Teachers struggle with district cuts

Salary freezes create difficult financial choice for educators

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  • To Prospective Teacher:
    July 11, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    Teaching and coaching has brought me a ton of great memories. I know I have been fortunate to touch many lives and have my life and family uplifted by the students, parents and fellow colleagues I've been around. I'm a 20 year veteran of this profession and I would say the first two were a struggle, the next 8 or so were great and the last 10 have been hard and getting harder year by year. It isn't the students but things like NCLB, administrators, and somewhat the parents of recent. Along with that, my pay has lessened over the past few years and opportunities to make money additionally in education have dried up. Slowly and slowly, my ability to pay my bills, save money for my own children's education etc. has become ever more difficult--my standard of living has decreased.

    I would love to tell you to go into teaching as it has been rewarding in many ways for me. However, with the current state of education (at least in Utah) as it is, and the likelihood that these issues will get worse, do something else--hopefully something that still benefits humanity.

  • Teach because you love it
    July 11, 2009 2:53 p.m.

    This article helps clarify the some problems in education.
    Hats off to Mr. Merrill and the others who dared tell the truth about the result of poor management decisions in education. I reread the article and it talks more about shared sacrifice than low pay. The districts that cut into teachers are like companies that save money by cutting sales staff and manufacturing workers, but protect management. The short term gain is never permanent, the best leave for better positions, better companies, and the less competent remain. In private industry, profits slump and bankruptcies follow. Look at GM: does anyone believe that demoralizing workers and dealerships will result in top line products? Education is different in that the public is stuck with the poor decisions of the administrators. And bad administrators breed bad morale, bad morale leads to poor education for our kids. I think the advice to Mr. Merrill to jump to a new district is excellent. Jordan is a sinking ship, destined for GM status, until the public demands new leadership.

    As to the HATERS, put their kids and taxes into a special district, and keep them away from my kids' teachers.

  • Wondering Why
    July 10, 2009 7:18 p.m.

    I'm a high school teacher. I sat in a conference last winter where State office of Education officials went on and on about how important we (skills and career teachers) are and how we contribute to our students' ability to earn a solid wage. They presented an array of statistics showing the average salary for the occupations we are preparing the students for. They were much higher than our own (what are they telliong us?). They also talked about the growing demand for skilled workers.

    Why does anyone expect to have high quality education in the public school system when the teachers are only making half of what their students will be making? You either have to be really dedicated or really stupid to be a teacher. As a society, we need to decide what kind of teachers we want and then be honest about it.

  • Teacher
    July 10, 2009 2:49 p.m.

    Yes I will say that teachers don't get paid a lot of money. Those of you who work 12 months a year, 50 hours a week have your job because SOMEONE TAUGHT YOU how to do your job. So thank a teacher for your lovely salary.

    Whether it is getting an outside job or working to make their curriculum better, most teachers still work during the summer.

    I am so sick of people dogging on teachers. Then again, those people who dog on teachers don't care about making their kids education better. They say "We care about education, We care about education." Then they do nothing to make it better. Stop being hypocrites!

  • latecomment
    July 10, 2009 1:29 p.m.

    To give one more thought to think about. His MBA is a masters degree just like an administrators masters degree. A new administrator makes approximatly 25,000 more then a new teacher with a masters degree. Teachers are a key part to a school and why is an administrator with a masters degree making so much more then a teacher with a masters degree? If anyone can answer that let me know.

  • Listen Up!
    July 10, 2009 9:48 a.m.

    Teachers work 75% of the year, therefore their salaries are 75% of the average annual salary for non teachers. It is VERY common for those in the Business world to work overtime each week. a 50-60 hour week is extremely common. Teachers also work 50 hour weeks but only do so for 9 months of the year. I work 50 hour weeks for 12 months a year. Just do the math and its clear why teachers make 75% of my salary. The pay is fair. The numbers prove it.

  • Commenting
    July 9, 2009 2:00 p.m.

    I am glad to see a non-sports story near the top of comments. I am glad people care almost as much about education as sports.

  • Anonymous
    July 9, 2009 12:24 p.m.

    Administrators are overburdening our education systems without adding any educational value. They are bureaucrats and are like leeches, sucking the life-giving blood out of the school systems. In my day, Administrators also taught. That is the way it should be today. Each administrator should teach at least one class.

  • Re: Mr. Merrell
    July 8, 2009 6:30 p.m.

    I left Jordan District after just two years there. It was the best move I ever made for my career and my family. I wouldn't hesitate one second to find a better district to work for. Once you reach five years, you're pretty much stuck there for life because other districts won't give you more than five years of experience on the pay scale. Get out while you can! Probably every district in the state is a better option than Jordan right now.

  • Cool Like Dat
    July 8, 2009 5:46 p.m.

    RE:Why Do I Stay? | 1:20 p.m. July 8, 2009

    "I know I will go to heaven because I have spent my time in hell".

    Thanks for the truth and the laugh...AWESOME.

    I hope you retire and live a long and happy life.

    Many of us are in the same boat!!

    Made my day...thanks again!!

  • Why Do I Stay?
    July 8, 2009 1:20 p.m.

    I have taught 7th grade math for almost enough years to retire. Every year the legislature slams our professionalism. Funds education with the largest class sizes and the lowest funding per student in the nation. I know I will go to heaven because I have spent my time in hell.

    I STAY because I can reach,help,support,encourage, or make a change in a student's life. Hopefully, more than one.

    I am a proud member of NEA UEA and GEA. These associations negotiate for my benefits, provide continuing education, protect me from bad administrations, false student complaints, and out-of-control parents.

    Am I paid what I am worth? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! And next June, I will decide if I care enough to teach another year. At the very least, I will have early retirement benefits that will justify the low pay, the STRESS, the heartache, and memories of the students that I was able to reach.

  • Savant
    July 8, 2009 10:29 a.m.

    It's a sad story, but teachers are not exempt from the economic downturn the rest of us are experiencing.

    My neighbors are both teachers and great people. But I have noticed they get summers off, are home every morning when I'm leaving for work and every evening when I return. One of them got gastric by-pass surgery and the other got laser eye surgery, courtesy of their taxpayer-funded insurance policy (mine would not cover either, by the by).

    They get holidays off that we in the business world didn't even know existed. They have combined fewer years of post-high school education than I have and yet they complain that I make almost as much as the two of them together.

    Hmmm, let me see. I work more hours, have more education and have taken more risk. Yep, sounds fair to me that I should make more money.

  • Alpine Educator
    July 8, 2009 9:40 a.m.

    I must say first that I LOVE TEACHING! I find it an amazingly fulfilling and uplifting experience every time I enter the classroom. I am saddened that this is the argument we are having - but I am even more sickened by the wanton disregard for education itself. I do not believe that throwing more money will improve fix this problem. I would love to be paid more, but I am okay - my benefits are good (this is not to say that all districts are equal in that category)! If we want to get rid of poor teachers, it is not through more money that we do it! It is through parental involvement! Parents have a right to know what is going on inside their child's classroom - so go find out! I am a high school teacher and I feel that if parents would come in and make surprise visits to a teachers classroom during school hours - poor teachers would quickly become good teachers. When there is a chance someone would be "popping" in to check on you and see what you are doing - everyone would be more prepared. Perhaps then society would be willing to pay higher salaries.

  • A 3 Month Break?
    July 8, 2009 9:07 a.m.

    I get a kick out of the IGNORANCE of the people that think educators get a 3 month break and that it is an "easy" profession. I doubt most of them could deal with an irrate parent, deal with a student with a weapon, a student with ADHD or a student whose parents are abusive. How would they deal with students calling them mean and unfair when they receive their grades? After school is out, we grade papers and projects; attend various meetings; sit on budget and planning committees; write e-mails and contact parents whose children are failing. Far from being a glorified babysitter.

    Many of my fellow faculty members teach summer school, take on part-time jobs at fast food places, do community coaching, and other jobs to make ends meet. I don't see many Lexus' and BMW's in the faculty lot. However, I would suggest that 6 layers of Administration could be cut to augment supplies and other resources.

    To those who had bitter experiences in HS, the DRAMA is over, Grow Up. I suggest you go rent Mr. Holland's Opus, and see what we do to make ends meet.

  • david jay
    July 7, 2009 4:51 p.m.

    I wanted to be a teacher. I worked nights and weekends to get my degree while on active duty in the military. I would gladly work for $35K per year. BUT....BUT I can't be a teacher because I didn't take the "proper" education courses. I got a 90th percentile on the NTE (National Teacher's Exam). I think they changed the test due to people like me who got good scores based on life experiences. As long as the "administrators" control the purse strings and the business of education there will be problems like this. I call it the education mafia. All children left behind. Dumbing down. Take your pick of terms, but the answer is still the education industry has created and grown its own problems. Good luck young teacher. BTW all of my elementary and most of my high school teachers were little old ladies who were married to farmers. Some didn't even have degrees and the eighth grade teacher was an additional duty principal.

  • Secure
    July 7, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    Let me get this straight!! Because I have taught for over twenty years earned a Masters Degree plus forty. Coached every sport under the sun, worked community education,weekends and summers (every year of teaching) I am lucky to have a job.

