Should the Legislature freeze salaries for public school employees?

The Minnesota Legislature is debating a statewide salary freeze for teachers and other public school employees. Supporters say the move would save jobs and stabilize school district finances. Today’s Question: Should the Legislature freeze salaries for public school employees?

  • Joseph Mish

    NO- it’s a local issue.

  • hiram

    No. For one thing, a salary freeze sends the message that the reason the state is in the dire shape it is, is because it’s paying state workers to much. That’s not the case at all. It’s because of higher health care costs. Salary freezes are what politicians talk about, when they don’t have a policy.

    For another thing, a reason why we are in recession because they don’t have money. By putting a freeze on salaries, the state is exacerbating that trend. Shrinking the state’s largest employer can only hurt the economy.

  • Lois Nokleby

    No.

    School Districts are in financial difficulties because Pawlenty insisted 27% of the money the state ‘dedicated’ to the districts was held back. A small % was held back in the past in order to wait for the final count of students. That last bit was intended to allow for variation.

    and no….there are nearly 400 legal contracts, one in each district. it is not a legislative matter. Working and looking for long term to fiscal responsibility is the legislature’s job. Sounds like there will be more can kicking solutions than long term is this is how they are starting.

  • Jake

    Teachers are already underpaid as it is. Most people seem to underestimate how much work teachers do and how demanding the job is. We should be paying higher teacher salaries to attract more high quality teachers into the profession.

  • DMOX

    Why is it always public schools that take the financial brunt? How about we halt payments to our legislature & elected executives? Perhaps holding down a couple of jobs to make ends meet while they’re passing spending cuts and tax legislation will give them a taste of how the rest of the people feel.

  • Rob

    Yes, the private sector has experienced a pay freeze for the last two plus years. What is it about the public sector and their unions that make them think they should prosper while others dearly sacrifice? As are the Egyptians in Cario, the teachers should revolt against their innovation stifling and productivity hobbling union leadership to bring real change and advancement in education.

  • Brian

    What are the options? Freeze the salaries of teachers who might be teaching 150 to 250 students per day and are already underpaid, or raising taxes on the rich, who pay lower tax rates now than any other time in recent history? I think I’d go with raising taxes on the rich.

  • Wade

    Yes. If my company is in financial distress, I don’t go out and give myself a raise. The gov’t should work the same. Besides, teachers get paid plenty anyhow. Especially if you take time off and benefits into consideration.

    I would prefer they cut cost vs. coming to me for more money.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No

    We need well paid teachers. Our children are our future.

    As with any service that we want from our government. The people must pay for it. We need leaders who can explain this and lead us.

    Raise state income taxes instead.

  • Scott Gregg

    This proposed legislation is a waste of time.

    Contractual issues like salary are negotiated at a local district level. No school district has been flush with money for years. So in general, teacher salaries have been stagnant (not kept up to inflation) for about 20 years.

  • Dug

    No they should not.

    This country is already on a decline in education and we are getting lower and lower on the list of best educated countries. If this continues, our success and business will follow. It won’t be long before the high paying jobs go elsewhere and we are stuck with the 70 hr work weeks making 1.20 and hour. China has surpassed us in education. They have surpassed us in other ways as well. Does anyone not see the trend here?

    As for those who say, “its like any business blah blah blah,” you’re wrong. This is not a business. This is a government. And Teacher are not paid well. I know some teachers, and they get summer jobs to get by.

  • Chris in Maine

    No. We need qualified, motivated teachers teaching our children. The last thing we need to do at this point is cut education related services.

    The US has already fallen behind many countries in terms of the quality and reach of its education. Cutting salaries and/or curriculum will not improve this.

    I will happily contribute more in the way of taxes if it improves the education of our children!

    Come on, people, this shouldn’t even be a question.

  • Matt P

    No. Most districts have frozen salaries at a local level, where the control should be. Legislation like this should be seen for what it really is; an attempt to put a chunk of the state’s dire finacial situation on the backs of a small group instead of spreading the impact to the entire state.

  • Steve the Cynic

    You get what you pay for. Do we want to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession? Or do we want teachers who’ve settled on teaching as the best they can get? Minnesota used to be a place where talented teachers in stingier states aspired to move to (despite the weather). Underpaying teachers is short-sighted.

  • john kusske

    It would be a local question if all the money involved were local. Much of it comes from the state. With state funding comes state control. When will the rapacious appitite of the teachers’ union end?

  • Wade

    “As for those who say, “its like any business blah blah blah,” you’re wrong. This is not a business. This is a government.”

    You are right about that. Gov’t can’t handle making a bowl of popcorn without messing it let. Let alone run medicare and public education.

    I remember back to my high school days. What a joke. I slept through most of high school and still graduated with honors. Can’t say I ever put any effort forth. Because of that, college was a shock. Thankfully I was ambitious and worked hard to succeed in college and in life. No thanks to public education.

    “And Teacher are not paid well. I know some teachers, and they get summer jobs to get by.”

    To get by or to live above their salary/means? I know a lot of teachers myself and I can say. They have nice houses, nice toys, and a lot of free time in the summer to enjoy them.

  • Gary F

    I you accept government money, you have to abide by the rules they make. You always have to answer to the person who pays the bill.

    Yes.

    Watch the movie “Waiting for Superman”.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Wade, one reason our government has such trouble getting things done is because people who espouse the ideology that government should not do certain things keep sabotaging it by maligning civil servants and disempowering them with budget cuts. When the people supported NASA, we went to the moon.

  • Joe Schmeltzer

    Freezing teacher salaries certainly doesn’t sound like “investing in our future”. There isn’t a single teacher who went into that profession for the money, and now freezing salary increases (which already don’t keep up with inflation) will only reduce the number of bright college students who will consider going into teaching.

    Also, freezing a $1000 increase for two years doesn’t simply take a total of $2000 away from a teacher, it takes $2000 from a teacher each year for the rest of their careers because they will be 2 years behind in increases. The bill states that there will be no retro-active increases. So let’s make sure we understand exactly what we’re doing to teachers with this bill.

    In order to have qualified teachers, we have to pay them a living wage. Otherwise we’ll continue to see a decline in teacher quality and a decline in the quality of the education our children receive.

  • Al

    From Steve the Cynic-

    \\You get what you pay for. Do we want to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession? Or do we want teachers who’ve settled on teaching as the best they can get? Minnesota used to be a place where talented teachers in stingier states aspired to move to (despite the weather). Underpaying teachers is short-sighted.

    I’m with Steve on this one. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to have been the best teacher, but I think I was good at it. I left my job teaching high school science for a job as a scientist. It didn’t require any extra degrees or training. I now work fewer hours. Most importantly, I immediately doubled my pay. That’s tens of thousands of extra dollars a year, and enough to allow us to move our family to a neighborhood where we are not surrounded by drug dealers.

    Teachers are college educated professionals. Why should they take jobs that pay less than other college educated professionals? Why should teaching be missionary work in one of the wealthiest nations in the world? Go ahead and freeze salaries. You get what you pay for.

  • steve

    no they should not-the state should promote public education by paying teachers better-my wife teaches and she is facing freeze for 3wks teachers work extremely hard and deserve their money and need to be paid more!

  • Sarah

    Unfortunately due to budget cuts at the local level, most teachers have already been taking a pay freeze for the past few years. Mandating a salary freeze at the state level would be a slap in the face for these teachers who have already been sacrificing their salary.

    No one goes into teaching for the money, but let’s face the facts: we need to start paying our teachers what they are worth or face a future where our students continue to fall behind. Requiring a pay freeze is a step in the wrong direction.

  • Richard

    While some of the money used to pay teacher’s salaries might come from the state each district is unique. Let the elected school board members decide what is best for their communities. If they want to freeze teacher pay let them. An across the board salary freeze doesn’t make much sense.

    Once our nation stops looking at public education as a social issue this question won’t come up any more. Public education is an economic issue and should be invested in and not cut.

  • Dug

    Govt can’t run whatever. Sure, but you elected them and put them there. So maybe you can’t pick a good leader or whatever.

    Its all about money and taxes. But I say hey, lets get rid of all socialized ideas in our country. Lets cut the government down to making the laws and whatever is left when you take away their services.

    Then your schools will be privatized. You think you pay a lot in taxes now, wait until you pay to send your kids to school.

    Lets privatize all health care. Get the government out of that and see what happens. Forget going to the ER unless you got cash.

    Lets privatize our security. Your house is only protected by police and fire when you make your monthly payment to whatever company picks that up.

    What about roads? Lights? Plowing? you live 10 miles out of town and a snow storm hits, good luck getting to work. Those pot holes aren’t gonna fix themselves. Imagine the costs.

    WE NEED TO PAY TAXES to get the stuff we expect or want from our government.

  • Sue de Nim

    Sometimes I wonder if one of the right wing’s reasons for weakening public education is that poorly educated citizens are easier to mislead.

  • Philip

    Why not, mine has been. I had to take a mandatory furlough in December, too.

  • Amy

    No, absolutely not. It should be up to each individual district to determine the best way to manage their budgets. Seems to me that a better solution would be ensure school districts are receiving adequate state money to actually pay teachers a fair wage and ensure students are getting the top of the line education they deserve!

    As a social worker, I am part of the demographic of underpaid workers, so certainly if the government told me they were going to freeze my pay I would be upset and insulted. State wide pay freeze of teachers is not a good way to attract qualified individuals into the profession.

  • Travis

    Yes, freeze them. Most highschool teachers, and college professors for that matter, are not very good at what they do. I apologize to the good teachers I’ve had, but in total, I’ve had more bad than good. Those that can’t do, or want summers off and tenure, teach. The notion that our kids will fall behind other countries unless we give the teachers whatever they want is bunk. From what I read/hear, we’ve been falling behind for years now; even though we spend significantly more on education today than we did 10 years ago. Teachers, do you really want to help our kids? Dump your union, allow performance-based pay (chances are, math / science teachers actually are significantly more valuable than art / english / home ec / history / spanish teachers) and let parents choose where to spend their education tax dollars. Give parents the opportunity to use their education tax dollars to offset private school and we’ll see how many people choose the public system.

  • Wade

    Dug, I’ve been saying that for years. “Pay to play!” Call the cops or fire, you pay. Be it from INS or out of your pocket. Go to hospital, you pay. Put your kid in school, you pay.

    Roads should be fixed with gas taxes. If you drive on the roads, you are paying for them. Or tolls, or license tabs.

    I’m not in the habit of paying for others. I am fan of keeping my money for my family.

  • Jim G

    You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. Underpaying teachers is short-sighted. It will only hurt the education of our kids. A less educated workforce means fewer good jobs, not more.

