Sunday, September 13, 2015

Things That Make You Go, Hmm...

Second Strike Update: As of an hour ago, SEA says no movement on negotiations.  I'm going to go to the press conference that is to be held at 3 pm.

(Strike update: nothing from SEA as of 10:15 am today, Sunday the 13th; SPS has a press conference today at 3 pm.  Maybe they are hoping there will be something to say then.)

1) In some of the biggest news for public education in Washington State - namely, that the Governor is assembling a "work group" to get McCleary done AND doesn't want the overturned charter law part of the discussion (AND he still doesn't support charter schools) - and yet the Seattle Times has said nothing.  Zero. Zip.  (At least I can't find it.)

The Stranger reported it.  The Puget Sound Business Journal reported it.  And that was two days ago.  But the Times has time to write about the Justices who sit on the Supreme Court.  Hmm...

2) All the information I have put up here at the blog comes from my gleaning of information from various websites and from parents, both individual and via Soup for Teachers.  Why doesn't SEA want to help me help them by just giving me updates/info?  Hmm....

3) Why doesn't SEA have a specific hashtag for the strike so that Twitter could be more effective?  Why aren't they throwing evidence-based facts out there and not just #picketpixs?  Hmm....

4) Why didn't Sherry Carr have her scheduled community meeting yesterday?  And all the Board committee meetings are cancelled but not the Work Session this week.  Hmm...

5) So we are living in a time of social media and yet both SEA and SPS' social media presence is low and lame.  SEA is putting out twitter but just photos - no real info on either the negotiations or facts about district spending.  No retweets about Meg Diaz' info on district spending nor calling out the op-ed by Carr/Peaslee saying there is "no money."

That kind of anemic social media from both sides makes me kind of suspicious.  The negotiations are the thing but their public face is also important.  Hmm....

6) The tepid response from Seattle Council PTSA about the strike.  It's just very limp.  (Partial from letter)

Seattle Council PTSA supports our teachers and advocates for full funding of education, but we don’t advocate for education stoppages. We do urge every PTA member to advocate for all students, our teachers and the District by demanding the legislature comply with the WA State Supreme Courts ruling to adequately fund education per the McCleary decision.

It is the PTAs mission “To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children”. Consistent with this belief, we encourage all parents and community members to continue to speak in support or express concerns regarding the strike regardless of affiliation with PTA. It is amazing to hear of the many ways parents and communities have taken action and organized activities for students and forums for parents to speak up and connect with one another. 

The largest parent org in Seattle commending other parents for their actions in support of students and forums for parents but that org not doing anything itself.  Even if the PTSA wants to remain neutral that doesn't mean silence.  

They do reference the National PTA document on strikes:

Urge immediate and continuous negotiations and if necessary mediation to get schools open as soon as possible.  If negotiation is delayed, the PTA should seek to bring the school board representatives and teachers' organization representatives together. 

But I note they have very little presence on Facebook and none on Twitter.  Hmm...

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been through a few strikes. I believe the SEA isn't pouring out more information because they believe the best way to respect the process is to argue at the table not in the press.

Tim

Maureen said...

Is there a list somewhere of who is on the SPS bargaining committee? Facebook crowd sourcing has come up with Keven Wynkoop and Gerrit Kischner (principals). Can we come up with the other members on this site?

Anonymous said...

I admire your optimism, but the district has had a press conference every day of negotiations at 3, right? I think this is standard. I think the district is doing a relatively good job of getting information out there, in it's old skool dinosaur way.

I talked to several teachers yesterday at sporting events, and they are 1) expecting this to last another week 2) ebullient about the strike, using the phrases that so enrages me - "extra summer," and "not really a big deal for parents." Several teachers said this, and whenever they walked away, someone else (not me) would quietly say it was a big deal for them. 3) of the probably not random sample of 7, not actually informed about strike issues. One thought the district was trying to make all schools have only 15 minutes of recess. One thought the district had already filed an injunction and they were defying it, "like Pasco." One thought she only made 35k (has a masters and 9 full time years. No.). It is depressing, and SEA should be doing a much better job with communications. This chaos only ensures a much longer strike. The inaccurate perception that this is not a big deal for families ensures a much longer strike.

SPED staffing ratios are a huge deal and so is loss of planning time, but none of the teachers yesterday I talked to believe that is why they are out there. Still hoping for a deal today, but not counting on it.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I agree, Melissa, with much of what you wrote here, especially:

"5) So we are living in a time of social media and yet both SEA and SPS' social media presence is low and lame. SEA is putting out twitter but just photos - no real info on either the negotiations or facts about district spending. No retweets about Meg Diaz' info on district spending nor calling out the op-ed by Carr/Peaslee saying there is "no money.""

We're going to have to do this work at the grassroots. For example, here are some compensation figures for four members of the SPS bargaining team:

Geoffry D. Miller (chief negotiator)
2014-2015 = $150,920 (as a Director of Employee & Labor Relations)
(Hired in 2014)

Jonathan D. Halfaker
2014-2015 = $162,901 (as an Executive Director)
2013-2014 = $144,398 (as an Executive Director)
2012-2013 = $126,159 (as a principal)

Kevin S. Wynkoop
2014-2015 = $138,636 (principal)
2013-2014 = $132,038 (principal)
2012-2013 = $129,728 (principal)

Gerrit Kischner
2014-2015 = $126,701 (principal)
2013-2014 = $123,460 (principal)
2012-2013 = $121,505 (principal)

Per Maureen's comment above, who are the remaining members of the SPS bargaining team?

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Tim,

In my opinion, that strategy is a losing one. If we "respect the process," the district will simply wait us out. For us, this is about respect--respect for the work we do, respect for our students and parents, and respect for our schools. For the district, this is about power.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Charter school article in Salon from Saturday: http://www.salon.com/2015/09/12/take_that_charter_schools_why_a_washington_court_decision_will_force_accountability_to_a_movement_that_needs_it_badly/

AgainstCharters

Anonymous said...

Well said. Lame communication. Here's the advice I gave SEA (based on conversations from many parents who seem on the fence about this strike. They are a silent group, but in private they talk.) So I gathered my thoughts and sent it to SEA leadership. These points do not necessarily reflect my POV, but that of many parents who don't really feel like bringing brownies to the picket line.

Dear SEA Leadership,
How do you continue to get support from Seattle parents? Not the ardent ones bringing you food, but the ones who grumble quietly and are on the fence? You must have a strategy to keep them on the fence or, even better, bring them to your side. Based on many many conversations, these 6 things are key to maintaining parental and community support.

