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Schools and Money

Posted by $ winterwind 6 years ago to The Gulch: General
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I just read - probably on the msn feed - that teachers in Seattle are going to be on strike on the first day of school; perhaps some others as well. For more money, of course.
and I had a blinding flash of the obvious
If what you have is a giant pile of poop, collected for years and years, and you send the same people out to spend money on "the problem", you'll just end up with a bigger pile of poop.
I wish they'd use it for something useful.

The "BPoP" Effect is also true in many other places...my mind was just on education then.
I hope the teachers pack a good and nutritious lunch, with no chocolate or cookies or other "bad" food. It gets hungry on the picket line!


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    Posted by SaltyDog 6 years ago
    Time for parents to band together and form small groups of home schoolers.
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    • Posted by $ jlc 6 years ago
      Yes. This is kinda like the 'robots in fast food' discussion. Human beings are reluctant to change, but if you block their traditional path you will force them to innovate.

      So let's have home schooling, charter schools, and McRobot.

      Jan
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      • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 6 years ago
        There is some interesting work in developing 'best' computerized lesson plans where a lesson plan can be refined and perfected rather than being whatever the teacher managed to pull together that day.
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        • Posted by $ jlc 6 years ago
          That would have the 'disadvantage' of increasing the educational distance between kids. One of the 'advantages' of the traditional school system is that it normalizes the amount of education available and does not let the smarter kids excel by too much.

          Jan
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    • Posted by $ Suzanne43 6 years ago
      Or send your children to private schools. As a former public school teacher. I wouldn't want my kids in a public school these days. The text books have been so "dumbed-down" that it is appalling. Many of the parents want nothing but As or Bs on their kids' report cards even when the kids don't deserve those grades. And as for discipline forget it....You might hurt the children's feelings. Unfortunately, some of my fellow teachers add to the schools' problems by being mind-dumbed robots for the unions.
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  • Posted by Non_mooching_artist 6 years ago
    Teacher pay isn't a means to become wealthy. But becoming a teacher is a conscious choice. People know that going in. Also, let's just skim off more income to fund those unions! Oh boy, that's such a great idea! How about at will employment, no tenure, and a review to determine continued employment? I am so tired of encountering teachers who have no business being in front of a classroom of once eager to learn students. Talk about snuffing out any natural curiosity.

    And the push for CC in the schools nationwide, which costs all schools/districts more money, with dubious results, is part of that steaming pile. New York, of all places, is pushing back hard against CC.
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    • Posted by salta 6 years ago
      "snuffing out any natural curiosity" - exactly.
      The low competence of some teachers does not just result in students learning less, similar to "low productivity" in other jobs. Instead, it has a negative effect on the student, by destroying motivation.
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  • Posted by $ number6 6 years ago
    Many teachers in many school distrcts ARE underpaid. The wasted spending in the schools is cause by government mandated programs for mny "special" groups. many of those "students" will never be productive members of society, yet the schools must provide almost 1-1 assistance or babysitting for these individuals.
    Another major issue is the growth of school administrators who do little to further a child's eduction. The growth of the administrative class drains resources for the classroom.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years ago
      This is an interesting comment. I have a child with autism. I think there is something I'd like to tell you. For many districts, the money fed to the special education programs actually doesn't go to the kids with special needs. It actually goes into the budgets then gets rerouted to other programs. Our district flat out refused to take my child. Wouldn't allow him into the district, in spite of me paying probably more in taxes than just about any other parent near the school. We had to place him in private school then a charter in another district. See...in our case, our "student" went on to excel to about three grade levels higher than his peers in math, spells better than I do (which isn't saying much). Our local special ed administrators took your view on him. So, I just want to caution you a bit. I detect what could be a little disdain for kids with "special" needs in your comment. The disdain should be aimed at the bloated yentas who run special needs programs, earning huge salaries while flushing kids down the toilet. I personally know about 70 kids with autism. Not one of them has "1-1 assistance". Not one...

      And, never, ever say such things in mixed company. There might be a parent like me in earshot who takes it the wrong way and calls you on the carpet. Make no mistake - it's all "wasted spending" when a public school teaches kids.
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      • Posted by XenokRoy 6 years ago
        Abaco,

        My wife, for the last 3 years, has been working in the local school district with special needs children. She becomes very annimated when the subject comes up because:

        1) We assist kids who have only one problem, parents that do not care to be part of the education process at all. They simply want baby sitters and do things to keep there income down so that buses will pick up the kids from their homes... could give more but will stop there, basically they make sure they financially qualify even if means a lousy life for their kids.

