Teachers - The Use 'em up, Throw 'em Away Work Force

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by teacherman1, Jan 7, 2014.

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  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2014

    As long as the PTB have an endless supply of energetic, inspired, idealistic young people coming out of college who are willing to work cheap and commit to a few years of tirelessly trying to "make a difference" (TFA) and a whole lot more of energetic, inspired,idealistic young people coming out teacher's colleges who innocently give it their all (working "cheap") for a few years and quickly burn out, the system will chug right along.

    A significant improvement in the economy could slow it right down. There are many, many, teachers out there ready to jump ship at the first opportunity.

    If the economy improves, many of those recent college graduates won't have to join TFA to enhance their resumes. They'll have jobs waiting for them.

    Maybe then they'll have to start listening to those of us who are determined to make teaching a real "profession" again.

    What do you think? Could that happen?
     
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  3. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 7, 2014

    LA Unified has more teachers over age 70 than teachers under 25. Over 1/3rd of their workforce is aged 36 to 46.

    I think your entire premise is flawed so I can't even begin to discuss your conclusions.
     
  4. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    It seems, Rock, that the work force is older because LA Unified has a strong union that actually protected its older and more experienced teachers.
    Why don't you read this article that appeared in the LA Times 2 days ago and we'll discuss that...

    Here are a few quotes from the article:
    "In June 2010, the district laid off about 600 teachers. A year later, about 2,000 teachers, counselors, nurses and other professional staff were let go. And in 2012, about 1,300 layoffs occurred. Other teachers bounced around because they lacked enough seniority to remain at a particular campus.

    In addition, thousands more received notices that they might be laid off, leading annually to long periods of uncertainty.

    One result has been an evolution into an older work force — because most layoffs, by law, target teachers with less time on the job. In L.A. Unified, more teachers are older than 70 than younger than 25. More than a third of teachers are between 36 and 46."

    Steve:whistle:

    *If I'm not mistaken, Rock, you are pretty much an anti-union guy. At least that's the impression I usually get from your posts.
     
  5. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2014

    And this is from that same article:
    "Declining enrollment, partly a result of the growth of charter schools, continues to shrink the number of teaching positions, by about 450 for next year alone. But this figure is offset by such factors as about 1,000 expected retirements and about 700 leaving for other reasons, voluntarily or otherwise.

    Increasing numbers of teachers have been forced out, after being accused of poor performance or alleged misconduct. Among veteran teachers, who typically have strong job protections, 57 were fired while 155 others resigned to avoid being dismissed last year, records show.

    And the district also is letting go greater numbers of teachers before they earn tenure and stronger job protections, which usually occurs after two years."

    You do acknowledge that older teachers (like me) are in a terrible position as far as finding a new job in a down economy - so they just can't afford to leave. They'll stay until something better comes along.

    And the teachers who are close to retirement are obviously hanging in there so they can reap the benefits that they've been working their asses off for all these years:|.

    As the article mentions, 1,000 will be leaving in the next year.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's baffling to me that anybody can look at the TFA model and not see a huge problem.
     
  7. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2014

    Agreed:thumb:
    And if Rock looks at school districts without strong union protection he'll see more of this:


    "An annual report shows that more North Carolina teachers left their jobs in 2012-13 than in previous school years.

    Out of the 95,028 teachers employed, 13,616 teachers left their districts, resulting in an overall state turnover rate of about 14 percent, or about one out of every seven teachers.

    That number is a slight increase from the previous year’s turnover rate of 12 percent and 11 percent in 2010-11."

    In 2007 the five states where teacher's unions are outlawed had the lowest test scores in the country.

    South Carolina – 50th
    North Carolina – 49th
    Georgia – 48th
    Texas – 47th
    Virginia – 44th

    How much you wanna bet the age range of their teacher workforce is way to the other extreme?
     
  8. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2014

    Article in The Atlantic: WHY DO TEACHERS QUIT

    This article was in the October issue of Atlantic Monthly. Here's an excerpt:

    “What people are asked to do is only the kind of thing that somebody can do for two or three years; you couldn’t sustain that level of intensity throughout a career,” said Thomas Smith, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s education school. He was referring specifically to charter schools, but his sentiment is one that resonates with many beginning teachers in challenging schools. “[It’s] the same way that people might think of investment banking. It’s something that people do for a few years out of college, but if you want to have a family, or you want to have some leisure time, you know, how do you sustain that?”

