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May-28-2008 19:55printcomments

Op-Ed: Teacher-Pay
A Tragedy For Them, For Us,
For Our Kids, Too

Those Who Love Process Should Be Major Providers.

Teacher and student with magnifying glass
Photo courtesy:

(EUGENE, Ore.) - "Yes, Virginia, your teachers love you and what they do, too!" Can you easily envision a parent thus reassuring a reluctant youngster, caught in any one of those many confrontations and conflicts with which every parent is all too familiar?

Never a week passes without precisely that profound and crisis-promoting need, in far too many families these days.

It is a true statement, Virginia. Historically, culturally, socially and on the public record, it is a fact that most in the teaching profession are there --and continue "on active duty"-- simply, and sometimes solely, because they have to come to love and fully appreciate the demanding process of which they are the major part.

Without the teacher, subtly controlling and guiding the process, what is left is only "group process" --and we know how that works out, far too often, in City Council, Legislature and Congress.

That love-of-process and participants MUST be true, since it has become highly obvious --especially in the past thirty years or so-- that it can surely NOT be the compensation in dollars that most teachers usually are reluctantly granted.

That reluctance, all too often not made completely open and on-record, comes from the perhaps too-stingy controllers of the bankroll --AND the conscience, too !!-- of far too many communities in this country, both large and small.

Reluctance-to-pay and other damaging attitudes have arisen from a diversity of deep and damaging misunderstandings, often further promulgated and even promoted by the now highly evident failures of our "free press" to tell the truth to power where education --and its providers-- is at stake.

That has surely happened, despite the overall easy projection from those same sources of the oft-repeated and now common phraseology about “education as the heart and operating principle” of any true democracy.

Despite continual painful complaints that "teacher pay is too high"; that "concentrated teacher-union power now controls education"; and that further largesse "will do-in with decided-damage budgets beaten down and plentifully plagued” by many more important problems --in education, more than any other budget item-- “you get what you pay for or DON’T pay for".

Even from the union-side, for too long a competitor for higher wages, thus a cause of business and corporate reluctance to provide properly-proportioned public funding, now cometh full support and leadership from dedicated, well-informed colleagues in other very demanding work-and-learn processes.

That is, of course, the major reason why union strength has become a welcome weapon and sometimes even an organizing pattern among teachers seeking some way, somehow, to set straight what nearly all agree is overwhelming priority for the kids, the community, the state and the nation --while gingerly holding tight-shut the snaps to that public wallet, too.

If YOU, too, found yourself immersed in the flood of demands for time, attention, understandings and motivations that most teachers must face every day, would you not, too, seek out strength and support from similarly-positioned and impacted friends, neighbors, and other workers?

Especially if, after turning to more-well-paid other professionals you found yourself pushed back --and even OUT-- for any such presumptuous action?

Does this protracted process for procuring the well-earned and obviously essential stronger support seem somewhat unequal and over-delayed to many, many teachers, these days?

The answer is written for all to see in the public records covering teacher employment and, especially, in those laying out the painful facts of teacher preparation, too.

Go there to "see with your own eyes" --and then consider the facts-on-the-record re teacher pay, given for your convenience in depth and detail in the OCPP report found here.

No single Op Ed, nor any single salary-status report, can substitute for a full term or two of Ed.101; but reality is easily identified and described in this local, state and national situation, and we present it here for your full and mature consideration.

Never forget: It is the LOCAL education board that fundamentally shapes and supports local education. That’s their American-system responsibility --and it is to them one must turn for any appreciable progress.

What Juan Carlos Ordonez of OCPP stated in that report is strikingly sensitive and reflective of reality as experienced and recorded by literally many thousands of teacher-neophytes, entering this honorable and often less-than-honored profession --but staying all too short a time. (See the OCPP report for documented detail.)

Most who leave do so reluctantly --reflecting the consequences of actions by those who put up rational, reasonable funding under the same hampering attitude.

BUT they DO leave --now in increasingly serious numbers and at an increasing pace of departures, too.

Given the absolute-essential required-demanded support for democracy at any level from the coming generation(s), that is also "unsustainable" now for our nation.

How will the newcomers learn to understand and fully appreciate first what they are inheriting --and then what THEY must DO, in their turn, if that great and freeing concept under which we have luxuriated all these decades falls to them to carry on and perfect?

