On your last point..
Cut unnecessary middlemen in every ISD and you'll have more money to pay teachers and pay for programs.
In one small district I know of, there was a superintendent, deputy superintendent, MS principal, HS principal, assistants for both, two elementary principals, two elementary assistant principals, two "curriculum specialists" at each campus and an overall "director of curriculum and instruction."
This district taught fewer than 1500 students. There were thirteen "managers" for a teacher staff of 110 total.
Contrast with another nearby district: one super, one secondary principal, one secondary assistant, one ES principal, one ES assistant. Only one secondary campus and one elementary campus - but there were 1000 students in that district. Five managers for 80 staff.
This doesn't even get into large urban districts which employ literally hundreds of "testing specialists" and "professional development coordinators" in spite of nearly everything needed for PD being available through the ESCs or through off-site conferences and conventions.
There is millions of dollars of waste in every ISD, but districts won't cut unnecessary folks - and then when there's a budget crunch, we first lose custodians (who are critical to keeping a school running) and then teachers - never those extra folks. Hell, in one urban district I know of, there are eight central staff devoted entirely to overseeing CPR certification for coaches/sponsors and managing nurses on each campus. Eight people for a job that can be done by at most two!
It can be done - we just need to examine our educational model from the ground up without using "we've always done it this way" as an excuse. I'm not saying we need to be business-oriented, but if someone isn't directly contributing to student education or safety in an ISD, their position should be the first to go. Imagine how much money those large urban ISDs would have to contribute to their arts programs and to staff - and to paying for things like overtime rates for tutorials - if they weren't paying a professional development staff who contributes nothing to kids!
Many teachers work more than 40 hours a week, (my usual was 65 as a HS head up to 80 and as low as 45). I was also well compensated for my time. I knew a LOT of teachers that worked 40. They walked in on contract time and they walked out on contract time and they didn't touch email outside of the school building. I used to be judgmental of those teachers. I'm not anymore. Sure, there are some great teachers that spend a lot of time planning and grading papers outside of class. There are also a lot of teachers that use there "conference" time to watch youtube and sit in the teacher's lounge and then complain that they have to do work at home or after school.....
I agree it isn't paid vacation over the summer or those breaks. I said that. But at the same time, while not getting paid they are also not working. They are laying around the pool or sitting at home reading or traveling or doing whatever they want because they don't have to go to work! 60k to work 10 months out of the year is pretty good. In fact, it's almost the average median income across the US. In the Houston area teachers start in the mid 50s. 22 years old and your starting salary is 55k. I'd say that isn't too bad. If you really want to increase teacher pay then let's put teachers on campus 11 months out of the year. I would gladly take the lower pay, (still above the average after a few years teaching), and more time away then more dollars and more days sitting in the building.
Give teachers as much money as you want but remember, there is a finite amount. Companies give raises because their profit increases. You find a funding source that doesn't cost me more as a tax payer and I'm all in. And when companies lose money they lose employees or their business completely. What happens when superintendents and school boards mismanage money?
By your response, I wouldn’t even guess that you’re a teacher. Firstly, are you really trying to say that teachers only work 40 hours a week? And, that during these “vacations” that they aren’t really working on grading assignments or lesson planning (or, working a secondary job)?
Secondly, yes, you are correct that teachers do not work (typically) in June and July, however, and this is an important point—THIS IS NOT PAID VACATION TIME. This is time that teachers have agreed via contract that school districts can stretch out their salaries to cover those months—otherwise THEY WOULD NOT GET PAID.
Furthermore, why do you equate years in school with being worth more in society, when there are people that have little to no schooling that make more than any of the professions we’ve mentioned? And while we’re on the topic of spending years in school—how can you sit there and say that teachers shouldn’t earn as much as other professionals when we’re the ones **teaching the students** to go into those fields?!
As for the other comments about districts in Houston taking “extra” vacations, I’m assuming you mean that they’ve figured out a way to work their calendars while still providing the state mandated amount of time that each student must be in school?
I do fully appreciate hearing people’s “unpopular” opinions, however, I cannot condone your opinions when they go directly against your own (if you are a teacher,) best interests. We have to do a better job of advocating for our profession—not just as band directors and music teachers, but as educators of the future.