Thursday, March 26, 2015

How to kill a profession


So you want to kill a profession.

It's easy.

First you demonize the profession. To do this you will need a well-organized, broad-based public relations campaign that casts everyone associated with the profession as incompetent and doing harm.  As an example, a well-orchestrated public relations campaign could get the front cover of a historically influential magazine to invoke an image that those associated with the profession are "rotten apples."


Then you remove revenue control from the budget responsibilities of those at the local level. Then you tell the organization to run like a business which they clearly cannot do because they no longer have control of the revenue. As an example, you could create a system that places the control for revenue in the hands of the state legislature instead of with the local school board or local community.

Then you provide revenue that gives a local agency two choices: Give raises and go into deficit or don't give raises so that you can maintain a fund balance but in the process demoralize employees. As an example, in Michigan there are school districts that have little to no fund balance who have continued to give raises to employees and you have school districts that have relatively healthy fund balances that have not given employees raises for several years.

Then have the state tell the local agency that it must tighten its belt to balance revenue and expenses. The underlying, unspoken assumption being that the employees will take up the slack and pay for needed supplies out of their own pockets. 

Additionally , introduce "independent" charters so that "competition" and "market-forces" will "drive" the industry. However, many of these charters, when examined, give the illusion of a better environment but when examined show no improvement in service. The charters also offer no comprehensive benefits or significantly fewer benefits for employees. So the charters offer no better quality for "customers" and no security for employees but they ravage the local environment.

Then create a state-mandated evaluation system in an effort to improve quality. Require the system to use a value-added measure (or VAM) that may or may not be equipped to do what its advocates say it can do. The American Statistical Association states:

Under some conditions, VAM scores and rankings can change substantially when a different model or test is used, and a thorough analysis should be undertaken to evaluate the sensitivity of estimates to different models.

Then make high stakes employment decisions based on the VAM.

Then you create an accountability system that purports to evaluate the quality of organizations. Then, using this system, rate over 80% of organizations as average or below average, furthering diminishing the respect of the profession.

It's easy to kill a profession.

All of these things have happened to public schools in Michigan. While I don't want to believe it, the argument could be made that some people are trying to kill the profession of public school educator in Michigan.

Some might argue that what I should focus on is the students. Student needs are the most important.

I agree.

But unless you create a meaningful, respected profession - who will teach the students?

59 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Only thing missing is how the take-over of the education system is also dumbing down our children, traumatizing the young students, invading student and family privacy, creating a cradle to career government controlled system, and completely destroying our freedoms.

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  2. EXCELLENT article!! However, your question pertaining to who will be left to teach our children has already been answered by the MDE, the legislative branch, and the executive branch in both the federal and state governments. The implementation of uncertified instructors through the use of Teach For America.

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  3. Great post! I've said all along and I firmly believe the evidence is unassailable that the end game is the complete destruction of the public school system, since it is the one substantial threat to maintenance of class structure, dilution of power, and eventual downfall of an expanding oligarchy.

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  4. Thank you for your willingness to put yourself on the line for educators and students. I know many teachers who have done this, but haven't seen it from many administrators. It's time to lead an educational revolution!

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  5. I agree with a great deal of what has been said. From my perspective, local matters, e.g., the management of the local school district, should be left to those at the local level. Then the local taxpayers can hold those responsible accountable. Of course the local people will need to become involved, e.g., vote, attend school board meetings, parent teacher conferences, etc. And, parents will need to hold their students/children responsible rather than blame the educators. Rather than protecting incompetent educators, the local association will need to help weed them out, doing so because of performance not "politics."

    If given the opportunity will people make this happen? We sent people to the moon with "slide rule" technology and computers with less power than a modern smart phone. If our parents and grand parents needed all the enhancements to the local education system, how did that happen?

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  6. All of life is a pendulum. We are balancing out the indulgences of the past. Education was driven by bumper sticker mentality (What if the Defense Department had to hold bake sales to buy a bomber?). We readily gave by way of increased property taxes, only to see the stewards of our tax dollars give it away in too generous pension and benefit packages. Teachers by the end of their careers were receiving wage and benefit packages approaching 6 figures in some districts. Eventually, the tax payer asked for accountability. Is that so wrong?

