And if I were the King of the World…

By | January 16th, 2005 | 8 Comments | School

Our finest scholars would still be stuck figuring out arithmetic.

There is one thing about our society that is really pissing me off. The way our society is supposed to work, is that people are paid for the amount of difference they are making in our world. This usually holds true; most people are paid what they diserve, but there is one occupation that is probably the most important part of our society who are paid pennies compared to some of the completely frivolous multi-million dollar jobs.

The people I am speaking of are the educators. The teachers. The people who spend their lives sharing the knowledge they have with others so that the next generation can build on that knowledge. Where would we be without them? We would still be in the stone age, because every time somebody died, everything they learned in their life would be lost, and the next generation would have to learn it all over again. Our finest scholars would still be stuck figuring out arithmetic. And look at what they’re paid! They get barely enough to support themselves, and even though they may not be working hard a some jobs, they are still the key to our society.

And the reason for raising teacher’s salaries have more benifits than just being fair to teachers. I’m not talking about a tiny little raise, I’m talking about making them some of the best paid people in the world. Suddenly, there is a huge amount of competition for who gets to be a teacher, because everyone wants that kind of money. So now only the good teachers are able to get jobs, and the crappy ones have to go live in a gutter! Now all the students are happy, too, because all their teachers are incredibly talented at what they do, and certain high school science teachers are out of a job! With the educators so much better, I’ll bet we would show giant leaps and bounds of our country’s test scores.

So where do we get the money for these huge raises? Here’s an idea: we take them out of the salaries of a class of people who are grossly overpaid, and aren’t helping our society along at all. Who comes to mind? How ’bout professional athletes? Let’s just switch the salaries of the athletes with the teacher’s salaries! I mean, how are athletes helping our society at all? Enterainment. They spend their lives training to play a game. A game who’s outcome matters not, and it’s purly so Americans can be entertained. Sure, they add to our culture, and give america a name, but really, they are paid millions of dollars to play a fucking game!!!

Anyway, my first act when I’m king of the world is raising teachers salaries. Thought I’d give you the heads up.


There've been 7 whole comments

4:37 pm on 1/16/2005 1. Jackie

Well the first thing you would have to do is get rid of the public school system…

Realize that the reason that teachers do not get as great of salaries is because they are paid by the government…and the government has a lot of people to fork out money to. The reason athletes get paid so much (and you’re right, it’s totally unfair) is because so many individual people are willing to pay money for it. Teachers can’t teach as many people at one time as an athletic event can entertain, plus *most people aren’t willing to fork out tons of money for someone to teach them. I agree with you completely on that teachers deserve more that what they earn, but I’m just pointing out some of the reasons for the way things are. If you were to deal with these issues, then these are some things to consider.

7:28 pm on 1/18/2005 2. tsguitar

You *know* I have lots to say here:

Of course, the second thing you should do is get rid of all those idiotic tests that schools are being judged upon. Shouldn’t things like graduation rates, rates of acceptance to 4-year colleges, SAT/ACT scores be the things schools are judged on? Not some stupid test that makes absolutely no difference to the ones taking it. The students stand to gain *nothing* by doing well on most standardized tests. In California, the small scholarship that was available for excellent performance on the STAR tests disappeared into the budget-cut blackhole last year (or was it 2 years ago?). There’s no reason at all to do well on that test now, even though it’s a huge factor in determining how a school is doing according to the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind, whatever… get rid of that immediately, too). Teachers are paid to educate, not instill school spirit. If you don’t have school spirit, you won’t even bother to take those tests seriously, not when you have homework and tests that actually do affect your graduation to worry about. So how are those tests a good measure of how well teachers are doing their jobs?

Historically speaking, teachers are paid poorly because it was initially “woman’s work.” The tradition of paying teachers poorly stems from that. Now, whether that is still a consideration, I doubt, but that’s why teachers were paid poorly in the beginning. Is there a stigma still attached to the job?

Also, though I am a teacher, I have a hard time calling it a profession. Professionals face a review by peers. Teachers are reviewed by administrators, people who may not even have taught in the observed teacher’s subject area. Professionals are urged to get training to become better and are often times paid for that training. Teachers must take additional classes to keep their credential current and, while they are paid more as they accumulate more credits, the pay raise is not as astounding as you might think. Professionals, when reviewed by their peers, are offered suggestions for improvement by those that are in the same field they are in. Teachers, when reviewed by administrators, are offered suggestions by folk who haven’t been in a classroom for many years (at times decades and even, at other times, those who have never been in a classroom). Our current superintendent was only a classroom teacher for 2 years back in the early 70s (and I believe she taught elementary school). She moved into administration and counseling right after that. Now, she runs an entire high school district. Our principal has never taught in a high school and neither has our vice-principal.

