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Thread: Teacher: I love my students, I love my job, and I feel fulfilled. But Im broke.

  1. #1
    Banned Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Teacher: I love my students, I love my job, and I feel fulfilled. But Im broke.

    Teacher: I love my students, I love my job, and I feel fulfilled. But Im broke.

    By Valerie Strauss November 5 at 11:00 AM


    Teachers have long been underpaid and just how much was underscored in a recent study which found that the difference between what teachers and comparable public workers earn is larger than ever. Among the key findings:

    Average weekly wages (inflation adjusted) of public-sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, from $1,122 to $1,092 (in 2015 dollars). In contrast, weekly wages of all college graduates rose from $1,292 to $1,416 over this period.
    For all public-sector teachers, the relative wage gap (regression adjusted for education, experience, and other factors) has grown substantially since the mid-1990s: It was ‑1.8 percent in 1994 and grew to a record ‑17.0 percent in 2015.
    [Teachers arent paid enough? Its worse than you think.]

    Here is a personal story of one teacher and how she and her family are affected by her professions low salary base. She is Rachel Wiley, an elementary school teacher in Washington state and a member of Teachers United, an organization of teachers in Washington state that is funded by the Gates Foundation. This appeared on the organizations website of Teachers United and I was given permission to republish it.



    By Rachel Wiley

    I am 29 years old. I have two children, ages 10 and 8. Anyone with a decent grip on basic math can figure out that means I was a teen mom.

    When I was 18 years old, I learned that I was pregnant with my first child. I was a new college student, had a part-time job at a local retail store, and was scared to death. How would I support a child? Would I end up on welfare? Was I destined to become another statistic? I was faced with a choice: should I leave school and get a full-time job, or should I continue in school, knowing that a degree would ultimately (I thought) mean higher wages and better quality of life.

    I decided that there was no way I was going to allow my circumstances to determine my fate. Despite the grim outlook for teen moms, I determined that I was going to be different. I wanted my kids to look up to me, to see that if you work hard and stay focused, you can achieve your goals.

    I stayed in school, eventually graduating with my AA. I transferred to the University of Washington at Tacoma and earned a bachelors degree. Then, I decided to become a teacher. My heart told me that in spite of the low wages and the astronomical costs of a graduate degree, that teaching was my calling, and it would all work out somehow.


    Making ends meet

    Fast forward six years. Never for one moment do I regret my decision to become an educator. It feels to me as though this work is the most important work I could ever do. I love my students, I love my job, and I feel fulfilled. But Im broke.

    I am lucky compared to some. I make enough that I was able to buy my own home. I can afford groceries each week. I have running water, electricity, and both my husband and I have working (ish) vehicles. We make it. But just barely. Each month, as I sit down to budget, I am discouraged. I feel as though I have failed in some ways.

    I do all I can to save money: I find coupons, discounts, rewards cards, and garage sales. I go without so that I can provide for my kids. I decline invites to parties because I know it will mean purchasing gifts, and thats just not in the budget. I struggle with the realization that after all of my hard work, I still cant get ahead. I have nothing in savings. My husbands car is in need of serious repairs and breaks down on a regular basis, but we cant afford to take it in to get fixed. My student loan debt is increasing exponentially because of interest, and its all I can do to make my minimum monthly payment.

    Why wanting increased compensation isnt whining

    Is it whining, or complaining, to say that after six years in college I deserve more? I dont think so.

    I work more than my contracted school hours every week. I grade papers nightly, I lesson plan, I provide feedback, I track student data. I do all of this on my own time. My district does provide TRI money (locally funded, capped amount of money for work beyond the contract hours), but its just not enough to cover the hours I put in outside of the school day.

    I know that it was my choice to become a teacher. I could have earned my masters degree in just about anything else and would be making much more. This is an increasingly popular choice for most young professionals, and a contributing factor to the teacher shortage we are currently experiencing. The answer shouldnt be to tell those who love their career and love their students to leave for a higher-paying job or shut up about it already.


    Why cant we be compensated fairly? According to a recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers weekly wages were 17 percent lower than those of comparable workers compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994 (Allegretto and Mishel 2016). This is a reality we face as educators.

    Many people say that we should just find a different job if we want to make more money. But at what real cost? Some things are about more than money. If effective educators leave to find better paying jobs, the real loss is for our students. Standards are more rigorous than ever, and students need high-quality teachers to support their learning and ability to meet these standards.

    The answer cant be to desert the profession and abandon our students. We need to pay more to recruit and keep effective teachers in public education. Its not even about what we owe to our teachers, its about what we owe to our students. Its about investing in the future of our diverse democratic society, of which we want our students to be thoughtful and productive members.

    How much is that worth?

  2. #2
    Banned Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Think teachers aren’t paid enough? It’s worse than you think.

    By Valerie Strauss August 16


    Everybody knows that nobody goes into teaching to get rich, but teachers don’t expect to be penalized for their chosen profession. A new study finds that what is called the “teacher pay penalty” — the difference between teachers and comparable public workers — is bigger than ever.

    In 2015, the weekly wages of public school teachers in the United States were 17 percent lower than comparable college-educated professionals — and those most hurt are veteran teachers and male teachers.

