Underground Knowledge — A discussion group discussion

86 views
MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS > Why don't our governments pay teachers more and invest in education?

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments Why don't we make teaching a high paying profession?
All teachers, at all levels.

This 4 minute trailer for a new film about adjuncts in US universities is a real eye-opener...

Professors in Poverty • BRAVE NEW FILMS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbWFc...

Meet Dr. Wanda Evans-Brewer. She has been teaching for 20 years, has a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a PhD in Education. She is also living in poverty.

Today Professors in Poverty premieres at a Congressional briefing calling on politicians, colleges and universities to priorities adjunct professors and the quality of higher education in America now. And thanks to hundreds of small contributions Professors in Poverty is now available online for all to see.

The corporate model of higher education is pushing professors into poverty and this model is a disaster.

More than half of college faculty are adjunct – or part-time - professors.

College tuition is rising at twice the rate of inflation. By hiring more adjuncts and less tenure track professors, colleges and universities are diminishing the quality of education for students and professors.

Adjunct professors have limited access to resources like technology, office space, resources and they receive no benefits.

1 in 4 part-time faculty receive public assistance

31% if part-time faculty live near or below the poverty line

$22,500 is the average salary of adjunct professors

60% of part-time professors have additional jobs

Any professor living in poverty is unacceptable – especially when you consider the rising cost of tuition and the amount of money colleges and universities are taking in.

This is wrong. Sign the petition demanding that colleges and universities prioritize adjunct professors now!

This petition will be delivered to a Congressional briefing in late October on the issue of professors living in poverty. Join the movement in solidarity with adjunct professors everywhere!

SIGN THE PETITION: http://www.bravenewfilms.org/professo...


message 2: by B. (new)

B. | 223 comments Sorry, I can't get on board with this. In law school, most of our faculty were adjunct because they actually had other jobs like working for the DA, law firms, legal think tanks, businesses or had hung their own shingle. I guess what I am saying is that they work and teach in their spare time as extra. I know that many MDs do this as well.

I can't relate to this woman or many other professors like her that I have had at my own universities because they believe that because they spent a lifetime in school gaining degrees that may be unnecessary(I'll get to this in a second) and get more holiday off time than school children, they deserve more than they have. Now, to the part of gaining "unnecessary" degrees-if suddenly people couldn't get a phd/masters/Ed.d-especially in things like gender studies, political science, urban studies, English, any liberal arts, language, geography, hell I'll even throw in business, the world would not come to a screeching halt. Why-because people have been teaching since the dawn of time without an expensive piece of paper saying you can. Some of the best teachers of my life barely made it through high school. Some of the wealthiest people I know either have zero college education or a basic one....what these people all have in common though? The work tirelessly to better their position in life. Neither my mom, nor my dad has a higher education, but managed to use their god given intellect and build from the ground up a small business serving the greater New Orleans community for 40 years. My dad is well known for his quality work in structural steel, ornamental and structural iron works. His math, business and architectural skills would put any phd at any university to shame-why? Because he struggled, he learned the hard way.

Now to me...I have a BA in history and JD in Louisiana civil law. I could have stayed in academia and pursued a phd in history or an LLM in law-hell I want to teach when I retire, so I may eventually pursue even higher education, but for now I'm grinding-I wake up at 4 am every day to drive 3 hours to my accounts to get in the OR on time in order to consult and advise surgeons on the technical aspects of my product so that patients can have a better outcome. It's hard work and many days I personally feel like rage quitting over the different personalities I deal with ranging from rude to downright idiotic and everything in between. My determination, self preservation and care for my wife and unborn son all drive me
to work harder and to never make excuses. I love to learn(which is why I am on this website), but if I spent my entire young adult life learning to teach instead of actually working and even teaching, I wouldn't expect other people to come to my rescue. Had this lady and many like her saved or invested her money while pursuing other avenues of work instead of choosing a profession where you get 4 months off a year, I would do everything I could to help lift her out of poverty. I believe in charity, which is why I routinely work with the underprivileged and special needs communities as well as raise money for them....this person and many like her are neither of these things.


message 3: by R.S. (new)

R.S. Merritt | 14 comments Why isn't there a tax credit if you home school?


message 4: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments More than half of college faculty are adjunct – or part-time - professors.

