Aug 13, 2014
We here in Brevard County, Florida are in the midst of a debate as to whether to increase the sales tax by one half of one percent with the additional money going to the education budget. That debate will be settled by the voters in November, but as children return to the classroom, we expect to hear comments from many people, particularly candidates running for County Commissioner and for seats on the School Board on the level of pay for teachers.
The debate on teachers’ pay has raged forever. Some say that teachers are grossly underpaid because of the hours they put in during the school year. Others say that the rate of pay is too high for a job where a person is working only part of the year.
Now an article on the Forbes website written by economist Jeffrey Dorfman has come out and says that the pay level is “just right.”
First, the facts about what teachers actually get paid. Teachers make much more than most people think. If one uses a less detailed data source, like the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data set, you would think teachers are severely underpaid. With that data, the best category you can get is for elementary and secondary schools. You would find such employees making and average of $2,913 per month during the school year, suggesting pay of perhaps under $30,000 on average, given that teachers do not get paid year-round in most cases. However, that category is all workers at elementary and secondary schools, not just teachers.
Using the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Occupational Employment Wage Estimates, we get quite a different picture. Now we can be much more detailed in the categories we study. For example, preschool, primary, secondary, and special education teachers earn an average of $54,740 per year. If we drop the preschool teachers, salaries rise even more. Elementary and middle school teachers average $56,420 per year and secondary (high school) teachers earn an average of $58,170. These figures place teachers comfortably above the national average of $46,440 reported by the BLS (link at the top of the list here).
Aug 3, 2014
Another short video from the Prager University.
There is a dilemma in American education. On the one hand, teachers are essential to student achievement. On the other, teachers unions promote self-interests of their members which are antithetical to the interests of students. So, how do we fix this problem? In five minutes, Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, delineates this quandary and offers solutions.
May 23, 2014
photo courtesy WSB-TV
Allow us to introduce you to Paris Gray.
Ms. Gray, like many high school seniors was looking forward to all of the events of final year in high school. Hidden beneath that calm exterior of the vice president of the senior class, member of SADD, member of the Beta Club, and a leader on campus at Mundy’s Mill Higg School lies the heart of a prankster – or at least someone who likes to make a less than obvious point.
When asked for a quote to forever be linked to her yearbook picture, Gray said,
“When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus.”
The quote was approved by the faculty adviser to the yearbook and off to the printer it went.
While Grey was preparing her speech for graduation as well as looking forward to her “graduation walk,” her world came crashing down on her.
The school administration had discovered the message within Gray’s chemistry and element based quote:
Apr 21, 2014
Behold the nine year of daughter of Bergen Community College (New Jersey) professor of art and animation Francis Schmidt.
She’s a cutie.
The young girl was practicing yoga in her “Game of Thrones” tee-shirt when her father snapped a picture and put it on his Google+ account.
A dean at the school who received the post notified the school as he took the picture as some sort of “threat.”
In an email, Jim Miller, the college’s executive director for human resources, told Schmidt to meet with him and two other administrators immediately in light of the “threatening email.”
Although it was winter break, Schmidt said he met with the administrators, including a security official, in one of their offices and was questioned repeatedly about the picture’s meaning and the popularity of “Game of Thrones.”
Schmidt said Miller asked him to use Google to verify the phrase, which he did, showing approximately 4 million hits. The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that “fire” could be a kind of proxy for “AK-47s.”
Despite Schmidt’s explanation, he was notified via email later in the week that he was being placed on leave without pay, effectively immediately, and that he would have to be cleared by a psychiatrist before he returned to campus. Schmidt said he was diagnosed with depression in 2007 but was easily cleared for this review, although even the brief time away from campus set back his students, especially those on independent study.
Maybe the cat in the image terrified the dean who reported the picture as well. After all, a small cat can be a metaphor for a flesh eating lion being let loose in the halls of the college. (It makes about as much sense as “fire” and “AK-47′s” being the same thing.)
We cannot believe that a professor was told he could not return to work for posting a picture of his daughter in a tee shirt from a popular TV show.
The wrong person was suspended and told to visit the psychiatrist.
Apr 2, 2014
A group of parents at a high school in Plymouth, Michigan decided that instead of watching their child’s baseball game by standing along a chain link fence, they would raise money to erect build bleachers. At the same time, the parents raised money to pay for a new scoreboard.
We certainly applaud their efforts which demonstrate that working hard can get you things that you want. In addition, working as a group can yield benefits for others that come behind you.
All in all, good lessons to be teaching and demonstrating to your kids.
The government can’t allow that.
A new set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys’ baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal.
A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.
But, after a complaint, the U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights investigated the new addition and says it must be torn down. It says the facility was no longer equal to the girls’ softball field next door, which has old bleachers and an old scoreboard.
There was also an issue that the bleachers were not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act which requires a certain area within the bleachers be designated and designed for wheelchairs. The accessibility issue was not something that could not be overcome with a small fix but that won’t happen.
The school dismantled the bleachers and put them in storage until funds can be raised or found for bleachers for the softball diamond. The scoreboard will be able to stay because the softball field is getting a new scoreboard as well.
Mar 12, 2014
An article in the FloridaToday newspaper dated May 7, 2014 heralds the return to success of long time Brevard County business Richard’s Paint
After brush with ‘Great Recession,’ Richard’s Paint back in the black
When the national housing crisis began in 2007, Richard’s Paint Manufacturing Co. in Rockledge was among the first businesses to notice the slowdown.
The paint business, headquartered at the appropriately addressed 200 Paint St. in Rockledge, began drying up. The family-owned company, which had been in business for more than half a century at that point, saw annual revenues drop by more than 10 percent.
As the “Great Recession” started to reverberate across the nation, Richard’s company laid off more than 20 workers and its managers volunteered to take a 5 percent pay cut.
These days, with the American housing industry bouncing back, the outlook is much brighter at the 60-year-old business.
Richard’s, which employs about 80 people, is expanding and exporting its products to independent paint retailers all over the world. Its profits are at record highs. This year, the company expects revenue to peak near $23 million.
“We’re now shipping to 40 states, including Alaska, and we’re opening up a new warehouse in Texas,” said Eric Richard, the president of Richard’s Paint Manufacturing Company and the youngest of four children of the company’s founder, Edward Richard Sr.
Also, Richard’s has rehired some of those who were laid off. And for those who took salary reductions, the company reinstated those wages and offered full reimbursement for prior pay cuts.
We hope you read the whole thing because it is a great story about a small business fighting to stay alive in a county that was hurting because of the economic downturn in so many sectors.
It would have helped somewhat if the Brevard County School District Richard’s Paint as a valued partner in both the community and as a valued vendor, but the District chose not to.
Mar 3, 2014
Above is a composite of four high school scoreboards taken from around the United States.
Take a moment and figure out what may be wrong with them.
By “wrong with them,” we don’t mean what scores they represent. We don’t mean what sports they represent. We don’t mean what teams they support (after all, the “Panthers” are disproportionately represented.) We don’t mean “what sport rules do they violate?”
No, we are asking “what is illegal about these signs?”
Got it yet?
Promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods around campuses during the school day would be phased out under the Agriculture Department rules, which are intended to ensure that marketing is brought in line with health standards that already apply to food served by public schools.
That means a scoreboard at a high school football or basketball game eventually wouldn’t be allowed to advertise Coca-Cola, for example, though it could advertise Diet Coke or Dasani water, also owned by Coca-Cola Co. Same with the front of a vending machine. Cups, posters and menu boards that promote foods that don’t meet federal standards would also be phased out. (emphasis ours)
Feb 27, 2014
It turns out, water intoxication is a real thing! But should you be worried about it?