Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What Teachers Do

The below Letters to the Editor appeared in the Northwest Herald. The first is Jim Peschke's parody to a pro-education establishment's LTE. The letter from Brian Schweitzer appears to be another version of one promoted by the education establishment posted on Mike Davitt website.

What teachers do

[published on Wed, Dec 14, 2005]

To the Editor:

Re: Nov. 24 letter, "What teachers make."

At a five-star dinner party, one woman, a chief executive officer, wondered how a teacher could afford $200 per plate. She decided to confront this contradiction to the "underpaid teacher" myth.

She argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who thinks a six-figure salary for nine months work is 'underpaid'?" To stress the point, she said to another guest: "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest, what do you make?" (Looking for income.)

Susan, an unusually frank teacher, asked "You want to know what we make?"

"We make parents work harder than they ever thought they could. We make one-income households become two-income households to pay ever-increasing taxes for schools.

"We make kids wonder why they should bother with homework. We make kids who can't read at age 16 feel like they've won the Congressional Medal of Honor because self-esteem is more important than learning fundamentals.

"We make bad teachers earn more than good teachers. We make legislators pass laws to strengthen our education monopoly. We make Illinois bankrupt with a Ponzi-retirement scheme.

"We make friendly neighbors into enemies by running tax increase referendums every few months.

"We make the elderly choose between food and medicine because they can no longer afford both.

"We make America less competitive in the Information Age."

Susan paused, then continued: "You want to know what we make? We make ourselves out to be secular saints using silly stories like Brian Schweitzer's. We make our union bosses richer. What do you make?"

The chief executive officer replied: "We make medicine to save the lives of millions. If we take public money without delivering results, I can go to jail. What happens to you?"

Susan replied: "Nothing. I have tenure."

Jim Peschke


What do teachers make?

What do teachers make?

Some dinner guests were sitting around a table discussing life. One woman, a chief executive officer, decided to explain the problem with education.

She argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided that the best option in life for a profession was to be involved in education?"

To stress her point she said to another guest, "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?" (Looking for a dollar amount)

Susan replied: "Do you want to know what we make?

"We make children work harder than they ever thought they could. We make a kid that earned a C-plus and worked real hard to achieve that C-plus, feel like they had just won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

"You want to know what we make?

"We make kids wonder. We make them question. We make them say 'please' and 'thank you.'

"We make them so they can write properly. We make them work on taking care of their bodies. We make them read so they can comprehend the words. We make them show all of their work in math and perfect their final drafts for English.

"We make them understand that if you use your brain, follow your heart, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they didn't learn."

Susan paused and then continued: "You want to know what we make? We make a difference! What do you make?"

Any person who is involved in education, at all levels, makes every profession possible.

Congratulations to any person involved in education; you make it all possible.

Brian Schweitzer



Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

The below letter to the editor was published in the Northwest Herald (NWH) two days (12-16-05) after Jim's Letter to the Editor in the NWH. By the way the LTE that Jim responded to was published on 11-24-05. Jim sent his letter in 11-28-05 and the letter was published 12-14-05.

What teachers really do

[published on Fri, Dec 16, 2005]

To the Editor:

Re: Thursday's letter, "What teachers do."

This is what teachers do:

1) Make struggling students feel like medal winners for showing progress. If they don't, that child might give up and drop out of school. Do you want to foot the bill for another welfare family? Dropouts often end up there.

2) Pay for mittens, hats and jackets to students who don't have anyone at home to do that for them. Do you buy necessities for those you work with?

3) Support students so they can take academic risks and learn to be successful. Do you know what it's like to see a former student succeed and accomplish their goals, or fail and end up in jail or dead?

Most teachers work their tails off, not for supposedly huge paychecks, but because if they don't watch out for strugglers, who's going to?

Most teachers live by the "pay it forward" motto; today's children are tomorrow's voters and taxpayers.

What and how we teach children is how they will see the world as adults. Don't you want it to be one that is positive and accepting?

Showing "results" is all in perspective. It depends where you're coming from.

Meghan Garvin


Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

Building Exceptional Schools Together's Kim Klein strikes again or should I say Building Exceptional Salaries and Taxes. Par for the course Miss Klein manipulated the facts (we all remember their District 158 fiasco and lack of apology to the residents from BEST). Jim's LTE was a response to Brian Schweitzer's LTE who did not credit the original author (Taylor Mali). It is amazing how vicious Ms. Klein can be to those who are fighting for true education reform. Notice how Miss Klein does not note that Brian Schweitzer did not credit the original author. Jim would have noted the author if the LTE he was responding to noted the original author. Anyone who follow's CRAFT's work knows we respect homeschool teachers, public school teachers who refuse to be a part of the unions and private school teachers. We have never been against education just the education establishment that is ruining children's lives and the public education system. Her LTE below appeared in the December 17, 2006 edition of the Northwest Herald.

