A Blue Collar Plea for Teachers

If you can read this, thank a teacher.

It’ll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers.

The Native American word for “warrior” is synonymous with “teacher.”

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”
― Walter Cronkite

Maybe you’ve heard one of those quotes. There’s a million education quotes. Why? Because education is important. The more educated a person, the more likely they are to stay out of jail.

I even found this cool online thing (The Common Good Forecaster) that shows you by state and county the impact of education in communities. Go ahead, check out your local community, I’ll wait.

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
― C.S. Lewis

What does education have to do with Blue Collar Workman? Well I consider teachers to be the cornerstone of education; they’re important to blue collar dudes and our kids. Teachers could even be considered to be in the service industry because they sure do a lot for us and sure get underpaid.

Think about it, without teachers, there’d be no lawyers or Wall Street bankers or businessmen or politicians (I might be okay without the politicians, actually). There’d be no reading, no publishing, no internet, no CDC, no airplanes, no cars, no power tools, no corner store with that one kind of cigar I love… all those professions and inventions and things required teachers one way or another!

So what’s the point?

I want to raise a little awareness of what’s going on with teachers in a few states. Teachers are getting really really screwed right now. Especially in New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. But they’re getting screwed in the same way in other states, too. It’s just terrible. Here’s a story on it, and more info about one city in particular, and more info about one state in particular.

It’s really really sad what’s going on. They’re taking the teacher’s retirements away, they’re taking away their pensions. I feel so bad for them. They don’t get social security because teachers don’t pay into that system. Money has been removed from their pension funds (which is the teacher’s money! They put it in there!) and used elsewhere by the states. And then the states are basically saying, “F*ck you” and that’s that. The states pulled money out and aren’t putting it back.

Raising taxes or putting more of our tax money towards education would help the problem, but education isn’t exactly something that gets budget increases.

I don’t understand sometimes. Why don’t people care about our teachers? Why can’t people vote to upkeep our schools and pay our teachers? Even in retirement, I’d vote to pay more taxes for school. Every time. None of us would be where we are without teachers.


“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”
― Aristotle



A Blue Collar Plea for Teachers — 28 Comments

  1. TB, you hit the mark. Wisconsin teachers are in a pretty tough situation also. Everyone thinks their job is easy…lots of time off, etc….BUT…those are the same people that I have to ask…if you thought it was so great and that teachers make a lot of money and they get all that time off, why didn’t you become a teacher?? Watch how quick they back off of that one!! Thanks for mentioning teachers…and if you can’t tell, yes, I am a teacher. I would love to start a blog about it !!

    • Well it sure doesn’t seem like an easy job, and now with a pension problem, it’s even rougher! I’m sorry it’s happening to you.

  2. I also don’t understand why people don’t care that much about teachers. We should honour them. When I was growing up teachers were respected and valued. I don’t know why this changed over time. Teachers are important and we should make sure they – and the schools they work in – are properly funded and maintained.
    Plowing Through Life (Martha) recently posted..The Past Is GoneMy Profile

    • I agree! It’s ridiculous how teachers are treated these days. I have 2 young girls in school and it amazes me how some parents yell at teachers and think they know better… it totally didn’t used to be that way.

  3. Great post. I’m with Martha – we should be honouring teachers and paying them for the vital service they provide. I’ll bet that if we factored in the actual hours they invest each week – it would turn out they’re even more severely underpaid than we realize.
    Jane recently posted..Rainbow SpringsMy Profile

    • You’re probably right. I know people think that they get summers off, so it must be easy street, but I don’t think it really is. And I also didn’t know that most teachers have to pay for their own supplies for their classrooms! It’s crazy.

  4. Don’t get me started, TB. I think teachers are the backbone of society, and are largely responsible for our wealth and posterity. Doctors need to be taught by other doctors, writers need to be taught by other writers, and teachers need to taught by other teachers. Unfortunately, we rely on them very heavily to educate our kids, and yet treat them shabbily. This is what has always turned me away from choosing to become one myself.
    Anthony Thompson recently posted..Limited Liability Company – Reasons Your Business Could Die Without OneMy Profile

    • See? That’s exactly what I’m talkin’ about! I’ve read your blog, I think you would probably make a great teacher…but you walked away because teachers get treated so crappy. It’s just terrible!