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    1. Not a bad point to make...however, if you look at the benefit packages of the majority of teachers nearing the end of their careers, you would see that it is nowhere near a "6 figure" amount. As always, you should not judge ALL for the conditions of a FEW.

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    2. Please show us those six figure benefits package and if so, what is wrong with a teacher with a teacher receiving a six figure salary.

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    3. I know this directly from family members who are educators. One was an elementary school principal whose total package (actually published in the local newspaper) was well over $100k. Another was a 3rd grade teach (albeit with 2 masters) whose salary was $70k with a 25% benefit package. School districts still provide heavy medical benefits, including family coverage, with little (20%) copay. Private employers pay employee coverage at best, sometimes less. I pay $1500 a month for family coverage. I get a 401k with a $200 annual match. When school districts bring their benefit packages in line with the private sector, then people will stop complaining. Don't tell me, by the way, that salaries are reflective of the rich benefit package. They aren't. Where else can a 4 yr degree get paid $50k+ for 9 months of work? Nice work if you can get it.

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    4. It sounds from your response that your family members "were" public school teachers. They were making this at the end of their careers, and this is assuming they were grandfathered in to their pay-scale before the state of Michigan imposed it's new policies. Currently, the fact of the matter is that there is not enough money to pay the new teachers anything more than what base salary. Most first year teachers are making around $35,000 and have NO end in sight as to when they will make ANY more. Most teachers are receiving pay cuts- for doing more work than they have ever been required to. New teachers are required by the state of Michigan to pay up to $30,000 for their masters out of pocket in order to retain their teaching certificate. New teachers also are required to buy materials for their classrooms- a huge expense at the beginning of a career. Also, the medical insurance deductible at our district is over $4,000. We are also paying $100 per month to be in the teacher's union to try and unite together to do something about this issue. Most teachers work through half of June and half of August, and spend July planning for the following year and going to professional development training. So, I am not sure why you are speaking like you really know what it is like to be in the education field because you have two former educators in your family. That is like saying you know all about the policies and problems in the medical field because your family member is a doctor. Or like you know all about what it is like to be a doctor because you've been sick. You really don't know what it is like unless you are currently a teacher.

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    5. Working "9 months of the year" is pretty tough to do when school doesn't get out until the middle or second half of June and teachers report back sometime in August. Maybe the 20 minute lunches they get is too cushy of a benefit too?

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    6. Speaking as a teacher, I can tell you since I began in our district 5 years ago I have received a .5% bump in salary and that's only this year. I never know year to year whether my position will be cut or I will be part time and now with the new evaluation system, I have to make sure to stay on the 'good' side of my administration because I never know when they will decide to become 'unhappy' with my classroom performance. Should we discuss workload? I am actually lucky because I teach an elective class so even though I do most of everything a core teacher does they also have to deal with ACT/SAT, M-Step ((formally MEAP) which is a total nightmare), MAZE, AIMSweb, MIBLSI, on top of reading, writing and math scores. Should I add a few other acronyms (I'm sure I am missing a plethora)? But wait, that's right, my evaluation is also tied into those same reading, writing and math results (as is everyone else in the building) even though I (and many others) did not receive formal education on any of those subjects. As for $70,000 and two masters? I would love to afford to rack up a bill to get my masters, let alone find the time. Many do it and have a whopping $140-$200,000 dollar loan they now have to pay off with that $70,000 dollar salary. Should I go into the stress of it all? Grading papers (at night and on weekends), parent concerns/complaints (and sometimes berating), evaluations (remember to stay on their good side), coaching, after school and weekend activities (that we volunteer our time for and are part of our evaluation), students that don't have good home lives (maybe they don't get food, clothing or their parents are abusing them-homework is the least of their worries), classroom management (often times with little back-up from parents), need I continue? Yes, being a teacher is simply a cake walk. I do enjoy my job but often consider changing my career because it's now come down to quality of life. I get tired of people basically telling us we are 'glorified babysitters'. Anyone who complains about teachers, their 'time-off' and salaries should have to step into a classroom for a year.

