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Posted on Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

'Grade-in' aims to restore respect for work done by teachers

By Lisa Carolin


Pioneer High School teacher Laura Ozuna grades Spanish 4 essays during the "grade-in" on the University of Michigan Diag on Saturday.

Angela J. Cesere |

Note: Story has been updated to correct a school district.

Many teachers in Michigan are feeling pressure from education funding cuts and the recently passed emergency financial manager bill that expands the power of those managers and allows them to ignore union contracts and dissolve school boards.

“They’re probably businessmen who can balance a budget, but they aren’t aware of the cost to students,” said Southgate school district teacher and Ann Arbor parent Kate Pasola.

“I have a master’s degree and two BAs and I had to go through certification,” said Jennifer Barton, who is also a Southgate teacher and an Ann Arbor parent. “We work with children every day and learn to differentiate education to the needs of every child. If an emergency financial manager comes in who doesn’t have an education background, I’m concerned if they have the students’ best interests at heart, and I don’t think having them demonstrates a democracy to our students.”

Pasola and Barton organized a teacher “grade-in” today at the University of Michigan Diag that attracted more than three dozen teachers representing districts in both Washtenaw and Wayne counties. The grade-in idea originated from a group of New Jersey teachers who gathered at a mall one weekend to grade papers to demonstrate in a positive way all the extra time that teachers devote to their work. After Lansing teacher Franklin Mays organized the first grade-in in Michigan last month, Pasola got the idea to do so in Ann Arbor.

“There’s so much hate and disrespect to teachers,” said Pasola. “I want people to know how I take care of my students and love them and how I want to meet their needs. Sharing those kinds of positive stories will show the public that we are worthy of their respect.”


Dexter schools first-grade teacher Maureen Kline completes paperwork with her 3-month-old son Dallin at the grade-in.

Angela J. Cesere |

“We constantly defend our position when people tell us that we have more benefits and better pay and put in less time comparatively,” said grade-in participant Jill Fyke, a teacher in the Dexter school district. “I spent the first 10 years of my career in sales, and I now make half of what I used to make. I wouldn’t trade it because I love teaching, and parents in Dexter appreciate us.”

Elizabeth Scott, a teacher at Ann Arbor’s Honey Creek Community School, attended today’s grade in to raise awareness about what teachers do. She’s spent a large portion of the district’s spring break doing student progress reports and preparing for the rest of the school year. Both she and Fyke are currently working on their master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University, something they pay for to keep their teaching certifications current.

“Teachers do so much outside of their jobs to learn and to help students,” said grade-in participant Cathy Fleischer, an English professor at Eastern Michigan University who directs some of the masters programs. “It’s typical for teachers to take on extra projects to become better teachers.”

Some teachers at the grade-in carried signs stating, “I teach. Ask me what I’m doing.” They were hoping to interact with non-teachers. One such visitor to the grade in was Kim Linton, who has seven grandchildren, all attending public schools in Southeast Michigan including in Ann Arbor.

“I’m concerned how these cuts in education will affect our kids,” said Linton. “I have two daughters who are teachers and they spend many hours outside the classroom working and spend their own money on classroom supplies.”


Angela J. Cesere |

Linton’s daughter, teacher Kimbely Linton said, “There’s so much negative media about teacher contracts. I’ve been forced down to a part-time job, but what I’m really worried about is my son’s education and if he will get what he needs with all these cuts. Things won’t get better in this state if the government takes money away.”

“Michigan is driving young people out,” said grade-in participant Wendy Raymond, a 34-year teaching veteran in the Ann Arbor school district. “Since public schools can’t raise tuition, Michigan colleges have to, and it’s all on the backs of our kids.”

Said Pasola, “We need to get people’s respect back and remind them that teaching is a noble profession."



Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

DonBee, I don't know what you do for a living, but wait until you are at retirement age to decide how long you "can" work.


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Snoopdog, 69 years of age and teaching medical students may be possible. Teaching 25 to 30 1st or 2nd graders, which requires a different kind of physical exertion, is another matter. I had a professor when I attended Michigan in the mid-60s who was still teaching (lecturing) at the age of 81 when my son took his class a few years ago, and when I joined my son in one of this prof's lectures, it was clear that he had not lost a step. I know a retired lower elementary teacher who, in her mid-60s, found it impossible to keep up with a large class of young children. For her, retirement was in her best interest and in the best interest of her students. One size does not fit all.


Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 4:18 a.m.

Nice to have such options extended to less than 7% of the working population. Think about the roofer, carpenter, other numerous labororer positions that have no option except Social Security and they raised that to 66 year of age. Changes coming to medi care, tax laws, more social security changes, and government workers consider themselves insulated. Not getting a raise is NOT a Concession. Giving up 15% of your salary IS a concession, contributing 20% to your pension and health care would be fair.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

LG Chelsea -- right on. Diversion tactics. And, let's remember the billions of dollars that were given away to big corporation to bail them out only to have the greater portion of the funds go to the "Needed" CEOs. If a business is failing, oh well. They should have done a better job. Again, to teachers, firefighters, police officers - bless you all.


Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 2:01 a.m.

For once most of the "bail out" money is coming back with interest. The banks have already paid back all of the TARP money they got with healthy interest and it looks like by the time it is over, the taxpayers will get back about 30 percent more than they gave out. Now GM, Chrysler and other bailouts may be a different story. We will see over time.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

With signs like "to protest G.O.P. Cuts," they wonder why so many have lost respect for them. Their are a lot more conservatives out there than liberals, so bashing the majority of the population is probably not a good way to get respect.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

How is protesting the same as bashing? "They" also wonder how so many conservatives justify losing respect for an entire profession just because they have a different opinion about an issue-- and choose to make it public in a peaceful and legal way? Maybe you would have benefitted from stopping to see what they had to say...and then choose to have respect for people based on an informed decision. Although I think protesting can and does lead to bashing in our country, it doesn't seem like that's what these teachers were doing by grading papers on a Saturday morning and offering to talk to people about their concerns for proposed G.O.P. Education Cuts.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 6:04 a.m.

I could go do my "after hours" work on the steps of the library diag too, except, 1) I would need a computer, and 2) it would be dark before I finished. Teachers think they are the only ones who take work home and do continuing education. Wrong. And I guarantee that in my profession, with at least their same education level, I work harder to make the same pay that they do. Difficult adults can be as bad as difficult children - and the adults have attorneys. Pick your poison. I don't get minimum two months of summer off, plus every extended holiday under the sun, and zero healthcare premium sharing, with little or no copays for visits. Everything adds up. We won't talk pension. If the teachers are so dissatisfied they can go to another job. That is what the rest of us do. We don't have golden parachutes, and we don't have it as good as they do. I know. I am in the private sector and have discussed this with teachers I know. I choose to believe they are ignorant of reality.


Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

@WhyCan'tWeBeFriends It is unfortunate that you had a negative experience while your children were in school, although having brilliant well-read children doesn't sound like a huge problem to me. There are A LOT of teachers who go above and beyond and also a lot of schools with honors and advanced placement programs where kids choose their reading. Perhaps a program like that would have been more suitable for your family. Year-round school is going to be tested out in Ann Arbor in collaboration with University of Michigan's School of Ed. There hasn't been much research done on that in the states, so it is thus, not popular. However, even if we spread out the six-eight week break, you would still be stuck with your complaint of teachers getting breaks throughout the year. Or would it satisfy you if we did't have them in a row? No one is refusing to acknowledge that we have great benefits. I'm human....of course I'd like to keep them as great as they are. Is that going to happen? Probably not. But it doesn't make me a bad person because I'd like to take concessions a little bit at a time, instead of taking a huge hit at once. As a dual-teacher income household, I'm not sure our budget could sustain it. We are looking at flat-out pay cuts,on top of paying 20% of health care premiums (which I dont' argue is wrong, I just argue it's going to hit people hard to go from zero to 20% at once) and then paying another 3% into the pension fund. I'd like to reiterate, I don't DISagree with change and it's clear with Michigan's deficit, there are A LOT of public workers who are going to making HUGE concessions. I just have a little, itty-bitty problem of how we're going to be able to pay our bills after all of these changes take place. And at the same time that I am scrambling to get TWO summer jobs and maybe a weekend one, rich business owners get a tax break. Nice. So much for shared sacrifice.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