You might keep parent support if you:
1. Stay at the table. While you might consider staying away from the table effective with SPS, it is not with skeptical set of parents. It makes them hopping mad and you will lose support rapidly.

2. Do not get carried away by the extremes. Act and sound like the middle. Demagoguery (slogans and no data) will alienate the middle. And you need the middle.

3. Avoid sticker shock: use REAL $ numbers based on the average salaries. Few seem to understand the nuances of these percentages, it only leads to skeptical parents as seeing the teacher union as greedy. Regarding COLAs, many are saying "well during the Great Recession I didn't get a COLA either". When I explained this to one mom (who never reads blogs or digs into these things, she said, "wow, that seems more reasonable to me"

4. Communicate!!! Explain in plain, conversational language with specific examples the reasoning behind your proposals. Your silence is deafening and undermining your position. The media is regurgitating stuff and leaving parents confused--it all seems like he said-she said and just white noise. Make no mistake this is a PR war. But don't go for inauthentic high level spin, give us something to chew on (but not too much!). Many parents are hungry to understand and inclined to support you if they see real world examples of what the challenges are behind SPS's proposals. Do not assume we understand any policy issues or have read the blogs. No jargon, no acronyms, explain the background in terms an outsider would get. All we know is what we see with our teachers day to day.

Do not assume that you are winning because parents are showing up for rallies and bringing food, it goes deeper.

5. Appeal to vanity and self interest: compare Seattle to other great cities with similar living costs and ideally better educational systems. Show us how we are falling behind. Or cite some study that shows how teacher salaries correlate with real estate values, local economy growth, investment from outside, ability to attract all other types of talent to a region. Constantly benchmark and appeal to the desire for us to be the best in the nation.

6. Be realistic: support for SEA is conditional and complex. Do not assume that parental support is entirely about sympathy for the teachers--much of it seems to be fueled by distrust and deep dissatisfaction with the district and not being listened to. For some parents this is more about their grievances than it is about support for you--so don't get euphoric and carried away with "support". SPS seems to be tone deaf on this issue (they seem surprised by the outrage against them), but by being aware of it and calibrating your messaging and strategies you can be more effective.

RavennaMom

Anonymous said...

I an deeply respect not trying to win in the court of public opinion or publicly draw a line in the sand you may wish to un-draw at a later date, but union members need to know why they are out here, and families need to know, very well, what this is about, now that their jobs are starting to be on the line too (no 180 contracted days after this is all over if they get fired). More like the post yesterday would really help.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher and I don't understand why SEA does not have a stronger media presence. I've heard the rationale that they are respecting the bargaining process by keeping it at the table. That's a nice sentiment, but SEA needs to get with the times. How can people support us if they don't know what is going on? At our Friday meeting at our school we were asked by our school rep how we were doing. Everyone expressed concern regarding the lack of SEA's media presence.

Sleeper, who are these teachers you're talking to? None of the teachers at my school think this is a summer vacation. Everyone supports the strike, but no one thinks it is a vacation. In fact we have a couple of teachers who are worried about how they are going to pay their rent if this goes on much longer. There is another teacher who has health issues and is worried about losing health care. No one I know is enjoying this time- parents or teachers.

A Teacher

B said...

I don't understand the supposed "neutrality" need from PTSA. Aren't they supposed to be about parents, teachers and students working together? The school district or supporting them isn't part of the equation there (not even in the name). In fact, seems like the PTSA should be leading the charge for many of the issues on the table, being the bargaining voice authorized to speak for parents and students in the discussion.

Lra said...

Why isn't there more benchmarking with other leading districts in the nation with comparable living costs?

A cursory search (subject to all sorts of caveats about accuracy) revealed that:

"In Boston, the largest school district in the state, the city spent $349.3 million to employ 4,261 teachers in 2012. The employment figure was flat on a year-year-year basis while the total payroll number was actually down by around $6 million. Boston’s average teacher salary of $81,900 ranked 19th statewide in 2012."

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/bbj_research_alert/2013/04/which-massachusetts-school-districts.html

and

"Using data from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, KIRO 7 found that in the 2012-]13 school year, full-time certified teachers in Seattle made a base average salary of $49,956."

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/seattle-teacher-salaries-compared-other-districts/nZhrN/

Boston (among others) is a much better comparable to Seattle. $81,900 vs. $49,956 (ok someone can actually do the heavy lifting and see if this is actually true, but if it is, all I can say is WOW)

It's not about how much we should be paying teachers (gets into a circular argument about who deserve what which never is productive). It's about what it takes to attract and retain the best for a city that should be at the forefront of educational excellence in the nation.

AM said...

I don't mind SEA "respecting the process" and not dilvulging details about current negotiations, but it doesn't preclude them from explaining their positions and rationale. I'd like to see their prima facie case for their proposals.

Lynn said...

The district's proposal on increasing the length of the school day confirms my assumption that they intend to use those minutes to make up for regularly scheduled early release/late arrival times. How do parents feel about that? Nobody knows - as they haven't asked us.

http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/News/Whats%20New/sps-mou-20-minutes09122015.pdf

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that SEA has done a very poor job in explaining their side of things. People tend to fill in an information vacuum and right now, only SPS is providing any kind of "filler". There's a happy medium here between silence and divulging details.

reader47

Lynn said...

The district's proposed staffing ratios are here: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/News/Whats%20New/sps_special_education_workload_proposal.pdf

Watching said...

It is time for all night negotiations.

Maureen said...

Lra, you just compared Boston average to Seattle base, so not apples to apples.

That said, a Seattle Times article I linked to the other day had the Seattle average at $59444.

Lra said...

Thanks Maureen. That's what I was looking for. If you are accurate, then it's 81K vs. 59K. Still a yawning gap. I think our cities are very comparable in many ways. And Mass gets better results (NAEP, TIMSS etc.. Not saying salary is the causal link as I'm sure there are many factors. But it should give most of us pause when we ask ourselves, "how much should teachers get paid?" If the answer is "we need to be competitive and attract the best and other cities are doing a better job of it" then we need to question whether we are doing a great job at 59K.

Lra

Watching said...


Wa. State Supreme Court ruled that I 1240 is unconstitutional. Clearly, those that spent millions of dollars, provided by Gates and a hand full of wealthy individuals, are not happy.

We are seeing a flurry of articles related to judicial races and some wonder if Supreme Court Justices are being bought.