    That does not compute..the negative posts here make teaching sound so easy yet, those making the negative posts more than likely do not have any formal education.

    Yes, I am lucky...lucky that I worked hard, stuck with it wanted to provide for my family and now I am secure.

    Come one, come all!!! Pay your dues earn a degree or two, put twenty plus years in (all the while working two jobs) and feel the security.


    Any takers??

    Just as I thought...WIMPS!!!

    Go back to your crying!!!

  • Reality T.V
    July 7, 2009 4:19 p.m.

    Dude thought teaching and coaching would be cool. Now the reality of low pay, politics and disrespect has hit him.

    Get out while you can!

    To the person saying we should get a lottery and spelled it with one 't' come on people!!

    Honestly, the more I read the comments posted here the more I realize the value of teachers and higher learning.

    Teachers should have the OPTION of retiring at 25 years. If they choose to stay on beyond that then so be it but the retirement system stops at 25 years. Retire and go do something else. Stephenson continues to set teachers up for failure. His pet projects keep getting him re-elected.

    Additionally, there are so many ineffective administrators and positions. Administrators should be put back in the classroom at some point. They simply loose touch with what teachers deal with on a daily basis. Let alone draw huge salaries. A good old boys network!!!

    I believe as time goes on you will see fewer and fewer people coming out of college and staying in teaching. As it stands now the typical teacher lasts 3-5 years.

    Like dude here; it won't take long.

  • Re: FYI @ 8:15
    July 7, 2009 2:47 p.m.

    Education is NOT failing because of "lack of funding",
    it is failing because of societal Problems (political correctness, no real morals-just different opinions) and also a large dose of mismanagement!

  • The Issue
    July 7, 2009 10:41 a.m.

    The sad thing in this story is that Mr. Merrell looked at Jordan District's salary schedule and decided it would be worth his time, effort, and money to purse his Masters Degree. Based on the salary schedule, he knew that doing so would help him make more money. He wasn't asking for a handout, but was willing to do extra work to get a higher pay. Then after it was completed they said, "Oh, never mind...no lane changes this year."

    That's ridiculous.

    There are plenty of districts in the state that have found a way to deal with budget cuts without taking away steps and lane changes that teachers plan and work for.

  • I love teachers, not whiners
    July 7, 2009 10:21 a.m.

    I love how everyone working in public education has started commenting on the story and accusing everyone else of hating teachers.*

    The one problem is that we, the non-teachers, don't hate teachers. In fact, we think very highly of many of them. They've changed our lives for the better.

    WHAT WE DO HATE ARE WHINERS who act as if they never knew what they were signing up for and who can't appreciate having a $35,000 salary plus $15,000 in benefits including retirement and tons of holidays at a time when millions of Americans would be happy just to have a job!!!! You should be counting your blessings instead of wallowing in self-pity. But of course, it's all for the children, right???



    *This tactic is straight from education politics 101. If someone ever questions the education establishment, just accuse them of hating teachers and you'll silence any dissent. It's a very effective tactic no matter how dirty.

  • District Admin
    July 7, 2009 9:25 a.m.

    Let me first say that I think there are too many administrators at the district level in every district I've seen. Sometimes it seems like jobs are created to help a friend out. But, when you cut a district in half you don't cut the number of district administrators in half. If we were to have a district that only had the necessary district admin positions, and then cut that district in half, you still have one math specialist, one science specialist, etc. Many positions have one person in them and a district split would actually create a few jobs so that each district could fill those positions.
    That said, I restate my position that there are too many district level jobs. It seems like every person I know at my school district has a secretary or two, and a team that all does the same thing. I would like some of these positions eliminated so that some of that money can stay with the teachers -not to pay them more, but to keep more teachers. I'm scheduled to have 35-40 kids in each of my classes next year. My room fits 30 desks...

  • A-1
    July 7, 2009 8:17 a.m.

    Hey Teachers | 10:19 a.m. July 6, 2009

    You are correct administrators make thousands and thousands more than the average teacher.

    What's you point??

    Did you even read the article?

    Do you know administrators are not taking a cut and if they are they can afford it (check their wages, there in lies part of the problem), while teachers continue to struggle.

    You really should learn the facts or read the article before posting your illiterate comments.

    Another uneducated HATER...typical!!

    Go back to school and become a teacher.

    All you uneducated haters that think it is so easy to get a degree...GO DO IT!!

    Truth be told you can't.

    You dropouts need to get some perspective or better yet get a life.

    BOO WHO!!

    Teachers just need to learn how to throw a good old fashion strike. What has being nice ever gotten you?

  • FYI
    July 7, 2009 8:15 a.m.

    RE: Prospective Teacher | 11:01 a.m. July 6, 2009

    Listen follow your dream!! There are a lot of great things about teaching. Just do your homework and know what you are getting into.

    Go talk to teachers that are willing to tell you the truth.

    There is a ton of politics and low pay is just one small problem attached to being a teacher.

    Administration is one of the big problems. There simply is no support and after many, many years I have come to realize that the meetings and ideas put on the table twenty five years ago were never implemented.

    Education in America is failing because it is so underfunded. Teachers are frowned upon and most parents are not willing to support them. Simply put school districts are happy just maintaining the status quo.

    If you love to coach and work with kids it is an awesome experience. But the politics may kill you in the end. It is a lot of work and prepare yourself for a second job almost certainly even if your spouse works. Good Luck!!

    I noticed someone on here put a Jordan teacher makes 80K...just another uniformed hater.

  • Bill
    July 7, 2009 5:14 a.m.

    I know it is difficult to take a cut in pay; been there, done that. But at least you have a job. In the private sector of this economy, you'ed probably be fired. So grid your teeth and hang in there. A thought, "Would your teaching improve with a pay raise?" or "Will you lower your teaching because you did not get a pay raise?"

    I taught for 30 years and saw a number of teachers who did not improve their teaching skills -- 20 years on the job and one year of experience vrs 20 years of experience.

    Everyone is hurting. Should you be any different?

  • seanP
    July 6, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    That's what we get for letting the goverment run differnt businesses.

  • Former Teacher
    July 6, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    This sickens me... Teaching was the best job I ever had - except for the pay. I was laid off 3 weeks before school started, and after 4 enjoyable years, I was forced to recareer. Sad thing is, I'd never go back. Lack of respect, lack of financial incentive. In the end it wasn't worth it to me to try again the next year. Best of luck to the teacher in the article....

  • to: From Jordan School District
    July 6, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    So please explain why more building administrators were eliminated than district administrators, when the district was cut in half. For the students? Really? Population in the schools is way up, but building administrators have been cut. Been waiting for awhile now for an explanation on this. WHen and where can this explanation be expected? AMy Stewart is probably not writing another story, so please let me know when I can expect this explanation!

  • Merrell
    July 6, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    I am the Mr. Merrell that is featured in this story and was torn when the Deseret News approached me. I hope the implications won’t be too severe but I feel I need to stand up for myself and other young teachers.

    I want to make it perfectly clear that I love my job as a teacher. The students, parents, community, and administration/staff at Bingham are incredible. The fulfillment I get from seeing my students learn and progress would be impossible to duplicate in another profession. I know I can make more money in the “real world” but I gladly chose to teach because of my students.

    I feel an unfair burden is being placed on young teachers. With the current budget I will lose nearly 15% of my salary while an administrator will see no decrease.

    The question I am facing is not whether to leave the teaching profession but whether to leave Bingham High School and Jordan School District. I can’t imagine how it would feel to leave the school I love so much. I hope the district will evaluate alternatives that will share the burden of the budget across all employees.

  • Canuckview
    July 6, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    I am amazed at the hate mongering towards teachers in so many of the comments I have read. It is no surprise at the lack of respect shown to teachers though by parents or admin, it is almost a given these days. As for babysitting, I don't get paid enough to babysit so I teach. I have taught for 25 years and if I were doing it for the pay then I would have left long ago...there are some of us who just enjoy teaching. BTW I do get my summers off...that is why I have done 3 years at a teacher training college, 2 years correspondence, 1 year of history/geography, 2 years of special ed and in Sept start another 2 years of a PE course. 10 years of training has earned me the right to do enjoy my summers...which I do work part time.

  • Great lively debate misses point
    July 6, 2009 9:06 p.m.

    If you are a teacher and also belong to the union (UEA) you deserve minimum wage. Please quit and benefit us all. The UEA is the single greatest impediment to public education and the ascent of teachers. If you want to be treated like a professional and earn professional wages, why do you belong to a blue collar labor union?

  • mike
    July 6, 2009 8:52 p.m.

    I work for the state and have job requiring a degree but don't make as much a teacher. Wish I made as much as my brother who teaches and who gets the summer off.

  • to: JSD Parents
    July 6, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    You should be outraged that your property taxes are skyrocketing while district administrators (almost all of them) retained their jobs in the split. No big deal, except that they CUT administrative jobs in schools!! We will have elementary schools with 1200 - 1500 students and no vice principals. We will have high schools with 2700 students and only 3 VPs and maybe 4 counselors. Don't expect any services. At least one high school has already cut some programs because they don't have the personnel to oversee them. JSD patrons should demand district leaders make some sacrifices BEFORE schools do! Students are the ones to suffer. Does anyone really think students are better off because 93% of district administrators kept their jobs in the split? Personnel should be kept in (or moved to) schools --- you know, where the work with kids actually takes place. Parents and taxpayers should demand it or we'll remain unreasonably top-heavy and our students will pay the price!

