View Poll Results: Are teachers overpaid and underworked?

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  • Yes, they are overpaid and underworked

    18 21.18%
  • No, they are not overpaid and underworked

    67 78.82%
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Thread: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

  1. #191
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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    I would agree. But I do not see how it is inherently moral to pay someone more in trade than the worth of the thing they are trading you. Especially when doing so would eventually rebound to their own detriment or the detriment of others.
    Its probably fine if said person has enough to eat, educate his kids, a place to sleep, etc.

    So once they are making probably around 35k (worst case, depends on standard of living) its probably no longer a moral issue. These things are always fuzzy to me since there can be a dizzying number of factors involved.

    However, in this topic, the specific profession being discussed is teachers and I was listing to guy the reasons I believed teachers were underpaid, due to the importance they play in keeping our economy a first world one and with education of children being such a long term investment. There are cases where the market provides a perfect solution and there are cases where it doesn't. My view is in this case it doesn't, because I see education as an infrastructure issue (like health care, roads and bridges, clean air, a court system, etc) moreso than a market one. Infrastructure is far more fundamental because it makes advanced economies possible. We should not allow capitalism to eat itself (or else we all lose), so some things should be public investment.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Its probably fine if said person has enough to eat, educate his kids, a place to sleep, etc.

    So once they are making probably around 35k (worst case, depends on standard of living) its probably no longer a moral issue. These things are always fuzzy to me since there can be a dizzying number of factors involved.
    Oh. So morality demands that you pay a guy with a wife and kids more than a single woman? That's interesting.

    Question: if my business produces enough overhead that I can keep my current workstaff of 10 married men with families at their current income of $30,000 a year, or fire 3 of them and give the remaining 7 a raise to $40,000 a year (for which they will have to work more, in order to make up for the labor of the other three), is the moral response to continue to pay 10 men 30K? Or pay 7 men 40K and put 3 families out on the street?


    Or, to take this interesting concept that others "owe" me a decent standard of living a step further, what if my business is in trouble, and after expenses and costs (such as, for example, labor), I am left with only $25K for my family? Am I entitled to go to my customers and demand that they each pay their fair share of the $10,000 remaining for me to "morally" have received what I should from those who provide my income? Am I entitled to raise my prices so that the extra $10K will be produced, and then utilize government coercion to force them not to purchase less-expensive products? Or are they only morally obligated to pay more for my products than that which they are worth? In a given week, how often do you pay significantly more than you think the good or service you are purchasing is worth? Is it morally required for every purchase, or do you have to ask to see the business-income receipts first?


    However, in this topic, the specific profession being discussed is teachers and I was listing to guy the reasons I believed teachers were underpaid, due to the importance they play in keeping our economy a first world one and with education of children being such a long term investment. There are cases where the market provides a perfect solution and there are cases where it doesn't. My view is in this case it doesn't, because I see education as an infrastructure issue (like health care, roads and bridges, clean air, etc) moreso than a market one. Infrastructure is far more fundamental because it makes advanced economies possible. We should not allow capitalism to eat itself (or else we all lose), so some things should be public investment.
    And I agree, except that I would add that our current compensation model (which reduces pay in order to increase out-year benefits, and rewards mostly for seniority rather than performance) is suited perfectly to attract at best our mediocre performers. We need to increase the pay for teachers, and we need to peg pay to performance in order to attract more of our high-performance, high-octane people to the profession.

    Generally it's not teacher pay eating local and state governments, it's the gold-plated benefits in perpetuity.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Oh. So morality demands that you pay a guy with a wife and kids more than a single woman? That's interesting.

    Question: if my business produces enough overhead that I can keep my current workstaff of 10 married men with families at their current income of $30,000 a year, or fire 3 of them and give the remaining 7 a raise to $40,000 a year (for which they will have to work more, in order to make up for the labor of the other three), is the moral response to continue to pay 10 men 30K? Or pay 7 men 40K and put 3 families out on the street?
    Yes, I am aware there is a practical element to all of this, what I am talking about here is morality though. However you are correct that one does not always have the opportunity to do something completely moral and must often choose the lesser of two evils.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Or, to take this interesting concept that others "owe" me a decent standard of living a step further, what if my business is in trouble, and after expenses and costs (such as, for example, labor), I am left with only $25K for my family? Am I entitled to go to my customers and demand that they each pay their fair share of the $10,000 remaining for me to "morally" have received what I should from those who provide my income? Am I entitled to raise my prices so that the extra $10K will be produced, and then utilize government coercion to force them not to purchase less-expensive products? Or are they only morally obligated to pay more for my products than that which they are worth? In a given week, how often do you pay significantly more than you think the good or service you are purchasing is worth? Is it morally required for every purchase, or do you have to ask to see the business-income receipts first?
    Things like this is why we should always have social programs, as a form of insurance. Business are good in that they help people have a living, but where businesses fail to provide for their employees, society should step in.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    And I agree, except that I would add that our current compensation model (which reduces pay in order to increase out-year benefits, and rewards mostly for seniority rather than performance) is suited perfectly to attract at best our mediocre performers. We need to increase the pay for teachers, and we need to peg pay to performance in order to attract more of our high-performance, high-octane people to the profession.