    Joseph is a former Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher who loved his first years in the classroom; after a couple of years, though, he came to a saddening realization about the future of his career.

    “I realized that most older men I taught with eventually felt pressured to advance into higher-level administration as their careers progressed in order to better support their family,” he said. “What many of them working in high-need schools told me, however, was that being successful at school directly conflicted with being successful husbands and fathers. While this is certainly true of any occupation, most occupations don't leave your children asking you, ‘Why do you go to more basketball games of the kids at school than mine?’"

    Pay is also an issue that came up in my interviews. A starting teacher salary in the U.S. is $35,672.

    “What is expected of great teachers and the amount they are paid is shameful,” says Hayley, a former teacher from the Northwest, referring to just one factor in her decision to leave the classroom to work for an ed-tech start-up. “Yes, if you love something you should do it regardless of pay, but when you take into consideration the time, the effort, the emotional toll and what teachers are asked to actually do everyday, it was painfully obvious that teaching is not a sustainable job. I really wish it had been.” Hayley taught for three years before finding herself emotionally drained, physically exhausted, and interested in pursuing a career that provided more balance and financial security."
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 8, 2014

    I obviously read the article already given that I had the stat quoted. It made my point.

    So, your argument is that in state with less union protections the average teacher age is much lower? That is in fact my exact point and why I find your premise to be faulty. The contracts these young people agree to are were not negotiated by them. They had no choice in the matter. They take what they are offered by law and then dumped because they don't have seniority.

    I'm anti-forced union membership, union protections and forced union contracts primarily for that reason.
     
  10. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    So how is my premise faulty, Rock? Just because the teachers in your area were lucky enough to have a strong union it doesn't mean that that's the case all over the country.

    Generally, from what I've seen, heard and read, older teachers (ie higher paid) are being forced/coerced/antagonized out so that newbies can come in and replace them. Newbies and TFA kids work for half the pay and when they burn out, can be easily replaced with a new batch. Pensions will be a thing of the past because very few teachers will even stay in long enough to become vested - never mind 30 years.

    And you do realize that the reason teachers in some areas of the country actually make a decent living (Rhode Island is one if you can stand working here) is because teacher unions fought long and hard to get those wages and benefits.

    If we lose the unions we'll all be making poverty wages.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    In regards to the age thing; I do believe that there are lots of young teachers (under 35) who want to make teaching their "real" profession and plan to teach long-term. Getting rid of young teachers may not help the system or have the impact you want.

    Personally, I think having lots of young(er) teachers on staff can be extremely beneficial, especially in a district like mine. When I say young(er), I mean under age 35-40 and I do not mean that everyone should be brand new or TFA. But, I do believe that younger teachers are a very valuable asset in this day and age.

    I teach in Baltimore and I believe that dealing with today's urban students is a challenge designed for younger people. Every time I talk to someone over 60 or near retirement; they reiterate that dealing with today's urban teenager is a "young person's job." Not all, of course, but many urban districts need younger teacher because they are (sometimes) better able to deal with and relate to the kids.

    This is also why my district is hiring younger Ps and APs; they want Admin to start in their early-mid 30s because it take a lot to deal with these kids.
     
  12. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Jan 8, 2014

    Virginia has a teacher's union. www.veanea.org
    It had forced membership when I taught there in the late 90's.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Being a young teacher and having that told to me very frequently: "Oh hey, it's great that you're young and teach because you can relate to the kids!" I have to say that I don't believe it.

    First of all, I don't think I relate any better to my students than any of the older teachers in my school do. In fact I think a lot of them relate better to students than I do. And secondly just because a young person might be able to relate to students on a young person level doesn't mean that they should. Frequently when you try to engage students with things you can closely relate to them with because of your youth, they often begin to think of you as a peer and treat you as such which will do heck if you ever have to discipline them. (Why should they listen to a peer after all?) It just makes everything worse.

    Actually more experienced older teachers who have practiced walking that line between building close relationships with students and maintaining the authority as a teacher have much better relationships with students because the relationship is clear to the students.

