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Æthelthryth the Texan

Atlantic article on teacher pay

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You would be astonished at how top-heavy school districts are.  

 

I worked in one district that had to make up a budget shortfall.  They could have gotten rid of one (of four) assistant superintendent and his three staff people but instead---they got rid of every single classroom teacher's aide in the district.  

 

The average per-pupil spending number does not include the federal monies spent, either.  

 

Not astonished. Disgusted. 

 

Broken-hearted. Frustrated.

 

Thankful for the chance to home school.

 

Edited by Lucy the Valiant
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And some aren't very good.  Maybe it's because of the conditions, but I avoid them when possible.  I've had some good ones.  Not saying none have been good, but they don't have office hours which is quite bizarre.

 

Does anyone have Office Hours? In this day  and age you just email and arrange  a meeting.  Especially for low-paid employees who do not likely do not have an office.

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Our state's average is $76,527, with those at the top earning up to $162,000. I don't consider that too bad. It seems there's a big difference state to state. And I'm not sure that it correlates to COL. I don't know why teachers making a low salary stay with their jobs.

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Does anyone have Office Hours? In this day  and age you just email and arrange  a meeting.  Especially for low-paid employees who do not likely do not have an office.

 

Yes they do or they will arrange something.  The adjuncts won't.  They basically say their office hours are a few minutes before or after class.  And that's it.

 

Now, they do have tons of free tutoring services so they often refer students there if they need/want it.  Not like there is no support.  You just aren't really going to get it with an adjunct.

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I agree, but what I'm asking is WHY do they put up with it? Why not just leave? 

 

Benefits, family obligations in the area, professional calling, credentials may not be valid in a different location, inertia.  

 

 A starting teacher in my district makes $45K base and $65ish base after 15 years on the job.  On top of base pay, many teachers pick up additional sums for additional tasks at the school.  For example, teaching summer school or being the advisor for the ASB.  The pay is still far too low for the amount of work required and the truth is that many new teachers do in fact just leave.  I'm 37.  Of my college peers who entered education (and there were many), only one is still in education, working for a public school district.  None them are still teaching in a classroom.  Most of them now work in different professions.  Everything from real estate to consulting to law.  People leave the profession in high numbers, especially in the first five years.  

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So just for the fun of it, I looked up the negotiated salary schedules for the three school districts that I could drive to with equal amount of commute time, living in my current house.  District 1 is the district my children would attend.  It is the middle of the COL for the three districts.  

 

Starting salary is a BA with a teacher certificate (add a year of school).  Top salary is max after 25 years with a PhD, so this is the total range.  The third number is what I would be earning under these conditions:  I assumed my current level of education (Master's) plus 45 hours, which I would have had to attain in about 15-20 years of teaching according to the negotiated agreements and I assumed I have been teaching for 15-20 years.  

 

District 1.  Starting salary:  $33K.  Top salary:  $66K.  I would be earning $58K.

District 2.  Starting salary:  $37K.  Top salary:  $97K.  I would be earning $81K.

District 3.  Starting salary:  $49K.  Top salary:  $97K.  I would be earning $81K.  

 

COL, high to low:  District 3, 1, 2.  (District 2 has a much lower COL than the other two, housing being the primary driver.

School ratings:  Best-District 3.  Close second-District 1.  Third on this list but not third overall in the greater area, District 2.  

 

District 3 and I think District 1 have as an added perk half-day Wednesdays.  This is to attract teachers.  

All have 2.5 months non-teaching days in summer, 2 weeks at Winter/Christmas, and at least 1 if not 2 weeks winter/spring breaks.  

Full benefits for everyone.  

 

So if it were up to me, I would go work in District 2.  Better salary (above the total salary cap in my home district), lower COL so the salary would go farther.  But even $58K is not chicken feed if you include the benefits, and if you have children for whom you need not pay day-care during the summer and afternoons (and Wednesday afternoons).  

 

 

 

 

 

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The more egalitarian a place, the more there seems to be a gendered economy with women choosing careers where they have more human interaction.

I read an article a few months ago (probably on the Atlantic) that showed that Western countries have much lower rates of women in science and engineering than in many authoritarian Muslim countries. In the countries described, women are tracked into science and engineering careers if they tested well and/or they choose these careers because a stable job with good pay is so important to them in their unstable economies.

 

Besides your excellent reasons from employees point of view, I like that plan from taxpayers point of view. In our area, schools are about 95% funded from local property taxes. Eighty percent of school operating budgets are salaries and benefits. I won't do the math all the way through, but -- no matter how much I want to see teachers have good benefits -- it irks me that I pay $$$ for their benefits. Their medical plans are 10 x better than mine, that is, my deductible and so on is 10 x more. And I pay medical for teachers spouses and children, because teacher plans are usually better than many in private industry. Oh, and they get these for life. Personally, I would rather pay bigger income taxes and have everyone in the same pool for medical insurance, kwim.

 

Where I grew up, average per student spending is now $20-22,000 depending on the source. Teacher pay is at least double compared to where I am now, although the COL there isn't much higher. Both the pay and benefits are at least perceived as much better than most people can get in other jobs. Health insurance and pensions are perceived as very generous. I don't know what is actually covered these days. I just know they spend $14,000 more per student than where I live now. I also know that the school taxes kill people. My parents spend about $6,000 per year on school taxes. My dad had friends closer to his job paying $8,000 or more a decade ago.

 

In my parents’ district, the public votes on the school budget. However, if the budget fails, it automatically goes to a contingent/back-up budget which is the same as the previous year plus some percent. In other words, there is no mechanism for holding the budget steady, even if the number of students remains the same. The budget will always grow.

Edited by HoppyTheToad
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Benefits, family obligations in the area, professional calling, credentials may not be valid in a different location, inertia.  

 

 A starting teacher in my district makes $45K base and $65ish base after 15 years on the job.  On top of base pay, many teachers pick up additional sums for additional tasks at the school.  For example, teaching summer school or being the advisor for the ASB.  The pay is still far too low for the amount of work required and the truth is that many new teachers do in fact just leave.  I'm 37.  Of my college peers who entered education (and there were many), only one is still in education, working for a public school district.  None them are still teaching in a classroom.  Most of them now work in different professions.  Everything from real estate to consulting to law.  People leave the profession in high numbers, especially in the first five years.  

 

I left for three reasons.  First, there was a teacher glut and so jobs were sparse.  I had 5 one-year contracts in 5 schools, 4 districts.  I just wore out. Tenured teachers got 5 years maternity leave and so there was always someone wanting your place...and it wasn't based on talent.  Parents went to bat to keep me on--letters to the governor, to the daily papers...no good.

 

The second is that the job became less autonomous...and it has accelerated in that tendency since I left.  You teach what the central office says you teach, when they say and how they tell you to.  Not. Fun.  Not. Interesting.  Not. Creative.  

 

The third is that some parents are crazy.  "You can't give my daughter a zero just for cheating!  How else is she supposed to get the grades to get into college?"  "I know my son hasn't done any of the work or read any of the books all semester, but grades come out next week so I was wondering if you could write out all the assignments and give us all the reading lists and tests for the semester and we will do them this weekend and get them to you before your grades are due."  Yes, those, and other similar whacked statements--and the killer was that the school counselor pressured me to acquiesce to the make up work request.  

 

I really loved teaching, when I got to do it.  Fact is, I still remember dozens of students' names, 30 years later.  I know for a fact that three kids are alive because I was their teacher.  Several learned to love reading.  Many found a career path.  Some hated my guts.  I watched a snot-nosed smart-aleck become a man when he realized he had been a jerk and apologized and took his consequences.  I learned some real lessons in humility, in courage, in diligence from some students.  I worked really hard.  I made mistakes.  And I had a lot of fun.  

 

But I also had a lot of fun, and worked just as hard (with only 2 weeks vacation), in my follow-up career.  lt all worked out...for me.  

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When I was teaching in public schools, I made an okay salary for just starting out and having a master's degree. And dh was making an okay salary too. It's just that dh, with less education and a less demanding job, was going to rise and rise in terms of salary possibilities... mine was going to plateau.

 

It's 77k average in my district, with top paid teachers more like 100k. That's not terrible, though at the lower end, it's not enough to raise a family on by any means and the working conditions aren't awesome here. It's a very high COL area.

 

In WVa, where the whole state was just on strike for some pretty reasonable requests, there was that legislator who referred to increased teacher pay as a "handout." It's their salary, lady. Most of them work harder than you. Even if you think they shouldn't be paid more, it's NOT a handout. It's a salary for an actual job. I get that many teachers stay with it because they feel called, which is great. But it drives me crazy that many people seem to think that because so many are there for a calling to teach, they shouldn't ask for better pay or conditions and should be grateful for whatever they get. It's completely messed up.

 

Some of the ways that teachers these days are treated is just horrible. I thought it was not awesome when I was teaching, but some of the tales that people I know teaching now tell make my head spin. I've posted before about how apparently in NC, if you have a snow day, it's an excuse to dock your pay. You have to go in and sit in your classroom on the snow day or they dock you a day's pay. But you additionally have to teach the make up days they add on if they add any without receiving any additional pay. What the heck!? And then there's the amount of completely useless data driven blah blah blah paperwork. It's a massive waste.

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Starting teacher salary in our school district is around $31,000.  The median home value is $307,000.

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Starting teacher salary in our school district is around $31,000. The median home value is $307,000.

Starting in my home district is 33K. Median home price is ~$600k.

 

Big big difference in how far the dollar goes.

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Starting in my home district is 33K. Median home price is ~$600k.

 

Big big difference in how far the dollar goes.

Yeah, here a starting teacher can’t afford to rent most one bedroom apartments. If they don’t have spouses, they have roommates or they are commuting very far. It’s not sustainable. Edited by LucyStoner
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Does anyone have Office Hours? In this day  and age you just email and arrange  a meeting.

 

I do not wish my 600 students to email me every time somebody needs to speak with me and arrange a meeting time, thank you very much. I much rather make myself available for a few hours each week at a designated time and place where they can find me and get help with homework and their questions answered. 

 

Yes, faculty absolutely have office hours. Some may not hold them in their office, but in shared study spaces or classrooms instead. 