Message of Hate

I was surprised to see Jim Peschke's Dec. 14 letter because I am familiar with the poem, written by poet and teacher Taylor Mali. It can be found on his Web site at

Peschke neglected to give any credit at all to the original author of the work.

There is a concept in copyright law called "derivative work," which refers to the idea that a person can take an artist's work and develop a new work that is related to or derived from the original.

However, the law states that the original creator must give permission for the derivative work and has the right to determine whether it is an acceptable treatment of the original work.

After corresponding with Mali about Peschke's derivative work, I am sure that he never would give permission for the publication of such an angry, bitter and hate-filled treatment of his poem.

Of course, readers of this section have come to expect this kind of extreme and radical rhetoric from anti-education, anti-teacher Peschke, so it comes as no surprise that he would stoop to this to spread his message of hate.

Kim Klein

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

This author believes Jim's letter was filled with hatred and sarcasm. Jim's letter was factual. Jacqui Murk lives in District 158 where administrators were let go for deceiving the public and the school board was so inept they did not even know how much residents would have to pay for a referendum. Misplaced values indeed on the part of Jacqui Murk. What amazes me most as with Ms. Klein these are the letters that are spewing hate and vindictiveness at those trying to hold our educators responsible for educating our children and accountable with the spending of our tax dollars.

Thank you please continue to bring attention to our cause.


The below letter to the editor appeared in the December 18, 2005 edition of the Northwest Herald.

Questionable credibility

[published on Sun, Dec 18, 2005]
To the Editor:

Re: Jim Peschke's letter on Wednesday, "What teachers make."

With hatred and sarcasm saturating our communities, the North-west Herald should be ashamed to contribute by publishing an opinion filled with such vindictiveness and hatred as his letter.

In our society, each and every profession has a place serving the community. Quite frankly, each of them costs the community and individuals something.

Whether we pay through increasing retail prices, health-insurance costs, taxes, interest on loans, monthly bills, somehow, each of us provides a little bit for someone in some other family to keep our communities thriving.

Carpenters, teachers, doctors, research analysts and telemarketers choose occupations that suit their talents. Questioning the value of each vocation would lead to many injustices.

Clearly, we all do what we do so when we are done, this world is better having been a part of it.

As a parent of children in District 158, I feel compelled to say to our teachers, this world is a better place because of you.

Unfortunately, instead of using his energy to improve community's resources, including schools, Peschke chooses using inflammatory remarks.

All readers should recognize that while passionate, his credibility is surely in question.

Jacqui Murk

angelus said...

I read the letters by these two shrill, bitter women and if this is representative of the public school system, then it is clearly broken beyond repair.

The only "hate" in the three letters in question were from Ms. Jacqui Murk and Ms. Kim Klein.

This is what happens when people feast at the government's trough and whose existence is subsidized through the forced earnings of others. When the subsidizers are fed up and want to keep more of the fruits of their labor and spend it on their own families, the subsidizers are taking food off the plates of these public school parasites.

Jacqui Murk is actually even more ridiculous, because in her letter she compare teachers to carpenters, doctors, etc. I am unaware of any referendums subsidizing carpenters or research analysts. I don't know of any laws forcing me to pay a portion of my income to telemarketers or doctors, even if I don't use their services.

"In our society, each and every profession has a place serving the community." That's ridiculous! How many government jobs could be eliminated but remain because of bloated government and political patronage?

These two hysterical women are an embarassment to the 1st Amendment.

juschill said...

I read with laughter the two letters by these shrill, bitter women in the last week.

If this is indicative of what public education has to offer, then public education is broken beyond repair.

These two women have no point, they only write of non-existent "hate". Upon rereading all letters involved, the only hate is on the side of this hysterical women.

Ms. Jacqui Murk has the gall to compare teachers to doctors, carpenters, etc. I don't ever remember referendums to fund carpenters' existence. I don't remember being forced by law to pay for a doctor or research analysts services I did not use.

This is what you get when you have people feeding at the government trough. When people, such as these two women, have their existence subsidized through the taking of others' earnings, and the subsidizers have enough of it, these parasites are literally having food taken off their table.

Too bad. Take care of your own family. Let me worry about mine.

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

Letters to the Editor continue to appear in the NWH regarding Jim's parody titled "What teachers do." The following to letters are in support of Jim.

