Are cheaper teachers better teachers?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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In response to Allan Bernstein's editorial asserting that OPRF teachers are overpaid, doesn't it all depend on how we define "overpaid"?

Yes, it's true we could probably find teachers who would do the job for less. Whether they are equally qualified, experienced or suited is another question. Yes, it's true that a six-figure salary is a comfortable living but certainly not excessive in an age when a mid-level manager at a downtown business can make that much (and comfortably afford to live in Oak Park, send his or her children to college and save for retirement). I would not deny these professional teachers the right to earn a respectable and comfortable living.

If some folks in our culture are struggling financially, does that mean we should tear down those who have been successful? Should we demand that doctors, small business owners, accountants and plumbers all take a pay cut? Should we assume that the cheapest labor we can find in any of these areas equals the best?

Rather, we should fight to raise the circumstances of those who are struggling, not demean and tear down those who are succeeding.

Is a good teacher worth a six-figure salary? Heck yes, when you look at the contribution he or she makes every day to our society and our families. Is a Wall Street Banker worth a billion? Is that really where our values are?

Yes, I am certain that some areas of the compensation package could be reformed, but overall I do not accept the premise that cheaper is better; nor do I accept that any American should be denied the right to negotiate and receive a wage commensurate with his or her experience, education and contribution to the greater good.

Pam Whitehead

Oak Park

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Posted: January 30th, 2013 9:14 AM

Agreed. The basic concept lost on most pensioners is that they are withdrawing more than they contributed (including investment gains). They cannot get beyond the "but I was promised..." argument and look at the logic of the situation. Another interesting perspective on the baby boomer self-inflicted plight can be found here:


Posted: January 29th, 2013 6:02 PM

@Muntz. This article today perfectly shows the gorilla in the room that every one talks about - and then does nothing - Forget the pay levels of the teachers. It's that they are retiring at 56 with a pension that would require someone to have over $2million in savings to match - which only the 1% have - but we the 99% have to pay for. Calling Don Harmon!!!


Posted: January 29th, 2013 3:39 PM

OP Dad - Of course we'll all choose the teacher over the CEO in terms of societal value. But you forgot to factor one thing...CHOICE. I can choose who to do and not to do business with. We taxpayers have no choice in our property tax $. OP doesn't refund me the education portion of my taxes if I send my kids to private school. The taxpayers are captive consumers in this regard. So we have every right to question increases and logic in allocation of these funds.


Posted: January 29th, 2013 3:22 PM

Unf- I feel your pain and mostly echo your sentiments. Of course teachers are important. But apparently their salary/benefits are off-limits and insulated from discussion from us "outsiders" who "simply don't understand education". It's that elitist thinking that got in this mess (that and inept pols). We all know the current state is unsustainable. All the govt unions know that (their recent "concessions" still included guarantees from taxpayers). Can we find a middle ground?


Posted: January 29th, 2013 1:38 PM

I again wish to reiterate that I am a strong supporter of the vast majority of teachers at OPRFHS, but that I am seeking balance/fairness between what we can afford as a community and compensation levels for employees. Additionally, I am very concerned that a new OPRF school board will regard the obscene fund surplus as an "opportunity" to do great things "for the children." Fairness and balance must be utilized in this regard, too - esp as I just obtained my property tax bill in the mail.


Posted: January 29th, 2013 11:57 AM

Alright, I'll try one more time. OP/97 teachers avg salary is $70K (12.2yrs tenure). RF/90 avg is $74K (13.5yrs). OPRF avg is $98K (12.5yrs). OPRF teachers are paid approx. 35 and 40 percent more!!! Per the author and others, doesn't this make the OP and RF teachers "cheap" and therefore inferior in comparison to OPRF teachers? Why is the wage gap so large for the nurses and librarians, too? Further, the health insurance contributions from OPRF is much lower than D97. Who's "demeaning" now?

OP Dad  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 8:07 PM

CEOs, etc... who get paid more than $200k? Teachers are a large part of the key to a development of a person... you think this is worth less than someone who gets criminals off the hook, or someone who exploits cheap labor?

OP Dad  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 7:59 PM

Unfortunately, we don't have a difference of understanding, as I understand your view point, we have a difference of belief. I'm well aware that there are "unemployed college grads" wanting to teach, and if anything the competition makes for a higher quality of teacher that gets hired at good schools. I'm not actually saying $100k is not enough, I'm responding to your belief that teachers get paid too much. So are teachers worth less than people like Bankers, Lawyers cont...

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 6:03 PM

If you're still "Waiting from Oak Park", the post by "Led to Believe" does promote views that I strongly support. The anctedoal evidence offered confirms what I have also personally found to be true. Of course, factual information that can be verified is preferred by anyone interested in engaging in an honest and reasonable debate.

Wait a second from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 10:35 AM

@Led. " Union employees, overall, remain more productive than non-union ones and often substantially so.". Jim C. I think this is the anectdotal info you said you didn't like. Do you have information to back this up for us 89% non union?


Posted: January 27th, 2013 9:56 AM

@OP Dad. We obviously have a difference of understanding. For instance, your proposal for someone (me) to be a teacher is one. Are you ignorant of the tremendous glut of unemployed college grads attempting to do just that? Your "logic" also suggests that $100K avg is too low - and why not $200K? Aren't teachers the key to everything? Lastly, surplus of Art, Music, PE, etc grads - scarcity of Physics/Calc ones. Please see my Jan 18 comments for more of my thoughts about this impt matter.

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 8:51 PM

Cont... I'm guessing that you're also the type of person that thinks math and science are more important that art and music? Do you think a banker, lawyer etc... Who in a lot of cases make a tone of money, deserve to be payed more than the teachers that have a large part in the positive development of our children? If you think being a teacher is so lucrative and easy, go be a teacher and then report back to us about how easy you find it.

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 8:46 PM

Unfortunately, regarding your question about "librarians, PE teachers etc..." This clearly shows that you have a predisposition towards a hierarchical view of subjects, and that you have a very one dimensional and limited understanding of where the value of a teacher lays. As I explained earlier, a teacher is more than a middleman for information, but also is important for how a person develops, interacts socially, creates systems that allow for richer learning experiences etc... Cont.

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 8:39 PM

Unfortunately, so you don't think the importance of what good teachers do are comparable to the importance of MDs... Well, if it weren't for good teachers, there wouldn't BE any MDs.


Posted: January 26th, 2013 5:13 PM

@Led. Overlooking how the "union employees" affected Hostess with their work rules, I don't disagree that most teachers in OP are of high quality - but I fail to understand what that has to do with their being in a union? However, I wish that one post would address why it is necessary for librarians, PE, and Driver's Ed teachers to earn as much as Calc teachers? And why is it necessary for them to retire with $100K+ pensions after only 35 years? My belief: union "negotiations" with OPRF board.

Led to believe  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:08 PM

There are definitely teachers that don't belong in the profession. My kids have had some. But, in my experience, that is a small minority. Current work rules make them hard to fire. But in the 25 years I've worked in business (banking and finance, mostly) I have seen underperforming employees protected and promoted as well. The public sector and union workplaces are not the only places those issues exist.

Led to believe  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:00 PM

We've been led to believe that unions are the enemy and I see that echoed in some comments here. That's unfortunate. Despite their problems, and they have them, unions remain an individuals best defense in the workplace. Historically unions have raised employee quality, justifying higher wages. Union employees, overall, remain more productive than non-union ones and often substantially so. That's difficult to quantify in the education environment, thus leading to demonization of teacher unions.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 2:44 PM

OP 'baggers...gotta love them...(Wow, just wow...)


Posted: January 26th, 2013 1:56 PM

Unfortunately - Right on! This socialistic-union environment is eating the middle class alive. Economy is booming in DC, MD & VA, all Govt workers benefitting from the redistribution of our wealth. So goes OP. When there's a collapse of the middle class - so goes society as we know it.


