Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walk in, walk out or neither?

The Nov. 4 date for a N.C. teacher walk-out and/or community walk-ins to support public education is near. So what's going to happen?

I'm not getting any sense that there will be a big wave of "blue flu"  (or whatever the educational equivalent might be),  let alone an actual walk-out.  As I've written before,  it's risky business for teachers to take such a step,  and a lot of them are as unwilling to deprive their kids of classroom time as they are eager to make a point about pay and working conditions.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decided not to join Iredell-Statesville in holding a districtwide  "walk-in"  to show support for educators.  CMS will hold educator appreciation events later this month,  while letting individual schools decide whether to mark Nov. 4,  spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said.

I've heard that parents at Elizabeth Lane Elementary in Matthews are planning a festive welcome and breakfast for their teachers on Monday,  and that Ranson Middle School,  the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators and Project LIFT are planning events at the north Charlotte school.  And I'm guessing plenty of people will go with a  "wear red for public ed"  show of support.

Update: Teachers at Northwest School of the Arts are planning a day of silence. "Teachers will still be at school and will perform their duties, but they will do it without a voice,"  says a post on a Northwest protest Facebook page.  "On Monday many teachers will be using worksheet packets to help students review. They hope to show the public that (1) their voices are not being heard, (2) classrooms will be silent when the teachers leave the profession, and (3) we must support our highly qualified teachers."  The teachers are also asking parents and other supporters to join them outside the school before and after school hours  "to show support and unity."

Another update:  My colleague Tim Funk just shared a statement from the offices of N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Sen. Neal Hunt calling on state Attorney General Roy Cooper to  "protect our children's safety" during this  "planned teachers strike."

The Berger/Hunt statement says that  "the North Carolina affiliate of the national teachers’ union has stated on record they  'affirm the desire, and right, of educators to use tactics like a walk-out or strike' – a clear violation of North Carolina law."  The link leads to the N.C. Association of Educators site,  but with an  "Oops ... Page Not Found"  message.  Meanwhile,  the only thing I can find on the NCAE site is the statement they posted several weeks ago saying the group does not endorse the walkout.

What else are the rest of you hearing?


Anonymous said...

Newton Conover Schools are simply wearing red in honor of education on Friday

Jon Golden said...


Most teachers who are not planning to take the day off are not doing so because we are worried about depriving our students of one day of instruction, but are actually worried about the capricious actions of district officials. The fear of losing one's job and depriving our actual children of food and shelter will make teachers show up on Monday. It wouldn't mean a thing, anyway. Even if there was a concerted plan to stage a walk-out or red-flu, the demonization of teachers would reach an all-time high, because parents would be inconvenienced.

What parents don't realize is that such an act would be to benefit their children in the long run. North Carolina cannot retain quality young teachers (and older teachers are painted into a corner by circumstance)because the pay is deplorable, funding for the schools is atrocious, and the message sent from Raleigh is that we, teachers, students, and communities, should be happy with what scraps we have been given. Why, with all available information, would anyone CHOOSE to begin a teaching career here in NC? If there are alternatives for an individual, why would anyone subject him/herself to this atmosphere?

Sadly, this new educational reality will never change. While administrators are sympathetic, they are powerless to help. District officials are impotent, at best, or unsympathetic, at worst, when it comes to dealing with the state. The NCAE is a professional organization with no legislative voice of impact.

I love what I do (and am very good at what I do), but why would anyone choose to be a teacher nowadays?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are provided sick leave by statutes. What are the risks involved?

Jon Golden said...

@Anon: The risks are twofold: 1. Perception by the public. 2. Any form of sick-out is prohibited. If a LEA chose to, it could require documentation for sick-days to be used.

Anonymous said...

hate to be rude-but I really don't think that as a whole CMS or teachers care what the public or parents think of them.

Can someone explain the reasoning of wasting 3.5 hours of a school day by using parents as subs while teachers plan? Is there a reason this cannot be accomplished before or after school? Or during the time they allow the kids to play with their ipads?

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher. No- I will not be walking out Monday. I will be in that classroom giving my best. Do I WANT to walk out? Oh yes - most definitely. But, I will continue to give my best each until I CAN walk out permanently! The bureaucratic chaos, foolish policies, hyper-testing, unfair evaluation practices, micro-management, and lack of trust have pretty much done me in.

Jon Golden said...

@Anon 10:24: Thank you for making my point for me. Your assessment that, as a group, CMS teachers don't care is both asinine and ignorant. While there may be teachers who aren't as dedicated to the profession as you, in your limited perspective, or I, with 18 years of experience, would prefer, such a disparaging condemnation of the group of dedicated individuals demonstrates why this educational system of ours won't improve.