  • Ryan

    No, this is not the responsibility of the state government.

    I just think it is funny that they continue to remove themselves from funding local education, then they want to step in and talk freeze.

    I really think this is a prime example of big government. Seems hypocritical from some people proposing this.

    LETS BE honest, most districts in the state of Minnesota are going to negotiate freezes LIKE THEY DID LAST TIME. They really don’t need government to step in and do this, seems like a move to remove power from the bargaining process.

  • Michelle

    @ Sue de Nim: In my opinion you are absolutely correct.

    It’s beyond me why there seems to be an attack on education in this country. A well-educated country innovates, produces, and can only strengthen our economy and our environment. Why on earth do we not emphasize this as one of the best investments we can possibly make?

  • Carla

    Why not add statewide health insurance to the freeze? It’s supposed to save $147 million. Saving money on health insurance would help out the teachers tremendously. The insurance increases are eating up any pay raises teachers do get.

  • Joe Schaedler

    Yes the state should definitely freeze teachers’ salaries: at $50,000 – $60,000 per year.

    Any lower salary than that harms our educational system and our future economy by disincentivizing our top minds from entering the teaching profession to begin with.

  • Curt

    It’s so easy to say that cutting funds to education and entitlements is the solution to the state financial problems. Our state legislature members receive 33K, plus expenses for what should be a voluntary position. After all, it’s not a full time job. Let’s eliminate these salaries and the health insurance that goes along with it. They are so eager to take bread from the mouths of others, and remove others from the health care rolls, they should be the first to “set the good example” for the state.

    Hypocrites….

  • Katie

    Most school districts in their local contracts have negotiated some sort of pay freeze for teachers already these past two years. Teachers are already on a pay freeze w/out including the cost of insurance raising, so I think the State should not mandate the freeze and continue to leave that decision up to each individual district!!!!

  • Ann

    FREEZE. FREEZE. FREEZE. As a former teacher, I volunteer weekly in a local elementary school. While it is true our teachers may not receive the recognition they should– they are well compensated in many ways. Moreover, I would much rather see an across the board salary freeze for a year or two if that meant we could avoid layoffs of younger staff. Finally, all unnecessary expenditures should be cut– and staff development days should not be paid.

  • Chris in Maine

    @ Wade

    And how do you propose to regulate your “pay to play” system? Do you honestly think that you would be paying less for these services if they were privatized?

    A portion of funds do come from the fees for the services you mention. It’s not enough, so we have to make it up with additional tax dollars. So, in some areas, we do “pay to play”, but we have to make up the difference somewhere. Services cost money. This isn’t a difficult concept.

  • Lee

    Seems to me as though the commentaries here were written by people that already have received their education, and are saying to the younger generation ” I got mine, so who cares about you”

    It’s time to pay back for the education you received friends. You want Minnesota to be a place that business will move to and expand? Educate the workforce, or Minnesota will be Mississippi with snow.

  • Dan Latuff

    NO. This country (state) has been brainwashed. We blame public workers and union employees for our current financial crisis. Dont look at the oil sibsidies, or the bush/obama tax breaks for the wealthy, dont pay attention to how much the wars in iraq and afganistan have cost, It must be those EVIL UNIONS!!! This nation has been DUMBED DOWN ENOUGH!! The educated are actually being attacked in this country, called “elitists”, by propagandists such as glenn beck. The more educated a person is, the more right wingers will HATE you. This state is in sad shape when we dont have money to pay quality public employees but we WILL find money to build the vikings a stadium. Reminds me of high school , when they can always cut funding for social history, art, and humanities programs but NEVER cut from sports programs.

  • Brian

    @Michelle: I agree with you. If we are concerned about the common good, it makes no sense to attack education. But it’s important to note that it’s not all educational systems that are being attacked: just public education, and primarily (but not always) K-12. I think there are two reasons for this.

    1. The Republican Party agenda of destroying unions. The hatred RP politicians and their followers express constantly toward the unions is nothing short of astounding. This is part of the larger agenda of the RP to destroy what’s left of unions and the labor movement in this country.

    2. The RP objective of destroying the public school system so that the only alternative will be private schools. You can imagine where this will lead.

  • Denise S

    No. Like most Minnesotans, educators have already been sharing the sacrifice for years. A wage freeze does not solve the budget deficit. Additionally, it takes away local control from school boards and teachers to negotiate what is best for them. We are already having a hard time attracting and retaining the best future teachers; this proposal will not help. A worthy solution is a statewide health insurance pool of all school employees; this focuses on a problem and will save substantial tax-payer dollars.

  • Mary Harms

    When we talk of school employees, are we just referring to teachers, or are we taking in to account the janitors, the educ. assistents,and the school cooks? A freeze on public employee wages would not help the economy get better; it would drive it down. Maybe it would be best to freeze all wages on health care executives, bank managers, and other private employees that are profitting off the school employees. Mary Harms

  • Ron

    No.

    First of all, it is a local issue and would be fraught with contract issues leading to lawsuits, which are a waste of everybody’s money and time.

    Second, how about a fair income tax system first. My family is in the upper ten percent of Minnesota taxpayers in regard to income. *Evidence* shows I pay less proportionately than those who make less. That is not fair, not moral nor efficient. *Evidence* shows that people in my income range DO NOT SPEND THAT MONEY TO CREATE JOBS or some other vodoo theory advocated by the greedy. We typically save it.

    So lets get the taxes fair (personally, I believe I should be paying more) as a starting point. Do that first, then get back to me.

  • Christina

    NO, we should not single out education as a means of solving our fiscal problems.

  • Wade

    @Ron

    Let’s try cutting costs instead of asking those of us who have money to pay more in taxes. If you want to give some away, have at it. But don’t volunteer the rest of us.

    Just because I earn a significant amount of cash. It doesn’t mean I want to give it away or those that haven’t earned that much are entitled to mine.

  • Pete Holste

    Yes—when no class has more than 24 students and every high school graduate has a 4.0 gpa. Until then, politicians ought to quit wishing for Joe The Plumber and his unemployable idiot brother to be the kids’ teachers.

  • Matthew

    No!

    Teachers are public servants who are entrusted with our children. They are underpaid the way it is. Many of them have masters degrees and other academic credentials far more impressive than the average Republican state legislator. Our nation currently has the lowest aggregate tax since implementation of the progressive tax system under Wilson almost 100 years ago. Our highest marginal rates under Eisenhower were 90%. Under Nixon 77%. Even under Reagan, 50%. Currently the highest rate is 35%. Yet rather than upwardly adjusting taxes and exercising responsible fiscal policy, Republicans at the state and national level want to punish teachers and demonize public employees generally. I blame modern day news for its unwillingness to relay the relevant facts necessary for voters to put things in proper perspective.

  • David

    Teacher’s salaries should be frozen, but that isn’t a legislative issue. We all have to tighten our belts, and that includes public servants too. I work in the construction engineering industry, and after spending a year on unemployment, the only job I could get was at a significant pay reduction. To add to that I’m not going to see any raises in the near future. If I’m not happy with that there are hundreds unemployed in my field that will be happy to take my place.

    ALL public officials should take a pay-raise freeze like the rest of us!

    Raises in these days are reserved for the already overpaid corporate executives that managed to get a bailout from the government. Why don’t the legislators take that one up instead?

  • Chris in Maine

    @ Wade

    You write as if you are one man on an island, and not part of a society. As part of a society, we are all compelled to contribute to one degree or another. If we don’t, things…fall apart. Some of us can’t contribute much or anything, financially. So, the rest of us try to bear that burden. This is, in part, how a civilized society works.

    Now, things lately are breaking down a bit because we aren’t as willing to contribute (apparently) as we once were.

    In terms of education, our collective contribution is crucial. And, while I agree cutting costs is key, providing a good salary for those doing the teaching is also very important.

  • Dan

    No. The legislature should determine the appropriate amount to give to districts, and then let districts decide.

    A bigger financial issue that is hitting the state is teacher pension plans. These defined benefit plans are putting a serious burden on districts and the taxpayer. Teachers need to be paid well and receive good benefits like private professionals. Instead we pay poorly while they teach, but then make promises that we can only keep by lowering the wages of the next generation.

  • Judy

    Yes. My salary has been frozen for 3 yrs. in our small business. I love teachers, but if it saves jobs, why not freeze salaries? We all have to sacrifice.

  • Travis

    The average per pupil expenditure in MN is ~$10,000! And that’s below the national average! Where does it all go? Good teachers should get paid more, poor teachers should get fired. Do we need to build a new school every 10 years? Do we need principals? My problem with teachers is that they get paid based on how many points they’ve earned by going to some bs masters class. Wouldn’t it be better to pay them based on talent? And for all the life long students posting on this site; there is a huge difference between being highly educated and being intelligent. You want to talk about greed? Lets talk about college tuition.

  • Dug

    @ Wade. Dude that was meant to be sarcasm. But really, this is America, and honestly our population is thick. Might have something to do with the constants cuts our education system has seen. Who know. So the only way to learn is the hard way. But once we privatize everything, and you pay out the nose for the most basic services, then people will learn, and they will beg to have taxes and social services back.

    Also you can’t have it both ways. You cant say you pay for what you use AND have a gas tax. It will be another fund for some other agency to take from. Case in point, Pawlenty using the Veterans fund to pay for his secretary, which is HIS staff.

    The point is this. Two things are very essential to the future of our country. Health and education. You can give all the guns in the world to our citizens, but if they are stupid and sick, they will be run over like many armies before them. Our forefathers knew this and tried to put things in place to offer both health and education to the population. It’s too bad their intentions are now skewed.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    While freezing the salaries of school district employees is probably required in light of the current budget situation (along with ALL public employees, across the board), many salaries have been frozen for years, so the point is largely moot.

    I hear a lot of people bad-mouthing teachers, and blaming them for the current state of public education in the US. That’s too bad.

    There is an unwritten saying, known to most educators: The biggest predictor of a student’s success in school or future employment is his/her parents.

    How many of you REQUIRE your kids to do their homework and get it turned in on time?

    How many of you assist your child (or even are able to) with his/her homework?

    How many of you instill the ethic of hard work and the value of education into your kids?

    How many of you make excuses for your kids’ failures by saying things like “I didn’t like math either” or “the teacher doesn’t like my kid”?

    A good education is largely inspired by good parenting.

  • kennedy

    It should be a budget freeze and let the details get sorted out at lower levels.

    While I admire many teachers desire to educate our children and make the world a better place, I see precious few that actually make a difference. The kids that succeed generally have a conducive living environment and involved parents. Because so many students lack any drive or incentive to learn, our teachers function primarily as baby sitters (or prison guards). The system, the parents, and the children conspire to make teaching ability less meaningful. Throwing in more money and expecting better results is folly.

