Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Teacher Bashing Is At A New High Thanks To The Politicians And The News Media



It seems like whatever the problem the nation's schools experience both the politicians and the news media seem to think it is the teacher's fault. The teachers are now the scapegoats in what is wrong with the education system. For example when President Obama unwisely agreed with the Central Falls School Board to fire all the high school teachers despite the heroic efforts many of them made with a challenging student population and starved for educational services.

No longer do the politicians and the media blame poor parenting skills, ridiculous rules concerning student discipline, incompetent administrators, poverty, or the students themselves. To them it is the teacher's fault. Notice how these so-called education forums and think tanks rarely have practicing teachers on them and classroom teacher input is almost non-existent. If a student is failing, everybody blames the teacher. It doesn't matter that the child may have learning difficulties, be a non-English speaker, or are academically behind due to attendance or health issues. Regardless, the fault is put on the teacher's lap.

Nationwide, teachers are under attack as politicians and their media allies demand wage freezes, paying increased health benefit premiums, tenure changes, and even rolling back pensions. In New Jersey, Governor Cristie has demanded wage freezes of teachers as a condition for getting State funds. No other group was targeted by the Governor but teachers. While in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has threatened to layoff 4,400 teachers if the State does not come through with additional funds. Further, the Mayor has failed to negotiate the "city pattern" with the teachers union and has demanded that the layoffs do not follow the State Civil Service requirements based upon seniority.

Disrespect for teachers ranges from the President, Barack Obama to the Chancellor, Joel Klein. However, the greatest disrespect for teachers are found in our local newspapers, the New York Daily News and the New York Post who operate as a propaganda mouthpiece for Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein. Their editorials blaming the teachers or the unions reminds me of Pravda during the days of the Soviet Union. Even the New York Times print some articles that can be considered anti-teacher. Only Newsday seems to give a balanced prospective on education issues. This media disrespect has made teaching in the classroom an increasingly hostile environment and has resulted in a "blame the teacher society".

The only way to put an end to the continued assaults on teachers is to mount a well focused attack on politicians and the anti-teacher news media that support them. Giving in is not the answer. The union must dig in their heels and yell "not one step back" if we are to earn respect as a profession. No more sellouts, no more "givebacks" and more importantly let's get back our self respect and that is what our union should be doing.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you end up with a lousy product, someone will be blamed or scapegoated. Urban education does not yield good results, then someone in the urban school system has to take the blame.
We certainly do not see teacher bashing in suburban schools or their local newspapers.
Soldiers came home heroes when the war was won, they came home bums when the war was lost even they probably fought harder and endured more hardships.

Math Teacher said...

In suburban schools the parents follow the school and complain about bad teachers, In urban schools parents barely even care who their children teachers even are.

Anonymous said...

Boycott Netflix! The CEO of Netflix is behind new legislation in California to end teacher seniority rights.

Anonymous said...

This is the end of what used to be a good profession. Bloomberg and company have initiated a reign of terror.

I went into teaching and actually helped students and enriched their lives.

All the effort that I put in is not being rewarded, but,instead, punished.

Institutional memory has been erased.

We are being run by a bunch of lawyers and mba types.

There is no soul left in the business.

I didn't get into teaching to become rich.

Now I see that it has become a business and people are making insane amounts of money as consultants and no bid contractors.

I can't wait to retire and get away from this evil stinking mess.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

I am buying a subscription to Netflix!

The only people in this country who think seniority rules are good for education are senior teachers.

The politicians, parents, tax payers (besides senior teachers), administration, and everyone else in this country all agree that seniority rules should be abolished. The education system is supported by taxes which means it should follow the rules that tax payers agree to be most beneficial.

Please support the end of teacher seniority right!

~Not a Teacher

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg has done the right thing and had proposed to freeze wages for two years to avoid layoffs.

Hopefully, the Union will do the right thing and accept his proposal. Times are tough and we all need to sacrifice.

~Not a Teacher

Anonymous said...

The American education is a lie, and urban education is more pronounced one. Teachers as the participants in the lie deserve to be bashed, touch luck.

Anonymous said...

you are all a pack of fools. Didn't someone teach you?

Anonymous said...

No one is saying teachers are bad people. Just because we don't think we should bend over backward to pay them whatever they want or protect them from being fired at all costs, doesn't mean we don't appreciate them.

The Veteran Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TeacherVoice said...

Teachers have to deal with so much negativity these days. I'm friends with several EXTREMELY dedicated teachers. Their pat on the back recently came in the form of layoff notices. What ever happened to job security? It's unreal!

