Romney’s home state teachers ask, ‘Where’s the love, Mitt?’


by Paul Toner

In the third presidential debate Mitt Romney twice proclaimed, “I love teachers!” As a middle school teacher in Massachusetts while he was governor and now president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, I can assure you that we never felt Romney’s “love.” Our former governor never once met with the MTA to find out our views on education issues. He listened to business leaders and ideologues, not to classroom teachers, support staff or public higher education faculty and staff.

We roll our eyes when Romney tries to take credit for our high-performing students. Massachusetts is a relatively affluent state that has always had good schools. Those schools were made even better as a result of a major education overhaul and increased funding for low-income districts adopted in 1993, 10 years before Romney took office. No major education initiatives were enacted while he was governor. In fact, Massachusetts cut funding for public schools by a higher percentage than any other state during his tenure.

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Romney’s boast that top-scoring students can attend any public college or university in Massachusetts “tuition-free” as a result of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship he sponsored also elicits groans from educators, parents and students alike. In Massachusetts, our public higher education campuses charge very low tuition and very high fees, so the break these students get is way less than meets the eye. For example, tuition, fees, room and board this year at the University of Massachusetts comes to $23,436. Of that, only $1,714 is tuition, so the Adams Scholarship winner still has to pay $21,722 to attend. In addition, fees rose by $3,000 under Romney, more than swallowing up any small benefit from the scholarship.

Romney was a frequent critic of those of us who call for smaller class sizes. He claimed that there is no correlation between class size and student performance even while he sent his own sons to the Belmont Hill School – an exclusive prep school that costs $37,000 a year and that touts “class size averaging 12 students per section” as one of its selling points. Truly, Mitt Romney is out of touch with the needs of low- and middle-income students.

Mitt Romney has never liked unions. He especially dislikes teacher unions. While governor, he once told The Boston Globe, “We should put together all the stakeholders at the table, but not the unions. Individual teachers, yes, but not the unions.” It’s no surprise that today he believes that teacher unions should be barred from making political contributions. Not oil companies. Not tobacco companies. Just teachers and other educators.

As with so much in this election, it’s important to get information from people close to the source to cut through the spin. This much we know. Until Mitt Romney got Potomac fever mid-way through his only term as governor and started roaming the countryside bad-mouthing our state and bad-mouthing teachers’ unions, he never gave so much as a passing glance to the teachers he now proclaims to “love.”

Toner is a middle school social studies teacher in Cambridge, Mass., and president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Reader Comments

  1. It is insulting to me that Romney is so out of touch with the people and teachers. He doesn’t think before speaking and his word vomit gets him in a world of trouble. This is a reason why I cannot vote for this man.

  2. On the news you see teachers being criticized as the problem behind education. They keep saying that if we had good teachers we would have good schools. So, let’s pretend for a second that teachers are the problem. Let’s pretend that all teachers are the people that weren’t skilled enough to get better jobs instead of people who have a heart for students and learning.

    How are you going to get those skilled professionals to leave their high paying jobs with benefits and retirement packages to take a low-paying job with benefits constantly getting slashed. If you want the best and the brightest at the front of your classroom, you have to offer a career opportunity that allows people to support their families.

    This type of thinking defies logic. These men and women are investing in the emotional, intellectual and social development of your children. They are providing a gift to your child that is beyond price, not bottomshelf clearance.

  3. In my state, you would have to teach 40 years to retire at 80% of salary. (2% per year of service) I support Romney because he isn’t proposing to manage public education from Washington like previous administrations. Let the states handle K-12 public education, and get rid of No-Teacher-Left-Standing (or is it No Child’s Behind Left?) and Race to the Top.

    1. State control won’t help us here in Texas. Rep. Gov. Rick Perry wants vouchers, online “education,” (which he has invested his own capital in, I might add) privatizing charters and public schools. Not to mention that despite the fact that TX now boasts budget surpluses, there is no plan/intention to restore over 5 BILLION in education funding cut 2 years ago. While centralized education isn’t perfect, we do need national standards for our kids, & we certainly cannot count on support from republican politicians in places like Texas.

    1. What kind of person comes to a teacher’s website and trolls them? I can’t even imagine that mind-set. Great good luck to all of you, from a former class clown.

  4. Eileen, I think your comment is nail on the head, and what the press is not reporting is that in California, as with some other states, we report all children’s scores–special ed, gifted, and even those children who arrive the day we start testing from another country. This is not the case in all states, China, India, Germany, etc., where they report only the above average students scores. Additionally, California spends 4,400 per child, while the national average is 11,000–

  5. Race to the Top is not loved by teachers either. With only one school district in California signing off on it, and Chicago striking over it–I’m not sure I can endure six more years of it myself as a teacher. NCLB at least provided more funding with less strings–

    1. Tax payers need to volunteer to save themselves some money. Teaching is a job, a vocation, and a calling. However, we never took a vow of poverty. Just for the record, teachers already volunteer too much of their time. I often spend 4 hours extra each weekday off the clock doing extra work. Additionally, I spend 5-7 hours on the weekend grading, researching, and planning my next week with 144 students taking up to 35 in one class.

      The next time you decide to make job requirements for teachers, you should ask yourself if you, yourself, would be willing to accept them.

    2. So glad to see you trolling here John.
      I work at an alternative school that serves grades K-12. We serve students who have been expelled from regular school because of behavior problems or zero tolerance policies. We also serve students who have chosen our school because of the smaller classrooms, relationships with teachers, and counseling services. Typically our school population is on free or reduced lunch, which is how the department of education decides if our school is “high-poverty” or not. As a title 1 school, we would be supplied additional funds in exchange for exhaustive paperwork, but since our population is constantly changing, we do not receive those funds. We also do not receive classroom funds because we are not a “home school.” This means that I am responsible for supplying my students with paper, folders, pencils, and other items that are necessary for learning.
      Every morning I go to work forty minutes early to offer activities to our elementary students. Because of bus schedules, some students arrive at school an hour and a half early every day. Since this often results in misbehavior before the end of breakfast, Some of my peers and I have volunteered to utilize the time for enrichment programs while preparing healthy attitudes for the school day. I don’t get paid for this though.
      Throughout the day I work with grades K-12 in a variety of subjects. I have students who refuse to leave my classroom when the lunch and break bells ring. These students crave attention since their homes are physically and sexually abusive, drug-addicted, and completely neglectful. When trying to prepare for the next group of students, it is frustrating to have to devote my five minutes of planning to the inane questions of students who just want a normal conversation. I indulge them because I am human. Because the school day is devoted to students, I spend most of my weeknights and weekends planning. I don’t do this at school, since I have obligations at home. Fortunately, I can watch television shows while I grade five days worth of papers from six different classes from different grade levels and subjects. This is necessary to mention since the different classes and grade levels require separate lesson plans, curriculum standards, and materials. I don’t get overtime for working nights and weekends.
      I am currently teaching personal finance to a group of high school boys who have been kicked out of school for fighting, drugs, and emotional and behavioral problems. While trying to find them vocational training so they do not burden the tax payer later in life, I discovered that in the state of Tennessee I could make more money working in a factory as a welder.
      I’m not going to change careers though. Actually, I am still in college after having received a master’s in special education. No one pays for my classes and the books are expensive. I’m a non-degree seeking graduate student because the tuition is cheaper, but my school system won’t accept my credits toward a larger pay check. I am thankful for the small tax break I will receive for spending tens of thousands to attend the local university during the fall, spring, and summer.
      At the school where I work, I love the 30 minute lunch break I receive. I used to teach preschool special education and because of the lack of staff in the elementary school where I worked, I only received a lunch break if the students napped during the day. This did not happen often.
      I am thankful for the parent volunteers who come by our school every Friday to pick up the food bags that fellow teachers prepare for the entire county. I hope you are thankful that I volunteer at my school, but please know that I am not saving either of us any money.
      Our schools will continue to need your (positive) support.

    3. Wow! Teachers already volunteer their time, I spend about 3 hours a day extra then go home and work. How can eduction get better with attitudes like this? This makes me so sad to see how teachers are valued!

    4. what time? as a teacher we have to work at home, go to trainings during our summer and work miscellaneous part time jobs to support our families and buy supplies for our classrooms. Every time education gets cut, more teachers are lost.

    5. John, how much time have you volunteered at your job? If you own your business, you may work many hours, but you receive the profits or go out of business. If you are a teacher, you spend at least 40 hours a week at school, go home and grade papers, plan for the next unit, call parents, write letters of recommendation or work on curriculum. That’s a part of your contract; you don’t get paid for that. You have to continue your education in the summer; you don’t get paid for that. The old song and dance that teachers have all this paid vacation is a joke. We are paid for the number of teaching days in a year. Most of us are smart enough to divide our salary by twelve so we are paid monthly. Salaries for teachers aren’t that high. I have a Doctor’s Degree; the highest I was paid was $53,000 a year. I paid 13% of my salary for retirement, and I paid for my family’s insurance. I spent over 60 hours a week on my job. I did volunteer some, but believe it or not, I had a life: two children and a husband. So if you want to volunteer at your children’s school, I am sure you will be welcome.

    6. John, you’re an uneducated idiot! Have you ever spent a day in a classroom teaching children? If so, you wouldn’t be so stupid to comment the way you did. Ignorance!

    7. Teachers have been subsidizing public education for over a century. We have accepted lower pay for what we do than comparably educated professionals in other fields, because we believe in what we do. We have been rewarded for this with diminished respect. We are continually being asked to do more while receiving less support. There’s a lot that needs to be done to correct the situation. The first step, however, is to fix the economy. Teacher compensation is not going to improve if we continue to spend our yet-unborn grandchildren’s earnings. As much as you may dislike what Romney has said about public education, his policies are our best hope – 1) build the economy, which improves public revenue by taxing a bigger economy without raising tax rates, and 2) get the federal government out of K-12 public education.

  6. Just throwing this out there – I certainly have NOT “felt the love” under Obama. Let’s face it, his appointed secretary of education has brought plenty of wrath down on teachers, and has supported competition in the form of Race to the Top (or nowhere as it were), vouchers, untenable teacher evaluation schemes, tying pay with performance, and testing until there’s no time left for teaching. All of this came down under Obama’s tenure. Where’s the “love” now? Buried in campaign rhetoric that has backed away from the more controversial of the issues. Note how carefully worded Obama’s statements are regarding teachers. So is Mitt a better choice? I don’t think so, but the devil we know isn’t that much different.

    Here are a few quotes from

    “In 2008, Obama said he wanted to “provide funds for states to implement a broader range of assessments that can evaluate higher-order skills, including students’ abilities to use technology, conduct research, engage in scientific investigation, solve problems, and present and defend their ideas.” The biggest movement on the assessment front is something called the Race to the Top Assessment Program.”

    “He said yes to charter schools offering public schools healthy competition, and he has delivered on that promise by providing some competitive grant money to states that start up charter schools.”

    On reform: “As 2014 loomed, and the slow legislative process lagged on, Obama and Duncan realized something had to be done, so in September of 2011 they announced a waiver scheme that allows states to exchange aggressive NCLB goals for reform measures.” It ties aggressive reform measures to the waiver, such as teacher evaluation plans.

    And my favorite: “Despite the bane of teachers unions, Obama wanted to open up the idea (read: can of worms) of paying teachers based on their performance.

    In this area, Obama definitely put his money where his mouth is by allocating funds for experiments in merit pay. Whether that has worked to improve teacher quality is up in the air. “There are very few successful merit pay systems because it’s difficult to figure out the criteria. We have a long way to go before anyone figures out a way to do it,” Jennings says.

    Obama’s camp wants part of the criteria for evaluating teacher merit to be student test scores—a very controversial idea for education traditionalists, especially within teachers unions. But, Obama’s Administration has chipped away at this traditional mindset, and some groups of teachers are now reluctantly agreeing to allow student test scores to be one of many variables in determining teacher quality.”

    Be careful what you wish for…

    1. Vicki, I agree with you on the Obama administration’s education policies. Competition is not the solution, but cooperation among all who have a vested interest in education is the right path. Trying to use a business model in our schools is the wrong direction to take. Teachers are not vendors & kids are not consumers. In the first place, teachers do not get to choose the customers they serve. So instead of vilifying teacher unions & tenured hard working, experienced teachers, principals and other administrators need to fire under-performing teachers. It’s their job to know their faculty. Poor teachers should be given the opportunity to get additional training to improve, then if they do not improve, they should be shown the door. There are lazy incompetent teachers in our schools, but then there are incompetent people in all professions. Merit pay ferments resentment among a school’s teachers. In addition, it’s unfair since only teachers who teach the core subjects that are tested are eligible for the bonuses. What if you’re lucky enough to teach gifted and talented kids instead of kids in remedial programs? One group generally performs well on tests; the other group generally does not. That money should be shared among all the school’s teachers, including the art, music, drama, & foreign language teachers because it does take a village to educate a child. I’m not saying that test scores do not matter, but basing a teacher’s yearly evaluation on one test taken on one day is absurd. Too many factors out of the teacher’s control come into play if a child performs poorly on any test. Instead, maybe think of examining a child’s growth & improvement in a given year? Plus, many of these tests are administered in early spring, well before the school year ends but instruction has not. So, is a child’s score based on his current teacher or his previous teacher at that point in the year? I also agree that teachers’ input has been ignored in developing fair evaluations and school reform in general. We’re in the trenches every day. We know what works and what doesn’t work. Yet our ideas are never solicited nor respected. It’s a top down affair in which teachers have virtually no voice in the decisions that affect our lives and the lives of our students. Arne Duncan is an ideologue who probably hasn’t stepped foot in a classroom in decades. Those who do not teach have no right to criticize a profession they know so little about, especially when they second-guess our dedication to kids. Considering the poor pay, who in their right mind goes into to teaching with an eye on making a killing and doing little to earn it?

      1. Preach it, sister! 🙂

        Everything you posted is right on the money. The business model is NOT the answer to education – even Bill Gates, who pushed the “value added” nonsense down our throats quietly distanced himself from it when he realized it truly does not work for dealing with humans. As far as Arne Duncan goes, what does he know about public education, he of the private school world of the University of Chicago Laboratory School? The director, David Magill, had this to say to alum Arne:

        These are the things that give me nightmares – and make me wonder about the future of our profession.

    2. Thank you Vicki! Obama is definitely not what he seems–and Race to the Top is an utter failure that is not helpful to anyone except those who want to eliminate opportunities for children of the middle or lower classes–I think, despite all the adversity, public school teachers have outperformed the private schools and that is what this all about–

      1. Well, in our state, that would be the for-profit charter schools that the public schools are outperforming. Statistically, those charters are either performing at or BELOW the level of the so-called “failing” districts they serve while siphoning off tax dollars and high performing students in a maneuver called “creaming”. Magnets are not doing much better, but at least they are not for profit.