  • michael mullins

    This is an item that is best negotiated at the collective bargaining table. Every district has a local contract and that seems to be the way most Minnesotans want it. The difficulty begin when the Ventura Admin. begin altering the financing of the schools- this financing decision made at the STATE level-and this left individual districts without adequate cash flow.

    Having been in public education for 22 years at levels from Elementary- Higher Ed I’ve been able to make so many wonderful connections and experienced many life-long moments of discovery. The thought that these experiences are ones I need to be paid for requires me to say “I do this for the money.” However, it would be naive of me to say I don’t desire a salary just like everyone else. But, we need to carefully decide at what level ( of government) this decision( salary) is to be made and seek to establish an equitable basis for making that decision.

    In many countries around the world educators are still respected and valued for the trust the public places in them. My question: What message do we wish to give the guardians of our children, those children and young adults, and our society in the US?

  • Barb K

    No. Teachers will not be hoping to negotiate huge salary increases this bargaining period. But not all school districts are short on cash and the employees there should be able to have some flexibilty in negotiating with their local school boards. Don’t forget, school employees are also tax payers and consumers. They buy cars, groceries, clothes and pay mortgages. Diminishing public employees’ ability to participate in the larger economy does not help anyone. Also, a school employee pay freeze does absolutely nothing to reduce the state’s budget deficit.

  • brian

    Gordon, I fully agree with you. People constantly overlook the importance of the home environment as a determining factor in a child’s success in school. Perhaps people should stop pointing fingers of blame at the public schools and begin looking at the kinds of communities we have created.

  • Bob

    Gordon has a real good point. I’ve always wondered why no one ever suggests that the child dependant tax deduction be based on the child’s performance in school. You’re children are an additional expense on the infrastructure, but parents get to pay less for that infrastructure the more children they have. The poorly behaved children are an even bigger drag on the system. And no one would argue are more likely to grow up to be not only poor contributors, but probably huge drags on the system as adults.

  • Mark K

    By all means cut those overeducated underpaid martyrs into oblivion… and after that – fleece the garbage collectors! (and see how that smells) then finally lets piss off the pilots cause after all – they only fly the planes! Why not? They were pretty hard on Jesus too, and he was a teacher…

  • Rebecca

    No. I agree with many of the other comments already made. Many school districts and their unions will end up bargaining freezes or very minimal improvements, but that’s for the parties to bargain through the local collective bargaining process. Interesting how the conservatives don’t favor local control on this issue.

  • Wade

    @Bob.

    That is an outstanding idea. Excellent work!

  • Jim

    Freezing public employee pay doesn’t come close to resolving the state’s budget issues and more importantly, it doesn’t save jobs. School districts will make decisions long before any freeze becomes a reality and the amount of money saved will have a minimal impact on school district’s finances. What really has been driving up the costs for districts are the steep health insurance increases that the districts and employees have to absorb. It is ridiculous that the legislature is considering alternative licensing to attract new people to the teaching profession and at the same time proposes freezing salaries that are already low in attempt to attract new people to the profession. Like the rest of society teachers have worked with school districts and limited their salary increases over the past two years. According to Money magazine salaries in the private sector are supposed to rise this year. A pay freeze for state employees will have a damper on economic growth because employees will become more conservative in their spending.

  • Karolyn

    NO! The “raise” that teachers earn each year is very minimal – lower than cost of living standards. However, many teachers have been working toward master’s or doctorate degrees and are anticipating compensation for this additional education. If there is a freeze, it will mean that many teachers will not be able to move into a well-deserved (better paying) lane, which local districts have guaranteed in their contracts.

  • Mary

    No. Contracts have been negiated districct byy district. Some districts have favored technology over teacher salaries, some have favored sports and others have already frozen their teachers’ pay. The should be able to bargain as in the past. The governmenet has given them more and more to do with no additional pay as it is. If pay is frozen, perhaps their work should be frozen, as well!

  • Erik

    Did they get big raises when times were good during the book years? Did they get bonuses during the great markets when companies were investing? I don’t think teachers can be compared to the typical professional–their “market” is unique in the business world.

  • Dawn

    Absolutely not. Local school districts and their unions should negotiate salaries, benefits and working conditions ( which are also the students’ LEARNING conditions) at the local level. That’s where the school districts’ financial capacities can best be considered in any settlement.

    Freezing salaries at the state level is strictly a political game and a power play. It has nothing to do with good schools, effective teaching or educated students. And it does nothing to solve the state’s budget deficit!

  • dan

    No, the republicans in St. Paul should not force school districts to freeze pay for teachers. Nor should they take away the right to strike.

    In Minnesota we have “Independent School Districts” which means local control. This is a local issue. The republicans are creating a wedge issue to turn the public against teachers and the union. Republicans believe in less government and local control, except when it comes to teachers and unions. Why don’t the republicans work on the real problems in our state and stop bashing the dedicated hard-working people who are education our children?!

  • Caroline

    There are some very intelligent people commenting on this thread. Kudos.

    Most teachers have already been settling for 0% or 1% raises. These raises are reported as higher because of the increase in health care costs. Teachers are supportive of a collective health care package grouping all teachers together, rather than going district by district as they now do. This might actually reduce costs by pooling resources. The pay freeze is already happening without politicians mandating it, but the provision limiting right to strike is simply undemocratic. Standards for our students are going up. We can’t afford to make teaching even less attractive which will ultimately lower the quality of teacher in the classroom. Obviously this will affect the learning of our children.

  • Matt

    The fact of the matter is most school districts have already frozen the pay for teachers anyway. Over the past three years very few districts and unions have agreed to increase pay for teachers unless they continue their education and earn advanced degrees.

    What I’m curious about is the reason behind the pay freeze. In what way would freezing the pay of teachers across the board help the state and school districts strapped for cash? If we were talking about ALL state employees then this would make sense. However, singling out teachers seems to target a group of the population that has recently been highlighted publicly as under preforming.

    The real concern should not be freezing the pay of teachers. The focus needs to shift from money, or lack there of, to finding a way to dramatically change our education system. Everything thing in the field of public education needs to be examined and serious changes need to be made in order for our students to continue to see the success we expect of them.

    Unfortunately, this is not all the school systems fault but also the fault of our society. Our society as dramatically shifted from the knowledge that hard work will get you places to the belief that mediocre is good enough and hard work is not necessary to be successful. This belief is something that starts in our homes, our community and our role models. If school districts could ensure that what they taught students during the day would be followed through with at home we would have far less problems and see much more success.

  • Michelle

    It would seem that school districts and the legislature tend to emphasize local control when it is convenient or beneficial to them, yet ask for something like this when they don’t want to make the tough decisions or have to negotiate with unions. I think they need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouth.

  • John Hansen

    No! The setting of wages for school employees is a local issue. The politicians in this state have far more pressing issues to deal with. How about cutting their own compensation back to 2001 levels including per diem and putting the savings back in the general fund? More importantly, all of us have an obligation to see that all citizens from cradle to grave are provided access to life long learning. All tiers of education are just the start. Public libraries need to be fully funded also. Maybe it is time to move expensive activities like athletics from the schools and put that savings into resources to educate for an increasingly challenging world.

  • Rose

    If they are going to freeze salaries to save money, then all public employees salaries need to be held. It does not make sense to pick out only one industry.

  • Alex

    No! Just no.

    I was a computer programmer, and I took a pay cut when I left the corporate world to become a math teacher, because I thought service was important. I have budgeted for a pay raise that comes with a masters degree which I have been working and paying for and will complete in March of 2012. Don’t make me sacrifice even more than I already have for this highly skilled, highly stressful, and highly important job.

  • James

    OR… freeze / reduce salaries of the Minnesota Legislature.

    We NEED competent satisfied teachers to bring this country from the brink of losing our leadership role.

    DTOM

  • Sue

    No, No, No. The teachers in our district have been on a pay freeze for over two years already. We have had total of a 3% increase over the past 14 years. That doesn’t even come close to a cost of living raise, plus the cost of health care has increased tremendously. I am glad that I have a union that negotiates for me. I have a friend of that works for a charter school where she was just told that her sick days would no longer be honored and it is too bad that she was sick last week, she would be taking those days without pay.

    The thing I see is, in this time of financial trouble it is too easy to jump on the band wagon and crab about the budget, blame teachers for poor student performance and blame parents for poor performing children. Stop crabbing and do something about it, get involved at school and in the community.

  • Mike

    NO NO NO

    It’s simply union busting.

    The major expense we have is instructional expense (teachers & support staff) and if we expect professional results we need to provide professional level wages. I know far to many teachers who have left the profession because they could make more $ in their fields outside of education to our kids loss.

  • Brad

    I am not a public school employee, but why is it that Republicans always propose legislation that is mean spirited? Private corporations have screwed me more times than any public employee!!!!!!!!

  • Richard

    Before they put a pay freeze on teachers, they should discuss pension reform and tenure reform. Both of these elements need to be discussed as there are great savings to be made if they reformed both the tenure situation and the pensions given to teachers. Many professionals in the private sector do not get a pension, why does almost every public employee still get a pension? And why are many bad teachers guaranteed a job via tenure? They should be held more accountable to their performance.

  • Greg

    No. The recession has already put a huge burden on teachers who are asked to teach more students, with more needs, with more standardized testing, with less money. Freezing teacher pay makes a difficult job even harder. At what pointy does the camel’s back finally break. This is our educational system we are talking about. Republicans and Democrats unite for our kids this year.

  • Chris

    No, Here is the better question. Are all legislators willing to take a freeze on their salary for two years?

  • Mike F

    I am so tired of teachers taking the grunt of the state issue for the last couple of years. Pay freeze – what are you talking about? I am a teacher and my pay has actually gone down for the last 2 years (mostly due to insurance costs) – so I am not sure what “big raises” people want to freeze. It really makes us feel unappreciated and I feel like the public does not look at us as professionals. Politicians – I would love to ask you one question before you decide we are not worth a pay raise – how long were you able to spend with your own child last night before they went to bed? I am guessing that more than likely we teachers spend more time with your kids than you do. Most people have no clue what teachers have to do day in and day out – never mind the topic we are suppose to teach, how about having the chance to check in with kids whose home life is not the greatest and those who feel like school is their only safe place. How about those kids that have to work so the family doesn’t lose the house and they have food on the table – who is taking care of those kids?

    Before we start bashing teachers – think about how important their jobs really are and how they are truly professionals.

  • Kevin VC

    Any leader who asks others to bleed for them before they themselves bleed should consider not leading.

    Freeze the legislatures salaries first.

