But come into my classroom. They come in angry—I counsel them. I stay up past The Tonight Show to put together a unit that will allow them to experience St. When they exit my classroom, they should be fully equipped to compete academically on a global scale. What teachers who contact her with their heartfelt thanks want to convey is that they’re just as concerned about the state of public education as anyone else. “We all want education to be fixed, we just want to be in on that problem solving,” Miller says. In the spring, they are all assessed with one measure and if they don’t fit, I have failed.
I have finished my third cup of coffee in my classroom before the business world has stirred. The reason is WEP. In that case, the problem is GPO. They come in hungry—I feed them. I buy authentic literature so my students can be exposed to authors and worlds beyond their textbooks. They didn’t grow enough.
One of the more noxious provisions of SB6 that upset Miller and her colleagues was a mandate that standardized testing be the primary basis for teachers’ employment, certification and salary. In Massachusetts, for example, the laws affect about 100,000 NEA members, including nearly 20,000 education support professionals (ESPs.) In Michigan, they affect 107,000 NEA members, including nearly 30,000 ESPs. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dean Heller (R-NV). My students must be prepared to work within diverse communities, and yet they are not afforded the right to ever experience life beyond their own town. Capitol in early May to lobby for repeal of the two laws, GPO and WEP, that unfairly penalize public employees in more than two dozen states.
There’s no doubt that the money is his. It’s just that the heart of that message resonates with everyone in our world.” That’s because in the past year they’ve been slammed by a troubling development: political opportunists attacking public education professionals. “I feel more than ever I have to be on the defensive to prove I’m not a bad teacher,” she says. “It’s really unfortunate. WEP affects 1.6 million beneficiaries. Since his retirement, Ritchie has been penalized about $81,000, or about $440 each month in Social Security payouts. I am required to conduct Science lab without Science materials, so I buy those, too. Rodney Davis (R-IL), the lead sponsor of the “Social Security Fairness Act of 2017,” (HR-1205), a bill also sponsored by U.S.
I scour the web along with countless other resources to create meaningful learning experiences for my 24 students each day. The budgeting process has determined that copies of classroom materials are too costly, so I resort to paying for my copies at Staples, refusing to compromise my students’ education because high-ranking officials are making inappropriate cuts. Education experts said SB6, which Gov. They didn’t learn enough. By Cynthia McCabe When people were attacking her and her fellow dedicated public school teachers, Florida fourth-grade teacher Jamee Miller got mad. Go ahead and penalize me.” And eventually, after working through the paperwork, they certainly did.
So I plan. The Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 would fully repeal WEP and its legislative sister, the Government Pension Offset (GPO). I review their 504s, their IEPs, their PMPs, their histories trying to reach them from every angle possible. For decades, NEA retirees have led the charge to reverse these two laws and restore a modicum of fairness to the Social Security Administration’s dealings with public employees. “The solution is my bill,” Davis said. “But I need your help.” “You got it!” said Ritchie. ‘What are you doing to fix this mess?’ This is not the first time Davis has introduced a bill to repeal GPO and WEP. I’m eager to show you the realities.” For instance, this past year, Miller’s realities included having a student who missed 30 days of school, a student whose parents were arrested right before the standardized test day, and a third student who vomitted on her test booklet and was unable to retake it.
Each year she spends $1,000 of her own money on classroom supplies and her students. Yes. I reflect on the successes of lessons taught and re-work ideas until I feel confident that they will meet the needs of my diverse learners. As the sun sets around me and people are beginning to enjoy their dinner, I lock my classroom door, having worked 4 hours unpaid. House of Representatives conference room. “One of my teachers, my own fifth-grade teacher, brought it to my attention and it just didn’t seem fair.” This year, Davis’ repeal bill already has 124 co-sponsors—93 Democrats and 31 Republicans—or nearly one out of every four Representatives. I am required to teach Social Studies and Writing without any curriculum/materials provided, so I purchase them myself. Its companion in the Senate, SB 915, has been sponsored by U.S.