  • to: JSD Administrators
    July 6, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    Still waiting to hear the reason for your unwillingness to share in the budget crisis. When JSD lost HALF it's schools and students, it only eliminated 7% of it's district administrators! HOW CAN THAT BE? If a school lost half it's student population, it would also lose about 50% of it's teachers and the remaining teachers would be forced to double up on responsibilities! That's the real world. Why is nobody questioning this move by JSD admin? Few district administrators are hurt by the decision not to fund steps and lanes. Teachers in JSD are willing to sacrifice. WHY WON'T YOU? Why not take furlough days instead of just eliminating PDD? YES -- we get it. The state legislature eliminated PDD, not the JSD board. But you (and the board) have the power to make this more equitable, like every other district. But it will have to affect you, too!! Your unwillingness to share in the cuts speaks volumes about where your priorities are. Teachers and community members expect fairness!!!

  • new teacher
    July 6, 2009 8:27 p.m.

    I am a new teacher in the davis school district, last year was my second year. Here is my schedule.

    7:30-1 pm (my prep is my last period)

    1-2:00 correct papers, get lesson plans ready, etc

    2-3:00 work on the baseball field, watch film for football, whatever sport I am in I need to get ready for practice or a game.
    3-5 baseball and or football practice.
    Now if it is baseball, there are some times I do not get home until 6:30 or 7
    During football, I will be up all night watching film and getting ready for the next game.
    So during those sports seasons I rarely see my family, and next year we are playing JV games after Varsity games for baseball, which means I won't be home until 10pm.

    Now I am not complaining about my salary or anything with the pay. I knew that going in. I just love teaching YOUR kids!!!! SO get off teachers and quit saying we whine to much.

    Guess what, I am going boating tomorrow, and fishing next week, then back to football. Gotta love it!!!!!!!!!

  • Outside looking In
    July 6, 2009 7:47 p.m.

    I work as an educator in a neighboring state. We get paid more than Utah and some of your best and brightest are moving our way. It has been my experience in talking with these folks that UTAH values education as long as they don't have to pay for it. The old something valuable for nothing. It is the same reason so many scams are successful in your state. Don't you folks realize that every dollar spent on salaries changes hands at least seven times in the community.

  • new teacher
    July 6, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    I am a 40+ year-old former stay-at-home mother of 5 who is finishing an Elementary Education degree. I will be teaching my first year this coming fall.

    I am really looking forward to it.

    All of these negative comments and don't really mean a lot to me. I know what I want to do and why. I know what the salary is. I've had all my kids in the public school system and know that there are great teachers and not-so-great.

    My husband is leaving the ruthless business world to teach high school and we're both excited for the change.

    We're old enough to know that nothing is perfect. There are troubles in every profession. There are also great people and whiners found in every profession as well.

    Do what you want and enjoy it.

  • Westg323
    July 6, 2009 7:42 p.m.

    Those who think teachers are overpaid should look at how much administrators and employees at the District level make. Society pay more to those jobs they value more. We apparently value athletes and high profile personalities more than the most important people in our child's lives outside of our own families.
    Teaching is an art that requires patience, organizational skills, persistence and endurance. It's easy to judge if you have never done it.

  • Utah Dem
    July 6, 2009 7:34 p.m.

    To share the burden - this would only mean something in the Jordan district where the school board president makes $24,000 and some members are making $18,000; the Ogden district's board members make $3,750 per year.

  • Performance Pay
    July 6, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    It's not a viable reality. You'd soon have teachers doing unethical things to boost their numbers. Sad, but true.

  • Re: Salary
    July 6, 2009 7:00 p.m.

    $80,000????? In Jordan District? You are misinformed.

  • A bit of logical perspective
    July 6, 2009 7:00 p.m.

    Re JSD in Jordan: I work in finance for 52 weeks of the year. I get all the federal and state holidays off and work five days a week I also get three weeks paid vacation per year. I'm also making six figures. When I figured the number of actual days worked it was about 224 days or 7.5 months of the year if you worked every day in the month. That is only 1.5 more months than teachers for a lot more pay, yet again I don't have to do much work at home either but can usually leave my job at my job. My wife would kill me if I brought my work home with me every night.

    With that said, most jobs have a five day work week which is 260 days of the year or about 3.5 months off total. I think teachers are definitely undervalued and work harder than most jobs. Only a small percentage of the population could do what teachers do. Most people I know can't stand being around their own kids for more than a few hours a day. Teachers are around hundreds.

  • emo
    July 6, 2009 6:32 p.m.

    My first of teaching I made 15K and I was both an assistant and head coach. Additionally, I worked in the evenings with community education for twenty years.

    My point is this if you teach you will suffer your entire life and no one cares.

    Now with three years left until retirement I find myself having wished my life away waiting for that big raise that never came.

    You can do it but not just on a teachers salary expect to work more than a day job. Unless of course you can get into administration (you best know someone or forget about it!!)

    Teachers in Utah are set up to fail. It isn't aall about the pay. It is many other things starting with respect or a lack there of. Just read the comments posted here. HATERS.

    My best friend is a doctor he makes ten times what I make. I am proud of him because I understand the amount and intensity of his education. Those writing here ripping on teachers don't get it because they more than likely do not understand what it takes to get through college!!

    Soldier on dude..you have no choice.

  • To Jordan teacher
    July 6, 2009 6:25 p.m.

    You are being sold a bill of goods if you think Jordan's massive tax hike, layoffs and salary freeze are the result of the district split. To the contrary, JSD is in better shape as a result of the split. It has $12 million in equalization money that no other district has, a $94 million fund balance, lower costs because of its newer buildings, and hundreds of millions of dollars of debt paid courtesy the other district. Fact is Jordan District is using the split to do what it wants. Anything goes at this point.

  • Happy Teacher
    July 6, 2009 6:08 p.m.

    Yes I work 9 1/2 month or 188 school days during a year.

    I made $66,000 last year.

    I get to school 30 minutes before the bell and leave 30 minutes to 60 minutes after the bell for an 8 to 8.5 hr day.

    I refuse to take work home to grade because I'm not paid for it.

    I have won several teaching awards.

    I make a difference in my students' lives.

    Plus I get to be home not longer after my kids get home and I get to spend all summer fishing, camping, traveling, boating etc. with the family.

    I could make more in other fields but I have a great life and I will have a great retirement.

    Life is good.

    Sorry Hate Mongers.

  • Anom
    July 6, 2009 5:44 p.m.

    I am a teacher and would not work for the JSD. they just do not value their teachers. I had a job with them last year and quit when I got a better teaching job. Their top administrators should be taking a hit in the wallet not the teachers.

  • Jordan teacher
    July 6, 2009 5:29 p.m.

    I teach in Jordan, and we are getting hammered because of the recession AND the district split that we didn't want. Thanks to the Legislature for shoving that one through. For those of you who complain that only the people in the "real world" (outside of teaching) are the ones who work hard: I have a relative who works for IHC, and she talks constantly about co-workers who spend their time on the Internet, shop online, talk to family members on the phone constantly, and take 2-hour lunches. As an elementary teacher, I teach all subjects, get 25 minutes for lunch only if the kids are outside, and do most of my computer work/grading at home using my own equipment. I work at least 10-11 hours per day during the school year, and several weeks extra during the summer at no pay. I also subsidize my classroom to the tune of hundreds of dollars per year (that has to end - I'm getting a pay cut of at least $3,000 this coming year). I am grateful for a job, but like others have said the administrators should also take some of the hit.

  • jo jo
    July 6, 2009 5:28 p.m.

    RE: TEACHER | 8:34 a.m. July 6, 2009

    If you work so much how are you finding the time to make so many comments.

    Not buying it!!!

  • Timj
    July 6, 2009 5:20 p.m.

    186 days is six months?
    Sure, if you work every single Sunday, Saturday, and holiday.
    Nice try there.

  • Sweet Laughter
    July 6, 2009 5:10 p.m.

    Define harmless | 9:57 a.m. July 6, 2009

    Awesome comment dude...Awesome!!!

  • Chemist
    July 6, 2009 5:06 p.m.

    what about administrators | 3:22 p.m. July 6, 2009

    Unless you are in the good old boys network BIG TIME...you will never get a job.

    That is the truth...I hope it helps!!

  • Complain
    July 6, 2009 4:59 p.m.

    Jordan school teachers should get more money,but thanks to the people on the east side, there will be all kinds of cuts to every district but theirs. Yea, I know they got tired of paying for all the west siders new schools, but take a look at the new facilities they have. It just proves that life is not fair. If it were, we would have nothing to complain about!

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 4:52 p.m.

    Why teach in a state full of people who see no value in your work?

  • falcon's beak
    July 6, 2009 4:41 p.m.

    THere is just so much money to go around and the so called stimulus bill of Mr. Obama is a Keynsian initiative and they do not only not work they make things worse. I would think a pay cut or maybe just no raise better than no job. Sure teachers do not get enough neither does anyone else.