  • Tiffany

    NO… as a teacher in a large school district I have seen the state “reallocate” our funds to help balance their budget over the past couple years. When the state decides to pay back the money they “borrowed” from the school districts who were showing surplus due to appropriate budgeting strategies, then we can talk about a pay freeze. The reallocation has already hindered the budgeting for school districts causing massive lay-offs, pay freezes and restructuring (as well as closing of schools). How much more should we take at the expense of our kids??

  • Nan

    I just read in the paper that freezing the teacher salaries will NOT reduce the state deficit. Why are they doing it then? I have not heard that answer yet. It just seems like another teacher-bashing event for PR for a new legislature. And in the same news, I hear that we need to renovate Target Center. Freeze that, instead!

  • Matthew

    Several comments below claim that teachers are being singled out, separate from other public employees, with respect to the pay freeze proposal. I hate to break it to you, but we are on our third year of a pay and hiring freeze in state jobs. Currently there are state employees who are doing the jobs of two people on account of the hiring freeze, and at the pay of 2007. And for those who’ve made comments below claiming state government needs to shrink, well, our state government has shrunk — general fund numbers indicate a 13% reduction from 2009 to 2010. And we’re now looking at a bigger reduction from ’10 to ’11. People seem to be purposefully ignorant and it’s pissing me off! We live in the information age and yet people have their head in the sand when it comes to the facts surrounding these issues. You’re all very quick to spout off an opinion, but obviously very slow to do a little research on the subject — just as today’s neo-cons and teabaggers want. I used to be a Republican, even actively involved in college Republicans and MN Young Republicans. I’ve since experienced a political epiphany of sorts upon realizing that the one-liners of Reagan in the late 70s and early 80s no longer apply under current circumstances. Today’s Republicans at the state level want us to become Mississippi, whereas the Republicans at the national level want us to become Somalia. It’s time we invest in human capital knowing that, if we don’t, China and India will pass us as though we’re standing still. Education should be a top priority.

  • Ryan

    No way…I am a teacher and I love my job. I understand other people’s comments about poor teachers. But please do NOT make the assumption that all of us are ineffective. I challenge anyone who thinks “those who can’t do…teach” to spend a day, no an hour in a classroom.

    What other profession does your salary depend on if you continue in your professional development? If I want to make more money I need to further my own education. I have a BA degree (4 years), MA degree (3 years) and I am working on getting my autism certificate. Who pays for that? I do.

    Why did I go into teaching? The kids

    Why might I leave? The politics…I can’t just do my job anymore!

  • Michelle

    The legislature and our school districts seem to cry local control for every other issue. But, when it comes to having to actually negotiate salaries for underpaid teachers that lose money evey year with the increase in health insurance, they need to legislate this. Really? This will not save teacher positions. Our children are suffering.

  • Mykell Barnacle

    In addition to being a dedicated teacher, coach, and father, my husband has been working very hard on his Master’s degree over the last few years. He is committed to excellence in education, and we were budgeting for a much needed and deserved pay increase that correlated with his professional expertise when he completed his degree. Now it is possible that not only will he not be getting cost of living increases, but his hard work and investment in an advanced degree may go unrewarded. If our state values education, the policy makers may want to consider legislation that will keep great teachers teaching instead of looking for an easier, more lucrative career.

  • John

    I am a public school teacher. I will support a pay freeze for teachers if the state gives back the $30 million they seized from my district last year. I suppose the lesson learned would be to spend like crazy–as congress does, don’t think about the future–as congress does, and you’ll still take a pay freeze. Nice work congressmen and women.

  • Jon

    My wife and mother are both teachers and i have the utmost respect for teachers and the additional work that they perform outside of their typical duty day. Most recently my wife has been asked to go to local areas where her students live to try and reach out to the families to try and show their efforts to help these peoples childern learn. She definitely is doing this on her own time which I think is ridiculous. Anyways, I am not opposed to cost of living increases as I, having worked for a number of companies, have NEVER received one. I would be VERY opposed to any sort of pay freeze for those teachers working on getting additional education/instruction on how to improve in their position.

  • barbara munic

    No: First, politicians have been defunding the public schools for years resulting in constant crises. Second, make an honest accounting of how much public money the private schools actually suck out of the system, (transportation, special services and books). If people want private/parochial education, then pay the real cost and don’t expect subsidies for those who can’t afford private ed. for their own kids. Third, incentivize minority kids to study by eliminating the ability to draw handicapped funds without earning credits towards a diploma. No passing grades, no handicapped funds. Amazingly, many parents coach their kids to “act handicapped” so they qualify for state funds. Yes-a mark of desperation, but unaffordable to honest taxpayers.

  • Lee Carlson

    I do not believe the legislature is best serving our State by subverting the control of our elected local leaders. There are so very many decisions made on the local level for the benefit of a community which the legislature is not qualified to decide upon. The support and expectations for a local school district is best left to the community which those teachers serve.

    There are a couple of very sad examples of irony here. First of all, it is ironic that the legislators would waste all this time and energy with trying to cram this ill-advised legislation through when they really need to be focusing on solving the $6.2 billion deficit. There have been claims that a freeze would save the State $80 million over the next two years. I work in a position which brings me into contact with teachers all across Minnesota and if those districts are already not under a wage freeze they are preparing to go there.

    The underfunding of education in our state is already accomplishing what a legislated “pay freeze” would do. We were 5th in the nation in per-pupil spending during Wendell Anderson’s tenure and now we are 36th. The lies promulgated by the GOP have the public believing that they are overpaying for education. The facts speak otherwise.

    The truth is that the GOP would rather grandstand and pretend they are protecting taxpayers by exerting their political will to push a “pay freeze” that cannot prove it will save any money. It is better fodder for their pomp to claim they have hobbled the union that to have people see the consequences of their policies which have underfunded education since Pawlenty began his regime.

    I also wish the lie to end about public sector finally sharing in the private sector’s pain. I know plenty of private sector workers who have gotten raises far above what I have as a teacher and also many members of Education Minnesota who have been working their way through wage freezes for years now. To say that all the private sector workers have experiences wage freezes and pay cuts is a lie. To say all public school teachers have enjoyed ongoing raises is a lie.

    When I lost my job as an educator because of budget cuts or because of seniority ( all 4 times ) I don’t remember any legislator responding in kind by saying private sector wages would be frozen to make me feel better. I worked very hard to continue on a path to success and provide for my family.

    This is a tax on educators, ill will that is being incited towards the education profession by legislators who are simply bent on breaking the union. It is shameful and spiteful as evidenced by the quick, forceful, and shortsighted nature of the Senator Thompson’s bill and actions afterward.

    As for pensions and tenure which tend to enter into the discussion. I knew what I was getting into an yes, part of the reason I have been able to work through many hard times in my career is because I knew there was a solid pension which I was paying into and job security if I could produce positive contributions to the welfare of my students.

    Since I was granted tenure I have given it up once to go to another school for family reasons but my desire to keep improving my craft has not dwindled. It is just that now I can do my job without worrying that the whim of some administrator will take away my opportunity to help those students.

    In our school, when we have harsh times such as a death or a student or budget cuts as we have experienced in great measure during recent years, we work together and the best of our students, staff, and community shine through. We are seeing the worst in members of our legislature as they refer to teachers as “Gestapo” or attack the rights of my local leaders and the rights that my union has negotiated for in good faith.

    Meanwhile, the highly inflated projection of $80 million in proposed savings with a wage freeze would amount to .0129% of the deficit. It is an insult to the entire state to expend more time on this issue while solving such a small portion of the problem. It is a smokescreen intended to distract until we find ourselves in the familiar situation of watching a bunch of politicians rant and rave while they try to hurry a budget solution through in the last week or two of the legislature.

    I am not complaining about my job. I am not complaining about my pay. I would just as soon see these politicians stop complaining about a job for which they have a tenuous understanding and find a viable solution that does not target my colleagues or my union as scapegoats for their lack of creating a sufficient, equitable, and sustainable funding system for education.

    I put myself through college to attain a 4-year degree and then worked hard again to attain a masters degree. To refer to me or my colleagues as a “public servant” is an abuse of the term and an sad statement on the priority that is currently put on education.

    You may not agree with me, we can all choose our own reality, but my words are the truth out here.

    Thank you,

    Lee Carlson

  • Linda

    During the last two years my “raise” has not covered the increase in health insurance that I have had to pay. Also teachers are required to pay for their own education increases which account for much of the “raise”. To deny them a slight raise will not allow them the chance to repay themselves for their tuition or keep up with the deductions from their paycheck for health insurance. Come on Minnesota, your teachers are already a bargain. Why would we single out this group?

  • http://http Debbie

    There are two tired mantras used in Minnesota time and time again, the first is “More, more, more” and the second is “cut teachers and police”. Since we have the same tired old politicians trying to fix things perhaps we had better open it up to some of us who aren’t riding the gravy train.

    I have a much better idea for saving money than to freeze teacher salaries. Start by freezing all public school administration salaries and cut those positions by consolidating and removing expensive positions like vice principals. They get paid alot to do work a clerk or teacher could do (with extra compensation of course). I also would like to add schools should not go to 4-day weeks. Kids in the U.S. already lag behind many other students in the world and cutting their time in school would be disasterous. Read on to find out how education funding can not only be spared but increased.

    Different public branches are now competing with each other for shrinking revenues so instead of focusing on freezing and cutting school districts expand the possibilities to include State, County and City freezes and cuts. This would free up money for education and reduce alot of the redundancies and inefficienies in those three government bodies.

    Start with an immediate 6-year pay freeze for all non-police and non-teacher public employees at the state, county and local level. Secondly cut their work week to four days. You can see they really would be getting paid more because they would be working less. Staggering could allow government to operate 5 days a week but I would say for the most part if you did away with 15-30 minutes of lunch time and shorten the breaks by 5 minutes each most employees could easily get their work done in four days. I know in the City of Apple Valley the employees routinely shave time from their days to take off work early.

    Next we have to take a look at their benefits, pensions and vacations and make some adjustments. Lack of transpaprency has led to severe rapaciousness on the part of our public employees. It is immoral what they have awarded themselves behind the backs of the taxpayers. The public must be able to, as President Obama said in his SOTU address, “find information at the touch of a button.” All salary and benefit information for public employees and elected officials should be readily available to the general public. The misuse of vacation time and compensation of unused vacation for public employees needs to be reviewed and revised and reversed in situations where it was used to pad any pensions.

    A simple four day week with shorter breaks would save oodles of money but I would go even further at the state, county and local level. Counties and cities should get back to doing the basics well and discontinue those fluffy programs and events that very few citizens partake of but the local governments spend lots of money on. If there’s extra money beyond spending for the basics REDUCE our taxes so we can give more to education. I’d rather be funding more math and science than go to the park on a Friday night to watch my mayor dance to live music. Drawing less than 10-15% of the population to gov’t sponsored events should be the death knell for those fluffy events (like Apple Valley’s indoor mid-winter fest) meant to improve the quality of our lives.

