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Old 04-05-2019, 06:13 PM
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May 1, NC Teachers are Out!


I've been working over the last few weeks on some issues in North Carolina around public education. On 3/23, the North Carolina Association of Educators (our branch of the NEA) voted almost unanimously (one vocal disagreement) to declare May 1 a Day of Action, on which public education workers will converge on Raleigh with five specific demands for our legislators:

1) Increase all public education worker wages to a minimum of $15/hour, and provide a 5% increase to all workers, and provide a 5% cost-of-living adjustment to retirees.
2) Restore bonus pay for teachers who obtain masters degrees or other advanced degrees.
3) Restore retiree benefits for all teachers hired after 2021 (in 2018 the NCGA passed a law removing retiree benefits, but it doesn't go into effect until after the next election. Hmmm, hmmm....)
4) Increase to nationally-normed standards the number of social workers, psychologists, counselors, nurses, and librarians in NC schools.
5) Medicaid expansion.

I'm really in favor of all these demands, and will be in Raleigh on May 1. I'm not advocating any action by any of y'all, although of course fellow supporters of public education in NC are welcome to join us; rather, I figured I'd start a thread on the subject in case folks have questions, or for me to explain the issues as I understand them.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:20 PM
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Preach it, and fight the good fight.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:38 PM
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Doesn't Medicaid expansion in your list muddy the waters? Everything else is labor related.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:00 PM
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What’s up with Medicaid expansion? Don’t become the Chicago Teachers Union and ask for every unicorn under the sun. I support goals 1-3.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:04 AM
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Aim high, settle in the middle.

Plus, too many people argue that union members only fight for themselves to the fucking of the general population. This list of demands says otherwise. This is a great thing you guys are doing for the long-term benefit of the NC students. I would do a solidarity fist emoji here if I could.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:30 AM
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Or, it looks like a shameless attempt to look like they aren't only fighting for themselves. I have no problem with the teachers (individually or their organization) voicing support for Medicaid expansion but istm it shouldn't be part of their work action. It's not a matter of aiming high, it's out of place in the discussion. The education system isn't complicated enough, you want to talk healthcare too?

Last edited by CarnalK; 04-06-2019 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:56 AM
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It's not necessarily muddying the waters to talk about healthcare and welfare in general. If children aren't healthy, if they aren't getting proper nutrition and proper care, that impacts their ability to perform at school. Similarly, if teachers aren't getting affordable access to the healthcare system, that impacts teaching performance as well. Human welfare and education are not mutually exclusive; they're intertwined.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:16 AM
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It's really interesting to me that everyone zeroes in on Medicaid expansion. Teachers see a lot of impoverished kids every day, kids who are dealing with crazy shit at home, kids who are coming to school without the care they need to thrive.

Medicaid expansion, as I understand it, doesn't directly impact children (it only impacts folks ages 19-64). But I could be wrong about that--I'm reading different things.

In any case, it indirectly impacts them by giving medical coverage to their parents. This means fewer families bankrupted by medical bills, and healthier parents--both of which will result in better home lives for kids.

And NC is one of only 14 states that haven't expanded Medicaid. Our tax dollars pay for the expansion, but we don't receive the benefits.

We're getting called "radicals" and "communists" by the right. I think our demands can be summed up by a radical communist chant:

Hey, hey,
Ho, ho,
Make North Carolina Public Education conditions
Just slightly less low!


As with all the demands, it's asking for our state to come a little closer to the national average. Hardly radical.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:19 AM
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I would do a solidarity fist emoji here if I could.
Heh. Our new logo (currently visible at that link) is a black heart around a red, raised fist, superimposed with the words "Strong Students, Strong Schools, Strong Communities." Our local rightwing think tanks are calling us Stalinists because Stalin also used a red raised fist as a symbol for the Soviet Union.

Good times down here in North Cackalacky.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:24 AM
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May 1 is a day resonant in the history of the international workers' movement. It commemorates the 1886 Haymarket demonstration of Chicago in which several workers ultimately gave their lives for the cause of the 8-hour workday.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:25 AM
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May 1 is a day resonant in the history of the international workers' movement. It commemorates the 1886 Haymarket demonstration of Chicago in which several workers ultimately gave their lives for the cause of the 8-hour workday.
Yup--I love having us be out on May Day for that reason. Others are calling it "May Day, May Day," and others have talked about "5/1: Five Issues, One Day."