    Generally it's not teacher pay eating local and state governments, it's the gold-plated benefits in perpetuity.
    If an accurate performance model is ever derived, I will be right there with you. I know many teachers, my sunday school class is full of teachers, my wife is a teacher, etc. I understand the pitfalls of their profession and where the models I have seen fall short. I am not willing to assign responsibility of things to people who do not have control of authority to make it happen.

    If teachers had a lot more autonomy and could muster up services to put crappy family in check, than performance pay would work. However, until families are fixed, its not a fix that would actually help anything.

  4. #194
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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Yes, I am aware there is a practical element to all of this, what I am talking about here is morality though. However you are correct that one does not always have the opportunity to do something completely moral and must often choose the lesser of two evils.
    except that that is always the way of it. Scarcity, after all, is what creates an economy. Money doesn't grow on trees, and neither (tragically) does delicious Captain Morgan's Single Barrel Rum. I must instead trade for these things. But since I chose to purchase this wonderful nectar, I cannot purchase instead a new book, or steak dinner. There is always an opportunity cost, and thus the situation described above is not a "sometimes", but an "always" occurrence. When Wal-Mart figures out how much to pay it's employees, it can hire not 10 but (making up numbers) 100,000 workers at wages you would find "immoral", but only 60,000 at wages you would approve of. That is 40,000 men and women, 40,000 families on the brink. The easy response is always "well, just take it out of profits", but that is cutting off the branch upon which one is sitting. Profits are the reason investment exists; profits are why capital flows to create new businesses, or to expand old ones. In fact, given their lower ability to adjust to sudden economic shock, keeping their business profitable is most in the interest of its' least paid (and thus, employable) workers. Insist on cutting into or destroying profit all-together and you have merely assured that Wal-Mart will never be able to hire those 100,000 workers in the first place, and now instead of a possibility of 40K on the streets, we have more than twice that number who will never be hired.


    Labor is not different from any other good or service - and it's price will follow the inexorable laws of supply and demand. We can bang our sippy cups and decry it's unjustice, but attempting to create or follow policies that ignore this reality will have the same results as you would see were you to pour maple syrup into your car engine because it should run on sugar-cane ethanol. The damage you see from the unintended consequences will be greater than the problem you sought to solve.

    Things like this is why we should always have social programs, as a form of insurance. Business are good in that they help people have a living, but where businesses fail to provide for their employees, society should step in.
    Except that then (as we have seen) we create dependency, and provide financial incentives to engage in self-destructive behavior. That is why I have recently become a fan of the negative income tax to serve the purpose you seek here. You can keep people out of poverty without providing the same destructive incentives.

    If an accurate performance model is ever derived, I will be right there with you. I know many teachers, my sunday school class is full of teachers, my wife is a teacher, etc. I understand the pitfalls of their profession and where the models I have seen fall short. I am not willing to assign responsibility of things to people who do not have control of authority to make it happen.
    which is why I argue that teachers should not be held responsible for individual, but rather aggregate results off of a baseline. If, year over year, the students at Central High average a performance of advancing .6 of a school year, and in the 5th grade those students who go through Mr Smith's course average .8 for three years running, whereas those students who go through Mr Jones course average .5, then Mr Smith is a better teacher than Mr Jones.

