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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Underpaid Guardian of Children at Third-Tier University; Now Featuring Wage Op-Ed

Found on 08-29-2013 at URL:

Lead Teacher - LTE
Job Announcement Code(s): 13-02954
County(ies): Walworth
Classification Title: / JAC: TEACHER 13-02954
Job Working Title: Lead Teacher - LTE
Type of Employment: Full Time (40 hrs/week)
Salary: The starting salary is $15.469 per hour, (sic; the comma should be a semicolon) there are no benefits or paid time off with this position.
Contact: Stephanie Hartmann, Human Resources Assistant, 262-472-1397,
Bargaining Unit: Non-Represented
Area of Competition: Open
Deadline to Apply: 9/4/2013
Exam Information: Exam cannot be previewed.
University of Wisconsin Whitewater Children’s Center invites applicants for a forty hour weekly position beginning August 5, 2013. This limited term employment position is responsible to provide care for children in a child-initiated learning environment working with children beginning at three months of age up to three years of age. This includes providing general supervision and management for a classroom of children and supervision of student employees along with students and visitors in the classroom for observation, research and practicum experiences. Lead Teacher plans and facilitates developmental activities as part of a comprehensive program for children's physical, cognitive, emotional and social growth, so children can reach their highest potential.
Job Duties
1. Programming Responsibilities
  1. Plan and facilitate a daily program of care and activities for the assigned classroom.
  2. Contribute to the effective operation of the overall childcare program.
  3. Develop and implement daily/weekly activity plans using a child initiated emergent curriculum influenced by a Reggio Inspired Philosophy.
  4. Responsible for the arrangement of space, setting, and materials in the classroom and with outdoor play equipment, to ensure a safe clean, orderly child centered learning environment, and consistent daily schedule for children's calm, comfortable and successful participation in the program.
  5. Individualizes programming according to children's interests and developmental goals.
  6. Document and assess the children’s individual progress and the progress of the group as a whole using the Teaching Strategies GOLD Online Tool, Documentation Panels, Individual and Classroom Portfolios, using Authentic Assessment with Photographs, Videos, Work Samples and Anecdotal Notes.
  7. Develop and maintain an NAEYC classroom portfolio for the classroom.
  8. Hold Formal Family-Teacher Conferences once a semester and provide informal communication opportunities for families.
  9. Create Weekly Family Newsletters and maintain a Family Resource Board in the classroom.
  10. Establish an Open Door Policy with Families that offers daily verbal and/or written feedback for families on their children’s progress and encourages family participation in the educational process.
  11. Promote a multicultural and anti-bias approach to learning and to the center environment.
  12. Show respect for each child’s culture and background and their personal uniqueness.
  13. Collaborate with Center Director and University Faculty and staff in the supervision and training of Student Teachers. Monitor student teachers progress in all areas of their performance.
  14. Regularly support and encourage family participation in center activities.
  15. Establish and maintain developmentally appropriate, safe and nurturing learning environment according to program educational philosophy.
  16. Oversee housekeeping procedures within the classroom and in common areas as assigned.
  17. Monitor center sanitation procedures and promptly report any maintenance concerns to the Director.
2. Administrative Responsibilities
  1. Maintain regular communication with parents/guardians, teacher assistants, volunteers, student teachers and the Children’s Center Director.
  2. Observe and share information regarding child’s activities and experiences with parent/guardian.
  3. Notify the Director of the Children Center classroom supplies and needs.
  4. Practice emergency evacuation procedures monthly and maintain Fire and Safety checklist.
  5. Assist with record keeping, respond to inquiries directed to the Center, and perform other administrative and programmatic duties as assigned.
  6. Assist in center compliance with all regulatory requirements, including child care licensing requirements, USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations, NAEYC accreditation standards and University policies.
  7. Participate in, and prepare for classroom and center staff meetings, family meetings, family conferences or center promotional activities, and Student Affairs Division events as necessary or assigned.
  8. Arrange for own substitute whenever possible and arrange for Teacher Assistant substitutes when needed.
  9. In collaboration with other Center staff and in accordance with established and agreed upon schedules, provide program lead teacher coverage as needed.
3. Supervisory Responsibilities
  1. Model and supervise for all Teacher Assistants, Student Teachers and volunteers assigned to their classroom, in collaboration with the Director. The Lead Teacher plans for the ongoing development and training of all student employees, volunteers of the Children's Center.
  2. Monitors assisting staff progress in all areas of their progress in all areas of their performance. (Evaluate in writing each semester.)
  3. Supervise one to two student teachers each semester.
  4. Assist with evaluation of classroom staff, including Teacher Assistants, Student Teachers and volunteers.
  5. Act as liaison with sponsoring faculty/staff members from the university, student teacher replacement supervisor’s volunteer agencies, and job coaches.
  6. Coordinate team-planning meetings as needed.
4. General Responsibilities
  1. Ensure the safety and physical well being of the children.
  2. Coordinate snack-planning, preparation and clean up in accordance with state licensing guidelines.
  3. Provide recommendations and referrals of children with special needs.
  4. Develop and implement parent/guardian volunteer experiences.
  5. Attend parent or childcare committee meetings as needed.
  6. Maintain a professional working atmosphere and confidentiality of information in relation to staff, children and families.
  7. Perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Director of the Children’s Center.
  8. Participate in Division of Student Affairs and University comities and programs when appropriate.
Supervision Received : On-site supervision is received from the Children's Center Director.
Supervision Exercised: The Lead Teacher both models for and supervises all Teacher Assistants, Student Teachers and volunteers assigned to their classroom in collaboration with the Director and participating University Faculty and staff. The Lead Teacher plans for the ongoing development and training of all student employees, volunteers and student teachers of the Children's Center. Supervises one to two student teachers each semester.
Job Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Minimum Qualifications
A Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, Special Education and / or Elementary Education with teaching experience in an NAEYC accredited play-based developmentally appropriate preschool program. A Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, Psychology or other human service related field with 33 or more semester based credit hours in Early Childhood Development or Education will also be accepted.
Experience working with children under three in a classroom setting. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with children, family and staff, and to provide leadership within a team-teaching model. Trained in blood borne pathogens, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and certified in infant/child CPR & First Aid. Meets requirements of Wisconsin Licensing Rules for Group Daycare Centers (HFS 46) for physical exam and criminal background check. Ability to lift up to 40 pounds.
How To Apply: Please send cover letter, resume and unofficial transcripts to:
Holly McFaul
Children’s Center
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
800 West Main Street, Roseman 1006
Whitewater, WI 53190
(262) 472-1767

