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View Poll Results: As a whole, are unions needed?
Yes 32 40.00%
No 48 60.00%
Voters: 80. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-30-2012, 03:33 PM #127
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Originally Posted by vikingshadow View Post
I'm required to get to work by 7:30 (school starts at 7:45). I get a 20 minute planning period during the day and 30 minutes lunch IF I don't have lunch duty that week (which I do this week). Last night I got home at 6:30 because I had to stay and write up IRPs and get ready for next week's Literacy First testing that will take up at least three days of time which should be used teaching. Then, I still brought papers home to grade last night. Typically, I spend 2 hours after school is out working (I actually prefer to work to 5:00 as I spent several years in the non-teaching world before I started teaching.) That is if we aren't having one of our many meetings the district requires us to have. I'd say I put in well over 50 hours a week easily - the only day I refuse to work on school stuff is Saturday - that day is for my family. Sunday, I grade papers, make copies, write lesson plans and set up projects, etc. in my classroom for the next week.

Our district starts at 27,000 with 0 years experience. I've been teaching 11 years and make just over 34,000 per year. Our highest step is a little under 46,000 per year. I'm also not a member of NEA or OEA (the union available to us) but they are a collective bargaining union here so for whatever that's worth, what they negotiate are terms of employment - not usually teacher salary - and I get the benefits of that. I do belong to Professional Oklahoma Educators, which is a union but not a bargaining union within the district and they ONLY deal with education, not like NEA/OEA does.

You guys keep saying teachers want more money. Who doesn't? But we hardly EVER bring it up. Look who brings up teacher pay most often - I promise you it isn't teachers! We knew what we were getting into when we chose this path. Instead, we ask for more planning time to prepare better lessons, less meetings, less duty (ie lunch duty, recess duty, before and after school duty, etc) - basically things that take us from doing what we were hired to do. You do realize that a lot of times our hands are tied as far as what and how we can teach, right? We're told, by our principals, our superintendents, our legislators AND our state superintendents what we have to teach and how they want us to do it. Blaming whats wrong with education on the teachers is like blaming the doctor for you being sick.

I'll say this - as screwed up as it is, I love my job. It's not easy, it's stressful, it's extremely difficult and we're under attack most every day of the school year. But, I've done other jobs and teaching, by far, has been the most enjoyable experience I've had - and one of the hardest jobs I've had.

I stay out of these conversations as a rule, because most of you seem to have "poor pity me, I had ****ty teachers so the whole system sucks" syndrome. In fact, I won't participate any further than this, because unless you've actually taught, you have NO idea how it really is in a classroom. Most of you aren't even PARENTS so you really don't have a clue what it's like to deal with children. Your point of view has strictly been from the student desk - which hardly shows you what goes on behind the scenes. So, I won't be suckered into this discussion, because no matter how logical teachers are, no matter the evidence we provide, you don't want to hear it.

I'll close with this, though. As far as all the "time we get off", you do realize teachers are the ones pushing for longer school years, right? Most of us agree that students lose a lot of what we taught over the summer. Yes, I get summers off (when I'm not in school for ongoing education, or workshops or whatever - all on my own dime and time) I get a week off for Spring break, 3 days for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks for Christmas, and 2 days for Fall Break. I get paid for 9 months work, not a full year, but get my checks spread out through the year. I'll be honest - I need the time to decompress so I can deal with all the problems kids bring into class every single day. It's part of the job. However, think about this. Get rid of the teachers since that's what you want. See how long it works. Then get back to me. Believe it or not, we need teachers, and we need teachers who love to teach.
What grade? What subject/s do you teach? (sorry if i missed it)
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:34 PM #128
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Originally Posted by drgonzo View Post
For 30 years there has only been one candidate unions should be supporting. If it was supporting the other, it would be going against your interests and against its mission.

You may not have known enough to understand that but the union sees it up close and personal in its political dealings. It knows who is trying to screw you, even if you don't.

Unions are the workers' political power! The decline of unions is why workers have so little political power today. Unions are supposed to be political and deal with the terms and economics of your employment, substantive professional issues are for professional associations and advocacy groups. Leaving a union because it is politically active is shooting yourself in the foot as a worker, and shows complete lack of understanding of labor issues.
I didn't leave the union because it was politically active. I'm rather glad it is - but unfortunately, I don't believe the same way they do. I left it because it was using my money in a direction that didn't fit my political beliefs. I weighed it, and decided I was going a different way - it was a year long process for me to decide on this, actually. Now, Whether or not the union believes it's acting in my best interest doesn't mean it's acting in a way I believe.

Yes, they are our political power. I do believe that at one time, the NEA was working much harder for the individual teacher than it is now. I feel that as one of the nations most powerful unions, there are more things they are concerned about now than teachers and students. So, when I found this company and researched it, it was clear to me they were more focused on us as individuals and allowed us more of a voice in the direction it it should move.