    If teachers had a lot more autonomy and could muster up services to put crappy family in check, than performance pay would work. However, until families are fixed, its not a fix that would actually help anything.
    Family is the biggest item, I agree - which is why I want to alter our destructive social-services model. But teachers are part of the formula as well, and there is no reason not to optimize that which is both so critical and within our reach.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Blaming teachers for students failure is like blaming doctors for our obesity epidemic.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    except that that is always the way of it. Scarcity, after all, is what creates an economy. Money doesn't grow on trees, and neither (tragically) does delicious Captain Morgan's Single Barrel Rum. I must instead trade for these things. But since I chose to purchase this wonderful nectar, I cannot purchase instead a new book, or steak dinner. There is always an opportunity cost, and thus the situation described above is not a "sometimes", but an "always" occurrence. When Wal-Mart figures out how much to pay it's employees, it can hire not 10 but (making up numbers) 100,000 workers at wages you would find "immoral", but only 60,000 at wages you would approve of. That is 40,000 men and women, 40,000 families on the brink. The easy response is always "well, just take it out of profits", but that is cutting off the branch upon which one is sitting. Profits are the reason investment exists; profits are why capital flows to create new businesses, or to expand old ones. In fact, given their lower ability to adjust to sudden economic shock, keeping their business profitable is most in the interest of its' least paid (and thus, employable) workers. Insist on cutting into or destroying profit all-together and you have merely assured that Wal-Mart will never be able to hire those 100,000 workers in the first place, and now instead of a possibility of 40K on the streets, we have more than twice that number who will never be hired.
    This is why its called morality and not economics. Morality is a higher calling imho.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Labor is not different from any other good or service - and it's price will follow the inexorable laws of supply and demand. We can bang our sippy cups and decry it's unjustice, but attempting to create or follow policies that ignore this reality will have the same results as you would see were you to pour maple syrup into your car engine because it should run on sugar-cane ethanol. The damage you see from the unintended consequences will be greater than the problem you sought to solve.
    Don't play this silly game. You and I both know that places like Australia and Norway are doing fine and largely follow the kinds of policies I espouse.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Except that then (as we have seen) we create dependency, and provide financial incentives to engage in self-destructive behavior. That is why I have recently become a fan of the negative income tax to serve the purpose you seek here. You can keep people out of poverty without providing the same destructive incentives.
    Yes you and I both have talked about how welfare should be restructured. There will always be those beyond help, that is fine, unfortunate, but fine. Welfare should be tougher.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    which is why I argue that teachers should not be held responsible for individual, but rather aggregate results off of a baseline. If, year over year, the students at Central High average a performance of advancing .6 of a school year, and in the 5th grade those students who go through Mr Smith's course average .8 for three years running, whereas those students who go through Mr Jones course average .5, then Mr Smith is a better teacher than Mr Jones.
    If the aggregate size of the classroom was 100 or more, than averaging would work. In smaller class sizes, I think there is too much room for variability. Now if each student is tracked individually in terms of progress and then that is averaged out, so known bad students don't harm teacher reputation since the teacher has no control over that, it would help towards a rational rating system. It would probably break existing privacy laws though.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Family is the biggest item, I agree - which is why I want to alter our destructive social-services model. But teachers are part of the formula as well, and there is no reason not to optimize that which is both so critical and within our reach.
    Thats one of those things I keep hearing, welfare harms families, yet I never see evidence to support it. The reason of course is that its drugs in inner cities being the problem and not welfare.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    This is why its called morality and not economics. Morality is a higher calling imho.
    that is a dodge. you claimed that morality imposed certain economic decisions. then when faced with the morally questionable results of those decisions, you declare them once again separated - which is foolishness. One should be moral in all ones' dealings, economic or no. You have preached the "living wage", now either defend or abandon it.

    Don't play this silly game. You and I both know that places like Australia and Norway are doing fine and largely follow the kinds of policies I espouse.
    1. wages in norway are high for the same reason that they are in south dakota; relative labor shortage to supply of work driven by energy deposits. nor do they "largely follow the kind of policies you espouse", as Norway has no minimum wage. Instead, as I have been describing, labor follows the laws of relative supply and demand.

    2. this is not a silly game. you are demanding that people who run businesses ignore reality, and calling that morality, despite the fact that the results of them doing so are anything but morally desirable.

    Yes you and I both have talked about how welfare should be restructured. There will always be those beyond help, that is fine, unfortunate, but fine. Welfare should be tougher.
    and that will always be the fight and it is always easier to argue for extending the line Just A Little Bit More in favor of the sympathetic recipient. And government is an atrocious judge of individual circumstance. That's one of the reasons I like the NIT - no "toughness", fight, or discernment required.

    If the aggregate size of the classroom was 100 or more, than averaging would work. In smaller class sizes, I think there is too much room for variability
    If you can get a within 4% judgement of the entire American populace based on polling 1,100 people, I'm willing to bet that three years of 25-year classrooms is a fairly good aggregate measure to use for one teacher.

    Now if each student is tracked individually in terms of progress and then that is averaged out, so known bad students don't harm teacher reputation since the teacher has no control over that, it would help towards a rational rating system.
    And I'm fine with that. If, based on average aggregate performance of the students in the classroom, Mr Smith should be able to advance his students 0.5 a year, and he instead three years running advances them 0.8; then we need to offer Mr Smith lots more money, as he is clearly a more valuable asset than we had initially been aware of.

    It would probably break existing privacy laws though.
    schools already track grades for GPA and graduation purposes - this would simply be putting the same data into a new worksheet.

    Thats one of those things I keep hearing, welfare harms families, yet I never see evidence to support it.
    Then I would urge you to pick up one of the books on the matter. Charles Murray's "Losing Ground" is a bit dated, but still a classic, and exhaustively statistical, which would be good for someone more oriented to precision like yourself. The simple enough bottom line, though, is that people tend to follow incentives. If you make it significantly economically advantageous to not get married, then people will do so less.