Posted: January 26th, 2013 12:52 PM

@Chet and OP Dad. Please walk me thru your logic regarding why we are paying librarians the same as math teachers like Paul Wright? Answer? Because in this socialistic/union environment that's what we get! Comparing teachers to doctors? C'mon. For one, it's a lot easier to get a PE degree than be a MD. Further, how many MD's retire with great pensions at 56? None of you will acknowledge the insanity of this situation? "For the children"? This is bankrupting "the children" and society!

Michele Vogt-Schuller from Oak Park  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 9:39 AM

More about Mr. Wright. He grades everything right away, sends home grade reports every Friday afternoon, contacts parents about successes as well as struggles, and my son states: "by far, the most hilarious teacher I've ever had." The mixture of high accountability, love of the job, ability to use analogy, metaphor and humor in teaching math, is a gift and a blessing for our kids and community. Thank you Mr. Wright for being an Oak Park treasure! Oh yes - my son is learning math!

Michele Vogt-Schuller from Oak Park  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 9:34 AM

I just read the opinion column called "the worst part of Oak Park" - the claim of the writer has to do with anonymous posts in the Wednesday Journal. I want to be able to stand behind what I say and use my name. One easy way to do that is by making positive posts. who knows - it might change the tone of the conversation. Now, about teachers - my son has had an amazing math teacher at OPRF for the last two years - Paul Wright. My son states "hands down, the best teacher I've ever had."

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:25 AM

The people who under-estimate the importance of good teachers, the difficulty of their jobs, and the positive effects they have, not only on the people they teach, but the towns they teach in (creating desire in a town), are fools!

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:20 AM

Cont... different social skills, different backgrounds etc... and then trying to cater to and change your teaching style so that not only YOUR kid develops, but the entire class develops. Then add the difficulties of dealing with different (sometimes unreasonable) parents, discipline issues, institutional bureaucracy etc... Teaching is not JUST teaching, there's a whole lot more involved, and you are responsible for human development of multiple people. Cont.

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:13 AM

Some people really show their ignorance of what teachers do when they simplify teaching down to a bit of teaching, tutoring and grading. It's not just about the hours put in, nor merely about the material presented, but about taking responsibility for building and developing human beings. You think tutoring you own child is the same as what the teacher does? Try teaching and tutoring a classroom full of kids, all with different personalities, abilities, levels of motivation, parents cont...

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:08 AM

The reason we have high taxes here is NOT because of what we pay our teachers, but due to the fact that Oak Park does not have large scale taxable companies, which means the tax burden falls on residents.

OP Dad  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 3:05 AM

Actually, teacher ARE a "gift to humanity". Without teachers you'd have a more than less educated and functional society, so if you want to put a monetary attachment to each profession based on need, you'll see teachers up there with doctors etc... High pay attracts good teachers, which in turn raises the level of education in schools, which in turn keeps property value up. There exists a very direct link between quality of schools and the desirability of a town cont...

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 11:18 PM

@Chet - Boy, are you mad! Your absolutely right. Teachers are God's gift to humanity, without you, where would we all be. Probably under a rock. Sorry, but you are in for a shock. What teachers are enjoying now will change. It has to. It's happening to everyone everywhere. Somehow we will all get through it.

Chet from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 4:47 PM

"Overcompensated" you could never bring me over to your side. In fact I wish you would just get back on the horse you came in on and go back to where you came from. Listen to Pam - we could hire teachers for less money, but then we would sell our children short. Highly paid teachers are the best of the bunch, have the most experience and are simply reaping the rewards of the hard work they put in during their early years, when they were more often than not severely underpaid. Deal with it.

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 4:40 PM

@Chet - There you go. I knew I'd bring you over to the bungalow side!

Chet from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 4:35 PM

Hey "Overcompensated:" Maybe you should go into private business. Better yet, stay where you are. Nobody would hire a narrow-minded blow hard like you. You are probably the first in line on teacher conference night complaining about the poor education given to your son or daughter, and explaining to the teacher how he/she should do things better. Get a clue.

Chet from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 4:30 PM

To "Overcompensated": Your ignorant comments are obviously from someone that never had quality education. You get what you pay for. Let's all follow your stupid lead, fire all highly paid teachers, and hire a bunch of young inexperienced, inexpensive teachers. Then you and all of your bungalow buddies can afford the taxes and funny Kool-Aid you must be drinking. Most highly paid teachers are the product of many years of experience and toiled for a long time at low wages. They are worth it!