Participation is much higher if there are designated hours when they know the professor is available; it removes the barrier of having to reach out and request a meeting. Much simpler to know that prof will be available in a certain room from 2 to 4:30 and 6 to 8:30 the days before homework is due.

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I read an article a few months ago (probably on the Atlantic) that showed that Western countries have much lower rates of women in science and engineering than in many authoritarian Muslim countries. In the countries described, women are tracked into science and engineering careers if they tested well and/or they choose these careers because a stable job with good pay is so important to them in their unstable economies.

 

 

 

 

Where I grew up, average per student spending is now $20-22,000 depending on the source. Teacher pay is at least double compared to where I am now, although the COL there isn't much higher. Both the pay and benefits are at least perceived as much better than most people can get in other jobs. Health insurance and pensions are perceived as very generous. I don't know what is actually covered these days. I just know they spend $14,000 more per student than where I live now. I also know that the school taxes kill people. My parents spend about $6,000 per year on school taxes. My dad had friends closer to his job paying $8,000 or more a decade ago.

 

In my parents district, the public votes on the school budget. However, if the budget fails, it automatically goes to a contingent/back-up budget which is the same as the previous year plus some percent. In other words, there is no mechanism for holding the budget steady, even if the number of students remains the same. The budget will always grow.

I would love to have taxes that were less than $10,000. People in newer, bigger homes can have taxes around $50,000. The system in NJ is utterly broken. School budget increases are capped at 2% by state law. New governor wants to change system, with more state aid for schools. Hope something works!

 

Yes, benefits for teachers are excellent. I went to NJ website and checked health insurance. No individual subscriber can even come close, at any price, to what is available to teachers.

 

Police salaries are the highest. I read somewhere that average income in NJ is in range of $66,000, while average police salary is over $100,000. Retirement payment of $150,000 to $350,000 are not uncommon for police -- they can hold on to unused sick, vacation, etc time. Some towns have to borrow money for retirement payouts if it is not in their budgets.

 

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate public servants. I just think that the compensation system is out of whack. Very few in private industry have defined compensation retirement (as opposed to defined benefit), I think.

Edited by Alessandra

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Some of the ways that teachers these days are treated is just horrible. I thought it was not awesome when I was teaching, but some of the tales that people I know teaching now tell make my head spin. I've posted before about how apparently in NC, if you have a snow day, it's an excuse to dock your pay. You have to go in and sit in your classroom on the snow day or they dock you a day's pay. But you additionally have to teach the make up days they add on if they add any without receiving any additional pay. What the heck!? And then there's the amount of completely useless data driven blah blah blah paperwork. It's a massive waste.

 

I am teaching (well, counseling) in NC right now.  I came from CA.  It is very different.

 

What you are saying isn't entirely accurate (snow days.)  NC has a STUPID amount of teacher work-days. Like 18 total.  It is ridiculous.  In CA I  had 3.  

 

Anyway, the way it works is that if there is a snow day where the busses aren't safe to go in, but cars should be able to get in just fine, they change that snow day to a pupil free teacher work day and then use one of the teacher workdays that is on the calendar as a make up day.  So, it is the same amount of days for each in the end.

 

But NC is horrible for teachers .  I would leave if I could, but for now, I can't.

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It's on par with many of the public service professions, like the military, 911 dispatch operators, etc.

 

Well, let's think about this for a moment.  911 dispatchers, police, firemen.....none need a college degree, much less a master's degree.  

 

Military, no degree necessary, although my friends with degrees in the military make more than double what I do for fewer years.  Heck, my friend's husband who is a chaplain makes more than double what I make.  

 

So, 6-12 weeks of training vs. 4-6 years......no, I do not think we should make the same.

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I got my alternative teaching certificate when my youngest was in 10th grade. I went that route because it was something that I knew how to do and because I had heard repeatedly that there was a shortage of high school math and science teachers.

 

I am certified in secondary math, secondary science, special education, and ESL. It was extremely difficult to get my first job and I was only able to get an offer at a charter school (avoid them like the plague if you are a teacher). My pay there was $40k for a brand new teacher with a master's degree teaching all subjects and assigned to high school special education.

 

The starting salary at the district where I am now teaching is $46,000 and they offer a stipend of $1250/year for a master's degree and pay an additional $1000/year if you are assigned in special education. The maximum pay with 28 years of experience is $59,772 and they still offer the same stipends.

 

I work at least 60 hours/week during the school year and put in at least 10 hours/week throughout the summer to make sure that I don't end up having to go up to 70 hours/week during the school year.

 

I do love teaching, but I just can't keep it up long-term. I do have a lot of autonomy at my school. Everybody on the same team gives the same tests and quizzes, but you can choose to teach the material any way you want to. Discipline issues are always a pain, but I've seen much worst at other schools. The administration at our school is pretty good and we have top-notch counselors and a fantastic social worker.

 

In the end though, I just can't keep this up long-term. Insurance costs keep going up and the amount that it covers keeps going down. 