        2) They often deny kids with parents who care about their kids that could use extra help (like your case) because parents who care are simply not destitute enough to get the benefit.

        Does this match your own observations?
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        • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years ago
          I could go beyond that. In our case I could afford to have an advocate work with us. The district cooked a case against her and had her three children taken from her and put in foster care. This is a criminal operation. That's when we left our district. If they took my kids I'd go into the special ed office with a baseball bat and clean house.

          Public schools run a business model that's really centered on the type of parent you describe - a parent (rarely two parents), who don't really care and need a babysitter. So what if Timmy ends up on disability and living in a home on the government dole for the rest of his life? Nobody cares about that. Public schools are the easy choice in that case.
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      • Posted by $ jlc 6 years ago
        Thanks for the insight, and for the caution. I do not have children and have little empathy with them (these two things are not unrelated), so it is easy for me to deride education and the difficulty of educating children - special needs or otherwise.

        I am glad that your child is such a go-getter. More power to him.

        Jan
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      • Posted by blackswan 6 years ago
        I taught math for 5 years, and I noticed that special ed kids worked a LOT harder than regular students. Sometimes they had to solve problems differently, but they put in the work. Sometimes, they did better than the regular students, which should have made the regular students ashamed, given that they were so much "smarter," but didn't. The takeaway from this is that, as Edison says, it's 90% perspiration.
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        • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years ago
          Yes. And this is what made my hackles stand up in the comment I responded to. I have come to find that you can't just point to a kid who rides the small bus and say, "You'll amount to nothing. You don't deserve our efforts." You simply can't do that without eventually having to eat crow. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if a "special needs kid" finds the cure for cancer.

          My son's recovery from autism has been unprecedented. He and I've been in a documentary about the topic. We are the curve wreckers. He still struggles, but he is an inspiration. Saturday morning we were at the local Starbucks (dad had to work and he had to do some homework). I noticed he kept looking at a child sitting just outside the window - a child with severe autism. The conversation he and I had about that was very special and something I'll keep to myself, probably forever.
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      • Posted by roneida 6 years ago
        Abaco.. I doubt that most people, especially parents, feel that special needs of special kids, constitute an unnecessary expenditure. Where the real waste in public education is administration and tenure. I have known many teachers over the years and at 90 % of them are diamonds. I live in NYS, so I do not know the financial arrangements in other states, but here teachers are employed about 6hours max per day, 5 days/week. approx. 34-36 weeks per year. Not a rigorous regimen....BUT, the teachers' union is a total pawn of the democrats and the democrats give the teachers nearly any thing they demand...including exemption from dismissal for incompetence and even theft and child abuse...check on NYC for how many teachers earning over 100 grand are obliged to spend years attending "school" and sitting all day with no assignments because they have to for their salary and retirement. The system is corrupt...by the people who teach civics and behavior.We have about 14 teachers in the State who are not democrats...Money is wasted on unproductive teachers who have no accountability for their output or quality as long as their vote is guaranteed,
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    • Posted by $ Technocracy 6 years ago
      I agree on the costs of the bloated special needs programs.

      I disagree that teachers as a group are underpaid. Some perhaps, majority no.

      In my state the schools are open for 180 school days, and teachers attend some number of "professional" days without students.

      Those are far fewer days than most full time employees work, and with union protections.

      So overall, I do not consider them underpaid, especially when you look at the quality of school output as measured by testing.
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      • Posted by $ Abaco 6 years ago
        A lot of teachers I know will openly tell you that a major reason they got into the trade is for all the days off work.

