OT: Democracy in Action

Page 3 of 8  


Don't want to move from this idyllic place, a National Historical Landmark <http://radburn.org

Sorry, meant as a hypothetical possibility - "Maybe"

No government tuition checks, please. Why impose another bureaucracy on what already has plenty of paperpushers? Believe me, from my experiences with granting agencies, instituting a simple paper check give-away will lead to a need for 2-20 paper handlers per school, on top of the paperhandlers at the "government" and not to speak of the possibilities for gray or black markets.
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Best regards
Han
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Then starve, and stop whining.

When you propose a "solution" you really do have to look at the likely results.

It has to be done that way so parents can choose the schools. Without that choice (competition) the system cannot change.
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Can't replace them; tenure.
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That was the point. Many think that tenure should be modified to make it easier to get rid of underperforming teachers.
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Han
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There shouldn't *BE* tenure. There is *no* justification for it in the public school system.
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That is too absolute a statement for me to subscribe to. But I must admit that I haven't exhaustively studied the pros and cons. You appear to have more knowledge. Can you share?
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Han
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Wrong. You seem to have a good reason to have tenure. You prove the positive. I'm not going to waste time trying to prove a negative. We already see what happens with tenure.
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Hans,
The 20% increase in workload is not the point. I guess I was focusing on all the down time they have now. Until this came up in the negotiations and it was made public, I never in a million years would have thought that they only worked a little over 50% of the school day. They say they need that time to grade papers and exams and homework and such. I understand. Really. I do. But I don't know of any other profession who is given that amount of "free time" at work.
And I sort of hate to say it but I know a number of people who work at colleges. Two of them were fellow employees back in the day when I was laid off--they were laid off, too, during the same downturn and we were all int he same IT group. They say it is like they died and went to heaven working at a college. The one guy said the most stress he has is whenever payroll runs an he is in charge of payroll. He has had exactly zero production problems in almost eight years in payroll. The most stress he has is whenever he has keep an eye on the jobs over weekends. if that is the limit to his stress, please, give it to me.
I will trade you a year here, Han, for a year in your university. I don't think you have been called while you were on the beach and had to cut it short to go back and log into work for hours very often. or called at all hours of the night because the system crashed, worked 3-4 hours, then had to go to work the next day at normal time (probably due to the crash). I don't think I worked an eight hour day in many years, let alone a 40-hour week!
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wrote:

I have no idea what kind of work you do. Please tell me a little, or a lot <grin>.
Been there, done that. I never had a teaching job (students that is, perhaps unfortunately). I had to formulate a hypothesis, design experiments, run the experiments, calculate and interpret the data, and write the scientific papers. And in order to get the grant money, I had to write the grants. No grants, no job. Luckily, I only had 1 or 2 times that there wasn't enough money for my salary. And then there were the scientific conferences were you had to present the data, be nice to the people who might judge you and so on, and still keep your integrity. Most years I wasn't home to take my wife out for our anniversary because of that. But I liked the work, despite the frustrations and hard work, and hope I contributed. I'm still assisting my old colleagues with this and that from home, but no more filling out those effing forms and doing those proficiency and compliance tests. My old boss is still doing this. I owe much to him and his liking of my work. I also had a technician to help me much of the time, and they all were very competent and nice, and got paid less, some much less, others not so much less (seniority pays).
But I do know I lived in a protected world, generally. Of course, if my boss and I had failed at some point to generate enough grant money, the university would nicely say thanks to me, and send me on my way. Happened many times, both with competent and with not too competent people. The luck of the dr.aw. If your grant was judged by someone who didn't like your ideas, you were done until you could rewrite the grant, perhaps getting it to someone who liked it better. Generally in the times I was submitting, there was 1 main reviewer of your grant, 2 who would look at it, and then a bunch who would read the summary and judge what the others were saying.
As for the wimps that are supposed to support your work in the university's offices, many are nice people who had reached their Peter principle level. Others are worse, and still others do a good job. One thing I couldn't stand was the increasingly complex forms and permissions, certifications and compliance testing. Seemed like every 3 months the forms needed to be changed and the required language in the forms was redone. I still get the emails announcing the improved redone forms etc. Now I can plonk them, and occasionally I write back telling them why I quit.
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Han
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Han,
I work for a for-profit company. Always have. Granted, I never had to write a grant paper but isn't that asking people for money??
I work in IT. I still sorta-kinda work on a mainframe and have been in IT since 1978. This is an incredibly rough area to work because there are always more than enough young bucks coming along who "know" the latest and greatest everything. Many of them couldn't code themselves around the corner but since they have written source code in a particular language of the month, they get the job and the dinosaurs are left out.
I have been in programming, operations, a DBA, EDI, project management, you name it. I have had to re-educate myself at least a dozen times over the years and all on my dime. I had to re-invent myself twice as many times. The latest thing I have been cramming for is Oracle. Personally, I the database sucks and the software suite is even worse, but they wined and dined the people who write the checks here, so it is what it is.
I have been forced to teach people my job on more than one occasion so I could be shown the door. This is a fairly recent phenomenon with offshore outsourcing. Let me tell you, the seething anger the first time you talk to a smiling idiot who is harvesting all the knowledge you have so he can have a job and feed his family while you have nothing but uncertainty in front of you.
I am not complaining (much) because this is what happens in the field I chose. I know it and I have grown to accept it. The fact of the matter is that I will do whatever it takes NOT to take a handout from anybody. I have never bitched and complained about anybody making more money than me. And the only times I have ever whined some is whenever I had to make a brain dump,er, i mean, knowledge transfer to somebody else who isn't nearly as qualified as I was but is willing to work for a lot less than I do.
Teachers have been insulated from this real world stuff for the most part. I am not saying that teaching is not hard work. To be good at anything takes hard work and dedication. But throwing money at everything solves nothing.
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wrote:

I have no experiences in the areas personally. SIL was very high up in Lehman email worldwide. High salary etc, etc, but it burned him up. They bought another company and SIL was told that he could go, but it would be nice if he could transition the guy for a month or so. He also got a very nice settlement. Sold his Lehman bonuses in time. As a high school teacher earning a small fraction he is now immensely satisfied and proud of his performance and of the kids he helps go to college instead of into the street. Son is in sys admin or so now. I have no real idea of what he does.
Databases. Weill Cornell switched their ancient systems for payroll, purchasing etc. to an SAP web-based system. I had heard of SAP as a highfaluting (sp) company, like Oracle (perhaps). After having had to struggle with the anticustomer aspects of that system, I lost even more respect for at least the Cornell and SAP IT people. I have never really done any programming myself other than playing a bit with Applesoft ... But I can figure out ipconfig <grin>.
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Han
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Googling "nj police health insurance contribution" comes up with a lot, but I can't easily corroborate that figure. The new rules for public employees may be something like this <http://www.cliffviewpilot.com/beyond/2488-how-nj-pension-and-health - reform-affects-you>: All employees must pay a portion of their premium, based on salary and using a sliding scale that starts at 3% of the premium for those making less than $25,000 a year and reaches 35% for those making $110,000 or more (the percentage changes for every $5,000 over $25,000).

That is unconscionably high, and I hope some of that is deductible on your taxes. Can't you get a better plan, maybe via AARP or AAA?
OTOH, my coworker, who was screwed out of a salary (too long a story) for something like a year, while her husband was also not being paid, was paying over $1000/month for COBRA coverage in New York.
At Weill Cornell health insurance is a great benefit. For myself and my spouse, when I worked full time, my contribution for medical, dental & vision was ~$212/month.

The issue is really what the cost should be, and (red flag waving) I believe that the leveling of the costs for everyone under Obamacare is going to be a plus. Remeber, my insurance is now paying (in New York) a surcharge over the hospital costs of 8.5% to cover uninsured people.
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Han
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On 8/11/2011 12:44 PM, Han wrote:

Actually that is normal, do you have any idea how much the employer pays for an employees insurance?

I can guarantee you that you were only paying a small percentage of the total. When I was working for others I never had any deductions for my insurance however being a check signer I knew full well what health insurance was costing the company.