I'm not surprised to see Lisa MacFarlane of DFER publicly wondering out loud
whether it might be time for public financing of judicial elections, or better yet appointed judges.

Anonymous said...

@n, PTSAs aren't at the bargaining table and don't have access to the details necessary to say anything more than any individual does. We don't know where current proposals stand, what's been tentatively agreed to, where either side is heading.

Supporting parents, teachers and students does not mean we are necessarily anti-administration. It also doesn't mean we need to jump on the bandwagon in the absence of clear facts--which are clearly missing in many areas.

Many of the parents we represent do not support the strike. Many parents agree with some of the issues the SEA is fighting for, but think the SEA is asking for too much in others. When the SEA seems so psyched about striking because teachers feel like they've been dissed, and when the SEA does such a poor job of communicating, and when the SEA seems unwilling to accept salary increases that many parents could only wish for, it erodes support. What our parents want is for both sides to work things out.

I'd venture to say that not all the teachers in our school support the strike, either. I'm sure there are issues on which many teachers would accept the SPS proposal in order to get back to work.

Show us that your side is being 100% honest and reasonable (and not dismissive!) and we may jump in in bigger numbers.

Not Sheep

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ravenna Mom - your post/letter to the SEA is spot on what us on the fence parents feel.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the PTSA for not being sheep. I absolutely agree that not all teachers support the strike, nor do all parents. I am both. I don't and many of my colleagues and friends don't either. Many teachers are ready to accept the latest offer and get back to work. I think that SEA is asking for WAY too much from the district.

Devid Edelman - Our of fairness, please be clear that the salaries you are posting include benefits. If you are going to discuss salaries like that, then let's talk about them the same way with teachers, which jumps all the numbers up by 9333.

Also, I wonder how much union leadership makes. We should post that too.

Watching - I agree. Round the clock negotiations. My union rep (who sounds frustrated) told me that the union was the one to end the day yesterday and they didn't agree to go back until noon today. Someone said "but they are tired because they walked all week." SO WHAT! Then don't picket and bargain instead. And certainly start before noon today. There are 55000 children out of school, the majority of whom probably have two working parents and at least 1/3 of whom are on free/reduced lunch and need to be fed. There are children in special education who are not getting their federally mandated services (resulting in huge fines to the district which isn't going to help our finances), there are children whose parents don't have the ability, energy, wherewithal, or interest in using this a "learning opportunity" for their children. The losers in this are the children, mostly who likely aren't represented by parents on this blog, and I see the union seeing this as all about money, NOT all about kids.

SEA ParentTeacher

Anonymous said...

apparently Clover Codd and Shauna Heath are on the bargaining team.

Just Striker

Eric M said...

This teacher absolutely respects and appreciates the HUGE difficulties this creates for parents. Awful. I express embarrassment for any remarks made that failed to acknowledge the hardships of this strike on the greater community. In defense, teachers have borne a lot of hardships themselves, and there is perhaps a widespread joyful sense among them that they are finally defending public education en masse. Bottom line, children's learning conditions are teacher's working conditions. To the extent that teachers have to fight for something as obvious for recess for little kids, we really need to be allied with parents. We all want that, right? Except for the bean counters and test fanatics.

That SPS administration dropped their ridiculous and untenable "work extra time for no extra money" fantasy concept in late August, rather than July, or June, or May, when negotiations started, demonstrates, to me at least, their own-private-Idaho contempt for both parents and teachers.

You know that play-in some parents held on the lawn of JSCEE on Thursday, then when they came back on Friday, sprinklers were on and the lawn was flooded? Kinda like that.

Also: salary increases? Be very careful of the rhetoric, especially from the Seattle Gates/Times. My own classroom teacher take home salary went DOWN 4.3% from 5/12 to 6/15. Never mind inflation. Hard to view it as an increase if it brings you from negative back to zero, and everything costs more every day. Even IF my salary had stayed the same, which it didn't, I'd be able to buy less with it. I've got kids to feed, too, including 2 students, friends with my son, who are sort of (long story) homeless and stay with us most of the time.

Also: SPS top 100 admin salaries went up 12% over the last 2 years. Ponder that.

Anonymous said...

Watching -

I've been seeing all the "questions" about the Supreme Court Justices that the GOP and DINO legislators have been having too, along with all the usual hyperbole from the rephormy types like MacFarlane, Korsmo, Robin Lake, etc. Funny how not a one of them questions the purchase of the legislators by ALEC, or how ALEC sponsored/written legislation became a WA State initiative (1240). The Seattle Times has gone beyond it's usual biased coverage to impugn the integrity of the justices. This, of course, from a newspaper that placed a full page ad/endorsement for McKenna - as if they are the shining example of integrity? Sadly, I think the Stranger has shown more integrity than the Seattle Times in much of its coverage.

That said, this investigation by the Sun Sentinel in Florida pretty much says it all as far as charter fraud.
http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/charter-schools-unsupervised/
56 charter schools closed in South Florida in the last 5 years. Think they got back ANY of that taxpayer money?

CT

Gohawks said...

Halfaker alone got 15%. Beyond belief that admin would sit at the negotiating table and smugly maintain the district's offer is "fair.

Anonymous said...

Veteran educator

The MOU on time answers a question I had - obscured for me in the rhetoric - this is not lengthening the workday, but rather, adding teacher/student contact time during the day. In other words, I'll be working with kids directly 20 more minutes each day during my existing workday.

"20 minutes of K-12 instructional time will be added to the student instructional day. No time will be added to the teacher work-day."

Anonymous said...

David,

I’m not sure what your purpose is in posting the total compensation rates (salary plus benefits) of the bargaining team members, but before others jump to conclusions, let’s be sure to break it down by the work days for which educators are paid. Taken this way, the typical elementary principal makes $468.07 per diem.

Many certificated SEA members, including some on the SEA bargaining team, earn above $520 per diem, and a teacher with average experience like you, David, earns $435 per diem. If SEA accepts the District’s current salary offer of 14%, that would bring the typical teacher per diem to nearly $500 per diem, quite a bit more than I make on a daily basis.

I knew a principal a few years ago who did the calculations on her hourly rate to determine she was the lowest paid employee in her building.

I don’t think that’s where you wanted to go, David.

Principled Principal

n said...

@sleeper
We are a large district and teachers are a diverse group. I'm sorry such foolish responses were your experience. I can't imagine what they were thinking. They certainly don't reflect the views of teachers who are wondering if their rent/mortgage payments will be met. While I know this isn't easy for parents, I thought and still believe we can make it through. As it wears on, it starts to become less emotional and more thoughtful. I hear people asking more questions and making comparisons. I think those are the things that will bring this to an end. And those things will make us all smarter about our school system.

