WYFP is our community's Saturday evening gathering to talk about our problems, empathize with one another, and share advice, pootie pictures, favorite adult beverages, and anything else that we think might help. Everyone and all sorts of troubles are welcome. May we find peace and healing here. Won't you please share the joy of WYFP by recommending?I am a public school teacher.
1. Don't tell me that I should be paid more.
2. Don't tell me how good teachers can and should be paid more.
3. Don't tell me that public education should be changed so that more money is spent in the classroom.
Before I go any further, let me be clear: I am talking to liberals/progressives/middle-of-the-roaders. I am not talking to Republicans. I know what you think of me, my profession and all of my colleagues. When it comes to education policy, the Democrats could run a thirty-five-year-old moldy cheese sandwich for President in 2016 and I'd vote for it over whoever you run. You don't offer me anything. Zip. Zero. Nothing. And you want to take away whatever I have.
Any public school teacher who votes for Republicans is doing it for reasons other than public education policy. Well...wait a minute. I'm sure there are public school science teachers who want to teach about creationism. I'm sure there are public school history teachers who want to teach how Thomas Jefferson was a dangerous crank with his ideas about the separation of church and state (or just ignore the man completely, the heathen). I'm sure there are public school language arts teachers who are on the look-out for dangerous, sacreligious ideas in literature.
I don't know what to say about public school math teachers who vote Republican. I've met a few and, every one, they don't think teachers' unions are necesary and get upset about students who receive government-supplied breakfasts and lunches.
So let's get to number 1:
Don't tell me that I should be paid more. It's not going to happen. Ever. I'm a government employee paid with money from taxes. There will never be a big, popular movement to raise teacher salaries. Any politician who says anything about "underpaid teachers" is sucking up and that's all. It's a feel-good lie.
"I'm going to introduce legislation to raise (insert taxes here) by one-quarter of one percent to increase public school teacher pay." Are you kidding me?
Go figure out a way to fund school districts. Ah, hell, fix the economy and get everybody working, and not for Walmart, either. Then school districts can beg for more money. Sometimes they get it and when that happens, teacher unions can negotiate for a share. That's how public school teachers get more money.
What the hell is a "good" teacher? Really, what's your definition?
Test scores? Many teachers have no direct influence on test scores. Think P.E. teachers, art teachers, music teachers. Hey, with Common Core, history teachers and science teachers are almost an after-thought. It's all about language arts and math. Oh and Special Education teachers. The majority of special education students are mainstreamed. Guess what teacher's name is on the testing results?
And if you do decide to pay teachers with good test scores more...ah, hell, if you decide to pay ANY teachers more money than their colleagues based on some form of performance criteria, you will create a competitive atmosphere among teachers on every campus. Cooperation among colleagues will become a thing of the past. Even a teacher who doesn't want to compete for the money will be forced to defend himself or herself. Let's get mean and nasty here. What's one way to raise scores? Move lower-performing students out of your classes for "discipline" reasons. What's a way an administrator can reward his or her allies? No, or fewer, "discipline problem" students.
Geez, if you can't reach into your dark side and think of ways to enhance yourself at work and screw over others because you are competing for money, then just stop thinking there's some way to reward "good" teachers.
And by the way, the idea that any teacher, anywhere, would do a better job than he or she is doing right now because he or she will get more money is deeply, deeply insulting. I don't care what you do for a living. If I said to you, "Hey, if you do a better job than you do now, I'll pay you more," what's you first response?
More money in the classroom? For what? Supplies like paper, pencils and books? Let's be specific here about what you think "more money in the classroom" will buy. Haven't you been paying attention to the growth of the privatize education movement? More money in the classroom means some corporation or consulting service is going to get a contract. Nobody's going to go say to classroom teachers, "Hey, we've got a thousand dollars for you to spend on what you do in the classroom." Maybe there are exceptions but let's face it, who do you think gets to decide how "more money in the classroom" gets to be spent?
Actually, when it comes down to it, somebody ought to go ask teachers what they'd buy if they had more money in the classroom. Don't ask politicians, including school board members. Don't ask anybody who works in a school district office. Don't ask any on-site administrators.
Ask the professionals who are in the g-----n trenches what they need money for.
Oh, somebody has: