Opinion

A letter writer says teachers have it easy; a Teacher of The Year responds

The letter to the editor published on April 7, 2018

Teacher pay ‘enough’

Regarding “Teachers strike for school funding and pay in red states” (Apr. 3): I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person in America who feels like this, but I’m tired of hearing about teachers. If teachers want to be paid for a full-time job then they should have to work one.

Fact is: Teachers in our public school system work 180 days a year. Last time I checked, there are 365 days in a year. Regular businesses require employees to work 254 days yearly. Business employees are off two days weekly and granted 10 days of paid vacation along with holidays.

Teachers on the other hand: Fall, Christmas, Spring Breaks, Holidays and summers off. And then there’s their benefits – no major company provides pensions anymore. With the advancement of technology, in many of the high school classrooms teachers are no more than proctors supervising the students taking online computer courses.

I’m all for education. The NC lottery has pumped billions into the schools, the teacher average salary in NC has crested at over $50,000 per year, over 50 percent of the state budget is allocated for education and for some reason $277 per day with full benefits working part-time is still not enough. It is enough.

Barry Parker

Bear Creek

The response

Does anyone know Barry Parker from Bear Creek? I've got tests to grade today, but I need to get him a message. Let me take it one sentence at a time:

"Fact is: Teachers in our public school system work 180 days a year. ... Regular businesses require employees to work 254 days yearly."

I did an audit of this year, and I actually will go to my school and work 194 days this year. On the days I work, I rise at 3 a.m. and work until 5 a.m. grading, lesson planning and answering emails. Then I go to work at 6:30 a.m. I teach actively for five hours of that time and do hall duty and paperwork, contact parents, and leave at about 4:30 p.m. That's a 12-hour day. Every day. I also work at least two hours on weekends.

So, 194 X 12 = 2,278 hours + 78 weekend hours = 2,356 hours. If you divide that by nine (let's say business employees work 9 hour days if you include those emails after hours), you get 261 days of work.

So, I worked 261 days last year. I just did it in 196 days. Now you know why teachers are so exhausted.

"Teachers on the other hand: Fall, Christmas, Spring Breaks, Holidays and Summers Off"

What is Fall Break? Also, I do not get paid in the summer, and my 10 vacation days are scheduled for me. No Disney World during September for me, no sir.

"And then there's their benefits - no major company provides pensions anymore."

Did you know I pay $439 a month to my pension? And I've been paying in for 25 years so far? Not exactly a free benefit.

"With the advancements of technology, in many of the high school classrooms teachers are no more than proctors supervising the students taking online computer courses."

My students do look at curated digital-based exhibits in teams on any given day in my room. The catch is that I have done all the creation of the exhibits and the essential questions and I do all the grading of those responses.

"The lottery has pumped billions into the schools ..."

Only 30 percent of lottery funds go to the schools. In 2016-17 the lottery produced $98 million for all 115 school districts. That's far from billions. Even if the NC Education lottery gave 100 percent of its revenue to schools, that would only cover about 19 percent of the state's total budget for K-12 public schools (NC Dept. of Public Instruction website).

The reason so much state money goes to our schools is that, unlike many northern states, our state Constitution requires that the public schools be administered and funded by the state government.

OK, so, back to the test grading (did I mention it's Spring Break?)

Thanks!

Angie Scioli

Social Studies Teacher

Leesville Road High School

Scioli is a teacher in Wake County and an advocate for teachers in general. She founded Red4EdNCand is the subject of a documentary titled "Teacher of the Year."

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