Leaving a Leadership Legacy

As I get older, I am reminded that my “legacy” is that which I leave behind for others to share, to build upon, and to enjoy.  For your heirs, the need to leave behind something goes far beyond a financial legacy.  You want to leave the story, the roadmap of how you got here, what decisions you made, and most importantly, what worked, and what didn’t.

I recently re-read a blog post by Jim Rohn from 2017.  In this post, Jim reminds us that it is the tangible things that have the most value and the most benefit to others. Photographs (including descriptions), your personal library, and most importantly, your personal journal.  As I was reading the post, I was reminded why we know so much about the founding of our great nation.  The founders and the framers, especially John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, were incredible writers.  Their writings in the form of letters, newspaper articles, and personal journals tell a wondrous story of the founding of the United States, and left a legacy of Liberty, Democracy, and Personal Responsibility for all of us to share.  How sad it would be if we could not study the history of our nation without being able to refer to the original writings of the men and women who were there.

A word of caution to those who believe that keeping a journal is just too “old fashioned.”  After all, we now have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress, and a whole host of digital media to share our thoughts, ideas, and to leave a legacy.  While I agree that social media and other electronic forms are a good way to disseminate information, understand that you do not own, or control anything you post on these platforms.  Should Twitter (or any of the others) go out of business, or suffer a serious outage, all of your information may be lost.  Even if you keep electronic copies on your local hard drive, you are only one power surge or fried hard-drive away from losing everything.  Only paper and ink have withstood the test of time.  Not just for centuries, but for millennia.

Leadership in Action 003

An acquaintance on another platform (Twitter) asked why I was always posting quotes from others, rather than posting some of the things that I teach in my own classroom.  I honestly had to think about it for a few minutes.  Then it dawned on me, I wasn’t using my own quotes, my own education, and my own experiences, because I didn’t want to appear arrogant.  Yet, at the same time, I have studied and applied leadership theory for over 20 years in my personal life, and I have taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership for the past decade.  Certainly, I must have something to say on the subject?  After some further thought, I realized, yes… the reason that I started studying leadership was because of my personal belief in a lack of real leadership in our nation, and in the past 20 years I have been able to apply what I have learned both in the classroom, and in the business world, to challenge old, tired ideas and to advance a vision of a better world for all of us.

Peace through Strength

I believe that nearly everyone would agree that the Dalai Lama is a man of peace.  However, it appears that the Dalai Lama and Ronald Reagan have much in common.  You maintain peace, by being strong in the face of your enemies.  Even in the eyes of the Dalai Lama, a schoolgirl has the right to defend herself when confronted by evil.

Exploding the Myth of the Underpaid Teacher (Part 2)

In part two of my expose, I am going to use the information readily available to anyone who cares to look, to expose the truth about the teaching profession, teacher’s unions,  and their cronies. No matter where you are in California or the rest of the USA, take a moment to Google Teacher Salaries in [my district].  Now, please understand, this is just BASE SALARY and does not include any overtime, summer pay, or benefits.  Again, I am using Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) in California as my example.

There are two documents easily accessible to anyone via the web.  It takes less than two minutes to locate with a simple Google search. If you wish to look for yourself, here is the link to the 2016-2017 Salary Schedule for Certificated employees for Desert Sands Unified School District.  The second document that you should review is the teaching schedule or School Year Calendar.  Again, I invite you to download this document for yourself.  Click on the link to find the 2017-2018 School Year Calendar for Desert Sands Unified School District.

While the salary schedule is important, the School-Year Calendar is a more important document because it exposes the disparity between the teaching class, and the professional class in California.  Most teachers that I know want to be recognized as professionals in their field, so for the purposes of this review, I will be comparing the salary and benefits of other similarly educated professionals (Engineers, Architects, Urban Planners, Managers, etc.).  I have specifically chosen to not compare Teachers to Doctors and Lawyers because of the massive disparity in educational requirements and the cost of entry to the profession.

Over the course of my career as and Urban Planner, I have hired dozens of young professionals (YPs) right out of college and put them to work.  The entry level hiring package for these private sector professionals peaked from 2004-2008.  At that time, the need for competent and talented YPs was great, and there was tremendous competition in the marketplace.  However, since 2008 and through the duration of the last recession, entry level salaries and total compensation have dropped dramatically, to the point where typical entry level salary for a college graduate in a professional field is now between $35,000 and $45,000/year.  There is no guarantee of continued employment, and you must prove your value to the firm annually.

