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birdguy

Brave New World

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Reading through this thread, I had a good chuckle. All these experts.
Anyone here actually taught school? Anyone taught a sixth grade middle school class for 25 years?
I have.

I could provide an opposing argument to many of the opinions here based on 25 years of middle school teaching experience (the most difficult position to staff in K-8) but stopped years ago for one reason, a reason that is absent from this thread. You don't know how difficult teaching is unless you've actually done it.

I encourage anyone to shadow a teacher for two weeks at your local middle school. I can say with 99% certainty you will crawl out the door and exclaim, "You do this for 50k a year?? You're ******* nuts!!"

Cheers,
Mark

 

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2 hours ago, dave2013 said:

Anyhow, I suggest that you should call your local govt. officials and let them know that you're happy to pay more property tax so that teachers can get higher salaries.

 

Property tax bond measures don't go towards salaries.

https://ed100.org/blog/parcels-bonds

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2 hours ago, Luke said:

I don't want my children being taught by people who can't do basic math and decide in their early 20s that they're just going to plunk down and never move until they retire.

Really Luke?

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There's a gulf as wide as the Pacific Ocean between the world I lived in as a 7th grader and today's 7th grader.  So forgive me if I am not enamored by today's lifestyles and technological advances.

In 1946 when I was in the 7th grade I walked three blocks home from school in the afternoon.  I walked through the front door and sat down at the kitchen table and ate the sandwich and drank the glass of milk Mom had waiting for me.  Then I went to my bedroom and changed from my school clothes to my after school clothes and went outside to play.

I'd meet the 'gang' on the corner of the block and we'd decide what to do.  Perhaps go to the playground and play basketball or go to the empty lot on the corner and play baseball or go up to the park, choose up sides, and play touch football on the lawn.  Sometimes a fight would break out and no adults were around to break it out.  A few punches thrown or a bit of wrestling and perhaps a bloody nose would result.  We were left to work out our differences by ourselves.

We all went home at dinner time and Mom had a meal she spent all day preparing when Dad got home from work and we sat down to eat.

After dinner it was homework time.  I did it on the kitchen table using a pad and pencil and a copy of Webster's Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus I got from Dad's desk.  Long division was done with paper and pencil.

When homework was done I went into the living with my brother and Mom and Dad and we'd play cards or board games and listen to the radio.  One Man's Family or The Shadow or I Love a Mystery with Jack Doc and Reggie.  Dad would listen to five or ten minutes of world news and then it was bedtime.

Fast forward to today.  Billy gets off the school bus at the corner or in front of the house or Mom or Dad picked him up after school.

Billy doesn't change his clothes after school.  He picks up his PopTart and Pepsi and goes to his room to turn on his computer and play the latest video game.

If he's involved in going outdoors after school it is when Mom drives him to the park in his soccer uniform to play organized soccer under adult supervision.  No fights break out because and adult is always there to break it up.

Then it's time for dinner when the pizza delivery guy rings the doorbell and Mom and Dad are both home from work.

After dinner Billy goes upstairs and does his homework on a computer and does long division on a calculator.

After homework Billy goes into the living room and joins Mom and Dad to watch television.  Then Dad watches the evening news for an hour and it's time for bed.

My technology was a 4 party phone line on the wall, a radio, and a newspaper.

Billie's technology is an iPhone in his hip pocket, a computer, the internet, social media and a television set.

Was my 7th grade experience better than Billie's?  I can't really say.  We lived in different worlds.  But I think I prefer mine because it's more familiar to me even after all these years.

Noel

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The tires are worn.  The shocks are shot.  The steering is wobbly.  But the engine still runs fine.

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3 hours ago, Luke said:

You seem very fixated on the pension plan and resentful, to be honest, based on your comment.

No, not resentful.  I just have never thought it was fair that govt. employees, with the exception of law enforcement and military, should get a guaranteed pension for life paid by the taxpayers, when 90% of those taxpayers don't get this same benefit.  I also think that you underestimate how precious a *guaranteed* retirement pension actually is. No matter how bad the economy gets, govt. pensioners will continue to receive their pension.  Most can retire in their 50s without ever having to worry about having to return to work during an economic downturn or other misfortune.  Ask the average person at what age they can retire - hint: it's over 60 and often late 60s.

Moreover, you make overly optimistic assumptions about how much money one will have after contributing to a 401K.  Anyone who is an investor knows that there are no guarantees in the stock and bond markets.  I agree that investing wisely over many years can often bring fortune, but it is definitely not an absolute guarantee of a comfortable retirement.

I have a relative who is a federal law enforcement agent.  He started working for the agency at 33 years of age.  He will retire in a couple years at 53 after only 20 years on the job and will get a 35% salary pension *plus* half of his Social Security benefit immediately *plus* continue his very good health insurance paying just slightly more than the monthly premium he pays as a full-time employee, which is a few hundred a month.  When he turns 62 he can go ahead and collect the other 50% of his Social Security.

