Teacher Pay

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:30 am
kay_gmd: (fair)
I decided that I was going to be a teacher when I was 8. I studied and worked to get there until I was 25. At that point I accepted that I didn't have the necessary skills, and was not willing to be miserable for the 10 years I thought it would take to get them, nor put 10 years worth of students through that time. It was a hard decision, but since my life has grown and continued I'm quite happy with where I've landed so far, and where I look to be going.

Last night I had hammered home to me how grateful I am that that dream fell through.

I have just over 10 years of service with the State with a BA as the only necessary education, and I am within $5,000 of the top teacher salary for Davis Joint Unified School District, and more than $10,000 above the average salary. To cover my entire family with health coverage I have under $700/month taken out of my paycheck for medical and $33/month for dental, and our coverage is awesome. Last night I heard teachers talking about $1,400 a month for medical coverage, and take home pay within a few hundred dollars of their childcare costs for one child.

There are places where this wouldn't surprise me. Teaching isn't ever sold as a high pay option.

This, however is Davis. We take great pride in our schools. People move to Davis for the schools. We passed a parcel tax last year for our schools, and in the 20+ years I've been connected to Davis I haven't heard of a funding request for schools that hasn't been passed.

Last night we were at the school board meeting to support the teachers who were highlighting the 80 teachers the district had lost in the last 3 years by neither paying or respecting our teachers.

Brian and I among many teachers and parents, including one parent who came for something else entirely, but joined in to supporting the teachers enthusiastically, spoke during public comment. By the time my turn came I was choked up because of the lack of support from the superintendent, and the real experiences our teachers and parents described. This is what I meant to say:

Hi I’m Sarah my child Joshua is a 1st grader at MME

In our year and a bit of school at Davis we’ve been extremely impressed with the school, and the teachers. Maestras Diaz, Ortega, a and Valdez have been passionate, hardworking and inspired. Joshua has grown and flourished. This brings me to my first point.
  1. We have amazing wonderful teachers. They deserve better. They deserve pay parity. They deserve to be able to live in the community they teach in. If we do not provide this we have no reason to expect them to stay.

  2. By refusing to offer competitive pay we are missing out on teachers who don't even consider working here. I know three amazing teachers who live in Davis and teach elsewhere. One of them would take a $17,000 pay cut if she transferred to Davis another friend lives in West Sacramento and commutes to Fairfield. He would love to teach in Davis, but he can't afford the pay cut involved.

  3. It is expensive to live in Davis when we chose to buy a home in Davis we were able to make it work with our budget because we knew we would not have to worry about private schools. I can't imagine we're alone in this. Davis schools are well known and we have much to be proud of, but we cannot maintain the quality of our schools without our teachers.
      We are here to help you with this. We will campaign for and vote for the taxes you need to keep our schools great, but we cannot do this if you do not ask for what you need. We need to pay our teachers for our kids, and for our community.

I hit my key points last night. A lot of people hit some excellent points last night. What remains to be seen is what the school board will do with this. My kid is in first grade. The board can look forward to at least 11 years of hearing from me.
kay_gmd: (true love)

We have a shortage of organs for transplants. Yet no one suggests that we should register our blood type etc and be responsible for donating organs as needed. Not even ones we could lose with minimal negative effect. No, in fact we don't even use organs that are clearly no use any more because someone has died. In order to use someone's organs the person with the organs has to volunteer and if the organs are to be removed while the person is alive they have to demonstrate that they're not volunteering under duress.

I'm an organ donor by the way. Please use anything I haven't used up once I'm done with it.

If I died without ID or someone who knows me nearby they couldn't use my organs.

It doesn't matter who needs those organs it could be the President, the Pope, a drug addict, a rock star, or a young adult with all the potential in the world or all of the above. None of them get the organs unless they can verify that I chose to be a donor.

No individual has more rights to my body than me, even if I'm dead.

There isn't massive disagreement on this issue until I get pregnant. Then even though I could not be required to give up one organ to sustain the life of another or multiple other people I am required to give up my body.

(Not currently in California. Here I could have the potential that might become a child removed, but if those who oppose abortion get there way that might change. )

I've been pregnant. My understanding is that my pregnancy was more or less middle of the road. It ended almost 6 years ago.

