Posted by Agree with Nick, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:38 am
Nick doesn't sound bitter or selfish at all - but poses a very reasonable position, which I agree with whole heartedly. Today's pensions will bankrupt our future! You only have to do some very simple math to show that. Too much money to teachers and administrators - not enough to kids, supplies and quality materials.
Posted by observer, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:20 am
I've been in a lot of school classrooms. I've sat on committees to appropriate money for materials.
"Agree w Nick" 's ending phrase "not enough to kids, supplies, and quality materials" is just another misinformed assumption about the mythical state of schools. PAUSD is not at all like school nationwide. Our per capita spending is huge. Our schools are chock full of computer carts, SMART boards, flipcams...(no comment on how necessary those big ticket items are to mastery of curriculum).
Thanks to PiE we have even more to contribute for classroom aides, art enrichments, etc.
We bus a large population of non-resident kids to/from school everyday. We run a distibuted kitchen service that brings hot meals to all campuses.
We have onsite counseling services.
If you have a lisp, we have speech therapists for you!
Arrive here not speaking English? We'll sit an adult next to you who speaks your native tongue.
Wanna learn saxophone? woodworking? robotics? PAUSD has you covered.
Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park, on Dec 19, 2012 at 11:27 am
So you're saying teachers/administrators are overpaid and that we should be giving more money to kids (?!) and buying more supplies and quality materials?
I don't agree at all. Teachers are by far the most important component in determining the quality of kids' education. I would suggest that in fact teachers are greatly underpaid considering their contributions to our society. Finland gets it - they pay their teachers as much as their lawyers and, as a result, have students that consistently score higher on standardized tests than their American couterparts.
Posted by Anon, a resident of Stanford, on Dec 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm
One percent isn't enough to help, it almost isn't worth the trouble. This has got to be the only country in the world where teachers have such low pay and low socio economic status. It is shameful when they are treated this way.
Posted by correlation, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm
I thought there was no or little correlation between spending and teacher/administrator salaries and student performance. The former seems to ever escalate, not so sure about the latter...
Forbes magazine or similar business pub had an article some years back contrasting a lavish American public high school with one in France. The French one was much more down-to-earth and concentrated on active learning, longer school day and respect for teachers, rather than frivolous stuff like giving everyone an iPAD at taxpayer expense (...though iPADs weren't invented yet, granted)and Winchester House type building projects like we see here. I just don't buy that ever more buckets of money down a black hole makes any difference. When our kids were in PAUSD we were always required to bring in stuff and supplies all the time.You certainly want qualified, professional, happy teachers and they should be correctly compensated BUT I think the union system has to be terminated. Realistic pension schemes are also necessary.
Posted by Shannon , a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm
People claw their way into the Palo Alto real estate market because of the excellent schools. It's teachers and their hard work that makes those school desirable. Why then does the board give only a 1% bonus for young professionals who could be making much more in the corporate world, but who choose to work with children? Many of the teachers are deeply in debt for their education, drive long distances because they cannot afford to live nearby, and put off their own child-bearing because they cannot afford it. 1% seems pretty cheap, frankly.
Posted by Irony, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Quite ironic, I would say, that most of the people complaining that the 1% is too much are themselves making approximately double what these teachers make, doing a job that is far less important.
Let's face it: Most people aren't teachers because A) They don't have the skill B) They don't have the patience C) They want more money and D) They don't care that much about children (at least OTHER people's children). It seems like a lot of people in this area care a lot about their own children, or at least the SUCCESS of their own children. But would they take the time and effort to teach children of other people? Who would accept such low wages to do such a job, even if they could?
Posted by Mom, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Try sending an email to a PAUSD teacher and see whether it ever gets returned. In the corporate world, bonuses and pay raises are earned with great job performance. That has not been my children's experience with most of their PAUSD teachers.
Obviously teachers play some part in the education process—but the parents contributions are typically ignored by the education establishment, and not always readily understood by the parents themselves. The API data, coupled with various Census data, tells the real story.
Posted by Another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm
I think the adminstration pressures teachers not to leave an email trail, and I've seen evidence that school adminstrators are being told to handle things verbally whenever possible. That comes from a culture that sees parents as adversaries rather than partners at 25 Churchill. It could be your kid's teacher, but more likely there is an ethos in the school now that email conversations are bad, for certain issues at least.
Posted by RussianMom, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm
Wow! Lets all calm down. It's a great district because we have great
The combination of all tree are making pausd so unique and special.
By removing one of the components, picture will change.
Respect to teachers is crucial and by teaching it your own child will go a long way.
Re a bonus. It's hard to live in PA with raising pricing for everything from taxes to utilities. Our salaries are not stretching fast enough. Then, whenever we have some surplus, we want to save if for the rainy day. BUT! Yes, our teachers deserve the bonus too. I vote for 1%, one time bonus. And I will also contribute by paying tutors, to make PAUSD a special district (no, I am not a tiger mom).
Posted by Yes, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm
I completely agree that all teachers should be paid more. If they were paid 6 figure salaries, they would deserve it and our country would have better teachers. Really, how many of us want to homeschool? As posted above, who really wants their jobs? Middle school and high school might be easier, but who really wants to be in a classroom with children every day? I love children but could not be with them all day, even if they are all well-behaved. Kudos to the elementary school teachers who spend all day with children with only a few breaks. Nannies charge at least $10/hour and elementary school teachers have 21 children. They aren't earning $210/hour.