      1. Anne, believe me, I do not love Romney and his views toward teachers. My point was that Obama may not be all that he seems when it comes to educational issues. People should investigate it on their own before deciding.


    Under Romney, the debt burden per capita was the highest of any state in the nation. He raised or created more than 1,000 taxes and fees on people across Massachusetts, while 278 wealthy residents in the state got a tax break. And Massachusetts plummeted to 47th out of 50 in job creation.

    What does it say that the people who know Mitt Romney best trust him least? He is trailing by 20 points or more in the state where he was governor.

  8. Pres. Toner gave the facts of how we lived as teachers when Romney was governor. Could not have cared less. The Mitt wanted the job as a launching point for his next job: The presidency. As a 1%, he does not want to work his way to the top. Jumping into the Senate was the top for his first government position. He lost the senate to Ted Kennedy so pushed out the first woman governor, Jane Swift out of her position to become the nominee. He chose Kerry Healy to”balance the ticket.” We know how poorly he treated Gov. Swift. Mitt Romney was very unpopular by the time his term was over. HE WOULD NOT HAVE EARNED A SECOND TERM. We were the butt of his jokes. All the insults were enough to give him a resounding boot out the door.

    As I watched the primary season, I wondered where the moderate Republican went? I listened to a man who would say he was a “serious conservative” to secure the right wing vote. Now the Etch a Sketch is turned on to high. His fellow right wing GOP mates scare women. Now he wants to be moderate MItt. This man has no core.

    As for teachers having all that time off, Maureen, what have you been smoking?

  9. Clearly Mitt Romney does not have any respect for educators. So many look at us as if we have more time as vacation then the number of hours that we work. As a classroom teacher I used to work at least two additional hours at home grading papers and creating lesson plans to stimulate my students learning. We do not get off months at a time for different holidays. I went to college to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in my students lives. I wasn’t considering what kind of vacation days I would have off from school I was considering how I would help children to learn to become productive adults. I often made purchases for my own supplies for my classroom and supplies for my students who could not afford them. It is so sad that we are portrayed as as the workforce that gets so many paid vacation days and that they don’t feel that we earn our salaries by what we do. Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to have a true picture of what educators are all about. So many times the subject of summers off come up as a notable claim against us as teachers but most schools are not air-conditioned and it is very difficult to hold the attention of a class and be able to effectively teach when it’s 90° or hotter in your classroom. The real shame is that it seems so ironic that these adults have such productive lives based on learning and being able to become who they are based on being educated!

  10. I’ve got a few more thoughts for Perrone with regard to the amount of time I spend teaching. There are 7 periods a day in my school. I teach 6 out 7 periods in a 6 day school schedule. The other 3 days, i teach 5 out of 7, but at least one of those days I am called to do things supervise the cafeteria during lunch periods, or supervise the hallways, or in school suspension…duty periods. On average, I would spend 2 to 3 nights per week, my “personal” time grading lessons, emailing/calling parents, prepping lessons for the days ahead because my 15 hours of work, I believe as you put it, isn’t nearly enough. I would do much of the same not quite every Sunday, but at least 2 out of 4 any given month, and they would be full days, not just a mere hour or two or even three. Additionally, and without pay, I supervise dances, sporting events, science fair, and various clubs for the students. I attend school fundraisers, plays, concerts, etc. and would never even think of skipping a graduation. I love my job, I love my students, and I work hard at being the best teacher I can be. My students would tell you the same. Frankly, I’m happy to describe anything to anyone who questions or doesn’t understand what’s really involved in being a teacher, but your comments are insulting…to me and to my profession.

  11. I am a public school high school teacher in Pennsylvania, not Massachusetts. I have taught for 28 years and can assure you that in my state the teachers work 12 months a year. If we’re lucky, we get three personal days per year, not per month, which we must use for emergencies like storms and flooding of our homes, and funerals of non-immediate family members. When the school day ends, we stay late to tutor students in need of our help, we grade papers, we plan meaningful lessons, we answer parent emails, we serve on committees to better our school district, we chaperone special student events, we serve as advisers to clubs and service groups of students who give back to our community, we coach a myriad of sports and marching bands, and choirs, and orchestras. We are required to do continual professional development, take graduate courses, attend workshops, lead workshops, mentor new teachers, etc. The list goes on. A lot of work occurs during the school year, and a lot of work is done during the summer months. After 28 years, I still do not earn enough to be able to retire. I have contributed at least 7.5% of my salary to my pension plan every year for 28 years so far, so don’t you dare to tell me that I have not EARNED my pension. It is sad that the people who know the least about how educators work, are the loudest to criticize them. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

    1. I would bet fifty bucks that Maureen does not teach at all. What college would ever hire someone who cannot spell or write a cogent sentence?

  12. Sorry Teachers of Mass. I worked in a college for 35 years. I know how hard you teachers work. Thats why our kids cant read or do math. because you all get 4 personal days a mth. 2/1/2 sick days a mth. You only work 7 mths out of the year. You get overload if your course is more then 15 hours a week. You get a 1 mth at Easter, 3 1/2 mths in the summer
    you get a penison 80 percent of your paycheck. You can retire at 50 yrs old. Mth off at christmas. o well when was he going to meet with you all.

