Education is a Right that is easily compromised by teacher pay

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlwaysAttend, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Hi Everyone,

    I started this discussion in another thread and I realized it wasn't fair to continue it in that thread which had a different audience so I started a new thread (first time I ever agreed with that by the way).

    Education is a right for all students. Whether they take full advantage or abuse it, they are entitled to it. In some states, this right is threatened by low teacher pay. As a teacher in NJ, you will never hear me complain about salary, benefit costs, or the fact that I have no shot at a pension being there when I retire. Others will argue these points, but I'm a realist. I knew what I was getting into when I went into education and never expected to get rich.

    I was discussing the plight of Arizona with others where there is a legitimate teacher shortage to the point that they take random UBER drivers and hire them to teach math (I wish I made that up). The article I was reading talked about a variety of issues but really there is only one that matters and it's the pay scale. Teachers are treated pretty much the same everywhere else in most areas. Below is a list of states with their average teachers salaries adjusted for cost of living. If you live in one of the states at the bottom of the list, is this affecting the amount of qualified teacher candidates you have? If so, what is your union doing to correct it? If you don't have a union, what are you waiting for to correct this issue?

    http://kahlerfinancial.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Teacher-Salary-Chart.pdf
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'll play. My state is one step above AZ. Teachers have different pay throughout the state though, depending upon the district.

    We do not have much of an issue filling positions in my district, but I imagine other districts aren't so lucky. I do expect that the pool of exceptionally qualified teachers is shrinking. Our universities are lowering the bar so they can accept and graduate more education majors. And we can play fast and loose with qualifications in order to get people into classrooms.

    We do not have a union and never will. Our legislators do not care about teachers' voices/opinions. They are quite content allowing education to die in our state.
     
  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Teacher pay is only part of the problem. Having society honor teachers and teaching is another part of the issue. When I taught in a low income school with a highly transitory, highly stressed, student population, I was part of a "failing school" despite all the daily miracles the dedicated staff performed.

    When I moved to a high income school, I was suddenly a highly effective teacher due to the high scores of my well-nurtured students.

    In Finland, all teacher education is paid for by the state. As a result, there is heavy competition for slots in the teacher training programs. Candidates are carefully chosen from a wide and deep pool of applicants. This creates tons of prestige for someone who finishes the teacher ed program.

    Here in the US, we have 6-week wonders (Teach for America) touted as the solution to "failing schools" instead of highly trained, professional teachers. We use test scores to "punish" failing schools to shame their "lazy teachers" into taking their heels off their desks and doing some work. We use vouchers and charters, of which 80% underperform the public schools, to draw money away from the public schools.

    There is no nation on earth with high performing students, who got that way by underfunding public education.

    It's not just teacher salaries, but that's part of it.
     
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  5. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I agree with Tyler that it isn't just about pay. I would add that I think the issue underlying teacher pay is the presence or absence of unions. Places where unions have not been stripped do typically pay teachers better. With that high pay comes a great deal of interest in going into teaching. The university I attended for my Education degree turned down 7 students for every student they accepted in the year I applied. Once through the program, it typically takes teachers 5-10 years to secure a permanent teaching position (depending on their qualifications) and some candidates never get a position. So teaching is a highly desirable and highly competitive profession.
     
  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I disagree with you. There is no mass mob out there denegrating teachers. In states with high teacher pay and salaries, there are complaints about the high salaries and benefits. People aren't throwing garbage at teachers. If you see how people treat anyone in society, they treat them equally. So if you have a person who treats a teacher poorly, they treat the police, their dentist, and the garbage man the same way.

    People have a right to challenge poor performance in schools. Certain populations fall out of bed proficient but obviously the way we measure teachers should be based on growth rather than the performance of the population.

    Oh and cite the stats for your charter bashing please.
     
  7. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Right to work states do not outlaw unions. Members just can't be forced to join and pay in.
     