I would have loved it if my children went to school year round, as many children do in Europe and in other educational settings. The breaks are more frequent throughout the year without that giant summer siesta. Ours didn't return to school at the end of summer with two months of relearning to do since we kept them reading and learning all summer long. As they grew up, they did it on their own because they wanted to. There were times when the schools didn't know what to do with our children when, for instance, they had already read every assigned book for the coming semester. You know what? Generally they did nothing. Do you understand how frustrating it is to have to essentially home-school while your child is also enrolled in and attending public school? Don't say we should have met with counselors and advisors - we did. Still nothing. Fortunately they are all college or beyond now, so this era is done. Refusing to acknowledge that benefits are excellent for teachers, and that that equates to real dollars of after-tax pay that the rest of us take from our paychecks to cover our inferior or missing benefits (I am talking professional employment here), is the biggest sore spot of the bigger picture. The implication is that teachers start out earning $12,000 or some other tiny salary - not true - and that their increases are based on merit like the rest of us - also not true. Then there's the pension that won't be taxed in Michigan, while many of the rest of us will be taxed on our 401K plans. Maybe the math and economics teachers can get together to see what the bottom line really looks like given those variables. I doubt the results would be made public.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

@WhyCan'tWeBeFriends Maybe teachers are actually VERY in tune with reality and that's why they are teachers (since they have golden parachutes and all). It works both ways, and if you think they have it so good there's nothing stopping you from going to become a teacher and then, by your account, you can make the same amount of money by putting in less effort and less time. Go for it. But seriously, you say you "don't get" a teacher's schedule. Do you think your children should go to school every day of the school year? And the whole point of the demonstration was to show that we ARE working over those weekends and breaks. BOTH my husband and I work EVERY summer because we HAVE to. All costs in this world are going UP and we probably going to be making less soon. Daycare, mortgage, gas, and bills suck up every penny. We don't go out to eat, go on vacations, or have DVR. I am not complaining. We are satisfied with this life. We chose it. And now we are just trying to keep it that way. This is our life and we VERY much understand the reality this world, so please don't make sweeping generalizations about our profession--respectfully speaking, you do not walk in our shoes.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

I brought my computer to the diag because it has a battery and is back-lit, and I use it well into the dark hours. We do not think we are the "only" ones who take work home and do continuing education, we are saying we do it, TOO. I did go to another job, and it was TO teaching FROM the business world, and I am not complaining. I just want to clear up the misconceptions. BTW, I would also vote for year-round school, because I would rather NOT have two and half months off in the summer. Your kids come back from break two and a half months behind and it takes until November to get their brains back to where they were when they left us in June. That is the real "reality."


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Could anyone explain to me why we can give tax breaks to the rich year after year and spend billions on war and foreign countries yet workers pensions are breaking this country? Then explain how republicans can claim to be big government tamers when it has grown larger under their watch year after year. now with a democrat as president it is his fault. Hey lawmakers attack the real problems like uncontrolled Heath care pricing and greedy speculation on oil. Republican spindoctors are more to blame than any pension funds. Liars shouldn't prosper on the backs of honest American workers.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

ERMG "We" Who died and made you King?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

"You reap what you sew." You have, it appears, answer your own question. You clearly think teachers are reaping hatred because they are sewing hatred. And we will give that opinion all of the respect that it is due. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.

"Yes America disrespect for teachers is rampant" Did not answer my question! I will answer for you! You reap what you sew.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1 a.m.

Let me start by saying, I agree teachers are important and they deserve their paycheck. Now, for the part that will get me comments. No one can afford to offer a defined benefit program for retirement based on 30 years of service anymore. Not even the US Military. Retirement at 55, when people live to 78 (and women to an average of 80). 23 years of retirement is too long for anyone to fully support folks. I support raising the retirement age to 70, for everyone, social security should start then too. I am a decade away from the current retirement age and I am willing to work to 70, how about you? When Social Security was created the life expectancy was less than 65, so many were never expected to retire. Today most make it past 65. Social Security was for the "twilight years", not for a decade or more. This more than anything is the problem right now with most Public Sector jobs. The actuaries were wrong, and the cost of supporting retirement programs is going to break us all.


Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Dr I Emsayin - My two favorite teachers in High School were both in their last 60s. They had so much life experience that was missing from other classes it was fun to be in their classes. Younger teachers also challenged me. Really good teachers never age, and bad teachers are bad teachers whether they are 24 or 64.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

My father is 78 years old, professor of medicine at Wayne State and doctor at the DMC. His students at Wayne adore him and his patients say the same at DMC. 69 year old teachers , what's wrong with that ? Good Day

Dr. I. Emsayin

Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

This commenter will be sad when the school system is full of 69 year old teachers!


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1:12 a.m.

This is an interesting and valid point. As a newer public employee this seems like a reasonable plan for a long-term solution. But it may not seem fair for people who are really close to the current retirement age simply because they've spend their whole career contributing towards a retirement that they've earned and expected. It doesn't seem fair to pull it out from under them at the last minute, but maybe sort of "grandfather" them in if they are 5 or fewer years away? Why can't our representatives and senators come up with reasonable plans like this rather than swiftly swiping from the pockets of hard-working middle class families? ANd cutting school funding?


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

A lot of back-slapping and narcissism I dare say. Rather a stretch to call those wanting fiscal accountability and balanced budgets full of hate !


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1 a.m.

Agree with Topher's response. I hardly think grading papers in public is back-slapping and full of narcissism, though. Is it wrong to defend a profession that is blatantly under attack? Republicans MUST point out how great teachers have it and how overpaid they are and how great their benefits are in order to justify cutting their pay and benefits. And don't teachers have a right to defend what they are currently being paid? I don't know of any American in ANY career that would sit back and say "Aw, well, what I do isn't that important, so I think I'll just be quiet and take a huge paycut." This is America and teachers have a right to point out that they ARE important (if not vital?) to education and do deserve a living wage that is not pulled out from under them because of lean times.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

stunhsif - I think it might come off as so, although I'm not sure many teachers quite know how to get their perspective out there - to make people aware of just how much they do. It can be frustrating when all modern media (film, television, music) give teachers and teaching such a bad rap. I agree that we need fiscal accountability and balanced budgets - if you look at The Board of Education's recommendations to Governor Snyder they all make sense (bring the "best and brightest" teachers to Michigan, pay good teachers well, hold schools accountable for funding, make cuts, etc.) but there is a gap between these ideals and the reality of how things currently run. I'm all for reform - we just have to do it in a way that rewards and keeps the good teachers and makes people want to come into the field of teaching.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 11:43 p.m.

I don't think many Americans really understand what is involved with teaching. I know I didn't. As a student I had a hard time understanding why my teacher couldn't grade my paper that I had turned in the day before and get it back to me right away. As a teacher now, I realize how involving teaching is. Yesterday, my doctor noticed I was a teacher and told me "You never work!" I told him "Yes, I work extremely hard." He said, "No, but you get all of the vacations, like Easter." And I said "Yes, we get spring break." I wanted to tell him, this is why I make 42k/year after teaching for 6 years and why you, doctor, make probably somewhere around 300k. I wanted to tell him that I am well educated, a hard-working member of the community, work with hundreds of students and hundreds of parents, that I create all of my units and lessons from my own brain, that I work my butt off to get quizzes back the next day and papers within two weeks, that I differentiate like crazy, and carry hundreds of meaningful conversations every day. But I didn't say anything for fear that he wouldn't get it - much like many of my teacher friends. I don't think non-teachers can fully understand what is involved with teaching until they are thrown into it. I've worked at a desk job. I did not like it. But I did have a lot of time to sit on my butt, drink coffee, and chat with coworkers. I had time to eat lunch. I didn't take anything home with me. Ever. America is in a strange place right now - to some degree teachers are valued (because society needs them), and on the other they are vilified as lazy money suckers. Until critics come and try teaching for a whole unit (not a day, not a week, but a whole unit) it's extremely easy and satisfying to blame teachers for so many societal and monetary problems.


Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 1:57 a.m.