    1. Ms. Peronne: I respect your right to your own opinion, views and vote. Yet, given the importance of the election and the very untimely hyper-polarization of the nation I was awe stricken to discover that your only response to Mr. Toner’s offering of facts – albeit to form a political point – was to criticize the benefits and compensation of the teachers of MA? You claim to be an educator yet you pass on a perfectly good opportunity to educate MA residents and Americans on a varying viewpoint on the candidacy of Romney. So…I am to take from your comments that, alright, Romney may be a disingenuous fraud posing an unknown level of risk to the country by being elected but since there are ways we can debate or seek to discredit anyone — especially those that point out such facts about Romney – that I should go ahead and accept that Gov. Romney is best for our country? And are we really polarized right down to educators by level of schooling such that EDUCATORS will not add to the discourse for sake of clarity and an informed vote? Mr. Toner did this. I plead for you to do the equivalent.

    2. What is your point exactly? How does what you are saying JUSTIFY the fact that Mitt Romney was a terrible Governor? His own colleagues came out saying that he was terrible to work with. He was 47th out of 50 in job growth in the state of Massachusetts when he was Governor. He implemented a health care initiative, which he later went on record saying should be the “model” for the nation UNLESS OF COURSE President Obama is the one implementing it. He has compulsively lied his entire political career. He has not only made a speech lying about Jeep/Chrysler going to China, but, made an ad and then a radio ad and was scolded by the CEO’s of both for his LIES. I could go on and on about this man’s lack of character, morals, a core, and qualifications, but, that would take the rest of the next 4 years and YOU CHOOSE to attack teachers?

    3. In what parallel universe do you live. I teach middle school math. I get 3 personal days a year and 1.2 sick days a month – most of which I never use. I spend 8 hours or more at school and take home work for evenings. I work planning and grading at least 12 hours of my weekend. That does not include emails or calls home to parents, homework help with students through email, phone, or texting. Then of course you have the continuing education that must be done in the summer, additional work sessions to update on new standards, testing expectations, etc. As funding disappears, class sizes continue to grow, supplies decrease (comes out of my pocket) and additional unfunded mandates become the responsibility of teachers.

      Oh wait – now also my job performance evaluation is posted on the internet.

      Only because WE CARE does any child get educated in this political environment.

    4. Maureen, You assume a lot, the benefits you cite are NOT correct, and NOT universal. Perhaps you ran across a faculty member or two who had such a package, but that is NOT common. . Your punctuation and spelling tell me you did not like your teachers nor did you pay attention to details. Your rage should be directed at yourself, you apparently failed to do the work you needed to do to learn. We need to respect education as we do medicine. Education is an essential. Being a serf to the 1% is NOT American, it is the result of hopelessness, and not what education is about.

    5. Wow- you need to check your facts. I have not taught in Mass. but I have never heard of a state or district that gives a month break at Christmas and Easter so I highly doubt that is true in Mass. either. The districts where I have been teaching for the past 37 years pay us for 10 months of teaching – that pay is spread out over 12 months. We are basically unemployed for 2 months of the year but can’t collect unemployment because we have an employer.

      I think you need to check your facts (and your punctuation!) before posting such ignorant comments.

    6. Are you kidding?? A month off at Christimas & Easter? 3-1/2 months off in the summer? Sounds more like the private schools in the area than the public schools. Get your facts straight, ma’am.

    7. Ms. Perrone – I am a Mass high school teacher. For the actual record….I work almost 10 months a year, school begins typically right around the 1st of September and ends late in June. My months “off” are spent in my classroom prepping for the next year, in continuing education classes that I pay for. My “vacations” during the school year are spent much in the same way. I get one week at Easter, not a month. I get one week at Christmas, and 1 week in February. Yes, if I put enough years in, I believe it’s somewhere between 25 to 30, I can collect 80% of my salary as a retirement pension. However, that pension money is actually funded by teachers, not the government. Public teachers pay 11% of their salary each week into the Mass Teacher retirement fund. If I put all my time in, I’ll get my 80%, if I do not, I may get quite a bit less. Economic studies on this issue show that the state spends less money administering the teacher fund, than it would if we were eligible to collect social security. Because we have own retirement system, we are not eligible for social security. In terms of sick and personal days, I believe I get 2 or 3 personal days a year, I do not get 4 personal days a month. But yes, we do get 11 sick days…and I agree that that can be way over the top, unless there is a significant health problem and I believe that’s why it’s there- not to be abused or taken advantage of, but there incase- teachers in my school who have attempted to take advantage of that policy were actually disciplined. I’m not sure where you got your facts from, but please review mine and double check your own.

    8. Wow I’m a school teacher and between the workshops and unpaid classroom prep I’m lucky I get 1 full month of summer break… It’s Saturday and I’m grading papers and doing lesson plans without pay… Oh and one more when a parent shows up demanding to speak with me when I’m going home at 3pm that hour I spend with her is unpaid… Retire at 50 since when… You are simply clueless about today’s classroom .. Those who do not teach need to shut up!!!