Yep. That is what happened to me.


message 5: by James, Group Founder (last edited Nov 27, 2017 04:28AM) (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments John wrote: "Yep. That is what happened to me."

Why do universities do that so often?
I have very little (formal) education, know nothing about universities/colleges, so please enlighten if possible.


message 6: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Shiro (d_m_shiro) | 4 comments First of all, I believe it is incredibly ridiculous that teachers must pay out of pocket for supplies. When we look at how the Government operates and then observe inflation over time, we see that the government simply does not have enough to go around. When we look at public schools, we see that little to no care is given to them versus charter or private schools. Mainly because one is fully funded and the other the parents fund. So, lowering the inflation would help there. On the other hand, if we look at universities and colleges, we will see that we receive "grants" for our attendance in certain situations. Because of these grants, or the ability to get money from the government without having to wait for people to pay them, they begin charging more so they can be compensated more. But with too many people spread out over too many campuses, you will see that the government will begin spreading the money thin. Which doesn't help anyone.
If you also compare in-state to out-of-state tuition, you will also notice that colleges and universities are taking full advantage of people, not even allowing out-of-state individuals the opportunity for lower costs unless they can get a grant or some sort of financial assistance (which the financial aid will follow you around on your credit, too. I once had over 6,000 dollars taken from my husband's and my tax returns one year out of the blue).
So, first we see inflation is a problem with lower part of education, and for higher education it is that the schools are taking advantage of the people and the Government.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 1361 comments I think the problem is partly the fact that education in many/most countries is paid for by politicians, and their objective is to process as many pupils at least reasonable cost. Reasonable is defined by how objectionable the voters become. Unfortunately it is also confused by "educational theoreticians" who keep wanting to add their latest theories as to what works (usually untested). Different countries have different problems, but I suspect political meddling is general.


message 8: by Irene (new)

Irene (reniemarie) | 96 comments B. wrote: "Sorry, I can't get on board with this. In law school, most of our faculty were adjunct because they actually had other jobs like working for the DA, law firms, legal think tanks, businesses or had ..."

Well I can tell you that I personally know some of these adjuncts and they work other jobs like homebound tutor and cashier at JC Penney just to get by. One of our college librarians works 4 jobs. What I am hearing in your response is that you hate your own job and you think everyone else should suck it up because you have. This is how they get us to police ourselves. You're essentially shaming your fellow hard working human beings when you really don't personally know these people at all. I work at my local community college's library and I do know these individuals personally. And a few years back we had about 1/4th of the faculty who were f/t with benefits get fired all at once, a big stadium built on the campus at the same time and then a bunch of the same Professors came back as Adjuncts with no choice and no benefits. Are you telling me this isn't the corporatization of our school system? You heard one of the protesters in the vid clip say that the corporate model is starving our educators. I'm here to agree with that statement. Plus there is no reason for such disparity. A provost earns 400,000 and a Professor 20,000? Come on...give me a break. We need to value these people more.


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene (reniemarie) | 96 comments D. wrote: "First of all, I believe it is incredibly ridiculous that teachers must pay out of pocket for supplies. When we look at how the Government operates and then observe inflation over time, we see that ..."

Good points. Both my grandmother and two of my co-workers supplied the classroom out of pocket when they were teaching. They are literally given almost no supplies. At least here in NY they're not.


message 10: by Irene (new)

Irene (reniemarie) | 96 comments James wrote: "John wrote: "Yep. That is what happened to me."

Why do universities do that so often?
I have very little (formal) education, know nothing about universities/colleges, so please enlighten if possible."


They don't want to have to pay for their medical benefits.


message 11: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments Irene wrote: "B. wrote: "I work at my local community college's library and I do know these individuals personally. And a few years back we had about 1/4th of the faculty who were f/t with benefits get fired all at once, a big stadium built on the campus at the same time and then a bunch of the same Professors came back as Adjuncts with no choice and no benefits. Are you telling me this isn't the corporatization of our school system? ..."

Hard to argue with your direct experience...And yes, it sounds like old fashioned corporatization to me.


message 12: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments Irene wrote: "Good points. Both my grandmother and two of my co-workers supplied the classroom out of pocket when they were teaching. They are literally given almost no supplies. At least here in NY they're not. ..."