    I honestly think everyone should stop saying/thinking that younger teachers can "better relate" to students because of their youth. It simply isn't true.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We have four administrators who are currently on medical leave this school year. Recently, we even had one die due to a heart attack. Very, very unfortunate! :(

    I'd say the average age of administrators in my district is 40. Currently, I'm the youngest (I'll be 32 next month).
     
  15. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I must disagree.

    If you have never really taught in the hood (not just in an urban city), you may not realize what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about relating to students as in being their friend (that's a mistake inexperienced teachers make), but I'm talking about knowing enough about the students' environment/culture to build a genuine solid relationship.

    In all 3 schools I've worked at, I've seen that younger teachers are (usually) better able relate to the students in the sense that they understand the youth culture and can talk to them using "their language" (because yes, sometimes you have to take it there). Kids often want to discuss their lives outside of school and younger teachers can click with the students on an authentic level which helps to build mutual respect. In some places, this may not be acceptable, but here, it is the norm. These teachers are better able to demand and get respect from students - they are not the kids' friend, but they know how to be friendly and "cool" when need be. It is a fine line to walk; but to really connect with our kids it helps. These teachers I'm talking about have better relationships with students, the students respond better to their directives and overall, have more genuine respect for these teachers.

    In the inner-city, you often have to prove your "credentials" to the kids. This is not a system where kids just respect you because you're the adult with the teaching degree.

    I will admit that besides being young, being Black and/or from Baltimore (or a similar inner-city environment) can also really help teachers relate to our kids. When you can honestly let them know that you get what they're going through and where they are coming from; this can REALLY help teachers build relationships and the students start to respect you.

    Also, younger teachers are better able to break up fights, calm down confrontations and handle disruptions before they become brawls. Once again, if you don't work in this environment, then you may not get where I am coming from.
     
  16. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Your premise is that there are too many young teachers. The article shows that not to be true in the least. If you want to claim that LAUSD is unique then you'd also have to argue that LAUSD is doing better than other districts.

    It isn't.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is true pretty much everywhere these days, so it's not just an inner city thing. As other posters have always mentioned, respect has to be earned and I've never worked in a school where students simply automatically respected the teacher.

    Maybe it's just my style but I would probably never "speak to the kids in their own language". That would be crossing a boundary for me. But I have built relationships where I can demand the very best from my students and I have their respect because I am mature, organized, I seem to "have the answers", and because yes I've been there. I probably haven't been where the inner-city kids have been (except I've been homeless and beaten), but I've lived life at least 10 years more than my students and I make sure they know that those 10 years mean a huge difference.

    The point is is that I don't rely on my youth, even though I know a lot of the things they're into, and I understand where they're coming from. Any older teacher would know where they're coming from as well because they've lived even more than the 10 extra years I have on them. They've also worked with these students for far longer. They know what kind of environment and culture these students grow up with.

    Maybe it is different in the inner-city, but I really dislike it when administrators and others attribute my skill in the classroom to "being able to relate to kids because of my youth". It had nothing to do with it, and I've seen plenty of older teachers who are much better at relating to kids than me. What was a factor was tons of hard work, reading and studying management, emulating older more experienced teachers, and rethinking every move I make every step of the way.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ^^^^ I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Also, I teach at a 6-12 school with only 3 full-time teachers (non paras) over age 50. This has been a trend in all the schools I've taught at in Baltimore. Due to an exceptionally high turnover rate among our teachers, we are a district with pretty young staff. Some of this has to do with salary, but most Principals want younger teacher that can handle the kids.
     
  19. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    That is not my premise at all, Rock. Please go back and re-read my original post.....

    :whistle:
     
  20. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I don't really know how TFA works because it is not allowed in Ohio.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well maybe that's the difference. I teach at a school where I am probably the only teacher under 45. Therefore I have a wide range of older teachers to observe, while you can only really observe younger teachers. Among each age population there are going to be good and bad teachers.

    But I have an inkling that the reason your principal hires younger teachers has more to do with being able to pay them a lower salary than the fact that they can handle students better.
     
  22. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    It most definitely is - in Cleveland
    and Cincinnati area. It seems very likely that it will also grow in other areas across the state.
     
