 posted on 11/01/2011 9:21:11 AM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: SeekAndFind

The problem is the unions and legislators have made it impossible for a lot of well qualified teachers. Teaching history is something I might want to do when I retire, but as it stands, I’d have to go back to school for an education degree and certifications. This is ridiculous. General Patreaus is not even qualified to teach history at an american public school. Instead of these bureaucratic requirements, a simple test or proof of competency would encourage a lot more qualified teachers to the field that want to share their knowledge for a lot less money. Some do deserve the money, but there are way to many paper tigers teaching in the schools that simply got pushed through a teaching certificate programme. Because of their degrees, they are overpaid and have no real experience.


15 posted on 11/01/2011 9:22:01 AM PDT by wolfman23601
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To: SeekAndFind
Decades of research has shown that education is a less rigorous course of study than other majors

You mean 3 credit hour courses on decorating a Home Room Bulletin Board aren't as rigorous as Relativistic Physics? Classes on games you can play with a kick-ball aren't as difficult as Differential Equations, Organic Chemistry, or Statistics?

I will gladly compare my EASIEST required course to the most difficult Education degree required course. To say that they are less 'rigorous' is like saying the ocean is wet.

16 posted on 11/01/2011 9:24:21 AM PDT by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think teachers should be contractors and be forced to offer the best deal for their services.


17 posted on 11/01/2011 9:24:36 AM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a permanent Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: NativeNewYorker

LOLOLOL!!!

THAT was priceless!


18 posted on 11/01/2011 9:26:40 AM PDT by Westbrook
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To: SeekAndFind

When the public schools are privatized, teachers salaries will drop while quality of education will improve.

Out with political agenda and in with education..


19 posted on 11/01/2011 9:27:15 AM PDT by Le Chien Rouge
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To: SeekAndFind
Since they are paid union scale they earn what they deserve.

Sorry teacher with tenure is worth say,10,000 a yr...
Good teacher without tenure is worth say,70,000 a year..

That averages out to 40,000 a year for both...which is what they are all worth to the unions—but their union dues for the Democrats are priceless.

20 posted on 11/01/2011 9:30:27 AM PDT by Happy Rain ( "Many of the most useful idiots of the Left are on the Right.")
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To: Brett66

Judging by results I guess you would say they are paid too much.


21 posted on 11/01/2011 9:35:22 AM PDT by ully2
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To: Hodar
will gladly compare my EASIEST required course to the most difficult Education degree required course.

I've got an Electrical Engineering Degree (have taken the courses that you mentioned, EXCEPT Organic Chem....shudder....). I've got 20+ years in IT, and can design an Fortune 500 Companies' enterprise-class infrastructure from scratch.

Per The Current Educational System, I'm completely unqualified to teach a basic computer skills class to 8-year-olds.

Therein lies the problem. Too many "Education" majors, and not enough people who actually understand what they're teaching.

22 posted on 11/01/2011 9:36:10 AM PDT by wbill
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To: SeekAndFind

I dont know but lets find out. How about we put each teacher position into a one year consultant’s contract (at fully burdend rate) and then go to the market. We could put these out as base amount at the current salary and then open the positions up to commercial bidding to see if anyone would under bid the current price. Allow teachers to bid for thier own positions. Heck, allow unions to bid on those positions as well along with commercial staffing firms.

Establish minimum qualifications for the position (background check, credentials, etc) and place the notice out in Feb for businesses to respond between April and May for the delivery contract starting in Aug and run through the next school year. If not qualified contracts are received, then keep the same individual in the same position.