 

I'm working on cross-training during the summers to try to switch over to data science or actuarial science in 3-5 years. it will take that long to be able to get the training/certifications that I need during the summers. I can't afford to stop working in order to try to get through the training/certifications faster. It would have been better if I had come up with that idea whiile I had been hsing and gotten through it back then, but I didn't have it on my radar back then.

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Well, let's think about this for a moment. 911 dispatchers, police, firemen.....none need a college degree, much less a master's degree.

 

Military, no degree necessary, although my friends with degrees in the military make more than double what I do for fewer years. Heck, my friend's husband who is a chaplain makes more than double what I make.

 

So, 6-12 weeks of training vs. 4-6 years......no, I do not think we should make the same.

Of course, police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel have more dangerous jobs than teachers. And people in the military spend significant amounts of time away from home.

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The teachers in my area are very well paid, so I'm always a little surprised when I see what teachers are making in some other areas. The average family income in my area is less than $50,000 and the average teacher salary is over $70,000 plus benefits. Some who've been around for awhile have six figure salaries. 

 

 

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Where I live nearly every police officer has a college degree.

 

I would like to see comparisons of jobs requiring a bachelors degrees and the pay scales. I think teachers are probably in the middle of that scale.

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Many don't stay. I'm pretty sure there's a high turnover rate here, or at least a shortage. That kind of pay sounds about right for some here. No, I don't assume a teacher has a billion other offers waiting. If I were to try to teach I would do the alternative route to licensure. If I didn't like it, then what? Back to square one. Not all fields have job openings or good fits.

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Then there is the 'Windfall Elimination Tax' which would stop me from ever going into paid public school employment, despite my STEM degree and homeschooling experience, unless I could be absolutely certain that it wouldn't apply to me.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

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Of course, police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel have more dangerous jobs than teachers. And people in the military spend significant amounts of time away from home.

 

But the point was, "Well, all public employees make about that, so it is all good."

 

The truth is, when I went into teaching the salaries were within a living wage.  I started at 30K in 1988.  By the time I left my CA teaching job I was at almost $80K.  There were many opportunities to make extra if I needed to.  I could work off-track, teach an extra class per day, do Saturday school, etc.....

 

Now I am in NC.  I make MUCH less than I did in 2006 when I left CA.  And there are almost no opportunities to work extra and make money.  They just don't offer it.  Your salary is what you get.  The end.  

 

My friend, whose husband is a chaplain and makes more than double I do, has had 2 six month tours in all 27 of his years of service in the military.  He makes more than most pastors who are doing similar jobs.  His kids get near free college tuition.  He gets health insurance for life.  Far more perks than I get.

 

I am not saying they should be paid less either, I am saying teachers should be making more in areas of the country where teachers just don't make enough to support a family.  I am very thankful we aren't dependent on my salary alone.  We would have a very hard time making it, and I have 20 years of experience and two master's degrees (for salary purposes.)

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It used to be a decent job.

 

It isn't anymore.  

 

Almost half of my current school staff are looking for something else.  Although I am not sure the grass will be greener in a different school.  PS has changed so much in the last 10-15 years. 

 

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone anymore.

Edited by DawnM
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I read this article on The Atlantic this morning: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/03/west-virginia-oklahoma-protests-teacher-pay/555434/

 

The guy in the article is making $34,500 a YEAR. Even if he got a 10% raise (which is never going to happen) he's not going to hit 40k. That is not a livable wage and I live in a cheap COL state. This article is reporting teachers needing to panhandle to make it. 

 

Unless you are within spitting distance to retirement and have a spouse making more than you to compensate, what I'm wondering is why they stay? Why not go find a job somewhere else outside of working for a public school that actually makes a living wage? I'm trying to wrap my head around it and struggling. These are not people in a religious order or people volunteering. So why do they put up with self-inflicted poverty? They have degrees. They have work experience that could transfer to other industries. 

 

The "calling" or "I just love it" thing is only going to account for a small percentage of people.  I have a feeling a lot of teachers are like those in many other professions. They just sort of fell into it. But the difference is that they stay and what they put up with. Why? This isn't something you typically see of professions with people who are well trained and have the potential to move into other jobs. Or has teaching become a "trade"? Or maybe it always was and I didn't realize it? Just trying to understand why anyone would put up with needing to panhandle, beg, or work multiple jobs to keep their other job. 

 

While I agree that teachers should be making better money, I'm having a difficult time understanding your question. Are you thinking they should be going back to school for a new degree? Looking for a new career that doesn't require a degree (and isn't statistically likely to pay more)?  Suddenly become entreupreneurial (which not all people are) and develop The Next Big Thing?

 

As a parent with three teenagers who are aiming toward mediocre salaries with limited opportunities for increases, I definitely have concerns, but  I can't imagine trying to change who they are in order to push them toward more money.  And though I think income disparity in the US is mind-bogglingly atrocious, the median *household* income is around $60k.  "Of those individuals with income who were older than 15 years of age, approximately 50% had incomes below $30,000 while the top 10% had incomes exceeding $95,000 a year in 2015."  Perspective is kind of important.

 

I've never encouraged teaching careers, not because of the cash but because of the system.  One of my kids is still determined, but in higher education, not K-12.  I cross my fingers for him.