I can't wait until our rightwingers start atwittering about the days' communistic associations.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:12 AM
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Aside: One of the kids I grew up with is now a Democrat in the NC house. Kind of funny to think of him on the front lines of the fight for democracy.

If you see him, ask him if he remembers getting his braces stuck together with his girlfriend's when they kissed that one time.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:23 AM
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Aside: One of the kids I grew up with is now a Democrat in the NC house. Kind of funny to think of him on the front lines of the fight for democracy.

If you see him, ask him if he remembers getting his braces stuck together with his girlfriend's when they kissed that one time.
That's awesome! I don't know his name, but that's okay--I'll just ask this question of any male legislator I meet .
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:25 AM
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On the Medicaid expansion issue, here's a review of the data, conducted by the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute:
Quote:
Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.
The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% FPL. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.
...
The authors raise several explanations regarding why children may benefit from having their parents enrolled in Medicaid. Obtaining health insurance likely improves parents’ ability to navigate the health care system. Insurance also improves families’ finances, which may free up resources for children’s health care.
When we first started talking about demands, we had over a dozen, which we narrowed down through discussion and voting. We had several demands that fell into the "no direct benefit to teachers, but direct benefit to our students, which indirectly benefits us because holy shit it's stressful seeing the effects of poverty on students every day." This is the one that we voted to include as having the most significant direct benefit for students.

The increase in counselors etc. was voted on for a similar reason. I've got stories that would curl your hair, as does I suspect every NC teacher, but student privacy concerns really limit my telling of these stories. Suffice it to say there are kids living in crisis every day, having undergone unbelievable trauma, who are not getting the help they need, because we're so shortstaffed.
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Old 04-06-2019, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Y
I can't wait until our rightwingers start atwittering about the days' communistic associations.
Which is your cue to ram home the fact that its origin is as red-white-and-blue American as apple pie and the Fourth of July.
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Old 04-06-2019, 03:11 PM
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1) Increase all public education worker wages to a minimum of $15/hour,
Does an Assistant Janitor or Trainee Groundswoman really earn $15 / hr?
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Old 04-06-2019, 03:37 PM
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Does an Assistant Janitor or Trainee Groundswoman really earn $15 / hr?
Yes. In fact, in every other state government position in NC, $15 is the minimum hourly wage: custodians and groundskeepers in museums, legislative buildings, DOT facilities, and everywhere else earn $15 an hour, due to a law that was passed a couple of years ago. But schools were specifically excluded from that law. We want the situation rectified.

That said, I was talking with one of our instructional assistants who's been working in the system for 26 years, and who earns less than $15 an hour. Apparently IAs don't get regular raises either for experience or cost of living adjustments: whatever scale you're hired at is what you stay at. She's been there longer than anyone else in the building, she's amazing, she's a certified trainer of trainers in the discipline program our district uses (the community resilience model), and she earns less than this year's newly hired IAs, because she was hired at a lower rate.

When she complained to the district, she was told that if she resigned and stayed out of the field for six months, then she could reapply as a new hire; and if she were hired (not necessarily at the school she's loved for the last quarter century), she'd earn far more than she's earning now.

But she can't. She has health issues, and she still lives with her parents, not being able to afford living on her own in this town.

I interviewed her about her situation. I had to stop several times, jaw agape, because I thought I'd misunderstood something she'd told me, surely the system couldn't be that insane. If you're having the same reaction to what you're reading, you're not misunderstanding. It's seriously that foolish.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:33 PM
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Yes. In fact, in every other state government position in NC, $15 is the minimum hourly wage: custodians and groundskeepers in museums, legislative buildings, DOT facilities, and everywhere else earn $15 an hour, due to a law that was passed a couple of years ago.
There's your answer.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:01 PM
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There's your answer.
Huh? It was your question. It’s your answer.

Edit: do you mean, “There’s your answer [to my question]”? If so, you’re right, and I apologize for the confusion.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 04-06-2019 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:22 PM
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Edit: do you mean, “There’s your answer [to my question]”? If so, you’re right, and I apologize for the confusion.
I did. No problem. Douchebaggery like this needs to be fought and kudos to those who stand up to fight.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:46 PM
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I did. No problem. Douchebaggery like this needs to be fought and kudos to those who stand up to fight.
Gotcha, and thanks for the clarification--and for the support!
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:33 PM
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Aside: One of the kids I grew up with is now a Democrat in the NC house. Kind of funny to think of him on the front lines of the fight for democracy.

