Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Education Myths Busted

Educational Mythbusting

With everything going on with public education these days, I thought I'd take the time to "bust" some education myths.

Myth: Teachers get paid too much
Reality: we get paid fair or less than fair wages for the effort, training, professionalism, and work we do. But, we do it because we love it. We also spend a huge amount of our own money on supplies, resources, and conferences and education. In private industry, the company provides what you need to do your job. Not so in education.

Myth: Teachers get paid over the summer
Reality: some teachers can elect to have their salary divided up into 26 paychecks a year as opposed to 21. We don't get paid anything extra.

Myth: Teacher unions are bad
Reality: most teacher unions are a good thing. They fight for fair pay and working conditions for teachers, allowing a district to attract good teachers. They fight for class size and resources, making a better environment for students.

Myth: Tenure and unions protect bad teachers
Reality: tenure and unions just give teachers due process before firing. They push for assistance vs. adversary. I've seen tenured teachers who were union reps get let go because of their performance.

Myth: Education is too expensive, we have to cut funding
Reality: education is expensive, but it is worth it. It is an investment in the future, even if you don't have any kids. Everyone benefits from a strong educational system. There are places were education can be more efficient and money savvy, but cutting funding and teachers without proper plans lead to very bad outcomes.

Myth: Class size doesn't matter
Reality: class size is a major factor in student success. Smaller classes mean more time per student from the teacher and a more orderly environment.

Myth: We can't run education like a business
Reality: we can, but only in certain ways. Educational administration and planning is very inefficient and should adopt proven business strategies. However, we can not treat students as "product".

Myth: Teachers get great benefits for free, or low cost
Reality: Teachers get good benefits, that they pay for. I worked as an engineer for ten years before becoming an educator and I got much better benefits as an engineer in private industry than as a public school teacher.

Myth: Teachers only work 7 hours a day and get tons of vacation time.
Reality: teachers may only have to be in school for 7 hours a day, but spend countless hours after school, on weekends, and during breaks grading school work, creating lesson plans and activities, and continuing their education. And, many teachers have second jobs that they have to work to support their families.

Now, I didn't list references, but a quick search of the internet will show lots of information and resources on all of this.

Please share your thoughts with us.

Here is an infographic on the myths of teacher salaries, summers off and working conditions.
(Now, I do agree with a lot of what Richard Byrne said on his blog about infographics and who created them. However, there is no need to link back to that site when they allow you to post the infographic on your own site.)

Teacher Salary
Teacher Salary Infographic created by Online Degree


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