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Old 04-26-2011, 05:32 PM   #81
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I haven't read the entire thread but it is clear that it started as an intrinsically political subject - all pension discussions in this day and age are - so surely the ideological viewpoints are certain to follow.

While I am not agnostic on the topic, I just wanted to note that an elementary teacher whom I know dearly that works in NYC is not yet 30 but is tenured, has a TIAA-CREF Pension which guarantees a minimum 8.5% per annum return, and just last week was told that the Teachers' Union would be purchasing all the teachers an iPad since money from last yrs budget still remained so they are compelled to spend it or else risk having next yrs budget cut.

I am happy for her on an individual and personal basis that the total compensation plan is so generous but can only shake my head at how greedy and selfish these actions on the part of the large Unions are. Someone either today or tomorrow will ultimately have to pay for these packages which will limit how much further in life those who pay will be allowed to reach themselves.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:57 PM   #82
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I think this is where many would just say they agree to disagree. To most people who view themselves as hardworking and ambitious the ability to obtain a job where they are rewarded based on their merrit as well as work with others who are high performing is very attactive!!
Being rewarded on merit is attractive to the competent. How could anyone disagree with that? This has absolutely nothing to do with my point, which is that firing incompetent teachers will not help to attract bright individuals into teaching.

I don't see what is so hard about this.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:04 PM   #83
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Just curious as to your thinking....

Is it OK to pay a higher salary to a better teacher no matter how many years they have IOW, say a teacher with 5 years shows they are a better teacher than one with 20 years... can we pay the 5 year teacher more money? (not trying to get into the old discussion on how we can not measure a teachers performance.... lets say for discussion we can)


Now onto the other side... say the teacher has shown they are not good at all in teaching... can we get rid of them

In our current system the answers are NO and NO (well, mostly no from what I read)... I would like them to be YES and YES... what are your answers?
My answers to the two points you raise are that they are irrelevant to what I said previously.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:17 PM   #84
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Being rewarded on merit is attractive to the competent. How could anyone disagree with that? This has absolutely nothing to do with my point, which is that firing incompetent teachers will not help to attract bright individuals into teaching.

I don't see what is so hard about this.
"I don't see what is so hard about this"^2.
Try this:

1) Competent, give-a-damn workers find it dispiriting and draining to work among incompetent, don't-give-a-damn workers

2) People who's self image may depend on the kind of work they do and how well they do it are not drawn to careers that have a reputation for being occupied by a large number of incompetents.

3) Every incompetent teacher is occupying a space that could be filled by a competent one. So, the larger the share of incompetent teachers, the smaller the share of competent ones.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:34 PM   #85
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Try this:

1) Competent, give-a-damn workers find it dispiriting and draining to work among incompetent, don't-give-a-damn workers
As this applies to teachers, I see no reason to believe it. If I'm, say, teaching history competently in high school, and the chemistry teacher who has classes next door to me is, in my opinion, entirely incompetent, why should this cause me to become dispirited? If I'm doing my job very well, why can't I be proud of that and why wouldn't I try to do even better, regardless of what the chemistry teacher is doing?

Quote:
2) People who's self image may depend on the kind of work they do and how well they do it are not drawn to careers that have a reputation for being occupied by a large number of incompetents.
In my experience, the best and the brightest don't let their self image be determined by others' opinions. Those who do, in a sense, don't really have a self image.
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3) Every incompetent teacher is occupying a space that could be filled by a competent one. So, the larger the share of incompetent teachers, the smaller the share of competent ones.
I refer you to my previous answer. This is still not relevant to hiring more of the best and the brightest as teachers.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #86
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There are a few DC plans that I have seen that beat a traditional pension... but they are very rare.
My DC plan that I've had for 7 years is beating the alternate DB plan option offered by MA. Of course this comes down to investment strategy and the way the DB plan is calculated.

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However, I have also seen a few DB plans that yield paltry benefits also.
MA's DC and DB plan are funded exactly the same way, 11% employee contributions, 5% state contributions. But there's a 10 year vesting on the DB plan. After 12 years of service, at 55, the DB plan would give me a $1900 a month non COLAed pension. My DC plan has to be worth $363k at age 55 to buy an annuity that will pay $1900 a month. That will happen with an average of 7% return over the 12 years....I'm a little bit ahead of that over the past 7 years.

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Most retirement benefit plans (DB or DC) have been pared back by employers... except perhaps for govt plans.
People are often surprised to learn that the MA state retirement plan is more than 2/3rds funded by the employees and shocked at the 10 year DB vesting. As we don't pay the SS part of FICA we don't get SS either.

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The new normal: Employees will carry more of the burden for funding their retirement using their wages.
It's already the norm in many states.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:43 PM   #87
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I don't get the drive to reduce pay and benefits though.
We are getting SCORES of very well-qualified applicants for many public service positions. In private industry, that's a red flag that compensation is higher than it needs to be. Why should it be different on the public side?

Public education in the US is not underfunded. We spend a higher dollar amount per pupil and a higher percentage of our GDP on K-12 education than most other countries in North America and Europe. We are clearly not getting a great product for this sum. Why do people want to cut funding? Because the jig is up. They see that paying a lot has not produced results. Present and near-term future teachers are going to make less money. They are going to pay the price for the poor performance (relative to their cost) of their predecessors.

Citizens will no longer throw additional money into the black hole that is US public education. When a system of accountability is in place and it's clear that putting more money in will yield better teachers and better student performance, then the funding will follow.

I also don't think teachers are the only ones responsible for poor US student performance.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:07 PM   #88
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True. My DIL got $160K year straight out of law school. The "average" teacher has many years of experience and in many, if not most, cases a master's degree.
But to get this she was a star at law school; and law school is like walking on hot coals for 3 years. An MA in Education-not so tough.