"Educational system", by definition, must and cannot possibly succeed without a full, active, skilled --and loving !-- supply of true teachers, surely as well-compensated as other professionals serving the commonweal.

No teacher-supply, no “system”. It is truly as simple as that.

What we get is what we are willing to pay for. The wit, wisdom and will of the American people should make very short work of this now-threatening and extremely serious situation.

We MUST now say: "Yes, Virginia -- We do love education, too -- and we guarantee your fully deserved opportunity."

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Henry Ruark June 3, 2008 3:56 pm (Pacific time)

Teacher-Vet: That classifies you very nicely for many, including myself. What do you teach ? Of what are you a vet ? Either of those occupations should have shown you indelibly why Moyers is where he is, and you where you fire from, behind a tree. At least he has courage and conviction enough to sign his statements openly, and his record of public acceptance and of many honors will stand well against yours, at least as we know it now. IF you have any solid reasons for your simplistic dismissal of a journalistic hero, please state them in detail here, with some documention since we do not know you from the low-branch on that tree you are behind...

Teacher Veteran June 3, 2008 10:06 am (Pacific time)

Moyers is one of the last people whose opinion I would pay any attention to.

Henry Ruark June 2, 2008 12:04 pm (Pacific time)

Brice Et Al: For final-word re Murdoch and his murderously malignimpacts on journalism and principles essential to any democracy, see Bill Moyers in 2007. Here's "see with own eyes" and hear, too, link, giving easy access to actual video of program:

Henry Ruark June 1, 2008 10:51 am (Pacific time)

To all: "Intensity of feeling often produces distraction and spelling errors" -that's quote from famous editing handbook. Did so here; I wrote "Murchodization" when obvious reference is to the ubiquitous "Murdochization" so definitely destroying the original meaningful relation of "free press" responsibility to the essential needs of democracy for responsible/accountable coverage and explication for desperately-demanding issues, problems, and information generally. If we have learned ANYthing so far in the 21st Century, it is that the crisis in the worldwide information preparation, presentation, handling and flow will shape and build-or-destroy any and all democracies everywheres. "Spin" and propaganda techniques sometimes are now allowed to overrun and even overwhelm the information technologies themselves, including distortion and perversion now working its way into the Internet itself, via irresponsible, unaccountable blogs seemingly setting forth facts when simple checkability quickly proves them duplicitous and damaging to democratic dialog itself.

Henry Ruark June 1, 2008 8:22 am (Pacific time)

Brice at al: Forgive me, but content of Op Ed so well bolstered by Broder re press-generally, MUST cite this part of his Sunday column, too: "Shallow reporting perpetuates campaign myths" is column title --applicable also to coverage of teacher pay ! Then: "As in 2004, the horse-race coverage dominates, with policy stories making up only 7 percent of the filings, and examinations of the candidates' records only 2 percent. That is probably the greatest indictment of the media." That kind of coverage is known as "down-market", designed purposely to appeal to the larger group of readers with easy-acceptance of the simplest possible image and its counterpart meanings, while avoiding the real and demanding task of applying journalistic skills to explain, illuminate, and make meaningful in human-plight terms precisely what citizens in any democracy really must understand for decisive action on realities. I.e.,that's "Murchodization" at work: "Give the public what it wants" to guarantee sales and profits, no matter what true democratic "free press" responsibilities exist, especially in a society which protects that role for its ostensible essential element for citizen understandings. No wonder we have such an ongoing mess in teacher pay, nurse shortage, "wasting war" decisions, healthcare plundering for profit, et al, et al, et al....

Henry Ruark June 1, 2008 8:02 am (Pacific time)

Brice et al: David Broder is rightfully one of the most enduring top gurus in journalism. Here's his Sunday column on that PEJ-project, last two pghs, usually called "the kicker": "You can't read that list without thinking that we in the press have not only accepted many myths in this campaign, we have done our best to dumb down the process. It would be nice to think the next five months will be better, but I wouldn't guarantee it" The "list" is the long version of all the stories and their characteristics covered in the PEJ probing study of almost 8,800 items from 46 major news outlets chosen for representative qualities. The very last sentence is the most meaningful, to me, perhaps because it mirrors the findings reported here during the past year. It is recorded fact that in most matters, re Fox and the Murdochian degeneration of the basic American principle of the "free press" obligation and responsibility to serve democracy first --and then to build the profit which is an essential for survival, Broder is and has been one of the strongest advocates of close adherence to what the Founders intended as a major safeguard and inherent blessing for all of us --not merely those who hold the stock of these "public" institutions given unprecedented power and access to governance, at every level.