    9. I am shocked by the ignorance of this posting…not sure where to begin. Teachers are not totally responsible for the failure of students any more than they are totally responsible for the success of one. It takes a team to build the life of a child…parents, friends, federal & state support, and also committed educators. Let’s not forget that the student, at some level, also needs to accept ownership of the outcome of their educational experience.
      I have been a teacher for over 20 years – both public and private school situations.

      1. I have never had a month off for Christmas or Easter. We are not paid for these days.
      2. I only have 15 sick days a year.
      3.There is no over time pay – we work weekends, week days and evenings. Most of us arrive at school an hour or more before the children and stay an hour or more after school day ends.
      4. Our school year begins in August and ends in June…That is also our fiscal year. We choose to spread our salary out over the summer months.
      5. Most teachers work during the summer at other jobs. ie.summer school, tutoring, camps, taking classes to maintain their license etc.
      6. You will only get 80% of your pay if you have 30+ years in the system. Many of us took time off to have children and may never reach 80%. I plan on working after retirement since the MA pension is nothing to brag about. I am 61 and will have to work until I am 65 in order to received 62%. No complaints – it is the profession I chose and love.

      Next time you decide to spend your spare time trashing teachers, ask the Dr. you trust with your life how he was able to become a trusted Physician. My guess is he will say he had good teachers.

    10. You mentioned you worked in education at a college for 35 years. So I am assuming that you are retired and receiving a pension based on your position at that college for 35 years. It is strange that you make mention of all the different times that we as educators have off and yet the time you mention is incorrect information. Our district has never given us a month off from school for any holiday, Are you saying you had a month off from your position at the college for Christmas and different holidays? Your information regarding being able to retire at age 50 is only correct if that person has put in 25 years of education service in the education field. I have worked in the education field now myself for over 22 years and none of the teachers that I ever worked with were able to retire at age 50. So I guess what my problem with your message is that it is so incorrect and it will give others more negative views if they think what you said is true information.

    11. Me thinks thou dost protest – Maureen. Exacerate maybe quite a bit?
      I am a retired teacher from the Watertown Unified School District in Wisconsin. Ahhh the once great state of Wisconsin for education but still an awesome state.
      Most WI people love the state, I do, have lived here all my life and I intent to die here to when the time comes.
      Since our Governor Scott Walker stepped into the beautiful state capital building in Madison WI, teachers have been attacked, villianized, victimized, hated, ignored by the Governor for any contact or negotition or discussions, dragged through verbal slim mill, in record numbers. “Those damn over rated, over paid, over compensated teachers, always on leaves or vacations”. If I’ve heard that kind of mash once, I’ve heard it 1, 000, 000, 000 times or more.
      All my working life I heard people at P/T conferences tell me teaching is a “NO BRAINER” After 30 years I got to the point where I finally started to say “Yup, and that’s why we have so many people who don’t care to read, write well, speak well, because preparing for life while attending school was a “NO BRAINER”.
      Teachers don’t fail to teach but those whose attitudes of ” Hah, this is a NO BRAINER” are setting themselves up for failing or should I say putting themselves ‘down’. That mantra sets a low – extremely low expectation for achievement in anything. Those who think that way reap their own rewards – in not reading as adults, not writing well as adults, having limited ability to talk, discuss, reason, negotiate, collaborate, as adults also. “NO BRAINERS don’t make good co-workers either, often change jobs because “every one at that place really sucks”.
      NO BRAINER adults tend to raise NO BRAINER children who come to school with the learned ability to ‘put themselves down’ to the level of “NO BRAINER”. Thus the cycle continues.
      Parenting is a serious business, it requires a great deal of on the feet push / pull and mental toughness. A great deal of mental toughness.
      For years women teachers made 2 to 3 thousand dollars less a year then their male counterparts simply because they were “female”. It took years of legislation, unionizing to help equalize the teaching profession and bring wages up to a ‘liveable income’. When I started teaching many teachers including myself worked two jobs at once. I went from my teaching job to retail work in the evenings. I was younger then but the fact remains I NEEDED to work two jobs in order to make things work at home.
      Currently in the state of Wisconsin our Governor and many other GOP minded people want to see teachers and women espically pushed back to the days of inequities in the work place, in teaching, in society, back to the level of 1950’s or beyond. Back to the good ole days of women working hard to be recognized as equal partners, equal wage earners, equally respected as having beneficial words to say. We have a state Senator who has said “We need to get back to the values and standards of the 1950’s”.
      I know one thing I can not, will not, tolerate or allow, pushing women backwards that far. I never thought in my lifetime women would be fighting again – for the origianl sufferage at the turn of the 20th century.
      For the profession I love, for all the work I did – teaching what I loved, for all the students I loved dearly and still keep close, I can not sit by and let people bad mouth me with the “NO BRAINER” level of thinking. I’ve kept quiet and did my job many years not speaking my mind. NO more – teachers have been pushed to the brink and I for one have had it.
      When the opportunity arises to tell my truth – I do now. It may get long winded but I’ve earned the right to long windedness after listening so may years to “NO BRAINER – junk”
      Sandy Haack – Retired Teacher – Watertown USD, Watertown, Wisconsin.

