Extraordinary teacher offers extraordinary look at her job. We need to support rather than undermine her efforts.

An extraordinary teacher writes an extraordinary explanation of her job and her concerns. This is a lengthy piece that every policymaker in the state ought to read.

Allison Webb of Woodstock is a 15 year veteran teacher at Sequoyah High School in Canton. Pour a cup of coffee and settle in —  her essay is worth the time as it shows what good teachers attempt in spite of a system that undermines and undervalues them.


Stop undermining great teachers

By ALLISON WEBB, teacher at Sequoyah High School in Canton, Ga.

If those of you in power cared about teacher retention, quality of instruction, and increasing student achievement, you might want to consider the following points. Here is a detailed account of why beginning teachers don’t last, why many excellent teachers quit and why nothing else that you do to improve education will make any difference in terms of the quality of teaching.

I am going to show why despite the fact that I live my job more hours than my husband and three daughters would like, I will never get ahead, and find myself with 15 years invested in the dead-end job that I love — teaching.

I teach five classes a day and prepare three different lesson plans (Spanish 1, Spanish 3 Honors and AP Spanish Language and Culture.

teacherhiding

My planning period (55 minutes long) is supposed to be sufficient for me to prepare engaging and creative, differentiated lessons for three different groups of kids. Let’s see — does that mean I am saying that 19 minutes per class is sufficient?

And I need to subdivide those 19 minutes to account for the different needs of students in each of those classes (those who need assignments to accelerate their learning as well as those who need support to remediate their lack of learning or mastery)?

And I’ll have time for grading, responding to parent emails and attending meetings, making copies and doing various duties?

It’s pretty clear that it is nowhere near sufficient. The grading goes into a big black bag, to be ever present at the side of my recliner, gone through as the kids are asking me questions about their homework, lying across my chest as I fall asleep with it in the recliner.

The grading is rolled up and stuck in my purse so that during half-time at my kids’ basketball games, I might be able to grade a few tests, quizzes, or compositions.

The grading is quickly stacked up and put away as my husband sighs, “Can’t you ever quit working?” What happens is that my average school day is extended many hours past the 8 to 4 day non-teachers seem to covet. Perhaps when you are finished reading this essay, you can tell me if you still envy my hours, vacations, and carefree living.

I have a lunch period between two bells. Leaving campus for lunch is frowned upon, and I must have express permission from my administrator to do so. So my lunch is eaten hurriedly over a student desk with a few other colleagues who wish to feel like normal adults for a few minutes each day.

Once we’ve scarfed down our food, we hope to run copies, but often find ourselves running from one end of the school to another, trying to find a copier that is not jamming or out of toner.

On the weeks that we have duty, we walk around our designated area, telling kids to please pick up and throw away trays that are never theirs, pick up carrots that nobody threw and catch dress code violators that never had anything said to them before. We watch out for fights that nobody starts.

We receive no compensation for this lunch duty — it is included under the various sundry duties we may be arbitrarily assigned. As a Spanish teacher, I have to serve translation duty, which means that for one month each semester, I have to make myself available to call and/or email Spanish-speaking parents, interpret at IEP meetings or translate documents.

Others have hall duty, morning duty, or afternoon duty monitoring parts of the building, trying to keep teenagers from meeting up in corners and dark spaces and from skipping class. We all have to share school events, like prom duty, begging our spouses to dress up and make us feel even a little bit elegant as we monitor the girls coming out of the bathroom for signs of alcohol consumption and hit the dance floor trying to keep the dancing PG. We are asked to volunteer for the county events and to chaperone weekend field trips. Coaches spend the season of their sports living on campus. Our band and choral directors live on the field and in the concert halls.

I’d like to talk grading, which varies in volume by area, but I think it will be hard for anyone truly to get this reality without some illustration.

Right now I teach 33 students in AP Spanish Language, 28 students in Pre-AP Spanish 3 and 39 students in Spanish 1 — 100 in all. I have a light load in terms of class numbers. Most teachers deal with 30-35 students per class, with 150-175 students total.

