Posted In: New Mexico, Uncategorized

NM governor sets off firestorm with attack on teachers

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by Félix Pérez/image courtesy of Steve Terrell

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, often mentioned as a tailor-made candidate for national office, set off a firestorm last week when secretly taped discussions revealed she thought teachers are paid too much.

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Martinez, in the final year of her first term as governor, said in a campaign strategy meeting, “During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but I really keep going back to that . . . keeping the teachers from feeling the pain when they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year or three months out of the year but earn salaries at the same rate of people who do work 12 months a year.”

Teachers found the remarks demeaning and said they reflect Martinez’s lack of understanding of the profession.

Betty Patterson, Las Cruces teacher and president of NEA-New Mexico, said:

The work of educating a new generation is so much more than ‘just a job,’ and we deserve more respect from our governor. The public should not be deceived.

According to data for 2012-13, New Mexico ranks 47th in the nation in teacher salary. New Mexico teachers earn 81% of the national average salary for teachers.

“Very few teachers work only nine months, very few get paid as if they worked twelve months,” said Patterson. “Most teachers use the summer for professional development, to learn new curriculum and to write curriculum for their districts. We also work on lesson plans and collaborative planning with peers . . .  During the nine months teachers work directly with students, we put in endless hours beyond what is paid or expected.”

Martinez did not apologize for the remarks or dispute their accuracy. Instead, she ridiculed Mother Jones, the magazine in which they were published, for “peddling false, personal attacks against me.”

The comments about teachers were part of a wide-ranging story in which Martinez, who has carefully cultivated an image as a straight-shooter, and her staff attack the state’s women’s commission, a Hispanic chamber of commerce and her opponents, at times using profane, graphic language.

The governor used the article to raise campaign donations. The pitch raised $15,000 in the first few hours, according to a Tweet from Martinez.

Reader Comments

  1. steve johnson

    The same day I read the Mother Jones article was the same day I read a Santa Fe Register article on teacher dissatisfaction. Both articles pretty much killed my interest in teaching in New Mexico, at least for now. The governor is crude, brash, discourteous and vindictive. Apparently she runs her cabinet and the state government like it is her personal kingdom. Her refusal to apologize for the words of both she and her staff on tape lead me to believe that she will attempt re-election as the incumbent. The comments on teachers were especially distasteful. All in all, New Mexico now has a national black eye. What a shame.

    Reply
  2. Grace

    I teach, no, taught in New Mexico, but the governor has targeted teachers with “level 3″ licenses so it looks like my career here is on hold. Teachers new to the state are being denied level 3 credentials in Susie’s Public Ed Dept, signing contracts in September for 15k more than they are actually being paid in June, age, medical discrimination against teachers is rampant and the EEOC is moribund, unions scared of being decertified, courts all under Suzie’s mean and dumb control. Level 3 teachers are being driven out, and new level 3 licenses denied, watch Suzie show Bill now! And please, say some prayers for New Mexico students and their experienced teachers, we sure do appreciate it.

    Reply
    • RICHARD

      I feel your pain Grace. I taught in Connecticut for 15 years, hold professional educator certification, have a 6th Year degree in educational leadership and am licensed to be an administrator. I resigned 3 years ago due to feeling like a fraud each day that I was required to teach to meaningless standardized tests. What’s worse is that teacher bashing is at an all time level of intensity in Connecticut. Our governor is a flaming idiot who knows nothing about education which makes matters even worse. Add the budget woes of most school districts in Connecticut and you have the ingredients for a very hostile work environment for teachers. Every teacher that pays union dues in this state is being ripped off big time. The unions are nothing more than extensions of the district school administrations. I am sickened every time I hear one of the talking heads commenting on how various reforms are going to produce such terrific results. I think horrific results are more likely. Hang in there and let your voice be heard. Teachers are finally starting to mobilize and speak out against people like your governor who actually hate teachers, but recognize that we are needed now more than ever. Just 20 years ago, school districts actually bragged about the average years of experience of their teachers. Now, they don’t want to pay for experience and are willing to settle for warm bodies. The problem is that you don’t significantly increase student achievement by hiring inexpensive and inexperienced teachers. We shall overcome.

      Reply
      • Grace

        Thank you for telling us about your state, dare we say it…Joe Hill Lives!

        Reply
  3. Karen

    I would LOVE to her how many months a year she works and how much she is paid. Plus she obviously knows nothing about a teacher’s life. 2 1/2 is a fantasy and we often spend many hours a day working in classrooms, meeting with parents, grading papers, preparing work and planning. Does she really think a teacher walks in her or his classroom ready to go and walks out after the students leave because we have nothing to do????

    Reply
    • Laura

      So true Karen, but ignorance is bliss and she is VERY happy.

      Reply
  4. Donn Leatherman

    As a teacher, I know that I don’t have a lot of free time in the summer (or even during the rest of the year). But governor Martinez should remember what we do when we actually get a little free time: many of us work on political campaigns.

    Reply
    • mike

      Sounds like you have problem with Hispanic Women to me.

      Reply
      • Marty

        Are you serious? This has nothing do with race!!!!!!!!