When her 81-year-old husband dies—hopefully not any time soon!—she can expect to get, maybe, a paltry $14 a month from his Social Security benefits. The result? An essay called “I Am a Teacher” which caught fire in recent weeks on Facebook and blogs as supporters of teachers attacked by budget-slashing lawmakers and critics trying to score political points took it to heart and then took it online. (Full essay text appears at bottom.) Shawna Christenson, a teacher in West Palm Beach, Fla., wrote on Facebook after posting it to her own profile last week: “Some folks need to be reminded that we do so much more than leave and enter when the bell rings when they think achievement is the only way to measure us.” Miller, a National Education Association and Florida Education Association member who has been teaching for seven years, wrote the essay a year ago largely for herself and then put it away. But when the controversial Senate Bill 6 was recently careening through the GOP-controlled legislature, she dusted it off and posted it on Facebook. Last year, she and her husband donated $30,000 to create a fellowship at the University of Florida that helps elementary education majors working toward a master’s degree in education technology. I am a teacher in Florida. She was Seminole County Teacher of the Year in 2008.
And this is all before the bell rings. The law would have further reduced children to a test score and ignored that their lives and their achievements are more complex and nuanced than that. “To have all that I pour into my students every year come down to just one test is so frustrating,” Miller says. “I have zero problems with accountability. Or, a different scenario: your husband or wife dies and instead of receiving a continuing share of their Social Security, a typical benefit for surviving spouses, you get nothing at all. Even five years ago it was assumed a teacher was great until a teacher wasn’t doing their job.” And when critics broadly paint today’s teachers as ineffective, there’s no better way to show how wrong they are than pointing to Miller’s own resume. This includes educators with part-time jobs, or those who have moved from state to state.
One of my students has already missed 30 school days this year, but that is overlooked. They come in defeated—I encourage them. In Florida, students are subjected to a high-stakes test called the FCAT. WEP has cost her about $79,200 since her retirement 15 years ago, and GPO promises to cost her more. What’s even worse, she told Davis, is that there are plenty of teachers in the same boat, but who have no idea what GPO or WEP will mean to their retirement security. “There are new retirees who are just finding out—‘Wow! This is going to impact me!’” Karlovetz said.
More than a dozen NEA-Retired leaders traveled to the U.S. It’s like if you had an investment fund and they just said, ‘We’re not going to give you back your money.’” This spring, more than a dozen NEA-Retired leaders took this message to Capitol Hill for National Retirement Security Advocacy Day, where they met and strategized with U.S. I rise before dawn each day and find myself nestled in my classroom hours before the morning commute is in full swing in downtown Orlando. They include more than half of the California delegation, seven of the nine Massachusetts representatives, but just two of Florida’s 27. NEA Retired: Your Call to Action! Visit NEA’s Legislative Action Center to urge your members of Congress to support and sponsor the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), as well as Sens.
I am personally affected by GPO-WEP.” Karlovetz worked full-time while she studied to become a teacher, and contributed to Social Security during that time. The Illinois Republican, first elected in 2013, has introduced similar bills every year since he arrived in the Capitol. “The reason I sponsor this bill is because of my own teachers in the Taylorsville, Illinois, school district,” Davis told NEA leaders, who gathered with him in a U.S. For example, a retired educator with a state pension of $9,000 a year—who is eligible for $6,000 a year in spousal benefits—would receive zero. (Two-thirds of $9,000 is $6,000.) GPO affects 7 million Ameicans, and nine out of 10 people affected by it lose their entire spousal benefit. I greet the smiling faces of my students and am reminded anew of their challenges, struggles, successes, failures, quirks, and needs. For high school teachers, that figure was $430. Students walk through my doors reading at a second grade level and by year’s end can independently read and comprehend early 4th grade texts, but this is no matter. I’m still working with a meager salary, and the steps that were contracted to me when I accepted a lower salary are now deemed “unnecessary.” I am a teacher in Florida.
