Date: Oct 14, 2012 12:09 PM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid

On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:
> On Oct 14, 2012, at 2:09 AM, Paul Tanner <> wrote:
> In fact, you
> even mentioned it.
> Nonsense. Prove your claim.
> What is nonsense is that after you mentioned it and I told you that you
> mentioned it, you still don't get it.
> I live near Kennedy Space Center.

I mentioned Broward County, one of the very richest school districts (the countries are the school districts in FL) in FL, not Brevard County.

And here's another mention of Broward County, among others:

Go to the Google search engine and enter

"straight seven" or uniform schedule

exactly as is, with the quotation marks exactly as is, and one of the top hits is about Broward County, which is going back to this traditional "straight seven" or uniform schedule for all its public schools. The traditional "straight seven" or uniform schedule is the traditional seven 1-hour class periods per day, where typically the classes are actually 50 minutes and there is 10 minutes between classes so that students can get to their lockets and go to the bathroom and get to the next class in time. Teachers teach 6 of these classes for 5 days per week, so by one measure we calculate 30 hours of teaching time per week. Multiply 6 times 180 school days per year and we get that figure of 1080 hours per year in the OECD charts for teaching time per year for the US teachers.

But note that these 1-hour classes are actually 50 minutes of actual class time. And so use another measure of teaching time, which would exclude these 10 minutes, we get 300 minutes per day, which is 5 hours per day, which is what we see in the teacher contracts. The districts in their contracts do this for block schedules also, where the time that is between classes is excluded by this measure of calculating teaching time. By this measure, we get the lower teaching times per year for US teachers than the OECD charts, this lower time being 900 hours per year, although still much higher than the top performing countries of Korea, Finland, and Japan of between mid-500s and mid-600s. Again, also keep in mind that these OECD charts show for that for the US and these three countries, teaching time per year is greater for primary school teachers than for secondary school teachers, and to calculate per week and per day figures, that the school year for Korea, Finland, and Japan is respectively 225, 190, and 243 days.

So that is why I want to know whether your public school is a charter public school, or some other type of special public school, since that would explain everything as to why you think you see a difference between the average primary teaching hours for the US and your school. Please, again, I ask you: Is your public school of your son sort of the special public school like a public charter school? You have an obligation to answer this question since of it is, it would explain everything.

But again, if it is not some sort of special public school like a public charter school, the contract with the teachers should address how teaching hours are calculated - it's possible that part of what you don't think are teaching hours are counted as such by either the district or the OECD, and from the contract we can get some idea.

I already talked about this using the community college context: A teacher there teaching 5 different 3-semester-hour classes per week with these classes meeting three times in the week for one hour can be said to have 15 hours per week of teaching time. But since those meetings are actually 50 minutes with 10 minutes of time to get to the next class, there is actually only 2.5 hours per week per classes of actual class time for a total for the teacher of 12.5 hours per week of teaching time. Yet these classes are called 3-semester-hour classes instead of 2.5-semester-hour classes. This is true even if these 3-semester-hour classes meet only once per week. They can go straight though, for only 2.5 actual hours per week just like in the in the other model, yet still they are called 3-semester-hour classes.

I have no problem with this way of measuring, and from what I showed further above, that way of measuring is evidently what the OECD charts use. So seeing whether your school is a public charter school or some other type of special public school, or otherwise seeing your school's actual teacher contract give me information by which I can see that some of what you might not consider teaching time actually is considered teaching time by this measure.

To anticipate:

Now I know what you are thinking: You want to believe that the OECD did one type of measure for calculating teaching times for the US teachers but another one for all the other countries, since that would make less severe the fact that US teachers are overworked in this department of teaching hours - and when teaching different students in different classes, this department of the grand total number of students dealt with. Now why would the OECD do this? (It would be some socialist plot against conservatives in the US? Phooey.)

There is no evidence that they did this and so it is reasonable to assume that they used similar calculating methods that result in fair comparisons. That is, we can reasonable assume that either way of measuring uniformly over the countries would preserve the differences we see in the charts. But again I note that *even with* different measures for the US and the other countries, the US teachers still are overworked 50% more than the teaches of these three other countries in the departments of teaching hours and for those teachers teaching different students in different classes, in the department of the grand total number of students dealt with.

Note: This last point holds most severely in the traditional "straight seven" or uniform schedule - 20-25 different students in 6 different classes for a total of 125-150 students vs. about half that at worst for the same level teachers of Korea, Finland, and Japan, who have about half as many classes.