My faculty handbook requires me to put in grades weekly, which usually involves one to three small assignments like homework or compositions and one to two larger assignments like quizzes, tests or essays per week, per class.

So let’s say that I start with two homework assignments and one quiz for Pre-AP Spanish 3. Each homework takes between 30 seconds and a minute (I’ll estimate 45 seconds to be fair) to grade and then at the end of the week, it takes about 5 minutes per class to put those grades into the online gradebook. So that would mean 45 seconds times 2 assignments times 28 students equals 2520 seconds, or 42 minutes. Not bad!

But they also had a quiz, which does take a little longer to grade (about 2 and half minutes each). Now we’re at one hour and 10 minutes for the quiz, plus the five minutes to put grades in. I’m now at approximately two hours for Pre-AP Spanish. I’ll spare you the detailed calculations from here on, but AP Spanish Language is more intense, because I regularly have to grade their essays, recordings and projects, which are definitely more complex.

So after a paragraph and an essay I’d calculate about four hours to complete all their grading and enter it. But there’s still Spanish 1, which does take a lot of small assignments to make sure they are studying. These freshmen are not convinced that they should take anything seriously unless it’s for a grade, so three homework assignments and a quiz should be good.

Two and a half hours later, I’m done with them. Grand total for a typical weeks grading—from 8 to 10 additional hours.

Teaching feels like a 24-hour-a-day job. After 15 years and many incredible mentors, including both my mom and dad, I have quite a few tools when it comes to coming up with an effective activity quickly; however, most beginning teachers’ preparation focuses more of their attention on the hows and whys of learning instead of the whats, as in what do I do to get them to learn this concept and not be totally bored, off task or worse, causing classroom disruption?

What do I do when the activity I planned in such detail bombs?  I did not build these strategies overnight and I did not acquire these skills by working an 8 to 4 job.

In my first years as a teacher, I remember staying up to 1 and 2 in the morning on a routine basis, sitting at our desktop computer coming up with handouts, tests and quizzes. It took me back to the days when I was in elementary school and my mom was working on the Apple IIC, and our noisy printer woke me up at 2 a.m. choking out a biology test.

There were years of my husband asking me why I couldn’t get all this work done during my planning period, convinced that there had to be something I was doing wrong.

Those same years, I swore I would divorce him unless he took a day off work to be my shadow and see what it was like, which normally quieted him down until the next time his frustration with my job boiled over.

There were years of asking my family to please hold off on the family Christmas party until after finals because I had to write mine up from scratch. The time spent out of school on this job has a real impact on a teacher’s ability to enjoy life and to spend time with her family.

My kids learned to answer when other moms wondered where I was at their school day events “My mom’s a teacher and she can’t leave her class.”

My husband was often the caretaker on days when they were sick because he didn’t have to find a sub and put together a lesson plan in order to stay home. This is what teaching is like because there is no way to get it all done, ever.

Some of the most competitive school systems in the world understand this truth about time and teaching. These countries have built a system that recognizes effective teaching requires significant time devoted to planning and preparing feedback for students.

According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on teaching hours, “at the upper secondary general level, teachers in Denmark, Finland, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Norway, Poland and the Russian Federation teach for three hours or less per day, on average, compared to more than five hours in Argentina, Chile and the United States.”

When teachers have more hours to prepare, they are able to tailor their lessons, get grading done in order to provide timely feedback to students. They are able to live a life outside the school and they are able to feel like 30 years in this profession is not a life sentence. They are able to deliver quality instruction.

Is it any wonder that those systems where teachers have more time to plan are leading the world in quality of education? There are so many research-based strategies that we would like to use better, but we simply do not have enough hours in the day to do so, so the system in essence ties our hands.

The school day gives us few opportunities to work together. We have department meetings once a month after school, so the already long day is extended by another hour. In addition, working together before or after school is often limited by additional commitments we have as teachers.

For example, my department head and Spanish colleague has morning duty from 7:45 to 8:30 every day and I tutor Spanish 1 students most Mondays after school, teach an APEX recovery class on Tuesday, have Model UN club meetings on Wednesday afternoons (until 5 pm), and try to make myself available for a student who needs help applying for college and another one who wants to brush up on her Spanish for her job at Zaxby’s.

