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Money or Racism?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Biker, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/01/13/resegregation.teachers.ap/index.html" target="blank">This CNN article</a> describes the plight of various schools in Georgia where white teachers are leaving for higher paying jobs at predominantly white schools.

    With the state of our education system today, maybe we should look into a standardized pay system (similar to civil service) for teachers? Make it equal across the board to where one district doesn't have the advantages of money over a poorer district to lure away teachers.

    Or is it a racism issue where white teachers just don't want to teach at a predominantly black school?
     
  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    404 error on your link, sir.
     
  3. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Fat fingered a quote. DOH!
     
  4. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    I really doubt that there is much racism involved in the departures. After all, why take the job in the first place if you don't like a particular race which happens to be the majority in the school district?

    I think many of the teachers go in with good intentions only to find that their task is impossible to do on their own. So many of these kids come from impoverished families, and many of them have no positive influences in their lives at all - including their own parents and guardians! It is not really all that difficult to learn and accommodate cultural differences, but trying to teach kids who don't want to learn is another matter entirely. And holding the teachers accountable with their salaries is just not fair, in my opinion. Any of these "failing teachers" could be successful if placed in a private school setting or another district which is more well-to-do.

    This is all about money - not race. It is just a fact that these city schools that are dominated by blacks and other minorities are lower on the socioeconomic scale. I'm sure this problem doesn't exist in "black" school districts that are wealthy or private schools that are predominantly black.

    If a child's family doesn't care about his or her education, reaching through to that child is nearly impossible. I praise the teachers who go into these failing schools and at least give it a shot. And I do not frown upon them for giving up. I certainly wouldn't whip out the race card like the author of this story has done.
     
  5. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    In some instances it may be racism, in some instances it may be for better money at a better school. I sure dont see anything here worthy of throwing the race card at.

    Teachers in the public sector need to be payed more. Public schools need more money, better security, tougher standards.

    Those who want to teach need to be trained properly, and given a free ride through to the masters level.

    But nope. Its pretty clear that the only education truly valued in this country is 'training' - engineering, tech, bio, etc.

    Pretty hard to find a school that teaches children or even college students to THINK these days. You can find colleges that still teach it, but they cost about 35K yearly.

    :(
     
  6. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    I do not think education needs more money. What the education system needs is more accountability and better allocation of the funds they do have.

    Here in the state of Washington, there is almost no accountability. No one knows for sure where all of the money goes. During yesterdays one day teacher strike and march on Olympia, no one could answer how much of the money spent on salaries went to teachers in the classroom and how much went to people doing other jobs. One estimate was %55 went to positions that were not in the classroom. But, no one knows for sure. Each of the roughly 300 school districts here in Washington has access to Special Education Excess Cost Dollars for students with special needs, about $3500/student. This is money above the Basic Education Allocation for each student which sits between $2500-$3000/student. Each of these 300 school districts have their own accounting system for keeping track of where the Special Education Dollars are going. And you might of guessed, but each of these school districts request the Maximum amount each year. There is no accountability. There is no way to tell if a system that was set up in one district is working and saves money over a system in another district.

    In addition, not every teacher should make the same as every other teacher. The reason the really good teachers do not make what they should is the fact that all the money that could fund their raises go to the poorly qualified half-assed teachers that are protected by the completely unneeded and completely out of touch Teacher's Union. I can't remember the catch-phrase of the day for it, but what is so wrong with paying teachers based on their performance? What is wrong with moving that pay decision to the School principal level? Let the principal decide the teachers salaries on an individual basis. Start running the schools more like a business and trim some of the bloated bureaucracy. If we do this, we will be amazed at how much "extra" money we will find.

    wapu
     
  7. Scott

    Scott Some Assembly Required

    it may sound shallow, but the highest bidder wins. if someone's offering more money for basically the same job, who wouldn't go?
     
  8. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Wapu, is the phrase you're looking for "merit pay?" I can see the appeal of that kind of plan in the abstract (especially because I always think I'm the best teacher around, so I'd be getting a lot more money--there's this Alienware laptop I've got my eye on...;) ). But in reality it's much less appealing. Who will decide? Letting principals decide may seem like a good idea, but principals are a very uneven crew. There are some excellent ones, who know everything about their schools, their students and their faculty--and there are some tired, ignorant, favorite-playing, grudge-holding, slubberdegullions, who really shouldn't even be in charge of decisions about what type of chalk to use. Now we should let them decide how much each teacher gets paid?
    Should students vote? make pay based on a popularity contest? other teachers vote? same problem. Should the merit pay be based on student test scores? then the teachers with the best-prepared students will end up making the most money. Let parents decide? the same uninvolved uncaring parents Rredline discussed?