Your question about why CMS should utilize the workday to do planning, instead of doing it before or after school, again, shows the ignorance of the question. Teachers do NOT get paid overtime; therefore, any time for meetings before or after school is on their own time. How often do you stay after work without compensation? Why should teachers be expected to do so?

Lastly, if you feel so strongly about your feelings about CMS teachers, then man up and put your name to your post.

Anonymous said...

10:29 You are correct. The teachers on the front lines are, for the most part, doing their best. CMS has a credibility problem due to the fact that 50% or more of the jobs are "support" staff. Please cut the bloated Central office, and teachers - just DONT teach to the tests (and let the chips fall where they may). Many wish local school administrators would have the "cajones" to tell CMS Central office to walk out next week and not come back!

I support my local school and my child's classroom. Beyond that, I'm sick of all this CMS bologna. And I will be voting NO on bonds.

Barb Smith said...

Jon Golden, I appreciate your words but teachers are expected (at least at my school) to stay AT LEAST one hour after class ends. This is the perfect time to get together with colleagues and do weekly/quarterly planning. The idea of having parents come in regularly and babysit classes while the teachers are having meetings is ignorant and asinine. Is this what is happening at most CMS schools, just curious? I womaned up and used my name, happy now?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who finds it comical that teachers are posting during the day?

Oh, why can't planning be accomplished during a teacher workday?

Anonymous said...

REAL professionals almost always work some hours off the clock.

In many cases, at least 10 to 15 hours a week.

I, personally have worked up to 100 hours in a week, "unpaid" (except for my salary, of course) when conditions demanded.

HOURLY clerical workers do not get paid unless they have punched in and are "on the clock".

It is precisely this kind of whining from teachers which separates them from the real professionals in our society who often work extra hours "without pay".

I'd like to hear what other "professionals" have to say about their work hours.

Especially when they are just starting and proving themselves in their profession.

Anonymous said...

Why would ANYONE need someone to identify themselves in order to express an opinion?

Are they planning to meet them at the flagpole after school or something?

Jon Golden said...

@Barb Smith: Well, I must correct you that the idea of having parents come in and spend time with their children so teachers can do long-term planning is not ignorant (as the word means to be uninformed). I would doubt that this is a regular practice, at best, no more than once a month. I am trying to see why this is a major inconvenience? For the most part, the time after school is used for other duties, such as grading, parent contact, preparing for the following day, meetings, etc...

@Anon 11:04: Teachers are "REAL" professionals, but teachers not paid like professionals? I am not "whining" about anything, other than the perception that I am any less a professional because I am a teacher, not a CPA, lawyer, or any other of the innumerable professions where market value sets salary. I know that many professionals do work outside of the "work day," but then again, their salary more than compensates them for those duties. When teachers are forced to take on additional employment to make ends meet, where is the teacher supposed to squeeze in time for those 15 hours of work? If teachers were paid like professionals, then no one would be complaining about the extra hours spent grading, planning, etc...I have been teaching for 18 years and barely make over 40k/year. Is that appropriate for my level of education and responsibility to the community? Who trains the next generation of doctors, lawyers, accountants, musicians, actors, and yes, the next generation of teachers? You have sincere contempt for teachers, which is ironic, since you would not be the professional you are today without a bevy of them. The public bemoans the state of our educational system, bemoans the quality of education provided, but when any measure is proposed to improve education, if it costs money, then it is defeated. If it inconveniences parents (such as with the monthly planning meetings to IMPROVE EDUCATION), it is deemed unnecessary. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Jon Golden-its insane to have a parent cover a class for an extended period of time. That time is just wasted!
Its quarterly, but still-should not be allowed.

Jon Golden said...

Jane Doe: You have opinions, great! But if you are unwilling to identify yourself when expressing your opinion, then it shows a certain level of cowardice. If the Klan (and I only bring them up because you did) would ride around without the benefit of cloak, then they would have to live with the ignominy of their bigotry. If someone wants to post on an open forum, wants to post a criticism of a group of people, then own your opinion and attach your name. Be proud of what you believe. But to stay anonymous shows a lack of fortitude, shows that you, subconsciously, know the opinion is ill-founded and you just want to spew your contempt without regard, without consequence.

Jon Golden said...

@Anon 11:29: Seriously? 4 times a year? That's it? And that is a big issue? The school would be better served dismissing the students 1/2 day, but then the parents would complain. In other districts, that is exactly what was done.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:25. bravo.

i know teachers who routinely work 70-80 hours a week..... then during vacation to make ends meet.....teachers who are so stressed and exhausted that it is ruining their personal lives......
teachers who will leave eventually.....
teachers with 20 years and a masters degree are making a little over 50K.....
who else in any career that has that kind of education and experience and expertise is compensated so little and derided by the ignorant masses so much?
anyone who runs theri mouth negatively about teacher with dumb general blanket statements is more then welcome to come run a classroom for one day.... one class.

