A small rant about the weirdness of people's perspective of teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. TrademarkTer

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    I'd like to audit that course, but I guess the first thing you'd teach me is that the two trips a day to Starbucks are frivolous and unnecessary.:p
     
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  2. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Disclaimer: I skimmed through this, especially after the first page.

    As someone obsessed with math, and having done a degree in math, I understand mean/median/averages, etc...

    Here's the thing: there are so many nuances, that you could take all sorts of different statistics from the same data, and use each different statistic to support a different point.

    Keep in mind that there are older teachers vs. newer teachers (i.e. me) who have different pension plans (without doubt, some of the old pension plans are better). Keep in mind that often each district has it's own union (if it's a state with unions) that makes for highly different benefits, pay, days off, and other compensation. Keep in mind that as teachers, we all work different amounts of time: some exactly 35, some 40, some 45, some 80, some during the summer, some not at all during the summer. Keep in mind that we all have differing education, which of course goes back to the differing district/state determination of pay. Keep in mind that some states are union while others aren't. Keep in mind that taxes (whether property taxes or otherwise) are one of the funding sources, which differs from district to district, not to mention state to state.

    I abhor the argument of teachers are paid too little vs. teachers are paid too much, because there are far, far, too many nuances, and comparing teacher salary vs. other jobs (which there's variation to, too) is far too often the apples to oranges metaphorical comparison.
     
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  3. futuremathsprof

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    If you are single, then I suggest you rent out a room on Craigslist. It is super cheap, even in a high cost of living state like California (I pay $600 per month currently). Also, you should put your monthly spending allowance (say $150) in an envelope and ONLY spend money from the envelope. Once it's gone, it's gone. That's all you get for the month. I recommend doing this because your brain produces a response that is similar to experiencing pain when you see your *physical cash* getting spent. This does not hold true when you are using digital currency from a debit or credit card. Finally, prioritize bills over everything else. I cannot emphasize this enough.

    One more thing: Put all change less than $5 in a container after you go out shopping. I do this after every purchase and at the end of the year have like a $1,000 when all said and done. That is my frivolous money that I spend on wants not needs.
     
  4. futuremathsprof

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    Very well thought out argument. Yes and no for some of the things you said. These statistical studies take a lot of what you said into account. I really encourage you and others to read through the articles that I posted. I have read them extensively and formed my viewpoints from those.

    And yay for fellow math degree holders! <high five> Love the username, by the way! :D
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I did some research for my state, since I believe that we should really be looking at data region by region, state by state, or locale to locale when trying to make comparisons and draw conclusions from the data. So, here it is:

    2015 Median household income in my state: $48,173
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MO/INC110215#viewtop

    2015-16 State-wide average minimum teacher salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree: $31,240
    2015-16 State-wide average maximum teacher salary on the salary schedule: $53,025
    https://www.msta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/salary-book-20161.pdf

    2011-2015 Percent of people age 25+ with a bachelor's degree: 27.1%
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MO/INC110215#viewtop

    So, only slightly more than a quarter of the people whose incomes are included in that median household income figure have a college degree. This includes all teachers in the state, of course. The average maximum (requiring years and years of experience, plus a doctorate degree) that those teachers can earn is only a mere $5,000 more than the average household income in the state, which, again, includes the income of people much less educated than teachers.

    And, you're telling me that teachers - who are highly educated compared to the "average worker" - are fairly compensated? As you can see, we don't come anywhere near the six figure mark in my state.

    You've got to dig deeper than national statistics to see what's really going on. I'd argue that even my statewide research is a bit too broad to really draw conclusions, but it's the best I'm going to do right now.
     
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  6. TrademarkTer

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    I live in NJ, which is similar COL to CA. Rent is so damn expensive ($1100 a month, and that's one of the cheapest in the area by far). I've thought about the Craigslist idea, but I have a hard time living with strangers. Living with a roommate in college was a nightmare for me.

    I do always put all my spare coins in a jar. I just took my jar for the year to the bank to deposit last week. Can't wait to see how much it is----don't think it will quite hit $1000, but a few hundred I'm thinking. The envelope idea is an interesting one---I never use cash except in the instances where people pay me in cash for tutoring.
     
  7. futuremathsprof

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    Now you're talking. I looked and read through the 2015-2016 link on the state-wide average maximum salary for the teacher salary schedule and noted 6 or 7 instances where the max was in the upper 70k-80k range. Look on pages 9 and 11 for details. There are also several instances where the max is the 60k range, which can be found on pages 13 and 15, just to name a few. I would consider moving or commuting to those locales for salary advancement.