Henry Ruark May 31, 2008 7:17 pm (Pacific time)

Brice et al: PEJ is one of top sources, with Rosenstiel, Kovach et al highly respected. Have had intermitten contact with them, other staffers there, always with reliable results. Do not always agree with the results they find, probably due to special circumstances, but cannot question their expertise and methods. Re Fox on GOP candidate, that's example: Fox had special reasons for their original opposition to McCain, now swept under rug for other Murdochian pressures. Glad you check PEJ but use others, too; they ain't any more perfect than rest of us, ableit deeply experienced and broadly skilled. Insight is all, in this as in most other human activity; sometimes right, sometimes wrong --but always differing from one to others, with all due deference to dissidents !! That's what makes "opinion" such intriguing occupation...

Brice May 31, 2008 11:08 am (Pacific time)

May I suggest a non-partisan source that sheds light on an evaluation process for the different media outlets. If you go to, which is known as "Project for Excellence in Journalism" you may find a rich source of updated information. One of the articles does a breakdown on the type of coverage the different cable networks (and other news outlet types) has provided for the presidential candidates. It was reported that FOX was the harshest critic of the presumptive republican nominee, probably just the opposite some may have thought. It can be difficult to find a non-partisan source but this one seems to be, does anyone have a better one or a negative critique of this one (above link provided)? I also like CNN, or anytime I can see opposing viewpoints that have a fair process that allows one to lay out their ideas.

Henry Ruark May 31, 2008 9:56 am (Pacific time)

Brice et al: See mine here 8/30:4:34pm. Here's quote from new McClellan book pointing up precisely the propanganda skills and techniques demanded for succes in widespread spin and distortion/perversion vs the commonweal: "Washington has become the home of the permanent campaign...a game of endless politicking based on the manipulation of shades of truth, partial truths, twisting of the truth, and spin. "Governing has become an appendage of politics rather than the other way around, with the electoral victory and the control of power as the sole measures of success." -------- For me, that's precisely the way in which Fox and other Murdochian enterprises treat the truths of reality --and that view is confirmed by many others even better qualified to measure-and-evaluate. That is what inevitable happens when "the media" are seduced or willingly surrender their Constitutional responsibitilities to "tell truth to power", no matter what "the majority" may be feeling at the time --always vulnerable to spin and all the forms of propaganda --as we have surely seen demonstrated in depth, to our own desperation, ever since the neocon attacks began in the Reagan/Bush I cabal-start.

Henry Ruark May 30, 2008 4:38 pm (Pacific time)

Brice et al: Correction: Comment re Fox is under Carter story. Please forgive -- just waked from nap demanded at 90 !! Best to you and enjoy your comments, albeit also laugh a lot, too...

Henry Ruark May 30, 2008 5:53 pm (Pacific time)

Sorry comment sent prematurely; here's rest: Franklin has way to put things sharply. Remember his to Founders ?:"We must hang together or we will surely hang separately/" That's relevant now as we dialog re realities we face in taking back our democracy. Mine re "laughing" was WITH you, not re your comments; we must be able to do so despite Murdochization at Fox, double wasting wars from Nush II, hard on heels of neocon nonsense of "suppply-side" starting with Reagan-Bush I/Cheney et al/cabal... S-N dialog welcomes comments from those willing to dig a bit and digest what then they find --to share here, as you did. Your suggestion cued me to report on research already done, and make sure all know of Murdochization underway at Fox by both R/M and Ailes...

Henry Ruark May 30, 2008 4:42 pm (Pacific time)

Brice et al: Just happens this one was on desk for another assignment, but surely fits here nicely: "The process [of mass-media deception] has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.... "To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary.": George Orwell in the book 1984

Henry Ruark May 30, 2008 4:34 pm (Pacific time)

Brice et al: Your "research" suggestion is a bit belated, having been done, and done well, several times over by experienced media researchers. In fact, some of that is in part why I write about Fox as I do. For more detail see comment under Op Ed, or ID self to Editor Tim for direct further dialog, to which I look forward to explore your points in depth, with more on your own background. Your participation richly appreciated.