        The good teachers, it seems, work pretty hard - even on many of their days off. The profession doesn't really attract the cream of the crop, though, does it?
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        • Posted by $ Suzanne43 6 years ago
          Thank goodness, there will always be some good teachers who spend an awful lot of time in their classrooms. A very long time ago, there were about three main professional fields that women went into...nursing, secretarial, and teaching. Therefore, the schools did get the cream of the crop. Not so much anymore. Talented women have so many other opportunities available to them.
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      • Posted by blackswan 6 years ago
        If you think you can dump your kid on the teacher, and get an Einstein, you're crazy. The teacher has a student for less than an hour per day, attempting to teach his something. There's no way to force him to pay attention, or to do his homework, or to make him take notes or ask questions, or even to take tests during the year. To impose responsibility on the teacher for one test at the end of the year is ridiculous.
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      • Posted by jhagen 6 years ago
        Agreed. And wouldn't it be wonderful if teachers were paid for results, instead of just showing up. And worse yet, for being paid to brainwash our kids into socialist thoughts.
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  • Posted by Lysander 6 years ago
    I am a public school teacher. The system sucks, except for 1113, my room. I tell my students right up front, this ain't your usual class. I teach, using my own texts. We read Rand in my Civics class (Anthem) and in Economics (Atlas Shrugged). We begin with Truth (A=A) and look at the Declaration, Preamble and Gettysburg Address (which are memorized and recited in front of class) then we look at the steps that began America (Socrates thru Romans thru Locke and Hobbes into the Cato Letters, Jefferson-Hamilton "debates" to the fall of the Republic! It is not easy being free in a commie/fascist institution, but I have one more year, #32, and have built quite a cult!
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 6 years ago
    I have an issue with a system which hires people with an average IQ of about 110, gives them a salary they could not duplicate elsewhere, all based on 9 months work. Then they are represented by a union, which a few years ago admitted in publice their ultimate goal number one was "POWER". Educating children fell well down the list, not even second.
    Then these new teachers, fresh out of education college, begin to save the world with what can only be called indoctrination in socialism via pseudo environmental teachings. A local state university was of the habit of taking majors in other fields in danger of funking out, and putting them in the college of education where they were assured they could graduate.
    It used to be a cry for money for smaller class size, until an inner city black woman principal made do on what their district had, set some rules for student behavior, and came away with some of the best test scores in the city.
    Way too much of taxpayer dollars are going to implement programs which teach our little darlings how great it is to be socialists. The young teaches would be hard pressed to define socialism or note how it never works.
    Finally, the kids are doped up with Ritalin or some psychotropic at school request, given labels like ADD or ADHD, or dyslexic, given a large dose of values clarification (to clear away any remaining values from home), and taught a collectivists mantra, "There is no I in team".- for this we need higher taxes!
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  • Posted by dukem 6 years ago
    Well, golly gee, guess I have to be that cranky old man talking about the "good old days." It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. : - )
    I went to an "inner city" junior high and high school in the late fifties, each with maybe 300 to 500 or more students in non air conditioned old brick buildings (this was in the South), with all the old creaky wooden desks, etc., hall passes, strict discipline (all that bad old stuff).
    Staff consisted of a principal, assistant principal, dean of boys, dean of girls (as I said, this was in prehistoric times), a secretary, someone else who did some paperwork, and a janitor.
    Went to my fiftieth reunion five years ago, and it was amazing how well they all turned out. They can actually, spell, write, think, talk, and they (or others like them) built the world that existed until fairly recently. Most did not go to college. There was even some paddling going on in the early years.
    We went through racial integration about midway through all of that, and the kids worked it all out without adult counseling and reporters and armies and such.
    It is a different world now, and of course all there is to do is work with what we have with a positive vision for the future. But there was a time when the country actually worked, as did the school systems that produce citizens who built a damned good country.
    Having reread this, I appear to myself like the reporter in the movie "Network". Cantankerous, cranky, but still a little kid wishing it all would turn out better. But it won't without a whole lot of effort, and Galt's Gulch is where I come to get re-inspired.
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  • Posted by salta 6 years ago
    The education system can only be improved by somehow bringing choice and competition into its structure. It works for all other industries.
    There is strong resistance, usually with the reaction "but our children's futures are at stake". Even comparing education to other types of business is viewed by some as heartless.
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    • Posted by SaltyDog 6 years ago
      Charter schools seem to be as close to that as we can get at present, and all indications are that the concept seems to be working.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
        Having no other reasonable alternative I raised mine to GED at fifteen. By 18 she was finishing up a Bachelors. By 21 working on Doctorate - double I guess as she's now a shrink.

        Her comment at fifteen was I don't need to be in the school to attend games or proms. I can't afford the time i need to get my Education. She had already enrolled in the local Junior College.

        After the first day her comment was an awe struck ,"The students WANT to learn and the TEACHERS WANT to teach!!!"
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        • Posted by $ jlc 6 years ago
          The only good thing about my HS closing while I was in my Junior year was that I got to skip the Prom!! I had been dreading that since Freshman year. Fortunately, I had taken all solid courses and was able to graduate as a Junior, and went straight to college...but without Senior math and physics, the path of my life changed.