From the December 23rd edition of the NWH.
To the Editor:

Re: Kim Klein's Dec. 17 letter about Jim Peschke.

How bankrupt of ideas have the education-system apologists become?

In her letter, Klein attacked Peschke more for copyright infringement than for his stand on educational issues.

This is typical of those who defend a failing public-education system in Illinois. If they can't dispute the message, they attack the messenger.

Some of us have very different ideas of what it means to be "anti-education" than Klein.

We think teachers should be prohibited from striking in Illinois, as they are in 41 other states and Chicago. This would allow school boards to live within their current funding, but end raises for teachers that were among the highest in the country last year.

Union apologists consider such thinking as hateful and mean-spirited. We consider it pro-family.

Many of us believe that school boards should be legally prohibited from approving union contracts that they cannot afford.

This is considered "anti-education" by Klein. We consider it pro-taxpayer and pro-student.

People such as Klein, who are bankrupt of educational solutions themselves, apparently have decided to demonize rather than debate us. What a pity for our children and schools.

Bob Shelstrom

From the December 27th edition of the NWH.

Klein made an ad hominem attack against Jim Peschke. Peschke and his wife are pro-education and pro-teacher when the schools are providing value, and the teachers have the necessary subject-matter mastery.

In America, after 12 years in the classroom, school children fall well behind students from western Europe, and south and east Asia. The Presidential Commission on Science and Technology showed this in 2004.

Parents want children to receive the highest educational value to enable them to fulfill the American dream of inter-class mobility. America needs workers to be able to compete in the international marketplace for goods, services and ideas. The National Governors Association in 2005 reported that their colleges and universities have to spend more than $2 billion on remediation.

Education can no longer be a closed shop. Reform must start at the local level. Money does not guarantee educational value.

Local boards and the state can no longer be the handmaiden of teachers unions, protecting the non-performing individuals and institutions with non-rigorous testing. Parents would never choose to have children under-educated. They would take the best available outcome, if they had the choice. It is time that they were given just that.

Pete Speer

Indian Creek

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

This letter is against Jim. This one really cracks me up. If this teacher did his research he would have found that CRAFT supporters include current and former teachers. He would also know that I have spent time in a classroom. If he would have reviewed our BLOG he would have found the following piece from a teacher.

Below is a response we received from a teacher.

I am not sure what teachers the author knows, but I do not know of any teachers that take home 100 papers to grade each night. I usually stay around school for an hour or two and get all my grading and planning done before I leave. I also have a couple of hours of planning time built into my day. In short, I work a pretty standard 8-9 hour day, and I only work 180 days per year (not counting summer school for which I get paid extra). At any rate, any teacher who does not like the hand they are being dealt is free to find other work - just like everyone else.

The author is also full of it when he says that 120 voters stood in the way of the tax increase. That was the margin of the referendum's defeat. There were far more voters that stood behind that 120 to make it a majority. At any rate, if even one property owner objected to it, I think he should have the right not to pay. Let those voting for the increase pay the increase, and let the rest keep what is rightfully theirs.

Finally, if the district is growing so rapidly, its property tax base must also be growing. Given skyrocketing property values and the fact that new construction is not subject to the tax caps, there should be plenty of new revenue to fund those schools without an increase, and even if that is not the case, let the people who want the new schools fund the new schools.

Go Sox!

Now the letter that spoke out against Jim in the December 27th edition of the Northwest Herald.

Re: Jim Peschke's Dec. 14 letter.

Jim and Cathy Peschke say whatever they feel will bring about distrust and animosity for our teachers and school districts. I feel that some of what they say is motivated by envy. They feel that teachers are not worth their pay. The drop-out rate for new teachers is high. Studies into attrition show that nearly one-third of new teachers drop out in their first year. Low pay is only part of the problem. Difficult student behavior and the resulting lost productivity is disillusioning to new teachers. Also, most new teachers have no idea of the workload required to do a good job; a workload that includes nights and weekends.

High school teachers see about 150 students every day. Each encounter requires planning in advance and subsequent record keeping with evaluation for each unique student. Teachers must get their job satisfaction from seeing their students do well. I do not believe any teacher would stay in the job for money alone.

Before the Peschkes write one more word, they should spend one full day in a school. Their opinions won't carry water until they spend time in a school and get some facts.

William H. Guild


Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

The letter to the editor below appeared in the December 29th edition of the Northwest Herald. We believe the writer who has chosen not to mention Jim's name is a relative or spouse of a Cary District 26 teacher. We notice that his like most of the letters written in response to Jim's parody are from teachers, relatives of teacher or retired educrats. They all have the same style, attack the messenger, try to dissuade others from speaking out, use emotional appeals and avoid relevant statistics and sound research at all costs.

