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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 08:49 AM   #101
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Funny noone defending teachers talks about health care benefit, in Wisconsin the teachers union waves it around as a scared cow to worship. I think the teachers in our district pay a whopping $25 a month for FAMILY coverage.............

That helps makes up some of the difference when the average folk is paying $350-$500 a month for the same coverage, no
Lucky Wisconsin teachers! My son pays ~$100/month just for himself in Eastern Massachusetts (and that's for 2006). Benefits vary greatly among districts.

BTW, what is your "sacred cow to worship" in terms of your job benefits--and why does one only hear such expressions applied to union negotiated benefits and not individual negotiated benefits?
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:06 AM   #102
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by Zathras
Considering everything people have mentioned here, teachers are still underpaid in my opinion.
Actually I think that can be said of many of the local public sector workers. Look at the pay for firefighters, police officers, the local street and road workers, and government employed medics and EMT's. All of them are generally underpaid for the service they provide to the community. A good number of firefighters and police officers are volunteers.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:09 AM   #103
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras
Considering everything people have mentioned here, teachers are still underpaid in my opinion.

To any teachers who are reading or have posted, for the work you do/have done THANK YOU!!
I long agreed with you on the first point, probably because I taught for a while and realize how hard the job is (to do well, which most teachers do). I still agree with you wholeheartedly on the thank you vote. But on salary I have come to view it as reasonably sorted out by the market. Teaching positions are very competitive in most locations - so people must be deciding that, on balance, the jobs are worth pursuing. Many non-profit jobs similarly draw a large number of talented, dedicated people to work that pays less than they might be able to garner elsewhere. But when you talk to them they frequently cite their satisfaction with the work they do and the achievements they make. Compare that to the frequent wailing and gnashing of teeth we hear from megacorp employees here on the boards. Many of the later have made a deal with the devil -- more money and a less satisfying work life or sense of self worth.

Most distressing to see are the people (whether teachers or megacorp workers) who absolutely hate their jobs but are unwilling (or see themselves as unable) to make a change.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:15 AM   #104
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

I'll throw out a data point - Starting salary for Wake County Public Schools (Raleigh) - Bachelor's degree, 0 years experience - $32,287.60. After 30 years, $57,915.80. "Board Certification" gets you $7000 more per year. A master's will get you 10% more than the bachelor's pay rate (Starting at $35,600). A master's degree and board certification will get you $71,661.20 at 30 years.

These are all 10 month positions. The equivalent salary, based on 12 months, is $38,744.40. For reference, the highest paying government job available with a bachelor's degree is with the state Department of Transportation as a Transportation Engineering Associate, at $39,935 per year. An engineering degree is required, which is basically a 5 year degree at the local state U where most of the DOT employees graduate from. In my estimate, teachers are paid "fairly" in my locality.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:26 AM   #105
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras
Considering everything people have mentioned here, teachers are still underpaid in my opinion.
Zathras, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I respect it. However, I really do not understand the logic at all (or maybe there is no logic to it, just emotion, which is also your right).

Sure, teachers are important, their work is important and honorable, and our children are important. But, how does that lead to 'underpaid' (or 'overpaid' for that matter)?

Example - My tooth cracked and I was in extreme pain - my Dentist did a great job fixing it. That was important and valuable (maybe life altering) to me. So is my Dentist underpaid?

The work that Plumbers do provides us with sanitary water. That is very important. Are Plumbers underpaid?

We all depend on electricity and our computers these days. Are Electricians and CS and EE's underpaid? Firefighters? EMTs? Police?

You can go on and on and on about the 'worth' of a profession, but supply and demand is what should determine the pay. How would you like someone to dictate to you what your career is 'worth'? What if they are biased? How would this work anyway?

Bus boys don't make minimum wage because someone determine that is what the job is 'worth'. Next time you have an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant, tell me the 'value' of having your table cleared between courses! Bus boys get minimum wage because there are enough people willing to take the job at that wage. Period.

If there are more than enough qualified people applying for teaching jobs, that is an indication that the compensation for the work is more than adequate. And vice-versa.