Anonymous said...

I am a former teacher and some of these post show how ignorant some of you are. "Real profession", Interesting without people in a "fake profession" (teachers) I don't think you would be in your "Real profession" right now. Teachers spend countless hours before & after work, so your bratty lil kid can get an education. Test and essays don't grade themselves. Tutoring doesn't happen on its own. There are countless other things that teachers do you wouldn't realize. Those things equal to 10-20+ extra hours a week on a limited salary. Teachers shouldn't have lucretive salaries but taking 10-15years to earn 40,000 a year is crazy. I left cause doing all that for little compensation is crazy in my opinion. Imagine if 10,000 others in Charlotte & surronding areas felt the same. Show some respect to those who take time out to help educate & raise your children. You probably aren't doing much of it yourself (Mr. Real Professional)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but teachers go into their "profession" KNOWING what the work and pay is like and what the public perceptions are.

So, yes, it does come across as whining when they complain about what everyone else already knows.

Teachers in our society are more similar to government social workers than most other professions, so they should be surprised when they aren't treated much better.

The social workers I've known also complain about low pay, lousy work conditions, etc., etc..

But that's just part of their "profession".

If they don't like it, they shouldn't be in it.

And if enough people make THAT decision, things just might change.

But probably not before.

Again, remember Einstein's definition of insanity, y'all...

Because as long as you keep doing the same thing and expecting things to change, you're living it.

Perhaps having FEWER teachers might result in better working conditions, higher pay, more respect, etc., etc.

We've tried having "more" teachers and look where we are now.

Anonymous said...

If an anonymous opinion is "ill-founded" then is it REALLY more difficult to counter that opinion because you don't know who wrote it?

Barring personal attacks, of course...

Anonymous said...

11:01, that's an interesting observation about teachers posting during the school day. But I can tell you that the Observer's page views are always highest during the work day, so I'm pretty sure a LOT of folks with internet access are reading and posting while they're on the clock.

Anonymous said...

I never said teaching was a "fake profession".

But as a former teacher you should know that.

Or maybe not.

If not, then go back and read what I wrote.

Very carefully.

Again and again until you understand it.

Or until you at least admit that your strawman argument misses my point.

If a teacher IS spending those additional hours "without pay" then they are behaving like many other "professionals".

If not, then they are behaving more like clerical and hourly workers.

It's not an attack on ALL teachers or their "profession", just a subset.

Got it?

Anonymous said...

And since having some discretionary time is part of being "professional", then I don't see the problem with people (even teachers) posting during the work day.

Now, if the teachers are REALLY hourly clerical workers, then there is a problem with that.

Jon Golden said...

I never went into teaching with the expectation of becoming paid like a professional athlete or a minister of a for-profit mega-church, but the conditions of the profession 18 years ago were better than they are now, and such a drastic turn could not have been predicted.

Young men and women decide to become teachers because of the teachers they had as children. Becoming a teachers is a noble pursuit. It is sad that we, as a society, don't place a higher value (other than with empty praise and lip-service) on this profession. When grown adults, all of whom who have benefited from the love, wisdom, and knowledge of these teachers, chose to disparage the profession, to minimize teachers' value, we are discouraging our children from becoming leaders who create leaders.

Anonymous said...

Noble pursuits don't pay the bills, though.

But what else would anyone expect to happen when teachers become a "dime a dozen"?

And how do you change that?

How do doctors and lawyers control that?

Why aren't doctors cheap?

Just in case you haven't considered this angle...

"Parents like the idea of smaller class sizes in the same way that people like the idea of having a personal chef.

Parents imagine that their kids will have one of the Iron Chefs.

But when you have to hire almost 3.3 million chefs, you're liable to end up with something closer to the fry-guy from the local burger joint."

It's very close to what I'm getting at with my "bashing" of the "profession".

Think of what has changed in the past few decades.

Supply and demand (and what happens when you increase the supply).

Where are the teachers coming from and what do they represent today?

And how can you change this?

I think it has to come from the supply side because we'll always find a reason for more "demand".

Anonymous said...

Looking on the brighter side, something like this just MIGHT make a difference...

"The provider (the institution of higher education) ensures that the average grade point average of its accepted cohort of candidates meets or exceeds the CAEP minimum of 3.0, and the group average performance on nationally-normed ability/achievement assessments such as ACT, SAT, or GRE is in the top 50% from 2016 - 2017; is in the top 40% of the distribution from 2018 - 2019; and is in the top 33% of the distribution by 2020."