  • Teacher in J.S.D.
    July 6, 2009 4:20 p.m.

    I would resign and find another job but I like the 186 day-a-year contract. That equates to only six months a year I have to work. If I could find another job with all the benefits and six months of work I will resign immeadiatly.

  • Facts behind the data?
    July 6, 2009 4:11 p.m.

    Re ABS: Nice spin job. Teachers actually work quite hard during that 9 month time period. I teach and work at least 60 hours per week. Unlike most jobs, we do get laid off for 2 1/2 months of the year. (I start contract days in the middle of August and teach through the last week of May or first week of June). Because our paychecks are divided over 12 months, I am not eligible for unemployment in the layoff season. I started teaching 16 years ago and my salary was $19,000. It took me seven years to save enough money to buy a house and I had to move 25 minutes away from my place of employment in order to afford one. I currently make $64,000 on Utah's Right, but it doesn't tell you that I've stuck with the job for 16 years, teach summer school, mentor other teachers, teach an extra class period instead of having an unpaid prep, do outside maintenance work for the school, and help administer a federal grant in which I get paid. I'm not complaining about my job or salary, just the teacher-bashers.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 4:01 p.m.

    Utah needs the lotery! Pay teachers more with the lotery

  • Re No Way:
    July 6, 2009 3:56 p.m.

    It is quite obvious you have never taught school before. I'm sure that any teachers reading your post are laughing hysterically. First of all, professional development days are optional. You don't attend, you don't get paid. I'm sure you run into a teacher here and there, but the vast majority of teachers need the pay and attend those days. Of course you may not find teachers in their classroom before or after school. Did you bother to make an appointment with the teacher or just show up expecting them to be there. They might be running copies, at faculty meetings or district meetings, sick, on a field trip, meeting with parents, or counselors, or other myriad reasons. You people really need to get a life and start living in the real world. It is funny how you tell teachers to get a so-called "real world" job when most of the teachers have worked such jobs at one time or another, but on the flip side people who make such naive critical comments about teachers and the profession have never worked in the education profession. Oh, the hypocrisy.

  • Re Hatuletoh:
    July 6, 2009 3:45 p.m.

    So teachers aren't taxpayers either? That is a new one. If teachers don't pay taxes, then who is the "we" taxpayers? By the way, how many kids do you have and what is your income? I bet you don't even pay enough in taxes that educates a half of a child. People that use the system the most usually pay the least into it and whine about it. I say get rid of the child tax credit and start making people pay the full cost of educating their children. Also, I bet any teacher would love to have $2.00 per hour per child. With Utah's high classes they would make close to $100K per year. I bet they would even throw in a few educational activities for free--something that sticking your kids in front of the telly won't do.

  • what about administrators
    July 6, 2009 3:22 p.m.

    so what about school administrators (principals , etc..). I was considering getting a Masters in Administration for the purpose of becoming a principal. Does anyone have thoughts on this??? Interested.

  • ABS
    July 6, 2009 2:49 p.m.

    Go to UtahsRight.com, punch in a teacher you know, check their salary...divide that by 9, as they do not work 12 months, they get a three month break, something the rest of us don't get with our careers. Is it really that bad? No, not at all, they do better than most. Administrators are WAY over paid, I do agree, they should take a cut as well, to compensate more, but teachers don't do as poorly financially as they lead the public to think.

  • Concerned Educator
    July 6, 2009 2:04 p.m.

    To Hatuletoh,
    First of all, check your grammar…”being paying out” is not correct. Did you learn that from being plopped down in front of a T.V.? Second, you are a cheap-skate! Two bucks an hour for a sitter? Are they playing with your children or just sending text messages to their friends? And since when is T.V. free? Do you have cable? Oops! Not free! Or,do you sponge off those who DONATE to Public Television to educate your children? I have a better idea, why don’t you get off the couch where you are watching “quality T.V.” with your children and volunteer in the classroom? Don’t like schools? How about the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters or any number of other organizations in need of assistance. Yes, I am a teacher and a parent, so please don’t let your opinion rub off on your children…our job is difficult enough.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 1:53 p.m.

    I wish every teacher in Utah would quit. We are just cheap babysitters. Parents do not respect teachers; therefore, students do not respect teachers. We receive a salary 12 months of the year which makes our monthly paycheck smaller. We are required to be to workshops throughout the summer, after school, and on Saturdays. We have to teach children manners because parents don't! We need to teach them to come to school clean because parents don't! We need to teach them the importance of homework because parents don't. Many parents in this day and age are only worried about one person "themselves". As I said, I wish every teacher in Utah could quit----maybe then the public could see that we are a vital part of society!!!!!!

  • Hatuletoh
    July 6, 2009 12:58 p.m.

    Why should we taxpayers being paying out for teachers? I pay the babysitter two bucks an hour, and I can plop the kids in front of the TeeVee for free.

  • From another new teacher
    July 6, 2009 12:39 p.m.

    Comparing jobs and salaries is always a slippery slope. Collecting garbage is not like being an accountant is not like being a teacher. Teachers deal with things that those with desk jobs will NEVER have to deal with - comparing the two is unfair. Yes I get summers and holidays away from school but that doesn't mean I'm not working. I read, take classes, plan lessons, etc all to benefit the kids I teach.

    Also, where are all those great benefits you all keep talking about? I pay $450 a month for my health insurance and about the only thing it's good for is routine check ups. Jordan School District isn't even paying for my daughter's well child immunizations.

    All we're saying is that teachers shouldn't have to take all the cuts. Administrators in Jordan School District are getting a cost of living raise. Without my husband's income, my kids would qualify for food stamps and I'M the one getting the cut. How is that fair?

  • Grateful to be Out!
    July 6, 2009 12:32 p.m.

    I taught in the school system for 27 years and was more grateful than anyone can imagine to retire and get out of the mess!! Greed, selfishness and excessive demands from the top to the survival of the fittest at the bottom. Rude, disrespectful,lazy,students coming from the very kind of homes that encourage such behavior. Teachers were once respected,honored, supported, and rewarded for their efforts...but not anymore. Now they are treated with contempt, rudeness, and constant complaints from parents and the public at large about everything they do or not do. Darned if you do, darned if you don't. Anyone in their right mind would never enter a profession that suffers from the kind of abuses mentioned here and in comments on this topic. Think twice before becoming a school teacher!!!

  • Teacher
    July 6, 2009 12:26 p.m.

    I made $66,000 last year. I am now enjoying a summer of travel and boating with my kids. I get to work a job that actually makes the world a better place. What I do actually matters.

    I love my job and will enjoy a long, steady career.

    Sounds to good to be true?

    Nope. You too can be a teacher.

    Look into it. It is a great career.

    Just ignore the Hate Mongers on message boards.

  • Unique to Jordan
    July 6, 2009 12:16 p.m.

    The school board did NOT create this problem, but they are trying to solve it, even with a larger shortfall than other school districts, thanks to its recent divorce. As a parent, I'm glad to hear the school board is not raising class sizes. You'd think our teachers would be happy about that too.

  • Timj
    July 6, 2009 11:56 a.m.

    Most teachers do work 8 hour days. I have never known a teacher that works less. I'm sure they exist, but they're rare.
    Most teachers do get summers off (and don't spend more than a few days of that summer preparing for class). Try finding a decent summer job, though...a teacher friend of mine is working fast food this summer. $6 or $7/hour...The summer off isn't as big of a benefit as you would think, at least for teachers trying to support a family. That much money doesn't go far.

  • Timj
    July 6, 2009 11:46 a.m.

    Prospective teacher--smart choice. People think teacher's benefits are cushy--my health insurance carried a deductible so huge that I never even considered using it (and would've used it only for a catastrophic emergency). Some teachers are more expendable...math and science teachers are not. I taught science, and was always able to find work because of that.
    I'll be practicing law in 2 years--I'm near the top of my class, and so will probably get a good job after graduation. Average pay from my law school for the first year out is around $90,000 (although with my class rank I'll probably make a bit more). I was paid $33,000/year as a teacher. I'm spending this summer with a law firm, and the attorneys I work with don't have near the stress most teachers do.
    Consider going to graduate school--medical, dental, law, business, etc. before you consider teaching. Especially if you'll have a family to support and you're smart enough to make it through graduate school.

  • jhvb
    July 6, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    Maybe instead we should be wondering how the lawyer, doctor, NFL players, NBA players, etc. got to where they are making hundreds of thousands into the millions. Couldn't have done it without teachers. I feel our society has its priorities backwards.

    By the way, I can also guarantee you that most teachers don't get summer vacation. I know that most are in classes or summer professional development. Or heaven forbid they work in their classrooms in preparation for the coming school year. Teachers work 12 months a year (or the hours equivalent to that).

    I am grateful for the work that I have and the freedom to choose my career. I hope that teachers will realize the real reason for teaching (KIDS) and I hope that the rest of society will realize what teachers really go through and do for their children.

  • Re: realnews
    July 6, 2009 11:25 a.m.