While I was pregnant I lost lung capacity, my digestive system went wonky, my feet expanded, I lost endurance on my bike, my memory became less reliable, and my hormones shifted (I used to very rarely cry, during pregnancy books and commercials could make me cry, I've mellowed some but not back to where I was).

I plan to remind my sweet child of this as needed through the years, but it was okay because it was something I had chosen.

When someone says that abortion kills that is no more accurate than saying that not donating organs does. If that's the case and one still opposes abortion then I expect them to also require everyone to register to donate organs. I could use an ear, I know people who could use several other organs.

If one is claiming that the problem is just that the government pays for it:

First yes it is a medical procedure any state that covers medical care should cover all medical care. Otherwise treatment is based on something other than medical need.

Second in the US sadly it doesn't, some states do including California.

Third governments nearly by definition gather your money to do something you don't want them to. The government is also going to use it to do a bunch of other stuff you do want.

Fourth considering the relevant cost in relation to the population for the vast majority of us if we're contributing to it at all it's likely less than a penny.

So either get everyone signed up for an organ registry, and answer when the collectors call, or stop trying to keep people from choosing who they donate their wombs to.

kay_gmd: (fair)

Last Thursday I left practice early to attend the part of the board meeting where the board discussed the resolution that "We All Belong: Sfe and Welcoming Schools for All" you can find the resolution here:


Resolution 37-17 (Item VII of the agenda)

I participated in a discussion session where we discussed 5 key points. While I don't have the texts we discussed then, my impression was that these were stronger, and addressed a broader swath of children. I'm glad that the resolution is protective of immigrants and religious minorities because I see these groups as the most threatened right now, but I thought I remembered more general data protection and more focus on LGBTQ+ in the discussion. I fully accept that this is my particular filter, but I'd like it to be stronger there.

I also thought we talked about more concrete actions. This one is much more important. We will need to be watching for the concrete practices and policies that will make this more than a pretty piece of paper.

That said I am thrilled that DJUSD adopted this. It is a strong statement of our community values and it gives all of us pushing for support of all students something to point to. It is our city on the hill beacon that we stand for all students.

I failed to do my homework so I spent a bit of time when I first got there pulling it up and reading it on my phone.

When I got there public comment on this item had begun. All comments were generally positive, with some suggestions for edits.

I was particularly impressed by the statements from the mother and father of the Islamic school (I'm not precisely clear on the meaning of the titles in this context, but these two obviously included parental love and nurturing for their students in the duties).

She spoke with power and articulation and focused on how much more we are similar than different. She quoted Mia Angelo. She wore a full burka. When she started speaking I'd been trying to look something up, and I had to stop to listen because she had that presence.

He spoke more humbly. He spoke of his experience going to high school the day after September 11th. The bullying and hurtful experiences he had, and the teachers who helped him through. Then he spoke of his students, of their needs to be included, and to have time for prayer.

I pray daily, but as a Methodist, there's no particular time that is proscribed for prayers I do it right before bed because that is a time that works for me, but that doesn't mean it is not a real need for others. I was reminded of when we had some Muslim housemates. We helped them move in, and as prayer time came up there was consternation. It was a new place, and they weren't sure which way was east. We managed to find information that covered their need. It emphasized for me how even with our many similarities it is in supporting our differences that we show we are welcoming.

There were many other speakers. Anoosh represented Yolo Rainbow Families well. I was happy to see Montgomery well represented.

The Trustees of the board spoke. There was enthusiasm and word-smithing. The resolution was adopted with plans to edit, but not change the substance.

There were a couple of issues that weren't fully addressed:

How will parents be reached? The parent communications system works reasonably well for me, but there was a notable lack of Hispanic participation in a discussion item which was in large part trying to make sure our students of varying immigration status are welcome. When we had our previous discussion meeting we made some suggestions hopefully good methods will be used. The response when this came up was lacking in specifics, and used an example that overstated the parent board interaction.

How will training get to staff and students? This to me is the real crux of the issue. I'm thrilled that we have this resolution to point to but changing the climate in the schools is the real work.

And the wonk question: what policies will be put in place because of this. This is never exciting or popular, but it is what turns the light of a resolution into the salt that does the work of making the world, or in this case the school district a better place.