So maybe there is some hope.

Pamela Grundy said...

As the resident curmudgeon regarding anonymity, I'd just like to add that anonymous comments on this blog frequently (although certainly not always) make sweeping condemnations of entire groups of people, be it teachers, African Americans, undocumented immigrants, low-income parents, etc. These anonymous observers also often reference how hard they work, how much money they make, how smart their children are as compared to those who they condemn. Such comments are frequently followed by a spate of self-congratulatory comments among said observers regarding their mutual intelligence, "out of the box" thinking and so on. While it's useful at times to know those thoughts are out there, as far as I can tell very few of those comments contribute to an interesting dialogue, let alone a useful one. Anonymity is necessary in certain specific cases where someone faces direct repercussions for expressing an opinion, but otherwise I think more reasoned, thoughtful dialogue occurs when people take personal responsibility for what they say.

Regarding ideas about raising the academic bar for those who wish to teach, that will only work if teaching is attractive enough as a profession to create significant competition to qualify, as happens in places like Finland. I don't think the teaching profession is at that stage now, and the current "strategy" employed by elected officials, including cuts in budgets and increases in high-stakes testing aren't helping matters.

Anonymous said...

Putting your name to a comment does not make your thoughts/ideas better.

Get over yourself and your self importance.

BolynMcClung said...

CMS gets 85% of its funding from Raleigh and Mecklenburg.

The Mecklenburg funding is the most reliable. It is from property taxes and there is almost a 1:1 relationship between property value and the expenses to run the schools. School expenses change very little year to year and property tax revenue grow at about the same pace.

However, the State revenues come from sales tax, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes. These fluctuate wildly. During the Great Recession the public education continued at its steady upward pace but state revenues dropped severely.

The conclusion is that the State is using the wrong funding model. It should be more like the county model. For those that doubt this, there is only to look at California and what happened with the Prop 13 of years ago.

An alternative would be for the State to maintain a cash reserve for teacher pay, much like the bond reserve recently explained by District 6 County Commissioner Bill James.

Bolyn McClung

Pamela Grundy said...

2:04, what you call self-importance I call responsibility. Why aren't you willing to take that kind of responsibility? Nothing's going to happen to you because you take responsibility for criticizing me. You're perfectly entitled to that opinion, why hide behind it?

Anonymous said...

Any ideas HOW we can get the teaching profession as attractive as it is in Finland?

Aside from deriding anonymous posters, that is...

Some anonymous posters have included a source or two with some ideas.

How about yours?

Or is it simply that we aren't "at that stage now".

Someone in Finland had to make a move to get to "that stage", didn't they?

I say tighten the standards for teachers as a start.

Go for quality over quantity and don't keep pushing for more teachers just to put more fry chefs in the kitchens.

Pamela Grundy said...

How has Finland succeeded? Small classes, teacher autonomy, lots of time for hands-on activities and play, and no high-stakes testing, among other things. See, for example:

Anonymous said...


Also, consider the supply/demand issue.

The Teacher/Student ratio has been dropping consistently over the past 5 decades!

That simply means MORE TEACHERS to pay.

And more pensions, etc., etc.,etc.

And has the "education" of those children gotten better proportionally, as class sizes have gone from 26.9 per teacher in 1955 to around 15.5 in 2007?

How much longer can that trend continue?

And how hard are we having to scrape the barrel to fill that "demand"?

Anonymous said...

Finland also chooses its teachers from the top of its undergraduate students.

And doesn't teach "education" below the graduate level.

It's a graduate program only.

(Like other "professionals" such as doctors and lawyers, oddly enough...)

Of course, the US is too politically sensitive to certain groups to attempt such a radical move as requiring higher standards for teachers before giving them higher pay.

But maybe they'll have to.

Pamela Grundy said...

To take just one example, in the 1950s, kids with disabilities dropped out or got stuck in institutions. The education they receive has improved enormously.

Pamela Grundy said...

Finland can choose its teachers from the top of its undergraduate students because teaching is such an attractive career there that many of the best students want to enter it. That's an arena where competition does work. Teach for America can get high-flying students because TFA has become a highly attractive way to take a two year break between college and career, and thus there's lots of competition. How are you going to create more competition without making the teaching profession more attractive to start with?

Jon Golden said...

Teacher:Student has NOT been dropping over the last five years, at least not here in NC. My class loads have increased almost 20% over these past five years. Where I used to have class sizes of 25-27, now, I have class sizes of 32-35. Since the state cut funding and instituted a pay freeze, it seems that for every five teachers who leave, only three or four positions are created.