As for not understanding the issues, I've learned a lot from posters on this blog. I am at a school with a fairly low sped presence. I've posted several times my limited respect for the sped teachers at my school. My understanding of sped issues and my support for additional sped support has increased tenfold. I think it far more crucial now than pay. (But then, pay was never my big issue - prep time is and more attention to elementary.)

@Lra
Reposting a chart from another thread showing 2015 Best-Worst Schools Colorado, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Wisconsin, then New Jersey. Top five per quality of school system. I'm wondering where Wisconsin will land with the huge cuts made by Walker this past year.

I don't think you can compare pay from state to state. So many hidden factors go into teacher pay that it is almost impossible to trust that it is apples-to-apples: number of days worked, incentive pay, healthcare costs, cost of living - Seattle's is skyrocketing . . .

Finally, looking at the above pay for ed directors, I'd like to know how many administrative levels exist in other districts? Halfacre at $162,000? What does he do for that? Frustrated already commented on the rigidity of her principal's director. Dan already posted on the weakness of common core. And yet we are revising a math curriculum based on the whim of the district and it's micromanagers? I spent hours learning Math In Focus last year-to the detriment of some of my other teaching. There are only so many hours in the day. And now we are changing it? Please, look at the foolishness on the district's side. That's what we are trying to change. Parents don't like the district more than they support teachers? I don't disagree. So lets keep our eye on the goal which is to get the district and the board to support sound educational practices because that is what we are all after. SEA isn't perfect. I've been the first to comment on that over and over. But I'm done with that. The problem now is the district. You will get and keep better teaching when you demand a district administration that knows what it is doing, can justify its decisions and can point to efficient, law-abiding administrators. Until then, teachers will always be the scapegoats.

@not sheep
Citizens rarely support strikers who inconvenience them. I'm not being disrespectful when I say that. It is just a reality. And I understand it. That is what makes striking so hard. Also, I'm now assuming you are responding to a previous thread where I suggested PTAs get involved. I respect the rules and conventions you have in place.

There is so much second-guessing and so few really clear issues and I'm not sure what can be done about that. In the end, only teachers really know the pressure and the politics and we will have to do what we have to do. David Edelman said he'll go to another district. If you want to lose teachers like David, so be it. If you want to make Seattle a top-notch district, then put your attention where it will do the most good: the board and administration. You can't demand the best from over-worked and under-supported teachers.

Anonymous said...

Principled Principal,

Many of us work long hours for which we're not compensated. Your per diem calculation doesn't account for the many hours on weekends and during the summer that we work.

As a principal, you ought to know that. I don't think this is where you wanted to go.

David Edelman

seattle citizen said...

Principled Principal (great name!),
If you want to compare hourly rates, fine: all teachers will just revert to ONLY working contract hours, no after-school or weekend work, no PD on own time, no chaperoning dances, etc.
Let's consider both teachers and admin to be professionals who work sometimes-long days and leave it at that, salary to salary.

Anonymous said...

Here are the current statistics that I have for total compensation for SPS bargaining team members. If any information here is incorrect, please say so. I believe there are seven members of the team, and so I am missing someone. Please note: total compensation means salary + stipends + benefits.

Also note the impressive one-year jump in compensation for some members of this team.

Geoffry D. Miller (chief negotiator)
2014-2015 = $150,920 (as a Director of Employee & Labor Relations)
(Hired in 2014)

Jonathan D. Halfaker
2014-2015 = $162,901 (as an Executive Director)
2013-2014 = $144,398 (as an Executive Director)
2012-2013 = $126,159 (as a principal)

Kevin S. Wynkoop
2014-2015 = $138,636 (principal)
2013-2014 = $132,038 (principal)
2012-2013 = $129,728 (principal)

Gerrit Kischner
2014-2015 = $126,701 (principal)
2013-2014 = $123,460 (principal)
2012-2013 = $121,505 (principal)

Clover Codd
2014-2015 = $157,645 (Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships)
2013-2014 = $152,316 (Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships)
2012-2013 = $124,105 (as a district administrator)

Shauna Heath
2014-2015 = $160,975 (Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction)
2013-2014 = $135,666 (Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction)
2012-2013 = $120,307 (principal)

David Edelman

n said...

Don't be fooled by Principaled Principal because the hidden hours teachers work make a huge difference. And, again, it is not apples-to-apples. And there is a big difference tween fast-tracked principals and true Ph.D. principals who bring a wealth of academic knowledge to the school and teaching. I know the difference because I've had both. I wonder what Hafacre's educational background is? I don't know so he may be much more qualified than I know. But I'd like to know.

Maureen said...

Principled Principal, I absolutely agree that a good principal could easily be earning less per day (or hour) than an average teacher. When I think of some of the meetings and "social" events we parents have inflicted on our principals over the years, I cringe. That said, I think David's major point (made more clearly on his Facebook posts) is the INCREASE in salaries principals and high level admin downtown have been granted in recent years (not to mention the INCREASE in the number of administrators) when teachers have lost real value in their take home salaries and experienced larger class sizes and higher ratios for their colleagues covering kids with special needs (academic and medical). If there is no money (as Sherry Carr and Sharon Peaslee have been convinced) then why have principal and admin salaries and positions increased at the rates they have?

I do want to acknowledge here, that many of the teachers' issues directly impact the principals as well (and are magnified, since they are responsible for hundreds or thousands of students.) Think of the nightmare SPS capacity issues, support staff cuts, maintenance issues.... are for some principals. Many (not all) principals are educators first and do want to support their staffs to the best of their ability. I hope the ones on the SPS bargaining committee are willing and able to do that and are not just climbing a ladder.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Bottom line, children's learning conditions are teacher's working conditions."

Yup. And if parents won't fight, why should teachers? Don't say that teachers are "burned out" or don't care; sometimes you just feel like nothing will change. The real change comes from within.

Anonymous said...


Another member of the District bargaining team is Rainier View Principal Anitra Pinchback-Jones.

--Baile Funk

Maureen said...

Oh and TESTING!!! Where are the principal voices pushing back against the ridiculous quantity of resources that go towards TESTING our kids?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Maureen.

I want to acknowledge that I have a great appreciation for many of the qualities of my principal. When he's received stipends from the district for student achievement, he's redistributed the money to staff.