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  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    There is no state i know of where good teacher pay doesn't come with a strong union. Without one doesn't come the other.
     
  9. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    I must ask how old this data is. I've seen this same list for years.

    Indiana outlawed graded pay schedules in 2011. There's no way in hell the average teacher pay is $51K. Indiana teachers start around $35K, and for many that is the most they will ever make, with pay cuts each year disguised as increased insurance costs. And, it must be mentioned, Indiana unions are no longer allowed to bargain working conditions. Teacher moral is at a historic low.

    I am seeing schools lose most of their staff over the summer and have to replace them.

    This means schools are hiring people they would never have hired years ago, and that the people they hire are fresh out of school and unable to get better jobs elsewhere; are marginally qualified; or simply not qualified beyond their ability to show up to work.

    This drives discipline problems into the stratosphere, which some schools counter by implementing PBIS and under reporting issues.

    All of which in turn drives the overall quality of the system into the dirt.

    I know Arizona is bad. Indiana will be the same way in a couple of years.

    But that's OK. Charters and vouchers will save the world.
     
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  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    AlwaysAttend,

    I'm trying to understand what you are saying. In the other thread you said we couldn't compare American results to Canada's or Finland's because the population is different and in this thread you are saying that people have the right to challenge poor performing schools. In the other thread you said teachers shouldn't be allowed to teach outside of their subject area and here you are calling Tyler's perspective charter bashing. Aren't charters allowed to hire outside of credentials? Can you explain how these fit together for you?
     
  11. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You need to hold urban districts accountable and can't dismiss their students as incapable of learning because it's not true. If teachers aren't showing they can move students they shouldn't be working there. Maybe they are great but not for that population. You can't treat America the same is Canada when we have 300 million more people and a population that is far more diverse.

    Good charters only hire credentialed teachers. NJ requires charter schools to hire credentialed teachers. I work in a state that values education so I can only speak to my expertise in this state. You have charter schools in this state and NYC which I'm also familiar with easily outperforming local public schools in the state by a lot dispite what my union says is student cherry picking. It is not. In Newark for example they don't even do lotteries anymore at most schools, NPS assigns the student to the school based on parents top choices public or private.

    All charters are not equal and NJ has no problem closing the bad ones down. I wish they did that with public ones too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  12. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    These numbers are from 2015 and reflect median pay. It's all based off of public record so if you have a source with more recent data lets post it rather than just dismis the data I found.

    Indiana wasn't exactly at the top of any education lists before these changes were they? I saw them ranked below Florida and that says something. We get a lot of kids from Florida schools in NJ. I wonder what our kids experience when they move down there.

    Charters and vouchers can be part of the puzzle. If schools aren't performing, everyone should have a chance to improve their education. Not just rich and middle class kids.
     
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  13. 2ndTimeAround

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    True, you can join a union. But laws make it so that unions are ineffective. You cannot have a union with any power, I should say. It is against the law to strike, have a sick-out, or such. There is no such thing as contract hours.
     
  14. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Okay AlwaysAttend, what about the US is unique in its need for charters? I agree that every region can't do things the same way. If we look at the top 10 countries, we see diversity in how those countries approach education so there are certainly diverse ways to be successful. However, I do not personally see how charters are the solution.

    To me in the context of a western democracy, the solution is higher pay, better working conditions, more support - all of which are dependent on unions. That seems the opposite of charters. Some of what you've said in terms of what unions should do and what you would do if you ran a charter seem inconsistent with my understanding of what unions or associations can do in certain US states and what charters can feasibly do with their budget.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is not true about contract hours. Non union states have contract hours and teachers will routinely work to the rule to get what they want. Unions "negotiate" by holding students and families hostage.
     
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  16. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I didn't know about striking. Do you know how they regulate it? Could they do a "sick out" since it's technically not a strike?
     