Sounds like Third World teaching conditions, not New York.


message 13: by R.S. (new)

R.S. Merritt | 14 comments A lot of teachers at community college and such are Adjunct as well. It's a way of giving back to the community and you get a little money for doing it. I think all University Professors should be active in their fields so I'm good with it. Otherwise, they get Ivory Tower Syndrome.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 1361 comments My view is if a job is worth doing, it is worth paying someone properly to do it. If someone has to give to the community, it should be the guy at the top because (s)he can best afford it, and also, that guy at the top should lead by example, not by imposition.


message 15: by Janet (new)

Janet Colbert | 59 comments I do agree that teachers are severely underpaid at every level of education. It is ok for a university to offer adjunct to those that choose that track the problem is when it is the only option. They are well educated and deserve decent benfefits. They are educating our socitey's future leaders.


message 16: by John (last edited Nov 29, 2017 04:58PM) (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments Most college teachers have to publish to keep their jobs. This creates a lot of posturing and Bad Faith. I write these days for the hell of it because I love to stay in the game (I'm retired).

I think Irene is correct. But we will never get better conditions until we develop a militant posture to confront the system. The parents will start freaking out if we strike and then both put pressure on the admin. (The parents paid for the courses.) This, of course, applies to most government jobs now with republicans at the helm. My experience of 50 years shows teachers are generally too chicken-assed to organise solidarity or fight for their rights. So it will get worse.

Yes, folks, I am looking forward to revolution.


message 17: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments Quote of the month: "The United States is the richest third-world country on the planet."


message 18: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments Hahahahaha
Who does that quote belong to?


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsweetz25) | 3 comments Teaching profession requires committed teachers in nurturing and moulding souls. They should be paid more but of late , the respect for this profession is dwindling. I am not of the opinion that it is due to knowledge explosion thanks to evolving brain and ever expanding internet resources. I guess sometimes like we find treasures in the old books and worn off covers, I think this needs to be seen with a fresh outlook. Many teachers that I have seen in my life are not money-oriented, for them their passion outweighs finances but definitely money is a big motivator financially.. I hope your discussion paves a new way to pay teachers well, even in India.


message 20: by Remy (new)

Remy Benoit | 16 comments I spent twenty years teaching, 7th grade through college levels. When I started teaching in the late '60's, history and geography, my "supplies" included out of date textbooks, and a 1949 polar view world map. My salary was pitiful. One day we figured out just for fun that our after school coaching pay came to 25 cents an hour. My pay as an adjunct barely covered driving expenses to get to and from class. Multiple degrees gave me positions as a teacher, but not an income that left anything for any expenses outside of absolute basics. Retirement functions at the same level. While I have never had a cup of Starbucks coffee, I do have the joy of still being in touch with some of the young people I taught over the years, in their 50's and 60's now. No, governments care nothing for the well being of teachers. Here in Louisiana the salaries are abysmal. Ah, but what if teachers were paid per student per hour what their folks pay baby sitters? Many think teachers have paid holidays; they do not, but are simply paid per days worked. They are not paid for marking papers nights and weekends; not paid for chaperoning dances, trips outside of school time, graduation exercises, musicals, etc. They are not paid for being there outside of classroom time when a young person desperately needs someone to be there for them. And sadly, in so many instances, they are not given respect by those who should be there backing them as they help raise their children. Teaching is a job of devotion, not monetary rewards that allow even for a cup of coffee outside their own kitchens.


message 21: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments Wow Remy, that's a sad story - as it appears to have always been this way (and here was I thinking teachers decades ago were paid fairly well).
And now my sadness over this is turning to anger...
I think teachers should be our highest paid workers. Or at least highest paid govt employees. There is no greater investment in a nation's future that a govt could make.


message 22: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 11245 comments I wonder if any nations in the world actually do pay teachers well?? And I'm sensing, or seem to remember at back of my mind, that maybe Scandinavia, or at least Finland, is paying teachers handsomely.

Anyone know?


message 23: by Remy (new)

Remy Benoit | 16 comments James wrote: "Wow Remy, that's a sad story - as it appears to have always been this way (and here was I thinking teachers decades ago were paid fairly well).
And now my sadness over this is turning to anger...
I..."