Principled Principal, you ought to be secretly rooting for us. Your PASS contract will be coming up soon, and I'm sure you know that our increase in compensation can be the basis for your bargaining team's argument for a comparable increase in compensation. Furthermore, do you really want to return to your building after a month of striking? What do you think the atmosphere will be like?

David Edelman

InGoodFaith said...

This thread began to lose focus and credibility when names of bargaining team members were brought forth. This is simply incendiary and does not help. How does this information and focus on individuals help either side work towards an agreement? I want both bargaining teams at the table working in good faith towards a tentative agreement. Keep them in the room!

Anonymous said...

I am a parent with a lot of teacher friends. And my daughter and I went to support the picketers at Lincoln when Nyland was there on Thursday. We came into contact with many, many teachers, not one of whom was crowing about how this is just like summer fun. Many of the teachers I know have school-age children and are scrambling themselves for childcare. I think it's important to not take the unthoughtful comments of a few to represent the many.

Also, I agree with Melissa: I think SEA needs get their info out. After speaking with many teachers on Thursday on the strike lines, I was reminded that they aren't PR professionals. They are doing their best to get out the word via their own personal social media channels. It's SEA that needs to get in gear and get their info out in a timely and very public manner. Otherwise, the district's side is the only one people will hear via mainstream news and social media channels.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Don't forget principals get bonus money for test scores. We don't. And I don't want us to. We can see that such incentive programs lead to cheating (Charleston, NC; other schools in other states; VA Hospitals; etc.). But it is something they get as a benefit from our work. We benefit from the same scores by keeping our jobs and/or becoming career ladder (step stool, really, since the positions only last for two years and there are no other "steps") eligible.

In the very least, the growth calculation formula needs to be shared with teachers, which it is not currently the district's practice. Teachers in another state recently found that the company who crunched the numbers for their district/state made errors and reported their growth lower than it should have been reported. The only way this was caught was by teachers who also kept track of their own data, crunched the numbers, and showed their admin that the reports were wrong. Teachers in Seattle do not have this safe guard, which is unfair. We are at the whim of whatever they tell us is our rating. It's like giving a test but not telling students how points are earned or grades calculated.

-Fair#s

But I prefer

-NotAtAll

Watching said...

" Funny how not a one of them questions the purchase of the legislators by ALEC, or how ALEC sponsored/written legislation became a WA State initiative (1240). The Seattle Times has gone beyond it's usual biased coverage to impugn the integrity of the justices."

I agree, CT. Certainly makes me say..hmmm...

The last board meeting was cancelled, but district administrators were asking the board for a raise valued at $1M. Unfortunately, the agenda and BAR are no longer on the district's web site.

Multiple administrators are making over $200K with benefits and it is time to stop providing these individuals with excessive pay when our schools/teachers need support.

Eric Muhs said...

The larger point, the the top 100 administrators as a whole is 12 per cent better compensated than 2 years ago. Meg Diaz finds the top 100 classroom teachers are down more than 1 percent over the same interval.

Anonymous said...

why does the SPS bargaining team need to be a secret?
The SEA has a list of the SEA bargaining team members posted on it's webpage.

Just Striker

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
n said...

@Maureen
I hope we don't start comparing after-school social functions between teachers and principals. Hopefully you realize teachers attend an enormous amount of school and student functions whether school-based or home-based. I imagine this would refer to elementary but dance recitals, play productions, dinners, sports - it is hard to turn down invitations. Also, after-school productions and festivals and science nights, etc. When we do those things, we have less time to prep and many teachers have less time with their own families. I've turned down more in the last several of years because it is impossible to do it all. But I don't like saying no.

Maureen said...

N, I know you do. But I'm talking about all of the school potlucks, plays. Site council and PTO meetings....in my experience, teachers can share those and don't generally go to all of them. Good principals we've had go to close to 100% of those things. (The bad one didn't bother of course.) And yes, it's part of their job, but it is time and work that some parents don't recognize.

Meg said...

Melissa posted links to salaries on 9/9, coincidentally the same day that the board was supposed to approve nearly $1M in additional pay for SPS administrators.

I took a look at the link and did a brief analysis, comparing 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Compensation for the top 100 administrators increased by $1.4M, about 12%.

Total compensation for the top 100 teachers, on the other hand, contracted by not quite 2%.

What else did I notice? The most highly compensated administrators who were on the payroll in 2012-13 all saw some pretty significant salary increases. It looks like there is a proliferation of top management (not a revelation), and that the individuals who were already there are getting regular - and in some cases quite substantial - pay raises.

None of this is a smoking gun. But it really burns me that while top administrators were saying that Garfield had to cut a teacher last year, the top 10 most highly compensated administrative positions had totaled pay increases of $245K in two years, enough to pay for multiple teachers.

Big organizations show what they care about in how they spend their money. If SPS is saving its pennies so that they can give top staff raises, what are they showing they care about?

All that said: as frustrating as it is to see the ways SPS leadership often badly manages already scarce resources, the biggest problem public districts have is that they are painfully underfunded.

Anonymous said...

"Big organizations show what they care about in how they spend their money. If SPS is saving its pennies so that they can give top staff raises, what are they showing they care about?"

Thank you, Meg.

Symbolism is important. It can convey information in powerfully intuitive ways that we can grasp almost immediately.

For example, what does it tell you when parents show up for a play-in on the front lawn of the JSCEE? What does that symbolism convey? And when, the next day, those parents show up again and find that the sprinklers are going full-blast at noon and the lawn is flooded, what does that symbolism convey?

What is the symbolism of, for example, Elspeth bargaining with someone who makes three times what she does? What is the symbolism of the district's bargaining team insisting that there isn't money to give her a raise that doesn’t even approach what some members of the bargaining team themselves have enjoyed?

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

To InGoodFaith:

It is VITALLY important to name the people on the bargaining team. Daylight means accountability. Period.

But more than that ... here's an example: If you were a parent or teacher in a school that had one of the former principals turned administrator as a principal, and then you see that person's name on the bargaining team ... you can form an opinion about the team, the negotiations, the dynamics, the attitude, etc with more specificity because of your individual knowledge of that person.

As employees of SPS rise through the system, they meet many people. We can remember them perhaps better than they can remember us.

