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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Should she be teaching?

This is how a local teacher expresses disagreement. So mature.

Rebecca Maki Glaser, a math teacher at Greenspun Jr. High, posted the above picture (of Governor Brian Sandoval who is resisting tax increases and wants to cut education spending down to pre-recession levels) to her Facebook profile and claimed on the Facebook group "Nevadans for Funding Education" that she has put the sign on her car.

Disagree with the Governor all you want, that is fine, but don't call names. It is easy to vilify your political opponents... but it is much harder to try and comprehend their rationality. Maybe, just maybe, he's opposing more spending on education because new funds would be spent in ways that don't improve education (and thus wasted)?

Given our past spending history (a 180 percent inflation adjusted increase in per-pupil spending over the last 50 years), I think it is very reasonable to assume more spending will only be wasted on more jobs for adults rather than an actual education for students.

On a side note:

Glasser cost Nevada and Las Vegas area taxpayers $77,046 in 2009 (salary and benefits - latest data available) and it makes me wonder if she's worth that much. Maybe she is a good math teacher, but when it comes to maturity she has about as much as her 7th grade students...

By the way, Glasser's base pay of $66,003 in 2009 is 78.4 percent higher than the average Nevadan's income (income per-capita in Nevada is $36,997 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

Dr. Mark Jiminez, who run's the Nevadans for Funding Education page on Facebok incorrectly claims that Nevada spends just $5,000 per pupil. Nevada's actual spending is between $8,600 and $9,000 per pupil (excluding capital costs and debt repayment) in the 2007-08 school year (latest data available for national comparison). Dr. Jiminez cost taxpayers $65,076 in 2009 - his salary has since gone up considerably because he earned an Ed.D in 2009.

Both of these teachers are well paid for their services (though we don't know if they are any good at their job, and even if we did, we couldn't get rid of them if they turned out to be terrible teachers). It bothers me that such well paid individuals (far more than the average Nevada) complain about taxing other people so they can increase funding to their own jobs while they simultaneously oppose every meaningful reform meant to ensure we use the scarce resources wisely.

I'm sorry, they may be the most caring individuals in the world, but this strikes me as pure, unadulterated self-interest.  A self-interest that is harming students because of substandard education quality.

I'd also like to remind you that paying teachers more money to have extra degrees is a waste of money as advanced degrees are not correlated with student achievement.


  1. So am I to guess you work for free? I just wondered since you didn't post your salary and what you do for Nevada. I find it surprising that you are vilifying teachers as being out for themselves. I doubt they are. They are trying to feed their family just like you. The "average" salary you are quoting includes uneducated labor. What is the average salary for those with masters degrees like Ms. Glaser or the average salary for those with doctorate degrees like Mr. Jimenez? If you want to compare apples to apples, look up what their private industry counterparts earn in Nevada. A corporate trainer in Las Vegas can earn $75,000( Mr. Jimenez could expect more due to his higher education. I have seen school administrators hired away for $150k to work in private industry in human resources and training(they earn about $100k max for the most part in CCSD). Are you telling me that Las Vegas can only hire bottom of the barrel teachers and administrators. With the business degree I have, that tells me there are two significant possibilities. Nevada isn't paying its teachers enough or the area isn't a significant draw to competent teachers. Keep muddying the waters with your hate speak and you will ensure no teachers, including the good ones, want to come to Nevada.

  2. How dare you even speak about Mrs. Glaser!! She is my daughter's math teacher AND the finest teacher my daughter has ever had. This salary represents over 17 years of experience and dealing DAILY with hormonal teenagers. Mrs. Glaser not only wades through all the hormones, but she is able to make EVERY student understand math where they most likely haven't before. She does not teach only the Honors students, she also teaches the students who don't have help at home. She is there 40 minutes before school starts every day and stays WELL PAST her contract ending time. Have you ever met her or talked to any of her former students? There are students who were ready to drop out of school at the age of 14 and become burdens to society, yet Mrs. Glaser took the time to teach them and help them realize that they had incredible potential. Had those students not met her, they wouldn't be the college graduates they are today. Is your problem with Mrs. Glaser that she dislikes our Governor? This man AND his predecessor made mining and gaming the priority in this state. They NEVER took a moment to go into the schools for the purpose of meeting the people on the front lines everyday. School secretaries, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and yes, teachers, are there everyday making sure that the FUTURE OF NEVADA are cared for and have all the tools needed to learn. They have done it for YEARS without as much as a nod from society, yet let's go ahead and ask them to do more for less. Our governor and the one before are stuffed so far into the pockets of the mining and gaming industries. Check the budget and who pays taxes in Nevada. If you have the guts, bring your driver's license on down to Greenspun and spend a day watching what Mrs. Glaser does and has done for the last seventeen years. Instead of looking up her salary, look up her former students and their parents and ask them if she is worth it. Ask me. I'll tell you that she is. While you are at it, bring in a paystub and job description for yourself. My guess is that you make more than Mrs. Glaser and do far less for the people and future of Nevada. Bring it, Mr. Gibbons.