  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    How so?
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

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    It is true about contract hours. Not all non-union states work the same. Don't tell me what isn't true about my area, lol. Teachers are expected to be at school from X to Z and any other times as determined by principals and school needs.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

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    No. They can require doctor's notes if you take sick leave and they suspect you aren't sick or tending to a sick/injured family member. You cannot take other leave without prior approval.

    Rumor is you could actually be jailed for striking, but I doubt it would ever come to that. The state would have no problem recalling licenses and firing employees. They recall licenses now if you leave with less than 30 days notice and you don't have your lead principal fighting to keep it for you.
     
  20. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Have you ever been in a well run Charter School? They can be incubators for change in schools by implementing new strategies, often provide more instructional hours, and routinely show far greater growth than their local counterparts. They do this with less per pupil funding and the need to fund their own building.

    Teachers jobs are way harder in charters usually than public so the turnover is typically greater. One school near me required their teachers to be accessible by school issued cell phones until 9pm at night for student questions! I don't know why anyone would work their but student performance there was excellent.

    Like public schools there are good ones and bad ones.

    To the top 10 countries, there is no country on earth that is similar to the US and none are fair comparisons.
     
  21. AlwaysAttend

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    I think a union really needs to sue and see if they can move that into an appeals court. I wish I knew more about law as it stands with unions. It probably would go through the labor board rather than the courts, at least initially.
     
  22. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    AlwaysAttend, I really am still not understanding your perspective. In terms of charters, it just seems like you have 2 views that aren't compatible. You started this thread saying that teachers need to be paid well. I think you are also saying that you believe in charters. You state that charters have high turn over because teachers are treated poorly. I don't see how that is the solution to what you identify as the unique needs of the US. To me a solution has to work for all players to be a sustainable solution. What I am asking is what specifically are the unique needs of the US that make it different from every other country in the world and what about charters, in your view, makes them the solution?

    In terms of unions, even in Canada, we have significant limits. For example, we can't just strike once a month (like was suggested in the other thread). There are very specific rules for striking. We have to be without a contract for a specific amount of time, then we have to vote for a strike, then the union has to file something about its intent to strike, then we strike. Then if the province orders us back to work, we have to go back and we can't strike again. Sick outs are also illegal and are considered labour action - which has to follow the laws on labour actions/ strikes. If we did that our union leadership can face significant legal consequences both in terms of the union as a whole and as individuals. The union also can't ask us to do something when we aren't in a strike position. So, for example, teachers are upset about a change our District made and some asked if we could organize to not attend a specific event (since it is outside of our contract hours and it is not a contractual obligation) but we aren't allowed to organize an action outside of a strike. And our unions do take the government to court when necessary. In BC we took them to the Supreme Court and won but the government can still limit the rights of unions. They just change the law when they don't like what unions are doing or they don't like us winning a ruling.
     
  23. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Charters in my state don't pay less than the public schools. Sometimes they pay more. I do know of one that pays less but they moved here from a different area and I have no doubt will be closed soon. High turnover also occurs in many urban public schools.

    In America we have a very diverse population. I'll give you an example of how charters have met that need. One of our charters in a very hispanic neighborhood opened as a dual language school taught in spanish and english immersion. Not something easily replicated in a traditional public school.

    My positions on teachers and schools are pretty clear. I expect teachers to be excellent and well paid so that you have candidates who can be excellent. I expect schools to be excellent whether they are public, public charter, private/independent, or private/religious.

    My point in the other thread was clear that I would threaten a strike monthly to get PR in the news to highlight an issue. My question about sick outs was a question to someone who seemed to know more about labor law in right to work states.
     
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  24. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I work in a pretty diverse part of the province. The national statistics really don't do justice to our diversity. Anyway, in our system specialized schools (such as the one in your example) are run by the traditional public school districts so it's interesting that these can't exist in the public system.

    So in NJ are you allowed to threaten a strike monthly?