I have a distinct opinion (based on personal interactions at JSCEE) of someone on the team. Seeing that name on the team solidified my impression - from this blog and other places - of the attitude that SPS is walking into the room with from the get go. Maybe the other people on the SPS team compensate for that person's attitude, but my past interactions gave me a sense of that person's timeliness to appointments (not, if they 'didn't matter'), respect for people with perceived less power or lower on the hierarchy (little), attention to the topic at hand (not - always messaging even when the discussion was on a topic raised by that person), follow up (none), and ultimately some doubt about the person's sincerity to anything but an agenda, not to a goal.

So - I hadn't realized that person was on the team. Now I know. It depresses me a little, but it's valuable information.

Naming people who wield power matters. Describing minutiae of the bargaining might be counterproductive, but names are a minimum for the public and the represented teachers to know.

--Math Counts

hschinske said...

I had a lot of respect for Jon Halfaker when he was my kids' principal at Washington. I don't know whether he's doing as good a job as executive director. In any case, whether he or any other administrator personally deserves the salary or not, it's not the time to be raising the administrators' salaries without the teachers'.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Quick clarification again in the name of factual information: the principal contract did include an "achievement bonus" required by the TIF grant. Thankfully that's over now, and this summer principals worked with SPS to permanently end the practice.

As for your argument, David, that principals could stand to gain raises commensurate with SEA wins, I don't relish the prospect of negotiating a principal contract next year amid the atmosphere we are sure to have of substantial layoffs of new teachers if we end up promising money we don't have in order to get kids back to school.

Principled Principal

InGoodFaith said...

Math counts, team members names were not brought up here to simply ID the team but rather to inflame readers by comparing salaries of admin with teachers. My point wasn't that they shouldn't be named.

I simply want both teams at the table continuing to work on an agreement. Comments meant to fuel anger and a greater divide between educators and admin is simply not productive.

Anonymous said...

Soup for Teachers seems to have the biggest presence out there.

HP

n said...

That's what happens when groups become too far apart in compensation. The higher group continues to get richer while the lower group sort of keeps up - or doesn't when the higher group gets extra opportunities for raises such as happened here. So is the district going to give in to people who previously got huge raises under new management-compensation philosophy? This is a sick system. The polarization is corrupting.

The worker is not the problem. The problem is at the top! Management!"[35] Management's job. It is management's job to direct the efforts of all components toward the aim of the system. The first step is clarification: everyone in the organization must understand the aim of the system, and how to direct his efforts toward it. Everyone must understand the damage and loss to the whole organization from a team that seeks to become a selfish, independent, profit centre."

The aim of our school system has been lost among all the politics, huge paychecks, and mixed messages regarding curriculum, policy, and practices. It is untenable.

n said...

I don't think knowing salaries gets in the way. To the contrary, it provides perspective.

Anonymous said...

I am blown away that some folks are stating here that the names and compensation-- including percentage raises-- of SPS bargaining team members should not be spoken aloud! These are the individuals who are ultimately responsible (along with the Board) for the extremely disrespectful process and proposals which devalue our classroom teachers and their work. Their major excuse for not compensating teachers appropriately is "no money," so their salaries and raises are highly relevant. Particularly as their competence/effectiveness is also in question--in my view, at least-- why did this team introduce the longer school day proposal at the 11th hour, for example?

Solidarity

Anonymous said...

SEA messaging is being run by WEA messaging, and, Tim's comment really really really sums up their Nobler-Than-Thou Stuck in 1988 Dukakis campaign messaging. It was the same kind of stunningly successful messaging for Presidents Gore, Mondale and Kerry.
Sadly, their tone deaf & clueless approach fits perfectly inside the insular classes who spend their messaging time looking out, in terror, from their hiding places under the beds, reminding each other and supporting each other with rallying cries of "look at how inaccurate that is!"
{See the Dukakis, Kerry, Mondale ... ooops! I repeated myself!}
The mom with the list has some good ideas, except for the cowardly lion act about 'the middle'. Unlike a U.S. currency 10 cent piece, also known as a dime, what is 'the middle'? In the campaigns I mentioned, appeasing the right wing defined "middle" was the fast track to losing.
Has anyone noticed some of The Key things Kshama does? She does NOT let liars define her, and she is incessant at pushing. [her opponents are also incessant at pushing their agendas - and incessant about lying about her!]
What is soooooooooo discouraging about SEA - WEA messaging incompetence for those of us who pay the messaging salaries, is that it makes the job of us lowly working stiffs so much harder - and we already have our day jobs. What is Orwellian about their messaging is how critics will be keel hauled for being ...[ get ready for a looooooooooong list ...] divisive or angry or against solidarity or against unity or against consensus or causing infighting or negative or bitter or ... some other California, privileged, trustafarian

ShirleyMaclaineism



Anonymous said...

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Seattle-teachers-strike-continues-no-school-Monday-327218701.html
- ABC

Maggie S said...

I don't think the principal bonuses are over yet. IN looking at their 2013-2016, I see in the section "principal balanced scorecard", it looks like SPS offers individual "principal effectiveness awards" up to 7500 per year if you score well on the "scorecard". This is in addition to salary and stipends. As a teacher, I don't get a bonus if my students score well on tests. I get a negative rating if they score poorly. With regard to the student growth rating, it's inherently unfair. When I worked at a wealthy school, any student needing extra help usually had after school parent funded tutoring and lots of in school PTA funded staff support. Kids did not need an IEP to get help. This is important as many families I work with do not want special education. Now, I'm at a school with 63% free and reduced lunch. We get a .7 extra teacher who only can work with kids on free and reduced lunch. If you are a student who is not on FRL, there is no extra support for you. It's just me, which is difficult when I've got reading range of 1st thru 7th grade in my 3rd/4th split class. But back the principal bonus issue, an important one to unpack - financial incentives should be shared with everyone in the building who contributes to a student's positive school experience - teachers, IA's, office staff, bus drivers, custodians, principals. We all matter.

seattle citizen said...

Principled Principal, I'm curious about two things:
1) a) if teacher salaries have been languishing for years, and District knows this, why have they continued to spend big chunks of money on things besides actual educators (MAP tests, more and more top level admin....) and b) of not now, when do you expect that teachers will be able to get the pay they deserve and the pay we NEED to attract and retain teachers?

2) You mention that principal bonuses came out of TIF. That's the Teacher Incentive Fund. Explain, please, why that TEACHER incentive fund paid principals bonuses. Shouldn't all monies associated with that go to, oh, I don't know....teachers? Can you shed some light on this mystery? Is there some accounting metric that pays principals the money granted for teachers' successes? I'm heartily confused.
Thank you for shedding some light on this accounting.

Anonymous said...