        Reply
  5. Tim L

    I have read with interest and dismay many of your comments concerning the stance taken in this story concerning education. My questions will drive to the heart of your predicament. What are you doing about it? Did you vote in the last election? Are you going to vote in the upcoming elections in 2014? If you are going to vote there is only one party that supports the positive changes in public education necessary for success of our students and that is the Democratic Party. Locally, regionally, statewide and nationally you must vote for Democrats. There are millions of educators across the country who vote against education and their own interests by voting for the other party. Anti-worker and union legislation in states passed by Republican legislatures. Continued legislation against equal pay for women in states passed by Republican legislatures. Expanding support for more unproven and resource robbing for profit charter, private or in some cases religious schools to enrich and repay individual campaign contributors in states passed by Republican legislatures. The list goes on and on, but educators still vote against public education by voting for any Republican officeholder. Even those who feign support for public education now MUST tow the party line or face opposition in their own primary if they vote for reasonable fact based education changes. If this continues across the country we will see our career change to just being a job. The best and brightest will not enter into education as a career. Finally, why would they? The regional comparison that has been made here has unfortunately changed. The question for a chemistry major was which career would you enter into? Go into teaching and take another semester or in some cases a year to intern teach and take all of the extra education courses to make $40,000 a year as a teacher or make $80000 a year as a first year chemist? The change is that now a local district’s starting salary for a chemistry teacher is now only $32000! Yes (hopefully soon former)governor of New Mexico, that is for a year!

    Reply
    • mike

      It sounds like you have a problem with Hispanic Women to me. I believe you me be somewhat of a raciest by your remarks. We are proud to have an Mexican as our Governor. Andale wey

      Reply
  6. Sandra Lane

    The governor needs to do some homework herself.
    Teachers are given an option when they sign their contracts.
    They can be paid more each month by only getting paid during “teaching” months. Or they can take the SAME amount of money and stretch it over 12 months. They don’t get paid for not working. They are paid over a 12 month period but it is the same amount no matter what they choose.

    Reply
    • Scott

      It is despicable that there are women OR men who are in high public offices, who have absolutely no conception or understanding of the task of teaching America’s children. Instead of pandering to the masses who have spoken out against educators’ and education, the truly brave should begin to defend public education and increase the salaries of teachers, and the supply lines to public schools.
      Did this woman make the statements, yes. Is she capable of accepting the responsibility of her errors, no. Typical two-faced, political positioning! And this is a woman who seeks to hold higher office? Until she truly understands the depth and breadth of the teaching profession, keep it shut!

      Reply
      • mike

        Speaking of NM Education, do you know where we rank in the Nation? I guess more money will fix that!

        Reply
  7. The Truth Will Make You Smart

    It is amazing that a woman in such a power position can have the thinking skills of a twelve year old. Why doesn’t she ask a teacher, “Why do you get paid during vacation?” Awhile back teachers didn’t get paid during summer vacation and it was a hardship. They had to find a temporary job during summer. My wife has told me that when she was a little girl she would see her elementary teacher selling cotton candy at a famous amusement park during summer. Eventually what school districts did is that they stretched the teachers’ paid so that they would get paid during summer which meant that their paycheck would be less everytime they got paid!!!! I know this because I know people who are teachers. And yes, I know a relative who gets paid as much as a teacher and works all year but she learned her trade by going to school for a year and got a certificate. For teachers, they have to go to school for four years and get a Bachelor Degree and go to school for two more years to get a Clear Credential. After, they have to work for free for about a year under a Master Teacher. In addition, teachers get paid once a month and not every two weeks like everyone else does!!!!! And doesn’t end there!!! They still have to go to school if they want to go up the salary scale!!!! And unlike the popular myth, teacher don’t have tenure, they can also get fired and so on and so…… Yes, teachers have it easy??? I DON’T THINK SO!!!!!

    Reply
  8. Michelle

    NM Governor Martinez should be ashamed of herself. We are not only teachers, but social workers, mothers, psychologists, providers, etc.

    The list goes on and we don’t get paid any extra for being more than just a teacher to the students who don’t live in a two-parent household. Or how about those students who don’t get breakfast at home and can’t learn at school because they are hungry. Governor Martinez are you paying back $40,000.00 dollars in loans? To who, the government at 6.75%? So you could get paid $174,000.00 dollars a year and not have to pay for health insurance the rest of your life?
    How about the special needs students who go to school all year around? Who do you think teaches them? Teachers, not you…..
    Most people couldn’t teach the special students that I teach because they do not have the knowledge or the patience. You probably couldn’t live a day in the classroom that I teach.

    And you were elected by the people? I doubt it…….

    Reply
  9. Cindy

    She must have been talking to North Carolina’s governor and some of the policy makers in Raleigh who dislike public education. Five years ago we were in the middle as compared nationwide. Now, we are near the bottom of the pay compared to those same states. We are 46th in the nation. How do you go from the middle to 46th? When you have elected officials who think we do nothing. I have 30 years as a counselor and really not sure I can retire. I feel for the educators of NM. I can no longer encourage students to go into the field of education, sadly. We are undervalued and quite frankly, most people have no idea the amount of time we put in. Over the last months I have rarely left work before 5:00 pm and arrive daily about 6:50 (morning duty @ 715)..thank a teacher or educator. Without them, most of us wouldn’t be where we are.

    Reply
    • Ronald Kuykendall

      As a person born in New Mexico and who lives in North Carolina I am very sad about what Republicans and some Democrats are doing to our state and country. What is happening in New Mexico and North Carolina is going to happen everywhere in the country unless we wise up and take back our democracy, no easy task.

      Reply
      • David

        The same is happening in Alabama where the Republican majority continues to take from teachers. A 1.5% pay raise over the past seven years, plus a mandatory increase in retirement contributions. We have Del Marsh to thank for this. My wife is a Speech teacher with only 72 students to take care of. She has her EDs. and brings home notably less than $3,000.00 a month. As the school year wraps up, she is writing IEPs for each of these students, and putting in an easy 5 to 6 hours a day after school to get them done, and done correctly. She dare not take off for a day or get sick, as that will put her even further behind. And no, this is not poor time management. It is just the shear volume of work!!

        Reply
  10. Mark Twainfive

    Only God can save NM from the ignorance of their governor because she is a member of the political side that GOD is supporting. Let us all pray!