Dignity lacking
[published on Thu, Dec 29, 2005]

As I read another undignified letter from Harvard I struggled to understand the point. If there is a message in these repeated rants, it is lost in the writer's bitter, sarcastic, negative tone.

Realistically, I think this individual wants his taxes lowered at any cost and he won't be happy until public education no longer exists as an institution. Perhaps he should just say this and stop his ridiculous vilification of all educators.

While taxes are unpleasant, there is clearly a payback for wellspent tax dollars on education. My property taxes in Cary have risen, but the value of my home has more than tripled since I've been here, due greatly to community support of the schools. Families will pay for quality, and will shun those communities that shirk their educational responsibility.

We in McHenry County don't have to look far to see communities who have dropped the ball in this area.

Changes obviously need to be made in education, and administrators can no longer be handed a blank check. We need new ideas, and those who express them in a dignified fashion have a great opportunity to be heard. Bitterness and sarcasm accomplish nothing.

Jim Gleason

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

This letter to the editor was in support of Jim and was published on December 28, 2005 in the Northwest Herald.

We disagree with Mr. Jenner's statement "It's those organizations that cause opinions and letters like Peschke's, not the teachers themselves." As long as these teachers support a union that refuses to be accountable for educating our children and they support tenure and poor teachers; these teachers no matter how hard they work are part of the problem in the public education system and not part of a much needed solution.

Unions degrade education
[published on Wed, Dec 28, 2005]
To the Editor:

Re: Kim Klein's Dec. 17 letter.

Interesting that Jim Peschke was attacked for not acknowledging the author of the "poem" "What Do Teachers Make" — when the Nov. 24 letter to which Peschke was responding also failed to acknowledge the author.

Unless he was an avid fan of Taylor Mali, how would Peschke know that the Nov. 24 letter was something other than the rantings of another socialist who's been indoctrinated by the education establishment?

So someone who points out some of the many flaws in our government's education system gets labeled with some hateful "anti-" names. I prefer a more positive approach.

Here are some positive names for school tax increase "theft-erendum" supporters, who think they're pro-education.

Pro-tax. Pro-corruption. Pro-inefficiency. Pro-bureaucracy. Pro-government monopoly. Pro-dumbing down our kids.

If my elementary and high school districts are any measure, many teachers are dedicated and enthusiastic.

Unfortunately, their state and national unions, and our nation's education colleges, diminish the respect and admiration they deserve. It's those organizations that cause opinions and letters like Peschke's, not the teachers themselves.

Chris Jenner

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

The letters to the editor below appeared in the January 1st edition of the Northwest Herald. In Jim's parody he spoke of how teachers see themselves as secular saints. Clearly from the many responses from educrats and their relatives this appears to be true. So many of them appear to think that teachers are beyond reproach.

The first is written by a McHenry teacher making over $104,000 dollars a year. Education is debatable educrats refuse to debate the subject they just want the opposition to shut up and accept the status quo.

Teachers have plenty of support from their fellow teachers, the legislators who jump at their every whim and their fellow union members. It is the children who need our support not the educrats who refuse to be accountable for actually educating our children.

Education not debatable
[published on Sun, Jan 1, 2006]
To the Editor:

Recently, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced the start of the All Kids program. Legislators debated the cost, the governor said "It reflects our values." Illinois spending on education is one of the lowest in the nation.

Deerfield, Lake Forest, Liberty-ville, New Trier, if you know about high schools, you know these are some of the very best. Why? How are they different from Harvard or McHenry? Do the people of these communities see value in education?

If you want schools to run like businesses, allow the teachers to choose who they want in their classes. What do we do with the kids who don't want to learn?

How about the drug users, learning impaired, and low-income children? Do businesses feed you for free? Does your job provide you with free transportation to work? If you don't perform according to their standards, do they keep promoting you?

Get with it, anti-tax people. Can you blame the billion-dollar Iraq war, the $8 trillion-dollar deficit, and health care on teachers? Oh right, you don't see your money going there. Education should be a priority not a debate.

Tell us what you do. Maybe this is all your fault.

Ted Juske

Teachers deserve support
[published on Sun, Jan 1, 2006]

To the Editor:

Re: Jim Peschke's Dec. 14 letter and Bob Shelstrom's Dec. 23 letter.

It amazes me how anti-education seemingly educated people such as Bob Shelstrom and Jim Peschke are. They continue to show how uneducated and uninformed they really are. They show their total ignorance to the value of education by attacking teachers, administrators, and unions, the backbone of America. They fall into the boot step of the far right extremists who oppose anything that might cost these out-of-touch with reality letter writers additional taxes.