    Sorry buddy your wrong most administrtors are past the step scale anyway, so they would not get a step regardless. They can make up any pay decrease by simply attending a few basketball or football games. In the Jordan district Adminitrators are not sacrificing a dime.

  • No Way
    July 6, 2009 11:15 a.m.

    No way do the "extra hours put in" come close to 12 months of actual work. Try to find a teacher in school before or after the bell rings. That's a 6 hour work day folks. Try to find a teacher at the professional development days. Sorry, I bump into them at the movies. How many times do your kids have substitutes because teacher is on vacation? Multiple times a month. How about the videos the kids watch in class the first 2 weeks of school and the last 2 weeks of school. The job is 9 months minus roughly 2 months of wasted professional and personal time. Don't pretend to be something you are not.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 11:11 a.m.

    Sometimes the people who are attracted to education like job security, summers off, shorter days, weekends off etc. I received my education in northern Davis County and can truthfully say that the number of teachers who really inspired learning etc. was limited to maybe a half dozen or so. Unfortunately some people hang out in the profession and take up space doing a mediocre job. When I was in Utah it was hard to get bond issues funded, and support staff were sorely needed such as art, music, and physical education teachers in the elementary grades. When I taught in Utah, I was never evaluated by any administrators. In order for educators to get the respect they desire, the occupation needs a complete makeover. Obama seemed to be intimating that he was going to help the sorry state of education, but it seems that conditions have worsened. In Arizona where I now live some districts are going to a four day week and all kinds of positions and programs are being eliminated.

  • Need balance
    July 6, 2009 11:08 a.m.

    I hold a degree to teach Elementary School but was not able to find a job in a tight market in 1997. I took my ambition and left teaching for a computer industry job, paying for my training as I went. My first computer job paid only $32000. After 5 years I was up to $50k. Now I'm able to pull 6 figures, but that comes with costs. My healthcare costs are around $500/mo, not to mention a $1k deductible and 80/20 coverage. I have no pention plan nor company supported 401k plan. My costs for earning such a high salary eat up that salary in no time. I live a frugal life, in an affordable house, and yet still work at least 60 hours per week. I have only 10 paid days off each year (those are used for both vacation and sick time). I'm on-call 24x7 and am usually still on-call during my vacation.

    Teachers should be paid more, but it's all relative. I would love to go back to teach, but it needs to lure me there...it almost can do that, based on my current costs of living.

  • realnews
    July 6, 2009 11:06 a.m.

    Either Mr. Barton (Kaysville Jr. History Teacher) was misquoted or misinformed. The truth is that all employees - teachers, administrators, and classified will not receive steps AND will lose two days of pay. With all Quality Teacher funding being cut by the legislature, teachers immediately lost seven paid work days. Five of those were restored through other cuts, including the loss of two days by other employees.
    Davis School District had cuts of $23 million. All employees shared in the cuts.

  • Prospective Teacher
    July 6, 2009 11:01 a.m.

    Hello! I'm 19 years old and I was thinking of becoming a teacher. After reading these comments and realizing how much teachers are hated, I've decided to look at another career option. I had no idea that the general public was so unappreciative of teachers. I loved my teachers in school and they helped me get through rough times in my life. While many in my own family were bad examples in my life, it was my teachers who provided that good example and helped to turn me around. I wasn't looking at being a teacher for the money, but to give back to a system that gave so much to me, but I would like some respect while doing so and to make a living without having to work another a second full time job at McDonalds. After reading these comments, I know I probably won't get any respect. I'm not sure if this negativity is just a Utah thing or if going to another state would be better if I want to become a teacher. Can anyone help me?

  • Re Salary:
    July 6, 2009 10:52 a.m.

    It is hard to get a summer job when most employers don't want to hire and train someone for such a short amount of time. Teachers do not get paid vacations off. They do not get paid for summers. Their checks are spread over 12 months. They are laid off and the contracts renew in the fall. They do not get comp time, nor do they get paid vacation time like most jobs in the supposedly "real world." Teachers also have a high-profile, public job that means they have to sacrifice some of the things they might like to do such as having a beer at a family picnic for fear that someone will see them and try to get them fired. As we have seen in the news lately, many teachers are falsely accused of misconduct by immature teenagers trying to get revenge for a bad grade or whatever. Also, don't forget that most people could never do what teachers do. It takes a certain personality to deal patiently with children. If we paid teachers what we paid our babysitters, they would be making $100,000+ per year. Teachers are worth every penny in Utah.

  • Share the burden
    July 6, 2009 10:51 a.m.

    Both the School Board and District Office Administrators could share the burden of these budget cuts by offering to take a 5% salary decrease. This would not only reflect the downsizing of the district, but it would also be a public expression of the goods of the whole, rather than the individuals who can escape salary cuts because teachers have taken them all.

  • Teachers Understand
    July 6, 2009 10:49 a.m.

    Yes, most all teachers know full well what their pay will be well before coming into the profession. And, the complaints in the past have been that they are paid below what a professional might expect, that is not the issue here. An agreement was made between each teacher and Jordan District that would allow pay raises each year (steps), at least in the first 15, and compensation for bettering themselves through education (lanes). Jordan is attempting to break this contract in refusing to allow the inevitable pay cuts through other methods, such as furloughing some days across the board. That is what is at issue here. It's sad that people are losing jobs. However, for one as demanding as teaching, Jordan District should do all it can to let teachers choose for themselves how to make it through this crisis.

  • Pay Scale
    July 6, 2009 10:47 a.m.

    Question for you? How much education do you have and how much experience in your current field? That principal one, is not a teacher but an administrator (they make more). Also to be that high requires at least a Masters plus 40 semester hours or an EdD. Then add 25 years or more of experience to their career and that is why they make $100K. It's just like people who say teachers make $50k to $60K a year. They do, with a a Masters and 25 years or so of experience.

  • Private School Teacher
    July 6, 2009 10:44 a.m.

    My wife left public school classrooms because of classroom size, parents that really could care less what happens in the classroom and now works for a wonderful private pre-school with low student to teacher ratios, private chef for lunch, parents that want to be involved with a fair salary and benefit package. There are options to keep teaching, be happy, and away from the politics of public education.

  • The Problem with Utah
    July 6, 2009 10:44 a.m.

    The fundamental problem with the state of Utah and education - too many kids and not enough money to go around. Simple problem but the solution is much more difficult. You can't keep cutting teachers and programs because Utah is bare bones right now with education so what do you do? You could raise taxes but Utah is already one of the highest taxed states and that won't fly. Utah BIG families get to deduct all their kids on their taxes so the biggest families are not paying their fair share toward education. My suggestion would be to do as Idaho did and institute a STATE RUN LOTTERY where the bulk of the proceeds go to education. Also, limit the deductions per house hold to 5 or 6 for dependents and thus increase the tax dollar base. Hard choices but what are the alternatives?

  • Get a Life
    July 6, 2009 10:37 a.m.

    people. I would honestly expect nothing less than many of the ignorant comments some have posted here. Teachers are taking this one on the back and the legislators and the citizens who post here are happy about it. Fine. Let's shut down public education in Utah. No more free daycare! Lets let those who can afford to get an education pay for it in the private sector and turn charter schools into elite schools by charging a $10,000 a year tuition to the state per student (on top of your normal taxes). Can't afford it then you get the opportunity to home school your children that you as a parent are responsible for. I think it is about time we place the responsibility for educating children where it belongs, on the parents. It's not free so let the parents figure it out. Want kids, accept the total responsibility for them including their education and how they will make a living when they are adults. Can't afford it, don't have kids or as many. This will save all of us a ton of money in the end.

  • In support of teachers...
    July 6, 2009 10:25 a.m.

    RE: Anonymous 2 - If you were as good/hard a worker as most teachers are, you would be able to get the work 12 months of work done in 9 months like teachers. You sound like you are whining more than teachers... but you "get paid great and love what you do." You wouldn't last a month in a classroom. Go back to your cubicle. I appreciate what teachers do.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 10:25 a.m.

    Teachers need to do the following: One, in the secondary (high school and middle or junior high) not do ANY after school activities. It's not part of their contract and they are contract employees so don't do it. That means no yearbook, no dances including prom etc., no student government, no sports etc. Let the parents take time off their jobs to volunteer to do those items (yes, teachers get paid for some of those things but not much). In both the secondary and elementary level let teachers show up when they are suppose to and leave when they are suppose. If grading doesn't get done, not a problem, no time outside of contract. When your child doesn't have grades to submit to a college, oh well, that's ok. The point is let them fulfill their contract since they are then being honest with their employee and let others (parents and administrators) figure out how to get those other things in. Pay a parent to coach a sport for $1000 and take the time off work and away from their family. Fulfill the contract teachers, nothing more.

  • Just a thought..........
    July 6, 2009 10:25 a.m.

    Read these comments and you'll understand why many leave education or don't choose it in the first place. Why choose a job where you are degraded and paid a pittance for the time put in? Are there bad teachers? Yes. Just like there are bad doctors, lawyers, accountants, politicians, etc. That doesn't mean you pain the whole profession with the same brush. Get rid of the poor teachers and praise the good ones. You want the "best and brightest"? Pay a living wage. Stop treating teachers like criminals or unintelligent dolts who couldn't do anything else so they went into teaching. You want higher test scores? Take responsibility for you children. Look at and help with their homework. Attend parent/teacher conferences. Volunteer at your school. When education becomes important to you, it will become important to your child. And stop trotting out international test scores unless you are willing to also point out the differences which are many. Chief among these is the fact that in this great country we educate ALL regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability, or language barriers.
    Most teachers do their best to help YOUR children to be their best. Say thanks.