    The reason of course is that its drugs in inner cities being the problem and not welfare.
    no. drugs are more of a symptom.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phys251 View Post
    So your answer is zero, as in, you have no classroom experience of any kind? (Being a student does not count.)
    So am I talking to a teacher here?

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    that is a dodge. you claimed that morality imposed certain economic decisions. then when faced with the morally questionable results of those decisions, you declare them once again separated - which is foolishness. One should be moral in all ones' dealings, economic or no. You have preached the "living wage", now either defend or abandon it.
    My argument is that people being given a wage below a certain amount is immoral, if that amount keeps them from having basic first world living standards. I never once said that anyone should or should not do specific actions to get to that. While you may have certain ideas in your head how such a thing would be accomplished and have put those thoughts as words in my mouth, I never did, beyond stating that certain positions, such as the one henrin espoused are immoral under the guise of things like coercion and other pseudo moral talk.

    My personal approach would be to use social support systems like we have now.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    1. wages in norway are high for the same reason that they are in south dakota; relative labor shortage to supply of work driven by energy deposits. nor do they "largely follow the kind of policies you espouse", as Norway has no minimum wage. Instead, as I have been describing, labor follows the laws of relative supply and demand.

    2. this is not a silly game. you are demanding that people who run businesses ignore reality, and calling that morality, despite the fact that the results of them doing so are anything but morally desirable.
    The point being that one does not have to resort to lessez faire economics to show prosperity. I see you conviently ignore australia.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    and that will always be the fight and it is always easier to argue for extending the line Just A Little Bit More in favor of the sympathetic recipient. And government is an atrocious judge of individual circumstance. That's one of the reasons I like the NIT - no "toughness", fight, or discernment required.
    Far better than abandoning people, creating an unhappy underclass, and having revolution which is what historically happens whether or not one trots the old line of "you are saying people can't take care of themselves, which you always do".

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    If you can get a within 4% judgement of the entire American populace based on polling 1,100 people, I'm willing to bet that three years of 25-year classrooms is a fairly good aggregate measure to use for one teacher.
    Average work better on very large scales, when you are dealing with a population of 30, then you have to get more specific since the swings can get wilder and wilder. Its how math works.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    And I'm fine with that. If, based on average aggregate performance of the students in the classroom, Mr Smith should be able to advance his students 0.5 a year, and he instead three years running advances them 0.8; then we need to offer Mr Smith lots more money, as he is clearly a more valuable asset than we had initially been aware of.
    What they need to do is then do a recursion study to find out which specific actions Mr Smith did caused this growth, see how applicable these actions are to other circumstances, and apply where possible. Basically, a good six sigma black belt type engineering studies is what you need. Once the formula is found, than education will be better. There is no need to worry about people when you can build better systems using science.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    schools already track grades for GPA and graduation purposes - this would simply be putting the same data into a new worksheet.
    True, but its the privacy laws that would need to be changed. I am fine with that for this purpose, but I think it would be an uphill battle with most parents.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Then I would urge you to pick up one of the books on the matter. Charles Murray's "Losing Ground" is a bit dated, but still a classic, and exhaustively statistical, which would be good for someone more oriented to precision like yourself. The simple enough bottom line, though, is that people tend to follow incentives. If you make it significantly economically advantageous to not get married, then people will do so less.
    I tend to support incentive structures as well. Good studies have been done with results of doing things like giving people a reward to hold and then only taking it away if they fail a task. Results tend to be much much better due to the way reward structures in young brains work.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    no. drugs are more of a symptom.
    The ghetto didn't start getting bad until hard drugs were introduced.

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    Re: Are Teachers Overpaid and Underworked?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    My argument is that people being given a wage below a certain amount is immoral, if that amount keeps them from having basic first world living standards.
    That sounds great until you realize that you can't just set artificial wage guidelines and expect reality to follow suit. This is akin to calling a circle a rectangle. It will, somehow, remain a circle no matter how hard you call it a rectangle. No matter how hard you try to set artificial wage guidelines, reality will always sink in. Even if the law says that you need to pay somebody 5.15 an hour, if the market will not bear that amount, something's gotta give. If the law won't budge, the purchasing power of the money will sink. Why else do you think the minimum wage needs to be raised every few years?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    The ghetto didn't start getting bad until hard drugs were introduced.
    There was never a time when there weren't drugs. What kind of conspiracy theorist crap is this?

    You think alcohol isn't a drug or something?

    You have a remarkable way of burying your head in the sand and ignoring the most obvious of facts, buying into the most naive nonsense, not caring at all about the realities of money. Yet that never seems to stop you from crowing about how "rational" you are.

    Go on, keep patting yourself on the back about your logic, when it is obvious to any rational observer how specious your logic is and how weak your arguments ultimately are. You're impervious to logic yourself, anyway, so what does it matter?

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