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Author Topic: SQ 779 / Teacher pay  (Read 2981 times)
AquaMan
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« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2016, 08:01:13 pm »

Here's an interesting dichotomy:

I left a public school for a private school (Casica Hall) prior to my sophomore year.  A few teachers confided that CH's pay was a year or two behind TPS.  One had recently moved over from Nathan Hale to Cascia.  All said the reason they were willing to work for less was because the working conditions were so much better for a teacher.  Kid's parents were making a significant investment in their child's education, they took an interest in making sure their child got the most out of that education.

We assume the only reason positions aren't being filled is due to pay issues.  The job situation in Oklahoma these days is not such that most people with a bachelor degree have carte blanche for a $40-$50K job.  Keep in mind, most teachers work on average about 10 months out of the year.

Could it be that a lack of technology or adequate supplies for students along with parental apathy creates an undesireable working environment?  If funding were directed toward things that matter like the latest learning technology and training and making sure teachers were not left to purchase classroom supplies out of their own pocket  might we see better outcomes and better instruction with less turn-over?

Certainly, being able to pay enough for the best talent is important.  Blanket raises for everyone from the best talent to the most jaded teacher counting down their days until they retire is not a policy which ensures success.

I've had some sort of merit-based pay my entire adult working career.  The harder I work and the more dedicated I am to what I do, I'm rewarded for it.  I've never been a production line guy or done an occupation that my check never changes regardless of performance since I was 20 or so. 

If I were a teacher, I don't understand the motivation a sudden $5000 per year raise would give me to be a better teacher when I still don't have what I need to teach the kids and their parents still don't give a sh!t because they are being sent to me to basically keep them out of trouble for 6 hours a day.  I'd be less likely to look to move to Arkansas or Texas, but I honestly don't know how that raise would change the way I reach out to the kids I taught with all else remaining the same.

You still have a lot of those old republican talking points in your dna. Coming from a parochial school graduate I'm sure that all makes sense to you. You got a great education obviously. Have you been in TPS classrooms lately? There is great new leadership from a superintendent that graduated from Tulsa Hale. She's made improvements in morale and operations.  The schools are pretty high tech. BT puts out great college material. Jenks public does pretty well. Edison is okay. The rest are struggling but tech doesn't make kids smarter anymore than great buildings do, its merely a tool. It is parental support and environment for sure. Inner city kids don't have as much of that as Cascia, BK or Holland Hall. So, what, we punish any teachers that work for them? When you send a fresh college grad to work at Marshall and he realizes he is a social worker, a source for lunch money for hungry kids, a source of basic materials, a teacher of kids with mental problems, a traffic director in the parking lot, and yet is responsible for the failure of something he has no control over? Then you pay less than Texas or Kansas? Kansas?? Well, you have a prescription for failure.

Have you sent kids to public schools? I just took a group from a struggling but improving west side grade school to Holland Hall. The contrast is striking. The perfect Holland Hall students are something to admire. Their school is manicured suburban college campus. They come from fine families. Wealthy families. White families. Asian families. They understand the concept of reaching out to less fortunate at a very young age. The west siders are blue collar, children of meth addicts, coping poor, black, Hispanic, blind, ADD and poorly dressed by comparison. Thankfully, the kids don't know that. The teachers work more than 8 a day and get two months off but their less than the rest of the country income is augmented by extra jobs and spousal jobs. Its stressful to deal with the public perception, the families, the administration and the lack of respect their state gives them.

Many are doing a fantastic job with the kids that the suburbs don't have to take, (and don't encourage them to come unless they run like a college half back). And don't get me started on Special Needs teachers who have the craziest jobs ever created.  Do you spend much time talking with TPS teachers? I'm guessing not. Engineers, accountants, teachers all have four year degrees. Yet only teachers are expected to be judged so harshly on their work when the company is performing poorly. If we were to take your logic, then engineers are only worth what they create, fix, design, or operate. So, no need to research market pay, simply put them on the job at less than surrounding state pay and if your company does well, then pay them more. If it doesn't, pay them less or grade them on their "productivity". Only it doesn't work like that. An engineer costs what the market in our area is willing to pay. Hard to find engineers in particular fields whether they are good or not. Of course, you can fire them if you truly can justify it but its not likely. If you don't like that example, choose a career. Most operate on that basis.

