Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bad Rhino

I love the Rhino Times generally, but their annual educational salary listing always aggravates me.

One mistake was made regarding the highest paid teacher who is not a coach or AD. The article says:

"The highest paid teacher who is not an athletic director or ROTC instructor is Ann McCary, a teacher of exceptional preschool children, who is paid $72,000. There are 15 other teachers who make over $70,000 a year."

Actually, according to the listing itself, the highest paid teacher who is not an AD makes $73, 120. This teacher happens to be a good friend of mine. She has 35 years of educational experience, a doctorate, and National Board Certification. I personally think that it is a travesty that the highest paid teacher in a large county-wide district of this size (and with such qualifications) only makes $73, 000. That's a pity. What does that say about the rest of the teacher salaries.

I think is tacky for the Rhino Times to publish this list in the first place. Yes, it is public information, but publishing the list has a voyeuristic feel to it, and I can't see how it promotes anything good. It is well to remember also that these salaries are all set my strict salary schedules. You can find those schedules on the Guilford County Schools site. Check out the salaries at the lower end. That's the real story.

Just keep in mind what kind of salaries await college graduates in any number of other fields and you will understand why it is hard to attract and maintain quality teachers.

Mr. Hammer repeats the mantra about Christmas and Easter breaks, and about that two month period of time in the summer that teachers are supposedly more or less on vacation. Believe me, that two month break is a double edged sword. When I taught school I had to work every summer to make needs meet, and finding that work was always a challenge in itself. Mr. Hammer concedes that such a break may be worthwhile to mitigate against burn out. yeah, you think?

Few people who have not done classroom teaching have any idea how draining it is, and more and more with all the discipline issues and stupid stuff coming down from on high.

The article also says the following:

"Also missing from the list is last year's highest paid principal, Valerie Collins, who was at Brown Summit Middle School last year and working on her doctorate. She was making $140,000 last year and is not on the list this year. "

Well, there is a good reason that Ms. Collins is no longer on the list. She had a sudden heart attack this spring and died.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Collins this year and seeing her navigate her way through a very tricky situation. She was a delightful person and a fair minded and conscientious administrator of a coveted program at Browns Summit Middle School (which my daughter will be attending in the fall).

I think that saying what was said about her was the height of bad taste. No doubt the Rhino didn't know. But, since the point of the story was the "new" people at the top of the list, one would think the reporter would have wondered what happened to those folks no longer there. I hope there will be a front page apology to the family.

Personal Note: I like the Rhino Times and agree with John Hammer on many more issues than not, and I think he is a great guy. I applaud his devotion to this city, and the great success of the Rhino Times which I read every week. Thus I hate getting on his case about this issue each year; but I wish he would stop doing this to our teachers.

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