          Jan
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          • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
            True I had to take that level in the military but I ended up not only a rifle toting grunt but a demolitionest as well. We had to learn how to build so we could figure out how to destroy. It's all math and physics. Except for who replaces the whatever it was That and navigation served to drag me into the world of math and the higher sciences. Can't sail a boat without 'em.
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  • Posted by strugatsky 6 years ago
    It is about time that people realize that spending more money on public schools is just as effective as spending more money on EPA and Global Warming, TSA and National Security, American Cancer Society and other charities, the Welfare and the War on Poverty, as well as the War on Drugs. And, now, on ObamaCare. More money on any of these simply means less money for you and more money for the parasites. Or, maybe it's not about time to realize that yet, as long as most people remain adolescents influenced by the TV.
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  • Posted by jimslag 6 years ago
    Schools are nothing but big piles of babysitters. We send the children there to learn much of nothing but they are occupied for 7 hours or so and allow us to do other things. Then they come home, do home work and sit in front of the electronic babysitter (TV) or on the computer. Sorry but my education experience was not much to talk about at that time. It was better than what the kids get now but still lacking. I learned more in my first 3 years in the Navy than I did in 12+ years of school. Granted it was something to build on but it in no way prepared me for real life.
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  • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 6 years ago
    I'm going to look up the union contract for the WEA. If it's anything like our contract...there is NO strike clause. Although firing is not the immediate answer...disciplinary action should be taken, followed by dismissal if it happens again.
    Washington state's teachers are no more special than any other employee who gets their wages via the taxpayers.
    Times like this...I wish we had Scott Walker for governor.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 6 years ago
    winter, we have piles of poop everywhere the govt attempts
    to do things which the private sector should be doing.
    and it is flung far and wide whenever an election occurs,
    obscuring everyone's vision -- but, alas, the tomatoes
    never seem to get the better of it. -- j
    .
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  • Posted by $ blarman 6 years ago
    I saw this very same thing when I lived in Greece for two years. It was one public service group after another. One month the teachers would strike. After a few months they would get a raise and the bus drivers would strike to get their raise. Then the garbage collectors. It was a never-ending circle - exactly as you identify.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 6 years ago
    Not everyone has the time or the ability to home school. Private schools are the answer. I wasn't smart enough to send my kids to a private school and their education was mediocre at best. My son who is smarter than me, sent the kids to a Montessori up until high school, where they got a superior education, with dedicated teachers that we still communicate with. (Grandkids are now 23, 25, & 31 respectively).
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  • Posted by rbuckwalter 6 years ago
    Every profession has a distribution of talent. There are great teachers and there are terrible teachers and most are somewhere in the middle of the bell curve. The ones I have met in my role as a parent in our public school system appear to be motivated and dedicated. I'm mostly pleasantly surprised when I meet them VS the stereotypes. No doubt I benefit by living in a pretty decent area. I don't agree that there is a pile of poop, but maybe we need to be careful where we step.

    If a teacher chooses to teach in a publicly funded system with the protection of collective bargaining they should not expect the compensation system to reflect a total meritocracy. If they want a meritocracy go work in straight commission sales or open a business and put something at risk. Teacher salaries vary quite a bit from region to region, but in general they are vastly better than they were when I was in school, and far more attractive VS other career choices. Especially when you factor in benefits, time off, security, etc. We should be attracting better talent and I think we probably are, but I have no data to back that up. All I know is there is more competition for the full time slots in our area.

    The funding of education reflects the age old dilemma of redistribution VS pay for services/personal responsibility. Right now every tax paying property owner pays no matter what their use of the system based on the the premise that public education is a "greater good". I agree that there is a greater social benefit to public education, but I believe the cost burden has shifted too far? Why not subsidize post middle school non-trade focused education by charging a tuition? Means test it, allow for some school choice? Why shouldn't we allow vouchers for people who choose private schools? Why should seniors who have paid into the system all there lives be forced to continue to support it in retirement? Why should a family with 5 children in the system pay less than a family with 1 just because they have a lower tax assessment? At some point we penalize the people who make the most responsible choices. Inner-city low income schools are often trotted out at the poster-children for maintaining the status quo of subsidies, but these schools continue to have abysmal conditions and results. Is this really a funding issue or a problem we would rather not discuss and face? Poverty.