    Reply
    • Sarah K Bruner

      After 38 years of teaching — working close to ten hours each day and many weekends — I retired at 65. I knew only a few teachers in all those years who taught/worked the required hours or required days. Many of us used our in-term vacation days to grade essays or make up tests or prep. Summers were more classes, two weeks off!, and/or another job to make $$s to supplement income. My Master of Arts degree in Philosophy and Criticism of Drama (to enhance my teaching area) did not give me extra contract money.
      This woman has to be an evil hag or nuts! Your call…

      Reply
    • mike

      I have to say your an Idiot!!

      Reply
  11. JLSINCT

    So, NM teachers, there is no doubt about what this ignoramus thinks of you as professionals and of the profession in which you practice. You, your families, relatives and friends can send her a message. Send many messages. Hound her. Informational picketing at all her public appearances. Op ed pieces and letters to the editor with specifics re: what teachers really do, educational requirements, etc. Letters of support to the newspapers/websites from students and parents. Ask other politicians and community leaders to respond, on the record, with their thoughts about Martinez’s perspective on teaching and teachers.

    As teachers unions have lost power in recent years, those who deluded themselves into thinking that, “Now my individual talents and work ethic will be recognized and rewarded” have learned the truth. After a brief respite from teacher-bashing after professional educators repeatedly put themselves between bullets and their students, the disrespect and attacks have resumed. Arne decides to eliminate the NCLB waiver for Washington, so all Washington schools will be given an “F” and the educators will be designated as “ineffective.” What state is next? Martinez appears ready to sacrifice NM’s public education system; what other governors will do the same?

    Is it time to ask oneself if working 10-12 hour days, skipping lunch,paying for needed supplies out-of-pocket, living under constant stress, etc. should continue? Ya think?

    Reply
    • Lois Jones

      For the forty one years I have been a teacher there has never been one that I worked less than eleven months of the year. While I was compensated for nine or nine and a half, my job often required ten hour days and more. Anyone who says teachers are over paid has not idea what teachers really do. Go visit the school, get to know a teacher and you will have a different outlook. While it is the best profession in my estimation it takes much dedication and sacrifice.

      Reply
    • Barbara Eckert

      Texas also ranks low for teacher salaries AND Gregg Abbott, Lt. Governor reduced the education budget something like 6+ billion in 2011. When in the world will these so called leaders understand educating our kids is our future? We already lack so far behind other countries in math and science – unbelievable yet educators co ti up to vote Republican!

      Reply
      • mike

        Dang Barbara I thought oboma was a demo??

        Reply
        • Laura

          Mike learn to spell: Obama

          Reply
  12. James Wheeler

    It is a shame how little respect is shown to teachers. Teachers are at or near the bottom of the paid professional ranks. Four years of college (or much more) may get you a job paying $40,000 a year (and that is if you are lucky in some places.) As a former teacher, I recall the long hours and hard work. Summers were not “vacation time” either. Most days were spent on professional development or preparing for the next year. I consider the Governor’s remarks an insult. They show just how ill-prepared she is for her position. I hope she does a little research prior to opening her mouth next time.

    Reply
  13. Nick B

    The meme we hear from politicians like this Governor are nothing but rhetoric churned out by Koch think tanks who have the agenda to obliterate public education (as well as the EPA, National Parks, etc.) Seems like all Tea Partiers and Republicans these days just get in line and regurgitate what FOX News and these “politicians” are “paid” to do.

    Reply
    • Gayle

      If regular people realized what the Koch Brothers and their various efforts with Americans for Prosperity and other tentacles reach into, Americans would be terrified.

      Between them and Sam Brownback, I continue to be amazed AND embarrassed to be from Kansas.

      Reply
    • mike

      I love the lefties, they are so open minded. And they say they are progressive!

      Reply
  14. isidor garcia

    Being the parent of a school teacher, I’m always amazed at how misinformed or ignorant many of our elected leaders are. First of all, my daughter works many hours beyond the normal work day getting lesson plans ready, attending teacher meetings after school hours, and visiting students homes to meet with their parents. Add on top of that attending teacher union meetings as a teacher representative. I’ve worked for corporate America and know first hand that they have their 20% high achieving employees who do 80% of the work. The others just work the system and do their 8 hour shifts and keep a low profile so they do not get management mad at them.
    I wonder what the salary pay schedules are for Martinez and her direct report staff. They ought start getting informed and turn the channel from Fox News and watch the Racquel Maddow Show. They might learn that Public Schools still out perform Charter and always will.

    Reply
    • mike

      You and Rachel, need to check your facts.

      Reply
  15. Luis

    In my educational background, I have served a four year apprenticeship, two BA degrees, a Masters, and 60 plus credits above the Masters in education. About three years ago during my unpaid two and a half months off, I worked as a pipefitter. We worked five and six days a week for ten hours, and were paid on a weekly basis. I took home as much money in one week as I earn in a month teaching. Also, I pay just under $70.00 a month for my own insurance, almost $700.00 for my wife’s insurance, get paid once a month, and part of my check is held back to pay me during the summers. Health insurance is going up in our district about 9.9% this year, and the school board doesn’t sound willing to kick in any more, so I’ll be paying more for my insurance and my wife’s. I could go on, but the point is the cheapskates representing my state, and many other states are getting more than their moneys worth from public educators. Governor Martinez’s point of view has no merit!

    Reply
    • mike

      First, you can request your checks come year round. And second, the school does not set your insurance policy. People like your self are part of the problem with education!

      Reply
      • Georgie

        Mike, Fox News viewers are the most uneducated in the country, your posts reflect how true that is!