While I appreciate what other countries are able to accomplish, it is flawed logic to compare any other national system of education to the system in this country, especially a country as small, in size and population and diversity, as most European countries. It's not apples to apples.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the average student/teacher ratios in Finland are HIGHER than the US.

Except for our suburban schools, of course, where we also tend to have higher performing students.

So maybe the answer to a better education IS a higher student/teacher ratio.

And lower pay, of course.

Pay particular attention to the PPP column.

That's purchase power parity of the income.

The Finnish teachers get paid about 1/2 of US teachers no matter how you look at it.

So, in Finland, the teachers are paid less to teach more and also are better educated.

Pamela Grundy said...

So how do we make teaching as attractive a career here as it is in Finland?

Anonymous said...

I don't think we can make teaching in the US as attractive as it is in Finland.

A protest (or not) won't matter, either.

Neither will more money or more teachers.

Sure, we could "support our highly qualified teachers".

But who has the guts to actually IDENTIFY THEM?

And perhaps encourage the rest to leave?

That'll never happen here.

So we'll continue as usual until something happens on the supply side.

Like it has with other professions.

But since this profession is largely controlled by our government, I'm not expecting miracles.

Anonymous said...


Please teachers walk out and stay out. What will the state of North Carolina do when there is no supply of teachers. Oh, do what they do now. Fill the positions with all those young "YANKEES" from the Union states. Even with the Yanks and TFA's and Teach Charlotte and the Military to Teacher, even with ALL of those programs CMeS STILL cannot fill all of their open positions.

Walk out and stay out. It may be the ONLY way to get back your 6 years of lost bonus, benefits and salary.

Anonymous said...

Golden you are a shining example of everything that is wrong with the public education system in America.

In a non production environment employees are either professional and salaried or clerical and hourly. Which are you?

If you claim to be professional, and I believe that teachers have every right to be considered professional, then you get a salary and work until the work is finished.

Clearly you have never worked in the real world. Professionals such as engineers, bankers, CPAs ect. get a salary and are expected to work when there is work to be done. Stay until 6:00 or 7:00? Of course and I have often done it because the job needed doing.

Many studies have shown that private sector professionals in a similar job category such as mid management are paid a salary similar to teachers when hours worked as factored in.

I challenge you to ask the branch manager at your local bank how many hours they work in a year. It is a whole lot more than you do with your 2 months off in summer 2 weeks off at Christmas ect.

Hell man even Schrooge gave Tim Cratchet half a day on Christmas Eve. I have often had to work all day Christmas Eve and all day the next business day after Christmas. I have had to stay until 7 or 8 on News Years Eve to close out the years books. And at the time made substantaly less than the average teacher salary.

I am sick of hearing "educators" whine about pay, hours, money ect while turning out non reading graduates.

OVERTIME? You want overtime? How about over work? What were you doing last July while the rest of us were working our butts off for 2 or 3 weeks vacation a year.

Saying you want more money and then you will work more is like telling the fireplace," give me some heat and I will give you some wood."

Wiley Coyote said...

The Finland comparison means nothing and will never be replicated in the US.

Finland population

5,421,827 (2012)

United States population

313,914,040 (2012)

Anonymous said...

To 4:27:

Interestingly enough, teachers are NEITHER salaried NOR hourly workers. We do not get overtime if we are asked/required to stay beyond out normal working hours. But, as in the case of summer school teachers, we can sometimes receive "extended employment" which is based on our regular "hourly" pay rate.

Also, to set the record straight, we do not get two months vacation during the summer. We get two months without pay, as our pay is based entirely on the number of days, not months, we work. (The vast majority of CMS teachers do not get a paycheck in June or July.)

For those that work the additional days, some are on extended contracts and others, turn in their hours. But, regardless of how many hours we work in a given week, we will never get overtime.

So, if you want two months without pay, talk to your employer, maybe that can be arranged. If not, it appears we have a few openings, if you’re up to the challenge.

Neither are we "middle managers." We are front line workers. Building administrators and central office staff are the managers.

I am not one of those complaining about my pay or working conditions. As has been stated, I kind of knew what I was heading into when I chose this profession. Going backwards, well standing still actually, is a little disconcerting, though.

But I am a little tired of hearing parents complain about how poorly their children are doing when, in many cases, they don't bother to put in a fraction of the time/energy/effort that we do in trying prepare their children to become productive adults.

Oh, and I'm also glad that I do not have shovel the snow that they do in Finland!

Jon Golden said...

Anon 4:27: if you think I am what's wrong with the educational system, you are the shining example of what is wrong with message boards . You bolivars about the real world and denigrate what I do, but hide like a child behind the moniker "Anonymous."