If you see him, ask him if he remembers getting his braces stuck together with his girlfriend's when they kissed that one time.
Would that be Graig Meyer? He represents the district I live in, and I'm very pleased he does.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:08 PM
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May 1 is a day resonant in the history of the international workers' movement. It commemorates the 1886 Haymarket demonstration of Chicago in which several workers ultimately gave their lives for the cause of the 8-hour workday.
So few people have any idea how much blood was shed, how many years of freedom lost for workplace rights, privileges, and protections that we take for granted today.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:12 PM
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It would, indeed. I guess you just knew that he grew up in Cleveland?

(I'm guessing the story about the braces isn't in his official biography)
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:15 PM
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It would, indeed. I guess you just knew that he grew up in Cleveland?

(I'm guessing the story about the braces isn't in his official biography)
I grew up in Cleveland too.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:24 PM
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I grew up in Cleveland too.
Same here, but I got sent to Catholic schools, so I missed out on the general population's doings.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:44 PM
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Does an Assistant Janitor or Trainee Groundswoman really earn $15 / hr?
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
There's your answer.
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Huh? It was your question. It’s your answer.

Edit: do you mean, “There’s your answer [to my question]”? If so, you’re right, and I apologize for the confusion.
The bolding of the word earn confused me. It seemed to imply that that those individuals may be paid 15/hour, they don't necessarily earn that much.

ETA go get 'em LHOD!

Last edited by raventhief; 04-06-2019 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:56 AM
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2) Restore bonus pay for teachers who obtain masters degrees or other advanced degrees.
This is a poor and unjustified policy position
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:22 AM
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This is a poor and unjustified policy position
Why? Having a master's degree in one's field deepens one's understanding of that field. I could have taught high school calculus with a bachelor's degree, but I didn't really understand it the way I should have until I was working on my master's. Had I been a high school math teacher, getting the master's would have made me a better teacher.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:40 AM
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This is a poor and unjustified policy position
Finish your thought, please.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:57 AM
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Here's a pretty good overview of the research. I suspect that, had Ruken bothered to write a decent post, he(?) would have explained that there's not great research showing that students taught by a teacher with an advanced degree complete standardized tests with more success than other students.

Which is true.

It also ignores several factors:
1) That research isn't conclusive.
2) Delve into particulars, and there are some cases where advanced degrees do help students fill in the correct bubbles (e.g., high school math).
3) Success on standardized tests isn't the point of education. We focus so much on them for the same reason the drunkard looks for his keys under the street light: not because that's where he'll likely find what he needs, but because that's where he can see. It's much harder to research the effects of graduate degrees on pedagogy when it comes to effects like student engagement, student creativity, long-term retention of knowledge, and positive citizenship traits. That doesn't mean they're not important, though, despite what the drunken-key-searchers would have you believe.
4) Removing another avenue for teachers to advance their careers, especially when that avenue is open in other states, makes it harder for North Carolina to recruit and retain passionate, dedicated teachers.
5) Removing this pay acts as a de facto pay cut for teachers, unless it's accompanied by an across-the-board raise equivalent to the lost opportunity (spoiler: it ain't).
6) As a general principle, we should err on the side of encouraging teachers to further their mastery of their profession; pay increase for advanced degrees is an extremely effective incentive.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 04-07-2019 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 04-07-2019, 12:14 PM
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I've lived in NC for 20 years and my husband is a teacher. For all the honking about raising teacher salaries that the governors and legislature have done for that entire time, you'd think we'd be ahead of where we are. And there are years when teachers got raises and the rest of state employees did not. But nope, NC teacher pay is still near the bottom of the list.

As for the Medicaid expansion, while it is true it's not directly a work issue for teachers, this is a good time for anyone who cares about that to show support for it, as lately there seems to be a softening in the legislature toward it.
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Old 04-07-2019, 12:59 PM
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I've lived in NC for 20 years and my husband is a teacher. For all the honking about raising teacher salaries that the governors and legislature have done for that entire time, you'd think we'd be ahead of where we are. And there are years when teachers got raises and the rest of state employees did not. But nope, NC teacher pay is still near the bottom of the list.