Like the Women's March this is a great first step, but it is nearly nothing if we do not follow it up.

Know this.

We are here.

We are watching.

We will roll up our sleeves and work with you.

But this is a great mountain of work that you have set yourselves to do, and we expect you to follow through.
kay_gmd: (fair)
So this went up on facebook first, but I want to keep it here too.

I'm second generation Chinese American. My dad moved with his family from China to Hong Kong as a young child, and then came to the states for college.
He was an electrical engineer. He created a company,that he eventually sold,and then he did East Asian sales for Silicon Valley telecom companies. Now he's retired in Thailand, apparently when he was traveling for work he noticed that Thailand was the most relaxed place to be.
Dad's first move was because his dad was on the wrong side of the war in China. His family had papers, but they were refugees. They didn't want to leave China, it just wasn't safe for them to stay.
The US has never lived up to the bold statement on the Statue of Liberty, but it has been the quest to do so that has made us strong. It has brought the diversity of thought and culture that has allowed us to grow and thrive as a nation. That is all to the good.
I'm glad that it turns out that doing good has good results, but it isn't actually the main reason we need to welcome immigrants and refugees. We do good because it is the right thing to do.
Hospitality is a tenant of Christianity as well as many other religions. When someone comes knocking we welcome them in. It's not usually because we're happy to see them, or even because we're where they really want to be. It is because our home is a less bad option for them.
We are called to welcome our neighbor and the stranger, and our neighbors is defined to be everyone. When Christ talked about sorting out the good from the bad he did not talk about how well we knew or followed the law. He talked about how well we treated those less fortunate.
There is never any indication that these people we offer hospitality to will be model citizens. Some will. Some won't. Just like any sufficiently large population. We welcome to help, but we also welcome to be people we can take pride in being.
Build a bigger table if you want to build something, so that we can share meals, we don't need a wall.
kay_gmd: (fair)
I've been hearing a lot of people saying something to the effect of

"Even if Trump voters arent themselves racist, sexist, homophobic etc, the fact that he was didn't stop them from voting for him! That's a deal breaker for me!"

I have to say as a biracial, bisexual, liberal mother of a gender creative child that makes a lot of sense to me. But after seeing a few of these something was bugging me.

I don't know all the reasons people voted for Trump, and I may be totaly off on this, but an anology occured to me.

If my house was on fire, and a firetruck came zooming up to my house with a giant swastika painted on it I wouldn't even see that swastika until I was sure the fire was put out. or even if I did I surely wouldn't stop the firefighters while my house was still in danger.

Once the fire was out I'd raise holy hell, but I wouldn't, during the fire, have the bandwidth to care.

I'm not hurting in life. I've got a great job, and a great family, and I don't have any fear that this is likely to change. So, to me while this election was urgent. I wasn't going in feeling like my livelyhood was on fire.

It seems like helping people not feel that way would be a good way to help make sure we can focus on the issues that we find vital.

I don't think we can reasonably expect people to focus on the safety of others when they are conserned about there own. There are people who do that. These are great people. They should be praised. They should not be the new standard. If we're honest I suspect most of us don't live up to that. I know I don't.

Mr. Trump has put a spotlight on the people we have not adequately served. It's easy to be angry at them, or doubt their inteligence, or morality. It's even possible that it's right to feel that way. If we want to move forward as a country we need to find a solution that doesn't rely on anyone feel like a lesser citizen. If we don't we may fix the problem for now, but we're just setting it up to get worse for our children.

My impulse is to push the guaranteed minimum income as a part of the solution, but I think one of the areas where government trying to help people falls far short is going in saying we know the solution we'll do this thing that we came up with in our government office. Many of these things do help. But many don't, and even if they do help there isn't buyin from a lot of the community.

What we need to do is find a way to listen to eachother to seek to understand. In this process we're likely to hear a lot of things that set our teeth on edge. We're going to want to shut people down and tune them out because of that, and we can't afford to do that. We need to find ways to understand eachother. My hope is that in that process we will be understood, but the primary goal is to understand. To find the pain, and work together to relieve the pain.

I want to say that we also have pain, and it is legitimate, and it also needs to be addressed.We should work on that too. But the pain of the Trump supporters just added immensley to the rest of our pain. I suggest we focus a lot of our effort there.
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