Topher - The US Census Bureau salary survey. I assume they have at least reasonable numbers as a starting point.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Topher - A friend of mine is a family physician in a small group practice in Oakland County and also a mother of 3. Because she and her husband take parenthood seriously, she is working what her practice calls "half time" for half pay. She sees patients during 30 hours / week (half the time the practice is open) and receives a salary of $70,000 annually. So apparently for doctors who are employees of a professional corporation, $140k is considered a reasonable salary for a GP / family doctor. Another data point would be a different friend of mine who is an internal medicine doctor for the VA in MN. He collects a mere $98k/annually for 36 hours of patient contact / week (about a 50 hour work week with charting and test followup), but the VA pays all his malpractice insurance and provides excellent pension benefits. Many doctors do earn more, sometimes much more Surgeons, neurologists, transplant specialists all make 2 or 3 times as much. And they spend 10x as much on malpractice insurance, support staff if they are in private practice, and on learning and maintaining their level of knowledge.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

DonBee - Where are you pulling the 140k average for doctors? The good doctors that I know are living quite comfortably and earn much, much more. Yes, they rack up debts - teachers do too. In Michigan public school teachers must pay your own money to be recertified usually without help from their district or state. Remember that in regard to retirement you are talking about public school teachers, not all teachers (there are many independent school teachers out there). Doctors are incredibly important - that's why we pay them more.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:53 a.m.

Topher - The average family physician makes $140,000 a year. Yes, it is more than you make. Let's see there is malpractice insurance (roughly $20,000 a year), constant learning (yes, you have requirements too). There is medical school, internships, and residency. During these years Doctors rack up large debts. From the time they start medical school until they can be in their own practice is 6 to 10 years. 6 to 10 years you were making money as a teacher. Then you can retire at 55 (if you have 30 years service) with a defined benefit, no matter how long you live you will get your check. Doctors on the other hand have to create their own retirement program, after they pay off their school bills. Oh, and Doctors are important to society too.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:33 a.m.

Typo: 3rd paragraph should say "much like many of my non-teacher friends."


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

The reason for having the grade in at diag? Briarwood mall wouldn't let teachers gather there. I heard security would give out loitering tickets! Yes America disrespect for teachers is rampant. Let gang members and kids gather at the mall, teachers are not welcome. I know several teachers have set foot in briarwood mall for the last time.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Assuming it's true that Briarwood wouldn't allow a "grade-in", GOOD! I haven't seen any other demonstrations at Briarwood, and why should they be allowed? Store owners and all those irritating stands have to pay rent for the space they use. I guess Briarwood is guilty of good business sense.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

Love the name Bait M. Now the question is do you have any proof of Briarwood handing out tickets?


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

"Yes America disrespect for teachers is rampant." If that is true what is your theory as to why this might be true?


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Hardly acting out! Pretty calm demonstration by a group of professionals.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

I'm in favor of education but when I hear teachers expounding upon how important it is to have "emergency" management with an "education" so that they "understand" it galls me when they hire Randi Weingartner (name) as the head of the teachers union who has NO "education" experience except as an adjunct professor at the law school she graduated from. She has a degree in labor management, worked for U.S. dept. of Labor for 4 years, and is now representing unions on the other side of the fence. If it's OK to have a "professional business woman" representing the "union" why is not OK to have a business man representing the taxpayers in the schools? Most teachers probably do a good job but when I see unions protecting the incompetant and drawing lines in the sand in a combative manner, as they did with their opposition to a lousy 3% contribution to healthcare plans I question the closed minded mentality of our "educators". They are not business people, don't want business people in "their business" but are OK with "business" people representing their union interests. Go figure they are not faring well in the public opinion arena where "business" is serious business.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 5:34 a.m.

@DonBee, "Went along with it"? Hardly; teachers were mad then and are still mad. It was part of the budget deal, part of the "price" for the Senate to pass a School Aid budget. (Just as the "MESSA bills" were in 2007.) And it has, so far, been found illegal because it requires teachers to contribute to paying the current health care costs of retirees, even though the Legislature went out of their way to emphasize that this in no way obligated the state to provide similar benefits to current teachers when they retire. This has nothing to do with contributing to their own current health care costs, which teachers in many districts do already.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

Rusty Shackelford - Based on a set of conversations about the time that the 3 percent was signed by Governor Granholm, most of the teachers knew they had a really good (95% or better) chance of getting it back. So they went along and then hired lawyers, knowing that taxpayers would be giving it back.

rusty shackelford

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

So even given the fact that those demanded "contributions" were illegal, the teachers still should have accepted them?