As for the Medicaid expansion, while it is true it's not directly a work issue for teachers, this is a good time for anyone who cares about that to show support for it, as lately there seems to be a softening in the legislature toward it.
Yup. Awhile ago I made a spreadsheet comparing what I'd earned each year I started to what I would've earned if my starting salary schedule had been adjusted for inflation. Republican pay freezes, removals of steps in the schedule, and other shenanigans have cost me about $50,000 over the last nine years.

And that's not accounting for removal of longevity pay, removal of master's pay (I have about 20 credits toward my master's, but there's no percentage toward completing it), or losses under National Board pay (which I have, but I didn't account for that in my spreadsheet, figuring it was already complicated enough to do the inflation adjustments per year). It's also not accounting for losses due to the crappification of our health insurance.

Simply in inflation-adjusted salary, the NC GOP has cost me $50,000.

I'm not impressed by all their trumpeting about the raises they've given me.
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Here's a pretty good overview of the research. I suspect that, had Ruken bothered to write a decent post, he(?) would have explained that there's not great research showing that students taught by a teacher with an advanced degree complete standardized tests with more success than other students.

Which is true.

It also ignores several factors:
1) That research isn't conclusive.
2) Delve into particulars, and there are some cases where advanced degrees do help students fill in the correct bubbles (e.g., high school math).
3) Success on standardized tests isn't the point of education. We focus so much on them for the same reason the drunkard looks for his keys under the street light: not because that's where he'll likely find what he needs, but because that's where he can see. It's much harder to research the effects of graduate degrees on pedagogy when it comes to effects like student engagement, student creativity, long-term retention of knowledge, and positive citizenship traits. That doesn't mean they're not important, though, despite what the drunken-key-searchers would have you believe.
4) Removing another avenue for teachers to advance their careers, especially when that avenue is open in other states, makes it harder for North Carolina to recruit and retain passionate, dedicated teachers.
5) Removing this pay acts as a de facto pay cut for teachers, unless it's accompanied by an across-the-board raise equivalent to the lost opportunity (spoiler: it ain't).
6) As a general principle, we should err on the side of encouraging teachers to further their mastery of their profession; pay increase for advanced degrees is an extremely effective incentive.
I'd say that the main trouble with rewarding advanced degrees with a separate column that equates to a promotion is that it rewards the wrong thing. As a starting teacher in South Carolina, I was moved right by the SCDoE simply for having a JD, despite the fact I was teaching mathematics. What SHOULD get someone a promotion is additional work that is focused on becoming a better teacher, which is not always true of getting a masters in one's field, let alone getting a M.Ed.

But certainly, if you're going to remove that promotion possibility, you need to replace it with something that does reward becoming a better teacher. Otherwise, all you're doing is saving money by removing incentives to become better. That's not particularly smart.
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:21 PM
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3 is the big one. How did that get passed in the first place?
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Here's a pretty good overview of the research. I suspect that, had Ruken bothered to write a decent post, he(?) would have explained that there's not great research showing that students taught by a teacher with an advanced degree complete standardized tests with more success than other students.

Which is true.

It also ignores several factors:
1) That research isn't conclusive.
Maybe they could spend the money on something that is supported by the research, or even not spend the money at all.
Quote:
2) Delve into particulars, and there are some cases where advanced degrees do help students fill in the correct bubbles (e.g., high school math).
OK - then high school math teachers should get the perk. Not everyone - that isn't cost-effective.
Quote:
3) Success on standardized tests isn't the point of education. We focus so much on them for the same reason the drunkard looks for his keys under the street light: not because that's where he'll likely find what he needs, but because that's where he can see. It's much harder to research the effects of graduate degrees on pedagogy when it comes to effects like student engagement, student creativity, long-term retention of knowledge, and positive citizenship traits. That doesn't mean they're not important, though, despite what the drunken-key-searchers would have you believe.
This is a restatement of the same issue - there is no good evidence that advanced degrees increase student engagement, long-term retention of knowledge, or good citizenship. So maybe we shouldn't be spending money on things that we don't know work.
Quote:
5) Removing this pay acts as a de facto pay cut for teachers, unless it's accompanied by an across-the-board raise equivalent to the lost opportunity (spoiler: it ain't).
Maybe it needs a high school teacher with an advanced degree to explain that removing a pay raise isn't a cut.
Quote:
6) As a general principle, we should err on the side of encouraging teachers to further their mastery of their profession; pay increase for advanced degrees is an extremely effective incentive.
This, again, is a restatement of the same problem. There is no good evidence that advanced degrees represent mastery of teaching.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:21 AM
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That's a pretty extreme parody, but yeah, that's the sort of silly arguments we're up against. Thanks for the illustration, Shodan, although some subtlety in your satire would be appreciated .
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:02 AM
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It wasn't satire, and I am sure you recognize that. But "there is no reason to believe that giving us more money will let us do a better job so give it to us anyway" isn't the silly argument.