    You have convinced me, though, that Missouri teachers are long due for a raise that is commensurate with their education level and experience. And as aforementioned, consider relocating or commuting to one of the more affluent districts, of which there are several.
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

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    Schedule a walk through of the rooms before you find one. You want to find a place that has a property owner that maintains the property and keeps it tidy. Also, inquire what kind of job they do, that is, are they a working professional. Play it by ear and see if you get a good feeling from the owner. Are they cordial? Are they friendly? That kind of thing.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    But moving to a better area for salaries doesn't change the fact that some teachers are grossly underpaid. All moving does is help that one particular teacher. Not change the argument.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

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    With clarification: Teachers are "grossly underpaid" in some areas and in some states. This is not true in all locales or all states. There are several districts in Missouri that pay much better. Try to get hired in those.
     
  11. bella84

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    Oh, sure. There are definitely regions and districts that pay better than others. I, personally, already live in one of those regions and don't need to move. I couldn't find a median household income for only my region though. So, since I only had a statewide figure to work with, I had to compare statewide salaries, as well. I'll point out, though, that as one moves to a region with better pay, the cost of living also increases, therefore rending the increase in salary useless. I pay a whole lot more to live in a metro area with higher salaries than I'd pay if I lived out in a rural town with lower salaries. Moving to an area with higher salaries doesn't mean that a teacher would have any more money after factoring in that higher cost of living.
     
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  12. bella84

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    And, that's only if the cost of living doesn't also rise along with the salary.
     
  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    That just went around in a circle. 2nd said "some teachers", which I think was meaning "teachers in some areas and some states". It's the distributive property, if you want it in math terms (ha).

    Here's the thing with that argument though: okay, everyone move to those areas so that all teachers are paid at an "okay" wage. Hm, well, you're going to have some issues in the other places, not to mention too many teachers in one place.

    All 2nd was trying to get across (I think, excuse me if I'm wrong 2nd!) was that there are some teachers - not every teacher, nor perhaps the "whole profession", that are underpaid. I think that's something we can all agree on.
     
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  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    And, I'm still saying that cost of living has to be factored in. When a salary is higher in a metro area than in a rural area, it usually means that cost of living is also going to be higher. It doesn't mean that anyone has any more spending money just because the number on paper is bigger.
     
  15. futuremathsprof

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    This is a very valid point. I see.

    Have you considered sharing an apartment with someone to split the living costs?
     
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  16. MsMar

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    On the topic of salaries, let's take a look at best paying and worst paying Masters degree. While every state does not require that you have a Masters, at some point as a teacher, professional development most likely is required, and to get the top pay you'd need a Masters (or at least I assume so; in my state most districts require a Masters plus either 48 or 60 credits, or a PhD/EdD, for top pay).

    So instead of looking at the "average worker's" salary as stated in the originally mentioned article back in the first post, it seems to make more sense to compare jobs with Masters degrees.

    https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/best-and-worst-paying-masters-degrees

    Education is 5th lowest, after counseling, social work, music, and library and information science. Interestingly enough, not just education, but all of those degrees COULD have you working in a school district.

    I'm not saying you can't make a good salary as a teacher. Where I live, a teacher at top pay makes about $125,000. Most districts in my area are $90-$130K at top and start at $38-$42. But if you look at the nation as a whole, for a job requiring a Master's degree, your salary will be much lower as a teacher than many other fields.

    And a quote from an NPR article:
    "Teacher salaries have been declining since the 1990s. Teachers are earning about 20 percent less than other college graduates who are similarly educated. Even after you adjust for the difference in the calendar work here, in 30 states a teacher who has a family of four is eligible for several sources of government assistance, including free or reduced-price lunch for their own children in school."
    http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016...time-to-address-the-national-teacher-shortage

    Okay, that's scary. I don't care if there are summers off, and possibly good insurance and/or pension benefits, a teacher should not be getting paid so low that they qualify for government assistance.

    Bottom line, and I've had this conversation with my own daughter who may decide to be a teacher... can you make a living wage as a teacher around here as a teacher? Absolutely. Will you make anything close to what you'd make in a technology field? Not very likely. But life is not all about the money, so when deciding to be a teacher, consider all the plusses and minuses.
     
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  17. bella84

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    Yes, I have considered it, but I feel as if that is beside the point of this thread.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

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    Very thorough and informative. However, I disagree with you on one thing. It DOES make a difference that you get summers off. In fact, it makes a huge difference in terms of hours worked per week and salary.

    This is a comprehensive study from a professor at MIT:

    "Researchers have good data on teachers’ annual salaries but a hazy understanding of teachers’ hours of work. This makes it difficult to calculate an accurate hourly wage and leads policy makers to default to anecdote rather than fact when debating teacher pay. Using data from the American Time Use Survey, I find that teachers work an average of 34.5 hours per week on an annual basis (38.0 hours per week during the school year and 21.5 hours per week during the summer months). I find that when hours per week are accurately accounted for high school teachers earn in the range of 7–14 percent less than demographically similar workers in other occupations. However, elementary, middle, and special education teachers earn higher wages than demographically similar workers in other occupations.

    http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/EDFP_a_00133

    And you are right about there being a teacher shortage. My home state of California has addressed this very issue with the passing of SB 807 in May.