Support our teachers and be thankful for all they do. Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Mark Kline
Crystal Lake

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

Yet another response to Jim's parody. She also took a knock at Doug Dodson. This appeared in the January 2, 2006 edition of the Northwest Herald.

If teachers are working so darned hard would not our literacy rates and functional literacy rates be much higher? Would we be spending 2 billion dollars annually on remedial education for college students? Would we be facing a workforce unprepared for a knowledge economy?

This teacher, like many others is unaware that we at CRAFT have spent time in a classroom, have relatives in classrooms and supporters include current and former teachers. This myth of hard work is well documented in a book called Education Myths by Jay Greene and Marcus Winters.

What is bizarre is the current state of public education in America and how the education establishment continues to deny the problems or fault.

The educational establishment can continue to take jabs at those who are fighting for education reform as long as they want. We will not stop until we see true education reform in our public education system and that our children are educated up to their potential. The one thing that these people forget is that we are not asking for money or to protect a broken system like themselves, we are fighting for children's and America's future.

Teachers not rich
[published on Mon, Jan 2, 2006]
To the Editor:

Re: Jim Peschke's Dec. 14 letter and Doug Dodson's Nov. 27 letter.

I was astonished when I read the latest teacher bashing by Jim Peschke that I earn a six figure income. I have received over a $50,000 raise overnight. Those hours beyond the classroom time at night are now congruent to my new pay scale. The out of pocket money I spend for start-up costs or to enhance learning are minuscule. It doesn't matter anymore that the district can't afford these little extras, I'm loaded.

To my colleagues that work a second job to make ends meet: Quit. You are rich with ample leisure time since you don't do anything anyway. I'm going to have to refrain from teaching summer school. Why bother, I guess I suddenly don't need the money. According to Doug Dodson's last teacher lambasting, I can retire at 55 with lavish windfalls. I'm already years beyond this age requirement and so are many members of the staff. We should be going upscale now with six figured salaries so who cares about a pension.

On the serious side Peschke and Dodson, I hope one of your children becomes a teacher. Only then will you have insight into what a teacher does. Your continuum of teacher assaults is alarmingly bizarre. Usually prejudiced people project their own type of prejudices upon their children. Is this focus of hatred what you teach your children?

Janet Fink
Poplar Grove

Jim and Cathy Peschke said...

Below are two letters to the editor that appeared in the Northwest Herald. One teacher speaking out against the Peschkes and one in support of our pursuit for quality education.

Teachers earn salaries
Publication Northwest Herald
Date December 22, 2005

To the Editor:

The Peschke family crusade against public education offers no viable solutions to their baseless complaints.

Allow me to respond to three of their issues.

I have been an educator for 37 years. I have two advanced degrees.

I am contracted to work 200 days per year. I make a good salary, and I deserve it. My salary, benefits and vacations pale in comparison to other professionals with equivalent education and experience.

Tenure laws are complex, but tenured teachers can be fired if school administrators follow the necessary steps.

Conversely, if it were not for tenure laws, excellent teachers would be at the mercy of taxpayers who have Peschke-like axes to grind.

Jim Peschke said (Oct. 23) that private schools offer a "lot more for a lot less." Tuition costs are skyrocketing. Their curriculums cannot compete with public schools. They are not accountable for state testing or the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and they are not victimized by unfunded mandates.

They are tax-supported yet do not serve students with "special needs." More for less? Not by a long shot.

Most problems facing public schools can be traced directly to poor legislative decisions and a lack of funding, not to poor teaching.

Robert J. Doran

Money alone not answer
[published on Tue, Jan 3, 2006]
To the Editor:
Re: Robert J. Doran's Dec. 22 letter.

To describe the Peschkes as being against education is a slander. They are against wasteful education expenditures that result in no improvement for educational outcomes. I do not agree with all of the Peschkes' positions but they are, in fact, for quality education.

Is there really anybody in the United States who is against education? Permit me to ask, teacher Doran, and all who might support you, about a hypothetical. I imagine you would agree that the majority of teachers are dedicated but, in some broad sense, are average. Some are outstanding. A few are of low quality. Your standard bell curve. If we were to double the salary of every teacher, would anything in this distribution change? I think we would still have the same distribution of outstanding, good and poor teachers as we have now. Increasing spending (and Doran's letter made it obvious that his main concern is about salaries) does not improve education.

To defer unreasonable attacks on me, permit me to state that spending does have to increase for items such as new buildings and appropriate salary adjustments.

Hermann Faubl