        Reply
  16. Brian G

    Thank you Ms. Martinez for helping me reflect on how lucky I feel to call myself a teacher. Fact is, I love what I do, I love the 10 hour days, the evenings when a light bulb goes off and an idea is born to create a moving experience for my 7-8 year old students, I love the intensity and the fast-paced environment, I love the passion and exhaustion, I love the opportunity to shape a place which inspires kids to turn on their self-confidence and risk-taking, I love making community and growing self-empowered learners, I love that my brain is always “on” and considering how my own life plays out in front of children every day, I love that trust and support are the cornerstones of my practice, I love taking my summers to recharge my weary bones and find my own joys, so that I mat be the very best example to our most precious and vulnerable. In all my 15 years of teaching, I have not felt a single moment of guilt stirred by nay-saying politicos or agenda-pushing media who have no idea what it means to be an effective leader. I think Ms. Martinez may be a bit frightened, so she attacks easy public targets. I think we ought to be thankful folks like Ms. Martinez express themselves the way they do, her/their ignorance and narrow-mindedness serve to solidify our roles in the classroom; serve to make us feel even more necessary, as we train our students to have opinions and speak up for themselves. Thank you Ms. Martinez for making me feel like I am on the right path as a teacher, as my students invariably will be the ones who decide your elected future.

    Reply
  17. Claire Carsman

    Paid summer? Yeah, right. How well I remember those “paid” summers when I was a teacher in LA. Last check July 1. Next check Oct 1. Try living for 3 months with no paycheck, Susanna Martinez. And no unemployment insurance either.

    Teachers are unsung heroes. We’re foolish enough to actually love what we do and be good at it. It’s time to seriously fight back against teacher-bashing, kid-bashing, charter schools and for public education as a mainstay of democracy.

    Claire Carsman, retired teacher/administrator
    Palm Springs, CA

    Reply
  18. Dianne

    The governor’s remarks scream, let’s have a challenge here. Put her in a kindergarten classroom with at least 25 students without aides for a week. I think she’d be singing a different tune. Until you’ve walked in our shoes……..

    Reply
  19. Kristina Morningstar Pego

    Sounds like an “Uncle Tom”. I’m sure she has what she needs. Teachers don’t. Let her pay for her RECERTIFICATION, all those supplies, overtime, and the extras teachers provide EVERY DAY!

    Reply
  20. Edward L. Paciorek

    I work at the #1 ranked traditional high school in the state of Michigan (U.S. News and World Report’s most recent report – just out) and I have spent the last three hours scraping crud off of a collection of calligraphy supplies from the 1980s that I just purchased on eBay for $30 of my own money, and I just made an offer to a supplier for 36 calligraphy markers for $60 that I ALSO WON’T be reimbursed for! That’s just what a teacher does. How much of my time and money did I just commit to my students THIS MORNING??!! Every day I show up to work about 45 minutes to an hour before I have to in order to prepare. Any teacher worth their salt is underpaid, but we only think about that when we’re told that we aren’t worth our salaries.

    Reply
    • mike

      So let me get this right, you spent $90 of your own money on your job!!

      Well i feel trouble for you, poor thing. I am so glad you do not teach my kids!!

      Reply
  21. Martin

    Despite all the hand wringing and anger, I must admit I get her point. NM has budget problems, and to balance the books they need to make cuts. So education gets cut. Too bad. The problem for teachers is that the laws of supply and demand are still working. Is there a shortage of teachers? NO. People will still do the job regardless of salary, fair or not. The reason NFL players make so much is that there are very few people who can do what they do. Same with actors, musicians, etc. If you have a skill that is scarce, you can command a higher salary. Sorry, but teaching is that rare of a skill – a lot of people do it well enough. Only when there is a dramatic scarcity of teachers will salaries ever rise. In my district, which is invoking a new salary schedule, they recognize that it’s getting hard to find and keep top math and science teachers. So the new schedule adds a significant “bonus” to those teachers as an incentive to keep them in place. Makes me happy, teaching AP calculus is not for weak teachers and I can use the extra $3000. Still, governor, that was a stupid thing to say. You should be grateful that you have people in NM willing to teach in some of your troubled schools for the crap you pay.

    Reply
    • D Davis

      If it is about saving money then we can start with not paying our legislatures when they don’ t show up to work. No work no pay.

      Reply
    • Nick B

      Your comment shows a complete ignorance of what teachers actually do.

      Reply
  22. Joan

    Easy solution. Pay teacher by the hour instead of salary, include overtime and give them 15 minute breaks like other workers are guaranteed. Make sure the hourly wages match those of professionals in other fields that require similar education and on-going training.

    Reply
  23. Rhee Ali Tee

    Two months in Kinder or a month in primary special education would have her singing a different tune–

    Reply
  24. Marty

    God help us if she gets elected to a higher position that holds even more power to destroy public education. What incompetence. She does not represent “The People” if she is that out of touch with reality.

    Reply
  25. Darl

    I worked as a teacher for 35 yrs. The last few years, out of curiosity, I kept track of my hours. I averaged 60 hrs a week, 35 working directly with students. Multiplied by the 36 weeks in the school year, that’s 2160 hrs. Divided by 40 for the “average” worker’s week, it comes out to 54 weeks a year. What vacation and holiday time? All those who believe teachers have it easy, need to become teachers and show us how to make it easier and still do the job well.
    No teacher I’ve ever known, even the ineffective ones, can work a 40 hour week. That would leave only 5 hrs a week for paper-grading and the numerous other responsibilities.
    On paper, teachers work 9 months each year (and their salaries are stretched out over 12 months unless they choose to be paid over 9 and unpaid for 3). In reality, they work much more than that. 36 weeks is the time with students, not counting holidays or summer “break”…..don’t forget the extra 2 weeks needed before students arrive and after they leave. I also haven’t included summer training and other necessary summer curriculum projects needed for the new school year. Anyone who is taking the summer “off,” has had to make up that time somewhere else, working 12 months of time in only 9 months.
    I loved teaching and my students (8th grade) and would have continued longer. I simply couldn’t do it any more. There are reasons new teachers burn-out after 5 years and leave the profession. All you need to do is read the research on that topic.
    Now that I’m “retired,” I have 2 part-time jobs that add up to 40 hours. I can come home in the evenings and on weekends and not have any job-related work to do until the next work day. Best of all, I am not already emotionally and physically exhausted when I walk in the door. What a breeze after teaching!

