Don't want to move from this idyllic place, a National Historical
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.
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!
I have no idea what kind of work you do. Please tell me a little, or a
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.
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.
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>.
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
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.
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....
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
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
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 ...
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
As long as we fight amongst ourselves over this piddly crap, the
stronger the other side becomes.
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
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.
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
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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