On Fridays, I stay for the games, and let the kids know that I am proud of what they do on the field and on the court too. So it’s hard to choose a day and time for collaborative planning outside of the school day.

We do have one week of pre-planning and one week of post-planning, of which the pre-planning is probably the most fruitful. I should clarify — it is fruitful when we are allowed to use it for planning and collaboration, not when we are forced to attend workshops for our professional development that every year roll out the latest set of acronyms invented by an education bureaucrat.

During the year on several days each semester we huddle in someone’s classroom after school and work until 6 to 7 p.m. planning common assessments and unit activities. Those long days contribute to the fatigue and often (not to be too dramatic) hopelessness we feel about our careers. We work so hard and never seem to get ahead.

Yet, it is in those late afternoon meetings that we get our frustrations off our chest, have moments of creative energy, get excited about the latest project and rubric we have designed, and find the strength to keep going. We rely on each other so much and sometimes we are the only ones who can talk each other down from the cliff when things go poorly.

We are assumed by the system to be incompetent and must constantly prove that we are not. Testing is a prime example. In fact, the current system seems to say only a test can prove a teacher is competent. Testing takes time, does not contribute to learning, costs who knows how much money and is often redundant.

I sometimes wonder why the state doesn’t just cut the testing budget instead of our insurance, raises, professional learning — if they really care about quality of instruction.

I have been teaching AP Spanish Language and Culture since 2005. I have attended three different week-long trainings and one refresher training. Every summer, I spend seven days, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., grading the AP Spanish Language exam with colleagues from colleges and high schools from all over the United States.

You can look up the scores my students have received every one of those years. But now, I have to administer a “SLO” exam twice a year as a pretest and post-test.

(SLOs — Student Learning Objectives — are new state required tests in those subjects for which there are no End of Course Tests.)

It is a poor substitute for the full AP exam, including only reading questions (50 total) and takes one class period. The College Board assessment evaluates a student’s ability to speak, write and understand written language, spoken language and culture and lasts for four hours.

My students take their actual AP exam in May and we receive those scores in June. Now. it is true not all students can afford to pay for the exam or choose to take it.

But the students’ growth from pre to post test on the SLO is what is used in my evaluation, not their AP scores. We are over-testing our students because the system places no trust in the teachers’ ability to instruct.

I know I am a great teacher. I am not a perfect one, but I am a highly effective master teacher who is sought out for advice, has mentored new teachers, has hosted a student teacher, has been recognized as the STAR teacher, multiple salutatorians’ and valedictorians’ influential teacher, has watched former students go on to minor in Spanish and even major in it, following a love for language first fostered in my classroom.

I have been involved in my professional organizations, competed for and won scholarships, written grants and curriculum, selected textbooks, given presentations and speeches and even received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award as I completed my master’s degree last year (while I was teaching).

So is mine the type of teaching you wish to replicate?

Are most teachers as passionate, crazy, type-A, driven as I am to do all those hours of work outside of the 8 to 4 school day? Probably not.

But you might have a better chance of making this happen, and thus improve the state of teaching, if you designed the school day to make the following items a priority: time for planning quality instruction, time for collaboration, cutting back on testing and giving teachers a voice and a means to impact their schools and professions.

My recommendations:

  1. Establish more planning days during each semester or grading period and don’t fill it up with workshops; let us work together, share best practices and use our resources to enrich our own curriculum.
  2. Reduce the number of hours teaching and increase the number of hours used for planning and collaboration. Yes this would mean hiring more teachers to cover the classes, but you could pay for it with my #3.
  3. Stop the redundant testing. When you know how to read test data, you realize how wasteful it is to administer an ITBS every year, a COGAT every year, a SLO. You realize the indicators of great teaching are easily observable in the classroom and in the quality of activities a teacher plans. There is no need to take instructional time for testing. Assessment is part of effective teaching already.
  4. Hire administrators that foment an esprit de corps, who give us opportunities to socialize, to get to know members of other departments and to make us feel a sense of community instead of isolation. Hire administrators who see us as a team to be coached up.
  5. Stop bombarding new teachers with extracurricular commitments. Give them the time they deserve to learn and be mentored by others so they don’t run away from their teaching career before three years have passed.
  6. Listen to us. Ask for our opinion. Engage us in this fight for a better education for all students.
  7. Stop vilifying teachers and balancing your budgets at our expense. Stop begrudging us a yearly step raise, which in my case amounts to about two grand every two years. Stop saying that a teacher with her master’s degree in her subject area has not earned a raise that will not even cover the cost of her student loan. Stop plotting ways to shortchange us in health insurance and raid our retirement.
  8. Stop appointing to educational reform commissions those who have never taught but who seek to profit monetarily from the reforms they support.

 

Find this opinion article also on MyAJC.

Reader Comments 0

185 comments
Catie Webb
Catie Webb

You are the best mom and teacher ever!!!

readcritic
readcritic

Add to the job list: If the teacher has students on Special needs plans, 504 plans, etc., he/she will be staying after school for meetings to update the parent, counselor, administrator, and/or file. If the teacher has many such students, "stay after school time" increases proportionately. 

JR47
JR47

This is anything but extraordinary. This is the typical and this teacher is far to self involved to see this happening all over her school. The majority of teachers are like this if not better. It reads like nothing but self promotion. UGGGG

sptchr
sptchr

This kind of teacher does exist in every school.  However, at this time, they are all looking at retirement, or other job options. As a high school special education teacher, the amount of paperwork I must do is beyond comprehension.  My students need extra time to establish a relationship with them that will allow me to mentor them through to successfully completing high school.  How? I never see the students on my caseload and I am pulled out of class to administer "high stakes" tests to students that cannot read.  Would I encourage any one to go into education? Never.

Ashok Sharma
Ashok Sharma

May be the world have such or similar stories from teachers, the issues are to be dealt globally

Bernie31
Bernie31

This Teacher is the Kind of Teacher every school in Georgia should have in abundance.. Governor Deal and his crew should stop the shenanigan's and get serious about rewarding the thousands of Great Teachers like this one. The Teachers, who go beyond the call of Duty in making sure Georgia students are equipped with the Tools of the Future.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Bernie31  This is not just in Georgia but all 50 States... Thanks, Allison Webb for telling it like it is. I believe the Governor wants to get this right as he has members of his family that are also teachers.

MrsLKT
MrsLKT

Brava!  Well said.

moralemess
moralemess

Amen, sister. We are assumed to NOT be doing our jobs. Hope the educates read!

Caroline Lewis
Caroline Lewis

Great essay - Allison Webb! You and every effective teacher out there, should be lauded and celebrated.


I'd like to send you my small handbook, just published: Just Back Off and LET US TEACH, by Caroline Alexander Lewis…A book for effective teachers and those who champion them


WHY THIS BOOK?

Lewis wrote the book for several reasons, chief among them:

a.To help teachers confront and assess their own effectiveness;

b.To encourage ineffective and unmotivated teachers to exit the profession; and,

c.To ask education reform experts to shift discussion and policy in ways that will attract and retain effective teachers. 



OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Caroline Lewis 

MAUREEN.Another self-published book, sold by Barnes & Noble. Published by Dog Ear Publishing [sic].

Google has an interesting link to "Dog Ear Publishing Scam." Better read it, Ms. Lewis.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

I have just notified the appropriate committee chair of the Senate in the research university from which I retired, including this link.  I encouraged her to work with other USG schools to oppose SB152.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Lexi3, and others, who do not see the issue confronting teachers in Georgia with the same eyes as I do:


This issue finally comes down to philosophy, not economics, not education, and not legalities.  It comes down to the question of whether we see ourselves, and see all other human beings on Earth, as equal to ourselves or whether we see some human beings as superior and others as inferior.