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

The EFM law isn't an attack on teachers. It is an attack on those who can't face financial reality. I agree with the general sentiment that teachers are underappreciated and also agree that teachers are not the problem. We all want our kids to be successful. No one wants lean times. Some of us know about going hungry so that our kids have enough to eat. Unlike the pessimists, I believe that if we tighten our belts a little now that we'll make it through and the recovery will come quicker than we think.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

1bit - I agree, although I'd like to see more of rewarding good teachers (which The Board of Education has outlined) so that the field has excellent teachers to help all of our students be successful.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

"There is so much hate and disrespect..." Well, that is exactly what the new wave of politicians had planned all along. They had to get away from the real cause of our huge recession: BIG BUSINESS. They continue to block any effort to regulate corporations or punish any of the business people behind the huge crash in our economy. They also refuse to control speculators from causing our fuel prices to soar, in spite of problems in the Mideast. So, they created a new target: teachers, firefighters, police officers and all of the other "rich" public workers. Remember what Cheney said: "If you repeat it enough, people believe it", thus the lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq etc. that continues to bleed our country. Yes, change is needed and public employees know that we have to share in our recovery. However, who could have predicted that people would one day be convinced that public employees are evil? Not those millionaires or billionaires who stole from everyone, but teachers and police officers and firefighters! Enough of the attacks on unions. How many of us were privileged to grow up in a middle class family because our parents were union workers? Teaching is becoming a thankless job. Is that the message we want to send to our education students? Teaching isn't just the 3R's. As a special ed. teacher, I changed diapers on teenagers, prepared tube-feeding, cleaned toilets, routinely got hit, kicked and bitten, documented everything AND taught. That was my job, I knew what it involved, and I loved it. The positives far out-weighed the negatives. But burnout is rampant. Teaching is physically and mentally demanding and exhausting. Yet, those who want to teach will continue do so, in spite of the ongoing pressure by more and more cuts to education and continued teacher bashing. There is, however, a limit to everything and in education it is demonstrated by the high number of young people leaving the professi


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

While a number of people will probably never use high school biology or history at their jobs, a good education is still important. How else would we keep track of our finances, understand current issues, or even at a basic level, be able to read and comment on stories here? A good basic education should be valued and expected in every community, regardless of students' future circumstances.

Mr. Ed

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

I bet Snyder's kids don't go to public schools.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Mr. Ed - Governor Snyder was an active member of the public school community. His children rode the bus with mine. His youngest wanted to go with her friends to Greenhills, so she does. Governor Snyder still pays his school taxes, like everyone else.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

What difference does it make - his taxes still go to fund public education whether he even has kids in school or not. What if he home schooled his children? Would you care so much? But it doesn't help the argument so who cares about facts, right Elizabeth?


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

One goes to Greenhills, one has already graduated from Huron, so Elizabeth you are only half right!


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

They don't. They go to Greenhills.

Basic Bob

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

It's like insecure children begging for attention. I will respect them more when they quit acting out.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

@Basic Bob, Gloves off. I would hardly call your original comment well-meaning, respectful, or intelligent debate. How can teachers reach people who are so close-minded to the issues at hand? If someone like you can't even take a peaceful demonstration seriously and maybe hear what we are trying to say, how can we even begin an intelligent debate with our taxpayers and parents? The thing is, most of the them are unreachable, either because they are close-minded, dismiss us the minute we begin talking (or grading papers in this situation), or have already decided that teachers aren't worth their respect (usually for personal reasons or a poor experience with one teacher). How, may I ask, do you suggest we reach those who have pre-judged us before even hearing what we have to say?