I don't know. Maybe I don't see very clearly how it was benefiting me. That's possible, but I did do a lot of reading, a lot of research and a lot of soul searching before I changed. If I'm wrong, I'll figure it out eventually, but so far everything seems ok to me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:46 PM #129
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What grade? What subject/s do you teach? (sorry if i missed it)
2nd grade and all subjects except PE and music. I taught English and reading to 5th graders for 9 years prior to moving to 2nd grade 3 years ago.

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I'm curious. How much weight does that surprise walk through rating really carry? Does it simply go into another busywork report that the principal hates writing too, and noone ever reads? It is really hard to fire a teacher unless they do something spectacular.
That I can't answer. I do know that the principal brings up her walkthroughs quite frequently throughout the year, but as far as actual weight goes, that's a secret kept from me, at least. It probably is busy work, as you say - they're every bit as stressed as we are, and then some! And yes, I'll give you this - it is really hard to fire a teacher, especially in this teacher shortage we have, but I have actually seen it done. And some are a lot easier than others to get rid of!

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I know the teachers are responsible for a great deal of busywork that is of no help to the students. Personally I think that busy work around iEP etc. creates more confusion for the students because the teacher is not consistently in the classroom. I do feel sorry for you guys in that respect because your requirements are written by PhDs who have very little real world experience and are not invested in the result. They want to make a big splash so that they can get more funding. They don't want to prove the obvious, because that doesn't get them invited to speak at meetings. I think education PhDs are worse than nutrition PhDs.

We, as parents, hate the new breakthrough teaching systems that arrive every few years . The new math is a prime example. It's so much more confusing for the kids than the old system. It also takes longer and much more paper to solve simple arithmetic.

Here is a place that the union could shine. Instead of whining about salaries, protecting the useless and all the other stuff that has nothing to do with education, they could go after quality in the classroom and really be about the children. I think teachers, in general, care about their students. Maybe im being naive , butI believe the parents would back you guys in those fights. I know I would if the local teachers needed it. There is political will for back to basics in education. Why do you think home and charter schools are more popular? Parents are more involved than you give them credit for.
I agree with most of what you wrote here. Those that tell us "how" to teach and "what" to teach really have no business doing so. They have no real world experience in the business. They see dollar signs - and for those of you that don't know - education is a multi BILLION dollar a year industry! Money is what really speaks to these people.

And we agree with you that these new systems are a joke. A lot of the time, we just roll our eyes and go with it because education is cyclical. It all goes in circles. And yes, parents are starting to make a bigger, more positive impact than before. However, the die has already been cast in that discipline is non-existent, teachers have little to no power in their own classrooms (unless you know how to work the system) and according to most expert teachers (the good ones that are awesome and been around for decades, not the others) and they ALL say it - education started going downhill when administrators gave power to the parents in how the classroom and discipline was going to be handled sometime around the early 70s. I believe education is on the upgrowth again, but it's slow and in the meantime, we've lost an entire generation of kids who aren't ready for the world workplaces.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:34 PM #130
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2nd grade and all subjects except PE and music. I taught English and reading to 5th graders for 9 years prior to moving to 2nd grade 3 years ago.
Ouch! I have been thinking of high school this entire time. Much respect, man.

Also, in high school, I had the cool opportunity to have the same English teacher 3 years in a row. He was a really good teacher (was an old professor who still wanted to teach) so he kind of had free reign. So, he found a group of students he liked and just followed us from sophomore to senior year. Looking back, I feel as if I benefited a lot from that and wanted to know your thoughts about if we did more of this on purpose. Do you think that would make you a more effective or less effective teacher? In my mind, it saves all the crap of getting to know new students, how to work with them well, etc.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:47 PM #131
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Hahaha! Thanks, but I really enjoy it. They love their teachers at this age and even though I have issues from time to time with a couple of students/parents, overall they LOVE to make their teachers proud. It's a great age to teach!

I don't know, to be honest. However, the effectiveness of a teacher, I feel, is mostly based on how well that teacher can adjust to the different types of learners he/she has at any given time and how the teacher can modify the lessons for the different learning styles, sometimes when all of them happen at one time. Once you learn to do this, then your effectiveness as a teacher greatly increases as you can reach all students at once. Of course familiarity is going to trump a lot of this both from the teacher's view and the student's view so I can see that it would be beneficial, but as far as being effective outside of that group? I honestly don't know. There are some teachers who "loop" with their students through two or three grades, but I see no real advantage or disadvantage outside of the whole "honeymoon" period we teachers get every year with the students. In fact, sometimes it's MORE difficult because the students feel better and safer so they act up more.