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 3:58 PM

@econ - I thought teacher pension or all pensions for that matter were based on salary, for teachers on the last year. By the way, Tribune local 1/24 reviews teacher avg. salaries for the state. OPRFHS is 115 out of 122. Avg. for state is $66,614, OPRF avg. is $102,893. D97 avg. is $70,302 or 46th of 122, with 122 the highest.


Posted: January 22nd, 2013 11:10 PM

it is not the SALARIES that is the issue but the pension costs, which have zero correlation to the amounts contributed. The MAXIMUM payout on SS is currently less than $30k per year, causing the left to rant about the tax being too regressive and insist on removing the contribution cap on income w/out raising the payouts. Why do they refuse the same limitations on public pensions and go so far as to claim it is unfair to union workers to expect them to pay more to get more.

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 8:53 PM

Oak Park is becoming an eletist community. In SE OP where I live, I don't see much of that. My block is made up of small bungalows with xtra bdrms. in basement or attic space. Many live 4-6 people in housing of approx. 900 sq. ft. The number of professionals and union members are amazing. Most plan on leaving when their kids finish school or on retiremt. Why, our taxes are too high. Teacher salaries and benefits are part of the reason and should not be allowed to continue.

Overcomprnsated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 8:41 PM

Not jealous at all, but very shocked. My compensation in nursing will never compete with private business, however I was really surprised at the disparity in public salary and benefits. Obviously the public holds teachers higher than nurses. But many have even less in salary/bene than those in educ. or nursing. Shall we shun them from Oak Park or throw them from are midst?

get organized from oak park  

Posted: January 21st, 2013 12:22 PM

@ Not overcompensated. You just sound jealous. I am sure you are a highly trained and experienced health care professional. Think of all the folks in your industry that get a heck of a lot more $$ than teachers with not very much training or impact on society. I am thinking of drug reps, medical sales and hospital administrators. Get organized! If not for your generation of Nurses. The next. There need to be more 100k a year jobs. Not less. People need to demand higher pay. Bon Chanc

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 2:35 PM

Although unions protect workers, through hard work I was able to buy a small house in Oak Park. On retirement I will receive $2500 max/mo. in SS at age 66. Teachers are receiving upward of $70,000 to $100,000 on retirement long before they are 66. Nurses are told extra education is for self fulfillment not for extra pay. RN's are paid the same if they are AD, diploma, BSN, or MSN prepared if they work at the bedside. We work every other weekend. We are dedicated and yes teachers are overcom

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 2:21 PM

I think 2 things hold us back from unions. First Nursing is an overwhelmingly female profession, many of which are unmarried or supporting kids. Second bedside nurses are paid by the hour, not salaried. We can be sent home for low census without pay, or fired without reason. We are not protected with a contract so are not covered by Wage and labor boards. Non-union nurses cannot strike.

get organized from oak park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 12:29 PM

If the only difference between you and a teacher is the union. Maybe you should organize and start a union in your profession. I think one of the greatest problems in this country is that wages have been pretty stagnate for the last 30 plus years. Which coincides with the loss of unions in this country in the private sector. I am not in or ever been in a union. But I don't think we should take for granted the benefits that unions have provided workers. 40 hr work week, child labor, 8hr day

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 4:45 AM

The difference between myself and teachers is a union, not the qualifications for the job. I have to care about my taxes because in the future I may not be able to pay them. I think it is my right to stay in OP and not be drummed out because of ridiculous taxes.

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 4:40 AM

Cont. - I will not see an increase in salary while at the bedside. Most of my colleagues work part time because the job is so physical. Few nurses make it to 66 before retirement if they work at the bedside. I worked more Christmases than I care to remember. I've saved every dime for retirement. Will receive SS and Medicare, savings will last about 10 years.