Like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr.,  and Jesus Christ, I believe that we are all equal in the sight of God, and, therefore, we are our brothers' keepers.  I do not believe that we were meant to be isolated from one another on a planet in which "survival of the fittest" rules pragmatically and its mantra of  "Every man and woman for him/herself" becomes the philosophy of all living beings.  We are spiritually better souls, and smarter human beings in terms of sustaining human survival, if we pool our resources and if we understand that together, under God, we can change the trajectory of the world's course from narrow self-interests to love of humanity, as a whole.



gactzn2
gactzn2

It is interesting.how beliefs about teacher salaries changed from pre- and post recession periods.  While private industry jobs flowed with milk and honey prior to the recession, many attitudes were that teaches were lowly paid public servants that were working hard for students.  Fast forward and  the post recession private industry has rolled back its wages and taken jobs to distant shores, and  conservatives have propagated the idea  that teachers are lazy professionals and schools are ineffective. Suddenly the teaching profession is under attack.  Research shows that schools are doing their jobs.  They are doing their best with the products that parents send to school.  Is it our fault that demographics have changed, SES' are lower for the average Georgia citizen then before the recession, and academic gaps persist.  This is all about money and dismantling public education and the public will cry foul after it is too late and the damage is already done.  In fact, teacher enrollment education programs are already manifesting side effects- declines in teacher enrollment- an unintended consequence in this age of misinformation.  No one in their right mind would choose this profession today!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Would anyone be so good as to tell me how to see all of the comments on this thread?  I can scroll down and read only 48 of the 156 comments posted.  I do "hit" the "See More Comments" sign but nothing happens, in that the scroller does not move back up, which would allow me to scroll down further in order to read earlier comments, as can be done on other AJC blogs.


I have tried minimizing the screen on which the comments are written so that I can see the "See More Comments" sign better, but that is not the problem.  Again, the problem is that the scroller - in gray on the same side as my right hand - will not move back upward.  Only by its moving upward again would I be able to scroll down further in order to see all of the comments posted.


Thank you. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

I too noticed that problem this morning, but assumed that it was a deliberate way of removing all the off-the-topic comments on SB152, the proposed change to TRS. Perhaps I was unduly cynical.

hssped
hssped

@MaryElizabethSings I don't know, Mary E.  The farthest back I can go is a reply from you to Lynn43 two days ago.  Maybe that is the beginning?   If there are more comments I can't get to them either. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@hssped @MaryElizabethSings 

I have noticed also today that  as recent comments are added to the top, the comments available at the bottom disappear.


Note: yesterday there was a whole long string of new comments that were replies to older comments. These are not now accessible.

FinnTeaches
FinnTeaches

"Are most teachers as passionate, crazy, type-A, driven as I am to do all those hours of work outside of the 8 to 4 school day? Probably not."


I disagree - Probably YES. I am one of these "crazies" and so are many of my colleagues. You have summed up perfectly the impact, scholastically and personally, that this job has on our lives. We are professionals - allow us to do our jobs and you will see amazing things!

heyteacher
heyteacher

She nailed it. The only thing I'd like to add is that over the years many of our support systems have been eliminated. Student interns, parent volunteers, office assistants and para professionals are virtually non-existent at our school so we're no longer staffing the attendance office, after school study halls, and the copy room (I remember the days when you could ask the parent volunteer in the copy room to run your handouts or make a simple phone call to a parent about an absence). 

 My extra duties have increased because no one but me is allowed to do them. 




TeachingSkills
TeachingSkills

I find it odd that someone who calls themselves EdUktr can't quickly and easily see the truth being shared. As someone who worked in industry before coming to teaching and has worked my way to the top echelon of my subject in this state over the last 15 years I completely agree with the writer's points. Any teacher doing their job to a high level can identify with this scenario. The people who can't identify are the the ones who consistently put all the ills of student performance solely on the backs of teachers while also expecting us to do less with more while also solving all of the social ills brought to us by society and helicopter parents who are often more concerned with the end result of grades than the the actual process of their student learning. The other group that does not get it are the red tape, C-Y-A, anything-for-a-vote and another tax dollar they can waste bureaucrats who would never admit that they don't have the answer. I too average 60-70 hours per week working just to keep up with the flow of paperwork and requirements. And every year, less of that time is spent on instruction and lesson development while at the same time being asked to produce higher achievements.