We wouldn’t have to dismantle public education, just radically restructure it so that it serves its purpose and gives every student the education they diserve, not just the education that can be offered (look into prop. 13 for more on how the school system was screwed). And it would also involve teachers being treated as professionals, which I began to outline above. For instance, instead of arranging a specific day for observation, just drop in unannounced and see what’s cookin’ that day! The crappy teachers know how to put on their game face when the pressure’s on. That’s how they avoid getting fired. Unannounced observations might curb that.

And, of course, there are other more important changes that should be implemented to make school a better and more challenging place for the students. But those things involve a committment to hard work and money (particullarly at the beginning), something too many public schools are unwilling to find. Heck, I voted against block scheduling even though research suggests that it works to the benefit of students. But I was young when I made my vote…

Lastly, you should also make sure that no one *ever* glorifies teachers anymore with movies like “Mr. Holland’s Opus” or TV shows like “Boston Public.” Those images don’t help any. Teaching is just a job, like any other. There’s nothing inherently noble about becoming a teacher. We aren’t any more special than any other job that you look at and say, “How do they do that!? I’d never do that.” Think about crime scene cleaners. I’d rather teach than do that any day! Teaching is just a job and the job ends at a certain time each day. If it’s 24/7, I give that teacher a year, maybe two, before s/he cracks under the pressure. Teachers are not special. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. What other job can you say that about? ALL OF THEM!

That’s not all I got to say about that, but I’ll stop now.

7:05 pm on 1/19/2005 3. Nella

I dunno, I still think teachers are far more important than you portray them to be. Educating people with what is already known is one of the most important things in a society. There are many jobs that have a built in feature that only lets the excellent participate, and the crappy have to go be garbage men. Any job with any sort of competition to get in immediatly solves the problem of dumbasses getting hired. How many really crappy astronauts have there been? Huh? If you’re an astronaut, you’re hot shit, and that’s that. So if the wages of teachers were raised, there would be more competion, and that means Ms. Pfiffer has to leave the school!!! I might get a science teacher that I don’t have to correct on the difference between declination and right ascension. I really think that would make everyone happier.

7:53 pm on 1/19/2005 4. SuperDave

Don’t insult garbage men, it might not be a supurb job, but sombody has to do it. There must tens of thousands of garbage men in this country alone. You can insult their dignity, but you can’t insult the fact that they are doing a job that you don’t want to do. You can go to Jupter, but when you get back to Earth, there’ll be someone to pick up your rotten cheese and plastic bags, just the same as evey other working stiff. A garbage man doesn’t care if you’re the CEO or the guy in the mail room, he’ll pick up your garbage all the same.

8:00 pm on 1/19/2005 5. tsguitar

Sure; teachers are important, but so are crime scene cleaners. Could you imagine what the world would be like without those folk!? Eaick!!!

Yeah, teaching’s important, but it’s not the single most important thing in the world. The single most important thing in the world is more like with what individuals do with that knowledge. It’s what you do with what you’ve learned in school that’s really noble. You could have the best teacher in the world in your classroom and you won’t get anything out of it if you didn’t want to. And the converse of that statement is true, too.

Competition does not equal excellence. And to be clear, there is competition to become a teacher. There was a time when anyone with a pulse was let in, but not anymore. I know teachers that are struggling for a job. They are lucky if they get sub work. The problem you are referring to resides in the way the union works, not in the competition for the job.

Afterall, there’s competition to be on any one of those lame “reality” shows that are on TV (several of which are probably running as I type this). Are those people all good at what they do? No. Some just got lucky.

I’m not sure about that built-in feature you describe. I don’t see a disproportionatly large amount of sucky teachers. There are people who do their jobs well and people who don’t care about their jobs at all in every field. You’re simplifying things quite a bit here. Sorry to rain on your parade, but it doesn’t boil down to more money, even though it *sounds* like that would solve everything and it would certainly work to solve your personal problems right now. But if we just throw more money at it, then we end up with people in the classroom that are purely driven by the money, just like we end up with lawyers purely driven by money. Think about that. Is that really what you want? Shoot, I want more money and I don’t think I’d be beaten out of my job (I welcome the challenge to see if I’m fit for this), but I just don’t think that would solve the troubles of the public education system.

All right, I gotta go home now…

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