So, I don't see the dichotomy. The teachers that moved to Texas and Kansas weren't necessarily the best, they were the ones that could. No family to hold them here, no husband or one that could relocate, no kids, no roots. Nor will they find a significant difference in public schools in those states. They left for more money, more support from their public and a chance to pay off student loans and have a life. Something I think you can identify with. You wouldn't work for less than you think you're worth. $5000 will not be enough to make up for their working conditions but they can't all be absorbed by private schools. It will be enough to give them some self respect and make them think twice about living in ...Kansas.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2016, 08:03:14 pm »

Even if the school sales tax was to be eliminated, it would be continued in another iteration since continuing it would not be a tax increase.

Maybe. But I have lived here my whole life. We cut taxes to get elected, to stay elected and to reward the oil companies for their perceived risk. I don't think the voters will have forgotten the raise in taxes in two years. I think they will run on it as a selling point.
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« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2016, 08:16:08 pm »

But I have lived here my whole life.

I actually knew that.
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AquaMan
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« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2016, 08:35:43 pm »

I meant to accent the ...because I HAVE lived here my whole life...

Not something I'm particularly proud of though. I could have used a bit wider view of the world when I was younger. That's why I married a Wisconsin girl I guess.
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erfalf
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« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2016, 07:26:32 am »

Aqua,

You seem to be saying that we need more market influenced prices (pay) for teachers but what we have is so far from a market based system. Yes that engineer is going to get "market" rate. But he only maintains that is he produces according to the expectations of his employer. What you are saying is unfair for teachers is exactly how it works in the market based economy. But teachers unions don't fight for those sorts of things. They fight for everyone and that is going to be the problem. If you want a a more market based pay scale then you are going to have to set the workers free. But that won't happen.

Conan,

Regarding teacher pay/work environment. Look at major metro areas...Chicago/D.C./New York. In a lot of cases the starting teacher pay is dramatically higher than other areas (double in some cases). Because no one wants those jobs. The state essentially has to buy the workers.

In Oklahoma, generally this hasn't been a problem, until the recent teacher shortages. I don't know this for a fact, but I am guessing the number of degrees we issue for education related fields hasn't dropped off, so in this case (only recently) does the market seem to be saying we are paying too little. But I have heard the call for teacher pay increases dating much further back than the last year or two obviously.

This next comment isn't necessarily tied to teachers, but just human nature:
It's a cold slap in the face sometimes when people realize that their marketable value isn't really all that high. That they are replaceable. I tell my team of rather low paid workers that replacement value is something their managers think about, and unless they can show that they add value that is generally difficult to replace, then they will have a ceiling on what they earn. This is really difficult to explain to people that aren't high flyers, that are content with $12/hour. There is a completely different mindset. Prior to my current job, all my co-workers were degreed and career driven. This has been a 180, and you really have to "teach" people how to be motivated. It seems against human nature but apparently it is not.

Also, I may be wrong, but I understood there to be NO sunset clause on this tax and it will be in the constitution. So it would seem the revocation of this sales tax would need an amendment to the constitution.

When googling something I came across this that I had honestly never heard before:

Quote
In 1907, Oklahoma's constitution was the longest governing document in the world. It was regularly amended, the first time being in the same election in which the constitution was ratified. The constitution currently has over 150 amendments.[
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AquaMan
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« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2016, 10:08:14 am »

Erfalf,
I just read the part you addressed to me and its nonsense. Literally doesn't make any sense from a business standpoint. You seem to think that the market is somehow polluted by union representation when in reality, the lack of unions artificially enhances the corporate power to administer a market. Markets work best when they are balanced, not skewed to one side or the other. But to be fair, you repeated one point I made as though it was yours, "he only maintains that job if he produces", and left out the part that negates your assumption. The demand for specific degrees in the market is overcome because of economic constraints. There is only so much a company feels it wants to pay for a hard to find degree. Most companies know that number and will only pay a little more or a little less to get that candidate. In effect they collude. The market for that degree would normally boost the asking price but since degreed candidates are rarely unionized, the companies work together to keep pay scales in line. So, the candidate has little incentive to move around other than work environment. Artificial market pricing. The real loser is the industry that does these shenanigans, and they don't all do it. Then it hurts the larger economy as well. What incentive is there for investing in a degree when the average engineer gets paid the same as the idiot engineer and there is no way to be compensated for the real demand in the marketplace? None. So you get Dilbert style engineering companies. Same with teachers. Only with teachers the boss is government and they repress the market because they represent the skinflint red state voters.