    I've been involved in my union for my entire career and we do discuss the policies in different provinces and states because it all has an impact. In fact, our union people get very concerned about some of what is happening in the US. We even financially support US unions that are fighting critical fights. This concept on threatening strikes monthly as a legal option is new to me.
     
  25. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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  26. TrademarkTer

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    I'm also in NJ, and I do think charters generally pay less.

    https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2014...-paying-charter-schools-in-nj-have-in-common/

    This one isn't specific to NJ, but :

    https://www.screenflex.com/working-private-public-charter-school/

    They may also require you to work longer hours, and in some cases, longer school years. I am not exactly sure how benefits work for charter schools though.

    I don't think charter schools are inherently bad or evil, but I also think don't have a lot of faith in them.
     
  27. AlwaysAttend

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    I did my admin internship at a charter in Newark and we used the Newark public school pay scale.

    Hours and school year are longer in most cases that's why I mentioned the turnover. In turnaround public schools they end up with similar hours though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  28. AlwaysAttend

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    I'm honestly not sure because we've never had an issue like this come up.

    Strike might have been too strong of a notion. Maybe just a statewide walkout or demonstrations before school. The point was embarrassing the state.
     
  29. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    What are some of these new strategies that charters know about? As far as I can tell, they do constantly raise test scores when they have high attrition rates thus keeping only the highest performing students. Another trick to raise scores is to make sure students with limited English, IEPs or behavior problems are counseled out or not admitted. This raises scores.

    If charters know some secret sauce, why don't they share it?

    I'm certain that good charters exist and sincere, talented teachers work in them. But I'm against giving public money to a parallel system that does not out perform the public schools.
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yet you told everyone how it is in right to work states when that isn't always the case, lol. Don't tell me how it is in my area.
     
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  31. waterfall

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    My home state is number 4 on the list and my current state is number 31. There is a very stark difference in competition for teaching jobs between the two states. We aren't as bad off as some places where they start the year with tons of openings, but we'll get maybe 20-50 applicants for an opening while schools in my home city will get thousands. I find that the general public has a much better perception of teachers here. People I meet outside of work always have nice things to say when they hear that I'm a teacher and I've regularly gotten things like a free drink, free appetizer, etc. even at places that don't have a discount policy. In my home city the perception of teachers is very negative and there are constant "overpaid and underworked" type comments. The district I grew up in has been trying to pass a bond (for new buildings) for many years and the mudslinging there about the lazy, greedy teachers is just awful. I can only assume that some of that stems from jealousy about how well teachers are paid there whereas the average Joe in my area realizes teachers have a raw deal here.

    As far as changing my situation, I have thought about moving but the truth is as far as places people actually want to live, my current state is way better than my home state. Sure I'd have a lot more money, but there isn't really much to do with it there! My best friend got a job just a couple of hours from where we grew up. We make a similar salary and she pays $550 per month to rent an entire house while I pay $1320 per month for a 600 sq. ft. apartment. However, she has to drive 30 minutes to even get to places like basic chain restaurants or basic stores like Target, whereas entertainment wise I have pretty much anything I would ever want at my fingertips. I do worry that there will become a point where I am simply "priced out" of being able to live here, but I'm not quite there yet.
     
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  32. Backroads

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    Utah's not bad on the list, but we recently had a salary war with districts to bring in more teachers (it seems to have worked well enough.)

    In our case it seems it's not just salary. We're something of a state that expects people to have families, so you have cases where men won't teach because they want to provide better for a family and women leaving teaching to raise families. For the men wanting to support families, the wage increase was great, though I don't know how much effect it had on women wanting to stay home with kids. Overall it did manage to get more teachers of whatever.

    It's amusing because my husband, unable to find a career in his degree, joined a company that I don't even think requires a high school diploma (he has a lot of idiot underlings, though I don't know if that has a real correlation to the high school diploma or if he just attracts idiot underlings). He generally loves his job... and now makes more than me.
     