What do I do during the summer? Work part time jobs because I AM NOT PAID DURING THE SUMMER. When will you and your ilk learn that teachers are not paid during he summer?

As for working in the "real world," what, pray tell, do you think the real world is? I am a supervisor of 103 people of varied abilities, temperaments, and desires. My performance is evaluated by both local, state, and national standards. If my charges fail to meet productivity standards, I will be demoted or fired. I make 103 people want to care about improving themselves. I make 103 people better writers (a skill often used in the "real world), better analysts (another skill used in the real world), and critical thinkers (something that is somewhat valued in that "real world" you speak of). I do this on a daily basis. What do you create?

Jeannie said...

Part 1 (for anonymous troll poster @3:20p):
Dear anonymous troll poster @3:20p:
I am quite thankful that you are obviously not a teacher. Someone with your lack of empathy and sensitivity to the plight of others would not be able to manage a class of 30 middle schoolers. In fact, I am certain that you wouldn't last 10 minutes before you had a meltdown in front of a class of 12-year-olds. For someone on the outside who apparently has no clue as to how much teachers work should probably think before spilling such ignorance out for the world to see. The despair that is evident in your post as you attempt to rip the teaching profession to shreds tells me that you aren't even a parent. If you were, you would be able to summon up a tiny bit of empathy and support for teachers in public classrooms. Planning is only a small part of what we all do every day. We are saddled with meeting after meeting as required by our districts and the state; I am sure that most teachers will attest that these meetings seem to increase with every day that goes by. We try to make our lessons engaging for our students, so we spend endless hours in professional development to bring the best tools we can to our classrooms. We work hard to not only provide the tools necessary for our students to get the best education possible, but we also provide a huge amount of emotional support to many children who need it. We sponsor clubs for our students, and many of us stay at school until 8 p.m. some nights to facilitate these clubs. We either call or meet with parents almost daily in an effort to keep students on the right path. We complete tons of federal and state-required paperwork daily. We arrange field trips to give our kids opportunities to see things that they perhaps wouldn't otherwise ever get to see. We go to their sports events so they can be sure that we care about their lives, even outside of school. We spend our own money on our students to make sure they have supplies that they need, because many of them come from families in poverty. We strive constantly to help them make good choices. Most importantly, we don't just TEACH these kids...we become an important, constant fixture in their lives, encouraging them to do their best, in hopes that they will find happiness and success in life. (..continued)

Jeannie said...

Part 2 (for anonymous troll poster @ 3:20p):
I did not enter into teaching lightly. I had a previous (and successful) 20-year career in healthcare, but it weighed heavily on my heart that I wanted to give back to a profession that helped me so much as a child growing up in poverty in the rural deep south. I did know what the pay was when I took this new path, and I was willing to accept the pay cut of over half of my past salary in order to help kids at an inner city school because they need OPPORTUNITIES if they, too, want to escape poverty. What I didn't expect was such poor treatment and bait-and-switch tactics by our state government (ending masters level pay - Which, by the way, I do have an MBA and and currently working on an M.Ed. in education - for which I will never be compensated).
So, anonymous, how many bandaids have you put on 12-year-olds' scrapes? How many kids have you worked extra hours to tutor? How many times has a kid cried on your shoulder because things aren't so great at home...or they have no food at their house and they come to school hungry? What have you done to help your local school? We see that you are quite adept at trolling, but what about contributing constructively to the conversation, rather than trying to tear down what still is an honorable profession? I feel truly sad for you. I hope you can find some sort of happiness in your own life rather than contributing large chunks of time trolling and spewing hatred at members of one of the most altruistic professions in the world. Being a teacher is not simple, especially when I know that, with all of the craziness in the world today, I could go to school and not make it out alive one day because I chose to protect the lives of my students. I suggest if you are not in support of teachers making a living wage, maybe you should take up a cause that you do support. All the negativity you harbor is really bad for you. (…continued)

Jeannie said...

Part 3 (for anonymous troll poster at 3:20p):
Meanwhile, I will continue to go to my classroom every day and greet my students with enthusiasm, and I will continue to express my sincere appreciation to the students, parents, and members of my community who think I am a fabulous teacher and support my efforts. Your negativity will not deter the love I have for my students and for what I do to earn a living to support my own family (a family which sacrifices a lot of time without me at home because they KNOW my students really need me).
One last thing…you rip us for "teaching to the test." Have you seen Standard 6? Apparently you have not.
On the bright side…luckily, you obviously had some good teachers who cared somewhere down the line, as I did note that you appear to have impeccable grammar and writing skills. Be sure to thank a teacher for those!

Anonymous said...