23 posted on 11/01/2011 9:37:17 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: SeekAndFind

Reasonable assessment until the last line. Doesn’t he know WHo employees teachers? Not schoolboards, who only hire the top administrators. “educators do, and they set the standards for teachers, both in who they hire and in the standards they demand of the teacher colleges. They don’t want the teacher colleges to require high standards for admission; they don’t demand rigorous courses.They want the teacher colleges to produce docile employees of modest attainments. According to the law of every state, the school system decides whom the teachers shall teach, what they shall reach, and how they shall teach. For this reason, school teaching has never been a profession, but what the sociologists call a “semi-profession.” because while the teacher has responsibilities that are professional, they lack professional standing. Unlike doctors, lawyers, veternarians, accountants, etc, they do not have to meet rigorous standards. To require this of teachers would greatly limit the number of teachers, which is why public educators do not demand this of them. Furthermore, the whole concept of the general schedule added to the unwillingness of school system to pay premiums for teachers of subjects such as math and science, means that all teachers are paid the same. In Texas, the only field where a teacher can expect to earn relatively high pay is the football coach.


24 posted on 11/01/2011 9:38:14 AM PDT by RobbyS (Viva Christus Rex.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Get the federal government OUT Of the education business..
They should not be doing anything with education..
All education should be local... under local control..
Or State controlled..or a mix..

Then the kids and college kids would get a good education..


25 posted on 11/01/2011 9:40:28 AM PDT by hosepipe
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To: wbill

They don’t want highly skilled persons.


26 posted on 11/01/2011 9:41:06 AM PDT by RobbyS (Viva Christus Rex.)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Bump to your comments about home schooling. Amazing what can be accomplished in so little time when you have dedicated students that are truly interested in learning.

That fact you can create, in two hours a day, kids that are way above grade level speaks volumes about that system, doesn’t it?

Stand fast.


27 posted on 11/01/2011 9:46:33 AM PDT by upchuck (Rerun: Think you know hardship? Wait till the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Rubbish. Everybody is paid what they’re worth. And if they’re not, they should go take the higher paying jobs that await them elsewhere.


28 posted on 11/01/2011 9:51:32 AM PDT by Maceman (Obama: As American as nasei goreng)
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To: taxcontrol
That's really the same approach I had to answering the OP's question. Every teaching job (aside from the ones in crappy school districts) has scores of qualified applicants, if not hundreds. In the rational world, starting pay should be dropped until the pile of applicants dwindles. The best teachers should receive raises just like any valuable employee to keep them from leaving. Poor performers should be let go to continually improve the stock of employees.

But, of course, this isn't a rational world.

29 posted on 11/01/2011 9:58:03 AM PDT by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: SeekAndFind
Teachers are underpaid.

That being said, there are damned few real teachers in the teachers' unions!

Get rid of the Department of Education, the teachers' unions and get the teachers back to teaching the basics and the truth and then let's talk about rewarding the real teachers for turning out quality products with real employment skills.

30 posted on 11/01/2011 9:59:17 AM PDT by Redleg Duke ("Madison, Wisconsin is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.", L. S. Dryfus)
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To: jimmyo57

Actually, it’s around 184 working days per school year. However, teachers who are good teachers typically work 50 hours a week at school, not including the time spent at home grading papers. I work with teachers who are in the classroom 1.5 hours before their students, and who do not leave school until 5:00 pm or later (2+ hours or more after the students have gone home). Of course, there are teachers who arrive just before the students and leave shortly after the students (fulfilling the minimum contract hours). Many of the teachers who put in the extra time also work during summer school (now down to approximately 4 weeks from 6 weeks).


31 posted on 11/01/2011 10:00:29 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: SoldierDad

Watch this and then post a response

http://vodpod.com/watch/465877-stupid-in-america


32 posted on 11/01/2011 10:05:08 AM PDT by 100American (Knowledge is knowing how, Wisdom is knowing when)
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To: upchuck

>> That fact you can create, in two hours a day, kids that are way above grade level speaks volumes about that system, doesn’t it? >>

Thanks for the comments on home schooling - and the two hours a day (average) is easy to understand when you realize there is no time lost hanging around the lockers, doing the lunch room thing, waiting for and riding buses, and study hall etc. These are necessary parts of any mass system which simply exists because we think it must.