    Reply
    • Krist

      She said it, by the time summer comes around you have slready given 2 and half months worth of work for free, not to mention draining your bank account for “supplies”.

      Reply
  26. Christal

    I have taught for 15 years in Ohio. I love my job, REALLY! It is a demanding job. It doesn’t end at the end of the day or even on Friday afternoon. We are always grading papers, planning lessons that cover standards that keep changing, charting, graphing, recording data, filling out endless paperwork for IEP’s, and making sure ever child gets what they need from us. Most people can not even stand to be in a room with two children let alone 25. We care for your children. We help them through many things, not just learning. We pick-up where you leave off(for some we carry the full load for you). Our job is securing the future. Stop bashing teachers!! We are not OVER paid! How much do parents pay sitters? I paid my sitter $25 a day, five days a week for one child. (Her rates were actually very low.) Times that rate by 25. Hmmmm. Are we over paid? I think not.

    Reply
  27. Roadking

    Coaching is even worse! I made $8000 a year as head wrestling coach in Ohio. It is a year round job, 7 days a week during the season. I kept track of my hours the last year, I made $1.80 an hour!

    Reply
    • R Stagman

      You spent 12.18 hours per day, 365 days during the year doing that?
      That includes Saturdays and Sundays. Not much time left for eating, sleeping, and life. Check the math or go flip burgers. At least you qualified for food stamps and other programs.

      Reply
      • Rita

        He said he spent extra time during the “season”. Not sure you read it right. Teachers work very hard. She and you should not be bashing teachers.

        Reply
    • mike

      I’ve got an idea “quite coaching”.

      Reply
      • Georgie

        Mike, you’re showing your ignorance,yet once again!

        Reply
  28. Eric J

    You can’t compare apples to oranges. I am a teacher who has enjoyed the past 28 years in the same Wisconsin school district. Our governor is also opposed to public education. I have never compared my job to any other occupation in the world. How many careers can one see there product grow to maturity in 4 years and hopefully take what you have provided for them as a starting block for the the rest of their lives.

    There are many who compare education to other types of occupations. Comments like the United States is falling behind and the products of public education are faulty are continually offered. If we treated US public education like a business, we could remove faulty raw materials before they messed up our success rate. If we had a low producing employee, we could remove them and replace with a smarter, more productive one. Fortunately, in education, this is not the case. We take them all without making judgements about where they come from, their socioeconomic status, or their intelligence levels.

    Teachers in Finland are some of the most respected, highest paid professionals in their country. Finland recognizes the importance of their children in the future of their country. Decisions about how they are taught are not based on dollars and cents; they are not made by politicians looking for a stepping stone in a political career. The decision are made solely for the benefit of their kids. Incidentally, the Finnish education system score near the top in world education.

    Reply
    • Barb

      Of course, US education is behind. Children and their parents repeatedly hear that our teachers are lazy and overpaid. There is no respect, so there is no incentive to do well. Who wants to put forth an effort for someone that politicians repeatedly have bashed? When the education system in the United States in once again held in high regard, we will once again compare favorably to other countries.

      Reply
  29. Chuck

    Jennifer,
    Let’ me start off by saying, I’m not sure where your husband teaches or what he teaches, but it must be in a much better district than my own. I have taught for 7 years in the same district and I make $500 less than I did my 1st year, due to budget cut and people like you that believe that teachers are well off. In order to insure my 4 children it is $800 a month to go through my great insurance provided by my employer. That should be no problem considering I make $2500 a month before taxes. And yes many people take home extra work, but the ones that do make a hell of a lot more than 30k. I take home a stack of papers to grade every night and spend at least 6 hours on Saturday or Sunday working on lesson plans. I have 29 students in my 5th grade classroom that I am responsible for, not only their learning, hut their well being and helping them to become upstanding citizens. I deal with behavior problems, social disorders, academically struggling students, as well as kids that are just plain cursed with being born into poverty. I spend my days running around my classroom and school trying to make a difference and I could count on 1 hand the amount of minutes a day I spend in my desk chair. Teachers are what make this world go round and they are fighting against all odds to ensure kids get an education and they will continue to do it regardless of the money because that’s what they do… They care.

    Reply
  30. Kim

    This is why I WON’T be voting for Martinez: her war on teachers.
    I would like to clarify … as a teacher, I EARN my salary from about August 10th to the end of May (which gives me a TWO month summer break). IF I WORK FOR A DISTRICT THAT DOES THIS, they pay me the remaining amount of my salary through June & July to simply help me budget & pay my bills. In order to do this, they pay me LESS all through the school year. So basically, I put my money into an interest free (for me, not the school) savings account from which I make withdrawals through June & July.

    Reply
  31. Lynn

    All of this rhetoric against teachers – nothing personal. It is simply a ploy to destroy public education. Wake up, people. Start fighting for our system of free education. Despite all the problems, it is far more successful than many charter schools. If public education is destroyed, a “free” education will be offered only to those who “deserve” it.

    Reply
  32. Tom

    This governor needs to spend just one week as a substitute and maybe, just maybe she’ll get a dose of reality. Here’s more reality: in many districts teacher pay has been frozen for years, insurance benefits cut and employee contributions to pensions have increased while pension benefits have eroded. In several states, teachers are not eligible to collect Social Security due to government pension offset rules. No matching 401Ks, no paid vacation time (teachers are paid for a contract/academic year…the employer holds their money for summer salary checks)

    No one enters teaching to become wealthy,and the the only way to get a promotion is to leave the classroom. If it is such a wonderful “cush” job, why do nearly half of our nation’s teachers leave the profession in the first five years of their careers?