Thanks for your kind thoughts. Ah, last night I shared phone calls and messages with former students; one now 54, one turning 50 in a few weeks. Both are fantastic teachers now themselves. Many teachers who have retired continue "teaching" in one way or another. I now write, edit, and publish both for myself and others, mostly our veterans who so need us to be there. It is an amazing gift to be trusted by so many who have quite justifiable trust issues. You can "meet" some of them at one of my websites: http://www.niquahanam.com/writing A blessed holiday season to you, James.


message 24: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2819 comments Remy wrote: "James wrote: "Wow Remy, that's a sad story - as it appears to have always been this way (and here was I thinking teachers decades ago were paid fairly well).
And now my sadness over this is turning..."


Remy, hope you don't mind, but I'd like to share your WelcomeHomeSoldier.com weblog "for Veterans, writers, students, others who believe in learning from and making history" with fellow Undergrounders as well... http://www.welcomehomesoldier.com/


message 25: by Remy (new)

Remy Benoit | 16 comments Sure. People from all ages, from many places, shared their words in the free writing course there to help veterans and everyone else "write their way home."


message 26: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments But governments seem to be smart enough to realise that teachers and nurses mostly work as a vocation. There are plenty of young idealists who will replace the ones who leave, and so why worry. Governments - politicians - just ponce off our energy. Yugh! They are just god-damned parasites!


message 27: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments Remy: "Many teachers who have retired continue "teaching" in one way or another." Interesting point. I do exactly that and have much more fun than when I was in the system.

But to return to our main topic: "Why don't our governments pay teachers more and invest in education?" Answer: Because they wants skills and not thinkers. The former requires just a method of instruction, the latter seminars and tutorials.


message 28: by Vanessa (last edited Dec 02, 2017 09:07AM) (new)

Vanessa The US spends more on education than countries whose students are blowing ours out of the water on creative problem-solving tests like PISA. Journalist Ananda Ripley covered what Finland- whose students are far surpassing American students on nearly every measure in education- is doing differently and it isn’t spending more money:

1. Finland’s teaching programs are highly competitive, on par with institutions like MIT. They only accept the cream of the crop to teach their children. In the US, any college major with a C average can get into a teaching program.

2. Finland’s teachers are highly respected and given autonomy over their classrooms. US teachers are to follow a set curriculum that they did not help create. Instead, common core materials are contracted out to corporations and implemented every minute in the classroom.

3. Sports are not part of the educational system at all in Finland- they aren’t even offered on school campuses. In the US, the highest paid salaries in “top” high schools and colleges go to the football coaches.

4. Finland’s kids start formal ed later (age 7) and spend far less time taking tests than US kids. This means Finland’s kids spend classroom time immersed in learning, while US students spend months of the school year test-prepping and regurgitating.

5. Finland classrooms include 2 aides to work with advanced material for accelerated kids and to spend more time with kids who are not grasping concepts as quickly or need more time.

Even in wealthy school districts like Beverly Hills, US students still performed poorly compared to other developed countries, including Canada.

Our educational system has been bought and sold by corporate America. Our teachers are common core implementors. Our public schools are lacking in many ways, but funding isn’t one of them (the US spends more per student than nearly every other developed country).

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way


message 29: by C'est mo (new)

C'est mo (cestmo) | 1 comments Having had a quick read through, it's obvious most posters are American.
I'm from England, but our Teachers, (apart from those at the top as Heads of University's, who are overpaid,) are not well paid, and consequently, the most talented do not work in State Schools.

IMO, its down to any rightwing government not giving a damn about the kids in these schools.
Their own offspring are sent to Private Residential schools, where the crème de la crème of teachers are employed and that cost thousands of £pounds a term per child.
They are then almost guaranteed a top University place, which rich parents can easily afford.

This ensures that future governments will include these well educated offspring, and who will in turn ensure the Status Quo for each generation. The ones who don't go into politics, will head businesses and Banks. It will all remain the same because they look after their own.

The 'old boys' network is alive and flourishing in the UK.
When David Cameron was PM, he and at least a dozen others in the government, were at Eton. They grow up thinking they are born to rule. And they usually do.


message 30: by Krishna (new)

Krishna | 42 comments i guess spending more money on research funding is also equally important


back to top