33 posted on 11/01/2011 10:05:11 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright
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To: wolfman23601
The former head of Chrysler Lee Iaccoca could not teach a business class.

Plus the fact that they are not true professionals. If I am a Dr. I can practice anywhere. A teacher who moves from one school district may loose seniority and or pay grade.

34 posted on 11/01/2011 10:09:51 AM PDT by 70th Division (I love my country but fear my government!)
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To: SeekAndFind

If they got paid by what they produced, they are way over paid.

Sometimes I think their pay should be compared with that of baby sitters, and not that of educators.


35 posted on 11/01/2011 10:11:35 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: 100American

Unfortunately, my current networked server will not permit me to watch the ?Video? you provided in your link. I won’t be able to watch until later this evening. For the purpose of providing a response now, could you provide some idea of what you want me to comment on?


36 posted on 11/01/2011 10:14:51 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: SeekAndFind

Trillions have been spent on education and all the turn for the most part are jay walkers.


37 posted on 11/01/2011 10:16:47 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: SoldierDad

I meant my post for all on the thread. It is a video that exposes the monopoly that Unions exercise over education and how alternatives provide far better returns and results

And for far less cost as well!


38 posted on 11/01/2011 10:17:56 AM PDT by 100American (Knowledge is knowing how, Wisdom is knowing when)
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To: hosepipe
I agree that the Federal government does not have any business in K-12 education (and precious little in higher education), but the rot in K-12 education is not due to the Feds. The "money quote" in the article is

Most teachers have Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in education, and most people with education degrees are teachers. Decades of research has shown that education is a less rigorous course of study than other majors: Teachers enter college with below-average SAT scores but receive much higher GPAs than other students. It may be that a degree in education simply does not reflect the same underlying skills and knowledge as a degree in, say, history or chemistry. When we compare salaries based on objective measures of cognitive ability — such as SAT, GRE, or IQ scores — the teacher salary penalty disappears.

Most of the several states have given a monopoly on producing "qualified" or "certified" teachers to colleges of education. Some even extend that monopoly to private schools if their diplomas are to be recognized by the state.

Back when my father went to high school (class of 1940), all of his teachers had at least a masters degree in the subject they taught, some had doctorate in the subject they taught, not in education, not in [subject-name-here] education, in the actual subject. Until the normative credential for teaching high school or even middle school, is again degree in the subject taught, and we find a way to keep semi-literate math-phobic ditzes from filling the vast majority of K-5 teaching slots, K-12 education cannot be fixed. And both of those reforms require the several states abolish the monopoly they have granted to colleges of education, and, ideally, imposed more rigorous requirements on publicly funded colleges of education that don't fold as a result of losing their monopoly.

39 posted on 11/01/2011 10:18:27 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: SeekAndFind

Teachers are treated as production workers because they are production workers.


40 posted on 11/01/2011 10:19:48 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Venturer
Sometimes I think their pay should be compared with that of baby sitters, and not that of educators.

Okay! $3.00 an hour is an estimated rate for child care services. A typical teacher works a 7 hour day. So, 7 X $3.00 = $21.00 a day. Oh wait! that $3.00 per hour is per child. So, we then have $21.00 X 30 students, giving us $630.00 per day. Then, we take $630.00 X 184 work days and we get $115,920.00 per year.

Are you sure you want to pay teachers the same rate as a Childcare provider (which, for the record, $3.00 an hour is a very low estimate).

41 posted on 11/01/2011 10:22:25 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: WayneS; wintertime

Virtually all are. A degree in education erodes marketable skills; it doesn’t add to them. Today most are in teaching because they would be unable to find indoor work with no heavy lifting anywhere else.


42 posted on 11/01/2011 10:27:19 AM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: hosepipe

Wrong. Get all government out of education. Why are “conservatives” so enamored of educational socialism? “Government education” is an oxymoron.