Think about how much that is going to go up when you start footing the whole bill, Fewer raises, smaller raises, higher taxes....
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I was involved in writing grants, and know about the budgets. On top pof the salaries/wages there was always 30% extra for benefits. Plus on top of the socalled "direct costs" the universities had negotiated with the NIH (National Institutes of Health) an additional percentage for overhead (building costs, maintenance costs, water, what have you). That percentage? In the order of 70%. In other words, you (via the NIH) paid me 100K in salary, 30K in benefits, 30K in equipment and chemicals and other materials for my science, plus 70% of 160K2K for the university. My salary was in that order, which was quite normal for someone with my qualifications.

Yes, I know. Officially, that was because the university was competing with other employers to get the most qualified people. A good benefit package was a big plus.

I don't know. Everyone (in my reddish opinion) should pay similarly for health care insurance. No ducking because you think you are invincible and won't get sick, because if you do, you'll be unable to pay back what you evaded before. And, better to have a colonoscopy now than colon cancer later.
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Han
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wrote:

The counterargument is whether you'd want your kids to be educated by high school teachers who make 40K/year.
As far as the hours worked, from what I see my kids do, it is a rather consuming job teaching math & physics in Paterson NJ and similar districts. Apart from the miserable shape those communities and kids are in, the hours of school and after school efforts plus the hours of grading and lesson planning would have exhausted me within a year. Glad it's not my job ...
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Han
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I am not saying that teachers or firemen or policemen or whomever do not work hard. You want to know the truth? My son will be starting his sophomore year at Penn State to become a high-school math teacher. I know it is no bed of roses. But, at the same time, he is not looking for a free ride.
That said, you mention that your kids started out at $40/K each four years ago. Here is the thing: there are a number of people living in that community who are paying taxes and are paying A LOT more for health insurance and are paying into their own retirement accounts.
Like somebody mentioned before: nobody is taking anything away; they are changing it for the future. It needs to be done. Sorry.
Somebody else mentioned the "security" part of it. That is gone , too. Yes, it is a sad thing but there is no security in the private sector and, in a number of cases, the person doing the same job in the public sector gets paid less than the one in the public sector NOW (it was not like that before). It is upside down.
This slanted sort of thinking is exactly what brought Greece down and is bringing a number of other European countries to their collective knees. Take off the blinders and see. Both China and Iran are licking their chops waiting to become the kingpin in a post-America world. And that doesn't even count all the religious crap that is going on.
As long as we fight amongst ourselves over this piddly crap, the stronger the other side becomes.
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wrote:

Some of that I can agree with. OTOH, employee-employer relations are much more combative than they need to be, hence the unneccesary strikes (teachers can't strike in NJ, I believe). The only thing they could do was not volunteer for after school work with the kids after years without contract.
I'm all for reorganizing some of the work rules. Especially the rule that says your pension is based on the average salary you made during your last (1,2,3?) years, includng overtime!! That's ridiculous.
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Han
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Han,
I am glad we are having a dialogue on this. I agree with your last statement.
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wrote:

Thanks!! I agree, we need to talk. We don't want more occurrences like the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies that give away pension obligations to the "state" or just say screw you to the retired workers. Some givebacks need to happen, but we were focusing here on teachers. And then the BIG question is, would you want your kids (and your neighbors' kids too) to have a good education, or should the kids be warehoused until 16 or 18 and then loosed upon the drugdens that would undoubtedly spring up in your town.
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Han
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Han,
I agree that kids need to have a good education but simply paying money does not guarantee that. We pay a hell of a lot per student in this country and we are getting dumber and dumber. Do you really believe that it will turn the corner if you pay teachers more money? Hire more teachers? Provide more "free" meals in school? Give each kid a Mac?
Nope. It all starts in the home and whether or not a kid's parents value education and make darn sure that their kids do the needful. You have parents at both ends of the spectrum: those who think their kids need to be #1 in everything and can never have a bad grade and those who can give a #%@^. And I do not know which group has more members in it. Unless and until those things change, we will sink lower and lower.
Additionally, I graduated from high school around the time that Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education. Seems to me the USA was on top of the world at that time and, ever since, we have plummeted but the costs have risen tremendously. I see a lot of problems there.
But let's get back to the subject: why shouldn't teachers have to endure everything the rest of us do? We all are forced to work more. We are all forced to pay more. And, as a result, our hourly take home pay has been reduced incredibly.
Am I biased? Maybe I am but I am sick of having to pay for more and more people out of my salary.
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