Brice May 30, 2008 3:27 pm (Pacific time)

Contrasting say the New York Times/Washington Post/Nation/Newsweak/Time with the FOX Network in terms of accuracy would be a good research project that would not be that difficult to provide quanitative and qualatative metric to. I find in life that when one holds a negative(or positive) viewpoint on most anything, it is nearly impossibe to shift them away from that opinion. Even when new and convincing evidence comes in, it will be marginalized, even ignored if it in anyway attempts to alter that viewpoint. Also know as being stubborn, though I prefer to use "fatuous."

Henry Ruark May 30, 2008 8:40 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" reference to the definitive Shawcross biography of Rupert "Dirty Digger" Murdoch. Your evaluation is relevant here since Murdoch's "Money is only reason to publish" is denial of major American world-innovative principle Founders set forth for role of free press in our democracy. That's failure-root that has brought us genial clubbiness of MSM with Reagan-Bush I/Bush II-Cheney world-shaking neocon debacle today, leading to the desperate funding denials of education, vets, regulatory needs,loss of industries, privatization sale of national resources to foreign interests and ongoing seriusly damaging depreciation of environment; and much more --now becoming recognized as long ago at impeachment level. Check out: "Murdoch: Making of A Media Empire"; William Shawcross; ISBN:9-684-83015-9. The entire book points out the desperate depreciation of basic free press principles followed by "Dirty Digger" Murdoch in everything he has owned since youth. The nickname was early-earned in Australia and England for the salacious, titillating content of his publications --always wellknown for pursuit of the pennies and pounds and dollars vs service to commonweal. That's the operating philosophy of Fox News et al, now latest example of Dirty Digger approach, to sell whatever the public wants, in itself a contempt-filled attitude.

Henry Ruark May 29, 2008 4:51 pm (Pacific time)

T-Vet et al: Appreciate your kind words re Op Ed, but then you "kill it dead" via your overblown, undeserved, unqualified sale-pitch for Fox News, stealing steadily from our shared henhouse via profits earned solely by appealing to very questionable parts of the American audience "giving them what they want". Airwaves owned by everyone should be professionally and conscientiously used for the commonweal --NOT to promote and strengthen a single political point of view. Highly-qualified critics and trained observers detect only thatkindastuff on Fox. Murdoch-Ailes on record as stating what they intended as they set this up, and any real success they may have is yet to be recorded and verified; Fox stand on national issues, including Iraq and Bush and McCain, highly questionable to any thoughtful, well-informed viewer...sparse on Fox, as any authoritative survey shows. "Ratings" as-cited simply prove how successful their distortion/perversion of the realities we face is with some segments whose vulnerabilities Fox-ers know how to reach very well. That's Ailes-Murdoch record from the past. IF you can cite any points, numbers, quotes or similar content, can perhaps show you how far off truth they take one who is unprepared. DO appreciate your kind words re Op Ed but would fail here if I let your paean of undeserved praise go unchallenged. Also note it is far off the topic of Op Ed, except for that provocative lead-in, so easy to recognize by anyone so subjected to such ....(read: "stuff"!. P.S. For the record, am just completing Shawcross' definitive biography of Murdoch, citing his early youth declaration that dailies were to be run ONLY for profit, in any way appealing to readers, without regard for journalistic principles or responsibilities to community.

Teacher Veteran/ New York May 29, 2008 1:37 pm (Pacific time)

This was a great article and really allows people to peer into certain aspects they may be unfamiliar with. I saw an interesting segment dealing with the low salaries for teachers on the FOX Network this morning which helps supplement the above story. I just started watching FOX because we finally got cable out here in the sticks. I have heard so much about FOX, good and bad, so I have been pleasantly surprised how professional they are. Maybe that helps explain the below stats on this highly professional network: "For the 77th consecutive month, FNC finished first in total day and prime time ratings during May. FNC was the sixth highest rated cable network on all of basic cable during prime time for the month (CNN and MSNBC finished 19th and 26th) and the seventh rated network in total day (CNN and MSNBC were 19th and 27th). FNC also had 11 out of the top 13 programs in cable during the month in Total Viewers. The O'Reilly Factor was the #1 program in cable news for the 90th consecutive month, and saw gains in Total Viewers year-to-year (26%). Amercia's Newsroom (9-11amET) was up 30% year-to-year, with the program averaging [more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined] during the time period. Hannity and Colmes has been #1 in its timeslot for 54 consecutive months."

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