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    7. It's tough to make a living. I am a degreed professional (Doctoral level) working in the private sector. It is not unusual for me to work 60 hours a week. I work Saturdays and Sundays when necessary. Younger members of my firm are expected to work more (it's called paying your dues). I pay $18,000 for health insurance a year, with the same $3000 deductible. As for out of pockets, I am expected to pay for my continuing education, my travel expenses, etc. Monthly parking recently went to $300 a month. If I want a benefit from my employer, there is a monthly deduction for it. Recently, they re-carpeted the office, and, yep, I was charged a percentage. I am under constant pressure from my employer to produce more income. I am under constant threat of being sued for my actions.

      Now let's look at my much younger daughter who works in a service industry in the private sector. She was impressed by her initial salary. Then she found out that she also had to work 70 hours a week. Constant pressure to produce better numbers. Her health insurance runs her $500 a month; her employer contributes $150. a month. She has a 401k without a match.

      In other words, teachers have no idea how the real world works. Frankly, I have never seen a teacher that could survive in the private sector. They have a sense of entitlement about resources. They think that everything is budgeted, and controlled by a board. In the real world, resources are allocated to those items that produce income.

      There are no raises here either. There are constant demands for accountability. That is how the private sector works. Benefits are only given grudgingly. You are reminded constantly that you are an "at will" employee, and every day may be your last (no pink slips or intents to lay off here). I have seen employees terminated after 20 years for a clerical error. Time to put on your big boy pants, and realize that you have protections and benefits that simply don't exist in the real world. Enjoy your time in the sun in July, while we continue to work, afraid to take that 10 tour of Europe because our job may not be there when we get back. (Yep, I have seen that too.)

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    8. Pensions are deferred income; private sector employees have the potential for limitless income and are therefore responsible for their own retirements. Teachers give up that income potential in exchange for a pension so that they can retire comfortably one day. They're not asking for mansions and BMWs, but ranches and maybe a new Taurus. That's not too much to ask for when we require so much out of them.

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    9. Actually, Anon, I believe ranches and new cars are a bit much for teachers to expect on retirement when it is funded on the backs of taxpayers who will never have either during their own highest-paying working years. Retired teachers around here net about 24k a year and I'm OK with that.

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  7. Please, send to your contemporaries. Thank you, Sir. I'd add, for clarity, that the "some people" you are referring to are the executive branch and legislators at the Federal level (oh wait! That's unconstitutional!)

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  8. Amen and thank you! For those of us teaching in this state you hit the nail on the head. Would you please send this article to our govenor?

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  9. Well, the real problem is, you decided to let the Union take over and big government take over because you knew that way you could just sit back and all of the "Bad Apples" would never get weeded out because they had the Union backing them up. So now the rest of you don't like being called "Bad Apples." It's your own fault. Take back control of yourselves, unless you're afraid and there are too many "Bad Apples." I think it's horrible that some teachers in some of these failing school districts are making $70 - $80,000 for only working an average of eight months out of the year, and many have another job during the summer or the rest of the year. Not only that, they have parent or student aids that do a good share of their work during the year. Please send this to the governor.

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    1. Wow, this statement is so horribly wrong, I've had to reread it several times to try and understand if you are joking or not? I can't decide, so I'm just going to say that you have no idea what you're talking about and just wanted to stir the pot. I'd calm down if I were you.. Just sayin

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    2. But he is so right. Unions primary purpose is to protect the worst worker. The bad apples hide behind the skirts of the MEA. The MEA is to blame for bloated benefits that cost every single homeowner.

      No, this gentleman is not joking. He speaks the truth that is the underlying purpose of this entire article.