 

I do think there are more teachers who believe in their work than those who don't.  But I know a lot of teachers, including a few who HAVE left.  But they didn't make more money.

 

We don't put money where it really counts.  Education, social work, emergency services...  It's literally going to kill us.  Thank goodness for those who are trying with all their might to hang on instead of expediting the process by leaving for more money in a different job that they never wanted.  We should be pushing to get them more money, not pushing them away from essential roles.

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Originally I missed his age. Did he have to start a new chart when he moved? You should get a little more each year under your belt I thought. Or after so many. Hmm. I wonder what his colleagues made and how long they were in the school district. Something seems off.

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It’s not so much the starting salary, but the finishing one. When DH and I moved here, I had a higher degree and more experience in my field. I taught K-6. He started as an entry level software engineer. Our salaries were approximately the same, if you assumed that my summers off were actually off.

 

By the time DD was born, his salary/benefits package was twice mine. Now, if I were to go back, it would be 3x mine. The big difference is that there really was no way to move up the ladder without changing jobs and going into administration. I started out with a grad degree, so higher salary at the beginning, but after that, it was small step increases, and that was before my state did away with automatic increases in pay in exchange for bonuses for test scores (which rarely happens when you choose to teach in high-need schools).

 

For us, that was not a big deal because we were young, recently married, and recently left grad school. Neither of us had student loans, and we could live on DH’s salary. We were in an area where you could get an acceptable house for 100k, so we were able to buy relatively quickly. By the time we had DD, we had enough in savings that my staying home was reasonable, and I switched to teaching the occasional course as an adjunct, tutoring, and other part-time work that was more hobby than job. And I am very grateful that DD was born on the state employees health care plan, because DH’s insurance has never been as good as what I had then,and that could easily have been a medical bankruptcy pregnancy.

 

But that lack of motion really means that young teachers without a spouse in a higher paying profession are stuck. And if you graduate with student loan debt or live in a place where the average house is 10x what it is here, well, you’re really stuck.

 

I’ll also point out one more thing. DH has a 401k and a significant match from his company, plus stock purchase options and stock bonuses. I have shares in a state run teacher pension system that is constantly being looted and may not exist. (Plus private retirement savings largely funded out of DH’s salary). So choosing teaching is very much the job that keeps not giving.

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Where I live nearly every police officer has a college degree.

 

I would like to see comparisons of jobs requiring a bachelors degrees and the pay scales. I think teachers are probably in the middle of that scale.

 

I just looked up the teacher salaries in my district. They range from $42,000 - $89,000 for full-time. Administrators make well over $100,000. Jobs in the private sector needing bachelor degrees in the area are similar; when DH was looking to move his job back to the area 2 years ago (he commuted over 75 miles away for 11 years), he found many jobs that offered $40,000 even with him having 15 years of experience, a Bachelor's degree, and multiple IT certifications. 

 

Edit: median home price within the school district is $148K.

Edited by beckyjo
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Well, let's think about this for a moment. 911 dispatchers, police, firemen.....none need a college degree, much less a master's degree.

 

Military, no degree necessary, although my friends with degrees in the military make more than double what I do for fewer years. Heck, my friend's husband who is a chaplain makes more than double what I make.

 

So, 6-12 weeks of training vs. 4-6 years......no, I do not think we should make the same.

Paramedic here is a two year program.

I make double as a paramedic(albeit the fact that I work for a private family owned company) as what I will make when I finish the SPED degree I am working on. The benefits, retirement and being on my kids schedule is the reason I’m switching careers, not the money. Most teachers I know work another job during the summer or are supported by a spouse. I can make as much during the summer as a medic as I will my entire first year of teaching.

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Where I live nearly every police officer has a college degree.

 

I would like to see comparisons of jobs requiring a bachelors degrees and the pay scales. I think teachers are probably in the middle of that scale.

 

Interesting.  The only officers that seem to have degrees here are the ones who want to be at a captain level (I may not be using the right terminology, but they are ranked higher).  

 

That would be interesting to compare jobs requiring a BA and an MA.  My current job requires an MA.  

 

And it will vary wildly for teacher pay, so I am not sure you can really compare completely.  

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Paramedic here is a two year program.

I make double as a paramedic(albeit the fact that I work for a private family owned company) as what I will make when I finish the SPED degree I am working on. The benefits, retirement and being on my kids schedule is the reason I’m switching careers, not the money. Most teachers I know work another job during the summer or are supported by a spouse. I can make as much during the summer as a medic as I will my entire first year of teaching.

 

Interesting.  What is a SPED program?

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It's on par with many of the public service professions, like the military, 911 dispatch operators, etc.

Do those professions typically have college degrees though?

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As someone who recently left the adjuncting life, I don't mind sharing. I've actually discussed this on the college board.

 

Adjuncting varies from college to college, state to state so YMMV.

 

In my area, an adjunct teaching as many classes as allowed (3/3) throughout the school year will make just under $21,000. No benefits. Shared offices. Compulsory training is unpaid. Material review and selection is unpaid; this must be done prior to the beginning of the semester. Course syllabi, ancillary materials, etc are all due a minimum of three weeks prior to the start date. This is to ensure institutional and ADA compliance. Adjuncts usually put in 20-30 unpaid hours prior to the beginning of the term. These hours are a crap shoot because the class may not make (i.e. doesn't reach minimum attendance). If the class doesn't make, the adjunct is not compensated for the time in any way. The college can cancel a class up through the first week of attendance; the adjunct is literally at the mercy of the college.

