Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Sappy Sentimentality
...and here's why

First off, no... this isn't a post slamming teachers. Hey, three out of my six siblings are teachers. I'm more fed-up with the Teachers Union constantly crying about how bad teacher pay is. If they keep banging the drum about how REALLY BAD things are financially for teachers, then everyone will eventually believe it. And things really aren't that bad.

Hey guys, want to free up a few zillion dollars? Do away with the Department of Education. I believe Mom and Dad in Anytown, USA know better what's best for their kids than some long haired bead wearing 60's reject working in some Washington bureaucracy.

But getting back to pay, I live in North Carolina. Probably one of the lowest paying states in the nation. Did you know that a brand-spanking new teacher fresh out of college makes $29,750 a year? And that's not all. Depending on what county they live in, they also rate to make as much as $6,580 a year supplement. A little over 36 grand a year for someone with the basic qualifications and zero experience? Not bad!

And just to keep things in perspective, a young Private fresh outta Boot Camp makes a whopping $15,612 a year. I can't speak for the other Branches of the Armed Forces... but if this youngster is in The Marines... he's on his way to a Combat Zone.

Like I said, let's keep things in perspective.


Blogger Dad29 said...

$30K in salary plus WHAT in bennies?

Here in Mke, the (paid-for-by-taxpayers) bennies are another 50-70% of the salary in cost.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin - "pax tecum" said...

Agreed....I work for a state govermental agency and have done so for 7 years...I don't make the money starting teachers make...I know...BooHoo

3:19 PM  
Blogger Carolina Cannonball said...

since your in NC - you know that you can live quite nicely on $36K here.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Mac McLernon said...

Yup... the pay's not too shabby (though it could be better) - and don't forget the holidays... two weeks at Christmas, two weeks at Easter (sorry, Spring Holiday) six weeks in the Summer AND three one-week slots in between the big holidays!

BUT... the downside is we have to face all those kids...!!

(I love kids really... I just couldn't eat a whole one!)

4:57 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

As long as I'm a homeschooling grandmother doing the job they can't do, and am forced to pay them anyway, I couldn't give a rat crap what schoolteachers make.

I don't even get a tax break for homeschooling. Let 'em cry me a river and build me a bridge.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Soldier does not make $15 K/yr. You are not counting his free medical and his free housing, free food. That is worth AT LEAST another $10 K/yr. Also, a soldier just needs a high school degree (if that). Most teachers have a minimum ba. You cannot compare an uneducated person with an educated. Now, Kevin may have an equal comparison.

And I can tell you have not been in a big city public high school lately. I left when one of my students murdered another one. Granted, I was not taking bullets, but most soldiers will never be shot at either.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

John Stossel did the best roasting of them on 20/20. Also it's almost impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. They have to do something really stupid like not renew their license.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Unitas said...

Not to mention most only work ~8 months out of the year (summer plus fall, winter, and spring breaks) and works ends at early to mid afternoon.

The Cavaman's right, they shouldn't be complaining when others bleed and die for less pay and more work.

Then again, since when do liberals care about the military?

9:14 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...


a soldier just needs a high school degree (if that). Most teachers have a minimum ba. You cannot compare an uneducated person with an educated.

First off, I don't know if I'd ever be so bold as to refer to an enlisted man with a HS diploma as "uneducated". I take it you're a Public School teacher... is that how you look upon your end product... an "uneducated person"?

The Soldier does not make $15 K/yr. You are not counting his free medical and his free housing, free food.

Hmmm... I'm glad you brought that up.

a. Free Medical. More often than not, my medical care consists of a young Navy Corpsman. High School diploma and all. WHOOPS! There's another of those "uneducated" people!

b. Free Housing. I remember when hit my first duty station after Boot Camp. I had a semi-private room. Me and 38 other Marines cramped in an open squad bay. And some of my other more luxurious accommodations... a hole in the ground for months at a time. But in all fairness, housing for a single Marine has improved my leaps and bounds. If they're stationed on one of the more updated bases, it's 2-3 men in a motel room sized box.

c. Free Food. I'm sure things have changed in the 10 years since I've retired, but I seem to recall that an somewhere around $13 a day was allotted for each Marine at the Chow Hall. Breakfast... lunch... dinner. All on $13. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a benifit or a punishment.

And I can tell you have not been in a big city public high school lately. I left when one of my students murdered another one.

