Teacher Pay

April/08/2018 13:40PM
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I’ve been in Arizona for over three months. Every day for that time the newspaper, the local TV stations, and social media have beat the drum for raising teachers’ pay in the state. That cartoon says it all. Teachers are only asking for a 20% raise. Really.

I spent 35 years in the private sector. Here’s how it works there. Raises in pay are based on performance. Non performance results in firing. According to student test scores vs. the world there is an abundance of non-performance.

How would that 20% pay raise be distributed in AZ? By seniority and across the board. How many non-performing teachers have been dismissed. None. In Scottsdale they are firing a superintendent of schools with a year left on her contract. Conflict of interest. The last they fired came from my second home community. He was fired there and hired by Scottsdale, fired here and hired by Las Vegas. Three pensions, two severance payments. They are paying this woman $150K to leave. Do you believe there is one ounce of business acumen in any school system in this country?

So, if I read Benson’s cartoon, it says, “I’m not doing my best for my students, but if you pay me more, I will try harder.” When I was a student we had poor teachers. They taught for 30-40 years. When my kids were in school they had poor teachers. Some are still teaching. My grandkids have poor teachers. Some will teach for 30 more years. The cartoon hits all the points on the emotional issues with teachers. We have sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers who taught or teach. If you are really good you are not rewarded for that effort or ability. If you are really bad, you are paid the same. It’s the same thing we have in the Department of Motor Vehicles. Soon, like a union jobs with zero accountability, mediocrity prevails.

Pubic pay, benefits, and pensions will ultimately bankrupt states, beginning with Illinois. Retired school superintendents there average $275K a year in pensions with Cadillac benefits. Coming from real estate taxes that have driven hoards out of the state. Still, the number of school districts are the most per student in the nation.

The greatest lobbyist in the country is the media. They want higher teacher pay and throw millions toward pushing that agenda. That’s how Illinois got where they are.

You want to buy the idea the cartoon depicts, buy it. But, I can assure you that at some point your property taxes will be higher than your mortgage, like Illinois, and you will be moving. So will the teachers when they get their pensions. To Florida where there is no state income tax, property tax is low(teacher pay low), and weather is nice.

When the calculus for doing this is mentioned, not the emotion, it is because AZ teachers are paid less than states like Illinois. Never mentioned is their property taxes are lower than Illinois by more than 50%. Just think about that.

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Comments (2)

  1. Doug Gordon says:

    I attended Longview Elementary school in Phoenix. Last time I was in Phoenix about 10 years ago, the name was the same but every sign around the school was in Spanish.

    We were tracked by reading ability, so my mathematics skills were far above most all my classmates. I got so bored one year I stopped studying and reading the book to see as an experiment how long it would take before I missed a question on the inane tests they gave. it took six weeks, and sent quite the little shock wave through the administration. I eventually got some harder problems to keep me interested.

    I was extremely fortunate to move to California and find a good high school with some PhD chemist and mathematicians who made things interesting for me again, as well as a challenging physics teacher.

    So, for my K-12 education, I figure I had about 4 or 5 years of challenge, and 7 or 8 years of pretty boring, mediocre teachers.

    As a percentage, that’s not great and it seems to be getting worse.

  2. Ronald Gonshorowski says:

    I attended a very small rural school here in Oregon.
    My math and science teacher was the first woman to pass the Bar exam in Montana, but chose to become a teacher instead.
    She stopped by one evening on her way home and informed me to get a degree in Business Administration. I did after 4 years in military and 1 year in Vietnam.
    That is the only way I could afford it.
    There were only 12 students in my graduating class and a similar amount in the class preceding mine, yet 2 became college professors and 1 became a CFO of one of the major home builders in the USA.
    Now that same school has been unionized and classes are twice as big and quality has deteriorated precipitously.

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