43 posted on 11/01/2011 10:30:52 AM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: 100American
I will view the video later. Being a Public School Employee, I fully understand the problems with the Unions with respect to how education works (or doesn't). Another problem, possibly far greater in scope, is the fact that the decisions made on curriculum that is taught in the classroom is made by people who work in little cubicles in some office far from the classroom. Coupled with this is the fact that publishing companies lobby politicians to force public education to change curriculum materials every few years. This means teachers have to learn to use new curriculum, which is typically nowhere near as good as previous material, and often comes with many errors.

For example, my 12 year old granddaughter was struggling last year in 6th grade with the math curriculum. When we talked to the classroom teacher about the problem, the teacher stated she and her colleagues were still learning the new material and were unable to answer our questions, or help the students. She complained about the new curriculum, but explained that teachers were powerless to do anything about it.

That's the world of public education today. Teachers, the good ones, are hamstrung by policies which originate elsewhere and by people who haven't got a clue as to how children should be taught.

44 posted on 11/01/2011 10:31:11 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: SeekAndFind

If there are plenty of qualified applicants, then they’re overpaid.


45 posted on 11/01/2011 10:37:01 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Author of BullionBible.com - Makes You a Precious Metal Expert, Guaranteed.)
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To: SoldierDad

Why is there such a large turnover in teaching materials and curriculums in our public schools? I would think that it is counter productive.

It would seem to me that oce you found a method that works you would stick with it. The money spent on new materials and training for the new curriculums must be astronomical.


46 posted on 11/01/2011 10:55:26 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Buckeye McFrog
I have less of a problem with what teachers are getting paid than with the fact that they are protected and get paid that regardless of whether they are any good at the job.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

What irritates me is that government teachers are paid to teach students to think and reason godlessly. ALL government schools in this nation are godless in their worldview. Simply by attending children **must** think godlessly just to cooperate in the classroom, read the textbooks, and turn in assignments.

I don't want my tax dollars going to people who undermine the faith of children and preach the gospel of godless secular humanists....And...ALL government teachers do simply by agreeing to teach in the government schools.

Also....ALL government schools in this nation are socialist. They are socialist funded. The teachers who willingly work in these socialist schools support and uphold socialism. Also....Children who attend learn that the government has enormous police power to **force** taxpayer to pay for, and to **force** children to use, this tuition-free socialist service. Well?....Gee! If government can give kids free school, why not use the force of government to give them lot of “free” socialist goodies.

I object to forking over tax dollars for that socialist indoctrination, too!

NO NO NO government teacher in this nation is doing a “good” job. Why?

.... Because teaching children to think and reason godlessly is not “good” !It is evil! It is instead a First Amendment and freedom of conscience abomination. Neither it is good to support a system that teaches children to be comfortable with socialism.

47 posted on 11/01/2011 10:56:23 AM PDT by wintertime (I am a Constitutional Restorationist!!! Yes!)
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To: SeekAndFind

You need to look state by state. My wife has been a teacher for 23 years in Alabama. $40K after 23 years is underpaid. But she loves it and will nver quit.


48 posted on 11/01/2011 10:57:12 AM PDT by BO Stinkss
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To: NativeNewYorker

LOL! That’s even funnier in Spanish!


49 posted on 11/01/2011 10:59:47 AM PDT by Lou L (The Senate without a fillibuster is just a 100-member version of the House.)
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To: SoldierDad
That's the world of public education today. Teachers, the good ones, are hamstrung by policies which originate elsewhere and by people who haven't got a clue as to how children should be taught.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Sounds to me like any typical socialist program. Once government socialism takes over excellent service is scarcer, that which is available is of poorer quality, and all of it is more expensive.

Socialist schooling? What were the 19th century progressive reformers thinking?! What we have today was inevitable!

50 posted on 11/01/2011 11:04:28 AM PDT by wintertime (I am a Constitutional Restorationist!!! Yes!)
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