And as we both know, that's a rarity in the extreme. Care to come to Camp Lejeune with me on any given week and go to the memorials for Marines killed?

Granted, I was not taking bullets, but most soldiers will never be shot at either.

As I stated, I can't speak for the other branches of the Armed Forces (soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen). I don't keep up on their overall overseas rotations , but a Marine graduating Boot Camp can count on being in a Combat Zone rather quickly.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Jay Anderson said...

The notion that we don't spend enough money on public schools and on teacher pay is laughable.

Furthermore, that bumper sticker is comparing apples to hand grenades. Providing a national defense is the FIRST priority of a federal government. Since when is paying school teachers and educating kids a role of the federal government?

Oh, that's right. Ever since Dhimmi Carter gave us the biggest damn federal boondoggle to ever disgrace a national budget - the Department of Edumacation.

Son of a retired public school teacher
(also grandson, stepson, nephew, brother-in-law, etc. of public school teachers).

7:51 AM  
Blogger PaulaB52 said...

The Catholic school teachers get paid much less than the public schools in our area (Louisiana, I think the lowest paid in the 50 states). We get the teachers fresh out of college, they stay one year, get some exprience, then it's off to the public schools for double the salary.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I feel compelled to respond to Unitas who stated that teachers days end at mid-afternoon- actually that is when I am able to, after being with the kids all day, begin much the work- which can take a number of different forms - grading papers, re-reading the three novels I am usually teaching in preparation for the next day, xeroxing work, creating plans and inserting academic standards into them, contacting parents via phone or email, completing forms for learning differences evaluations, planning field trips, or meeting with other teachers. I am a Catholic school teacher and that is what I do, but from what I understand, the public school teachers are expected to do twice as much paperwork as I am expected to do. In my county, yes, they are payed well- but they work extremely hard for that pay. I have tremendous respect for them.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Hate to be a dissenter. I normally really like the Caveman's site. I work as a teacher in NYC, where I had to have a master's degree to start. I work with children with autism who are also severely mentally retarded. If you want to simplify the matter, then yes, I get paid a lot. My pay is more than most of my other friends and family, but I can afford much, much less due to the high cost of living in NYC, plus the nation's highest taxes (most of my family live in the south). The kids I work with pose all kinds of biological hazards, due to a combination of the lower socio-economic status of the population (some children have transmittable diseases) and due to the fact that they spit, bite, etc. Needless to say, sanitation is a high priority for everyone's health.
Yes, we do get paid a certain amount, but we get no supplies almost whatsoever. Concerning the above situation, there were several months of the year last year when I had to buy my own soap to stock in the classroom. Soap is cheap, but in a situation where you get regular training on the dangers of biological hazards of the workplace, you would think it would be supplied. If the school can't supply something so essential and cheap, then you can be certain they don't supply much of anything else. In many business professions, it would be considered insane to expect your employees to donate a significant amount of their own paycheck to basic supplies. Not true in education.
This is more of a visceral response than a well-thought out refutation, but it does bother me when people cite figures to prove that teachers get paid to much. Most teachers I know have second jobs, because there is not as much room for salary promotion as compared to other professions, and the median salary is much lower than other professions. Teachers are considered professionals, but they are not paid like them.
No, John Stossel did not prove much. I read his book, and I don't remember the exact figure he used, but he quoted the average salary of a NYC school teacher at somewhere around 70 or 80k. (The starting salary, with a Masters, is 42k, I think). That sounds like a lot. Guess what the average 1B apartment costs in Manhattan? $850,000.
I'm not complaining, I chose my profession to serve those that society would choose to ignore, and to do so in God's name. I am not asking for more money, but for a more honest appraisal. Those that try to oversimply on either side of the issue miss the point. But yes, with more money, quite frankly with more money I could buy more things to use with my kids. I go through a lot of materials because they often destroy stuff. My school has severe behavior problems.
Sorry for the long post. I love your blog, and by the way, I didn't know you were from NC. I lived most of my life in East Tennessee, and I hope to retire there one day. Beautiful country.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Caveman you may not be College Graduate but your wit is better than any comedian today. I loved your tip on how to save zillions of dollars!!

I love your blogs as no matter how down I am feeling they can always make me laugh!!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Matthew, my friend.... I honestly do appriciate your kind words, but what makes you think I'm not a college grad? I have a double major!


Anon and Laura,
I don't want either of you to misunderstand me. Hell, if I had it my way, teachers pay would be DOUBLED!