  • Utexan
    July 6, 2009 10:25 a.m.

    Utah, be nice to your teachers! Here in Texas teachers start at 42,000. Teachers work hard with lots of overtime. Don't your children deserve the best?

  • Hey Teachers
    July 6, 2009 10:19 a.m.

    welcome to the REAL world. Folks are losing their jobs left and right, being forced to take furloughs and pay cuts. What makes you think, while on summer vacation for 3 months I might add, that you are immune?

    Hey, you don't like it? QUIT!!!!

    I just looked at the pay of a elementary principal and she is making about $100,000.00 per year. Plus benefits etc......

  • It was the legislature
    July 6, 2009 10:13 a.m.

    The legislature cut the professional development days that it had previously provided for teachers.
    That amounted to a 5.5 days of pay cut from salaries, becuse the boards of education throughtout the state had to cut other areas just to balance the budget.
    I am not a teacher, but you people who think they are overpaid are just plain nuts.

  • jobless teacher
    July 6, 2009 10:05 a.m.

    I enjoyed the article and remember being in the same situation several years ago. At least this guy has a job. I have taught for 12 years and my job was cut. I have 4 kids and am looking for a new job in a tough market-everyone sais teaching is recession proof-I am not seeing it.

    I enjoy my job and hopefully will teach again next year. The money was fine for me, my wife does not work and we found a way to make it work-you just need to make the right lifestyle choices. Teaching is a great job with a lot of security, at least I thought so.

  • Salary
    July 6, 2009 10:00 a.m.

    Mr. Merrell, makes just under $25 per hour. Works 180 days a year, with all vacations off and the summer. I am sure that Mr. Merrell has a summer job where the salary is not included in this article. If he does not, he should get one.

    All teachers go into the job knowing what the pay scale is. Most teachers are just luck and glad to have a job right now. As a teacher, I knew what I was going to get paid. The benifits are great, retirement is good, and the vacation and sick days are great. I see teachers making well into the $80,000 in Jordan District. Maybe like everyone else, he needs to put in his time.

  • Define harmless
    July 6, 2009 9:57 a.m.

    Earlier this year someone in state government said education would be "held harmless" in the budget this year. Oh yeah, he's on his way to China.

  • hey now i understand
    July 6, 2009 9:56 a.m.

    and this should be taken in all seriousness , is not meant as a cut but some have even had to rob graves to supplement their families...these people deserve better as they spend the most time with everyone's children. Now the illegals are putting a huge strain on the system also but we're not suppose to talk about that and let em just walk around here.

  • Anonymous 3
    July 6, 2009 9:55 a.m.

    Also, teachers get paid low salaries because there are 15+ people that will do their job for them for the low salary and probably do just as good of job. An education degree is easy to obtain and a lot of local graduates want to stay and teach in Utah because it is their home. I know that teaching isn't easy, and kids would drive me nuts so that is why I chose not to be a teacher.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    I have a great respect for teachers but they really need to understand that the benefits are really big. (I agree that they are under paid, but benefits can add about $8,000 to current base). Those of us who are self-employed really understand what a benefit it is to have good health insurance and even a retirement plan that someone else helps contribute to. Please instead of being so upset that you didn't get a raise and even had to take a little cut, be grateful that you have any income at all there are alot that would give anything just to have a steady salary.

  • Outside influences dumbing us
    July 6, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    There is a polarizing talk show host in Utah who is always railing on teacher pay and teacher unions. He says we don't need people of high quality in the subject to teach the subject because these kids are only at high school level and the teachers are college graduates.

    In spite of his popularity among some, I wish he weren't on the air, he is a dumbing down influence on Utah.

    Utah definately needs to attract high quality people into the teaching profession. People who know their subject backwards and forward. It hard to do when the pay is so low.

    If a person doesn't have a good foundation in High school, 4 years of university aren't going to make up for that. There are high school graduates who barely know their math, then they go on to get a degree in education and become our elementary school teachers, who are supposed to teach math.

    Add to this the fact that the schools of education are promoting destructive methods of teaching, where arithmetic is gutted, but other things such as hollow geometry, (little thinking required) (group activities as opposed to individual thinking)
    ran out space

  • Anonymous 2
    July 6, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    Teachers who think 9 months of teaching = 12 months of everyone elses work are in the dark. They forget about all the holidays they get off. I work on Presidents day. I work on Human Rights Day. I don't get 10 days off for Christmas, or a fall break, or a spring break, or 2 months off in the summer. My family members that are teachers vacation, vacation, and vacation! They golf in the middle of the day!!! I haven't had a "middle of the day" in 3 years. And don't give me the, "we spend so much time outside of the classroom" speach. You think salaried employees do 40 hours and then quit? No! They are salaried because they are working 50, 60, 70 hours a week. I work 24-48 hours straight soemtimes, and I know no teachers are doing that. I get 2 weeks vacation a year, and that's it!!! I get paid great and I love what I do!

  • No sympathy here
    July 6, 2009 9:49 a.m.

    I have no sympathy for the guy in the story. I'm in a similar situation - married, one kid and another on the way making about the same salary and yet we're able to put money into savings each month. Moreover, my benefits are less than his (no retirement and I pay for my wife's and son's health plan out of pocket), my wife doesn't work, and we live in a small duplex rather than rent a whole house, so what's the story here?

    How many other Utahns are doing the same thing without calling up reporters to have a big news article written about their "struggles"? And let's not forget that teachers have about the best job security in the world, and yet while unemployment is hitting new heights, they have the chutzpah to complain about no pay raises??

    So here's the world's smallest violin playing for Mr. Merrell. That's all you'll get from me.

    And P.S. I have to work 12 months a year. I don't have summers off to find another job.

  • RE:He loves what he does
    July 6, 2009 9:48 a.m.

    Don't have a family of SEVEN if the main bread winner is a teacher. It a pretty simple concept. Im sure with at least 5 kids your family is not paying much in taxes if any but it will cost around $30,000 per year to educate your children in the public school system and people are wondering where our tax money goes?

  • I teach
    July 6, 2009 9:45 a.m.

    First off all teachers are not complaining, we understand the economic situation around the world and have accepted what needs to be done. You don't see teachers holding up signs and protesting. Second if you think every new teacher is a good teacher I've got news for you. I have worked with new student teachers that could not make it through a class period, didn't know how to do a lesson plan and most of all couldn't control the kids for five minutes. Before you get rid of all the "Older teachers" you better think twice, some of the new teachers coming in can't even last through the student teaching period let alone 30 years. And lastly the real gripe teachers have is not having to take a pay cut, its when school administrators don't even suggest taking a pay cut.Pricipals, vice pricipasl the superintendant and his entire staff. We all have to sacrifice but they don't?. Teachers are furious they make double what teachers make yeet won't sacrifice a penny. The real waste in education is at the top. I'm amazed an article is never writen about this situation.

  • Public Ed=Free Day Care
    July 6, 2009 9:44 a.m.

    Teachers are overpaid considering the high level of competition for their jobs. There are probably thousands of people with teaching degrees in this state that are not teaching. Yes, most are worth more than what we are paying them but the market has always borne much lower salaries than what we are now giving out.

    I say cut teacher pay even further. Most people just use the public school system to dump off the kids so they can go work. Because my kids have to deal with that sort of apathy anyway, I educate my kids at home on most subjects after the school teacher has introduced them. As long as my kids get something in school, the teacher is a little better than a babysitter, but that is what I use her for.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 9:42 a.m.

    Everyone here seems to think that if we keep underpaying the teachers that the good ones will leave. They've been saying that since I was a little kid (20 years ago) and there are still a ton of great teachers around. A bunch of my family teach in the Nebo School District and there are 15+ teachers applying for every job opening. These are good teachers that want to work in Utah, even though the pay isn't what they would like. BYU pumps out hundreds of education degreed individuals every year.

  • from Jordan School District
    July 6, 2009 9:32 a.m.

    Why were no district board members given the opportunity to explain the current situation. Jordan School District prides itself on its commitment to students, and has done everything to ensure that student programs and services are not affected because of budget shortfalls. When Ms. Stewart would like to finish the story, we would be happy to comment to help paint a clearer picture of what is taking place with the upcoming 2009-10 budget.

  • Re: The Truth
    July 6, 2009 9:27 a.m.

    Your truth is a lie. Step pay raises are decided district by district, not by the state. My district cut salaries and benefits this year by 8%. 2.5% was taken directly from teacher steps. Another 2.5% was taken from teacher benefits. 3% was taken by removing options for teachers to make more money, like professional development classes, etc.

  • Hypocrisy
    July 6, 2009 9:25 a.m.

    I think it is funny how everyone complains about how much teachers make and about our education system because when property tax increases are brought up everyone fights tooth and nail to fight the increases. Where is the money supposed to come from if people don't want in increase in property tax? Also illegals being educated are taking costing the state millions of dollars ($6200 per student)that could actually go to pay teachers a higher salary.