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  33. TrademarkTer

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    I've worried about that eventually feeling "priced out" as well. I think my salary is fine, but rent and other things are expensive, and I worry that before I upgrade from my apartment to a house I will either have to get married or find a job as an administrator.
     
  34. Backroads

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    I teach at a charter... and it's a lot more rigorous than the regular public school I taught at. Yep, teachers are expected to have credentials and I actually think the state bars them from hiring someone who doesn't have a license/special in a licensing program.

    We're a rather boring charter (we broke off from a private Catholic school, no business runs it, mostly just parents and a board, which I know goes against the Hateful Charters mantra, but there it is), but wow, we have goals and strategies and all that. We do fit the charter trend with having a high percentage of minorities in our population and we have a lot of poverty. We also made awesome gains on our reading skills this past year.

    And no, we don't give out our cellphone numbers. Never have, and this year we were actually told it flirts way too much with breaking certain privacy laws that I think those teachers who were giving out private numbers are too scared to.

    I think I know what brand of charter school you are referring to, though.
     
  35. AlwaysAttend

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    They do share them with those that listen. You ignoring reality is not helpful. I won't dignify your post with any further response because I already addressed your bogus theories above.

    I'm a proud public school teacher and people who deny facts are an embarrassment to the profession.
     
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  36. Ima Teacher

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    I'm in KY. I'm happy with my benefits and salary. I live comfortably on my salary. I bought my own house at 28. I have everything I need and most of what I want. My DH is a,so a teacher. He is also satisfied.

    Sure, there are plenty of problems with education, but salary isn't at the top of my list.
     
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  37. AlwaysAttend

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    Interestingly enough Kentucky is number 9 on the list. If you were further down do you think it would bother you?
     
  38. Ima Teacher

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    Well, I've never taught anywhere else, so I don't know.

    Here is what I do know. I have friends in different fields, and our benefits and salaries vary widely, as does the education levels we attained. The commonality is that we all chose our fields. Nobody made me choose teaching. Nobody made me stay with it for 25 years. If I continue to stay with a job where I am dissatisfied, that's my fault.

    My DH has BS degrees in computer science and math. He has a MA in teaching. He could make a lot more money using his other degrees, but he is doing what he wants to do. I considered law school at one point, but I decided I wasn't ready to leave teaching. I'm happy with my decision to stay.
     
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  39. svassillion

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    I can't say I think too highly of the charter schools is MA. There are a few good ones, but the majority of them underperform compared to their sending districts. And I put none of that on the teachers. I've met so many colleagues who started their careers at charters and said it was just a nightmare, but they are excellent teachers. The reason I don't agree with them is because they could do things public schools couldn't such as kick out the most challenging students, not accept students with pricey IEPs, and operate behind closed doors. Those are things public schools can't do so charters take the best and the brightest along with a big chunk of our budget. One of our ballet questions last year was whether to raise the cap on charter schools and it was strongly defeated. But it was a hard fight for our unions because the other side was funded by out-of-state billionaires who could make serious profits with charters. We even have regulations outlawing for-profit charters, but when they aren't forced to disclose their books who knows what's going on. Something just doesn't feel right about it. But I can't speak for charters nation-wide, just the ones I see in my area.
     
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  40. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    OK.

    The views expressed here are not reflective of any actual teacher I've met in my 40 years. They are, however, reflective of government and for-profit anti-teacher, anti-labor rhetoric we have heard a lot of in Indiana over the past decade.

    You cannot engage with people who want nothing more than your destruction.

    I was willing to give contrary opinions a chance, but this is purely adversarial and I doubt any teacher out there has missed the anti-teacher rhetoric being thrown their way, or appreciates having it dismissed or even justified.

    No more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
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  41. 2ndTimeAround

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    Sep 3, 2017


    No I didn't, I specifically mentioned my state in my first post and then my subsequent posts answered questions. It's okay if you missed that sub-thread, but maybe you should temper your replies a bit so you don't come across as calling someone a liar.
     

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