-Eric

Anonymous said...

A Veteran Teacher... over reaction??

Chaz said...

It is too bad that not a teacher does not understand that Bloomberg and Klein does not care about the children, just about the money.

Ignorant people who do not see the big picture will stay that way and no arguing with them will change their small minds.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,

You do not understand a budget. If there is no money, there is no money. Would you prefer a raise or to fire 4400 teachers. Please do not give the answer, "you can save raises and save teachers." Please do not go on a rant about how much administration costs, the mayors office costs, or the $5M in recruiting, etc.

Please answer my question; which would you rather see? No raise or the cut of 4400 teachers?

~Not a Teacher

Anonymous said...

Not A Teacher,

Having once been a young and inexperienced teacher over two decades ago, I can identify with the fear of being layed off.

However, having survived for this long in a cruel and punishing system, having earned peanuts for most of my career, I say the choice to earn nothing as inflation and prices rise is not a sane one.

Under Guliani we had no raise while everyone in the private sector was getting flush with cash.

I say to the treacherous cretins who run the system and all the non educators who monitor this blog. FUCK OFF.

Fuck the wonderful young teachers who are so "effective". I want my raise as it will enhance my princely pension.

Sincerely,

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

Not A Teacher,

I would rather have my raise and see 4400 wonderful young and effective teachers go on the unemployment lines.

I have as much sympathy for them as the bankers have for all those that they ruined, and, apparently as much sympathy as you have for senior teachers.

Enlightened Self interest is the order of the day.

Angry Nog

The Veteran Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Angry,

I love how teachers believe that everyone in the private sector are big executives with massive salaries and bonuses. News flash: most of us are not. Most people in the private sector are the low level people supporting the big executives with massive salaries and bonuses.

I am an accountant that has been working in my industry for 15 years. In 2006 my salary was approximately $72,000. In 2007 my salary was approximately $64,800, my entire company took a 10% reduction in salary due to the poor economy to avoid layoffs. In 2010 my salary will be approximately $64,800 (please note that I have not received a raise but my company has yet to lay anyone off). You would be shocked how little animosity there is toward our executive team about the pay cut in 2007 and the lack of raises since. Almost everyone was happy to take the pay cut in order to save jobs, even those like myself whom were in no danger of losing their job.

How much do you make? I am sure it is a lot more than me.

This store is not unique to my company. My wife who is a HR Manager has not taken a pay cut but she has gone three years without a raise. Her company has been forced to layoff 10% of its staff. As a side note, her salary is approximately $70,000, once again proof that we are not all millionaires. Please stop reading the headlines about the executives making big money and know there are millions of people supporting them making peanuts.

Now that the State realized they are $1billion shorter than they thought it looks like you will get your wish. 4400 or more teachers will be on the unemployment line, some of which are brilliant teachers. I feel bad that teachers will not be getting a raise with the exception of you. I take satisfaction that you will not be getting a raise. You are truly an angry selfish person. How can you call yourself human, when you admit that you would want to see 4400 teachers laid off if it means that you see an extra $50 to $100 in each of your pay checks.

~Not a Teacher

Anonymous said...

Veteran,

You make my laugh. Your analogy is a joke.

How can you compare the scenario of a small raise vs 4400 layoffs against savings your mother vs the destruction of man-kind? The first scenario is an actual scenario being faced today. The second scenario has never and never will be reality. I agree that someone is sicko but it is not me.

~Not a Teacher

Fidgety said...

I began teaching in 1985 and through all of my years with the Board of Education, I can safely say that I have never met an "overpaid" teacher.
In order for a teacher to survive in this city they must work after school, nights, weekends and even summers... All of this just to pay for the randomly mandated classes that some OVERPAID ED CONSULTANT brilliantly decides should be a requirement.
It is obvious that 'NOT A TEACHER'(who is too afraid to identify himself) knows nothing about being in a classroom.
We can't fire the students. We can't fire the parents. I know, let's fire the teachers!
Excuse me, but my Limo is waiting outside to drive me to my Hamptons Beach Home...Catch ya later.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river. All you teachers complain about how abused you are. You are no more or no less abused than anyone else. Besides a select few we all get paid poorly. To think that teachers are the only unpaid overworked people is ignorant. Try working in the real world where we don’t have the opportunity to work night, weekends and summer. We have to work 70 – 80 hours per week on a crappy salary that doesn’t allow up to tutor or do other types of work on the side. Any if you don't want to work those hours they will find someone else that will because we aren't protected by tenure and the union.

