The person on the street may not realize the impact of class size on education, but the government supposedly requires "researched based" practices (NCLB). That is until it comes to budgets. There are so many studies and research based information that proves the positive impact of small class size. Many who are "in the know" state "In Asia, they have more children in the classes than we do in America." That may be true, but the Asian culture values teachers as well as education and parents raise their children to be respectful in school, not to sit and text, or flip the teacher birds, or curse the teacher out. I invite anyone who wants to teach, who thinks they know what it takes, to come to my classroom and take over. I will give you a week to prepare (the same that teachers get before school starts each year) as well as text books and a complete list of the state standards. So far, all I see and hear is criticism and no one rushing forward to do my job at my level of pay.
SavrtiTN said, "Most state laws exempt professionals from the overtime rules. This is just the way that it is. Teachers say that they are professionals so, naturally, there is that expectation that they work "professional" hours."
This is true, teachers are professionals who work professional hours, however we are not even paid for a 40 hour week. Teacher pay is based on 37.5 hours per week.
As to the discussions on merit pay. I would be happy to be paid based on merit if the system could come up with a way to include special education teachers. I am a good teacher and teaching my students is not just my job, but my priority. Currently the plan is to base "merit pay" on standardized test scores, so as a special education teacher, any students I serve would have their test scores credited back to their regular education teacher. The same is true for art, music, P.E., foreign language, and other related arts teachers. Do our elected officials wish to work with the teachers to design a fair merit pay system? No, they don't even consider the impact for teachers like me and they steam roll ahead with plans that will leave a large percentage of teachers, who are good at their jobs with a lower pay scale, just because of their subject area.
By the way, Hamilton County's current position on merit pay, or what they call differentiated pay, is "Continuation of all differentiated pay plans is subject to funding." (source - http://www.hcde.org/careers/hcea-moa). So even if teachers do everything they are supposed to do, if the money is not there, it won't be paid out. What's the point of merit pay then?
The public education system is greatly in need of an overhaul. As a teacher in a public school I recognize that "teaching the test" is not providing an education for our students. However, this is where the involvement of elected officials has led us. Requiring all students be at certain levels by certain ages, and being able to signify that achievement with a test does not meet the needs of every child and only finds children being left further behind in the long run. So blame the teachers if that is what you need to do. However, remember, teachers did not create the "standards" or the "test" and if you ask most teachers they will tell you there is a better way to provide meaningful learning environments to students. But wait, no one asks the teachers. However, people sure feel comfortable about blaming them. So while you are blaming the teachers remember a couple of items that effect the education of your children:
HB1375 Removes the requirement for a state license for teachers. So anyone can walk in off the street and say "Today I decided to be a teacher." There are also lots of business men/women who are excellent statisticians or mathematicians. However, if these people wanted to be teachers, that is what they would have done with their education. If being a teacher was easy, everyone would do it, even if they had to get a license. By the way, would you want to see a doctor who does not have a license to practice?
HB505 Changes charter school student selection requirements. Children with low academics or behavior problems will not find themselves candidates for these schools. However, public education will continue to serve all children. Additionally, there is no research that unequivocally supports or refutes charter schools, making charter schools a marginal concept at best.
Where is this great power that unionized public employees hold? Most starting salaries for police officers, teachers, etc. are barely above poverty levels. As a teacher and mother of 3 my children have been eligible for reduced lunch due to yes, my low pay, and I have a Master's degree. As to tenure, it is the system that is broken not tenure itself. Teachers are evaluated by professors, veteran teachers, and principals for nearly 7 years (4 years of college, 3 years on the job) before receiving tenure. If they are "bad" teachers why isn't it noticed at some point during that time. Additionally, teachers are subsequently evaluated every 5 years. If they are "bad" teachers why doesn't the system remove them? Tenure does not guarantee a job, just the right to a fair hearing before dismissal. AlmostAmanda I am with you!
drskigirl, It sounds as if you need an outlet for your anger. Maybe you should organize, demand a living wage for yourself and your co-workers. Those who are already organized will support you, but if the recent attempts at legislation are any indicator, the government would prefer to keep people like you who work hard and don't make much money "in your place".
So teachers cannot receive tenure after 4 years of school and 3 years of on the job experience while incidentally being evaluated by more than one professor, veteran teacher, and principal during those 7 years. That makes the fact that elected officials such as senators and congressional members can receive pension for life and insurance after serving only one term, even more asinine. Thank you Andy Berke and Eric Stewart for standing up for teachers.
I am sure the members of the tea party and tfp enjoy the pay, insurance, vacation time, sick leave, and other benefits that collective bargaining has brought to private companies. If unions had not bargained for these issues we would all still be working in unlit rooms for a nickel a day with no recourse.