". . . I don't relish the prospect of negotiating a principal contract next year amid the atmosphere we are sure to have of substantial layoffs of new teachers if we end up promising money we don't have in order to get kids back to school."

And how do you know that we'll have layoffs if SPS meets SEA's offer?

South Whidbey settled for a two-year contract with 5% and 5% raises. That is precisely .5% lower than SEA's latest offer. Can you explain why Seattle Public Schools can't meet an offer comparable to South Whidbey's?

David Edelman

n said...

Seems like shedding a light on top salaries is making a difference. I hope so. I looked up the job description for principals and they are expected to do extra meetings and gatherings for whatever reason. At my school, the principal is out of the building a fair amount so I'm not sure how much of that is actually during after-school hours. I went to a very nice meeting with my principal during the Maria days. It was at Anthony's at Shilshole and I had a very nice lunch and listened to a wonderful speaker. Yes, I sat with my principal who sat with Goodloe-Johnson. Once in my teaching career - believe me.

Will providing increases for teachers leave less for admin increases? Conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

@hschinske
Unfortunately, we had a very different experience of Halfaker as principal at Washington. Our APP student was a student with a serious health condition and 504 in addition, and Halfaker essentially told teachers they did not have to accommodate our student.

I'd encourage everyone to look closely at principals and the IDEA-compliance culture they establish. Makes a huge difference. When these principals become admin... look even more closely.

- Eye on Principals

hschinske said...

Eye on Principals -- well, damn. I'm sorry to hear that.

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

Re special ed staffing ratios Lynn linked to above: Can an informed teacher or parent (mirmac1, FloorPie?) tell us the bottom line? Have SPS and SEA agreed? Are the ratios the least bit reasonable? (One thing I have noted in teachers' comments is that the set ratios aren't respected anyway, so if the top limit is supposed to be 7 or 8, a teacher expects to be assigned 10 or 11 students. So what is the point?)

Anonymous said...

I hope SEA is asking for more counselors and family support workers too. Only 0.5 counselors for any school with less than 550 kids is ridiculous, also taking away family support workers from schools with Special Ed, ELL and high FRL means teachers end up doing that job also on top of their own.

My kids' teachers get to school at 8am (1.5 hours early) to help kids who don't have internet at home, and I've received calls from them several times as late as 6-7pm (from school phones). It makes me angry to hear people try to portray them as greedy and lazy, especially when the people doing so are clearly using SPS as only a way station on their way up to higher paying jobs!

It is foolish to starve schools of funding while creating more and more assistant supervisors and other top admin positions each year. We know what teachers do for students, what do all these administrators do? Why are there so many assistant superintendents now?

Mr Nyland gets paid a lot more than Ms Goodloe-Johnson did, and has many more assistants. What does he do other than sign illegal contract, write threatening letters to teachers ordering them not to talk to parents about that ill-advised SBAC fiasco, and starts negotiations at end of summer with 1st offer demanding teachers agree to paycut - with 1% raise for 6% more work - such blatant disrespect! That's clearly not negotiating in good faith! We already have young teachers needing to go to foodbanks. Mr Nyland seems to want them on Basic Food and Medicaid also! Already we have teachers at our schools spending their own money for school and students supplies and fieldtrips, parents are now asked to buy cleaning supplies and paper towels, bathrooms cleaned every three days at schools with several hundred kids, no textbooks for home because the kids have to share them in class! Not enough IAs so some kids are kept in the resource room ALL DAY and never get to go to any regular classrooms! Kids with IEPs not served because counselor only there two days per week.

I realize the strike is hard for parents, but we need to press for more money spent where the students are! Each year there are more students yet fewer school staff and school services because SPS claims not enough money. Yet some how there's plenty of money for newly created admin positions downtown!

Don't let Nyland turn our schools into Walmart! Education is NOT a business. Paying the LEAST for the MOST work can make CEOs rich and Amazon et al. powerful, but that kind of practice in education will destroy our children's futures. If the teachers give in now, SPS will keep cutting funds to schools to divert more money to central administration. Nyland, like Gates, believe teachers are expendable.

CCA




Anonymous said...

*foolish to starve schools while create more assistant SUPERINTENDENTS (not supervisors, bad autocorrect)

CCA

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

anon 7:42
has compensating administrators fairly for what they "endure" led to better outcomes for district students?

-wondering, honestly but snarkily

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of our district is that our administrators perform so poorly, are so unresponsive to our community, seem to lack all accountability. Let's see... the list is endless. Schools closed over community objections, reopened a few years later at enormous expense and with great turmoil, no one held accountable. Crappy math curriculum forced on schools despite resistance from parents and teachers. Popular principal fired for no reason, community up in arms. Precious resources channeled into standardized testing which no one wants except administrators. Most of them don't stick around for more than a few years. Our district does need high quality administrators but, unfortunately, what we have is administrative bloat that drains resources from our kids' classrooms.

Solidarity

Greenwoody said...

SEA/WEA are not very skilled at communications. If they were, we'd have beaten I-1240 when it was on the ballot, and we'd already have funded the McCleary decision. I've noticed SEA is getting a bit better at this in recent days but they still have a ways to go.

Ultimately, strikes are won in the court of public opinion, not at the bargaining table. Part of "the process" of bargaining a contract is using effective PR to undermine the position of your opponent. In this case, undermining SPS' position isn't hard because the public has built up a deep level of anger at them over the years, so SEA has a lot of goodwill to draw upon - though they have to be careful not to lose it by failing to properly explain their position and their actions.

Maureen said...

Reposting for Anonymous (pick a name or you will be deleted.)

Anonymous said...
I find it entertaining and a bit disturbing reading the posts on the negotiator's pay. In 14 years of observing both teachers and administrators at Seattle schools, it clear they all work hard but administrators are often charged with matching stringent, arcane requirements with inadequate budgets. I would loathe to take on that kind of pressure personally and would never wish what they endure on anyone.

I'm for paying teachers as much as possible, we need excellent teachers in every classroom. We also need effective administrative staff overseeing the proper functioning of an enterprise equal to a medium-sized business (one that serves 53,000 customers, requiring several levels of management). These people need to be compensated well or we'll lose them just like we lose good teachers to competitive school districts. I didn't see anyone mention these folks work year round, not 180 days.

If we're going to make comparisons let's at least make them fair comparisons, please.

9/13/15, 7:42 PM

Anonymous said...