    Reply
    • Wendy

      Teachers are not the only professionals with frozen pay and cut health benefits. It is the reality of our world. Teachers are guarenteed their benefit packages. If teachers HAD to be at their place of work for a full 8 to 10 hours(with the children)12 months out of the year then they may know what other professionals go through all year long. Many people take their work home. Many people do not get guarenteed pensions like teachers. Not all workers have the right to strike to earn better pay and benefits. Not all workers get EVERY holiday off from work (with pay). Not too many other workers get snow days and then complain when extra days need to made up at the end of the school year or Spring Break taken away. Most other workers have to use their vacation and sick days within a calender year or they lose it. They can not roll it over till they get an entire year off from work with pay. Many of these perks need to be altered. A teacher is hired to teach after all not collect time off.
      Yes, I do think that either class sizes need to be smaller or every teacher needs a helper. Students need to be put into classes with students with similar learning capability in order for the teachers to teach them effectively. I realize a lot of problems exist for teachers, but teachers get many perks the ordinary workers do not.

      Reply
      • Nanci

        Yes, Wendy, there are these perks that you mention, but there is a “But”! Teaching is a profession that is high on the intensity scale. You work with many classes of children all day long- from 8:00 to 3:00 in the elementary schools. This includes 15 to 30 mins. for lunch…yes, the contract says 45 mins., but the truth is you have to use this time to call parents, meet with colleagues, talk to your principal and prepare for the afternoon classes. Then, after school, there are meetings and professional development commitments. And, not to forget, the papers to grade and lessons to plan in the evening. My husband used to ask me what my fellow teachers thought about current events. Ha! We barely had time to exchange pleasantries, much less have time to discuss anything! In the summer, it takes a few weeks to recover from the intensity of the year…and then you have workshops to start attending. You cannot compare professions!!

        Reply
      • Jennifer

        Just so you know, if you add in the hours we work before and after school grading papers, writing plans, and finding the materials we need to teach our kids, you would realize that we put in way more than just the time we are with the kids. Most easily work 9+hours daily if not more. Not all teachers have the right to strike, it varies from state to state. As for our pensions, we pay into them (14% of my paycheck here in Ohio). Don’t forget that as funding decreases, the supplies we buy from our own pay frozen pockets continues to increase as parents struggle to make ends meet and provide materials for their children. Yes, we can bargain for our conditions and pay (even though the majority of us have taken pay freezes because we understand the money isn’t going far, states have reduced funding and my benefits have more than tripled), but that is the benefit of being in a union. I find it interesting that people want union members to lose more (even though the average household income in this country has decreased over the years in a direct correlation to union membership numbers decreasing) instead of considering that all workers have the right to fair pay and better conditions. Wake up people! While the shrinking middle class fights among themselves about who deserves “pay freezes” and snow days the 1% is laughing as they maintain and improve the status quo for themselves.

        Reply
      • Chuck Kaiser

        I just wonder what this governor thinks the cost of the future of this country is worth? I wonder if society can really afford the result of screwing over public schools! When all schools have the job of caring for all of our children and do it while teaching. People like her should have to take a test to see if they are able to really speak on this!

        Reply
      • MadTeach

        TO WENDY: Teachers are only guaranteed their benefit packages on a year by year basis. The board can decide to reduce the amount they pay at will and increase the amount we pay like nay other corporation. They tell us what health insurance we will get and what our premiums and copays will be.

        I have to be at my school 7 1/2 hours a day, and I have to do grading, planning, copying, completing paperwork, and attending school functions outside that time UNPAID. I work from 8:30 – 5:30 at school most days and then spend another hour at home grading. I also spend 4-6 hours planning lessons and doing paperwork on the weekends. In the summer, I attend mandatory meetings, spend 3 weeks prepping my classroom for the new year, and attending classes to keep my certificate valid. I have a bachelors and a masters degree in addition to 30 years of experience. My cousin graduated from college went to work for P&G and made $100,000 a year to sell soap. I still don’t make near that much, and I make a difference in the lives of children every day! I feed those whose parents are too drunk or drugged out to get up and make them breakfast, I stay after to help those whose parents won’t, I sit and listen to children who have been abused, neglected, and rejected and help them feel better about themselves. AND YES I manage to teach them something along the way. I dare you to do my job!

        Reply
      • julia

        Many states do not have Teacher Unions and those TEACHERS have no leverage. For those who keep repeating or even think that a Teacher’s job deserves less pay and more work, think about this. In my 30 years of Teaching, my day usually began at 7:15 AM and ended no earlier than 6 PM with some days ending at 11 PM and including some Saturday’s. We began arriving at our designated school at least a week before the scheduled Teacher’s workdays. This time was needed to get our classrooms organized, bulletin boards put up, and work with other grade level teachers organizing our year. My school year began around August 15th and ended the first week of June. Yes, I did have 7-12 days off at Christmas and some years had a week at Easter. Even during those times off, school work had to be done and preparation for classwork continued. Never during the 365 days of the year was I off because anywhere I met a student, we visited, even if we ran into each other in another city several hours away. My summers were spent attending workshops, college, preparing for the new school year, and working a summer job to supplement my salary.
        My suggestion to the NM Governor or anyone else who says that Teachers are over paid and have too many days off, go to the nearest school and volunteer for a week, month, or even longer. Then let us know if you still think the same way about Teachers.
        Our kids are very special and we do everything possible to help them achieve academically as well as in life. Usually this means spending at least $300 out of our pocket and many hours being involved in their lives. They are that SPECIAL!