Overcompensated from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 4:33 AM

Lived in Oak Park 25 years. Seen my taxes increase 650%. Worked as a Reg. Nurse for 31 years at the bedside. I felt a calling early on. I worked days and rotated to nites every four weeks. I worked PM's and had no choice but to work doubles. It is a rare day I get out on time, but don't get OT. I've saved countless lives, cleaned every possible excretion, been kicked, slapped and sworn at. I have been blessed by the many who have appreciated my efforts. I have a BSN but if I get a MSN


Posted: January 18th, 2013 12:35 PM

Teacher fan - Yes, Paul Krugman is all that and more. I would suggest you read about other economists Milton Friedman, Fredrik van Hayek and Art Laffer just to see the other side of the economic issue, if you haven't already. When it comes to the debt ceiling it does not have to be raised as there is more than enough revenue each month to pay SS, military and other obligations - the almighty G would not shut down unless the powers that be want it to. But some of you will believe the lie.

Teacher fan  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 12:00 PM

I'm sure you'll reject him as a socialist, pinko, tool of the liberal mainstream media since he writes for the NY Times, but Paul Krugman has a wonderful piece today about how our national financial problems are being overhyped & not as bad as they seem. I'm sure you disagree.


Posted: January 18th, 2013 11:53 AM

Teacher fan - you prove to be a product of socialist indoctrination. In real world speak, a useful idiot, That is why you don't recognize that society is already bankrupt, financially and morally. We borrow 42 cents on the dollar & printing never stops. Common good, determined by whom, for whom. Obviously, your education has withheld some vital historical facts that this never ends well.

Teacher fan  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 11:34 AM

Perhaps you're the selfish one for not wanting everyone to contribute to the greater good? I find anti-tax ideas to be not only uneducated, but not pragmatic. I'm not asking to bankrupt society. I simply want to have a society. Nope, not a teacher, just a fan. I'm in favor of using government to achieve the ends that no private business or individual can achieve. Liberal? Yes. But only because teachers gave me the advanced education to think about helping others & not just protecting my own ass.


Posted: January 18th, 2013 11:17 AM

Teacher fan - because you're a teacher? The IRS could very soon be the only friend you have. Only in a liberal's warped, selfish world of fantasy would they think further bankrupting society is civilized. Don't you care about the future generations? Of course you don't.

Teacher fan  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 10:50 AM

"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society." --Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr...also, note rj, that is the quote above the entrance to IRS headquarters. ;-) If you don't like civilization, you're welcome to find a deserted island and enjoy the lack of wealth distribution. lol Otherwise, pay your taxes and quit whining.


Posted: January 18th, 2013 10:40 AM

Legalized confiscation - distribution of wealth - is not civilized & quite Un American. I suppose if you're the recipient of that confiscation it's quite civilized & justified. It's never a matter of over spending always a matter of under taxing. With liberals at the helm there's never enough of other people's money.

Teacher fan  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 10:13 AM

I can agree the problem IS state level. We need a fairer taxing system that allows us to have a healthy state budget to fund all of our obligations for public services, public employees, etc.. Everything needs improved funding...teacher salaries, health services, public transit, roads, sewers. Civilization is expensive.


Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:58 AM

@Teacher fan. IL is bankrupt - even with a significant income tax increase - and they are now going to raise the tax rate more?!? And "reform"? Don Harmon and his friends have been discussing "reform" of the municipal pension plans for's that going? Also include UI teachers "to fund HIGH teacher salaries"? Average salary at OPRF is almost $100,000 right now - that's not enough for you? How about we pay SOME more and SOME less? Gym teachers paid as much Physics teachers - why?

tired of the property tax complaints from oak park  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:57 AM

Honestly, please stop complaining about your property taxes... My taxes have gone up over 100% in the last 10 years in OP. I get it. Everyone gets it. Where are you going to move and have similar housing stock, proximity to Chicago, good schools, and great banter in the local paper??? Please appeal your taxes. Teachers are a great resource and should be compensated. This debate is tired. Now the $100 million OPRF has squirreled away is puzzling and I don't think adequately explained...


Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:50 AM

When the lion's share of taxes in OP are spent on education expenses, it seems to me that education expenses should receive the lion's share of scrutiny and the lion's share of cuts. Now is the time to negotiate lower pay for teachers. The economic conditions are right. And really, if you pay them less, where are they going to go?