Quote:
To any teachers who are reading or have posted, for the work you do/have done THANK YOU!!
For the exceptional teachers, I say 'Thank you' also. And to the exceptional plumbers, electricians, firefighters, EMTs, Dentists, EE's........

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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:33 AM   #106
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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These are all 10 month positions.
As I already explained, it ain't easy to make good money for 2 months over the summer--save for private tutoring/music lessons, and those can generally only be arranged for a few hours a week. To land most other summer jobs, teachers are competing with students!

My ex-FIL, Science Dept Chair at a top school district in a Boston burb for many years, worked every summer till his 60s selling heating oil contracts door-to-door in his town.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:49 AM   #107
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by justin
In my estimate, teachers are paid "fairly" in my locality.
Of course, that's your interpretation, and one of many possible interpretations. Others may feel they are overpaid or underpaid. As the extensive discussion we've been having shows, teacher pay, benefits and working conditions vary widely from place to place. Pros and cons can be bantered back and forth endlessly with subjective feelings and interpretations applied. In the end, it seems that only the market can be a fair arbitrator of whether teachers in our public school system are paid appropriately.

If the Wade County Public Schools attract adequate numbers of highly qualified teaching staff at current salary, benefit and working conditions, I would suggest that they are offering good enough total compensation. If some other public school districts are failing to attract highly qualified teaching staff (and there are some), they need to consider improving salary, benefits and/or working conditions.

With sincere respect to everyone who has been offering anecdotal examples and value judgments of teacher contribution vs. total compensation, there are so many variables that it is really meaningless.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 09:59 AM   #108
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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As I already explained, it ain't easy to make good money for 2 months over the summer--save for private tutoring/music lessons, and those can generally only be arranged for a few hours a week. To land most other summer jobs, teachers are competing with students!
Many positions are 12 month positions in our local school district (and pay extra for the extra 2 months). Lead teachers, central office staff, administrators, etc. My mother falls in that category.

Our local district is increasingly relying on year round schools to reduce class size and deal with growing enrollments. I can't help but imagine that 12 month teaching contracts will be available soon in our district. They may already be common - I don't really know.

Regarding unavailability of good employment during the two months of summer - I knew plenty of teachers that were able to get by ok during the summers. They still received their benefits year-round. One guy (PhD in Political science and Psychology, former college professor) painted houses in the summer and probably made more than he did during the school year. Another teacher (MA in French and MA in Spanish, former college professor) taught college during the summer. Art/Drama teachers worked in their respective fields. Some did their army reserve duty during the summer and picked up extra rotations with that. Auto shop teacher worked on cars. Engineering teacher did technical drafting on the side. Librarian is a librarian at the local library.

I also knew teachers who worked at the movie theater or a department store year round for extra income (my mom included).

The only reason I factor in an additional 2 months of vacation in determining the equivalent 12 month salary is that the other working stiffs are stuck working for the extra 2 months. I'm assuming most teachers make use of this time - either working (for a little more or a little less money), or relaxing, vacationing, etc. For teachers who have school age kids who are out during the summer, the point is almost moot, since they are available to take care of their kids instead of spending thousands on daycare during the summer.

I'd love to have the option to keep all benefits and have two extra months off each year and have a 1/6th reduction in pay. I'm guessing I'm not alone in that sentiment.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 10:04 AM   #109
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by astromeria
As I already explained, it ain't easy to make good money for 2 months over the summer--save for private tutoring/music lessons, and those can generally only be arranged for a few hours a week. To land most other summer jobs, teachers are competing with students!
Right. I think the point several have tried to make is, teachers chose the job, either quit complaining about, or find different job. People who choose to be teachers, know the pay is marginally lower than a job working the full 12 months, but they chose to do the job anyway. Many college graduates start at about what a teacher makes, except they have to work an extra month or two to earn it. The pay off is the person who goes to work in the private sector experience faster income growth.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 10:08 AM   #110
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by justin
I'd love to have the option to keep all benefits and have two extra months off each year and have a 1/6th reduction in pay. I'm guessing I'm not alone in that sentiment.
I'd go for that. Especially if they let me move the months around. I'd take Nov and Dec off one year and Jan and Feb off the next.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 10:15 AM   #111
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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I'd go for that. Especially if they let me move the months around. I'd take Nov and Dec off one year and Jan and Feb off the next.
Heck yeah! Once I get close to my nest egg goal, I may propose this to my employer - let me take off 2 extra months per year and dock my pay by 16.7%.