    12. Maureen -did you push a broom at this college? Any educated individual would not write “That’s”-which is the contraction for “that is”by the way “thats” and the same holds true for “cant” which, FYI, should be written “can’t.”

    13. I apologize for all my spelling errors in my original reply which does not speak well of a teacher. Anyone have a spell checker for this site? If you want to attack me for it – go ahead, I deserve it.
      It’s just that I got so steamed and carried away. No excuse for bad grammar and spelling.

    14. I’m guessing you were not a teacher in a college for 35 years. If you were, and if your lessons were filled with as much misinformation as your post here, I feel sorry for your students and hereby declare that YOU are the problem.
      I do not teach in MA, but the district I teach in gives 2 personal days a year and 10 sick days a year. We get 1.5-2 weeks off for Winter break (depending on what day of the week Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on). We get 2 days off for Thanksgiving and 1 week off for Spring Break. We do not get any time off for Easter unless it happens to fall around Spring Break week. We start work in late August and finish the school year in late June (in case you can’t do the math, that’s 10 months). We do not get paid for any holidays or breaks.
      My work day AT SCHOOL lasts 8-10 hours. I teach at the elementary level, so I’m with students about 6.5 hours of that time. If I’m lucky and there are no meetings that day, then I can use the rest of the time to do the thousand other things a teacher has to do to keep a classroom running. I work 2-4 hours in my classroom every weekend, and about 8-10 additional hours at home each week.
      I’ve never met a teacher that retired at age 50. All the teachers I know were at least 60 when they retired.
      Before you bash teachers, you should really get a clue!

    15. Maureen,

      Clearly you weren’t in the math department because your argument is completely illogical. I thank you, though, for giving me some great material to use with my 9th and 10th graders when I teach how NOT to build an argument. This is laughable.

    16. It is difficult for me to believe you are a professional educator. Your sentence structure and punctuation lead me to believe you are not. Also, your facts with respect to pension benefits cannot be remotely accurate if they are calculated in the same manner as in my state.

    17. WOW, Maureen!! You are sadly mistaken. I am a kindergarten teacher in Tennessee. I have a Master’s Degree and make much less than most professions with the same. On most days, I arrive at school at 7:00 and leave no earlier than 4:30. I have a 30 minute lunch but by the time I get my class taken care of in the lunch room it is less. Friday night I left school at 6:00 and noticed that 12 cars were still in the parking lot. Today I spent 6 hours planning and researching ideas for my classroom. This is typical for most of the teachers I know. We get 1 sick day a month and 2 personal days a year. During the summer, when I am not paid, I plan, get my class ready and attend professional development classes. We begin school the second week of August and are in session until the end of May. I could go on but much of this has already been said.

      The real issue we face again is having 2 candidates that are ill-equipped to get us out of the mess that politicians have put us in. Unfortunately, we continue to put the same individuals or their kind in office. Greed is the reason we are where we are right now. The 1% are running the show. The trickle down theory is laughable. CEOs are grossly overpaid while those doing the real work barely get by. We have companies like Walmart that are at the heart of our troubles. They provide poverty wages and don’t give employees full-time to avoid providing benefits. They put small businesses out of business and everyone is so excited that they are coming to town. Why? I won’t shop there, low prices or not. We have become a society that does not care for their fellow man. I am saddened. Someone that makes minimum wage and does not have insurance does not have the money to even provide decent health care for their family. Yet, the individuals in Washington don’t have to worry about this and really don’t care. Our jobs are sent overseas and frankly, I am worried for my children. I don’t think we have seen the worst of it and really don’t see that there are any plans being shared that are viable solutions. Debates are just a tool to make us believe that we are being provided the candidate’s plans. I never hear a real plan. Until American citizens start taking notice and quite worrying about what “team” their on, we will continue to see the decline of our once great nation. Quit worrying about the latest iPhone or what team is going to win Monday night’s football game. It is time you start scrutinizing the system and not fall into the trap of voting for someone because they are Democrat or Republican. They are no different in that they spout a lot of promises and carry out their own self-serving agendas. They all get in the back room and decide our futures with no thought to the individuals they affect. It is time we look at the character of the individual and not based on whether they believe in abortion. This is a nonissue because they don’t have that power. What power they do have is to sign laws with hidden agendas (earmarks) that create a no-win situation for everyone but the 1%. The rich have gotten richer and they have not provided jobs. We bailed them out while we lost equity in our homes.

      It is time we stop believing the bull we are fed and think for ourselves and begin to put people in office that have a grasp on the position of the lower and middle class (career politicians and the wealthy are not those people). If we don’t, we are doomed.

