[Vision2020] Wenders' Diatribe
Fri, 01 Aug 2003 01:56:42 +0000
Jack Wenders makes an obvious error that shows a surprising lack of accuracy
when he writes: "Not bad for a 180 day work year, while those who pay for
it work 240 days."
In fact the number of days in a year worked by people who pay taxes to
support the salaries of public school teachers varies considerably, from the
self sufficient wealthy individual (wealthy by whatever means, inheritance,
success in business etc.) who pays property taxes but works only when they
choose, to the self employed hard working individual who might claim to
really "work" nearly every day of the year, not being tied to an hourly or
salaried pay check. In fact many public school teachers themselves pay part
of their salary when they pay their property taxes.
Such a glaring misstatement of fact, written as though to imply public
school teachers loaf through an easy work year with lots of days off, while
the harder working pay their salary, weakens the credibility of the rest of
Jack Wenders diatribe.
It has already been established that the length of this so called "work
year," as Dale Courtney and Jack Wenders define it in their obviously biased
attempt to make public school teachers appear to be free-loading off the
taxpayers, is not as padded with vacation time as they claim, with the
demands of course work requiring summer school courses, and other related
academic work teachers need to complete during so called "vacation" periods.
Mr. Courtney and Mr. Wenders case would be much more compelling if they
would state their case more fairly and accurately. If the facts they
present are so persuasive, they should present the facts considering all
variables. Slanting facts to fit a bias just weakens the proselytizing
power of their argument.
Again, the salaries of public school teachers are presented with out
comparison to what the best and brightest can earn being a doctor, lawyer,
statistician, computer scientist, engineer or architect, etc. when they
climb the ladder of success in these fields The potential earnings are so
high in these other professions they compel many of the best and brightest
to not even give a career as a K-12 public school teacher serious
consideration. As they say, "there's no money in it." I don't need to
burden this point with listing facts we all know to be true regarding what a
top doctor, lawyer, statistician, computer scientist, architect or engineer
But then it appears Mr. Courtney and Mr. Wenders think that being a public
school teacher does not require the intelligence or education or dedication
or hard work to render it deserving of a high salary. Or if they do, they
certainly do not make this clear.
Jack Wenders also states a comparison between MSD and "comparable private
schools" in terms of salary costs, yet does not give one example of a
private school that offers all the programs and services MSD does for grades
K-12, which would render it truly a "comparable private school." This same
question was posed to Mr. Courtney long ago on V2020 and I do not recall an
answer was ever given.
Also, Mr. Wenders statement that "No private enterprise has such an
unproductive, bloated, top heavy compensation structure." seems an odd
exaggeration in this age of corporate waste, fraud and corruption. We have
all heard the stories of 7 figure compensation for the CEOs of some of the
largest US corporations that have recently gone into bankruptcy after
bilking people out of billions of dollars: Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing,
What world is Mr. Wenders living in? A capitalist fantasy world, it
appears, where the noble free enterprise system renders it impossible for a
private enterprise to be "unproductive, bloated or top heavy." The
fantastic compensation packages for top executive management in some US
corporations compared to what the people at the bottom make defines what the
word "top heavy" means!
>From: "Dale Courtney" <email@example.com>
>Subject: [Vision2020] LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
>Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 16:58:39 -0700
>In today's Daily News from Jack Wenders -- to the point as always.
> Your knee-jerk haste to defend Moscow's teachers' pay neglects some
> Research shows that only 4-5 years of teacher experience contributes
>to student learning. Experience beyond that has no payoff except in pay.
> Pedagogy credits don't contribute to learning. Advanced degrees are
>productive only at the secondary level and in the subject being taught.
>Credits are used mostly to climb the salary grid.
> Moscow's teachers receive $380.76 per month in current benefits. That's
>an additional $4569.12 annually you never hear about.
> Moscow's teachers receive at least an additional 18.45% of salary in
>deferred retirement benefits.
> The total compensation of the average Moscow teacher is not the
>$42,000 you suggest, but $55,892. Not bad for a 180 day work year, while
>those who pay for it work 240 days.
> Starting compensation is $34,391 per year, a long way from the $25k
>salary you quote. How much does the DN pay starting reporters with the same
> 74 (45%) of Moscow's teachers are in the single top cell of the
>salary grid where total compensation is $62,358 per year. 123 (75%) are in
>the top five highest paying longevity cells. No private enterprise has such
>an unproductive, bloated, top heavy compensation structure.
> Twelve MSD administrators make over $80,000 in annual compensation;
>three make over $100,000.
> Comparable private schools have an average teachers' salary of 60-65%
>those in public schools. About half of this differential is because
>comparable public school teachers are paid about 20-25% more, and the rest
>is because private schools operate with a much more efficient mix of
>teachers. This is why US public schools have a per pupil cost of about 50%
>greater than comparable private and foreign schools. Compared to the
>about one-third of US public school expenditures is simply waste.
> Jack Wenders
>We must also read the poets, acquaint ourselves with histories, study and
>peruse the masters and authors in every excellent art, and by way of
>practice, praise, expound, emend, criticize and confute them; we must argue
>every question on both sides, and bring out on every topic whatever points
>can be deemed plausible. Cicero, The Making of an Orator
>Dale M. Courtney
>Lecturer in Information Systems
>Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
>MCSE/MCDBA, Information Architect
Tired of spam? Get advanced junk mail protection with MSN 8.