Lastly, your assumption that higher salaries attract better quality teachers is false.  I went to a private high school where the teachers were paid less than public school teachers.  My teachers were among the best in the State - very knowledgeable, caring, and competent.

Dave


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A number of years ago my wife and I were staying in Death Valley for a few days on our vacation trip.  There was a guy who was working at the convenience store at Stovepipe Wells who was apparently working during his vacation as a school teacher.  The other guy behind the counter asked him if he was going back to his teaching job when the summer was over.  He said, "No, he'd rather be a prison guard."

Noel


The tires are worn.  The shocks are shot.  The steering is wobbly.  But the engine still runs fine.

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18 minutes ago, dmwalker said:

This article gives higher figures. Are yours more or less recent?

Looks like your source is more recent.  I think that 60K/year plus benefits is pretty good for a teacher.  I'm not saying that being a teacher is easy, especially for the high school level having to deal with teenagers, but it's not a bad salary when benefits get factored in.  Personally, there are other jobs I'd rather do for the same money.

I'm not surprised at the higher salary figures considering the price inflation of the past few years and and the subsequent wage-price spiral we're experiencing lately.  Heck, we'll have top-level UPS drivers banking $49/hour by 2028, govt. employees will get a 5.2% pay increase next year, and so on.

If this keeps up, we might move to a lower cost country in the future, that is, if one will even exist that's not a complete mess.

Dave


Simulator: P3Dv5.4

System Specs: Intel i7 13700K CPU, MSI Mag Z790 Tomahawk Motherboard, 32GB DDR5 6000MHz RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Video Card, 3x 1TB Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 SSDs, Windows 11 Home OS

 

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1 hour ago, dave2013 said:

If this keeps up, we might move to a lower cost country in the future, that is, if one will even exist that's not a complete mess.

Tough choice. I think the lower the cost of living, the greater the mess and the greater the likelihood of having to learn a new language:

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/cheapest-countries-to-live-in 


Dugald Walker

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1 hour ago, dave2013 said:

I think that 60K/year plus benefits is pretty good for a teacher.

Think so? Let's take a look at straight income. Studio apartment in LA is 1800/mo. The Bay Area is much higher where I live so I picked LA as a better illustration. Net income  after taxes is 4K/mo.   4000-1800=2200 mo for everything else, or 550/week. I could go on but will add, have you been to a gas station lately? A store? How's that gas/electric bill working for ya? Mine was 278.00 last month. BTW, benefits do not help with any of this. :biggrin:

rent.png

taxes.png

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18 hours ago, birdguy said:

Most of us would gladly return to the 40s and 50s and 60s fully recognizing the realities those periods of time.

So having a water fountain that said "Whites Only" is a period of time you'd gladly return to?   

A period where 38 Million people died from a war? 

My 91 year old mother would disagree with you, but there again, she ran to shelters while her "home" was being bombed by word not allowed Germans (Born in England).  Exiting their shelter to see their home, their neighborhood, the smell of beer everywhere in the streets because of the destruction war brings with it ... and today we have word not allowed US citizens proudly being supported?  I guess in some ways we have regressed but I'll disagree on gladly returning.

18 hours ago, birdguy said:

I live in a small apartment with a living room that has a small kitchenette at one end...a bathroom...and a bedroom.

My mother (father passed away several years ago) isn't permitted a kitchenette due to the risk of injury or fire but she does have a small bedroom (not shared as most are) and a bathroom.  Just like you, they have regular activities where everyone sits around chairs and plays various games.  She's been thru "hell and back" (WWII was not a good time) and still managed to raise a family and can still figure out how to be happy and makes the best of every minute of life she has, she's adjusted to her situation, she knows she can't remember, she knows her limits, but she has never ever wanted to go back to the 1940's for any reason.  

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I don't even care that she doesn't remember me most of the time, I only care that she is happy.

On 12/29/2023 at 5:05 PM, Luke said:

My point is that the quality of education was artificially boosted by the restrictions we placed upon women in the workforce.

Males are just as capable at teaching as females.

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On 12/29/2023 at 1:56 PM, Luke said:

Not too long ago 98 percent of the population were farmers. They could not contemplate a world where only 1 percent were farmers, and yet here we are.

Modern farm machinery saved the world. During the thousands of years that 90%+ of all civilizations had to be farmers, there was always the threat of that society dying. A farmer and his family and farm workers could grow enough to feed themselves and have roughly 10% left over for surplus. From which to feed the city dwellers who were tradesmen and so forth.

So during those millennia, if a nation was invaded and defeated and captured the invaders what is best to do with lets say the 3000 prisoners.

1) Let them go with a warning after disarming them. Arms were cheap and they could come back and kill you. Not a good solution.

2) Put them all in jail. In a society barely able to feed itself, feeding idle prisoners risks ruination. Not a good solution.

3) Kill them all. A fast and easy solution. But not very humane to say the least.

4) Make them slaves. Basically now they are prisoners (like in 2) but they are put to work, ideally as farm workers. This is not just the best solution, it pretty much is the only sensible solution.