    18. I would love to work where Maurene thinks schools and teachers get that much time off. seven months out of twelve? I don’t get one complete month off when you consider the workshops and professional development I attend during the summer at my own expense I must add. Please people do not continue to drink the anti teacher anti teachers’ union kool-aid. Learn something from American History!!! Public education and public school educators have been the leveling playing field for all disenfranchised people in this country. The Civil rights movement goals used public education to improve the opportunities for a decent quality of life for all citizens, not just the wealthy. Unions created the middle class. Once these two are destroyed the claas system of the earlier United States will be re established. Only a few citizens will be empowered to make decisions for all. we can not we must not allow those groups that wish to re establish themselves as power brokers to take this country back to pre Civil Rights days.

    19. Maureen,
      You probably did not work at UMass Amherst, our flagship research university here. Mitt never set foot on the campus, yet slashed the budget. In fact,until Deval Patrick was governor elect, no governor in recent history set foot on the campus.

      I am a teacher in the Commonwealth, and Paul is right, we are affluent, which makes a huge difference in educational quality and we also have one of the strongest unions in the country. Our working conditions are those of our students. None of my public school colleagues have 3.5 months, we never have a month of at Easter, so I am not sure which district offers that.

      In regards to our pensions, we pay into those and some of us will never see the 80% benefit you speak of, which due to pension reform, many teachers will not retire until after age 60. If a teacher with 30 years of service retires at age age 50, the maximum amount of the benefit would on 42%. This also means one would have started teaching at age 20, which given the requirements for the job would be next to impossible. Given that you worked at a college, I would think you would be a better fact checker.

    1. David,

      I retired after 29 years of teaching high school English in Michigan, and can guarantee you that unions don’t want poor teachers any more than doctors want incompetent doctors or lawyers want rogue lawyers reflecting badly on their respective professions. With tenure laws in place, the main reason bad teachers keep their jobs is because administrators do not do the required work to get rid of them. Administrators have four YEARS in Michigan to document a teacher’s progress. In my district, non-tenured teachers were evaluated 4 times a year for a total of 16 times over the course of their non-tenure. Anyone who can’t come up with documented evidence of a teacher’s shortcomings over that many months and that many formal evaluations (to say nothing of informal observations, etc) doesn’t deserve to be in administration. So, don’t blame the unions for “protecting” bad teachers. There are plenty of ways to assure they leave the profession, but the responsibility rests in the hands of administration.

    2. I have worked in 6 school districts across 4 states. The vast majority of teachers I have worked with are caring, wonderful teachers who work very hard to prepare their students for their futures. Honestly, I could name the number of “poor teachers” on one hand. And they were in last year before retirement, they hadn’t always been poor teachers. I hate to think of all the wonderful teachers who will be punished because of a couple of bad ones. Right now we work in a school district where 6.5% of our students are homeless, 26% are receiving free lunches, 1-2% have incarcerated parents, many are living with grandparents or other relatives. Many of these students have very poor attendance, come to school hungry and dirty, and witness violence every day at home. Then teachers are blamed when these children are not “benchmark” in math and reading. How about we stop blaming the teachers and start supporting communities and educating parents so we can make sure our students are ready to learn. One last point – a first year teacher with a master’s degree will make about $35,000 in Montana. Not even enough to pay off student loans. Let’s start really telling the truth.

  13. Where were these kinds of stories months ago? Massachusetts should have been screaming about this bozo months ago! Call the liar a Liar! He is the worst candidate ever.

  14. I educated children as a teacher for twenty years and as an administrator for twenty years. Any teacher or administrator who votes for Romney/Ryan needs serous psychiatric help. That Republican duo and Party want to privatize everything.

    1. First of all I also taught in a University and am now a public school teacher. Tenure is a University does not mean the same as tenure in a public school system. You cannot compare the two systems like that.

      If the public has a problem with their District’s teachers, then they need to see the principals, supervisors, etc. They have a right and a duty to talk to the teachers as well since it is only fair to listen to both sides of the story. If the issue is ‘time off’, then you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to judge instead of envy. Teaching at a University has a different set of problems than teaching at a public school K-12 system. Each district sets their own contract so take it up with your Board of Education.

      I do not think we can afford to attack the public school system. Wasn’t this country set up around the right for every individual to receive an education. Didn’t people fight and die for this right? By privatizing education you are changing that right. Not everything can be blamed on teachers which the focus has been on, how about parental support? Without unions to support us teachers would be fired over a lot of unsubstantiated claims from students who just ‘don’t like’ the teacher. There are teachers who are in the middle of classrooms, trying to lead students of several different languages as their first language. Some students in a public school system have ‘rage’ inside them, for various non school related issues, some are poor, starving. These issues come out in a classroom and sometimes students will refer to their own language to say things that a teacher doesn’t understand. Should a teacher then be sued by parents for ‘discrimination’ when the teacher wants them to speak English in her/his classroom? The teacher needs to maintain order and if students are working on an activity, start speaking another language, that teacher can’t tell what is being said. (Do we plan on sending the whole US to multiple language schools). Without unions that teacher would be fired due to the false accusation of ‘discrimination’ thrown at her by the parent who was not in the room and only heard one side of the story. Parents can also have their own discrimination inside of them. When anyone deals with the public, they face this kind of scrutiny, without people to support them and pulling together it leaves us all vulnerable.

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