I'm wondering how the year-round teachers here who have 3 weeks off every 9 weeks are able to shift their schedule from year to year. Have off 3 weeks in Jan one year, then 3 weeks off in Feb the next? Either way, 9 wks on / 3 wks off seems like a pretty sweet deal. I've considered this as a semi-ER strategy. Teach a little high school physics or calculus maybe?

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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 11:03 AM   #112
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by lets-retire
I think the point several have tried to make is, teachers chose the job, either quit complaining about, or find different job.
I don't hear teachers complaining. In this discussion, the compainers appear to be those who feel that teachers get overly generous paychecks and/or retirement benefits, that teachers should be working 12 months a year and/or earning over the summer at the same rate as they do during school terms.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 11:26 AM   #113
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by astromeria
Lucky Wisconsin teachers! My son pays ~$100/month just for himself in Eastern Massachusetts (and that's for 2006). Benefits vary greatly among districts.

BTW, what is your "sacred cow to worship" in terms of your job benefits--and why does one only hear such expressions applied to union negotiated benefits and not individual negotiated benefits?
$100 a month is still WAY LESS than the average American is paying. In regards to the "scared cow" theory, our last teacher's contract negotiation was downright ugly. The union "had to keep" the $25 a month benefit, but still wanted 7-8% yearly increases for pay, even though the cost of providing insurance to the teachers was from a UNION-SPONSORED insurance company that raised premiums 77% in 5 years.........

The teacher's response to "hurt" the School Board was to REFUSE to write letters on behalf of their students to colleges, a practice which is prevalent here and the only way to get into schools like UW-Madison and Marquette. So the seniors got screwed, the School Board caved in under public demand, and the teachers got everything they wanted. Now it's ONE YEAR later, and the union is bitching that the teachers are underpaid, and our community doesn't support the teachers, etc.

It is a bit disheartening, as my parents both are retired teachers, and never bitched once about pay, etc, because they felt that benefits like a pension and summers off made up for less pay..........
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 11:35 AM   #114
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by justin
Heck yeah! Once I get close to my nest egg goal, I may propose this to my employer - let me take off 2 extra months per year and dock my pay by 16.7%.

I'm wondering how the year-round teachers here who have 3 weeks off every 9 weeks are able to shift their schedule from year to year. Have off 3 weeks in Jan one year, then 3 weeks off in Feb the next? Either way, 9 wks on / 3 wks off seems like a pretty sweet deal. I've considered this as a semi-ER strategy. Teach a little high school physics or calculus maybe?

One of our engineers went to teach high school math for a year and came back....came back with stories of students asking questions like "what number do I enter in the calculator first"....I also remember my best english teacher in high school (good because he pushed us) got carted off to teach general english the next year.... ....There wont be any politics in my FIRE plans...only me setting the agenda
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 11:48 AM   #115
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

There's no doubt that many teacher unions (some call them "associations") can be very effective and aggressive.

I managed in union manufacturing plants for years with Steel Workers, Internation Association of Machinists, Teamsters, and Lithographers and Printers International. I participated in negotiations, handling grievances, etc. For a while, I worked nights and frequently drank and shot pool with the guys after work, including department stewards and elected union officials, so I knew many of them well. I also was a union member, Operating Engineers, myself earlier in life. DW was a card carrying member of her local, state and national teacher union (association) for 34 years and is now a member of the retired branches of those same groups.

IMO, her teacher unions (associations) made the industrial unions I worked with look like meek little pussy cats taking a nap on the hearth. I can understand where a particularly aggressive local could get on your nerves! They carry a big club.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 01:59 PM   #116
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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I don't hear teachers complaining.
Then you're either not paying attention to local issues or the teachers in your area are being very well paid. I see it way too often that the teachers are not receiving enough pay and taxes need to be raised so the teachers can receive better pay. The people who are complaining are the teachers and the teacher's unions. Of course the media is right on top of it to report the situation. My experience is Michigan, the teachers were complaining, Georgia, the teachers were complaining, Michigan again, 6 years later, the teachers were still complaining after a very healthy pay raise from the last time, South Carolina the teachers were complaining, Florida the teachers were complaining. If it was only the unions, not the teachers then the teachers need to control their union better.