Quite frankly, I believe that the major hurdle to effectiveness (outside of the parent issue I mentioned earlier) of the teacher in early childhood education is the amount of information the kids actually lose between the end of one grade level to the beginning of the next, that summer break period. Kids lose a LOT of information over that relatively short period of time. I feel like if we could somehow stop that from happening, such as an extended school year, then

So, for your whole effectiveness question, I guess having the same kids year after year can make one teacher quite effective within that one group, assuming discipline problems are minimum because of it. But, remember - you have to take into consideration the makeup of the class itself, how each child interacts with each other. That alone can make or break a class!
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:13 PM #132
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Ya I gotcha. Another question: if they made you prime minister of education and had total control, what one thing would you change and why?

Also, what are your thoughts on this: blog.ted.com/2007/12/13/why_we_should_t/
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:37 PM #133
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I would take everyone in charge of education who has no experience in education within the past 5 years (ie previously having taught or had some kind of hands on experience in the classroom) OUT of the loop. They're only concerned with votes and what they get out of it. That's why it's so easy to put education on the back burner so often. I would make it a requirement that the State Superintendent be required to have an extensive education background, not just a touch of it by being on a committee or something like that. I would require that State School Boards be occupied by School Board Members from successful districts. AND, I would require every College/University professor/doctor who teaches future teachers spend one year out of every 5 in an elementary/middle school/high school classroom as the primary teacher. Honestly - all these people have no real idea what a classroom is like and it changes so quickly that 5 years is the bare minimum cutoff I would recommend. Finally, I would make the states totally responsible for their state's education. The Feds need to stay out as much as possible, and only come around when requested by a state for help.

I like the idea of the Socratic method in classrooms. I feel there is so much lost anymore because all we do is teach for a test. We need to teach students about LIFE and how to live life, not just make them fact spewing robots.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:21 PM #134
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I heard some Hamlet in there...
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:42 PM #135
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Hahahaha! Maybe a little bit!
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:04 PM #136
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I would require that State School Boards be occupied by School Board Members from successful districts.
So underprivileged districts would have no representation?
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:40 PM #137
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So underprivileged districts would have no representation?
You're such a negative Nancy.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:34 PM #138
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Hmmm, good question. However, what does being an underprivileged school districts have to do with this? Are you saying underprivileged school districts can't be successful? I believe that even underprivileged school districts can be successful - just depends on the yard stick used to measure success, right? Small steps are success just as much as big steps are, and in some cases, the small step is MUCH bigger than the big step.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:33 PM #139
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Hmmm, good question. However, what does being an underprivileged school districts have to do with this? Are you saying underprivileged school districts can't be successful? I believe that even underprivileged school districts can be successful - just depends on the yard stick used to measure success, right? Small steps are success just as much as big steps are, and in some cases, the small step is MUCH bigger than the big step.
Are we considering success as schools that do well on tests or schools that are continually doing better on tests? If it's the former, then I agree with gonzo. The latter, then viking.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:53 PM #140
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I was talking about schools that raise their scores, no matter by how much, showing continuous growth every year, and schools that manage their schools financially.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:34 PM #141
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news...orate-profits/

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In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week'si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.

But the record profits come at the same time that workers' wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP.
Is it safe to assume many here see this as a good thing?
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:28 PM #142
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news...orate-profits/



Is it safe to assume many here see this as a good thing?
This is the golden shower everyone was promised.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:43 AM #143
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news...orate-profits/



Is it safe to assume many here see this as a good thing?
No, this is a terrible thing and a reflection that we are still suffering from a massive aggregate demand crisis. While stronger unions would definitely reduce the structural component of this (which I think is definitely non-negligible), I think this has more to do with cyclical factors. In normal times these profit would be invested, but because of our AD crisis the channel between savings/profits and investment has been severed so you see these massive gluts of idle capital sitting on the sidelines.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:19 AM #144
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news...orate-profits/



Is it safe to assume many here see this as a good thing?
How have we not realized that this is our problem?
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:46 AM #145
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The article didn't do a good job of showing how the two data points are in constant dance with each other.


That is not the problem, that is a symptom. There are lots of symptoms.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:23 AM #146
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http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news...orate-profits/

Is it safe to assume many here see this as a good thing?
I couldn't read the article, but I wonder how much of that profit is offshore? I know my company has around $12bil in cash from offshore profits that it won't bring into the US for tax reasons. Instead of reinvesting here, it uses that cash make investments in foreign countries. It's one of those double whammys where resources are spent here to make money elsewhere and the money never comes back. It's like they get a tax break to move jobs offshore. I think that would depress wages here.

I'm sure my company isn't the only one that does this.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:17 PM #147
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The article didn't do a good job of showing how the two data points are in constant dance with each other.
My understanding was that corporate profits have been rising and wages falling in the long run fairly consistently (besides a few blips).





Is this not the case?
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