Rep. I purchase the school supplies my students do homework market not have. If they don’t perform well on this ONE test in early March, their learning gains are irrelevant. I must provide new learning opportunities for them without leaving the four walls of our classroom. In the three months that remain in the school year after this test, I am expected to begin teaching 5th grade curriculum to my 4th grade students so that they are prepared for next year’s test. Field trips are now frivolous.
They must be exposed to different worldviews and diverse perspectives, and yet, most of my students have never left Sanford, Florida. I now average between $1000-2000 that I pay personally to supplement the learning experiences that take place in my classroom. Augustine without getting on a bus. I am a teacher in Florida. I spent $2500 in my first year alone to outfit an empty room so that it would promote creative thinking and a desire to learn and explore. Even though it was vetoed, similar anti-teacher efforts are cropping up in other states from like-minded opponents. “I was just getting so enraged because there was such ignorance from the people attacking teachers,” says Miller. “Especially these misconceptions about what it is we can actually control as educators.” Her essay, which in recent weeks was referenced on the Florida House floor, reprinted by several Florida newspapers and went viral online, has taken on a life of its own, Miller says. ”What I’m saying isn’t unique. I accepted a lower salary with the promise of a small increase for every year taught.
Its next step should be a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, but it has not yet been put on the calendar. “This is an issue that I take very personally,” NEA-Retired Secretary Martha Karlovetz told Davis. “I retired from the Parkway School District in Missouri, but I live now in Florida. I failed them. In addition, the average amount spent was higher for teachers at city schools ($526) than teachers at suburban, town, or rural schools ($468, $445, and $442, respectively). Never mind their learning discrepancies, their unstable home lives, their prior learning experiences. I am a teacher in Florida. Every NEA retiree should call their representatives in Congress, Davis urged, and ask them to sponsor the bill. “Ask them, ‘What are you doing to fix this mess?’” he said. “You need to hold accountable the people who implemented these provisions, and aren’t working every day to fix it.” With more sponsors, the bill is more likely to be successful, Davis said. Rep.
Since 1969, Ritchie has paid into Social Security from his side earnings as an income tax preparer. Adam Schiff (D-CA). My contracted hours begin at 7:30 and end at 3:00. I am a teacher in Florida. Charlie Crist ultimately vetoed last week to support teachers, would have made Florida one of the most teacher-hostile states in the country.
In all, she has 15 full-time years in Social Security. That promise has been broken. I watched my friends with less education than me sign on for six figure jobs while I embraced my $28k starting salary. I spend weekends taking pictures and creating a virtual world for them to experience, since the State has determined it is no longer worthwhile for them to explore reality. I am told that every student in my realm must score on or above grade level on the FCAT each year.
I was assured as I signed my contract that although it was meager to start, my salary would consistently grow each year. And then she got to typing. I am expected to create a culture of students who will go on to become the leaders of our world. Just imagine it: You retire after three or four decades of public service and get your first Social Security check—and it’s half as much as you expected. When California teacher Alen Ritchie retired in 2001, after 40 years in the classroom, he walked into his local Social Security Administration office and said, “I’m a teacher. But now, thanks to a 34-year-old federal law called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that affects some public employees who receive state pensions, he can’t get it back. “It’s just so unfair,” says Sarah Borgman, Indiana State Teachers Association-Retired chair. “They’ve paid in.
And, like Ritchie, for decades she has run her own business, as a travel agent. I generate new ways to expose them to life beyond their neighborhoods through online exploration and digital field trips. What is WEP? WEP (or Windfall Elimination Provision) reduces by up to 50 percent the Social Security benefits of people who worked in jobs covered by Social Security and also in jobs not covered by Social Security. Sen.
Six Letters That Cost Millions What is GPO? GPO (or Government Pension Offset) reduces Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of the survivor’s state pension. I print at home on my personal printer and have burned through 12 ink cartridges this school year alone. Full text of Jamee Miller’s “I Am a Teacher” essay: I am a teacher in Florida. Together, GPO and WEP deprive about 9 million Americans who worked in 27 states—this includes teachers and educational support professionals, as well as firefighters, police officers, nurses, and other public-service employees—of the Social Security benefits they have earned.