I have three children and have been overall happy with the teachers in PAUSD. Sure, there are some lemons around, but win some, lose some. We've had some fantastic teachers. And I have seen some of the bad ones mysteriously leave the district.
I encourage everyone to be generous with gifts for teachers at the end of the school year.
Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm
> They aren't earning $210/hour.
Actually, they probably are, when all of the compensation dollars are accounted for.
A teacher starting at $50K, with an average 3% per/year increase, will after 30 years, be making at least $136K/year. If the average increase is only 2%, then the exit salary will be around $100K/year. The initial pension payout for these two scenarios will be 72%, which will will bring this teacher another $2 to $3M (depending on actual COLAs) for 30 years of retirement.
If all of the direct salary, benefits and pension payouts are added together, and a 30-year average salary computed--then this teacher will be making between $240 and $290 per hour (based on a 186 day year, and six hours on-site).
Of course, if the teacher were to be see other salary increases for merit, then these numbers could be higher.
Without taking all of the compensation into account--people can very easily claim that teachers are underpaid. But it's difficult for most people to agree that making an effective hourly wage of between 200 and 300 per hour amounts up to teacher abuse.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm
To provide accurate info: The average salary for PA teachers is just under $87,000/year (9 mos). Although they have not received cost of living raises since 2009, they have received raises for each year of service and for additional education. There are a number of teachers with salaries over $100k/yr. This information is all available online.
Whether someone supports/doesn't support this raise, it is important to have factual info for reference.
Posted by Willy Loman, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm
>this teacher will be making between $240 and $290 per hour (based on >a 186 day year, and six hours on-site).
Hmmm - I know a few teachers - they're working some weekends, get in early for prep and stay often till 5 or 6pm to prep more and..work on email after dinner. I bet they wish they had a 6hr day! And btw - during the 6hr day - there's no sneaking away for a break - you have to be fully engaged with the kids!
Posted by Reality, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm
The conversation really shouldn't be about if teachers are good/bad, overpaid/underpaid, etc. It should be about people getting what they deserve. Some teachers are not great and shouldn't be paid as though they are. Others ARE great and are underpaid. Yes, the unions must take most of the blame for this.
Posted by RT, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm
I understand about pension for jobs where your effectiveness is determined by your age, e.g. firefighter, whereby you cannot work at your profession for your whole life because of physical demands of the job. This is not the case for teachers. Teachers should be paid a fair wage and no pension.
Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm
> I don't know where you come up with 6 hours!!!
These are verifiable hours. Most schools don't require timecards for teachers, so there is no easy way to know how many hours any given teacher spends.
> My son is a teacher and he spends 12 to 13 hours
> almost every day on-site.
Then your son needs to seek help from his immediate supervisors. He clearly needs to have a senior teacher review his approach to his job. No one who has adequate time management skills should be spending that kind of time on the job. As his mother, you should counsel him to seek help from this department head.
> salary data on line
Several newspapers have taken on the challenge to put the pay of public employees on line. Sadly, the individual agencies have not. Moreover, there is much information not posted on these newspaper web-sites. As it were, it can be requested from each agency, under the California Public Records Act.
Pension data for public agencies (CalPERS and CalSTRS) can be obtained from www.pensiontsunami.com (at least for people drawing more than $100K/year from the pension funds). This can be eye-opening.
Posted by Carlos, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm
I have little doubt most of the posters here care a lot about the quality of our children's education, and we would like to reward the people who make it possible accordingly.
It boils down to dollars and cents, and living within our means. As part of this, I can think of two programs I would eliminate because times have changed and we need to adjust: (1) The Tinsley program busing in kids from outside Palo Alto, which creates a group of underperformers who use up lots of scarce resources, (2) The translator services the schools provide to non-English speakers. At some point, parents and families have to assume certain responsibilities and not just assume PAUSD will take care of everything.
We need to get away from this culture and sense of entitlement.
Posted by Information, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm
Teachers pay 8% of their salary into their retirement. The district contributes 8.5% and the state adds about one percent. This is higher, I believe, than most employees. The good thing, policy wise, is that this system forces people to plan for retirement. The bad part is that the expected returns that the state assumes from employees contributions is too high, like seven percent annually.
Posted by Accountable, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm
I don't agree with any raise without accountability. The tutoring service is booming for a reason. There is such a large disparity in our school classrooms. The odds of getting consistent, good teachers from k thru 5 is almost non-existent. I blame the system, administrators, and bad teachers. Greed is a terrible thing! thanks o our school board members, this will continue.. Sigh...
Posted by correlation, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:36 am
Teachers get a perk in that their kids can attend PAUSD schools even if they don't live here. That is equal to quite a benefit for people who don't pay the horrendously high property taxes we pay!!!
Incidentally, I do know some PA teachers who do live in PA.
I think the desirabiliy of PAUSD schools comes from the often very poor education offered by OTHER areas of California. It's like damning with faint praise. That said, there are some very fine teachers in this district - I wish we could give those persons a nice bonus.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community, on Dec 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Much of the discussion on this thread was a shocking and disgusting display of Palo Alto selfishness. It's astonishing and sad that PA, one of the wealthiest communities in the U.S., would not want to reward their teachers for producing such brilliant students.
Sorry folks: it is not all genetic or self-taught success. Teachers present constant intellectual challenges to already high-functioning kids while also trying to support them as they deal with the pressures they face in this community.
Recognize the huge role that teachers play -- then look at the median income for other PA professionals and the median income for PA teachers. Geez.
Teachers are far from rich, the hostility over a bonus of a few hundred dollars (minus taxes) is appalling. It says a lot about "community" in PA.