 

Pay periods are usually delayed and adjuncts teach for 5 weeks in the Fall semester before the first paycheck is received (the delays aren't as bad in the Spring and Summer semesters). Ninety percent of the adjuncts I know all work a second or third job. Every one of them would love to be hired full time. The remaining 10% are married and have a spouse who works a decent paying job.

 

When I began adjuncting, it was with the idea that a FT position in my department would open up within 5 years and I would go FT. Due to state budget cuts, declining student enrollment, and the push for online classes and degrees, the college has cut its FT faculty by over 50% and increased the number of adjuncts by 3X. For every FT who leaves or retires, the school hires 3-4 adjuncts. The distribution of labor is undesirable across the board. There are adjuncts who teach one class per semester; others teach 3. FT faculty teach anywhere from 3-6 classes per semester. Many of the FT faculty are championing for the hiring of more FT faculty to help relieve their burdens. For example, adjuncts are not allowed to be academic advisors. As the FT faculty numbers decrease, the number of advisees per faculty member increases.

 

Re: office hours

Yes, they are mandatory. The school I taught for required two hours per course per week. Usually that was the 30 mins before and 30 mins after the class. Classes met twice a week.

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When we lived in Oklahoma (one of the lowest paid states) we had some friends that were teachers.  They stayed because they had family in the area, and short of going back to school to become something for the oil industry there weren't many other options to stay local.  They were far too liberal to work in the oil industry anyway.

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Where I live nearly every police officer has a college degree.

 

I would like to see comparisons of jobs requiring a bachelors degrees and the pay scales. I think teachers are probably in the middle of that scale.

In my state teachers must have a Masters degree.

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It's on par with many of the public service professions, like the military, 911 dispatch operators, etc.

I would add that the other public service professions work 12 months out of the year rather than the 10 months that teachers work. Those public service professions don't get two weeks off at Christmas or the other very generous holiday and inclement weather time off.

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I would add that the other public service professions work 12 months out of the year rather than the 10 months that teachers work. Those public service professions don't get two weeks off at Christmas or the other very generous holiday and inclement weather time off.

The other public service professions don't have you working off the clock though. When you are a 911 operator, you are done when you clock out. Teachers work 60-70 hours/week during the schoolyear. At my school, classes are 9-4:15, but we are required to be there 8-4:30. We are required to have a Planning Learning Committee meeting before school 1x/week for each subject we teach where we meet with the other teachers of that subject to plan out our schedules and review data. We are required to have a minimum of two one-hour tutorials before school and one-hour tutorials after school. We are required to use part of our conference period for duty (hall duty or bus duty or lunch duty). We also have frequent meetings before school, after school, and during our conference periods for 504 meetings, ARD meetings, and other parent meetings. We are required to notify every parent whose student is failing BEFORE each interim progress report (every 3 weeks) and also let them know what their student can do to bring up their grades. We have required professional development we have to attend. Last year, they made us use up one conference period every month for this.

 

I never manage to get much lesson planning or grading done at school (although I do manage some). This is only my 3rd year teaching at this school, but every year I have had one new subject to teach. My first year was just IPC. Last year I was half IPC and half Chemistry. This year I have Chemistry and Forensics.

 

We have to get all of our grading and lesson planning and parent contacts completed and most of that takes place outside of school hours.

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My oldest dd is a teacher in IN. She makes a smidge over $34,000. She was a straight A, graduate college in 3 years, volunteered in kids programs kid. A bright person they should be striving to keep. Instead she has endless meetings after school, no support for the 8 dx kids in her classroom, the school is out of paper and she buys food and shoes for her students. I suspect she, like many teachers, will leave the profession. It's not the money, it will be the burn out. She is psychologically exhausted.

 

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Endless meeting, teaching to the test, no support - I after 5 years, I only made $37,900. This was in SW MO and we were one of the top paying districts in that area.

Psychologically exhausted is right. Before I quit, I was having panic attacks on the way to school. Thinking about signing my contract was debilitating. I finally just had enough. I teach online now and it's not even half of what I made before, but I'm home with my daughter and still using my degree in some capacity. However, it took me quite awhile to decide to even teach in this capacity. 

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I would add that the other public service professions work 12 months out of the year rather than the 10 months that teachers work. Those public service professions don't get two weeks off at Christmas or the other very generous holiday and inclement weather time off.

A lot of them DO work, though - they have to get 2nd jobs or do summer school, because not every teacher gets paid through the summer. They also have to attend special conferences or trainings to keep up their professional development hours - a lot of those are paid out of their pocket and they receive no compensation for the hours or the registration. 

I won't even get into the countless hours of assessment meetings and creating we had to do over the summer (on our own time) only to have administration change their mind in August. 

