I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What It Means To Cut a Teacher's Pay

Two commenters below spell it out beautifully and painfully:

Teacher Mom said...

I did the math the other day. I will lose 300-400 per check under the new plan. I have no credit card debt. The only debt we have is a car payment for a four-year-old Toyota, and student loans. Students loans I had to take out both to get my position and to keep it. Continuing education is a requirement for most states. I live a very modest life while supporting 2 children, and my spouse chooses to work for a small business making me the main bread-winner for the family. We already live in a one-bedroom 700 sq ft apartment. There is NOTHING to cut, and nowhere to run. Currently my TAKE HOME pay is 60% of my paycheck. My husband whose salary is literally half of mine, brings home only 300 less per two week period. If this bill goes through, we will have to look in to some form of assistance. Never did I ever think that having a masters degree and working as a professional educator would ever put my family in this type of position.

Joe LoRe said...

Teacher Mom - That was the exact number we came up with in making the decision for my wife to leave her school.

We lose 300-400 per paycheck under this plan.

No pay raise over the last 4 years due to contract negotiations.

Childcare costs for a 1 year old in daycare from 7:30 A.M. to 4 P.M. $300 to $500.

That alone just ate up 85% of her net take home pay.

And even with the other two kids pitching in with household chores - what kind of time did that leave us after dinner was cooked and everything done? All so we could spend 1 hour a day with our child?

When we ran all the numbers, that 15% left would have went to a once a week housekeeper & landscaper & ordering dinner just so we could have some quality time.

Anyone who thinks that it is petty for these teachers to be upset about the money is an asshole.

We were told just a year ago how these wall street bastards needed these bonuses so their companies can keep them. They destroyed a global economy. Why is it ok to demean a teacher because she/he wants a liveable wage?

Teachers are society makers, we need good qualified teachers.
Middle Class America, think carefully about this. If you head down this road, there is no turning back. You will ruin the teaching corps for generations to come.

And not only that: righting this wrong need not cost you one dime. You are tapped out because you haven't shared in the gains of the last 30 years.

Your choice is between paying teachers and cops modest salaries with decent (hardly lavish) benefits, and continuing to give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people, who control your government and media anyway.


[Cleaned up a typo because that's the sort of thing the corporate reform side loves to jump on to prove how "dumb" teachers are.]


Question the messenger said...

My husband and I are both teachers. We're looking at losing $800 a month. That will devastate us.

Anonymous said...

Same here. My wife and I stand to lose $6,000-$10,000 per year.

We have a mortgage, a three-year old, and a ten-month old. We struggle now. I'm not sure what is going to happen to us if this all goes through. It's frightening.

mathgal said...

It's hard to put teachers and cops in the same category. Teachers need at least one advanced degree, if not two. Cops need to have graduated HS. Teachers salaries are at LEAST HALF of what the cops' salaries are in my town (NJ 'burbs). This disparity exists because teachers have traditionally been female, and cops male.
The fact that teachers are disrespected, paid terribly and treated as though they merely want summers off and lots of vacation results in one thing: the only kind of people who will be recruited to teaching jobs in the future will be those who don't mind being paid terribly, disrespected, and those who just want summers off. These are hardly the best and brightest in society. How sad that we are the only nation who behaves this way. Our politicians really have bamboozled many into believing that the crises caused by psychotic bankers is the fault of our teachers.
America: wake up. Or else you will wake up in an stupid, crippled, middle-class-free country.

Unknown said...

Having a Masters myself and also hurting under Christie, so not telling anyone not to be vocal about how they are hurting. With that said, we should avoid creating divisions between plublic employees, and that includes cops. Most cops are greta guys and gals, hard working and under appreciated. Let's all fight together so all public (an dprivate) employees get their fair share!

kfoster said...

My husband is laid off and we are already in big trouble financially and these idiots are going to hate us even more when large numbers of us start to lose our homes which will begin to devalue their homes as well as their property tremendously.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher and my daughter is in her junior year in college studying to be a teacher. How do I tell her she is making a big mistake? She is so young and enthusiastic. How will she take to being bullied and put down by the governor and angry public that has been made to believe all kinds of lies by a governor who is out there for big business. I teach in an urban district and love my job. Left another profession 16 years ago to teach. Who would want to work in this profession now in the negative climate. I don't know many teachers who stay in charter schools very long. I just want out now. the governor has taken much of the pleasure out of my job which I used to be proud to hold.

CommutingTeacher said...

The other side of this coin is, as was pointed out, our salaries also support many others for various services, lawn, hair, local shops, local restaurants, and a thousand other small areas. I see a future when teachers won't be able to afford to buy girl scout cookies. There are so many ways that public employees give back that this take away from them will trickle down to everyone else.

Duke said...

Thank you everyone. Reposting of your comments to follow shortly.

Anonymous said...