    So, there’s just a couple of super-simple ideas as options to the usual “we have to cut teachers and police” agruments. The administration in school districts could certainly use a overhaul but freezing teachers’ pay is going down the wrong path. Consider other meaningful cuts and reform to state, county and city governments before you cut school districts.

  • Dhaivyd Hilgendorf

    Is there anything more important to invest in than education? The education of our current youth is critical at this time of exponentially increasing technological complexity, coupled with the isolation that typically follows this lead. Media departments, in particular need to be bolstered, though they have typically been among the first to be cut in recent years. To freeze salaries to the already underpaid public servants who are doing the most to remedy the increasing gaps in education is to cut off the feet of our future.

  • Guy Haglund

    NO

    Investing in education is a capital investment.

    Don’t undercut the value of our human capital.

  • Judas

    Jesus was a teacher. Look what they did to him.

  • barbara munic

    another HUGE source of lost money: A student refuses to work, behaves badly, gets expelled from a number of schools, eventually ends up at one of the consortium schools for students who have failed in the public system. I have been told the total cost for addressing the “needs” of these students is around $100,000/year. Why don’t we follow the European habit and spend the money on students who are working hard? They end up with so many fewer resources because of the trouble makers! Then there are the students with the fewest resources of all: the normal, average student! So, no-don’t freeze teachers pay, eliminate the senseless expenditures. So let’s use common sense in deciding if we can sink endless dollars into students who leave at age 21 with only a few credits, (I mean seriously-1 or 1 credits). Isn’t it better to just admit that we can’t educate them without student engagement and parent support? Then you can use all that extra money to give me a really big raise when the economy is good. That’s only fair; after all, bankers can do a dreadful job and STILL get a big bonus. And we all know how that goes.

  • Chris

    I just think it is crazy that the people that stand by and watch CEOs guilty of unethical behavior earn more in a yearly bonus than any teacher will earn in an entire career are now calling to freeze teacher’s salaries.

  • Kari

    No, gov acts like education is the most important thing–but gov never comes through. And then they even want to take away the small increase that they do see. teachers work really hard for a pat on the back and a candy cane at christmas, don’t take away their small, little, less than 1% increase.

  • barbara munic

    One final comment and I will be quiet: Most teacher bashing is directed at the ultimate goal of eliminating tenure and pensions. Pretty draconian for professionals who spend their whole lives being underpaid. Not to mention the protection tenure provides against principals; I have seen principals make some pretty outrageous, (and illegal and immoral) demands on teachers. Instead of listening to the people who would like to do away with decent salaries/tenure/pensions for teachers, everyone in this society should be agitating for the return of the defined benefit pension plan for everyone. And let’s not whine that they are unaffordable; if executives were restricted to reasonable compensation and corporations to reasonable profits, it is affordable. Then all you have to do is remove those funds from any company control, so that they cannot engineer a bankruptcy in order to get at those funds. These are actually conservative ideas, borrowed from the Republicans of 60 years ago-before greed was the only thing they could see.

  • Nancy

    The idea of freezing pay that has already been denied in the previous ten years is ludicrous. The educational system is falling behind other countries due to cutting short the necessary funds to do a superb job. We can only do so much with the bit we are given as a whole. Wise up! Our students are our future!

  • David Boone

    So, once again let’s bash teachers. I have been teaching for 18 years and not once have we ever had a year where we haven’t had to cut or freeze funding. During the 90′s of great economic times I didn’t get pay increases that were extravagant, at best 2.5% which was still lower than the inflationary rate. I would have no problem taking a pay freeze if my salary increases were tied to the inflation rate, but as it is and has been we are the first to be attacked and told we make too much money, COME ON! Have a standard formula for a COLA, and quit looking to education to balance the mess our law makers put us all in. Education funding needs to be stable as not to impact any generation of students.

  • Elizabeth

    Only if the legislature plans on freezing all public servant salaries, including their own. Let’s take a look at where all the money is going. Not just the money that our Founding Fathers thought would be most valuable to society,the education of our citizens.

  • Sara in St. Paul

    No. – Every time the economy sags or people hear about how much we spend on education, teachers get singled out as the problem. They’re not.

    Let’s look at how we got to a deficit and begin by cutting the budgets and salaries of the people who put us in this situation. Then look at the cost/benefit analysis of what freezing teacher pay would do.

    We currently have an aging teacher work force. A large amount of them will be retiring in the next 5 years. Meanwhile, people who would make excellent teachers are not choosing to become teachers because of red-tape, political scapecoating and lousy pay. Our kids end up getting lower quality teachers. Our nationally recognized school system goes down the drain. People don’t want to move here. Our property values go down again. And the cycle continues.

    Support our teachers because it makes sense intellectually and monetarily.

  • Ann

    NO! With the costs of health insurance rising we actually are taking a pay cut. Many schools have had no raises for the past 1 or 2 contracts.

    How about cutting the number of district office staff or administrators?

    How about cutting extracurriculars and athletics and have them be community activities like they do in other countries?

    People talk about the US being behind in education, but other countries only pay for the academic part of education and not the clubs or athletics!

    How about CEOs taking a pay cut??? Or athletes or entertainment stars???

  • ML

    I am a teacher and believe that we as a nation, have made some really poor choices in the area of education within the last 10 years. When has there been any type of action that was taken to increase, dramatically, what we put into education? All politicians want to do is take away from our very future. In this country we have a growing number of people who are in their mid 20s to mid 30s who are living in their parents’ basements. This is pathetic. People who aren’t seeking jobs or opportunities out there, they are leaching off their families and dragging them down with them. Without change in education the number of these people will only increase. Therefore, our economic status will only continue to stay where it is or, get worse. Other countries around the world call teachers “world builders”. Other governments invest in education because they understand that this is how economies get turned around. Not cutting our legs out from underneath ourselves. I make a comfortable living, and am not complaining, but when is the last time you heard of a politician taking a paycut or freezing their own pay? It doesn’t happen. I would hope that for once, we could possibly catch a break. I am not holding my breath. God bless every teacher out there. Keep you head held high no matter what. Keep teaching our future and building our world. YOU MATTER!

  • dan

    As a school teacher, I say no. As a taxpayer of the state, I ask this question, “How about you freeze the pay of everyone getting a check through state funding-local government, judges, state troopers, local police and fire, state politicians…. you get the idea. See how far that one flies.

    Getting paid through our local school districts is easily the best system of financial checks and balances this state has going.

  • barbara

    I feel sorry for Richard, who wondered why teachers and other public employees were the only ones still receiving pensions. Don’t you realize that elimination of pensions is a huge part of the massive transfer of money to the upper class? Corporations have been very successful in getting people on the bottom to attack each other instead of the real culprit: massive amounts of money transferred to the upper class. Don’t say teachers can’t have pensions because everyone doesn’t have them: our entire society should demand fairer economic treatment for everyone. Certainly, a return to fairer wages and pensions is a very basic part of a fair economy-and, believe me, teachers will support a return to fairness for everyone.

  • MN Pat

    Yes – BUT not until the legislature freezes the pay of all people who work for any employer in the state. Last time I looked, teachers are employed by school districts, not the state. Go ahead, freeze the pay of insurance company & bank CEO’s; then we’ll talk about teachers.

  • Travis

    So far, I haven’t seen one comment bashing democrats and several bashing conservatives; but it’s the right that is mean spirited? I despise both parties almost equally and agree that government bureaucrat salaries should be the first cut. I also agree that this should be a local issue. My frustration is due to how teachers get paid, tenure, curriculum, and pensions.

    Teacher pay – Pay-for-performance. Why do teachers with a Masters get paid more than ones without? Another tangent would be why it takes 7+ years and $100k+ to get a masters. Education does not equal talent or ability. For example, I’d rather have someone that has actually been an accountant (with or without a teaching degree) teach accounting than someone who went to school for 7+ years, but has never worked at an accounting firm. Also, the energetic teachers (often times young, sometimes not) are the ones that should get paid, not the teachers that are counting down the days until they reach the rule of 90 (or whatever it is now). Finally, isn’t a math or science teacher worth more than a phy-ed, history, or art teacher?

    Tenure – Really? Does anyone feel tenure is in the best interests of educating our kids?

    Curriculum – I believe teaching kids about Excel, F7 spell check, mortgages, mutual funds, credit cards, even home maintenance is a lot more important than some of the things that get taught; i.e. vase making, certain history lessons, choir, etc.

    Pensions – Not everyone in the private sector is overpaid like a lot of CEOs. Our insurance premiums have also increased while our 401ks have decreased.

  • Kate

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! Here are some valid points to consider!

    1. Teachers have already made historic sacrifices

    2. Half of all teachers had a pay freeze for the last two years

    3. Average salary increase for teachers was only $17

    4. Any increases were wiped out by health insurance costs

    5. Local communities know what’s best for the schools

    6. It’s ironic that lawmakers who ran on local control, now want to give it up in their first bill

    7. Makes recruiting difficult

    8. Gives other states recruiting advantage

    9. Harms newest least paid teachers the most

    Enough is enough!

  • david

    Freeze my 0.5% increase???

  • David

    NO.

    I feel this proposal is politically motivated by the Republicans as payback to the teachers’ union for their support of Democratic candidates.

    This proposal might look different had the state not already ‘borrowed’ from the schools without any timetable for repaying the money. The districts which were the most responsible with their money lost the most.

  • Jane

    A pay freeze for teachers–what a novel idea! Those greedy, overpaid, underworked union thugs. Well, my Republican friends, try this on for size: Data show that public employees earn 20-30% less than their equally educated counterparts in the private sector. I’m happy to take a pay freeze–once you bump up my salary by the 20-30% I’m missing out on by teaching your kids.

  • Dan

    No. Minnesota has attracted some of the best teachers in the country but if you freeze the pay that is less likely to continue.

    My wife and I are excellent teachers and have been considering a move to Wisconsin. If this freeze goes through I think our decision will be made up.

  • Keith J Williams

    This is simply a conservative contrivance to make political hay on the backs of the most accountable public emplyees we have. It continues the destructive habit of pitting some Americans against others when many other remedies exist for the budget. Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand. I am waiting for a 21st C. Republican to become a stateman and support the services that good governance should provide.