Teacher fan  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:43 AM

I understand the complaints about tax burden...but that's a complaint with a different solution besides lower teacher salaries. Teachers have become a convenient scapegoat & teacher-bashing a scary new side effect of our ignorant political culture. If teachers were paid their true worth to society, they'd all be making six figures. It's time to reform the taxing system to fund HIGH teacher salaries. Not cut them.


Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:43 AM

Speaking of Google: Go to pg 1 and you'll see that the avg pay for a professor at UI is $132,000 - avg age of 56 (when most K-12 teachers are retiring). Assoc Prof? $85,000 and age 48. The pay scale goes lower after that. Translated: incredibly, UI "teachers," with Ph.D's, are paid significantly less than OPRF teachers!?! Further, they do NOT pay the school librarians as much as the Calculus/comp science teachers!?!


Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:19 AM

JC, Mike and econ4--seems to me you are missing the point. Even if we value a teachers pay at the highest scale, they are paid with tax dollars, which are limited by the tax base. In OP, with little business and no industrial base, that means homeowners. So it is not relevant what an actor, doctor or investment banker makes nationally. It only matters what OP'ers make. And that is not enough to pay a librarian $100k or a Supt. $300K. The union is best served to reform b/4 voters take the $ away.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 11:21 PM

@coughlin- HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A GREAT NEW TOOL CALLED GOOGLE? At the analyst level, it is not uncommon to work between 80 -120 hr weeks at some firms. - as an investment banker gets ... this is the upside to those 100+ hour weeks, most report working 80-100 hrs a week, except Sales / Trading professionals who average about 55-hrs www.mbaauthoritycom/cc/inv-banking.html


Posted: January 17th, 2013 9:48 PM

Listen, I am smart enough to understand that ALL good workers work beyond their scheduled hours and that small business owners probably never have a day off, but they also never have to defend themselves in the local paper. Teachers are forced to defend themselves against the countless attacks and then are criticized for defending themselves against people who say that they don't put in the hours they should.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 7:03 PM

How cow! You're citing tv characters to support your position? No doubt that there are instances when people of all professions do work above and beyond their job responsibilites but that's the norm for a school teacher. Too bad that you were not able to share a household with someone in the education field, Muntz. You'd likely have a better understanding and appreciation of their contribution to society. I think this discussion has run it's course and has collapsed into a pointless back and forth. We'll just have to agree to disagree.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 6:14 PM

@Mike & JC. The "dozens of teachers.....who coach, sponsor activities or supervise after school activities" are paid stipends of several thousand to do so. And this stipend is also used to puff up their pension. You guys didn't know this? Really? BTW, I think quite highly of most of the OPRF teachers. All of them? No. But can I afford the pay structure? No. I notice how you're mum on librarians "taking work home with them," etc. Why? They are paid just as much as the Calculus teachers!?!


Posted: January 17th, 2013 5:18 PM

Ironically, at various points in my life I have lived with both a dentist and lawyer(s). The dentist brought work home more than you think - remember, it's a small business owner that has to order supplies, manage staff, continue education, etc. - with many hours spent in the home office. As for lawyers, the corporate ones got calls well after hours from salespeople (also working OT) and had to review revised contracts well into the night. Even Mr. Drummond (RIP) and Mr Brady worked at home.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 4:39 PM

You're wrong. Please note that no teachers have posted a comment. I do wonder who is giving you information regarding the amount of extra work teachers do after hours. How about taking up Mike on his challenge that you share some facts about your occupational workload? You'll still be able to maintain your anomynity. Do you really think a dentist brings work home? And you can be sure most lawyers will bill you for any work done after hours.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 4:28 PM

I agree. I do not doubt teachers put in big hours and then some to get their work done and contribute to the betterment of the students. But we all put in big hours. We're all either reviewing contracts at 8pm, fixing critical system bugs at 2am, or on conference calls with India at 6am. That is the reality of today's workplace. Teachers are not special in this regard. Teachers work beyond 3pm. I work beyond 5pm. Teachers coach on Saturday. I upgrade computer systems on Sunday. Now let's drink!

