Friday, February 29, 2008

How Do We Compare To Paterson New Jersey?

New York City politicians are always calling us the best and the brightest. However, the real truth is the Kleinberg administration is always trying to do "education on the cheap". The result is that the New York City teacher is overworked, under appreciated, disrespected, and underpaid. Underpaid? Yes, underpaid. Many of the surrounding school districts are head and shoulders better paid than us. As for days worked, the average Long Island school district works 184 days a year and less, if snow days are not used. However, instead of comparing the New York City Teacher work and pay scale to the surrounding Long Island or Westchester schools districts (which we are inferior to), I decided to compare a typical working-class, blue collar school district in New jersey to our work and pay scale. The area I selected is Paterson New Jersey. A city that is heavily minority (82% black & Hispanic with many Middle Easterners making up most of the rest) and has a household income of $33,000, compared to $41,000 in New York City. A much poorer city indeed. However, they treat their teachers better than New York City treats us.

First, the Paterson, New jersey teacher works a maximum of 185 days compared to the 192 days the New York City teacher works this year. Further, the Paterson New Jersey Teacher has 5 half-days compared to "0" for the New York City teacher.

Second, the Paterson teacher pay scale ranges from $47,000 to $97,000 compared to our present-day pay scale of $43,000 to $95,000

Finally, the Paterson New Jersey teachers are allowed to attend workshops and professional development programs during school time. Rarely, can a New York City teacher leave the classroom for these sessions.

While I'm sure that the Paterson teachers suffer from similar afflictions as us such as gangs, unmotivated students, parent disinterest, poor classroom supplies, and vindictive administrators. It certainly appears that for a city always on the brink of bankruptcy, they seem to treat their teachers better than New York City treats us.

Who is the blame for allowing the city to disrespect us and for subjecting us to the shoddy treatment? I give you one guess. You want a hint? The First letter starts with an "R" and the last letter ends with a "i", with two letters in between.


17 (really 15) more years said...

So NYC kids, who clearly are not unique in their needs, need a longer school year than other kids? It's about time that we negotiated a contract with a set number of school days, like many other districts in our area (and I'd like to know, nationwide, how many districts have number of days set contractually).

As far as PD goes- I have to say, my school is pretty good about sending us to workshops- but I have found most of them to be so hideous, that I ever so nicely decline to waste a perfectly good instuctional day to listen to crap.

jd2718 said...

Let's be clear, NYC's contract got a lot worse in 2005. But cherry-picking from Paterson does not give an accurate impression.

Pay: ours is going up in May. At that point we will be ahead of Paterson at almost every point on the pay scale. Even today, we are fairly close, except Paterson lags badly behind us from about years 5 - 13. A ten year Paterson teacher with MA makes $55. The same teacher in NYC makes $66, jumping to $69 in May.

Time: we have a notoriously long year (that changes each year!) But Paterson has a longer day (7 hours 10 minutes, up from 6 hours 55 minutes at their last contract)

Assignments. We have the 6Rs that are minimal in some schools, insulting and time consuming in others. In Paterson, all teachers (as I read their contract) have 5 times a week building assignments.

Coverages. They get $12/coverage.

Conferences: monthly, plus five extras, not limited to Mondays.

Of course there's more, but there's no need to pile it on. We all need to improve all of our agreements. But making distortions to make a point does not help anybody.

17 - the first thing we should take back from 2005 (both for the symbolism, and probably because it is the easiest) is the 2 days before Labor Day. I'd like to hear the argument against a set number of days (I've never heard it), but I doubt that it would make much sense.)

As I've been looking at contracts (I post salary schedules from other districts on my blog, and provide links to the contracts, where I can), I find overwhelmingly that the number of days is defined.


17 (really 15) more years said...

jd- Show me where to sign to start the fight to get the 2 August days back, and I'll be first in line.

Chaz said...


Sure, there were some cherry picking. However, New York City is the gateway to our nation with many fortune 500 companies and a household income 24% higher than Paterson. Therefore,how could the Paterson teacher contract even be in the same ballpark as the New York City Teacher?

The answer it shouldn't.

jd2718 said...

@17/15 Talk it up. Elect delegates/chapter leaders who agree that it should be a top priority. And participate in your own chapter. All small things, but I can't see getting anything done without pressure from the bottom.

@Chaz. You said they treat their teachers better. But it sounds like you knew that wasn't true. You can do better than that.


Chaz said...


Considering that Paterson is on the brink of bankruptcy and taken over by the State. I do think they treat their teachers better than NYC does on a relative basis.

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