    The study was done by Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel and published by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Mishel, a nationally recognized economist, is president of EPI and helped build it into a premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets. Allegretto is an economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-authored two editions of The State of Working America while working as an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

    Average weekly wages (inflation adjusted) of public-sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, from $1,122 to $1,092 (in 2015 dollars). In contrast, weekly wages of all college graduates rose from $1,292 to $1,416 over this period.

    For all public-sector teachers, the relative wage gap (regression adjusted for education, experience, and other factors) has grown substantially since the mid-1990s: It was ‑1.8 percent in 1994 and grew to a record ‑17.0 percent in 2015.

    The relative wage gap for female teachers went from a premium in 1960 to a large and growing wage penalty in the 2000s. Female teachers earned 14.7 percent more in weekly wages than comparable female workers in 1960. In 2015, we estimate a ‑13.9 percent wage gap for female teachers.
    The wage penalty for male teachers is much larger. The male teacher wage gap was -22.1 percent in 1979 and improved to ‑15.0 percent in the mid-1990s, but worsened in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. It stood at ‑24.5 percent in 2015.

    While relative teacher wage gaps have widened, some of the difference may be attributed to a tradeoff between pay and benefits. Non-wage benefits as a share of total compensation in 2015 were more important for teachers (26.6 percent) than for other professionals (21.6 percent). The total teacher compensation penalty was a record-high 11.1 percent in 2015 (composed of a 17.0 percent wage penalty plus a 5.9 percent benefit advantage). The bottom line is that the teacher compensation penalty grew by 11 percentage points from 1994 to 2015.

    The erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers. The relative wage of the most experienced teachers has steadily deteriorated—from a 1.9 percent advantage in 1996 to a 17.8 percent penalty in 2015.

    Collective bargaining helps to abate the teacher wage gap. In 2015, teachers not represented by a union had a ‑25.5 percent wage gap—and the gap was 6 percentage points smaller for unionized teachers.

    Here’s the full report:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ink/?tid=a_inl

  3. #3
    Senior Member L.T. Fan's Avatar
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    Go to the private sector for more money. Anyone who works for a tax based system will have to understand that a lot of others are also in line for the tax dollar. There isn't enough to go around so make the jump to a system that creates their earnings and will likely reward their employees who are productive. This dialogue has been going on for years.
    Since Day One

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    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    There is little to no incentive to getting into teaching. No wonder our educational system is failing.

    If you want to start talking about "living wage", you start at jobs like this, which actually matter more than someone plunging a toilet.

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    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.T. Fan View Post
    Go to the private sector for more money. Anyone who works for a tax based system will have to understand that a lot of others are also in line for the tax dollar. There isn't enough to go around so make the jump to a system that creates their earnings and will likely reward their employees who are productive. This dialogue has been going on for years.
    And then you lose the best qualified for the job. And get shit for teachers. Sounds like a winner.

    Oh well, you work for a tax based system. Leave. Let's get someone dumber and with less passion than you.

    I see and speak with the teachers that teach my kids, and I have tried both public and private schools and I am absolutely appalled.

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    Senior Member L.T. Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boozeman View Post
    And then you lose the best qualified for the job. And get shit for teachers. Sounds like a winner.

    Oh well, you work for a tax based system. Leave. Let's get someone dumber and with less passion than you.

    I see and speak with the teachers that teach my kids, and I have tried both public and private schools and I am absolutely appalled.
    If your desire is to go with the money there is no other option but to go where the money is. That's how capitalism works. If your passion is elsewhere bravo but live with your choice.
    Since Day One

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    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.T. Fan View Post
    If your desire is to go with the money there is no other option but to go where the money is. That's how capitalism works. If your passion is elsewhere bravo but live with your choice.
    Many have passion. This is not about chasing money. It is about having a real wage that you can live on. And sometimes it is not an enormous amount of money.

    I will never forget going to a chain restaurant and having my son's third grade teacher unexpectedly ending up as our server. She was humiliated and I was angry for her. She was an excellent teacher.

    Funny, we were still capitalists 20-30 years ago, right?

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    Senior Member 1bigfan13's Avatar
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    Oklahoma teachers are near the bottom of US rankings when it comes to teacher salaries. Therefore, the best and brightest from the state typically leave for Texas, Colorado, and other nearby states just so they can make a decent living.

    There's a State Question on this year's OK election ballot for salary increases for teachers. I voted in favor of it and hope it passes. Otherwise the OK school systems will be stuck scraps/leftovers. You get what you pay for.

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    Senior Member Kbrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boozeman View Post
    Many have passion. This is not about chasing money. It is about having a real wage that you can live on. And sometimes it is not an enormous amount of money.

    I will never forget going to a chain restaurant and having my son's third grade teacher unexpectedly ending up as our server. She was humiliated and I was angry for her. She was an excellent teacher.

    Funny, we were still capitalists 20-30 years ago, right?
    The sides have de facto stances they jump to on these issues.

    I really think it is compiled on a flow chart somewhere.

    "Essential public employee asks for living wage" -----> "Find different job. Platitudes about capitalism."

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  12. #10
    Banned Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.T. Fan View Post
    If your desire is to go with the money there is no other option but to go where the money is. That's how capitalism works. If your passion is elsewhere bravo but live with your choice.
    So then who teaches in this scenario?

    I really don't understand how you turn this into a simple treatise about capitalism did you not read any of the actual articles?

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