  • Union members reap what they sow
    July 6, 2009 9:24 a.m.

    The big story here is how new teachers get the shaft from the pay schedules set up by the teachers union. Rather than try to attract new young talent into the teaching career, the union is more concerned with protecting the interests of the older teachers who make up a large majority of the teachers union. And what do the older teachers want? Higher pay for more experience despite any evidence that more experience beyond 5 years makes a teacher any better.

    I hope the younger teachers are paying attention to this. The teachers union is a cartel, shielding its members from real competition which in this case, includes newer teachers, many of whom are also dues-paying members of the union.

    Just remember, you reap what you sow. It's time for Utah to do away with these archaic pay contracts and start paying the best teachers the most, regardless of whether they've been teaching for 5 years or 20.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 9:14 a.m.

    I know plenty of people that went into education because they have 3 months of during the summer. Oh yeah, and don't forget two weeks off at Christmas, a week of during spring break and every other holiday you could ever imagine.

    Part of my decision process in finding a major and a future career was salary. If you wanted to be wealthy then you should not have majored in education.

  • My Brother & I
    July 6, 2009 9:14 a.m.

    My brother and I went to college together. We both graduated with teaching degrees five years ago. After one year, we both decided that we desperately needed to go to graduate school if we wanted to support a family. I have a Masters in Education and am a National Board Certified Teacher (one of only about 185 in Utah). My brother got an MBA from the same University. His starting salary in the business world was more than twice what I make in teaching. Two years later, he's making three times what I make. We both absolutely love our jobs. Who made the better choice? I went further in my education than he did. It will never pay off. The reason teaching does not often attract the best and brightest minds is purely financial, folks.

  • He loves what he does
    July 6, 2009 9:11 a.m.

    my husband is one of two male teachers at his elementary school, and he is a good teacher. Students cry when they don't get his class. Parents bombard the Principal with requests to get their children in his class.

    Probably the same type of people who tell teachers not to complain are the ones who want my husband to teach their kid.

    My husband spends hundreds of dollars of his own money every year, like many other teachers do, to improve his classroom. He spends hundreds of extra hours at school, like many teachers do, to accomplish what can't be done during the school day.

    His salary was cut by 700 dollars this year. Not a big deal to many, but to this family of seven, it means a lot.

    He is looking for an early morning job to supplement our income. I hope the extra work doesn't affect his teaching performance.

    Yes, he knew that teachers earned little when he started this career he adores, but aren't you parents glad he stuck with it?

  • pardon
    July 6, 2009 9:02 a.m.

    The question isn't how are the teachers taking it. The question is how will it impact the kids.

    Remember? The kids is why we educate... for the future!!!!

  • Re: Timj
    July 6, 2009 9:01 a.m.

    What do you do now that pays you up to 3 times more than your teachers salary?

  • The Truth
    July 6, 2009 8:47 a.m.

    Teachers salaries are not bad when you consider the benefits and actual days worked. Unlike ALL the other employees of the State, teachers will get their step pay raise this year. Yet they still complain. How would they like to have no raise like the rest of the state employees?

  • Canadian Teacher Friend
    July 6, 2009 8:43 a.m.

    Enjoy visiting Utah often. However... it is mind boggling how much teachers in Utah pay out of their own pocket for classroom supplies and to help students who also lack supplies.
    Have family and friends that are teachers here.
    Sure we too have had budget cuts but Utah's cuts are more like slices off an already too low teacher's wage.
    Those of you that say you wish you had that wage...then go to school and be a teacher. Over crowded rooms, little to no teacher assistants, and a work week that far exceeds the actual hours paid for. . Parents often say to me after volunteering and leaving exhausted..."I don't know what you get paid but it is not enough." Children today have lots of emotional baggage brought to school and media/electronic frazzled brains. Your teachers ARE dedicated and yet so undervalued.
    Bless your Utah teachers. May the STATE WAKE up. Pay them at least the norm of your country. Be grateful for your teachers. You that are so quick to judge...YOU try it and see if you can do it!

  • RE: TEACHER
    July 6, 2009 8:34 a.m.

    The fact is teachers get paid for 9 month's. I don't care how much over time they put in. I work 12 months and put in about 60 hours per week and only get paid for 40 hours per week. We just took an across the board 3% pay cut to eliminate having to lay off more people. Stop whining, the job is what it is, many don't have jobs. Several teachers live around me and make $50,000 plus and I don't see them putting in all that much overtime, if any. If your worked in the real world you would understand long hours and low pay.

  • He wants a pay raise?
    July 6, 2009 8:10 a.m.

    He's getting a degree from the University of Phoenix. Why should the school district pay him for a worthless degree?

  • What needs to be done
    July 6, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    The problem with teacher salaries is that it attracts too many people into the field who really aren't that good at educating youth.

    Not enough teachers have the wisdom to reject stupid educatonal ideas. It would seem that not teaching phonix would be an idea an educator would reject. Phonix requires students to learn the letters and about 35 sounds associated with the letters, from there students get a good foundation on reading. But no, modern educators said, we will use the -look say- method instead. Which requires students to learn every word in the english language they hope to use.

    The same goes for math education. Before the recent change in the Utah math core. There were increasing numbers of schools in Utah who did not teach times tables or how to do arithmetic by hand. Which is bad enough on its own, but later these students have a very hard time in Algebra.

    We are paying teachers too little and attracting to many of the dumbest college graduates to go into education. Especially in math, we need to raise teacher pay, and at the same time, we still need to raise standards which are still too low.

  • Feel fortunate
    July 6, 2009 7:40 a.m.

    I went to school in Europe. There were 5 levels of high schools. If students were late bloomers, they could move to a higher level of high school, because only after graduating from the highest level of high school could a student go to college. Doubling a class was a frequent occurrence. Special Ed students had they own school. No money was spent on games and cheer leading(join a club), and busing (use a bike or the public transportation system). Only 2 students in my class were 17 when they graduated. The final exams were state exams and lasted 2 weeks. Graduation was contingent upon passing the exams, and I knew many kids who had to repeat those exams the next year. Teachers were state employees and were paid reasonably. All teachers had degrees in the fields that they taught. Those were the good old days, but after school I had a solid foundation in calculus, physics, chemistry and 3 foreign languages. College was a piece of cake for me. All my three kids graduated from high school with at least the first semester of calculus behind them. I helped them pick their classes.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 7:17 a.m.

    No wonder Utah is 50th in education!
    I guess we really don't care about the KIDS.
    I think all the sport players out there should give part of their salaries to teachers (across the nation) So we can improve our quality teachers and our KIDS will get a great education and not be run over by other nations.
    Everyone is struggling in the Finance department, thanks to the current President. It is only going to get worse, and if we don't have quality teachers (because they all left the field for higher paying jobs) our KIDS are not going to learn about our Great Founding Fathers and others who fought for FREEDOM so we could be FREE! God Bless the USA!

  • Bob the bonehead
    July 6, 2009 6:52 a.m.

    I've worked 21 years in education and I am concerned about the value our society puts into education. For example, My son graduated from SUU last year in business and hried on at a energy company in SLC for 65,000 a year with better benefits than educators have. I have worked 21 years and earned a masters degree and I won't ever reach 65,000 as a teacher. Like I tell my children, stay away from education until until our society truly values it. We are often compared to asian counties when scores are compared but we never want to talk about how teaching is seen in those countries compared to America.

  • Grand Pap Always Said
    July 6, 2009 6:36 a.m.

    "You get what you pay for".

    Let's see how many qualified teachers we can drive out of the profession this year.

  • Utah Education is Under Funded
    July 6, 2009 6:35 a.m.

    The bottom line is Utah public education is under-funded. You can say what you want about teachers and teachers Unions in Utah but the bottom line is that a Teacher cannot make a living wage in Utah anymore. It is crazy that we expect these people to help us educate our future Doctors, Lawyers and Stake Presidents but fail to pay them even close to a living wage. Nearby states are doing cool things with their children like Apple Laptop initiatives (WYO) and paying nearly twice as much to the teachers. We will soon be creating our own self fulfilling prophesy about public education. Only in the USA do we educate every child. This is a great tradition that needs to continue. It is the only social program we should be funding. I am not a teacher. I can't afford to be.

  • Re: No Surprises
    July 6, 2009 6:34 a.m.

    FYI - I left the military after four enlisted years and returned to college to be a teacher. After three years of paying to go to school, rather than being paid to work, I was offered less to teach than I made three years before in the military. In the military I got 30 days of paid leave a year, as a teacher I got June and July to continue my education.

    I left Utah to teach in another state that paid better, but returned two years later because Utah is my home. After just one year of teaching in Utah I left the classroom because I could not support my family as a teacher in Utah.

    Education faces economic pressures just like every other industry. The sad part is that many teachers have options, maybe not this year, but soon. The point of the article is that a young teacher with an MBA can leave teaching and receive a much higher salary in the business world. Unfortunately many fine teachers do leave the classroom or leave the state, just so they can support their family. I wish we could afford to keep the best teachers in the classroom.