  23. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Oh…. I at least knew it wasn't in Columbus. I didn't know it was in Cincinnati and Cleveland. I don't even know my own state lol.
     
  24. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Our governor allowed for a slow rollout of it last year or so.
     
  25. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Oh I see. I don't really have any problems with it. But I honestly don't know much about it.
     
  26. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I completely agree with this post.
     
  27. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It used to be a program where they'd put college grads in high-needs districts that couldn't fill positions, more or less under the premise that a teacher with 5 weeks of training was better than a series of substitutes with no training, particularly in schools where there were still mentor teachers willing to support them.

    Unfortunately, over the years, they began trying to push the idea that their teachers were BETTER, because they "cared more," and districts began laying off teachers to get TFA teachers for cheaper. There are charters opening with nothing but new TFA teachers. Most of them end up applying to law school or grad school in their original field after two years, many of the rest go into school administration... because that totally makes sense.

    Long story short, an idea that started off with a really good premise got taken over by the reform movement. I'll never speak ill of TFA's original purpose, and if they return to that purpose, I wouldn't speak ill of them. No real teacher should be pushed out of the profession for a cheaper TFA grad unless that teacher genuinely stinks more than somebody with only five weeks of training would.
     
  28. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    BF and I have a good friend doing TFA in the Delta. She hates it. She likes teaching but her principal is completely incompetent. She emailed our friend and literally told her to stop doing what she was doing because her scores were higher than the other teacher with a teaching degree and it was making him look bad. No joke.

    I could never teach down there. It's just awful.
     
  29. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I disagree again. But, I invite you to Baltimore (if you dare:lol:) so you can observe what I'm talking about.
     
  30. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Me neither. TFA serves a much needed purpose in certain districts.
     
  31. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Agreed...there are districts around here that hire TFA for elementary positions when they have hundreds of qualified applicants. If the choice is truly between a TFA and a series of subs, TFA makes sense. However, most of the time that's not how it's being used.
     
  32. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I live (and have worked) right next to Oakland (number 9 most dangerous city in the US, Baltimore is no. 29), so no thanks.
     
  33. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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  34. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The point, surely, Go Blue!, is that Peregrin's view in this matter can't be discounted simply on grounds of not having experienced inner-city schools.
     
  35. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Older post - new quote. From England!

    “About 40,000 teachers leave mid-career each year and it costs some £750 million annually to replace them,” Illingworth says.

    “They would rather throw teachers out because they are ‘broken’ and buy new ones. No manager in any factory would treat his workers like this - it doesn’t even make economic sense. But this is how the government is treating teachers.”

    A 2010 study by Compass - the Niamh centre for mental health research and policy - appears to support this view. Teachers’ Mental Health recounts that although help for stressed teachers is available - on the internet, through GPs and via internet and teacher support helplines - many are too exhausted, depressed or mentally fragile to pursue it.

    From the Times Educational Supplement - http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6243035
     
  36. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    How many teachers leave because the union they didn't voluntarily join is preventing them from earning their market wage under the premise of "every teacher being equally effective?"


    Oh, wait, teachers only leave the profession for reasons that fit teacherman's particular ideology and worldview (which includes a perpetual, inherent persecution complex for teachers).
     
  37. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Persecution complex for teachers, this made me laugh.

    On these forums this does seem to be true.
     
  38. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Since most/all teachers would make less without unions... none?
     
  39. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I'll go ahead and ask for a source that all teachers would make less when able to negotiate their own wages without unions forcing their representation on professionals who can handle their own employment conditions.
     
  40. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    HT…
    Here are the five states where unions are actually outlawed. THEIR TEST SCORES ARE THE LOWEST IN THE COUNTRY so, obviously they need stellar teachers.

    Next, we have to see how much they are paying the stellar teachers they have already and how happy their teacher force is at this time.

    Disclaimer: I did not write this article. It was written in2011 and some stats may have changed. This is offered for the sake of discussion only.
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    1) You're aware that even in non-union states, teachers still don't get to individually negotiate their own salaries, right?

    2) History itself has shown fairly conclusively that unions tend to lead to lead to increased salaries.
     
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