It should be no surprise that I could list one by one every European nation and when they ended slavery. It was from about 1800 to 1850 for them all. 1865 for the USA. These dates correspond to when the industrial revolution gave us farm machinery modern enough to free everyone from the threat of starvation. For the first time in history, slavery could be regarded as an obsolete institution.

I think everybody should see the point that science and technology transformed the world for the better.

** By the way, America was founded 1776-1789. At at time before when any 1st world nation had outlawed slavery. Nobody should look down on America's founding patriarchs for reasons involving slavery.


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4 hours ago, CO2Neutral said:

So having a water fountain that said "Whites Only" is a period of time you'd gladly return to? 

I grew up in San Francisco and never saw a "Whites Only" water fountain.  Yes, I would gladly return to the place and environment I remember.

I understand others who lived in different places where discrimination and wartime suffering was occuring would not want to return to that environment.

But remember this; there has always been wartime suffering so if you grew up in the 60s and beyond to this day there is suffering in parts of the world that you are not a part of.  Would you give up your lifestyle now because somewhere, someplace, people are suffering the hardships of war?

We live in the past through our memories of our past, not someone else's past.

Noel

 

Edited by birdguy
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The tires are worn.  The shocks are shot.  The steering is wobbly.  But the engine still runs fine.

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16 hours ago, dave2013 said:

No, not resentful.  I just have never thought it was fair that govt. employees, with the exception of law enforcement and military, should get a guaranteed pension for life paid by the taxpayers, when 90% of those taxpayers don't get this same benefit.

I've personally never though it fair that public sector positions paid so much less than equivalent private sector roles, but at the end of the day, the same taxpayers decided to make that trade. Again, I suspect that the strongest motivating factor is that the better pension would compensate for the drastically lower pay and those taxpayers are just kicking the can down the road to their children and grandchildren, which they will always do when given the chance.

16 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I also think that you underestimate how precious a *guaranteed* retirement pension actually is. No matter how bad the economy gets, govt. pensioners will continue to receive their pension.  Most can retire in their 50s without ever having to worry about having to return to work during an economic downturn or other misfortune.  Ask the average person at what age they can retire - hint: it's over 60 and often late 60s.

Moreover, you make overly optimistic assumptions about how much money one will have after contributing to a 401K.  Anyone who is an investor knows that there are no guarantees in the stock and bond markets.  I agree that investing wisely over many years can often bring fortune, but it is definitely not an absolute guarantee of a comfortable retirement.

I'm not sure you're completely aware of where the assets of these "guaranteed" pensions are placed - in the very same stocks and bonds that 401Ks and defined contribution plans place their assets into. In the case of significant downturns in asset values, you're dependent on the asset mixture and investing philosophy of the pension plan and ultimately on the "guarantee". And a guarantee is only as good as the entity making the guarantee and its fiscal strength. If it has the ability to borrow for operational funding and create currency at will, you're probably OK. Unfortunately, there is exactly one government in all of the United States that can do that. If your guarantee is from a municipal or county entity in an area with a shrinking population, I wouldn't consider it much of a guarantee at all. (It's why I stay away from muni bonds, despite approaching a marginal tax rate where it makes sense.)

Sane retirement design involves the notion of "safe" withdrawal rates that have been back-tested to handle past poor economic conditions. The 3.25% SWR I used in my example has handled even some of the worst cases like 1964-1989. Other situations like a retirement in 1982 would allow an SWR more than double that - but I didn't want to cherry pick.

The essential point I want to make is that anyone is an investor knows that there are no guarantees in finance, period. When I retire, I too can get myself a guaranteed payout for life. It's called a Single Premium Income Annuity, and it's ultimately guaranteed by the company I purchase it from. At least there (or with my investments) I can see my risks and take actions to mitigate them. With a traditional pension, my risks are opaque and uncontrollable, but just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there.

13 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I think that 60K/year plus benefits is pretty good for a teacher.

Apparently, the free market disagrees with you. And you are a free market guy, right? 🙂

Cheers


Luke Kolin

I make simFDR, the most advanced flight data recorder for FSX, Prepar3D and X-Plane.

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On 12/29/2023 at 4:33 PM, dave2013 said:

Sorry, but I must disagree that teachers are generally underpaid.  Teacher salaries average about 50K/year, higher or lower depending on the State.  Mississippi has the lowest at 43K.  You also have to factor in the benefits which, being a govt. job, are invariably quite good.  Lastly, the guaranteed pension for life after 30 or so years is something that 90% of Americans don't get.  Factor those things into the salary and it's pretty darn good.

I worked as a specialist/technician at astronomical observatories for 20 years.  My highest salary was 52K/year, and I had a 401K - no taxpayer funded pension plan.  The education requirements for my position exceeded what is required for a teacher, not to mention the coursework being more difficult.

And the people who are supposed to be "public servants" are complicit in all of it.

Dave

Teaching is not a government job. Their pensions are funded through payroll deductions. Without the basic education you wouldn't be capable of performing your job.My wife pretty much had to have a Master's degree to keep her job. She also paid for supplies needed by kids living in poverty.

Bill W

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