  • mtymouse
    July 6, 2009 6:14 a.m.

    I know some teachers are very dedicated and spend many hours before and after school improving their classrooms or giving extra help to struggling students, but they earn in nine months what I earn in twelve months, so I find it hard to sympathize too much. However, I do think it is unfair that teachers are always the ones called on to sacrifice whenever education has to make financial cuts. I have always thought the administrators of education, both on the school and district levels, are way overpaid for what they do. Let them sacrifice a bit too, which would show their support for their teachers (after all, weren't they all teachers before their current higher status positions?!).

  • I love my job.
    July 6, 2009 6:09 a.m.

    I am a teacher. I get every holiday off, summers with my kids, not a great salary, but more than most with a bachelors degree. I am grateful.

  • Teacher
    July 6, 2009 5:47 a.m.

    The problem is teachers have to get their raises from the legislature. That wouldn't happen if they weren't vocal about it. Sad but true.

    I predicted this would happen in our district. The old teachers run the negotiations in each district because they are in charge of the "association". They negotiated a pathetic settlement this year. Freezing steps and lanes is the worst thing you could do to a young teacher. The story gets that point right on the money. A young teacher that completes a degree at his own cost will now receive no compensation for that degree. Young teachers stick out those first few years because they know if they can make it to about year 7 then they will be making decent money.

    I would guess that every young, male teacher trying to support a family is seriously reconsidering the idea of staying in education right now.

    The uninformed posters say they are sick of the whining. Well, keep saying that if you wish but be prepared for no men in education and no professional teachers.

    It will soon be an hourly job.

    I just saw a job posting for an hourly elementary teacher.

  • Utahns are cheapstakes
    July 6, 2009 5:37 a.m.

    It is pretty ridiculous that the average starting teacher in Utah still qualifies for food stamps. Paying some taxes IS patriotic! You get what you pay for -- pay less and the best will leave.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 5:22 a.m.

    The United States does not put its emphasis on education, thus they do not attract the best and brightest to become educators. Some countries value teachers and only those with top credentials are given the opportunity to be educators. Our country is now about 24th in achievement compared with other industrialized countries around the globe. Often high school seniors are unprepared to enter the university or the world of work. It has been proven that the delivery system of educating a student an education is about four times more expensive per pupil in the United States than other countries. Tjere needs to be a major overhaul of education from the ground up. It is no longer enough for teachers to teach facts and figures. Students can get that from the internet. They need to learn critical thinking, problem solving, values, leadership, how to be team players, etc. Administrators need to be mentors and provide opportunities for teachers to be observed and be given opportunities for continued growth. Our students can't even compete for some of the scientific, mathematical, and medical opportunities in the top tier universities. Asian, and other foreign students fill those ranks.

  • Timj
    July 6, 2009 4:31 a.m.

    Leaving the teaching profession was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Three years after leaving the profession, and I'll be making 2.5 to 3 times as much money--at an easier job.
    A lot of amazing people remain teachers even though they could succeed elsewhere. Putting penalties on young teachers, like Jordan School District is currently doing, will drive some quality teachers to reconsider their career path.
    The LDS prophets have told us that employers will pay us what they believe we're worth. Doesn't say much about society's respect for teachers, does it. Tough job (you try disciplining 35 14-year-olds all day long, day after day). Crappy pay (especially starting out). No respect from students, parents, administrators, or society.
    If you're thinking about getting out, it may be the best career choice you ever make.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 4:13 a.m.

    I wish I had a job that paid $35k. I appreciate what teachers do but quit whining. At least your jobs aren't being eliminated.

  • Anonymous
    July 6, 2009 2:29 a.m.

    The United States does not put a high priority on teachers. It pays medeocre salaries and attracts mediocre candidates to the profession. The United States ranks 24th in the world in achievement in math, reading and writing. Finland, however, who ranks number one in achievement goes after its best and brightest students as teachers. They put a high emphasis on education. Many of these countries who rank significantly higher than the United States are able to educate their students at about one fourth the cost of the United States. There needs to be a major overhaul with teachers beginning with their university training. Teachers are not preparing students for the 21st century by teaching problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration and leadership skills. Many high school graduates are not ready for the university or the world of work when they leave high school. Administrators are often unprepared to mentor beginning teachers to help them grow professionally. I taught in the Provo School District in the seventies. There were no music, art, or physical education teachers for elementary students. The classroom teacher was required to teach everything, even though most were not equipped to do so. I was never evaluated.

  • bemused
    July 6, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    The Jordan board could fund the shortfall by increasing class sizes, but that means more layoffs - i.e. young teachers.

    The legislature could have funded the shortfall by choosing to do fewer road projects and put more funding in education. That would have served the young teachers.

    The Jordan board didn't make this problem, but they have to figure it out.

    Chances are that a young MBA can find more lucrative work than teaching high school. It just looks like this guy wanted to make a difference but won't afford to. That's too bad.

    Utah will get what it's willing to pay for.

  • Teacher 2
    July 6, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    Thank you to Amy K. Stewart for writing an article that actually gives the teachers' side of what is going on in Jordan School District. Jordan District has been very careful how they have phrased the terms of their offer to the teachers for the 2009-10 school year...I should say they have been careful to the point of misleading to any teachers who may be uninformed about what is going on.

  • Ray
    July 6, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    $34,500 isn't so bad when you compare it with some who do not have a job. Teaching seems to be a way to dodge the economic bullet. When I started my school district put me on the 4th step as a reward for my time in the military and my salary that years was $6300. My good friend started at $15,000 as an accountant. My family had to scrape but we made it. I shed no tears for this teacher's situation. At least he has a job and his wife can help--that is the way life is today.

  • Teacher
    July 6, 2009 1:04 a.m.

    To Ed Secretary - You may think that teachers only work nine months; however, if you were to add in all of the extra unpaid hours that they work, and then add in 2 or 3 weeks of PAID vacation time (which teachers do NOT have, but SHOULD have if they were treated like other professionals), you would find your totals coming in fairly close to 12 months of work.

  • Tired of Union control
    July 6, 2009 1:02 a.m.

    Steps and lanes is garbage. The teachers union screws over the younger teachers. There are so many old fossils that need to be dismissed from the system. Why would they leave, however, when they get rewarded for time served. How education ever got away with a salary system that doesn't reward performance is beyond me. Oh wait, the powerful unions are to blame. If teachers were paid for performance, you can bet many young teachers would be making more than the older ones. There's enough money to be more equitable. Start paying based on performance. I don't understand why those who pay the salaries, the taxpayers, don't demand it.

  • mlh1973
    July 6, 2009 12:17 a.m.

    I too get sick of the griping and whining. I get sick of the griping and whining of those that think all teachers do is gripe and whine. Every year, teachers have to do battle with the state legislature, the district administration, and others who would have them work for nothing. This year is no different. Unfortunately, many of you that are commenting think that teachers should just be quiet, count their blessings, and go about business as usual. If they were to do this, then they would be taken advantage of over and over again. You are correct that this is like every other profession and industry out there. The times are tough, and everyone has to fight for what they need and want. Teachers are no different. What is drastically unfortunate is that the Jordan School District and others are choosing to have those that make the least, shoulder the burden for ALL. As new and talented teachers look at education as a career, these decisions will persuade many to think twice, and likely to go another way. Sad...because my kids are just entering the educational system, and I want them to have the very best.

  • Ed Secretary
    July 6, 2009 12:02 a.m.

    When teachers, etc. complain about their salaries, they forget to divide by 9 and not 12 months. The salary is spread out so a pay check is received every month. My daughter just graduated from a University and she can't even get a job and she's qualified in several areas.

  • More teachers whining
    July 5, 2009 11:53 p.m.

    Just another example of teachers using the media to tell the public how "little they are being paid". They knew the salary when they started pursuing the career. Everybody is facing financial shortfalls. Somewhere in all that education some teachers failed to learn economics apply to them too. Maybe they should learn to quit complaining at least they have a job!

  • No surprises missed the point
    July 5, 2009 11:31 p.m.

    The point is that it is the young teachers who are bearing the brunt of district budget cuts. These are the teachers least financially able to afford cuts. It is young people that need to be recruited into the teaching workforce in order to improve education. The teachers at the top of the payscale should suffer the same reduction in pay. They are part of the system also.

  • No surprises here
    July 5, 2009 10:58 p.m.

    Every ear we hear the same old stories about teachers being underpaid.

    Teacher salaries are public record and anyone entering the field should know that they are not going to get rich teaching.

    Lots of families depend on both parents working in order to live at the standard which they desire.

    Many other workers are taking pay freezes and pay cuts during these hard times, and teachers should not be exempt. However, school district should make serious cuts in other overhead expenses before cutting teacher pay. (Can the district big wigs get along with one or two fewer assistants or secretaries? Would that make a difference for kids in class?)

    Before people whine about the hourly pay for teachers, let's point out that compared to many entry level jobs for college grads (or those who can find work) teachers do pretty well.

    There are a lot of college grads in the military, both as officers and enlisted. Their jobs are at least as important and a lot more difficult and far more dangerous than teaching. If you think military pay is a lot better, there are recruiters waiting to talk to you.