  • Jan Jodock

    Maybe—But only IF the burden is shared and IF the legislature freezes salaries for everyone. No one in a small organization should have a total compensation package more than five times the total compensation of the lowest paid employee. No one in a large organization should have a total compensation package more than ten times the lowest paid employee. It would be a very patriotic thing for the CEOs and leaders to take drastic pay cuts so there is enough money to hire the unemployed who have skills and desire to work. Then maybe there would be enough money to pay for the things we say we value like education and our children’s future. JJ

  • Mateo

    Recently I successfully convinced my son to abandon plans to major in education at college. He now plans to major in finance — a higher paying and less stressful job than teaching. There’s your “Sputnik Moment.”

  • RJ

    Only if the legislature does the same.

    The Legislature could freeze their government and personal salaries or incomes at 2010 levels for the next 2 years.

    Along with it, they could freeze utility, food, rent, fuel and book prices at 2010 levels so they don’t impact schools and teachers with those too.

    Otherwise, it’s just a game.

  • RCP

    I am not disturbed by the “freeze salaries” issue. I figured it was coming. (I want to say something really snide here about who was elected to the legislature last election day, but I will refrain.) But as a teacher, I know that teachers have been “frozen” for years–in the last 10 years I have received 3.5% increase in my wage. Many, many contract years I received an increase only because I paid for furthering my own education and accessed the benefit of that educational increase.

    My belief, fellow educators, is that we do such a GREAT job of teaching that we make it look easy, effortless. Why should anyone get paid for doing something so easy? Ha. What we KNOW is that if we did not prepare, if we did not love what we do, if we did not have passion for what we teach, we wouldn’t be here in our classrooms with 35, 38, 40 students each day. Those same students would “eat us alive” if we didn’t prepare, research, revamp, update, learn–constantly to keep up with the digital natives in our classrooms.

    Lastly, because EVERYONE has been to school, everyone has seen how easy it is to teach; EVERYONE knows what teachers do. I won’t speak about the 20 hours of time outside of the school day I spent last week to calculate and enter final semester grades…taking late work, working with parents and students to make up work, staying long hours after school so kids who don’t have access to the Internet could work at a school computer…. (Remember how weird it was to see your teacher at the grocery store buying toilet paper and pantyhose?) I say to those who do NOT teach…WHY NOT? Spend some time with a teacher who loves his/her job; then ask how difficult the job is…and really listen to the answer. You’d be amazed.

  • Amanda Adams

    No. Let me get this straight, teachers are battered at every turn, accused of unprofessional behavior, should be paid based on the merit of their students and their student’s test scores, and now have no room for increasing their pay? The language of the proposed bill is really alarming. As someone who is almost finished with my masters, my attempts further my education under a system that at least rewarded that with a meager adjustment of pay will be frozen for the next two years with no retroactive pay. I have spent thousands of dollars in this degree program, none of which is reimbursed by my district, only to find that my hard work and dedication to increasing my own education has no value. That’s a hard knock. Wouldn’t a school district and albeit, a state, want educated educators? Even in a state like Minnesota, which in the past has at least valued education, these trends are really alarming. Its easy for others to talk about how it is necessary to freeze these wages……my guess is that it isn’t their own wage they are talking about.

  • Robin

    NO! This is a local issue. The public needs to be aware that -at the local level- many unions/teachers have already agreed to pay freezes for the last two years.

    I do not understand people who comment, “Teachers are already overpaid.” This is one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard. Compared to salaries in the public sector, for the same level of education, teachers make significantly less. I did not choose to work in education because of the money -I don’t know anyone who has.

    Will every state employee (including elected officials) be subject to these same conditions?? I should hope so.

    One of the past ‘perks’ of being a teacher was great healthcare- that no longer exists. Any salary increases received over the last several years has been eaten up by health care cost increases.

    If governments keep cutting education and start demanding pay freezes/lower pay for teachers – the quality of our teachers is going to diminish as our most talented educators seek employment elsewhere. Educators prepare our future leaders – this is a VERY important task. Surely our children and our country’s future is worth investing in…

  • Peggy

    Why single out teachers? It makes no sense. I think the Legislature is only too happy to make educators the scapegoats–keeps the public eye off of them!

  • Torgy

    Republican priorities at state legislature thus far has been to make it unduly burdensome for disabled people to vote (H.F. 210 Sect. 16), to make it easier to purchase a gun, and to expect our educators to take a pay cut despite the lowest taxes in over a century.

  • Maria

    And while they’re at it, freeze gas prices, food prices, college tuition costs, etc. Freeze teacher salaries? NO. I have been teaching 25 years with little or no pay raise over the last few years. Teachers deserve a pay raise. I challenge anyone to come spend a week, a month in a diverse classroom and then tell us no raise. Some have no idea what we do and deal with each day. We have to plan and create lessons, manage behavior, plan for all learners’ skill levels, feed, doctor, and on top of all that, teach, and get them to pay attention so they can learn. Not an easy task these days. Be rewarded for getting a master’s degree? Absolutely, we learn more strategies. Tenure, absolutely. Experience means something. Teachers are NEEDED. Let teachers know they are appreciated, and do not freeze their salaries.

  • nancy

    School districts and school districts alone should determine the salaries of their employees. For all their talk about “small government” Minnesota Republicans certainly are anxious to spread their tentacles in all directions.

  • Jennifer

    The Legislature should not be in control of the finances of local school districts. They are perfectly capable of negotiating their own contracts with the resources they have available. Many school district employees took a freeze on the last round of negotiations because it was the right thing to do in light of the economy. It is a decision that should be made locally, not at the state level.

  • Paula Schroeder

    Our last contract was considered a “soft freeze” and the only way we could earn more money was to make a lane change, that means we needed to earn more college credit. I have spent the past few months enrolled in a master’s program, spending more money and time away from my own family so that I could make a lane change. Now, if the proposed freeze happens, my time and costs that I’ve spent on my education will not be rewarded. I will be in the same boat with more personal debt. We spend so much money of our own on the students we teach because the budgets won’t allow for what’s truly needed. The state has taken enough. Give us what we deserve. If we work hard, we should be reimbursed accordingly.

  • MN Teacher

    SPORTS ARENAS???? No-do not freeze salaries. Seriously, the billions of dollars spent on sports arenas in Minnesota and you ask us for a pay freeze????? Guessing your sports arenas are large enough to house students and then maybe those athletes could take over our undervalued and underpaid teaching positions.

    Teachers historically have not been to paid to match talent or the tremendous education requirements to be in a teaching position. Considering that we have truly not ever received genuine cost of living pay increase, this suggestion to freeze pay is simply one more perfect picture of how educators are completely undervalued.

  • Long time teacher

    SPORTS ARENAS???? No-do not freeze salaries. Seriously, the billions of dollars spent on sports arenas in Minnesota and you ask us for a pay freeze????? Guessing your sports arenas are large enough to house students and then maybe those athletes could take over our undervalued and underpaid teaching positions.

    Teachers historically have not been to paid to match talent or the tremendous education requirements to be in a teaching position. Considering that we have truly not ever received genuine cost of living pay increases, this suggestion to freeze pay is simply one more perfect picture of how educators are completely undervalued.

  • George Lundgren

    Absolutely not!!!

    Teachers are underpaid enough already not to mention that teachers often put in far more hours than they get paid for in the first place.

    Do we really want the people who are responsible for teaching the next generation of people how to live, be disgruntled and underpaid?

    It seems our priorities in this country are too often in the wrong place, we can bail out big banks, and auto manufacturers, but can’t even fund education enough to keep it going each year. Maybe if we had enough education in the first place we would know better what we should do with our money to make our society a better place.

  • Sara Stocco

    No, absolutely not. I have been a teacher for 3 years, and LOVE my job. However, my salary at this point is barely enough to get by. An overwhelming number of incoming teachers quit within the first 5 years of teaching. The reason for that is because we are over-worked, underpaid, and apparently undervalued. There are a lot of great teachers out there that we should be fighting to hang onto. We don’t want to lose great teachers because they aren’t valued enough in this society.

    I spent $30,000 to get my Minnesota teaching license, which at the time was REQUIRED to teach in this state. So not only are we underpaid, undervalued, and overworked, but we’re over-educated as well. If we are being asked to spend an asinine amount of money to qualify to teach in the state of Minnesota, we should be appropriately compensated for our hard work. A state-wide pay freeze on teachers is unethical, and frankly, quite offensive.

  • Sara

    No, absolutely not. I have been a teacher for 3 years, and LOVE my job. However, my salary at this point is barely enough to get by. An overwhelming number of incoming teachers quit within the first 5 years of teaching. The reason for that is because we are over-worked, underpaid, and apparently undervalued. There are a lot of great teachers out there that we should be fighting to hang onto. We don’t want to lose great teachers because they aren’t valued enough in this society.

    I spent $30,000 to get my Minnesota teaching license, which at the time was REQUIRED to teach in this state. So not only are we underpaid, undervalued, and overworked, but we’re over-educated as well. If we are being asked to spend an asinine amount of money to qualify to teach in the state of Minnesota, we should be appropriately compensated for our hard work. A state-wide pay freeze on teachers is unethical, and frankly, quite offensive.

  • Lynette

    Absolutely not. Teachers are an asset to building our nation.

  • Cassie

    Not unless they no longer care about the education of Minnesota’s students. If the goal is to drive away high quality educators, a salary freeze will ensure it.

  • Concerned Teacher

    The real questions relate to importance. Are teachers important and do we value their skills and role in society? Should teachers and a quality education be more or less important than other things. If we value teachers and their skills; and we believe they are important and vital to our society’s well being then we MUST fund them appropriately! There should be no other discussion or debate. Under funding education is a major dysfunction of a society that is headed in the wrong direction. I would hope that most, if not all, people would agree with this. Without a good, proper, and funded educational system, where will our future graduates be? I pray for the students who do not and will not have a class size of under 25-30 students. I pray for the students that do not and will not have the same opportunities I was given when I was in school. Please take a step back and realize what is important . . . I hope your answer is education. We need, we must, we have an obligation to fund EVERY school district in order to properly educate our youth.

  • eric

    As a teacher for 27 years if the state wants to freeze my pay I say fine. However if my pay is frozen so then should my natural gas bill, taxes, mortgage, electric bill, cable, medical insurance, interest rates, sanitation, water bill, TRA, groceries, insurance, internet, cell phone, auto license fees, gasoline etc. Without that guarantee I don’t see why I have to bite the bullet salary-wise. We have gone long periods of time (including now) when raises have been few and paltry. People in the private sector were getting bonus’ while we were getting less than cost of living increases just to keep up with inflation.

    The support we get from our legislators is underwhelming. Go pick on someone else more deserving of a wage freeze.

  • Greg H

    A wage freeze would be like suggesting another layer of paint on the Titanic would have protected it from sinking. This solution is all 99% GOP pandering to base and 1% real solution. Step it up GOP if you think the message from the voters was petty suggestions and party back-slapping … you have another change coming.