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    3. For all of the people who are bashing teachers, I would ask you to walk a mile in our shoes before you judge us so harshly.
      Secondly, every teacher who collects a pension also pays into that pension. The state is also collecting another 3% of our salary for our future health benefits.
      Finally I am wondering why someone would find it disturbing that teachers(who some might say have a crucial job in society) would make 6 figures? I have a Master's degree and thirty years of experience. If I were in the private sector with those same qualifications, dedicated to doing the best job I could, I could easily be making six figures. However, the sad reality is, I don't know ANY teacher who is making six figures. You might want to do a bit more research on that. Regardless of what the "haters" say, I will continue to be proud of my profession and the intelligent, compassionate, and innovating colleagues I work along side each and every day. In my heart, I know that I am making a difference in the lives of my students and their families.

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    4. Some of these comments are laughable with the misinformation presented. Working only eight months is a line used only by those who have no idea what the education system is like. Unions don't protect bad apples, bad administrators who don't do their job are the ones who let the very small percentage of teachers who struggle remain in their positions.

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    5. I agree with the comment just above mine, speaking as a teacher. I also agree that there have been many 'bad apple' teachers working for too long but how is this supposed to go then? For all of the teachers who work their butts off? How would you have it go? There is no way you would get quality educators if they were paid the wages of your average babysitter and would you want to send your children to them? As for 8 months out of the year, ha! If I'm not physically doing the work on the weekends and during my breaks, I am mentally worrying and making lists. Try it out for a year and then come back and comment here.

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    6. How is taking away the professional authority of teachers and crushing their morale a benefit for STUDENTS? Are we seriously only doing this to get rid of a FEW bad apples? Deal with the select few. Until Michigan gets a governor in office who is for the people rather than corporate interests, this will continue to happen. I'm waiting for the lawsuit that is imminent when they start firing people and deeming them "ineffective" because their students were not able to show growth on ONE test, on ONE day. Give me a group of students who are reading and writing AT grade level, who have parents who are willing to spend 30 minutes or more a night with them, who are not abused or hungry or from single parent homes and who don't have to take care of their siblings; then we can talk.

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    7. Omg. Some of you sound so ignorant. You shouldn't assume you know the status of teachers unless you are in the field. Long gone are good benefit packages. Never heard of anyone bringing in most of their pay after retirement. It's about 25% and we have contributed to it during our career. If teachers are bringing in more then they probably invested other money over the length of their career and are receiving social security which they also contributed to. Pensions for new teachers doesn't exist. We pay for our insurance and pay high deductibles. Oh, and much of the taxes we pay go to fund medicaid and wellfare. I pay taxes so they can get free healthcare, often with better care. Maybe you should spend your time bashing that instead of people who work their tails off to educate our future. Most teachers work 10 months and spend a lot of their summers preparing for the next year. In our building, we work year round to make sure our special education students don't regress over the Sumner. Did I mention that I work with cognitively and emotionally impaired students who spit on, punch, hit, scratch, kick etc. on staff? They throw their "bodily fuctions" , smear it on staff? Many of us have permanent injuries including myself. We don't make extra for this abuse or are we compensated for it. But we deal with it because we love making a difference in kids' lives. What have you done to contribute to the betterment of our society? I could go on and on. Maybe you should educate yourself before spouting and making fools of yourselves.

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  10. Great stuff. Keep up the fantastic truth-telling.

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  11. As a husband to a teacher, I am astounded at how deeply she cares for her students learning and how many hours she puts into a thankless job on a regular basis. These people here who are bashing teachers and saying this is an easy job, I think you should quit your day job and try being a teacher. See how you like it! I bet you wouldn't make it 3 weeks.

    I'm not a teacher. I wouldn't be able to do it! She works over 65 hours a week in a job that pays much less compared to other professions with similar education levels. She arrives very early, and stays after school to help kids. She is up until late hours every day preparing for the next day, grading papers, answering emails, etc. She has to deal with 200 sets of parents that aren't always so pleasant to deal with ... and they never look in the mirror when their child is not performing as well as they expect. (How about working with your kid on their homework instead of blaming the teacher!?) If I was in her shoes, I would have quit that job long ago and found a better job that paid more and had more respect. But she is stronger than I, and loves to teach.

