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Please begin with an informative title:

We had a family friend over during the holiday who decided to go on a rant about "greedy teachers" and the SB5 vote in Ohio.  Given that I was his hostess and a teacher, I considered his behavior not only boorish, but also ridiculous and just plain wrong.  So, I decided to serve him a piece of my mind with his pie, this year.  

By the time I was done with his remediation lesson, he did have the grace to apologize.  However, I know that his previous perspective is probably still held by millions of Americans out there.  People who are seething with the myth that their lives are being made worse due to greedy teachers and their god awful unions.

Jump the squiggle for the gist of what I told him about "greedy teachers."

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Greedy teachers?  Really?  Well ...

THIS greedy teacher:

1.  Gave up a six figure corporate career to become a teacher (after 9/11 in an effort to DO something for my country) to make 30% of what I made in the private sector.    And, I encourage you to check out the princely sums we are paying teachers across this country by state.

THIS greedy teacher:

2.  Invested 10 years of my life earning 3 college degrees spending $42,000 in tuition and books out of my own pocket, plus a conservative $135,000 in lost opps costs (minimum wage job for those 11 years) to be prepared to serve my community in this role.

THIS greedy teacher:

3.  Gave up the opportunity to have a top rate payout in SS when I retire, since:  A) By state law state, I'm not allowed to participate in SS for the remaninder of my working life since I'm a teacher; B) By a completely unfair federal law, they will deduct a portion of the SS I did pay into for 20 years, and am fully vested in, since I will be getting a partial teacher's pension. If I live to be 77, it will cost me $166,000 in SS deductions, because I choose to be a teacher.  Note:  If I'd chosen to do nothing but sit at home, I would have gotten that $166,000. Nice, that, huh?

THIS greedy teacher:

4.  Pays 10.7% of that princely paycheck I get  into my retirement plan ... that our state has not been paying their fair share into for years.  My possible payout -- if its not bankrupt when I retire -- after 25 years -- will be $24,600 a year ... With our home paid off by then, we'll be okay, but I don't think it's a sum that should fill someone with hate-filled envy -- do you?

THIS greedy teacher:

5. Pays $578 a month for my family's health insurance AND for the private disability insurance I have to carry -- since once again by state law -- I am not allowed to participate in the SS Disability program, either.

THIS greedy teacher:

6.  Also pays the Teacher's Tax that every teacher I know is paying to actually run our public school system, anymore!  What's that you ask?  By my conservative estimate, the greedy teachers of this country (5 million or so of them) are personally subsidizing our public schools to the tune of at least 1.25 Billion a year ... and that's on the low side, I'm sure at only $500 out-of-pocket each.

How can that be?  

Imagine trying to run a science classroom for $2.87 per student/ YEAR.  Here, I'll make it a little easier to imagine.  No tax money goes for classroom budgets, anymore; that budget line got gutted long ago ... but you're "lucky" since your wonderful PTSO does fund raising and gives you $350 to run your classroom for the year.  What do you need to do so?  Think about what 122 students need for 180 days in terms of:

- lined paper
- graph paper
- pencils (colored and regular ones)
- pens
- markers
- glue
- construction paper
- manilla folders
- tape
- student folders
- highlighters
- scissors
- sharpies
- staplers
- staples
- paper clips
- rubber bands
- paper towels
- TISSUES!
- hand sanitizer
- soap

And no, those school supplies you bought in August do NOT last an entire year, but they do help us get through about 3 months. So, thank you to all you parents out there who could still afford them!

But that's just the basics, and I challenge anyone in business to try to run an office of 122 employees for 180 work days on a supplies budget of $350, but now add in that you are running a science classroom for 8th graders.  If you want to give your students a quality hands-on, labs-included kind of science education, you also need things like:

- balloons (and LOTS of them -- you can't imagine how many things can be taught with these)
- glass slides and cover slips
- plastic cups (LOTS!)
- paper plates
- seeds
- potting soil
- pots
- petri dishes
- agar
- innoculation loops
- propane cooking set-ups
- test tubes and holders
- BATTERIES
- little light bulbs
- wire
- little cars
- ramps
- balsa wood
- fishing weights
- sand
- baking soda
- vinegar
- lemon juice
- sugar
- matches
- pippettes
- hydrochloric acid
- rock sets
- shells
- large plastic tubs for water
- beakers
- flasks
- graduated cylindars
- stop watches
- pH test paper
- alka seltzer
- hand warmers
- microscopes (at least 2 a year get broken across 400+ kids using them)
- plastic bags
- starch
- borax
- copper strips
and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on ...

Every week, I spend at least $20-30 to run a lab or two which come to about $1000 a year (which I get a huge $250 tax cut for) AND I have 20 classroom pets that I spend another $1000 a year on to house and care for.  Now, I know the pets are a "luxury," but the amount of science and character learning that happens in my classroom due to our classroom companions makes this worthwhile to me.

And there are similarly "greedy teachers" supplementing our children's education with the Teachers' Tax all across this nation.  And, I'm not even including those of us who regularly feed our kids breakfast and the hats and gloves we supply, as random acts of kindness.

Finally, I finished with explaining that my greedy teachers' union voted last year to give up our contractual raise to save the jobs of our classroom aids who care for our most disabled students -- helping them with things like using the restroom and eating.  And, our #1 must have negotiating position, this year, is to hold the line at no more than 32 students in a class.  And, if anybody out there doesn't understand why class size matters, I challenge you to try giving personal, individualized attention to every single person in the course of one hour at your next holiday get together of 32 people.

Right now, I'm off to the grocery store to buy tooth picks, bags of colored mini-marshmellows, vinegar, and TUMs for a molecules lab and an acid base reaction lab, this week.  Plus, we need some more kale and turtle food ...

So, from THIS greedy teacher to all you other greedy teachers out there:

{{{{HUGS}}}} to you, and your families who also share in your sacrifices.  And, as a parent and citizen, THANK YOU for all you do and share with so many ... for so very little thanks.  

Mon Nov 28, 2011 at  1:42 AM PT: Update:  Thank you for rec list, all! :)   A couple of comments were along the lines that I seem to be unseemly frustrated with my salary.  While I do think that we should be paying teachers more in this country, my main frustration is that I frankly can't think of another group of professionals in this country that is much less "greedy" than teachers. IMO that they are being attacked for being "greedy" is beyond frustrating -- it's an outrage.  It's a Rovian playbook move, and I wonder if it wasn't designed to distract us all from very real Wall Street greed and to undermine the political power of one of the larger, remaining professional unions in this country.  I also wanted parents and educational supporters to know how little (or no) tax money is going toward properly supplying our classrooms, anymore.  BTW We don't have textbooks for all our kids anymore, either, but that's another topic for another diary, perhaps.


Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to bkamr on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 01:17 PM PST.

Also republished by Education Alternatives, In Support of Labor and Unions, Teachers Lounge, and Community Spotlight.

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