Shining light on the problems does not mean that teachers are not "suited" for the job. Instead, these teachers should be seen as leaders who are attempting to join in the conversation and discuss solutions to improve the system. Anyone with any educational expertise and pride in their profession should be able to appreciate that not only were problems pointed out, but solutions were offered.


That's not complaining . . . that's problem-solving . . . and THAT IS WHAT GOOD TEACHERS TEACH!

EdUktr
EdUktr

Funny how a small coterie of malcontent "teachers" spin these hard luck stories each legislative session—but never seem to move on to jobs they're better suited for.

Perhaps they're as fictitious as their claims.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@hssped @EdUktr

If you're so unhappy with your job you owe it to kids, parents and taxpayers to move on now and make way for someone else.

There is no shortage of qualified applicants waiting.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@EdUktr @hssped 

Not in Special Ed.  That's one of the fields where there's a shortage, as with STEM teachers.

hssped
hssped

@EdUktr No, not fictitious.  Most of what you read on this site is true.  You know....if one has 4th period planning one typically has to take 1/2 a personal day just to make phone calls for dr appts and such because most offices are closed from 11:30-1:30 for lunch.   Ask anyone with 4th period planning...you can't just make a phone call any time that you feel like it.   Unless you've lived it I guess you probably would think people were making things up. 


And I will happily move on to a job I am better suited for once I retire.  For now, I've got too much put into to it to quit.  I will see it to the end.  Sad thing about it?  I really, really like teaching. In the meantime I continue to discourage young people from going into teaching.  And after reading SB 152....why would they want to???

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@EdUktr @AlreadySheared @OriginalProf @hssped Correct.  73 positions in the middle of the school year that are available and have not been/cannot be filled.  Much higher than other categories of teachers.  Gosh, what do you call it when there are large numbers of jobs open that no one is available to fill?  (hint - it's the opposite of 'longage')

But that's ok, don't let facts get in the way of your point of view....

hssped
hssped

@EdUktr @hssped

No...I've put 22 years in already.  I will finish.   And just so you know, I am not unhappy with the actual job (teaching children) it is the rest of the crap that I am unhappy with.  No man can serve two masters yet teachers are required to do just that.   And woe to the teacher with the  solid work ethic.... have you ever seen the picture of the donkey hanging in the air because the cart is so overloaded? hahaha!   You are right there are teachers that take nothing home, give scantron tests and busy work.  But they are in the minority.  


One of my p/t jobs is tutoring children in a group home.  I adore it.  I can teach.  No politics, no duties, no interference.  Pure teaching.  If only I could do that every day.   

Clayton Johnson
Clayton Johnson

If they could fire the bad teachers that do no one any good, they could afford to hire more teachers and follow something like this. Unfortunately as long as the teacher's union exists that will never happen.

thoughtful11
thoughtful11

@Clayton Johnson Most teacher are hard working people who do their best.  Here in Georgia, there is no teachers' union, so I have no idea what you are talking about.  Many poor teachers have been fired here, but there are fewer teachers now, not more.  

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Lexi3 @MaryElizabethSings @thoughtful11 @Clayton Johnson


The latest round for ALEC supporters and members are in the process of trying to undermine the middle class by removing one of the last bastions that support  the middle class by fighting for higher wages and benefits-unions. The middle and lower class would be much better off if unions still exist.


EdUktr
EdUktr

“Dollars should follow pupils, through a big expansion of voucher schemes or charter schools. In this way, good schools that attract more pupils will grow; bad ones will close or be taken over. Unions and their Democratic Party allies will howl, but experiments in cities such as battered New Orleans have shown that school choice works.”