    The only perk of her job the 5 weeks off in the summer. But she also does not get vacation days to use whenever she wants (like many jobs do). We can never take a vacation during the school year -- ever! Zero flexibility. Oh and the "pension".... what people don't realize is the "pension" is deducted from teachers paychecks and it is hardly the payout numbers quoted here! It is not something that is just "given" to teachers freely and not much different than someone in business funding their 401k over many years (which again comes out of your paycheck). Medical benefits ... a huge portion comes out of the paycheck for that too, so again there is nothing special there.

    I do tend to agree that over time, unions got too much control and treated "everyone as equal" which resulted in high performing teachers being treated exactly the same as poor performing teachers (who probably should not be teaching). That's a problem, no doubt. But what is worse, is republicans and their special interest groups overreacting to these somewhat minor problems in the educational system and make sweeping changes that Dr. Mathews outlined above, and is sending education into a downward spiral that will not be easy to recover from. Much, much worse! It is a political issue and it shouldn't be.

    My wife could make a lot more money doing many other careers, but she loves to teach. At some point, the system might get the best of her and our educational system will lose another good teacher, and the death of the profession will continue.

    And by the way, nobody answered Dr. Matthews question. WHO WILL TEACH YOUR KIDS!? WHO WOULD WANT THIS JOB? Think about that - not many! Teacher prep enrollment has been plummeting. As your kids head off the college, would YOU encourage your kids to be a teacher? I'm not sure I would.

    We are headed toward an educational epidemic that will be much worse than what the unions ever did wrong in the past.

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    1. My wife is a teacher and I feel the same way. When I went back to get my Masters I never considered the education field or being a teacher. I don't think I could deal with taking the constant pressure of working late nights grading papers, having numerous bosses each with their opinion, taking endless classes and trying to fix situations that are beyond my duty or ability. Eventually the teaching environment if you truly are vested either disappoints or burns you out. What I find so frustrating as an outsider of the profession is what elected and appointed officials profess what they want and action they take. They demand students to have a world perspective but cut foreign language requirements, tout STEM as the future but change little of that curriculum and emphasize partnerships but develop few if any across k-16 organizations ( community colleges, non-profits, etc.) I 100% agree about who will want this job. I'm very fearful because the focus has shifted to be less on the process and more on that final product. This is counter intuitive since any worker will change professions several times in a lifetime. It comes down to long term vision, desire and financing, all which seems to be in short supply.

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  12. Thank you so much for having the courage to tell the truth. If more administrators and school boards would speak up and educate parents, maybe we could put an end to these horrible practices that are destroying teachers and public schools. Parents and other community members need to know the hidden agendas behind high-stakes testing (make schools and teachers look bad) and that they can opt their students out to send a message about the absurdity. They need to know that charter schools, including cyber-schools, are siphoning off their tax dollars for administrative-heavy budgets and that students with special needs are often "counseled out" of the charter school after count day when the charter has documented attendance to receive the foundation grant from the state. They need to know that making teachers jump through endless hoops to prove their worth in the new evaluation system is demeaning and exhausting and driving down morale. They need to know that pay and benefits have been reduced greatly throughout the state while teachers are continually told do more and work harder (I did not see your post mention pay cuts, but they have been rampant over the past 5 years). They need to know that the "accountability system" for rating schools is extremely flawed and that schools can be considered "red" or "focus schools" over things that are out of their control. We need ALL the administrators and school boards of MI to speak the truth to clear up the many, many misconceptions about public schools and teachers. Thank you so much for being a true leader.

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  13. What if in another 10 years we realize that the whole mess of public education, charter schools, home schooling, vouchers, etc. isn't working for the majority? By this time funding for public education will be destroyed and teachers will be making minimum wage. How will we attract competent professionals to teach our kids? A good education will only be available to those who can pay for it.

