Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sure, Blame the Teachers

It’s been awhile and I’m hoping to start posting more regularly.  As another school year gets underway I wanted to address some of the education related issues that are plaguing my city.  For those of you who don’t know, the School District of Philadelphia is an absolute mess.  The city, superintendent, city council, School Reform commission, the governor, parents, students pretty much everybody has an opinion.  How did we get here?  Years and years of mismanagement and as Mayor Nutter likes to say “kicking the can down the road”.   It seems to me that nobody wants to actually fix anything.  The governor cuts funding and won’t give money.  City Council wants one thing while the Mayor wants another.  Meanwhile a poor district gets worse. 

I don’t want to get into possible solutions on how to fix the system.  That’s a whole other topic.  The thing that is bothering most right now is how everyone is turning on the teachers.  The Mayor, State, City Council, and even the Superintendent feel as though the teachers in the district need to sacrifice to help solve problems that they didn’t help to create.  I think it’s absolutely asinine to ask the teachers to take up to a 13% pay cut.  This irks me for a number of reasons:

1.        Sure the pay cuts would help free up money but what would the money be used for?  At this point class sizes are growing because of cuts.   If the class sizes don’t go down, you’re essentially asking a teacher to do more work for less money.  Tell me any other industry where this would acceptable?

2.       Before anyone gives me that summer’s off, shorter hours bullshit, I invite you to spend one week with me.  Spend a Saturday afternoon grading papers and doing lesson plans with me.  Like to relax on your weekends?  Not going to happen.  Most teachers take part time jobs in the summer to supplement their salary, so take that bullshit argument and shove it.

3.       Teachers in the city of Philadelphia are already grossly underpaid for a myriad of reasons yet they deal with a much tougher student population.  Teachers in urban school districts need to be rewarded for what they do.  Philadelphia teachers should be making the big money not those in the affluent suburban school districts.  Truthfully where are the high quality teachers needed the most?  To cut teacher’s pay in the city is a slap in the face.

4.       Every Philly teacher that I’ve heard from the past few weeks has mentioned about spending their own money on supplies.  Why?  Because of mismanagement of money by those in charge there isn't enough in the "budget" for adequate supplies.  Contrary to popular reports, teachers actually care about their students and their well being, so paying for supplies is something most teachers do without even thinking.  Also that’s not taking into account personal money that is spent on the students not including school supplies (clothes, food, transportation money, etc. because their families can’t afford) Not going to happen with a pay cut.

5.       Are all teachers great?  Absolutely not.  There are some that skate by because they have tenure, experience, or just don’t care anymore.  They should be held accountable.  That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.  Nobody took accountability and now look at the district.  Most teachers I know have no problem with being held accountable for their work or evolving and making themselves better.  This is how your children learn.  So yeah I guess it makes sense to cut teacher’s pay.  We are just as influential in your child’s life as you are.  1/3 of their day they are with us.  Do you really want your kid with someone who is bitter because they’re underpaid?

6.       Finally the most important reason is the fact everyone is so quick to bitch about the state of our society today and blame who else?  Teachers.  People make teaching seem like a second class profession.  Kids aren’t taught to respect teachers.  I see it every day.  It’s ridiculous.   Where’s the blame on poor parenting?  Where’s the blame on self-serving politicians?  You know why America’s education system sucks?  No respect for teachers.  You don’t hear stories like this happening over in Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan or Singapore and look at them.  Top 5 ranked education systems in the world.   It’s easy for someone to sit on their high horse and blame a teacher rather than take responsibility for their own shortcomings as a human being.

 No teacher got into the profession to get rich.  They got into because it is extremely rewarding.   Unfortunately society and even our own government are making it harder every day to be a teacher.  Hey Superintendent Hite, you’re making $300,000 a year.  Where’s your pay cut?  If you start forcing teachers to take pay cuts then you’re going to force them out of the profession.  Then what?  You have the money you saved from budget cuts but at what cost?  Poor teachers and even worse test scores?  That’ll show ‘em.  Until next time this is Jimbo saying, hug a teacher.


  1. Keep fightin' the system brotha! Anybody that knows you knows that you want to make a difference for every kid you can. Teachers like you absolutely deserve more. And remember, it could be worse, you could be back home at Coatesville! 2 sentences into this I was sure that's where you were going. Great to see Obstructed Views back on the map again.