For teachers, the State Union (CTA) has “negotiated” contracts with the local school districts that make teaching the new “dream job” in the minds of many college students.  If you come out of college with a Bachelor’s Degree and you have completed the “fifth year” which is necessary to complete your teaching credential.  You are hired in at close to $55,000/year with a benefit package that no private sector company can hope to match (more on that in part 3).  If you keep your nose clean, you are granted tenure within 2 years, and now you have a job for life, or at least that is what the Union wants you to believe.

So, the typical teaching professional, right out of college, begins his/her career with a $10,000 to $20,000 head start in annual pay for no more effort than is required by any other profession.  But the disparity really begins when you cross reference actual working days between the teaching profession and other professions.

Most YPs are also happy with one-two weeks paid vacation, and a handful of national holidays (usually 7-10). That means the typical young professional, right out of college, works up to 240 days per year, compared to the same young teacher who works only 184.  This same young teacher, has the ability to work overtime, weekends, and summer if he/she chooses to further increase his/her annual salary.

So, are Teaching Professionals underpaid when compared to other professionals of similar education and experience?  Let’s break this down by combining the Salary Schedule and Working Days and determining a per working day wage:

Entry level Teacher:  $55,000/yr. divided into 184 working days = $299/per day

Entry level Professional: $45,000/yr divided into 240 working days = $188/per day

The bottom line is that when you compare apples to apples, Teaching Professionals begin their careers with a MASSIVE financial advantage over other similarly educated professionals.  Of course we haven’t even discussed automatic annual pay raises, step raises, and benefits available from the Union, banks and credits unions, and private sector companies that increase the gap dramatically.

In Part 3, I will expose the Benefit packages that our Public School administrators and teachers enjoy.  It’s amazing to me that so many teachers still complain about having to pay an incredibly small co-payment, or a singularly small deductible, while the rest of us pay the equivalent of a HOUSE PAYMENT just to have health insurance.

It’s time for all of us to speak #TruthToPower #TakeBackCalifornia #MakeCaliforniaGreatAgain #WakeUpCalifornia.

To your health, happiness, prosperity!


Exploding the Myth of the Underpaid Teacher (Part 1)

Good day everyone,

Recently, I was pulled into a discussion/debate about teacher salaries and the perception that teachers are underpaid, overworked, and burdened to the point of physical and emotional collapse.  In this debate, I was called several rather disgusting things and accused of being a “hater” or “liar” for bringing out the facts.  So, before I begin my expose, let me provide some personal disclosure so that everyone is aware that I do not “hate” teachers and that this isn’t just a witch hunt.

  1. I AM a teacher.  10 years ago I started working, part time for a major university teaching Business, Marketing, Management, to undergrad, and graduate students.  I LOVE being a teacher.
  2. I am also an experienced professional and I regularly hire graduates from the California University system.  I know exactly what kind of student is being allowed to graduate now, and I know exactly how much time I need to spend to correct his/her thinking to make him/her a productive employee.
  3. I am married to a teacher.  The woman that I love has MULTIPLE Master’s degrees, multiple credentials (including math, physical education, and administration).  She has taught in 4 different Districts and at one University.
  4. A few years ago, on a dare, I sat for the CBEST.  A 3-hour test that I completed in 70 minutes and was told that I had passed before even leaving the testing facility.  Based on this one, incredibly easy test, I was allowed to begin my public teaching career, as a substitute, in our local school districts.  To say the bar for entry is low, would be an understatement.
  5. I have done my research and will provide the data to back up my assertions.  While I will focus on one particular District in California, Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD), the data and information for all Districts is readily available for any who wishes to look into their local district.  While there are slight differences in pay and benefits, the State Union, California Teachers Association (CTA) ensures a relative balance between all districts in the State.
  6. During my tenure as a Substitute Teacher, I discovered how most tenured teachers completely revile the work that substitutes can provide. During this expose, I will reveal stories about my experiences teaching everything from Kindergarten, up to High School Business Students, AND I will tell the story of how the CTA and Local Union forced myself and my wife to pony up over $3000 to give a handful of exceptional students, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

My goal here is not to tear down the teaching profession.  There are a number of men and women in my life, many of them teachers, that have contributed to who I am today.  I would name names, but I do not want to embarrass anyone, living or passed.  These women and men, from 3rd grade to 5th-6th grade, to high school English, history, and Community College all contributed in amazing ways to the man  I am today.  But it is time for the Union lies, the Progressive Lies, the Liberal Lies, and the Democrat Lies… TO STOP

It’s time for #TruthToPower #TakeBackCalifornia #MakeCaliforniaGreatAgain #WakeUpCalifornia.

To your health, happiness, prosperity!