All of you are too busy feeling sorry for yourself losing a few hundred dollars a paycheck that you are too self absorbed to realize there are many of your neighbors that are losing their jobs and that's more than a few hundred dollars a paycheck. Give us a break! stop the crying. If you don't like what you are getting paid, leave the teaching field and maybe you will appreciate how good you really have it.

Teacher No More said...

Wow Anonymous!
You are a real winner! You have no idea what a teacher goes through in a day. I doubt you'd survive through lunch. Unless you've done it, you have no right to comment. I did leave the profession, and realized how BAD I had it. Kids that are disrespectful. Parents that are disrespectful! State laws that change every other week. Test scores that are the ultimate prize for a school district! It is not an easy job. I left and got a $10k pay raise. So don't tell teachers to leave and see how good they had it, because when they do, you'll see how fast your schools go down the toilet, and how fast your property value will follow! And keep listening to the politicians who have brain washed the public into thinking that the teachers caused all of the problems. How many pensions is Christie going to walk away with? Hum, I think at least 3, if not more! How about look at the real root of the problem; greedy politicians who are in the pockets of big corporations who would love to get their hands in education!

Lisa said...

I don't know what we'd do. We may need to move in with family. I'm not high on the salary chart to begin with, having returned to teaching from a (much easier) sojourn in corporate America about 10 years ago. My husband has been unemployed over 2 years and is trying to make something selling real estate in this horrific market. We have twins in college and are (obviously) having severe financial hardship as it is.

I've thought of returning to a corporate job, which would pay me more, but aside from the spiritual cost of no longer making the difference I do now in the lives of my special ed students, my husband and son have pre-existing health conditions whose medication alone runs over $1300/month retail. IF I'm lucky enough to get a job with health insurance, my husband wouldn't be covered for any pre-existing condition.

I'm barely making it now. I won't be making it at all if this proposal goes through. To add to all this stress, as a teacher I'm portrayed by my governor and the ditto-head dolts who buy into his fictional talking points as some greedy parasite on society.

I should have been a plumber.

joeswell said...

The most devious thing Christie has done is to pit middle class folks against each other. When you read the comments from folks like "Anonymous," you can see how duped people are by this governor's rhetoric and misrepresentations. If you ask people for "shared sacrifice," then you have to ask the folks who make most of the $$$$$ in this state to share too. Christie should ask the commodities traders and the oil barons to "sacrifice" and stop bidding up gasoline prices. How about giving up a share of the huge bonus payments they receive (for wrecking the economy?) to help out. Public Employee Unions have to start going after Christie with an all out blitz... billboards, TV and Radio Ads, newspaper ads, etc. Eventually blowhard politicians burn themselves out, but in the meantime, besides turning over the entire state to corporate special interests, he's going to steal loads of $$$$ from middle class public workers, teachers, cops, firemen, etc... to enrich his fat cat friends and fund his presidential bid.

(Pissed off) Lisa said...

Note to 3rd Anonymous: I did exactly what you, in your infinite lack of wisdom, spewed...uh...suggested. You don't know what you're talking about. I made twice as much in my corporate job and, like everyone NOT teaching students, worked half as much. Teaching is SIGNIFICANTLY harder; physically, emotionally, and actually. Try engaging a roomful of children non-stop for four hours with NO break, not going to the bathroom for three hours after you need to, supervising a VERY loud lunchroom for half an hour, and then teaching non-stop another hour and a half.

No coffee breaks, no email, no phone calls, no catching up on the office tramp's latest tryst, no two hour lunches, no three hour meetings with donuts, no net surfing pretending to work on that spreadsheet you could whip out in 10 minutes, no malingering in the washroom or at the printer pretending to be busy. Damn. Corporate Joes and Janes waste more time than they work every day. Been there.

And we ARE your neighbors. We have spouses out of work like you do, pay the same taxes you do, and have the same problems you do. Actually, we have more problems than you do: we have people like you to deal with, thinking you know it all, telling us to shut up and take it or leave.

You think teaching's such an easy, cushy job? Give me a break. Go do it. I dare you.

Duke said...

To everyone else, Anon, I'd only add this:

By your logic, if anyone is suffering, or lost their job, or took a wage cut, then no one has the right to complain.

Because it could be worse.

The problem with that, anon, is that it could ALWAYS be worse.

Complaining you only make $50K. Be glad you aren't making $30K.

Complaining you only make $30K? At least you have a job.

Complaining you don't have a job? At least you have unemployment.

Complaining your unemployment is running out? At least you had it for a few weeks.

Complaining you're out on the street? At least you have a cardboard box to sleep on.

See how it works? All any teacher has asked for is a life of modest comfort. Is that so unreasonable?

Question the messenger said...

After looking over this further, it's not $800 per month. It's $800 per pay = $1600 per month = $16000 PER YEAR.

That's my daycare bill for two children. That's close to our student loan payments for each year. That's our two car payments per year.

I'm already looking to get out of education. And I'm a very good teacher. At this rate my family would do better if I worked at Wawa on the night shift! Is that what we want?