 

 

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I think teachers are great and deserve more pay, but I don’t know any teachers regularly working 60-70 hour weeks. Seriously, a 70 hour week is working 7-5 with no breaks every single day of the week including weekends. Hardly anyone regularly works 70 hours a week in any profession. I asked my mom (a public school elementary teacher) and she said no one at her school works even close to that much.

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I think teachers are great and deserve more pay, but I don’t know any teachers regularly working 60-70 hour weeks. Seriously, a 70 hour week is working 7-5 with no breaks every single day of the week including weekends. Hardly anyoneMa regularly works 70 hours a week in any profession. I asked my mom (a public school elementary teacher) and she said no one at her school works even close to that much.

 

Same here.  Work to clock is the rule. The contract specifies how compensation for meetings is to occur, and planning periods as well as professional time are part of the work day.  My ele. friends have a daily 45 min planning period, daily 45 min for prof, and teaming varies - some years its 30 min some more.  The work day is 7 hrs for ele, and that includes lunch.  Middle and high school do not teach more than 4 periods, have 1 period for lunch, and the other 4 are professional periods. They can bump salary by teaching a fifth period, afterschool tutoring, teaching nights and summers, working as staff for ecs/sports.  Some moonlight as volunter FD (tax bennies) or adjuncts (cash, post-retirement income) or run their own business (farm, auto, accounting, whatever their skill is).  To put it into perspective, my neighbors who retired 12 yrs ago make 75k each as retirees, and pay 400 a month each for golden medical.  As newlyweds and new hires, they had help from their parents for housing and did same for their dc. The negotiated compensation is loaded heavily for long term and for retirement, and is very light on salary for first 8 years (starts at 53k).  Oh, Master's is paid for by the district, numerous weekend programs.  Private industry in this area has nothing like it...most people can't even get a few hours shift change so they can travel to the city to do a master's that will be reimbursed at 5k per year (that's nothing compared to what grad credits cost). Private industry did not give raises during the recession, while public service rec'd their contracted wages (that is typically 4.5% grid raise annually)..  needless to say, we don't have a lot of people leaving teaching early, most will take a few years off for dc, then return to full time. and that is also not available in private industry. Currently job openings are in more rural areas, and in the more dangerous city schools...turnover very low in desireable locations.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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Unless you are within spitting distance to retirement and have a spouse making more than you to compensate, what I'm wondering is why they stay? Why not go find a job somewhere else outside of working for a public school that actually makes a living wage? I'm trying to wrap my head around it and struggling. These are not people in a religious order or people volunteering. So why do they put up with self-inflicted poverty? They have degrees. They have work experience that could transfer to other industries. 

 

 

I used to work in non-profit and education.

 

Yes, it was a calling. I felt that it was immoral to take more for myself while so many of the people I served had so much less.

 

Not to mention, the pay wasn't always this bad. Right now this is coming up because they haven't gotten raises for so freaking long. The salary schedules were set and then the public decided well, that's all you get. No raises for you "lazy government workers". Lazy teachers. Everyone remembers their worst teacher and people who suffered, rightly are angry. But because of that, you won't get more pay to teachers.

 

But you do it because you can't leave the country that you love. You know how essential education is and libraries are and the arts are, and you just can't let it go. I was 38 when I gave up. Every single day, I feel I have abandoned my country. I have taken my talents for personal profit. I've abandoned my city and my home.

 

Who will do it, if I don't? Who will help? Who will teach the children, whose parents can't teach them?

 

They do what they do, for our country, out of love and duty. It is religious, it is volunteering. It is an act of devout service to one's community. I know many teachers, and many of them are leaving for admin or the private sector. They would not have in previous generations, but the wealth gap wasn't as bad then. They could afford medical care and college for their kids back then.

 

I now make 3x what I made in nonprofit, nearly twice what I made in the public sector. I do less and the work is completely and totally useless for society at large. It's all about how to make more money off of the suckers buying software. That's it. I don't like it. If there were universal merit-based education and health care, I'd go back to education in a split second. A split second. I'd give my house, my vacations, my bike, and my car.

 

But that won't happen. So I'll keep raising my own salary.

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The other public service professions don't have you working off the clock though. When you are a 911 operator, you are done when you clock out. Teachers work 60-70 hours/week during the schoolyear. At my school, classes are 9-4:15, but we are required to be there 8-4:30. We are required to have a Planning Learning Committee meeting before school 1x/week for each subject we teach where we meet with the other teachers of that subject to plan out our schedules and review data. We are required to have a minimum of two one-hour tutorials before school and one-hour tutorials after school. We are required to use part of our conference period for duty (hall duty or bus duty or lunch duty). We also have frequent meetings before school, after school, and during our conference periods for 504 meetings, ARD meetings, and other parent meetings. We are required to notify every parent whose student is failing BEFORE each interim progress report (every 3 weeks) and also let them know what their student can do to bring up their grades. We have required professional development we have to attend. Last year, they made us use up one conference period every month for this.

 

I never manage to get much lesson planning or grading done at school (although I do manage some). This is only my 3rd year teaching at this school, but every year I have had one new subject to teach. My first year was just IPC. Last year I was half IPC and half Chemistry. This year I have Chemistry and Forensics.

 

We have to get all of our grading and lesson planning and parent contacts completed and most of that takes place outside of school hours.

