[Vision2020] Wenders' Diatribe

Ted Moffett ted_moffett@hotmail.com
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 
can earn

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, 
Adelphia, etc.

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" <dale@courtneys.us>
>To: <vision2020@moscow.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
>education? Half?
>         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
>     Moscow
>   _____
>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
>phone:(831)214-4353; dmcourtn@moscow.com
>   <http://courtneys.us/images/MCDBA_SE.jpg>

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