I saw it in the oil company I worked for, I saw it in advertising and I see it now in education and healthcare. Teachers are degreed candidates that earned the right to unionize but their unions are weak, political and too close to their opponents. However, they provide other protections and benefits besides compensation negotiation. Freeing the teachers from unions will simply give them no leverage at all.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2016, 10:54:02 am »

If we are going to have this discussion, lets inject the actual data:


Teachers in Tulsa make, on average, $44k per year.   Thats close to the state average.

Starting pay with a BA is $32k, a Masters is $33k. Max with a BA is $49k, MA is $52K. There is no performance bonuses. A teacher with a masters and 5 years of experience makes $36k per year.

Benefits include healthcare for the teacher, and dental and vision for ~$50 a month. Adding a child adds about $400 a month, a spouse adds a bit more. They are given various plans to choose from.

Retirement benefits are included. They used to be very generous, now the employee contribution is 7% per year and the state match is a wild formula based on years served. If you now retire before the age of 62, you face significant penalties regardless of years of service (50% penalty if you retire at 55).   The averaged retired teacher in Oklahoma sees a benefit of $20k per year. Given that the teacher pays in 7%, this means the state match is minimal and it really isn't much of a benefit anymore.

A teacher is required to work 180 days per year, minimum 7 days per year, and is not eligible for overtime. If you grade papers at home, come in early, stay late, or whatever... there is no overtime (unlike police where overtime is expected and unpaid services are forbidden by contract). The contracted minimum hours per workyear is 1260 hours (time in classroom).

I saw no allowance for misc. supplies - so I guess the adage about teachers equipping their own classrooms is true (again, contrast that other city workers like police and fire)?

Great resource for teacher pay/benefits:  http://www.nctq.org/districtPolicy/contractDatabase/district.do?id=98 , and you can compare Tulsa to many, many other districts in the state and around the country.


For perspective...

A starting teacher in Tulsa working the minimum number of hours and doing nothing outside of the school day will make about $25 per hours plus OK benefits.  The average teacher would be around $35/hour.  The ceiling for that teacher is effectively $40 per hour if they get a PHD. The bad news is you cannot get overtime and cannot get paid for all actual hours worked. Good news is you get summers and holidays off.

$25/hr puts them in line with lab techs, avionic techs, and sales reps.  Again, with a significant less annual take home (for better or worse). 50

$35 per hour is an architect, construction manager, occupational therapist, financial analyst, or network administrator.

$40/hr is a refinery operator, health and safety engineer, environmental engineer, chemical engineer, etc.

If the teachers work the minimum hours, they have little to complain about in way of per-hour pay. If the NEA is to believed, teachers spend on average 12 hours per week outside their contract hours. Or nearly 50 hours per week.  That would cut the realized hourly wage by 33%. knocking starting pay down to $19, then $26 and $32.  Starting pay would be similar to tool grinders, maintenance workers, and LPNs. The work year would then be 1692 hours.  (others claim the average teacher works 12 hours a day during the school year, and still others claim the average pay is $70k and they only work 6.5 hours per day... so I gave the contract minimum in Tulsa and the NEA numbers, which seems reasonable for many teachers)

Is that enough per hour? Too little? Too much? Well, the market seems to be saying it isn't enough as we cannot hire enough certified teachers to fill our positions. Oklahoma is #48 out of 51 for teacher pay. Beating out South Dakota and Mississippi. The middle of the pack is about $50k per year.

Other considerations:

Respect - this goes to the benefits Cascia/Riverfield/BK have. The teachers have respect from the community and the parents, and mostly from the kids. That helps a ton.

Job security - teachers used to have excellent job security. TPS averages a layoff what, every 3 years or so?

Benefits - teachers used to have top level benefits, particularly retirement. It was part of the tradeoff to keep experienced teachers around when the top end as a math teacher will never be the top end of an accountant/bookkeeper.

Vacation time - summers off mean a lot to some people.