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  14. And what is sad proof of the effectiveness of this deliberate demoralizing of the teaching profession, begun with Gov. John Engler, is that 86% of the thoughtful responses to this article felt that they had to remain anonymous. 'Not saying you shouldn't be! Just saying it is what it is.
    Grandpa Mark Abler

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  15. People comment as anonymous because we know the kick back if we are known to complain. I have been a teacher for 30 years plus and my nephew just got his first job (age 23) making more than I do now. I am at work by 7am and get home between 5-6 pm, bringing home two bags of work. I make dinner, help my two with homework and put them to bed, going back to working on things for the morning and staying up til 11 or 12. I go to evening meetings, conferences on my own cost, work an extended school year til the end of June and back to work the beginning of August. My summer is filled with preparing for the next school year. Last year, I spent $4200 on school supplies. This is our reality. We love the children and love to teach but as far as support, we just do not get any. I've learned to exist on no positives from administration. It is sad, really.

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  16. Kudos to Dr. Matthews for writing this article. Most people don't know how the U.S. educational system is being undermined by hedge fund managers who lobby legislators to create a system wherein for-profit companies can get rich off our children. If you care about how your tax dollars are spent or about public education, read the Free Press's exposes on charter school corruption in Michigan. These people want to misdirect anger at teachers and unions while they do their work clandestinely.

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    1. http://www.freep.com/article/20140622/NEWS06/140507009/State-of-charter-schools-How-Michigan-spends-1-billion-but-fails-to-hold-schools-accountable

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  17. Great insights, well written. Thank you for this. Sharing everywhere.

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  18. Markets dictate salaries, period. Teaching salaries are very inelastic. Part of this is due to the fact that teachers don't often have transferable skills (at least in the eyes of other hiring managers in other fields) so there isn't much a teacher can do when confronted with lack of a raise. The other half of the equation is teaching unions negotiate contracts that make it incredibly difficult to get hired in with experience. Sure, it is possible, but to get beyond 3-4 years experience when moving between districts is near impossible.

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  19. Teachers really HATE that they can no longer abuse children at will, give bad grades for good work and in general play tin-plated dictator in their classrooms. More than that they HATE being held to any objective standard. Too bad for them. Hopefully they will be replaced by human beings who want to WORK and have compassion for their students.

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    1. You're a fool.

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    2. Please, come show us the way.

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    3. The way has been shown. Charter schools. Standardized testing. The elimination of Teacher Unions. These are all that is needed to make public education fair and humane.

      For those who decry "teaching the test" I say; at least now you will have to teach SOMETHING.

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  20. Anonymous 8:35 AM - How many of your colleagues do you think could do a teacher's job? You obviously have no clue. So your job sucks, so only if a job very obviously sucks well beyond your job's suckiness is it legitimate to complain about poor working conditions? Yes, let's just all insult and drag each other down. How low can we go? If the point you were trying to make is that you think you are superior to teachers, take a number; there are a few zillion people ahead of you.

    Anonymous 6:53 PM - Just ignorant and obnoxious.

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  21. Well Mr. Mathews you are as much a part of the problem as the "state". As long as Superintendents move around for the bigger more "prestigious" and higher paying positions then local education will lack the committed leadership that it needs. You were not at your previous position very long before moving to Novi.

    Additionally as long as school funding is a disparate as it currently is some students will always be on the short end of the stick. I agree that teachers have taken an unwarranted beating, as far as class room performance is concerned, parents have wiped their hands of any responsibility and pushed it all back on the schools. As with any profession there are exceptional teachers and some that do not quite measure up, unfortunately those under performing became the lightning rod. The MEA's continued support of those who needed to find another profession became the rallying point.

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  22. You need a hobby or a good book to read. You're just a nasty little troll.

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  23. Teaching is a "chosen" profession. Did you get in to it for the money or because you wanted to make a difference in the life of a child ? You are very quick to complain about all that is changing for you and slow to appreciate what you STILL have. None of you would survive in the private sector with the attitude of self entitlement that you have. Perhaps that is why you are staying in what you consider such a "horrible situation" At anytime you can leave your current position. As for not being able to take a vacation during the school year....all the extended paid holidays aren't enough ? I would love to get paid to stay home 2 weeks at Christmas, a week of Spring Break, winter break ect.....