Basic Bob

Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

@FruitKate, Of course it's (like) a constitutional right, but that doesn't mean that people will respect you for exercising that right. Constitutional protection is a pretty low bar for civil behavior. I'm sorry that you feel that parents and taxpayers are incapable of having well-meaning, respectful, or intelligent debate, and you must instead resort to demonstration.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

Wrong. It's like a constitutional right. You obviously don't know what the phrase "acting out" means and you obviously don't know what the real issues are. People who blatantly dismiss well meaning, respectful, intelligent teachers who are trying to peacefully and legally communicate with others are hurting themselves, their children, and the future of education in our state. And I guarantee you would respect them more if you spent a single day in any of their shoes. But you probably wouldn't because then you really would have to spend time with children begging for attention.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

Sitting on the Diag steps grading papers is "acting out"? Interesting that one would respect and wish people to be silent over calmly and peacefully making a statement.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

I stand with our teachers! A strong education leads to a strong community.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Teachers are overpaid period! Try working in the shop for the UAW for a living, I earn my money. I only have a high school diploma too and make more than most teachers but I work harder than them and my Union created the middle class so clearly teachers owe us. I'm sick of my hard earned taxes paying for these people. Last semester my kid flunked his science class because his high school teacher treats him unfairly. Maybe these teachers should starting taking their fair share of cuts like the rest of us too in the private sector. Many jobs you don't even need to know anything many of these people are teaching, I make $30.00 on the line and none of my high school education would make me a better line worker or not. Shame on these teachers for wanting more and more.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

I don't believe that you are a UAW member...Union members would not talk that way in the first place. In the second place you don't work in the shop for the UAW, you work for the company and are represented by the UAW. Get real! I spent 31 years in the "shop" and I have nothing but respect for teachers and their Union.


Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

How, exactly, do you know you work harder? Be specific and don't use what you have "heard".


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 5:23 a.m.

Interesting - just because some people have different opinions from the union they are forced to join, they are discredited. I read this as a person who wants their child educated by a highly paid union force who are not producing results equivalent to their pay status. The last time I checked stats, Michigan teachers were earning near to the top in pay and benefits in the nation, but the students were graduating at about number 45 in the nation. Does that seem right to anyone? I cannot comment on the UAW ratio. I think this commenter hit on something, and perhaps too close to home for a whole bunch of teacher union supporters. This commenter seems well-spoken and sincerely angry. I believe him.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

I read the post as sarcasm. Not a serious post.


Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

If your son is not being treated fairly by public school teachers, homeschooling is always a choice. You might need to brush up on your education a bit to refresh your knowledge and stay current, like teachers are required to do on their own time, with their own money. Of course, if his ambition is to be a $30/hr line worker, then perhaps a GED is all he'll need. I suggest you walk a bit in a teacher's shoes before you claim that you work "harder." I've been in the corporate world, and left it at 35 for something that was infinitely more rewarding to me and meaningful to the students I teach. I make half of what I used to make, by choice, and I'm not complaining. I'm curious to know if you took "your share of cuts" what you were cut from if you're now making $30/hr?

rusty shackelford

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Assuming your post represents you truthfully (which I kind of doubt), you are a disgrace to the UAW. It's not the teacher's union fault that your kid failed. Shame on you for spreading noxious innuendo about your fellow union members.


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Normally, I wouldn't say this, but your particular post deserves it. What exactly is so great about being a line worker? I would not want to be a line worker. (In case you're wondering I did my stint in the Teamsters as a UPS truck loader, but did not want to do that for a living the rest of my life). Are you encouraging future generations to aspire to be line workers? I agree, by the way, that this teacher union thing is ridiculous. But


Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

So basically what you are pushing for is an ignorant society? On one hand you say that you just have a high school education and make more than most teachers, and then you say that teachers need to take cuts like "the rest of us." Would you be including yourself in this? I am glad you are finding yourself successful as a line worker, but would you want to sentence every child to such a limited scope of knowledge just because YOU haven't encountered the need for knowledge or information. Your post just reeks of ignorance and arrogance. And while I don't know your child or your child's teacher personally, there are very few teachers out there who "flunk" a kid because they don't like them. I have a feeling the communication of your negative view of teachers, schools, or even the worthlessness of content to your son contributed. Shame on you.

Patti Smith

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

That looks kinda cool. As a special ed teacher, I don't really grade but I do spend at least a few hours every day transcribing work from braille into print (in handwriting, thank goodness I have good cursive!) and hand brailling printed material into Braille. My district can't afford most of the technologies to do this so we do it by hand and I would love for a rich businessman or politician to watch me do it! I'd also like them to see me modify work so that the students can actually have a chance to compete, which includes copying everything in dark black marker or rewriting everything in an easier to understand way.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

Or the school janitor could ask the "rich businessman" to watch him clean a toilet.