—The Economist magazine, 1/24/15 http://tinyurl.com/o5xasle

mensa_dropout
mensa_dropout

@EdUktr

Money following pupils is great!  Vouchers have been proven to fail; keeps the unwashed out.

hssped
hssped

You nailed it, Allison.  Everything you wrote is TRUE.  I am in my 22nd year of teaching and can't wait to retire and get a "real" job.  I have already figured that I will have to work until I die.  And, by the way, I cut my own hair, paint my own nails, live in a modest home that is almost paid for and drive a 15 year old vehicle.  I've been working p/t jobs for the past 6 years to take the edge off.  I have 1 undergrad and 2 post grad degrees.  I knew I'd never be rich but I really thought I'd be doing better than what I am.  I tell every young person I meet to NOT consider teaching unless they are planning on marrying rich.  And to those that think that spec ed teachers get paid extra.......not in Fayette or Clayton.  

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@hssped


I hate to be a pessimist to you, hssped, but this is for the reading audience more than for you.  (Thank you for your service to the children of Georgia.)  But, as you age, you are not going to have the same physical or mental faculties that you now have so you cannot count on being able to continue to cut your own hair, paint your own nails or even live in the same house with the same car until you die. 


I entreaty you, and all teachers, to fight SB 152 which has the potential to cut out your teacher retirement, whatever the present politicians may say. Easy enough for them to run their mouths.  But, they are setting in motion a travesty upon all of Georgia's public school teachers with this bill.  And, to you teachers who are voting for Republicans, you are voting against your own future security.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@MaryElizabethSings @hssped 

"And, to you teachers who are voting for Republicans, you are voting against your own future security."

****************************


Funny, but virtually all the states whose pension obligations are grossly underfunded are states long controlled by democrats: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, California....Now that's security.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Lexi3 @MaryElizabethSings @hssped


Yes, there are self interested politicians on both sides of the aisle, but just because one state does something wrong, does not give other states free reign to do the same.


TRS is not controlled by the state government, unlike other teacher pension funds, and it in solid fiscal shape.  It is considered one of the best managed pension funds out there - therefore there is NO reason for the Georgia legislature to try and take control of those funds. However, for the past several years they have tried over and over to get their hands on that money and to take control of it.



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Lexi3 


Sleight-of-hand tactic on your part..  I was writing about Georgia's TRS and referring to Georgia's Republican politicians.  You know, the same ones who used to be part of the Georgia Democratic Party and before that, part of the Dixiecrat conservative Democrats. Most people, I believe, recognized that fact.

hssped
hssped

@MaryElizabethSings @hssped

Thanks, Mary Elizabeth.  I just read through the bill.  I'm less than 10 years from retiring so it doesn't look like it will directly affect me. But we all know how things can change. 


PS  Alzheimer's disease is in my family so I am guessing in about 15 years I won't care about my hair and nails!!! 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lexi3 @MaryElizabethSings @hssped 

Funny, but we TRS members live in Georgia and would like to see that our pension fund doesn't become under-funded as in those states. That's why we oppose SB152, which would change teachers' retirement plan for new school hires to a hybrid: part defined benefits as now, and part 401K investments. TRS would wind up with more retirees than working members if SB152 passes--a recipe for disaster, as the multi-employer unions (in construction and service) have discovered.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @Lexi3 @MaryElizabethSings @hssped 


So, you want it to be a pay as you go plan forever (or at least until you've collected all you can collect in this life)?  The problem appears to be that your wishes will collide with a declining birthrate, which will lead to fewer school age children and fewer teachers.


Why oppose a plan that would fully protect retired teachers and those nearing retirement, while becoming a fully funded, actuarial sound enterprise? The beauty of a 401k is the magic of compound interest (returns) allows the retirement savings to grow for each individual. A pay as you go plan is, in a sense, always robbing Peter to pay Paul, hoping Peter produces enough offspring to keep the scheme going. Didn't Mr. Ponzi go to prison for his similar plan?

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Lexi3 @OriginalProf @MaryElizabethSings @hssped


Now pensions are on the ALEC radar...watch out folks. They are spinning the truth to make it appear that greedy workers shouldn't get the pensions they were promised. Now they want to put in the hands of the stock market. If that goes bust then who do you look to for help? The same people would certainly protest that you are asking for a government handout.