I'm just asking folks to keep things in perspective when it comes to "pay". Also, the Feds have ZERO business in the ejamikation field. Like I said on the post.. the folks on the local level know what's best.

Dismantle the Dept of Ed, and pass the saving on to the teachers in the form of a pay raise or tax cut?

7:12 PM  
Blogger paramedicgirl said...

In BC, Canada, a high school principal with a masters degree makes 80K a year, and a teacher makes 60K. The only way you can get rid of a poor teacher is if they have sexually abused someone. Incompetency and crass stupidity are not reasons to let them go. They have the most powerful union in the province.

There are good teachers out there, though and once in a while, a student will get a really good teacher, usually once or twice in their twelve years of school.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

In Ontario, the average high school teacher makes between 50-70k (which is suddenly worth an awful lot more worldwide courtesy of our rising dollar), depending on education (each successive level worth a couple k more a yr) and experience (up to the 11th year, a k or so raise). They can also choose to work summer school, get a good pension, have a powerful union... and guess what? The average mid-to-higher-level academic hs student figures he or she could make a lot more money elsewhere (often in business, the fools), and those that choose to become teachers anyway... it's still a really competitive field. And many teachers aren't so great. Some are, some aren't. It's a good job, very, very competitive, and not for everybody. The better the teacher, often the more work that teacher puts in. The best often seek to become department heads, so as to influence the direction of their department positively, and are thus given a lot more work. Comparing it with Canada's generally well-paid, well-educated, and much-maligned military is silly. The jobs require different types of people. Not everyone can engage in a firefight, fly a fighter, or stay combat-capable under heavy fire. Conversely, not everyone can deal with the effectively unpaid overtime, (which, as I've said, increases dramatically for those who wish to do a good job,) handle the kids and the many challenges they bring, deal with the politics, or possess the academic skills required to become teachers in the first place. I say, to each his own, for in this world, we need both soldiers and teachers. The lower the pay and worse the benefits, the fewer willing to do either, for better and worse.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Tom S. said...

Yes, they have a tough job. No doubt about that. BUT, they have a tough 9- month a year job. And don't give me any crap about "we have to grade papers and make out lesson plans" - big damn deal, so do I. I work from 7 AM to 6 PM at one job, and teach (yes, teach) one to three nights a week plus Saturdays year round (8-16 contact hours). I have not had an honest-to-God vacation since the summer of 1995. And, like most non-teachers, I have to produce or get replaced.

Sorry to vent, but those bumper-stickers piss me off.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Just to let you know I read your response to my comment...thanks... I enjoy the blog...even when I disagree with you...makes me think.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

even when I disagree with you...makes me think

That's all I ask for!

12:25 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'm a first time visitor and I enjoyed several of your posts. You are a talented writer and some of your posts are very thought provoking.

I must dissent however with the general tenor of your post and some of the comments. I'm a high school assistant principal with over 20 years of experience in teaching and administration.

Teachers in my district make about the same as yours starting out. Those with a B.A. and no experience start out at about 30k. I don't think that is an unreasonable starting salary. A teacher with thirty years of experience who goes back and gets a doctorate degree makes under 50k. The salary schedule is very compacted. Other professions reward experience, skill, and advanced degrees and teaching should as well.

Another perspective would be a local convenience store chain that offers new assistant managers a starting salary of 36k with a high school diploma being the only requirement. Fast food managers can make much more. You really want to compare teaching salaries to that?

It has become increasingly difficult to recruit, train, and retain teachers, especially those in high demand areas such as special education, foreign languages, math, and science. Many of the good ones leave the field for more rewarding jobs in industry. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a principal like a science teacher resigning in August.

As an administrator I'm all for getting rid of bad teachers and sometimes I am frustrated with how difficult it can be. It can be done but it takes a lot of work.

The U.S. Department of Education? It should be a research institution and a national clearinghouse for innovative practices. The small portion of school budgets that comes from the feds is accompanied by tons of strings and mandates. I'm not for abolishing the department but I would like to see its focus changed.

As I said earlier, I enjoyed my visit to your blog!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Unless someone identifies themselves as a Catholic, and they openly espouse heresy, I don't expect anyone to ever agree with me.

So we disagree on a few specifics... that's OK in my book! I'm glad you enjoy visiting the Lair.

Swing back often!

11:55 AM  

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