Please do not give me the BS that you put in a ton of time after school working on school stuff. My wife is a teacher, my best friend is a teacher, my mother is a teacher, my sister-in-law is a teacher, all my wife’s friends are teachers, my neighbor is a teacher. I know a ton of teachers and none of them put in as nearly as many hours as I do.

Spend one month working 70 to 80 hours a week (without getting paid over-time) and than come tell me how hard it is to be a teacher.

Don’t worry, in 2 to 3 more weeks you will have 2 months off to complain full time.

Anonymous said...

How much does a teacher in NYC make? Day one? 10 years in the system? 20 years in the system?

Anonymous said...

I have listed approximant salaries below for a teacher with a basic Masters. Obviously the further education you receive in your area of certification the more you will make.

- Year One - $51,425
- Year Five - $56,048
- Year Ten - $98,243
- Year Fifteen - $104,784
- Year Twenty - $114,560

I believe you can see the salaries or specific teachers at seethroughny.net

Anonymous said...

Teachers with 30 years or more of service will retire at approximately 60 percent of their final average salary. With 30 years of service most teachers in NYC will retire with a final average salary around $119,407, so their pension would be $71,6442 per year.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that should be $71,644.

The Veteran Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VEGA said...

I read the comments from the veteren teachers, like myself, and I have empathy. I hear the voices of the young teachers and I remember and I empathize with them also. I read the non-educator morons who don't understand that this is a profession of passion and not money and I just get disgusted. Yet, not matter what I read I know the entire mess is being orchestrated by Bloomberg, Klein, Mulgrew and those making money through charters and betting on our children's lives. It is just too sssad.

Anonymous said...

The salaries listed by Anonymous at 12:15 are far higher than those of New York City teachers' salaries; NYC teachers do make $51,425 if starting with a Master's (highly unusual, though; most beginning teachers work on their Master's during their first few years of teaching) and by year five, with a Master's, they are making $56,048, but all the other numbers are wrong. I have 21 years in, with Master's plus 30 credits, and am still not making the $98,243 listed for a 10-year teacher. The years 15 and 20 salaries are even more off. At 15 years, it's actually $85,427 and at 20, it's $95,203. Absolute tops is $100,049 at 22 years. Where those other figures are from is beyond me, but no city teacher is making the salaries listed here. For city teacher salaries, see uft.com. I am not complaining about my salary, by the way; I just want it known that no 10 year teacher is even close to the almost $100K listed here.

primadonna said...

I personally think they know it's not the teachers' fault. They can't be THAT stupid.

However they need to vilify us in order for plan to privatize to succeed.

trixie said...

Anon 10:59 is absolutely right. Anon 12:15 is way off. I am on 8b+L13 and I make $80k and change- not nearly as much as the $98k listed for a 10 year teacher. However, despite Bloomshit's claim that we make what suburban teachers make, that is not the case. I have a HS classmate who is in a mediocre LI district, with about as much experience as I, making $112k.

Anonymous said...

My opinion? Teacher bashing is just another method to steer the citizens of a society away from the REAL problems that face it.
Why is it that politicians are allowed to get away with "misspeaking", when in fact, they have LIED outright to the PUBLIC they are supposed to be serving? Witness the Mayor's backtracking regarding term limitations, and the double speak that accompanied the reasons for why Bloomberg should run again. Those reading this comment can supply any other instance where the public has been led down the primrose path, and blithely accepted these lies. Did these elected officials suffer any consequences for their actions?
Critical thinking and examination of issues that affect us all does not seem to exist.
Rather than placing blame, should we not as a society, look at the larger issues for why schools are failing, rather than blaming the TEACHERS?
Poverty, broken families, parents/guardians unable to properly care for the needs of their offspring, for whatever reasons. TEACHERS did not create these problems, how are we expected to fix them in the public schools?
Teachers are expected to somehow be everything these days- social worker, parent, psychologist, etc. Sorry to say, as much as we do deal with these issues, we're not able to walk on water yet.
For those that join in this chorus of teacher bashing, I say: Look at the parameters of your own job, and apply the standards that you apply to teachers to yourself. Do YOU measure up?
By the way- if you can read this, THANK the teachers that you've had.When people start deciding NOT to enter teaching because of all of the negativity associated with this job, WHAT will happen then?
Time we started to look at the whole picture here and accept responsibility for the way that we educate children in our society instead of foisting the blame on teachers alone.