  3. Is it true you are paid $75,000 a year to spread propaganda by the Nevada Policy Research Institute? Is it true you were only a teacher for 2 years and could handle it? Can you elaborate on that?

    I'm frankly happy as a taxpayer, and mother of four in the Clark County school district, and a registered Republican, to be paying a decent salary to the teachers teaching my children. You get what you pay for.

    Ms. Gibbons has every right as a resident and citizen of the United States of America to put any sort of sign she wants on her car. Sandoval IS AN ASS.

  4. Or Ms. Glaser, that is. Although if you are married and your wife wants to put that Sandoval is an ass on her car, she should go for it.

  5. Anon1:

    Posting government worker salaries is fair. We the taxpayers have no choice but to fund government so we deserve to know how the money is being spent.

    That said, I earn $0 for this blog.

    As for salary comparisons based on degree it isn't an apples to apples comparison. For one the jobs are totally different, 2) teachers earn extra money for earning degrees (most private sector jobs you earn money because your better) and 3) teachers don't get better because they have extra degrees.

    Numerous studies (see Ballou and Podgursky's Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality) show that paying teachers more money does not increase the quality of the talent pool for education. This is likely do to the fact that we have seniority rules that protect older teachers and lock-step-pay where good teachers can earn less than really bad teachers.

  6. Anon2,

    Ms. Glasser can disagree with the governor all she wants (she's wrong on the issue - spending more money won't help at all). She's also wrong for calling him an ass.

    As for teaching, been there done that, but because of stupid certification rules (certified teachers are no better than uncertified teachers) I had to do the same job as Ms. Glasser for $9.25 an hour. As a policy researcher and government relations guru I actually made less than a mid-level janitor at CCSD (loved the job though) so I actually made considerably less than Ms. Glasser. I make $0 for this blog.

    $77,000 in salary and benefits is a substantial sum and I think it is very fair for people, like myself, to ask for some proof on whether or not she or anyone else are good at their job. We can use value added assessment it is the fairest way to evaluate teachers.

  7. MichelleS,

    I earned less than $40,000 a year at NPRI (way underpaid; NPRI donors even told my boss that). A similar job (research and government relations) at CCSD would have paid me $82,000 a year starting. ;)

    As for teaching I did one year as an uncertified teacher earning $9.25 an hour. My students signed a petition to keep me but because NCLB required "highly qualified teachers" which meant "state certified" I wasn't going to stick around and spend 3 more years working on a certification for $9.25 an hour. As the research demonstrates certified teachers aren't any better than uncertified teachers.

    Finally, Michelle, when it comes to government you don't get what you pay for. Government is an uncompetitive monopoly. Think of it this way, if you wanted a car that did 0-60 in 4 seconds you could pay $100,000 for a Yugo but then you only overpaid for a Yugo. There is no competition to force prices down and quality up. We only spend more more more.

    Maybe you haven't noticed, but no one demanding more spending EVER says how much will be enough. :P

  8. Smarter than youMay 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Oh, you are great. Anybody who calls themselves a guru isn't a guru. And where do you get off saying that uncertified teachers are no better than certified teachers? LOL. Oh, I'm going to start reading your blog for the comedic value alone. I love it when people over-inflate their importance.

    A couple of points. You said that "most private sector jobs you earn money because your better". Just want to point out it should be "you are better." You also write, "This is likely do to the fact that..." That should be written as "due to the fact." But hey, a couple of typos for a guru isn't bad. And that was just one post.

    Sounds to me like you are somebody who thinks you are above the rules. Certification rules exist so that teachers meet minimum qualifications before entering the classroom. You didn't meet those qualifications, yet you claim that you are better than the teachers that do?

    Just out of curiosity, where did you do this fantastic work for $9.25 an hour? Poor, poor Patrick. Go back to watching Fox News and listening to their hate mongering. It is serving you so well.

  9. Anon 3,

    Ironically, someone claiming to be smarter than another person shouldn't do a follow up post with non-sequitors and ad-hominem fallacies.

    Certification rules exist to limit the supply of teachers they don't do anything else. The only question we should ask of teachers is "do you have a college degree" and then give them a year or two to test out their skills.

    Much research demonstrates that there is no statistical difference between certified and uncertified teachers.

    The following link goes to a chart taken from a Brookings Institution report (the Brookings Institution is a left-of-center think tank). The chart shows that certified and uncertified teachers are no different from one another when it comes to student achievement.

    the chart comes from this report:

    Btw, I don't watch Fox News, but I do welcome you to return to my blog where I will be serving you crow weekly.