I get that you want more money. Everybody does. But you have to make the case for it. IMO.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:21 AM
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Parts of it read like satire. I mean "Maybe it needs a high school teacher with an advanced degree to explain that removing a pay raise isn't a cut."? They remove bonus pay for having an advanced degree and you are perplexed as to how that could be described as a cut in pay? That can't be serious.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:29 AM
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But "there is no reason to believe that giving us more money will let us do a better job so give it to us anyway" isn't the silly argument.
I'm assuming you mean this as well, although it's both incorrect and a straw man, so there's not much point in addressing it. If you can't be arsed to summarize your opponent's arguments fairly, I can't be arsed to care about your summaries.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:09 PM
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Good luck getting your pay raise if you can't defend it except with hand-waving.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Good luck getting your pay raise if you can't defend it except with hand-waving.

Regards,
Shodan
Maybe, just maybe, you're not really understanding his argument, and what you think he's saying is not actually what he's saying? Just a possibility, perhaps.
  #43  
Old 04-08-2019, 12:23 PM
Darth Sensitive is offline
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Is this a staying out until things change? Or a one day action?

Because the Oklahoma Republican Party just adopted the policy platform that OK educators/districts should be punished for each day we miss work. And they wonder why we spent weeks at the capitol.
  #44  
Old 04-08-2019, 12:27 PM
Shodan is offline
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I doubt that I am misunderstanding anything.
Quote:
Restore bonus pay for teachers who obtain masters degrees or other advanced degrees.
He's trying to talk away the fact that there is no evidence that teachers with advanced degrees are more effective than those without. If he has a different justification for the bonus, he could present it. Apparently he doesn't.

Regards,
Shodan
  #45  
Old 04-08-2019, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Good luck getting your pay raise if you can't defend it except with hand-waving.
Good luck winning arguments with condescension and ad hominem.

You engaged in a rhetorical tactic. You claimed something your opponent never said, and tried to redirect them into having to refute that, tacitly admitting that your summary was correct.

They refused to engage with that tactic and simply told you that your summary was incorrect, refusing to allow you to take control of the narrative.

Because this tactic was frustrated, you were left with lashing out and trying to make the other person feel bad.

What that doesn't do is provide an actual counterargument to what was said.

And if this is the level of opposition they face--with no actual reasons why their proposals are bad--and they keep control of the narrative on this,making it clear there is no valid opposition

...They win.
  #46  
Old 04-08-2019, 01:00 PM
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I will give your suggestions all the serious consideration they deserve, BigT.

Regards,
Shodan
  #47  
Old 04-08-2019, 01:46 PM
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I assume NC schools pay the tuition for teachers that get a MA/MS degree while they are teaching? It's pretty standard in business to pay for tuition for employees. If schools don't pay tuition then the pay bump would replace that .
  #48  
Old 04-08-2019, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
I assume NC schools pay the tuition for teachers that get a MA/MS degree while they are teaching? It's pretty standard in business to pay for tuition for employees. If schools don't pay tuition then the pay bump would replace that .
Definitely not. Schools used to pay for teachers to gain National Board certification, but I'm pretty sure that's gone as well. (When I got my certification, due to some bizarro accounting glitch I had to pay for it myself, because although I was a normal classroom teacher, accounting at central office drew my salary from local funds and not state funds. It suhuhucked.)

As for Shodan, he's said his straw man piece, and he believes he's won the argument, and I'm fine leaving it at that for him. For folks who are interested in a serious conversation, I'd love it if you could leave him with his sense of victory as well.
  #49  
Old 04-08-2019, 02:17 PM
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What's #3 - the retiree benefit restoration?
  #50  
Old 04-08-2019, 02:39 PM
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I live in NC and that's bad about not paying tuition. I wonder why some people stay in teaching so long, it's not for the money. I have met some former teachers who left for other jobs and they make more money. I assume most people going back for MS degree go to a state school but even then tuition is not cheap now. I can't see them going to Duke with their sky high tuition.
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