Do you really believe the public service jobs you mention - police, military, etc - only work 40 hours/week? When my dh was a county prosecutor with 10+ years of experience he made <$50k and he did not work 8-5, nor did the police officers he worked with. As a public defender he made even less money with a higher case load. He made the most money in the military, especially considering the nonsalary benefits, but he was away from home for long periods of time in places where he slept in his office so he wouldn't get killed by the nightly bombing raids. When he was stateside we lived where the military told us to live and he worked when they told him to, which was not a set 8-5 schedule. I really don't see comparing jobs with physical danger in the same categories as non-physical danger jobs.

 

i think the salary of any job cannot be evaluated in isolation. You have to look at the benefits (vacation, working hours, danger level, retirement, medical, etc) too. I also think we have to acknowledge that not every job will pay the same, and few jobs pay enough for one working person to support a family for decades.

Edited by 2squared
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If you're not planning and prepping, photocopying, researching, making activities, etc. after school and on the weekends, there is NO WAY to get everything done in the school day. I have a 55 minute lunch period and ONE 30 minute prep period. I get to school at 7 a.m. and I'm "done" at 3:30pm. I work straight through lunch every day. That's an 8.5 hour work day, but then I spend maybe 2 hours each afternoon/evening doing more, so that's 10.5 hours a day. I don't work that much on the weekends, but I'm at least working a few hours on Saturday and on Sunday. 

It's not 70 hours, but it's not a 35-hour a week job, either. Probably closer to 60 hours.

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This isn't going to be popular sentiment but it is my viewpoint.   Teaching was the easiest, least stressful job I've ever had.  I'd probably still be doing it, but I was bumped when they had a budget shortfall.  The admin person that was bumped back down to teacher had his pick of any of the spots of the new teachers.   Maybe I shouldn't have talked so glowingly to him about my kids :)

 

There is also something to be said for work done on your timeline and on your couch.  As a teacher I never had to leave visiting my parent's on Father's Day (Sunday) to go into work 60 miles away because something broke and production came to a halt.   I didn't have to mow the lawn with a pager clipped to the neckline of my shirt because I was always on call as an Engineer.  The off-hours work of a teacher was more like the work of a student in that it had to be done, but I could choose where and when I did it.  

 

I will say, though, that I didn't have the same problems that many other teachers do.  For example, my school had tons of money because they'd recently gotten in trouble with the state for low performing test scores.  So, I had unlimited copy machine access and toner replacements for the laser printer in my room.  When I requested textbooks for the Pysch class they assigned me, they looked at my like I had two heads, but provided them.  I also had an uber-teacher across the hall to give advice, and an excellent ... I forget what she was called, she went to all the schools and evaluated and gave advice to the new teachers.  

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I don't know anyone who doesn't work "off the clock."  Even when I was in minimum wage, part time jobs, I used to work through breaks and after clocking out.

 

Also, many people contribute volunteer hours, including hours at/for schools.  That never gets considered in the comparable pay discussions.

 

Yes, many teachers work over the summer, but then their salary as stated should include whatever they earn in the summer, like it does for everyone else.

 

Also most jobs don't have anywhere near the same retirement benefits, and many don't have comparable health insurance etc.  So the present value of those benefits should be included in discussions about relative pay.

 

Obviously teaching is not a great paying job, especially in some locations, but it would help to compare apples to apples.

 

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I would add that the other public service professions work 12 months out of the year rather than the 10 months that teachers work. Those public service professions don't get two weeks off at Christmas or the other very generous holiday and inclement weather time off.

 

Yeah, we call this our annual, mandatory, unpaid furlough. It's really awesome! We take such great summer vacations without a salary. All that scrambling around for tutoring, and summer program jobs is a hoot as well. Too bad we can't just eat or live for only 10 months a year.

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This isn't going to be popular sentiment but it is my viewpoint.   Teaching was the easiest, least stressful job I've ever had.  I'd probably still be doing it, but I was bumped when they had a budget shortfall.  The admin person that was bumped back down to teacher had his pick of any of the spots of the new teachers.   Maybe I shouldn't have talked so glowingly to him about my kids :)

 

There is also something to be said for work done on your timeline and on your couch.  As a teacher I never had to leave visiting my parent's on Father's Day (Sunday) to go into work 60 miles away because something broke and production came to a halt.   I didn't have to mow the lawn with a pager clipped to the neckline of my shirt because I was always on call as an Engineer.  The off-hours work of a teacher was more like the work of a student in that it had to be done, but I could choose where and when I did it.  

 

I will say, though, that I didn't have the same problems that many other teachers do.  For example, my school had tons of money because they'd recently gotten in trouble with the state for low performing test scores.  So, I had unlimited copy machine access and toner replacements for the laser printer in my room.  When I requested textbooks for the Pysch class they assigned me, they looked at my like I had two heads, but provided them.  I also had an uber-teacher across the hall to give advice, and an excellent ... I forget what she was called, she went to all the schools and evaluated and gave advice to the new teachers.  

 

I think the issue is the poverty. I didn't find a lot of work stressful working even as an admin.

 

What was stressful was not knowing how I'd pay for medical bills and kids' college.

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