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  24. Anonymous @ 12:27: So you would love to get paid to stay home 2 weeks at Christmas, etc....then why don't you became a teacher? And if the private sector is so horrible, why don't you work to change it? Maybe start a union?

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  25. @shelly: As I stated teaching is a chosen profession for those who are "called" to do so out of the passion they have to impact the lives of children. I am not that person. Clearly, you have misinterpreted the point behind my comments, actually you have proven my point exactly...
    As for changing the private sector, only someone who is not in the private sector would make such a statement. Unions are not the answer, they are part of the problem.

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    1. Most professions are "chosen" professions, so I don't understand what you mean by that. A doctor goes into his or her field to make a difference in their patients' life, but I guarantee they still expect to get paid good money. Would we want to start paying doctors less? Wouldn't that affect the quality of the medical field if less qualified people became doctors because their pay was lowered? For some reason people think teaching should be an act of charity.

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    2. Money doesn't determine the quality of my work, my work ethic does.

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    3. ^ AGREED. I'm a social worker who "chose" to get into my profession to help people and make a difference. My decision was not based on my paycheck, extended paid holidays and a 6 week paid summer vacation. My work load is double of what it should be, the cost of MY medical insurance is outrageous, I don't get "snow days" my retirement fund laughable ect. ect ect... but my heart and desire to make a difference in lives if children far out way the things I may need to give up

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    4. I think Anonymous 12:26 is missing the other persons point. I don't think they feel as if teachers are over paid, I believe they are frustrated with attitude of self entitlement that some (not all) teachers project. Why do you feel as if you are the only field having to accept changes in the workplace ? The average American working in the private sector have taken a hit far beyond what is being asked of you. I believe their point was be happy with all that you STILL have. Most Americans have lost a GREAT deal more than you.

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    5. This is anon 12:26, and no, I'm not missing the person's point. In response to anon 1:40, I think that is very noble of you. I just don't understand why it is so horrible to fight for fair wages that correspond to your efforts and the differences you make. And no, money shouldn't be the only factor, but if you want the brightest and best in a profession, it wouldn't be a bad idea to offer a competitive salary. Comparing the private sector and public sector is difficult. Although part of the point of the article is that there are many people who could profit off of turning public education into a private sector entity. Teachers have always made less than their equals in the private sector. By equals, I mean people with equivalent education levels. And that's ok, I guess it depends on how much society values public education. Yes, during a down swing in the private sector, perhaps the public sector should take a hit. I just worry when it is the other way around, will the public sector at least come back to where it was originally? If no one is complaining (or is allowed to complain - i.e. no collective bargaining), what is the incentive?

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  26. I lived through 12 years of public schooling, from 1963-1975, the "Golden Age" for teachers. TENURE. TEACHER'S UNIONS.

    Teachers were UNTOUCHABLE. They could not even be QUESTIONED.

    At the hands of these Golden Age educators I received:

    Physical Abuse.

    Bad grades for good work.

    Psychological Abuse.

    And in general a lot of tin-plated dictatorship.

    The results were bad for me economically. The results for teachers are as follows:

    I ALWAYS VOTE REPUBLICAN. Teachers are by and large communists. I will ALWAYS vote against them.

    I ALWAYS vote for politicians who promise to crack down on "bad apples" (bad apples=teachers). I ALWAYS vote for CHARTER SCHOOLS. I ALWAYS VOTE for the elimination of tenure and teacher's unions.

    Nowadays, teachers have had much of their god-like power removed. They can be fired for physical abuse, even jailed. If their students fail at a higher rate they can be fired. AND I AM HAPPY, HAPPY JOY-JOY HAPPY about this.

    Teachers, the next time you want to crap on some kid you don't like, remember this; IF HE LIVES LONG ENOUGH HE WILL VOTE.

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