    Teachers who meet certain specifications won't have to pay state income tax for ten years, incoming teachers will receive 50% tax credit for all costs toward getting a clear credential, school districts can't charge them to cover the costs of induction programs, and in some instances housing is provided for teachers who live in places like San Francisco.

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB807
     
  19. futuremathsprof

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    If you work less, then you get paid less. Also, if you make $125,000 a year and you are complaining about your income, then you are just being greedy.
     
  20. bella84

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    I'd argue that it depends who we're comparing our schedules to. Sure, there are many workers who don't get paid time off, nor do they have the option to take unpaid summer breaks. We may be better off than them. However, there are many professionals (more on par with our level of education and qualifications) who have four weeks of paid vacation, personal days, holidays, bonus opportunities, etc. Teachers may get summers and holidays off, but that isn't often paid time off. When you break it down and calculate the daily or hourly salary for even just the contracted hours, teachers are often still not paid on par with those who work year-round schedules (but have the option to take off days throughout the year). This isn't always the case, but it's the case often enough that I don't feel comfortable with a blanket statement of "it's acceptable for teachers to get paid less because they have more time off".
     
  21. mathteachertobe

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    I don't think CA SB-807 has been passed yet. If it does pass, it will provide tax breaks but it doesn't provide housing or housing allowances.
     
  22. futuremathsprof

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    I never said that it is okay that teachers get paid less because they have more time off. I meant that you cannot expect someone who works fewer hours and days to get paid the same as someone who works, say 11+ months, in the year for similar work and education.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

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    You are correct. The bill passed amendment then was put in a suspense file on May 25th. The wording of several articles made it seem as it had already passed. I imagine it will pass soon because the bill in its final stage. Lawmakers are positive the bill will pass and quickly be signed into law.

    I was conflating SB 807 with AB 45 and AB 1157. Those would provide subsidized housing and priority housing for teachers.

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake!!!

     
  24. bella84

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    Not annually, no. But daily or hourly pay should be comparable, in my opinion.

    Also, I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. It's just a sentiment that I often hear from people who are not teachers. Your comment reminded me of it. Apologies.
     
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  25. futuremathsprof

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    It's okay. Thank you for being so sensible. I have had a lot of fun debating fellow teachers. :)
     
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  26. teacherintexas

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    Not everyone works in an urban area.

    And as a coach's wife, I know that urban areas may be a possibility in the future but I'll be kicking and screaming all the way there. Urban areas are nice to visit occasionally but I have absolutely no desire to live in one. I'm living inside the city limits now. That is enough of a compromise.
     
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  27. futuremathsprof

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    They aren't you choosing to accept lower pay? You could be making a lot more if you chose to. :confused:
     
  28. bella84

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    She may be, but, again, I think you're disregarding the difference in the cost of living between an urban setting and a rural setting. She probably pays a lot less on housing and living expenses to live where she does than she would if she moved to an urban area.

    It even varies between urban areas. I took more than a $13,000 pay cut moving from Chicago to where I'm at now (which is particularly notable because Chicago only paid me as a third year teacher while my new district gives me credit for all eight years of experience). I also now pay more than $300 less for a very nice one bedroom apartment with off-street parking and in-unit washer/dryer in my current city than I did for a studio apartment without those extras in Chicago ($795 for the nice one bedroom v. $1100 for the nice but not as nice studio).

    A salary only means so much. Cost of living must be factored in.
     
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  29. agdamity

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    Not all teachers can move to urban areas. If they did, rural areas would have no teachers, and states would be faced with shortages. They might even resort to paying more, which is what backroads state did that started this discussion.
     
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  30. teacherintexas

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    True. I could have stayed on pre-med track. I certainly have the intelligence.

    But I have the heart for teaching.
     
  31. teacherintexas

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    Exactly.
    The rent for our house is less than $700 a month and it's water view on a half acre.
     
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  32. FourSquare

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    Meanwhile, I pay $1800/mo for a 3BR apt in Chicago that's tinnnny.

    Money isn't everything. I think about taking a pay cut and going somewhere more rural all the time.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

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    I am getting mixed messages. It seems teachers keep saying they want more money and then when asked to relocate or commute to a more affluent district they then say, "Money isn't everything."

    Serious question: What do you want then?
     