    The big mistake (where the pile of poop can be found) is to believe that the goal of teachers unions are aligned with the goals of society or even teachers. The job of the union is to guarantee its survival by negotiating better compensation for it's members. The pitch may be that its "all about the kids" but their actions tell a completely different tale. Unions resist anything that introduces accountability into the system or threatens the current funding model. Well meaning teachers often drink the Kool-aid because they are the beneficiaries, and it's easier to sleep at night if you buy into the pitch. The unions aren't all bad, but they are big and powerful and often overwhelm their fragmented opposition. When all of their money comes from statutorily mandated taxation its not a level playing filed and hard to defend.
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    • Posted by $ jdg 6 years ago
      The purpose of labor unions is to extort money for their favorite political party from its opponents. So long as they get that, the employees can go straight to hell. If anybody objects, the union has thugs to handle them.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
        The socialist system is based on three different groups in control. Government, Big Corporations mostly financial institutions, Union Leaders. Union members are specifically excluded. What worked for Mussolini in the thirties works for in the USA today.
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        • Posted by $ jdg 6 years ago
          If that were true, why have communist and fascist states, including Mussolini's own, always outlawed all unions (except possibly a sham union run by themselves) as soon as they firmly held power?
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          • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
            It is true.Niothing iffy about it Mussolini was the originator of that particular definition as well as the term fascist which means total control of everything by any and all means. As the former leader of the socialist movement created a different style from that used in Russia and changed Italian socialism into a new form called Fascist. Soviet style took ownership of everything. The national socialist style allowed ownership but under tight control. So you answered your own question. The degree of control as a stated goal fir both is 'absolute.' One reason why we have a heavily controlled economy. You know it as Statists, Corporatists, and Union leaders. Not a tricycle but a bicycle with a kick stand counting the unions.

            George Carlin called it smiley faced fascism. Softer touch but still total control.

            Each socialist nation including the USA has always developed their own version. Nothing new about that. Each version has always been at odds ergo the great socialist wars of the 20th century. They evolve, develop, redefine and move on liberally or conservatively arriving at the same common goal. Complete control with a one party system.

            Why do Republicans cave to Democrats so much? They are the right and left wing of the Government Party Coalition. One two faced party. Each nothing but a controlled political union. No more Marxist Economics. or Fascist Economics it's now State Economics. Not to worry the other name is a 'hampered capitalism.'

            Control includes schools...

            Not to worry abut learning the differences. There are none substantive or meaningful from Europe in the first half of the last century except ours have a smiley face and their had death camps.
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      • Posted by rbuckwalter 6 years ago
        The goal of the labor union is to perpetuate its existence and grow thereby increasing the wealth, influence and power of their leadership. That is also the goal of any for profit business and unfortunately appears to be the goal of our government. I agree with you except that you correctly describe some of their tactics, not their purpose. Unions and government have both lost their moral compass so what we have is an immoral fox in charge of a lunatic hen house. A strange analogy for an atheist but there you have it.
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  • Posted by term2 6 years ago
    If I had a kid, which I dont, I would want them to learn what they wanted to learn, when they wanted to learn it. To encourage their own curiousity in the process.

    Government indoctrination centers (public schools) are there to make young people into sheep always willing to accept the government line. I spent some useless time in public school and I dont remember hardly anything from it other than language (which I probably learned at home anyway) and maybe reading. I spent more time on YOUTube lately and remember a lot of it. I have learned so much more on YOUTube, from new product design details to home repair.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
    Teachers are just blue collar union employees in any case.

    The usual way school budgets get past is all the parents with kids in school vote yes. Those whose children are out of school vote no.

    The theory is correct the problem after we've subjected our own offspring to a substandard education.

    Somehow it works. Now the question is. Are they already making more than fifteen dollars an hour? It is Seattle after all.

    If they weren't it's an automatic payraise. If they were they were overpaid.
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    • Posted by $ prof611 6 years ago
      I have to register a strong disagreement with "Teachers are just blue collar union employees..." SOME teachers are, but some are neither blue collar or union! I taught for 25 years, and I have two advanced degrees, and never was a member of a union!
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      • Posted by $ minniepuck 6 years ago
        Thank you. I was going to say something very similar. Having many friends in education (some private and some public), I've yet to meet one without an advanced degree. And, being in Texas, none of them have chosen to be part of a union.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 6 years ago
        The exception that proves the rule. I know they have a group that are members because it's a closed shop operation - but also make it known they will cross picket lines and see their first duty as education to the children, and second, and last. None of them are NEA members. But my ex- the school teacher says if you say it that way there will be a strong response.
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  • Posted by zzdragon 6 years ago
    Where I live in Texas the ISD is in the 10% bottom of the school ratings for the state. YET the are spending $50,000,000 on a water park and golf course. I always thought that there are 3 "R"s and not a 4th one called Recreation.
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