    It's a very tough problem. Blaming teachers is only part of the issue, and blaming parents is only another part. We can also blame TV, or MTV, or PC or PC's. Or the general anti-intellectualism and materialism of American culture.

    In general, in response to Biker's original question, I don't think racism is really the problem...unless you assume that the <b>reason</b> some school districts have the money to pay teachers more than other districts can is founded on deeply entrenched racism. It's an argument that's been made, not one I'm too comfortable with. But I do think it's worth asking...<b>why</b> are some districts paying more than others? Is it a matter of limited resources? Or differing priorities?
     
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I agree with Rred - I don't believe it's a matter of racism at all. It's just that, if you're a teacher, and you dedicated your studies and put yourself in huge debt with college loans to get your teaching degree and licensing, only to work for little over minimum wage at a school where:

    1. The kids don't respect you
    2. The school administration can't really DO anything to discipline kids
    3. The parents of the kids don't care enough to show up to PTA meetings, school plays, get involved in the school, etc
    4. The kids don't want to be there (or home), so they cut school
    5. Etc, etc etc...

    ...you would get tired to. No job satisfaction. You feel like you're not having much of an impact at all - and you can't sit there and wait for the 1 or 2 students that DO care enough to get out of the ghetto via studying and school in order to make it all worth it. Honestly, I do not blame these teachers for wanting to go where they're WANTED. Sure they're desperately needed in districts that have little money and resources, but expecting these men and women to work in this environment, and then call them racist for leaving for a better job - that's unfair.

    What needs to be done is insitute a statewide mandate that ALL SCHOOLS, regardless of student accomplishments, get EQUAL FUNDING. No more of this "A" schools or "F" schools - with these ratings, schools that do well get more money than schools that don't, when in fact, it's the schools that are failing who need the resources more. And these grades that schools need to achieve in order to get any money at all is INSANE. This isn't coporate america, where companies have to compete against each other for contracts - these are our SCHOOLS! Children are supposed to be LEARNING - not making sure they score well on a test that has no bearing on their grades or education, but does affect how much funding the school will receive next year.
     
  10. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    Merit pay is not what they were spouting all over talk radio here yesterday, but it fits. I get merit pay. my pay is based upon my performance over the past year and a specific set of goals that were set and either met or not met over the course of last year. I am a professional, that is what I expect. If I had a manager that did not respect that or played favorites or didn't give me the raises I thought I deserved, I would have to either wait it out and hope he got replaced or find some other place to work. That is the real world. If it means I have to move to another state to find a job, then I move. If teachers want to be seen as professionals, they need to be willing to join the real world too.

    As for bad principals? If one is so terrible that I cannot trust them to decide on teacher salaries and live within a budget, how am I supposed to trust them with my kid? We should be getting rid of the bad ones anyways. Streamlining the administration side of schools so that more money can be spent on the students themselves.

    wapu
     
  11. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    School districts pay their employees based on property taxes and what the state allots per student. The state's share is usually uniform, but the property tax revenue is bound to be higher in more affluent areas, is it not? How can you take money from one county and give to another? Oh hold it, government does that stuff all the time. Well, there's your answer.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    The articles I read on this subject clearly pointed out that many white teachers were leaving urban school districts and accepting teaching positions that paid <u>less</u>, in the suburbs or elsewhere.

    Cultural differences were brought up as a main contributing factor. Simply put, white teachers often feel that they are not "reaching" urban minority students.

    Is this racism? I think not. Anyone who has ever taught or trained knows that learning must be placed into a context with which the students can relate. Facts and figures, absent content, mean little. Teachers must be able to relate to their students.

    If the cultural gap between suburban white and urban minority students is so large that the teachers are ineffective, then I can little blame them for moving on. The questions to be answered, in my opinion, have little to do with money or racism.

    How did this cultural gap become so large, and how can society rectify it?
     

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