Personally I wouldn't do their job for 100,000 and I doubt any of them want to do my job. For the record I think teachers generally are fairly compensated. I've alluded to it but never came out and said it.
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 02:04 PM   #117
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Just a reminder that most employees making high-5 or 6 figures get bonuses, sometimes half their salary again or more, and teachers don't.
Whoa! Now there is some over generalization!

When the company I worked for was flying high, there were some 30% bonuses being handed out to high 5 figure employees ( I was one at the time). It didn't last long and the bonuses went to single digits, lower single digits, then zero, then wage freezes, lay-offs, etc.

During the time I got double digit bonuses, I was working 60 hour weeks, often more. Had to take a laptop and a pager along on the measly one-week vacation I was able to squeeze in that year (came this close to having the vacation cancelled too).

Since that was ALL uncompensated OT - let's do the math: 60 hours compared to 40 hours is... 50% more time. In return, on a few occasions I got a 30% bonus. The company was getting a good deal - all that time and no extra benefits to pay.

Hey, I'm not complaining - I could have left if I thought the grass was greener. For various reasons I chose to stay. I just don't care for the broad brush you are wielding there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
I don't hear teachers complaining. In this discussion, the compainers appear to be those who feel that teachers get overly generous paychecks and/or retirement benefits, that teachers should be working 12 months a year and/or earning over the summer at the same rate as they do during school terms.
Well, I didn't actually tally it up, but I did go back and skim the past 8 pages (!) of this thread, and I actually saw very few people outright complain that teachers are paid too much (I certainly did not say that). Maybe time for a bias check?

Yes, some people (myself included) are pointing out that many teachers get benefits that most in the private sector do not. Is that not true? The easy (and big) one is : tenure. Whether that is 'overly generous' or not, I'd prefer to leave to the free market.

I agree that you cannot just add the time off to a teacher salary, that is dependent upon many circumstances. But there just is no way that $X with the summer off and some week long holidays is equal to $X with 10 paid holidays and 2 weeks vacation.

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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 02:20 PM   #118
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

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Originally Posted by lets-retire
Actually I think that can be said of many of the local public sector workers. Look at the pay for firefighters, police officers, the local street and road workers, and government employed medics and EMT's. All of them are generally underpaid for the service they provide to the community. A good number of firefighters and police officers are volunteers.
Excellent point!
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 02:46 PM   #119
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

ERD50, I base my opinion on personal... opinion?
I, personally, think that a teacher is more valuable to society than accountants (no insult intended to accountants). And, more important that web designers, football players or many other higher paid vocations.
I agree that the unions in some areas are out of whack and that tenure is a poor system.
But the compensation for doing such an important job, in my opinion, should be at least as high as it is in Chicago, nationwide.
And, in our society, we generally pay more money for jobs that carry greater importance (granted, not always).
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?
Old 11-08-2006, 04:31 PM   #120
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Re: What is a Moderate Income?

Depends.

A single football player might well have a much bigger impact on community than a single teacher. His success might drive ticket revenue which leads to more jobs at the stadium, more dollars and jobs at retail and restaurants near the stadium, national positive media attention that might be good for the city's economic development, hell maybe a new stadium and all those construction jobs or a superbowl with hundreds of millions flowing into the city in a two week period.

One can make similar silly examples for other jobs. A couple of web designers can start a company like Google and have 9000 employees within 10 years. How many lives does that affect?

Importance is too relative to claim we as a society pay more for that type of job, I agree more with what's been alluded to in this thread that the market dictates what we pay more for. Said football player gets paid more than a teacher because only 1 in 100,000 people do his job well... can we say that about a teacher or a fireman? No, I'm not saying the fireman or teacher is less important, just saying the pay is because of the difficulty or exclusiveness of the skillset/abilities required.
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