It's so comical to read comments protesting allowing teachers to have half-day planning.

All I can say is that I BEG OF YOU to come do what I do for two weeks and you will understand the amount of hours of dedication and passion are needed to be an effective educator. Plus, I'm at a terrific school so I have it much easier than others, but it's still hard work.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I'm still taking a PERSONAL day, but don't know what to do! My county first encouraged us, then cautioned us, now they are bullying us to not take a day! 5 more years! I love what I do, as well, but nobody gets it!

Anonymous said...


While you cannot compare the US to Finland in population, you can compare Finland to some of our states.

So why not do that?

Have ONE state be comparable to Finland.

Maybe Massachusetts is up to the task.

And how about making Charlotte-Mecklenburg comparable to Singapore?

Or do we just automatically say THAT can't be done.

And if it CAN'T then what does that say about us?

I don't expect the entire US to EVER be comparable to some of these smaller countries.

If nothing else, our government will see to that.

Anonymous said...

At one time in the not too distant past, Mexico and Singapore were roughly equivalent economically and developmentally.

Yet Singapore took off and Mexico didn't.

Of course, Singapore was smart enough to separate from Malaysia (which is still doing better than Mexico in many ways - especially crime, and at least has Kuala Lumpur to look up to).

Sure, they are different sizes, but there isn't even a single place in Mexico which is comparable to Singapore (or even Kuala Lumpur) in any form or fashion.

Now why is that?

Could it be the people, the culture, the government (bad leadership), the lack of will to do better (baaad sheeple)?

Probably all of the above and a little more.

Either way, the Mexicans lost a huge opportunity and are still losing.

And even when their kids come to the US they don't do as well as many of the Asian kids.

I think there is a BIG CLUE hidden in there somewhere.

But we prefer to ignore all that and focus on things which have so little to do with any of it.

Anonymous said...


There is also the question of WHY FINLAND?

And not Norway or Sweden which are very similar in so many other ways.

They DID something different in Finland.

Shamash said...


What can we learn from Finland?: A Q&A with Dr. Pasi Sahlberg

The Hechinger Report: What are your thoughts on the use of value-added data to measure teacher performance, which is quite popular in the U.S. at the moment?

Sahlberg: It’s very difficult to use this data to say anything about the effectiveness of teachers. If you tried to do this in my country, Finnish teachers would probably go on strike and wouldn’t return until this crazy idea went away.


There you have it folks.

Marching orders straight from Hellsinking.

(Of course, we're not Finland, never will be, either).

And Singapore was formed after some serious race riots in the mid-1960's , so we'll not go there, either.

And Finland is a "union" shop, while NC isn't.

Anonymous said...

I'm a young elementary teacher who left a very lucrative clinical job to teach. For those of you who seem interested in credibility, a few highlights from my resume: I got my undergrad degree with honors from a school constantly ranked in the top 10 in the nation. My major was not education. I have a masters in Education from a top 5 school. I made a 1470/1600 on the SAT and a 1360 on the GRE. In my old job, I worked long hours. However, I was constantly recognized for that work. When I left it to start teaching, I was turning down a huge promotion and was making about $90,000 annually with great benefits and time off.

Did I know I was cutting my pay by $55k to teach? Yes. Am I working even harder than in that previous position? Yes. Did I know that would happen? Yes. Does that mean its ok? No. I love teaching. I was made to do this. I teach in a Title 1 school and I've never loved my job more. My normal work day is 13 hours at the school and several more at home. I work all weekend. My students are making huge gains (both represented on test scores and socially/emotionally). However, anyone who thinks teachers are overpaid and whine too much should come spend a day in my classroom.

I'm not trying to boast here, but objectively speaking...if you want effective teachers, you have to find people who have other options and turn them down to teach. And if you want to compete w. those other options, we need to offer somewhat competitive salaries.

Anonymous said...

Also..I'm Anon 11:10...I would protest if my school asked me to leave a parent to cover my class. I may work insane hours, but my classroom time is precious. I need every minute with my kids. I already flip out if I have to leave someone with my kids so I can attend a meeting. Leaving them with a parent? No way.

Anonymous said...

Would somebody please give these teachers a dose of reality so they will stop whining about their part time jobs with full time pay and guaranteed pensions and cadillac healthcare benefits? Please. We have degrees and no jobs. My job is not coming back. Our home equity is gone. Our 401Ks are decimated.

Anonymous said...

summers off and a month of holidays and the legislature just gave them 5 more days and still they bit*h. It will never be enough.

Anonymous said...

If teachers want more pay then help us cut waste and bureaucrats. Look at the check registers in the district. Start a group to find and target waste and generate revenue. Don't just complain and pontificate.