        Reply
      • retiredteacher1

        Have the right to strike? NM is a right to work state,meaning a right to strike is off the table. Get your facts
        straight. The perks you speak of are minimal and are paid for by teachers. Teachers contribute to their retirement plans (6 – 8% of pay in most states) and pay an ever-increasing share of health care as well. Most states in south and southwest have no COLAS for retirees. Where are these great perks about which you speak?

        All this teacher bashing was started by Republicans who wish to lower teacher pay and privatize (charterize) education. It’s all about the money and who gets it. The “big money boys” want to get their hands on education
        $$$ so they brand teachers as ineffective and schools as “failing.”

        Wonder how many business tax cuts Martinez has endorsed at the expense of education?

        Reply
  33. Autumn Moon

    Time to vote her ass out! Most of the politicians in America have no clue and they are dumb as dirt. Yet they continue and we allow them to ruin our kids, schools and education. Get rid of her….vote her out!

    Reply
  34. Peter Attwood

    Actually, the NFL is paid by taxpayer dollars, most obviously by the taxpayer-funded stadiums that these billionaires rip off in many cities, but also by its antitrust exemption and by being tax free. It’s a real racket.

    Susanna Martinez reminds me of Chris Christie. A bully cultivating a straight-shooter image, and it seems to be catching up to her in the same way.

    Reply
  35. PavePusher

    My father was a teacher for nearly 40 years. He rarely worked less than a 15-hour day (yes, grading papers at home for 3 hours a night counts as work). Nearly always had to run an extra-curricular program without additional pay (often on weekends), had to take a class or two every summer to keep up certifications (without compensation), and had to have summer jobs to make the teachers pay stretch through the year. I don’t remember him ever having less than a 65-hour week.

    But sure, he was “paid too much”… Governor, get bent, or get me back some of the time my dad couldn’t spend with me as a child. You ignorant cow of a poltroon.

    Reply
  36. Linda Kelly

    This woman is making $$$$$$$$$$$. She may not even have a college education….and she is telling teachers (who work all day and into the night daily) they make too much? Why don’t you go into a classroom and write the lesson plans to meet the needs of each kid, police the classroom while you try to teach and try to go home at night without taking the classroom and papers home to correct. Not to mention 15 minute lunches and having to stay in your classroom without bathroom breaks. They get paid squat and do an amazing job with your kids…many who have severe problems and behavior problems. They have to continue their education, and take tests before each year begins and you have the audacity to tell me they make too much money. Most teachers incomes can allow them to be on food stamps. Get a reality check woman.

    Reply
    • Milton

      Alas, she has two degrees. She was the district attorney in a southern NM county. She just has very limited vision, little insight and no interest in the average person’s life. The sop about teachers is soooooo old — it was around when I was a kid in the ’40s and at that time, teachers were paid a pittance and had even less administrative support than now. She doesn’t have a clue

      Reply
  37. Teri

    Bottom line here is that she is among those who would like to see all public education eliminated. The idea is to use Federal tax dollars to provide the masses with vouchers. Then people can, in their words, ‘choose’ the school they want their child to attend. They just hand over the voucher to a now private school. The tax money goes to a private corporation. The wealthy will be able to take their voucher and apply it to the larger tuition required at a school which is better equipped, smaller class sizes, etc., while the masses, who have only the meager voucher in hand, will have no choice but to send their child to a poorly funded, over-crowded school that operates on only voucher funds. End game, accomplished. Tax money flows to the private hands, public education is totally eliminated, and discrimination is at its ugliest.

    Reply
  38. darleneprice

    Such an ignorant statement.Most teachers have more than a BA degree and at their own expense to keep current.Also at a MA level you should expect to earn more.Teacher salaries are averaged together regardless of degree. Also since her state is so near the bottom of all the states.

    Reply
  39. Diane Hedin

    Way to call her out, Mother Jones!!!

    Reply
  40. Aliss

    Wow, this just shows how out of touch she is. She should walk a week in the shoes of a teacher so she is closer to reality. Teachers can decide in some districts to divide the salary over 12 months or be paid for the duration of the school year. Same pay just divided into different amounts for pay periods. She should get her facts straight and we have to continue our education to keep our license, pay for more and more classroom supplies, pay for some student’s supplies, give up evenings and weekends for grading, lesson plans and planning. When the politicians have this attitude, it makes sense that the public that doesn’t personnally know a teacher thinks the same way.

    Reply
  41. Barbara Hammond

    What an incredibly ignorant remark, Govenor! As previously stated, teachers are paid for apprx 182 days and their salary is divided to pay out over 365 days. No holiday pay, no vacation pay, just 40 hours a week for 182 days even though every good teacher works nights – weekends- vacations – and forced layoffs called summer break. How much of your time are willing to work without pay???

    Reply
  42. Cat tak

    I teach Kindergarten. It is my 18th year, so I put in fewer hours than I did when I was a rookie. I have been tracking my off the clock hours this year. So far I have worked 326 hours at night and on the weekends, off the clock, on school. We still have 8 more weeks of school, so I can estimate it will be closer to 400 by the time I walk away for the summer. That is 10 40 – hour weeks. WHAT SUMMER VACATION?

    Reply
  43. Alan

    Teachers do not “get the summers off.” Teachers get paid for ten months of work and then have a two month, unpaid furlough. Many teachers work summer jobs to make ends meet.

    Reply
  44. Steve

    I have a question for the governor. Who taught you how to read ?

    Reply
  45. chris murray

    All this spoken by someone who probably wouldn’t last a week in the classroom dealing with everything else that goes hand in hand with teaching. Those are usually the ones who have the most to say. She had her chance to pick her profession and teachers had theirs so she shouldn’t be critical.