Education Importance - cultures that value education attract better teachers. That has to do with all of the above, it also has to do with driving people to the profession.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2016, 11:06:51 am »

What you are saying is unfair for teachers is exactly how it works in the market based economy. But teachers unions don't fight for those sorts of things. They fight for everyone and that is going to be the problem. If you want a a more market based pay scale then you are going to have to set the workers free. But that won't happen.

Currently Oklahoma cannot hire enough certified teachers for the package being offered. That's the market saying something is off.

For Tulsa Police and Fire, the norm is to have way more applicants than we will ever have positions. That's the market saying something is off.

Also worth noting that collective bargaining is part of the market. A company or a government is a huge collective. An industry or industry group is an even larger collective. A union is merely a collective of the workers. Where one worker basically has no voice, many together can and do.  Unions can overplay their hands and be a strongly negative force in many different ways. Just as employers can use their influence to be a negative force in many ways. History is littered with examples of both.

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« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2016, 11:29:16 am »

Oklahoma has a long history of badly underfunded schools which resulted in too many bad teachers in classrooms. The decade before 2008 saw some progress in better funding but now after nearly a decade of cuts since the Great Recession (which mostly left Oklahoma untouched) we are now dead last nationally in spending on education and dead last in teacher pay. Last.

Oklahoma has for years now resorted to hiring teachers without basic qualifications to fill positions and today we are to the point where we canít even hire enough unqualified teachers.

But keep arguing about teacher pay. Please. You are arguing against the very rules of supply and demand.
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« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2016, 11:38:39 am »

Oklahoma has a long history of badly underfunded schools which resulted in too many bad teachers in classrooms. The decade before 2008 saw some progress in better funding but now after nearly a decade of cuts since the Great Recession (which mostly left Oklahoma untouched) we are now dead last nationally in spending on education and dead last in teacher pay. Last.

Oklahoma has for years now resorted to hiring teachers without basic qualifications to fill positions and today we are to the point where we canít even hire enough unqualified teachers.

But keep arguing about teacher pay. Please. You are arguing against the very rules of supply and demand.


I won't argue about pay..I agree teachers need better pay.  What I will argue about is the method.  A sales tax is a horrible way to do it.  It's just plain lazy.  Make legislators figure it out instead of playing into the fears of the people who stand to be least affected by it -- upper middle class and higher income households.

Oklahoma legislators have been derelict in their duties for funding teacher pay for years now.  It needs to end.  I plan to help that along by voting no.  Plain and simple.
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« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2016, 11:41:54 am »

Aqua,

There is no collusion in pricing labor (at least in the private sector). There may seem to be normalization in the cost of certain kinds of labor. My main bit of evidence against it is the fact that if a worker wants a significant raise what do they do. They switch companies. It costs more to purchase proven producers. Often times they have to pay the new hire more than the guy that worked up through the ranks. Yes, it seems incredibly unfair, but it is what it is. You often just have to pay up to get that experience. I did it. I would have had to work probably 4 more years to get where I got just by switching jobs/companies. It happens all the time. It is the way society works now. Now, if you are a public school teacher and you want to leave Jenks for Moore, Moore admin pulls out the chart, sees teacher A has a masters and has been working for 5 years, and pays accordingly. Accordingly being what the union and state agreed to years ago. How is that going to be good for anyone?

Now that being said, I am totally in agreement that the market is certainly telling the state that currently, teachers are underpaid. However, that is a rather recent phenomenon. Whereas teachers (and unions) have been complaining about low wages for years. As cannon has shown, teachers (vs private industry) are not run out of the ballpark when it comes to pay. The starting pay is decent in my opinion, but the increases suck. I only made $17 out of college (but quickly increased $24 in just a couple of years) and I thought that was a decent job for a new hire. It wasn't a big corporate type. Of my friends that worked for "big oil" the going rate seemed to be about $24/hour for new hires (10 years ago mind you). My job was probably the equivalent of working for Cascia. It was pretty cushy, low stress, huge bonuses, tons of time off, very prestigious. Well not exactly like it, but you get the gist. (In reality I took the job/less money because the management was incredibly distinguished and it was a start up and that single job has been the catapult for the rest of my career, looking back it was the best decision I ever made).