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Old 04-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #89
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But to get this she was a star at law school; and law school is like walking on hot coals for 3 years. An MA in Education-not so tough.

Ha
I have an AS in electronics, and a BS in bidness admin. The electronics was more rigorous, and more difficult. But in undergrad bidness school you learn where all that weird HR stuff comes from...
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:59 PM   #90
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There are a few DC plans that I have seen that beat a traditional pension... but they are very rare.

However, I have also seen a few DB plans that yield paltry benefits also.

Most retirement benefit plans (DB or DC) have been pared back by employers... except perhaps for govt plans.

I believe govt retirement plans will be pared back to reflect the norm in private industry.


The new normal: Employees will carry more of the burden for funding their retirement using their wages.

Yes.... not all DB plans are good.... the one I had before it was taken away (in the early 80s I might add)... was 1% for each year you worked... top 5 years of earnings... with estimated SS taken out...

SOOOO, if your pension calculation was less than what SS was paying, you got NOTHING from this plan... If you pension calculation was $1000 per month and SS paid you $800... you got $200 from the plan... big whoop...
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:02 PM   #91
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My answers to the two points you raise are that they are irrelevant to what I said previously.

I did not say it was relevant.... I asked a question to get your opinion... I guess you do not wish to state what yours is...
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #92
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I find it interesting that so many posters complain about getting screwed by their private employers and yet no one even suggests that they might have not gotten it so bad if they had a union standing behind then. There have even been a few comments on how unions are making things worse. Really? If you work for a unionized employer, cutting your wages or pension would not be so easy. I'm not talking about government, but private employers. As an example, unionized cashiers make a LOT more than non-unionized ones and have better benefits. They also are protected against arbitrary actions by management.

Those who believe, and I do, that big companies and political parties are out to put a wedge or otherwise divide the middle class against itself and reap the benefits, might want to consider that a union is the only way to get power back to those who do the work. Something about united we stand and divided we fall? If we, the workers fight each other, we all lose.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:20 AM   #93
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If you work for a unionized employer, cutting your wages or pension would not be so easy.
Are you sure? I once w*rked in a unionized environment. Our "bargaining unit" included a few highly skilled (and paid) professionals an a lot of clerical workers. Once, at contract time, the company offered an across the board increase and the union wanted more for the clerical and a decrease for us professional staff. They even "told" us we had to strike for lower pay.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:35 AM   #94
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...with estimated SS taken out...
Yes, that SS "offset" is a real problem with DB plans (most have it).

In addition, the company usually expects you to file for SS at age 62, and starts the reduction in your pension check at that time, regardless if you want to delay SS till FRA or age 70.

These plans worked for those ER folks who left after 30 years of service or some combo of years/age equal to a number (such as 85, as my place was), and well before age 62. However, they do face that future reduction due to the offset.

Unless you have other money to make up for the SS shortfall in the pension check, you are forced to take SS earlier than you may have wanted to.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:33 AM   #95
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As this applies to teachers, I see no reason to believe it. If I'm, say, teaching history competently in high school, and the chemistry teacher who has classes next door to me is, in my opinion, entirely incompetent, why should this cause me to become dispirited? If I'm doing my job very well, why can't I be proud of that and why wouldn't I try to do even better, regardless of what the chemistry teacher is doing?
You don't think the teacher who comes in early, stays late helping students, and works weekends fine tuning lesson plans would be a little disheartened to get the same financial rewards and benefits as the teacher next door who did none of those things? Teachers may be good people, but they aren't saints.

I don't understand the idea of tenure for grade school teachers (college professors who are doing independent research may be a different story). I also don't understand the aversion to testing and merit based employment practices. We're doing a lousy job teaching our kids in many parts of the country, why shouldn't teachers be held at least partly responsible for results?

But at the same time I don't understand the attempt to use budgetary issues to break teacher's unions. That seems more like a slight of hand to kneecap political opponents than it does an honest effort to solve any of our budgetary or educational problems.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:02 AM   #96
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I just went thru a "pay for performance" system change here at work (GS to NSPS back to GS). The trouble with it was that they didn't fund it. So those of us who "exceeded expectations" (4 out of a 5 scale) were rewarded only slightly more than those who "met expectations" (3 out of 5, average ranking).

Interestingly enough, the leadership had the highest ratings of everyone.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:32 AM   #97
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Interestingly enough, the leadership had the highest ratings of everyone.
And this surprises you? The whole NSPS system was designed to reward those at higher grades with better ratinsg.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:35 AM   #98
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Are you sure? I once w*rked in a unionized environment. Our "bargaining unit" included a few highly skilled (and paid) professionals an a lot of clerical workers. Once, at contract time, the company offered an across the board increase and the union wanted more for the clerical and a decrease for us professional staff. They even "told" us we had to strike for lower pay.
Nothing is certain. There are always exceptions to every rule. However, in general, employees are better off if they are members of honest unions that will represent their interests. otherwise they have no one. Note that I say "honest." I am well aware of the fraud, mob ties, etc. of some unions. There needs to be a balance - at one time unions were too powerful, now they are too weak.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:35 AM   #99
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I just went thru a "pay for performance" system change here at work (GS to NSPS back to GS). The trouble with it was that they didn't fund it. So those of us who "exceeded expectations" (4 out of a 5 scale) were rewarded only slightly more than those who "met expectations" (3 out of 5, average ranking).

Interestingly enough, the leadership had the highest ratings of everyone.
That correlates to the private sector
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:25 AM   #100
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This is confused. Could you explain how making it easier to get rid of bad teachers will make it easier to attract more of the best and brightest to become teachers?
\

Because there would be accountability.......
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