  5. The problem is that politicians ultimately control where the money gets spent. It doesn’t help their current career much to invest in education when the benefits won’t trickle down for another 10-20 years. So it’s just far too tempting to focus the budget on things that make them look good. Teachers do deserve to get paid a lot more.

    One of the problems here in BC is that the teachers negotiate their contracts far too aggressively. Then there is news stories of them making all these outrageous demands. Basically the media is too tied in with the politicians. Then some of the public gets bitter towards the teachers’ demands, especially when other government sectors didn’t get raises in a tight economy.
    Modest Money recently posted..Blog Commenting Etiquette BasicsMy Profile

    • But that’s the thing, none of those gnvt people would be there without having been taught their ABCs by a teacher! But I hear ya man, with politics, people always get screwed. Well, it seems like the “good” people always get screwed. And then put media on top of that? Forget about it. Media and politics suck.

  6. Wow I didn’t realize teachers don’t pay into social security. I agree it’s such a shame what teachers are having to deal with and it only seems to get worse. I am very grateful for the men and women who serve in our military, but it really makes me sick thinking about how much the government spends on the military and weapons while educational programs suffer.
    Untemplater recently posted..What Are Estimated Taxes? The Basics You Need To KnowMy Profile

  7. It’s time to change our education system, TB. It’s not about teachers, but more about government intrusion on what is most important for a thriving society — education. I am with you about the unfairness here, but remember this system is run by the government. Privatizing education will be beneficial to hard working teachers.
    Shilpan recently posted..3 Reasons to Become a MinimalistMy Profile

  8. I think teachers are fundamental to the success of the future generations. Kids spend more time with their teachers than they do at home. Teachers definitely play a vital role and should be treated accordingly. If we don’t clean up our act with how we treat our teachers, the success of our future is going to pay the price.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..Keeping it Simple: Strategies for Financial SecurityMy Profile

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  10. Education has been neglected in this country for about three generations now. Colleges of Education are a joke, and starting pay for their graduates is beneath pathetic. I see the results every day in my college classrooms. I’ll tell you, my students are not stupid — to the contrary, most of them are pretty bright folks. But they come out of 13 years of K-12 schooling so undereducated, so underprepared that it’s heartbreaking.

    Students have told me that Wisconsin is a Rocky Mountain State, that World War I happened in the 19th century, that nothing important other than the Industrial Revolution happened in the US during the 19th century, that all African American kids are children at risk, that Catholics are not Christians, and on and on and on and on. Some can’t do simple algebra — or even basic arithmetic. Some can’t write a paragraph that hangs together or even a sentence that makes good sense. And remember, the scary thing is that these are smart people!

    They’re hopelessly uneducated. And it’s the direct result of neglect of our school systems, of underpaying teachers, of turning them into social workers instead of educators, and of treating them as though they have no real value to our country.

    BTW, I do pay FICA, though when I was working f/t I had a 403(b). As adjunct faculty I’m not eligible for any kind of benefits, the state pension fund included. Eighty percent of the faculty at my school are adjunct.
    Funny about Money recently posted..A Few Twinkles of Hope in the Money DepartmentMy Profile

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  13. I am a teacher and really appreciate the kind thoughts! The truth is . . .most teacher care deeply about the students they teach. Their success and independence is what drives teachers to work everyday. Sadly, the blame falls on these same people that are the ones who, in many cases, care the most!@ Keep up the good work!!

  14. I am a teacher and really appreciate the kind thoughts! The truth is . . .most teachers care deeply about the students they teach. To have their students succeed and become independent is the goal of most educators. Sadly, the blame falls on these same people that are the ones who, in many cases, care the most! I reported to my first day of work this past year in a high school in the city. Many of the students could not read. Unfortunately, there are those who will judge my success and effectiveness as a teacher by the test scores of these students. In most professions, this biased and unproductive method of assessment would never be tolerated. Thanks for the chance to talk!!!

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