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« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2016, 11:42:33 am »

I won't argue about pay..I agree teachers need better pay.  What I will argue about is the method.  A sales tax is a horrible way to do it.  It's just plain lazy.  Make legislators figure it out instead of playing into the fears of the people who stand to be least affected by it -- upper middle class and higher income households.

Oklahoma legislators have been derelict in their duties for funding teacher pay for years now.  It needs to end.  I plan to help that along by voting no.  Plain and simple.

I agree. I have felt like the sales tax idea was just throwing a dog a bone to say they did something. When in reality they did nothing.
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« Reply #42 on: October 26, 2016, 12:24:34 pm »

I won't argue about pay..I agree teachers need better pay.  What I will argue about is the method.  A sales tax is a horrible way to do it.  It's just plain lazy.  Make legislators figure it out instead of playing into the fears of the people who stand to be least affected by it -- upper middle class and higher income households.

Oklahoma legislators have been derelict in their duties for funding teacher pay for years now.  It needs to end.  I plan to help that along by voting no.  Plain and simple.

I hate the idea of sales tax. It's bad, no doubt. Worse, schools are underfunded by about $2 billion and I'm afraid they are going to take this $600 million and call the funding crisis done. And then slowly leach the money back out of schools over time. But this is the only money schools are going to get out of the legislature. It's this or nothing until new people run the state and I simply don't see that happening any time in the foreseeable future.

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Conan71
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« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2016, 01:37:26 pm »

Oklahoma has a long history of badly underfunded schools which resulted in too many bad teachers in classrooms. The decade before 2008 saw some progress in better funding but now after nearly a decade of cuts since the Great Recession (which mostly left Oklahoma untouched) we are now dead last nationally in spending on education and dead last in teacher pay. Last.

Oklahoma has for years now resorted to hiring teachers without basic qualifications to fill positions and today we are to the point where we canít even hire enough unqualified teachers.

But keep arguing about teacher pay. Please. You are arguing against the very rules of supply and demand.


Iím not arguing about rules of supply and demand.  My whole premise is tenure-based pay increases rather than performance-based makes it impossible from a budgetary stand-point to attract, reward, and retain your best teachers (or producers in any other business) when you give pay raises to dead wood who could care less just because they have occupied a desk for x number of years.

For openers, you do a sliding scale based on certification (which is currently done with masters or doctorate) and GPA for those just out of college.  Then increases are a mix of tenure plus performance from either student standardized testing results or some other way to measure the teacherís performance and student outcome.  If you give an employee incentives to perform well or go above and beyond the norm most will rise to the occasion.  Itís no different than performance bonuses in almost any other business as a reward for innovation and/or above average production.

I hate the idea of sales tax. It's bad, no doubt. Worse, schools are underfunded by about $2 billion and I'm afraid they are going to take this $600 million and call the funding crisis done. And then slowly leach the money back out of schools over time. But this is the only money schools are going to get out of the legislature. It's this or nothing until new people run the state and I simply don't see that happening any time in the foreseeable future.



Vote against it and make the legislature go back and make the hard choices they were paid to do. This most definitely was the laziest approach to a permanent solution possible and if the shortfall is $2 billion and this purports to only raise a little over one quarter of that, there really is no reason to vote for this, it is rewarding lazy work by the legislature if it passes.  

Take away nonsensical deductions from people who do not need them.  Raise personal income tax.  Figure out an equitable property tax increase.  These are all revenue streams which cannot be avoided by purchasing items in adjacent states or online to avoid paying taxes.

Oklahoma has no method to enforce use taxes and another poster observed yesterday this will only encourage more on-line purchases.  The idea of Tulsa having a 9.517% sales tax is freaking absurd.
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« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2016, 02:49:06 pm »

Aqua,

There is no collusion in pricing labor (at least in the private sector).


Yes.  There is.  In the private sector.  Companies have trade associations that get together all the time and compare notes to 'normalize' pay for job classifications.  That is one of the reasons why when you look for a new job, the first question they ask you is how much do you make now.  It is data gathering.  And there is data sharing between them.   Maybe you have not seen it, but I have been on  both sides -  'worker bee' and management.  I have seen it, and it is real - and yes, even here in 'little ole Tulsey-town'.  Any C-suite person telling you different is lying to you.

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