If the pandemic has shown us one thing, it is the realization of how important our schools, teachers and support staff are to communities, families and kids they serve.

This is not to say that educators aren’t appreciated with the occasional Starbucks card, basket of goodies and annual PTA luncheons. However, there has always been the expectation that teachers and schools would have the consistency, support and dedication that has become the bedrock of public education.

No matter where you stand on the debate of reopening schools, there can be no mistake that many parents and community members feel passionately about getting students back to in-person learning.

As a teacher of 31 years in the San Mateo public schools, I would ask the following from these impassioned community members. Once we are back to a new normal, and your local educators are seeking a salary increase to keep up with the cost of living, or that schools need funding to make up for losses from budget cuts, or the education association is asking for help to raise money for electives, libraries and sports, that you as a collective community employ this same passion and drive for these issues, as you are now doing to get our kids back into the classroom.

Tim Hilborn

San Carlos

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(18) comments

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Why would anyone choose public school teaching as a means to earn a living? Unions and school boards determine pay and job description. The only reward one can expect is that of a job well done. Children deserve nothing less.

Old San Matean

Teaching for most is a calling. That's why they choose public school teaching.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Old San Matean,

Your thoughts are echoed by my foster father, best friend, youngest daughter and the waiter that counseled my wife and me in meal selection during a recent trip to Disney World. All teachers that left the profession because it is no longer about teaching. Maybe it's time for change. In my experience, nothing provides that better than competition.

Dirk van Ulden

The first order of business should be to abolish the teacher unions. It is inconceivable how much power they can exert over the taxpayers who pay their salaries. And, he has the nerve to complain about his pay level? Look at the Transparent California website and you will see how much these folks make for working 8 months out the year and collectively do a lousy job at that. Where is the compassion for the parents and the kids, not to mention accountability?

Tommy Tee

Dick--you obviously don't know any teachers. Your malarky statement is insulting to them.

Old San Matean

I agree, Tommy Tee. Teachers should be paid high salaries. They have one of the most important jobs in our nation!!

Dirk van Ulden

Tomy TEA, yes I have two teachers in my immediate family. I think that I know them very well. They chose the profession because of the hours and vacation time. Neither one is a union supporter.

Tommy Tee

If that's why they chose teaching, they're a disgrace to the profession and do not represent all teachers.



Your imaginary description of teachers is so far off track it doesn't deserve the respect of an explanation of what is wrong with it.

Dirk van Ulden

Well Taffy - you could at least have tried. I tend to think that making $110K per year for 8 months of work is a more than a reasonable salary. That is what the author makes according to the school district web site. Teachers with tenure have a sweet deal and they know it.



Maybe tomorrow I will have time to delve into it a little deeper. Your comment is a little too general. Time is closer to 10 months than to 8 months and teachers don't start at 110K and have 31 years teaching. Last I heard the SM teachers start at about 55-60.



Let me start by offering my opinion of the current pay structure for K-12 throughout the country, not just locally or state. It is totally upside down for the most part. The lowest grades, K-3, should be the highest paid and the upper grades, 9-12, should get less. My reasoning is that the lower grades are the most formative years and by the time the kids are in high school their ways are firmly entrenched, be it good or bad. Another reason is the attitude of many parents that see school as the end all babysitting and training service. Drop them off at 8 and pick them up at 3 all educated, toilet trained and ready to go. These same parents are the same ones that don’t help the kids with their homework, don’t participate in the parent teacher meetings and then complain the kids are not doing well and it is the fault of the schools and teachers. Another item is the elementary teachers typically spend more time on lesson plans, correcting papers, classroom set up etc. outside of the 8-3 time frame in the early grades than is needed in the upper grades.

Now on to some of your comments. I already mentioned your generalization of the teachers making 110K and only working 8 months. You also mentioned in a later post that you have relatives that are teachers but you didn’t mention where or what they teach so I will guess they have it easy with a specialty class in high school that only meets for three periods a day Monday thru Thursday. Therefore they would only be teaching about 8 months and would have plenty of time to correct papers and homework assignments during the day if they even have a class that requires it.

As for accountability, I mentioned the parents of some students above and I think it works both ways. Parents need to take an active part in their children’s education and participate in school activities. To dump the kids at school and then blame the school for not doing a good job while they neglect their side of the job is simple hypocrisy.

That’s all I have time for today but maybe another time we can get into some of the reasons California is falling behind the rest of the nation in education. Things like teacher to pupil ratio, CA is poor compared to the rest, spending per student, also below the national levels, Prop 13 and its effect etc.

Patrick Henry

Nice, we are not going back into the classroom until we in the teachers unions get what we want and we are going to hold your child hostage. We are to be praised and put of a pedestal and any one who criticizes us doesn't know how important we are. Meanwhile, in non public schools, students are back in class and flourishing for months. You just keep on patting yourself on the back Tim, my child has been back in school without all the fanfare you and you colleagues require. They certainly are not requesting gobs of more money to get back in the classroom like your side is. Break up the monopoly and go to vouchers and school choice.

Tommy Tee

Conway--why are you so in a lather? Your child is in an obviously superior private school.


Same old drivel, vouchers and school choice. Select your school of choice, call them and tell them you are going to send your disciplinary problem child who is behind in his/her classwork to their school with the new voucher you just received. When they get up off the floor from laughing so hard they will give you the address of the local public school.

Tommy Tee


Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd and Tommy

As Wilfredo pointed out... hardworking, dedicated teachers deserve our respect and support. The teachers unions? No. The union leadership's refusal to go back into the classroom... even though such a return has been validated by the science... is nothing more than legalized theft. Too many want to get paid for staying home and creating interpretive dance videos while children suffer. Let that simmer... while children suffer. Students are not only falling behind in their studies but they are suffering from a lack of socialization and reaping the ill effects of isolation.

Chicago? Not enough problems there, so the teachers union holds the city hostage by refusing to return to school and threatening to go on strike (they went on strike 16 months earlier before the COVID crisis). LA... the UTLA promised to return to classrooms when it was safe AND police were defunded, Medicare granted to everyone, and taxes increased on the wealthy (to make sure their pension funding would remain healthy). Then, we hear the teachers union favorite mantra... no more charter schools. Could the unions just put aside their disdain for charter schools for a couple of months while school districts work toward opening our schools? No... they cannot. Charter schools are public schools, and they are reminders of teachers unions failing children and families across the state. The unions just want to eliminate their competition. What happened to free choice? Well, if the unions had their way, no one would get a choice... but they would get the continuous stream of bond issues and parcel taxes pushed by unions for a school system that is failing.

Average California teacher salary... $82K; academic ranking... 37th

Average Nebraska teacher salary... $52K; academic ranking... 11th

Nebraska pays a lot less yet students do a lot better. Now, I know what you're thinking... c'mon, man... you can't compare California to Nebraska! OK.

Average Massachusetts teacher salary... $82K; academic ranking... No. 1

Let's get back into the classroom...

Wilfred Fernandez Jr


I love the way you read between my lines. People that love children and understand the purpose for becoming an educator are worthy of respect and support. Thanks for your thoughtful insight.

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