  • David

    Yes, freeze their wages. The sad truth is that bad teachers are everywhere in Minnesota, and because of tenure, you can’t get rid of them.

    You can’t even get the teacher’s union to agree to any accountability in our schools, so why not freeze their salaries. It would be one way to get rid of the dead weight in the classrooms and school administrators.

    It is time to stop throwing money at a broken, and obsolete system.

  • Heather Lyke

    No, they should not. This is especially true with the way the current bill is bundled: this bill is not just about pay. The Jan. 15 deadline (motivation to negotiate in a timely fashion) would be removed. It would enable districts the ability to get rid of counselors and social workers–positions critical to running a school and helping kids. It would eliminate the allotted Staff Development funds that keep teachers fresh. This bill does ALL of the aforementioned items as well as freeze the pay of already underpaid teachers: there are very few jobs where most in the occupation of a Master’s degree or higher, average 50-60 hour work weeks, but still make less than (on average) $40-50,000 a year.

    Bill SF56 should not be allowed to pass.

  • Sherry

    Salaries are a negotiated item. If a particular local agrees to a freeze as part or their package, that is perfectly fine..I know many locals have done that as they work together with the administration to develop a plan that works for all. Creating salary schedules (or lack thereof) should not be part of the legislative agenda–even for Republicans.

  • Hardworking Teacher

    Public employees are being used as scapegoats by some for problems that have nothing to do with public employee salaries. Many of us sacrifice opportunities to make more money in the private sector in exchange for benefits that come with our positions. When economic times are good (think 1990s), do public employee salaries keep pace with large increases in private-sector compensation? Unfair accusations and misperceptions notwithstanding, teachers work long hours working with those who are our future. We don’t ask for large increases; we only ask that our jobs don’t cost us money in the face of rising costs of living.

  • Colin Moriarty

    I am a former public school teacher who was drafted out of the classroom back in 1968. After serving my two years, I came back to the classroom, retiring in the year 2000. I was recently notified (December 2010) by TRA, that starting in January, my monthly pension check would be decreased by $50.00 a month as a result of federal actions on taxes, taken at the end of 2010. These are part of the same actions, that will give the richest 2% of Americans almost $500,000,000,000 in tax cuts. A two year pay freeze for educators, will seriously hurt financially as you try to save and prepare for the day when you turn in your keys. Believe me, every dollar you can save now will make retirement an easier transition. The $50.00 a month that our government needed for the richest 2% has already been noticed in this household.

    It grieves me to say this, but there are too many, newly elected legislators who simply believe that an educator’s ability to “fog a mirror” allows them to survive in today’s educational environment and blame it on “the union’s stranglehold” on public school education. These people have absolutely no understanding of “tenure” or the knowledge, that before tenure is granted, a licensed educator is on probation for three consecutive years, during which he or she can be dismissed at any time, and that only after completing three successful years, which include observations and evaluations, by the school administrator, is an educator granted tenure. Once granted, it simply guarantees the educator a “fair and just” dismissal from the classroom.

    These same people fail to realize that in order for students to succeed and reach their full potential, smaller learning environments are required for today’s diverse population and “small” costs more than “large”. At a time when budget cuts are already requiring student-to-staff ratios to rise, is it also likely that arrest rates for juvenile homicide, robbery, rape and aggravated assaults will also rise? Do these people really believe that building more jails and juvenile detention centers should take priority over a quality public school education?

    Students struggle on a daily basis with unique learning styles, overcrowded buildings and simply too many children seeking individual attention from staff. Class size plays an immeasurable role as children strive to reach their full potential, but bashing public school educators and freezing their pay is so much easier than addressing the real problems within public school education.

  • Tom

    The state of MN is in a bind and everyone needs to pull their share. I do not believe educators should be singled out. I would encourage educators to shed the union mentality and work towards a market based system where the better you perform the more you are paid. Testing, while not perfect, can do a satisfactory job of indicating student progress. Not only would your pay go up with your students learning, the general view of educators in society would improve from whiners with a ‘protected job’ to one equivalent to other professions.

  • Le Matts

    Seriously?! How about administrators, too, including principals? Then you might as well freeze the salaries of state legislators as well. Maybe throw in MnSCU and the University of Minnesota. Heck, how about social workers and everyone else in public service including firefighters and police? Are we really paying public employees too much money now, and is that the reason our state is in debt?

  • Ellie Mazzio

    Teachers should not be singled out to bear the brunt of the state’s economic deficit especially when legislators has already borrowed from schools and cut education funding to offset the budget crisis.

    Those who support a salary freeze and beat up on teachers should be ashamed of themselves. To make generalize statements that claim there are alot of bad teachers shows the level of ignorance among some Minnesotans who either have had a bad experience in school or obviously have no clue as to how hard educators work.

    It is a sad commentary on our society when teachers are the first to blame when it comes to student academic achievement. Did we forget that parents are the first teachers and that some parents have checked out on their kids? Did we forget that some kids should have books at home rather than DVDs? Did we forget that poverty and the lack of stability at home can make a significance difference in someone’s success at school?

    It’s easy to make teachers scapegoats and the one’s who yell the loudest about how poor our system is, and or how unqualified our teachers are, obviously need an education!

    It would be very sad to freeze teacher’s salaries for the sake of politics!

    Hard -Working Educator!!

  • Joe Smith

    Let’s move forward 2 years. Will the school districts and the state be ready to pay for increases then? This legislation does not come with a plan. Like a requirement for setting aside money or putting in a tax for 2 years to pay for the much deserved pay increase after the freeze. Some districts may go past the January 15th deadline (especially if their is no deadline) and sit and wait for another year or more. The salary schedule in many districts would be the same for 6 or more years. You are meaning to tell me that a starting teacher is worth the same amount as 6 years ago.

    This legislation not only needs to come with a plan but with other legislation included such as keeping the right to strike, reinstating the January 15th deadline in 2014, not putting a “right to work” constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012, requiring “all” districts to set aside 2% for staff development in 2013 (penalty if they don’t), and not tying compensation to test scores (this has been proven ineffective).

  • LJD

    You have got to be kidding me. I am a hard working teacher who already dedicates time way beyond my contract day to help my students with Autism be successful as well as guiding parents through the challenges of this disability. To freeze my pay means that what I do isn’t important. We already make less then most people in the business world and now you are going to try and tell us we don’t have the right to the small pay increases we need to support our own families. Also a freeze creates an unhealthy environment in continued education for teachers. Though teachers like learning new things, part of the incentive is to work towards the next lane. If we can’t earn lane changes, many won’t continue to attend workshop or classes to become more knowledgeable in the teaching profession. I don’t think the government who does not pay for our benefits or give us other benefits of government employees should have the right to start legislating our pay.

  • Mark Anderson

    How does this legislation help the state get out of it’s current budget situation? The legislators need to focus on the budget and balancing the budget. Legislation like this is just another reason the state is in the situation it is. The legislators are down there creating more of a mess by bringing up legislation which has nothing to with what is the most pressing issue (and what most of them ran on by saying they were going to fix).

    If the state is underfunding it’s obligation to education, then that is a revenue problem. Thus the state needs to create more revenue or ways for the local governments to create more revenue. If the legislators see that it is their obligation to freeze teacher wages, then they need to have a plan to have the revenue in place in 2 years to adequately fund education. A freeze is not enough or we will be in the same situation in 2 years. The costs of education will not be less in 2 years.

  • Roger Ebnet

    No, we are behind already…nothing else is going to be frozen. Especially health insurance! oMG. I already pay about half my check to health insurance!

  • Jon Lund

    Teachers salaries? Freeze them?

    Punish the educated for the sins of the greedy, the selfish, the ignorant?

    Dis- incentify and vilify the people, the profession, and the passion that protect the opportunities for all individuals every day?

    And that’s every day.

    Makes sense to me.

  • concerned

    NO!

    First, we hear time and again that we need to attract “the best and the brightest” into the teaching profession. That would require pay that would encourage the “best and the brightest” to enter teacher preparation programs in college. Hold on though, don’t commit too soon. Anytime the economy turns for the worse we’ll freeze your pay. The logic of a pay freeze fails me.

    Second, whatever happened to local control? The situation in Annandale is different than in Ada, Edina is different from Elgin, Minneapolis is not the same as Minneota, and Watertown has little in common with Washington County. There are times that one-size fits all works. This is not one of those times.

  • Tired Teacher

    What if legislators had their pay increase determined by the rise or fall of the salaries of their constituents? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But, that’s what you are asking teachers to do. I have worked both in the private sector and as a teacher, and I would do anything to get out of teaching. Teachers are constantly being criticized for the failings of our society. Nobody considers what is happening to these students at home. Until the legislators have the guts to point fingers at parents, and not just at teachers, they have no basis for their accusations. Teaching is almost an impossible job here in MN. Everyone wants us to close the achievement gap, yet, there are so many variables out of our control. Mostly, what educational exposure did this child have BEFORE they started kindergarten, and CONTINUE to receive at home? I have students who truly can not articulate what or where they have been over the summer. Whose fault is that? We can only do so much, yet we are blamed for everything, and it is really disgusting. Who in the private sector is held to such standards?

  • Gretta

    Dear MN Legislature,

    If you freeze my pay, will you then promise to let me TEACH and leave me alone?

    If so, I welcome an Alberta Clipper.

  • Dianne

    NO!!

  • Dan

    I honestly don’t have that big of a problem with the legislature freezing our salaries as long as they do it across the board with all public workers: police, firefighters, politicians and any other state worker. Just don’t touch our benefits. Let’s be honest, we are lucky to have jobs and everyone needs to do their fair share of belt-tightening in this economy. Who is going to miss a couple grand if it means they have to cut less teachers. Thinks of it as the greater good.

  • A life long educator

    Sure, I’ll take a pay freeze when the legislature starts playing back thier own salaries whenever they need to go into a “Special Session”.

  • Mary

    I am having a hard time as it is trying to pay my ever-increasing bills. My health insurance increased by $200 per month, My electric bill is up 10%, my gas bill has doubled, and my food bill is through the roof. By freezing my salary, the State will in effect lower the amount that I will be able to spend in my local economy – which the State is planning on slashing aid to. I live in a rural community. My local grocery store may have to close its doors due to the decrease in local spending. Go ahead, State of Minnesota, keep cutting the ordinary consumer’s wage. I am thinking about moving to North Dakota, where there State Government seems to be more about keeping people in their state.

  • David

    A long time educator:

    You are the reason why they should freeze your salary or cut your job. Do you even know what spell check is or an IPad?