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 4:09 PM

Mike, Whoopie Freaking Doo. Funny, I see plenty of parents at the various parks volunteering and coaching after hours as well. Not to mention tutoring, mentoring, etc. None of them seem to be asking to for a gold star or some other recognition. Teachers always mention how they take work home like it is special or something. the point is that grading papers after hours while watching Real Housewives is not what I'd call working late. And taking work home is expected of any "professional"

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 3:42 PM

Good call, Mike.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 3:27 PM

Dear uncommon, What about the dozens of teachers that will be at the school well past 7 pm tonight coaching our kids to help them reach their potential? 12 hour days are the norm for teachers who coach, sponsor activities, or supervise after school activities. If you are going to complain, why don't all of you include your profession so we can have a critical analysis on your wages ans how you can improve

Cosmic Queen from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 12:23 PM

No Pam, they are the same teachers. These wonderful people who felt a calling to educate are youth. These educators will continue to teach long after they lose automatic pay increases, increases for educational achievements that show no benefit to their students or when they are forced to work to age 67. They are dedicated to the children of this community.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 11:27 AM

Jim, Google is your friend: "investment banking hours" and it will tell you all you need to know. This is site provides a good summary though:

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:50 AM

I'd been interested in reading any reference you can provide to support the 100 hour work weeks you claim are being put in by investment bankers. No anecdotal evidence, please.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:44 AM

Mike, you are confusing trading and investment banking. Investment banking typically refers to raising capital and advising on mergers & acquisition deals or private equity. The hours in this area are brutal. A light week for junior staff is easily 80 hours with many pushing 100 hour work weeks. Regardless, the point is teachers hardly put in the same hours as most professionals who make six figures imho.

mike from Op  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:21 AM

wall street types working 90 hour weeks? Your way off here. Many of my friends in the investment world are done with work shortly after the closing buzzer sounds......before 3 pm. I say good for them. Good for the teachers. We all had choices. Deal with yours.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:18 PM

@Real List. To expand slightly on your "collusion" comment - it should be noted that Ms. Whitehead is a soccer coach at OPRF.

Real List  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:03 PM

"nor do I accept that any American should be denied the right to negotiate and receive a wage..." In teacher speak, this is called "collective bargaining". In taxpayer-speak, this is referred to as collusion. Why? Because public-sector employers and employees have equal interests in increasing government budgets (ie raising taxes). Meaning both sides are essentially on the same side of the bargaining table.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 12:48 PM

Teacher salaries should be determined by the free market. STEM teachers should be able to command more, however, phenomenal teachers in other subjects should also be making more as well. There has to be individual accountability and performance. Wall Street bankers work 80-90 hour work weeks and get fired for poor performance/without cause. When the union allows those type of working hours/conditions, then you can start demanding more money or making that comparison.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 12:32 PM

Unfortunately, these "doctors, small business owners, accountants and plumbers" you mention are not insulated from the free markets, unlike the public sector. That is the crux of the issue. Is there a shortage of qualified teachers? Doesn't appear to be. Are teachers fleeing the profession to become cardiologists, business leaders, physicists, or other high-paying and intellectual professions? Doesn't look like it. A free market with finite resources should determine the value.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 12:18 PM

Ms. W's argument is no different from those of her mindset - raise lots of strawmen (comparing high school teachers to the "Wall Street Banker worth a billion" is typical) and overlook the fact that Calculus teachers are paid the same as PE, Dr. Ed, librarians, etc. - or does she believe that their contribution is equivalent and needs similar pay, etc to attract the best of their kind? And as we await your "fight to raise the circumstances of those...struggling" - how 'bout lower taxes TODAY?

Concerned taxpayer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 12:10 AM

What you say is true to a degree. The state of Illinois has grossly underfunded pension liabilities. Obviously, promises made to teachers, gov. employees, cannot continue. We are all going to pay more taxes in the future and many state and municipal employees are going to have to accept less. Pension reform is here and it will trickle down to current teachers salaries.

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