Jon Golden said...

@Anon 6:04: You, sir/madam, are a jacka$$ if you think that I have summers off. I am unemployed for two months a year, largely because every time the concept of year-round schooling is discussed, parents bit*h. As far as my cadillac benefits, you just showed your absolute complete ignorance. The NC State Health Plan is horrible; it is basically catastrophic coverage. I suffer from 6 or so bouts of kidney stones a year and have a partially-torn rotator cuff, but I cannot afford to go to the doctor, so I suffer. Our health benefits are not cadillacs, they are more like Yugos. But keep spewing about that which you obviously do not know.

As for the 5 extra days off, those days are in lieu of a pay raise and, because most teacher workdays are required, the extra days are useless because we can't take them off. We can't use those days when class is in session. They are not a benefit.

So, what else ya got?

Anonymous said...

Wah, wah, wah.

Jon Golden said...

Only the gutless post anonymously.

MDouglas said...

I don't think I have the energy to comment on all that was said but I will say this:
I am a teacher and I don't know one teacher that doesn't or wouldn't stay late (i.e. after hours) for their students.
We work on weekends.
We work nights.
We work early mornings...And not because we are asked to do so but because we want to and it's for the kids. I think the point someone was trying to make earlier in this thread of comments was that unfortunately, we don't paid for the extra time spent outside of the classroom when other professions do. Now, I am not complaining about working late but a better yearly salary would be nice.

It's unfortunate that some of these comments aren't FOR teachers. We're not just sitting around whining; we do a lot for these kids, far more than people probably realize and we're not all "bad" as someone put it. We spend money on them (even though we can't afford to) just for extra books or any items they need because we want to help our students succeed.

Anyway. Tomorrow will be interesting. Thank you for this blog post. It was a good, quick read.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Golden, just curious which school district you work for?

Barb S. said...

Didn't CMS teachers just have a Friday Teacher work day?

Jon Golden said...

@Anon 9:41: I teach here in the Charlotte area, but not for CMS. Why do you ask? I'd be more willing to divulge if you weren't posting anonymously.

Tom S. said...

To Jon Golden, why are you so defensive when anyone asks a simple question of you? And what type of teaching job do you have that you can blog throughout the day?

Jon Golden said...

@Tom S.: Why am I defensive? Because there are those who may seek to use a couple of posts to cause me trouble, as a means of "putting the teacher in his place." As you can see from the tone and tenor of the thread, there is quite a great amount of animus toward teachers in this community.

What kind of teaching job do I do? Well, I DO a great job. Just as my students. But, to answer the question you wanted to ask, I teach high school and, for a moment here or there, have time to read--and at times, even respond to those who seek to malign my profession. Like Ann noted,many who might seek to condemn me for commenting during the school day are, likely, hypocrites, as they are viewing the website while on their boss' dimes. Trust me, no student was neglected in the post to this blog. :)

Shamash said...

Anon November 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Sounds like you might be the kind of teacher our schools need and would like to attract.

The push to get teachers from the top 1/3 is a good idea in my opinion and would go a long way towards getting teachers the respect (and perhaps even the autonomy) they should have to do well.

I also think it will take higher salaries to draw in more talented teachers.

McKinsey & Co. made some recommendations along those lines which have been largely ignored.

I'm not sure why because their report made a lot of sense to me.

More than most of the gibberish ideas I see.

Maybe it's because they actually went out and surveyed top students to find out what it would take for them to choose teaching as a profession (aside from altruism, of course).

Imagine that. They actually asked.

This is the study:

Closing the talent gap: Attracting and retaining top third graduates to a career in teaching

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

12:21 Golden Boy, you are the only one causing yourself "trouble". Get off the gadgets and get teaching.

For the most part we have had great teachers in CMS, a few clinkers here and there. But I would be disheartened to know that my childrens' teachers were reading to CO instead of teaching "our students". I keep hearing from teachers that there are not enough hours in the day, yet you seem to have plenty of time. You have brought BYOT to an entirely new level!

Jon Golden said...

Dear Anon 12:21: I was not despairingly CMS teachers by saying I wasn't teaching in that district. My question to you is where we're you at 3:24pm when you anonymously and cowardly posted your retort? So you know, not one word was typed with students in my room, but, for a troll like yourself, it shan't make a difference.

Another question: while at work, do you work the entire time you are there, or do you have breaks, lunch, etc? So, you are afforded those breaks but others should not?

Anonymous said...

I just read this string of comments and must say to Mr. Golden - Take a chill pill (as my daughter likes to say). You obviously don't work for CMS so most of the pay comments, administrative issues, etc... are not directed at you anyway. What's your beef?