    Time to get those who have been lifelong teachers, who still think teaching from a book is the best option, out and new teachers with just a little vision in the system.

    It is sad that our education system still believes that length of service makes for a better educator.

  • First Year Teacher

    As a first year teacher, I am still learning a great deal about union policies, benefits, as well as the short comings that the education system in Minnesota seems to have. What I don’t understand is how can we attract our future generations to aspire to be an educator when teachers financial rewards are more of a burden? Clearly teachers do not go into this profession for the money, but what inspires those to be competitive and determined with their careers without some sort of motivation financially? I am considering different career paths because I cannot live paycheck to paycheck at this time in my life with post-college debt. Those who I have spoken to about becoming a teacher decide not to BECAUSE of the low salaries. It’s a scary thought for our future America.

  • tj

    High academically achieving countries have not gotten to where they are by cutting teachers salaries. In fact look at Sweden, they became one of the highest by paying for teachers master’s degrees, paying their teachers good salaries and making sure their school buildings were well built and maintained so that there was a positive atmosphere. This is not rocket science, if we want to compete in the world we need to put more money into education, not cut it.

  • mark

    This is very sad. At a time when we decry that we are falling behind in the world and we pay homage to wanting the finest teachers in the finest schools we freeze wages. We need to invest in education and that means competitive pay. Beyond the personal gratification and an innate desire to help guide the next generation, why would someone go into teaching? Why would someone sacrifice so much pay to do what we say we exalt? It is hard to imagine any reason beyond those very personal reasons to go into teaching. Some decry the unions and say we should go to “market based” solutions. Well under what possible “market based” solution would bright and talented people choose to go into teaching if this is what the “market” bears. Our state was once dubbed the Minnesota Miracle because we invested liberally into our education system and our parents believed that a well run and well funded education system was critical to the well being of our state in both the short and long terms. We have lost that vision and this is a glaring example that we have lost that vision.

  • http://dw Debra Wilson

    Half of all teachers had a pay freeze for the last two years. In 2010 there was one less paycheck and so teachers saw their gross salary drop between 2009 and 2010. So no a pay freeze sends the wrong message to teachers that we’re being singled out to solve the mess the legislature and economy have created.

  • Marci

    As a state employee in the public school system, I feel that if our salaries are frozen, so should the salaries of ALL other state employees including: senators, representatives, mayors, police, fireman, correctional employees, all state office employees and the governor as well. If the state and federal government is truly in a crisis mode, then all of their salaries should be frozen as well, especially since the majority of them make more than public school teachers do. In the long run, that would save the most money!

  • Tom Brandt

    Ironically the same legislative leadership that would champion a pay for performance compensation plan now wants to freeze the pay of all teachers. The hipocrisy of the proposed freeze exposes the real agenda behind many proponents of pay for performance; Eliminate yet another middle class profession and redistribute the resulting wealth to the already wealthy.

  • Charles Burmeister

    I don’t think the State government should freeze teachers wages. I believe this is micro-managing independent school districts affairs. Let the school districts decide how to allocate their own funds. I could see cuts in funding being made, but allow the school districts to determine how to allocate the cuts. Show me another independent business that is funded by our government that the State tells it how to spend their funds?

  • Old Teacher

    From the MASSP Legislative Update:

    “The tricky part is that a freeze doesn’t do anything for the state budget. The state’s budget is unaffected by local salary freezes. If everyone agreed to a local freeze we would still have the same $6billion monster deficit to contend with. The bill exempts health insurance increases and Q comp agreements so there would still be significant negotiations even if it is passed.”

    Why is this an issue if it will not help balance the STATE budget??

  • Mary Voss

    No. It is very interesting to see that the government is looking at freezing educational pay when teachers are already underpaid. Why don’t they look at the tax amount that the rich pay and make that more just?

  • Tonh

    No. I have been teaching for 6 years. I am currently a “part time” teacher (32 hours per week). I live in a one bedroom apartment and barely make enough money to make ends meet. I am unable to get a second job because I put in 55 hours per week at school and have numerous evening commitments for the school. The only Minnesotans who want to freeze teacher’s salaries are people who get paid more and have easier jobs.

  • http://whenimnotsleeping.com Bryce Howitson

    I’m not a teacher or a state employee. I don’t have any children. Instead, I’m a tax paying citizen who will bear the brunt of the ongoing “cost of education” and as such I’m appalled that as a state we would even consider a pay freeze for teachers.

    If, as JFK said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future,” then why do we consistently spend billions to protect the fossil fuel industry and cut funding for education? In the private sector we’d find it ludicrous for any manager to cut resources, eliminate incentives and lower talent recruiting abilities–then expect a team to produce higher quality output. Unfortunately states seem to follow that exact process with their “teams” and expect different results.

    If our plan is to leave governmental, social and environmental messes we’re creating for future generations that’s fine, but lets at least attempt to equip the Minnesotans of the future to cope with those problems. There is no possible way that freezing teacher pay will benefit students or the future of this state any more than pulling police from the streets will lower the crime rate.

    Again I’m not a teacher, but I’m employed and able to contribute to our economy because of them.

  • School Social Worker

    No. Both my husband and I work in education-I am part-time and he is full-time. We have two small children at home. A salary freeze would significantly impact our family as we already have a tight budget and are watching gas and food costs rise. Teachers are not known for their huge salaries, but are most often in the work because of their hearts for the students that they work with…I know this is true for us!

    The other main point that I feel is overlooked is that freezing teacher’s salaries would not do anything for the state budget. The state’s budget is unaffected by local salary freezes.

  • Bruce Mulder

    No, because there doesn’t seem to be a demonstrated causal relationship between freezing the wages of public employees and improvements in public institutions. My question would be, ‘How would freezing educator salaries lead to improvement in public education?’

  • Betony

    No, I teach 225 students every two days because I believe in free public education. Things are not going to get better in this country if we keep dumping on our education system.

    We need to pump up our education system so we can prepare our youth to run our country when it’s their turn. Do you realize how important educating our youth is? I do. It’s time to put money into what we value.

  • Concerned

    I am having trouble getting my mind around the idea that freezing salaries is going to help the economy in some way! Particularly for those who have historically gone without being properly compensated as long as I can remember! I know that I would not be where I am today, nor would my children, if it were not for the educators who helped us along the way! Life was hard in my home, as a child, and going to school meant getting filled with knowledge from some of the best people around! It was my out of a horrible life!

    I do not believe that this is the answer, and I believe that if Teachers salaries are going to be frozen so should the salaries of ALL of our public officials! All of whom make much more than teachers and pose a much larger burden to our economy!

    We need to remember that children are the future! Without these wonderful teachers most of us would not be where we are today! We need to continue to attract good people to the industry, and if we cut salaries to teachers good people are going to be forced to leave the industry and then we are going to see our economy REALLY suffer!

    I know many teachers, as I am a therapist working in the school system. Most of the teachers I know work many hours, long past their “scheduled day”, and they spend money out of their own pocket for school supplies to supplement the already struggling budgets! Teachers are among the most devoted individuals I know! They believe in what they are doing, and know that it IS the most important thing they can do! Giving time to a child makes all the difference in the world! Without these wonderful people things would be truly grim! I would vote NO…do not freeze the Teachers Salaries! They deserve every dime they earn and then some!

  • DErickson

    People will not spend money until wages increase, jobs are restored and freezes are eliminated. These things hurt the economy and businesses will continue to see profits dwindle as a result. How can they make a profit when they have no buyers? The way to fix the economy is restore the middle class, not deminish it, and revise the tax code making it more progressive. No more ridiculous Reagan/Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%!!!!

  • REL

    Those in the state legistrature should not only freeze, but reduce their own salaries and per diems first – LEAD BY EXAMPLE. They and the executive branch are mostly responsible for this mess and should be trimmed first. No more hidden perks. Then, when they have trimmed themselves to the bare minimum can they even think about any pay freezes for anyone else. They are paid by the tax payers of this state – not by their political parties or special interest groups. They are responsible to the tax payers..

  • Matt Davidson

    No, The should put a limit on the amount that they can take from “donations” and “special interest” groups and use the remainder to bring up the teachers salary. I think it’s about time for full fledged transparency in relation to what these public servants are put in their pocket and how they are using every penny of the tax payer’s dollar.

  • Julie

    Why freeze teacher pay? It will not put a dime back into the state to help with the budget. What it will do is encourage districts to hire more staff at their district offices-that will likely stay after the pay freezes end- and spend the money on other items. What it will also do is discourage qualified people who want to go into teaching. This bill is a slap in the face to all the hard working, well deserving teachers in MN. So many people speak negatively of teachers yet would never want to set foot in a classroom. We need to move in the opposite direction and increase teacher’s pay. We will attract more top notch professionals with a pay that is appropriate to a top notch professional.

  • M. G. Zepeda

    I won’t belabor the isue as the majority of previous posts have said it all.

    Freezing educators’ wages is a ploy, why?

    Think.

    It can’t favorably impact the state budget…

    What is the point?

    Having retired after 40 years as a public and private educator, I support public education as I’ve seen the benefits first hand. I have witnessed what teachers do. I can attest that the majority of teachers love their work in the classroom and students. They work diligently to help students perform as successfully as possible. Many teachers spend their own earnings to provide extras or even necessities for their classrooms and students far beyond crayons and stickers; including additional books, learning tools, clothing for students, fees for field trips. The list is endless. They come early /stay late to plan and prepare the classroom, use their lunch period or planning times for meetings, to call parents, give students extra help or have lunch with a student as reward or give some much needed adult attention.

    Yes, maybe you had a bad experience with a teacher or school growing up. We all did.

    If you feel that it maimed you, then get some counseling.

    If you doubt what I say, come along with me one day. It can be arranged for you to spend a day in your local public school. Better yet, volunteer. The students are craving attention. Many need help with reading skills and math perhaps due to a variety of learning issues.

    Statistics show that students whose parents help them at home perform more successfully. in school. Some parents can’t or don’t help their children for whatever reason.

    Eliminating the arts and P.E. isn’t a solution as how else will students experience these? They are necessary and motivational for students. Some may have a talent which will only blossom as they pursue the interests. Most school children also need the stimulaton of movement in addition to physical activity.

    So visit your local public school. Ask what you can do to help and you’ll see for yourself what goes on and where your school tax dollars go. You might even make a new friend.

  • Andrew

    I actually support this. They’re not asking teachers to take a pay cut. All they’re doing is saying they can’t afford to give raises for a while. The problem is that public education has become a wing of the Democratic party. Perhaps if more teachers cared more about educating our youth instead of advancing a liberal agenda then perhaps I could sympathize with their cause. Until then, we’re all facing budget cuts these days. Teachers really have no right to complain.