  34. tchr4vr

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    Okay, I read through this, and I had to put in my two cents. I live in a suburban area, and with my husband's salary, we are doing very well. If I get my PhD (which I will have to pay for myself), my top salary when I retire will be 64,000. Not bad, not complaining. In a neighboring district (more affluent), the same time, with the same education is 74,000 (and they will pay for my PhD). Could I get a job there? Of course, and I have tried. However, openings are few and far between because the school district is much better in general. My pension is pretty solid, so not complaining, and my health benefits are okay. A district I worked in when I first moved to this area froze all teachers on their step the 2nd year I was there, and we didn't get raises of any kind for five years. So, when I eventually left, with 13 years experience, I was only paid at a 7 year experience level, and that district still hasn't caught up.

    My husband, who has no college degree, but works for a big communications company, makes almost twice what I make. His insurance is free, as is his pension. He is not expected to take course work, and he only works 4 days a week.

    So, what is the point? Pay varies from town to town--where I live we have 13 different districts, and the pay scale, benefits, and working conditions are vastly different across the board. And you can be working in a district that is literally across the street from another and have huge differences in salaries and benefits (our towns are weird like that, you can live in a town, and the street at one end is another town). For the amount of education we are required to have, as well as the certifications, etc., and the continuing education that we are mandated to have, as a rule, we should be paid more. Sure we make as much as doctors-no-absolutely not. And unions are not the answer, at least in my opinion. I used to work in NYC, and even though I took a huge pay cut when I moved south, we had more money for what we needed because the cost of living was so much less here than there, plus we didn't have to pay bridge tolls, subway fares, etc. It was nice not to have to pay $14.00/day to get home from work.
     
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  35. Leaborb192

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    ,
     
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  36. Leaborb192

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  37. a2z

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    I do think sometimes the narrative takes over. Those in poorly paid districts complain and the idea catches on. For example,
    This comment is absolutely valid. There is a vocal contingent who would argue that doctors and teachers are equivalent. When that information gets in the public arena that sours the valid arguments for those who are not paid as well.

    When narratives like these or not as severe start to take over, a lot of people who are paid fairly will also believe they need to be paid more.

    One big issue is where does the money come from? Who pays? How much? That is the issue with government services and jobs. The money has to come from somewhere. At some point the area is tapped out. Those average workers have no more to give either. Many times the big problem is failure to use money appropriately and coupled with generous pension funds from the past taking a big chunk out of the education pool of money. The contracts were negotiated and settled years before but the ramifications are falling on those in teaching now. Your retired teachers 80% for the next 30 years or more takes a huge amount away from the money that could have been allotted to current teachers because pension funds weren't properly funded or were not invested well.

    I now of one district that had striked to the point where they can't strike anymore in the year. They will also start the year on strike again. They all go raises, but they are going to be expected to put in a bit towards health insurance (like everyone else in the area who are not teachers). They are paid highly for the area, much higher than the average worker, with free health insurance up to this point. It still isn't enough. These situations make it look bad for all teachers because they look greedy and uncaring because students didn't receive their education that year.
     
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  38. Leaborb192

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  40. TrademarkTer

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    Another wrinkle to this.....what do you think about the idea of certain subject area teachers getting paid more than others? For example, it is much harder to come across a good secondary math or science teacher than it is to come across an elementary teacher or a secondary social studies teacher. Should those teachers in the more "in-demand" subjects be paid more? I know our governor talked about this a few years back, but nothing ever came of it, and I am still undecided on the issue.

    I know one way districts can do this on their own is offering more "in-demand" subjects a higher starting step on the salary guide. I wish my college had taught us that we can negotiate. I just started at Step 1, and was more than happy with my ~ 50 k for my first year as a 22 year old just out of college, but I probably could've negotiated to a higher step as I learned some of my colleagues did when they started. This could've made a difference in the long run, but I didn't realize this was a possibility.
     
  41. Leaborb192

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  42. TrademarkTer

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    Aug 21, 2017

    True. I'm a high school math teacher. I just finished my SPED certification this summer (primarily to advance up the salary scale), and my supervisor asked me if I'd ever want to do SPED. I said I wouldn't mind doing it for 1-2 periods per day, but I don't want to do a full schedule of SPED courses. Ideally I'd be teaching AP calculus a couple periods a day and resource room a couple periods a day----I like the extremes. The typecasting effect may not be as strong at the secondary level as it is at the elementary level.
     
  43. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Aug 21, 2017

    This actually will now be a thing in our state, or at least be allowed. I'm iffy on the subject: part of me believes it's a good thing, because it takes into account the whole supply/demand basic economic principles (of course, there has to be enough of a supply...). The other part of me, and this comes from someone who has the endorsements/certificates to teach math if I wanted, doesn't like the idea: it puts somewhat of a divide amongst colleagues and schools, which is the last thing a school wants -- collaboration is such an important element.
     
    bella84 likes this.

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