    Reply
  46. Voice of Reason

    What a disgrace!! Here is the Albuequerque School district salary guide. After so many years, a teacher has to move to level 2 after 3-5 years and level 3 is apparently a form of merit pay that has to be applied for and approved………….Assuming…………assuming a teacher starts with a B.A degree in level 1 they begin at $30K. After 40 years, 40!!!!, assuming………..assuming they move to Level 3 with merit/performance pay, they will be making a whopping $61K……….What a joke this Governor is…….I am amazed any one, anyone is left teaching in New Mexico. God Bless every last one of them. Governor Martinez, you, madam, are the weakest link!!!!!!! Goodbye!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.nctq.org/docs/Albuquerque_2013-2014_Salary_Schedule.pdf

    Reply
    • John Best

      It was announced this week in Valencia County, New Mexico, that a lot of teachers are retiring/quitting and there is going to be a shortage of teachers next school year. Gee, I wonder why. DUH!!!!!!

      Reply
  47. Linda Allen

    Jeepers Congressional members are paid $174,000/year plus perks–and how many days have they worked? Always taking a two-three week vacation

    Reply
  48. Janice Marzano

    I am a teacher and yes I do get paid over a 12 month period. However, I only get paid for the 183 days that I am at school teaching. Along with that I spend 3 hours each evening grading papers, spend 7-8 hours every Saturday grading papers, making lesson plans and researching the best way to teach the concept I want the students to learn. Sunday afternoons, I have to create the papers that will assess student learning. So I put in at least 26 hours (# days plus)of my own time to do my job.

    Now talk about having 3 months off during the summer. Well during the summer I need to start preparing for a new school year, take classes and get my room ready for the next year. All this is done on my own time without pay.

    So tell how much of you job do you do without pay?

    Reply
    • WPDjr

      Well put. Just the fact of working 183 days is a key component is a major misunderstanding many people have. When compared to the salaries of other professions for which a 4+ year degree is required who work 8 hours a day, have little to no “outside of work hours” work, and work 250 days, the teacher ranks near the bottom of the pay-scale.

      Reply
    • Jess-A

      Maybe we should stop working as soon as the dismissal bell rings…not attend meetings..nor grade papers, etc

      Reply
  49. David

    Sure, and NFL players work 5 months a year and earn millions.

    Reply
    • Jennifer S

      You are right NFL players get paid so much more. That is because society chooses to make the NFL a very big business. We love our sports. It is a diversion for most of us and one that brings a lot of enjoyment outside of our day to day life. So there is no comparison. While I do know teaching is so much more important and valuable in the long run to our society And teachers are amazing for what they do. That argument doesn’t work It is a fact. It isn’t going to change. Teachers know getting in what they will get paid. Right or not. They do it because they want to teach children, not for the money. I do also know that after being in teaching for 3 or 4 years you start making some good money. Many times much more than people who do work year round 8-5 jobs. With 2 weeks vacation. And holiday pay. Not weeks off at each holiday or three day or 4 day weekends that teachers enjoy. Teachers have great health insurance provided with very little expense to the teacher. And retirement. Most all companies do not offer retirement. They offer 401k’s which are funded by the employee and sometimes are matched a small percentage by their employer. And all of us work at home in the evenings. I know not one professional who doesn’t work in the evenings and weekend fairly regularly. And who do work in a office from 8-5. Not 8-3:30 or 4.

      For me the real issue is how are we going to change education for the kids. It isn’t working. Others countries have much better educational systems. And the US continues to fall behind. It is inexcusable. What we say parents and teachers doesn’t seem to make any difference anymore. We need to start teaching to kids. And stop teaching to the “TEST”!

      And lastly I am married to a school teacher and have been for 12 years. So yes I do know the life of a teacher and what it involves. And I am a professional in a 8-5 job. So I know that life too.

      Teachers are amazing people and undervalued in our society. Sadly!

      Reply
      • Lj

        I am a teacher, and I pay $490 a month for the healthcare ‘provided’ to me for little or no cost. This was the least expensive option. Our retirement is perhaps more reliable, but not more lucrative than social security.
        People have no idea what the facts are regarding this profession yet never hesitate to share their feelings about our schedule, pay, etc.
        The majority of the general public wouldn’t last a week in the classroom. I am so very tired of hearing people WHO HAVE NOT DONE THIS JOB make judgements about it. That’s just senseless.

        Reply
      • Mark GuaQuinta

        Jennifer S. Stop buying int o the nonsense that “it” is not working. The “it” isn’t education, it’s the fact that our child poverty rate has doubled! In Fort Wayne we have 70% in poverty, 80 languages and a 91% graduation rate thanks to our great teachers. We value them. Btw, we are leading the world in education when income groups are compared as evidenced by our economic engine fueled by our teacher taught innovators. I am not a teacher.
        Mark GiaQuinta, president FWCS Board

        Reply
    • Elaine

      “Sure, and NFL players work 5 months a year and earn millions.”

      So? The NFL is a private employer, where school divisions are public employers. NFL players aren’t paid by taxpayer funds, teachers are. Your comparison here is irrelevant.

      Reply
      • Teri

        Are you implying then that if teachers were privately employed, that they would earn much larger salaries? That’s a great idea. Teachers could then work 5 months out of the year and earn millions. Nice.

        Reply
      • John B

        Elaine,
        Maybe technically the NFL player salaries are private but many taxpayer dollars go into the infrastructure of the game, like, the stadium. The money saved by the owners for publicly funded stadiums goes to the players and owners so a comparison is not so irrelevent. For the record, I averaged 2800 hours a year in the school building as a teacher. The average 12 month job is 2200.

        Reply
  50. Ken Roberts

    And unlike teachers most people do not continue to work 4-6 hours once home. And unlike other people most do not spend 5-10 of their income for supplies to do their work. What a foolish position!

    Reply

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