I find it entertaining and a bit disturbing reading the posts on the negotiator's pay. In 14 years of observing both teachers and administrators at Seattle schools, it clear they all work hard but administrators are often charged with matching stringent, arcane requirements with inadequate budgets. I would loathe to take on that kind of pressure personally and would never wish what they endure on anyone.

I'm for paying teachers as much as possible, we need excellent teachers in every classroom. We also need effective administrative staff overseeing the proper functioning of an enterprise equal to a medium-sized business (one that serves 53,000 customers, requiring several levels of management). These people need to be compensated well or we'll lose them just like we lose good teachers to competitive school districts. I didn't see anyone mention these folks work year round, not 180 days.

If we're going to make comparisons let's at least make them fair comparisons, please.

Concerned Parent

Anonymous said...

Obviously the system is broken since all administrators are not incompetent nor lacking concern for the success of the district, teachers and students. Assuming administration is failing is likely an indicator of a failed state. In our case, it's ensured by a lack of funding. Levies are necessary for operations? Fundraisers supplant state funding for missing teachers? Poor areas simply go without? It's a screwed up system that needs to change.

Let's stop pointing the finger at the district and the teachers and point it where it belongs. At the legislature who's primary duty is to properly fund education. There's a reason the court is penalizing the state for not funding education properly. Let's work together to solve that problem instead of fighting over available scraps.

Concerned Parent

Fairness for all said...

Could someone please address the following issue:
Secretaries will be greatly impacted by students being in school an additional half hour.
The office calms down once the students have left for the day, and that time is used to work on the many projects we have that are time sensitive.
Has anyone thought about compensating secretaries not just teachers for this additional burden?????

mirmac1 said...

Maureen, as far as I can tell SpEd ratios are still on the sacrificial altar - to be used as a bargaining chip by both sides. Many parents have written to the board, superintendent and SEA protesting the cynical bartering of our students' education. The district's proposed ratio of 15:1:3 for high school students in the mandated lest-restrictive environment is untenable.

Maureen said...

Thanks, mirmac1. Friends of Ingraham Board has drafted a letter to the Supe and Board and that is our first bullet point, but it was difficult for us to discern from what has been posted where they were on those negotiations.

• SPS must provide adequate staffing ratios for ESA and Special Education staff. Given that the District is currently under sanction from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights for violating equal opportunity for students with disabilities, it is unconscionable to even consider increasing educator and service provider caseloads.

Joe Wolf said...

On a couple of things:

City-to-city cost of living comparisons.

When I was in the job-hunting process that brought me to SPS I did some research into the various online "calculators". The most useful one IMHO linked to below. It is city-specific (many of the others are metro-specific). It also tells you why a city is more expensive (or not) ... housing, transportation etc.

http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/

Using the Boston <-> Seattle discussion upthread as an example, and the SPS teacher salary average of ~$60K as the Seattle salary benchmark I received the following output.

"A salary of $60,000 in Seattle, Washington should increase to $62,489 in Boston, Massachusetts (to maintain the same standard of living).

Boston is 4% more expensive than Seattle. Utilities are the biggest factor in the cost of living difference. Utilities are 40% more expensive in Boston."

Table below benchmarks the cost of different major household budget categories, with 100 = US average.

Seattle Boston
Overall 154.3 160.7
Food 107.7 116.5
Housing 252.4 239.6
Util 92 129
Trans 105.7 108.4
Health 118.5 126.6
Misc 110.3 136

On SPS salaries and broadcasting of same. Please note that this is my personal position, period.

I am fine with the publication of SPS staff salaries - they are public information, after all. If the purpose of doing so is to incense the public (I'm not saying it is) ... well my guess is that that goal may come up a little short.

In 2015 Seattle there are many, many folks paid over 100K/year. I won't go as far as to say it's the new normal, but an "OMG! $100K ?!?" narrative isn't going to bring out the pitchforks and torches.

In the context of my office: The going salary for my planning positions in other area institutions - the City, the County, the Port, the UW - is more like *my* salary. And the going rate for my position is $20-25K/year more than I make now.

I absolutely think teachers deserve better compensation. Hopefully that was understood as a given.

n said...

@Joe
management salaries went through the roof starting in the eighties. And now we have polarization up the yin yang. Why do you think so many socialist/democratic socialists are gaining popularity. Using current management pay scales may cease to be a problem as unions become stronger again. I noticed in the news today there is quite a resurgence of union activity. Thank goodness. You are in a social service industry and your pay is going to suffer a bit just like ours does except our suffering has become exorbitant.

If I read your email correctly and the $82,000 figure is correct, Boston teachers are paid much more than Seattle teachers. Is that a correct analysis? I know we don't know what goes into Boston wage scale so perhaps we can't answer that question. Still . . .

Anonymous said...

That COL calculator looks so wildly inaccurate though. I am not that familiar with Boston, but looking at NYC (where we recently moved from), it says the COL is only 9% higher there. Which. Ha. With state and local taxes there, a 9% increase in salary at our family's level would be basically a net decrease. Here we can afford a fairly spacious 3 bedroom house in a nice neighborhood with good schools (but certainly not the $1M+ houses or highest end areas). In a similar commute/area of the city there we'd be spending more of our take-home pay on a 2 bedroom.

Of course, a single data point (Seattle to Boston in this case) is never sufficient for a solid comparison. So going further, teacher portal.com says the average teacher salary in NYC is $72k and starting salary is $44k. DC, $69k (indeed.com); $75k San Francisco. Looking at that, it looks like Seattle teachers have it pretty good to average.

North Seattle

n said...

Well, I'm no one to say I know. I do have one teacher friend whose sister works in nyc and she's paid over $100,000. Ed said that was due to cost of living allowances. But I'm no expert. So much goes into the calculation. Why would Boston be so much higher paying that nyc?

Check this out for 2015: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/2712AB02-A1EF-4CE2-B879-33241B7AFFB5/0/TeacherSCHEDULEMAY12015Corrected.pdf

http://jd2718.org/the-new-uft-contract/new-uft-nyc-doe-teacher-pay-scale-salary-charts/

This appears to be equivalent to our base pay schedule. The second charte shows extra money for length of service but I can't figure out how it is calculated.

Joe Wolf said...

Response to North Seattle:

NYC has by far the largest inventory of public housing in the US. There is a smaller, but still substantial inventory of privately-owned, rent-stabilized apartments.

More context:

Most folks in NYC:

(a) Don't live in Manhattan;
(b) Don't live in the new apartments and pricey sub-areas that get all the press.

The 9% differential sounds reasonable to me.