Those are many duties and qualifications for someone to be paid only $15 an hour without benefits! That is only slightly better compensation some higher-end student jobs, which in the UW System are capped at $13.50 an hour without benefits and have a hard limit of 30 hours weekly scheduled hours -- to discourage people from enrolling in university to get a full-time job and earning more per semester than they pay in tuition, God forbid.

I have to wonder about the value judgments made by the State of Wisconsin in paying $17 to over $28 hourly for someone to figure out new ways of spending money on electronic communications technology, as in the “business automation analyst” position below, yet allocating a mere $15 for each taxing hour spent stuck with a bunch of kids and the concomitant liability.

That compensation is low for someone who has supervisory duties and reports directly to the center’s director; a comparable rung in the corporate ladder -- just below C-level -- would command at least three times the pay and an A-to-Z benefits package. The person who takes the job at least appears to truly love children!

The lead daycare center teacher isn’t a glorified babysitter; s/he must adhere to an obscure licensed teaching system and needs certification in a bunch of medical training which goes beyond standard first aid. Plus, the incumbent “plans for the ongoing development and training of all student employees [and] volunteers of the center” -- thereby making him or her capable of enabling or impeding multiple students’ path to successful post-graduate employment.

Although getting paid a lot doesn’t necessarily correlate with helping students secure internships -- as shown by public administration internship directors such as Dennis Hatch with his ego wall of ten thousand or so awards and plaques -- it does send the message that society believes your work is valued and has merit. And unlike parents or relatives who perform unpaid childcare, daycare center teachers must evenhandedly protect and keep busy dozens of strangers’ children, each having a personal history and early familial values largely uncontrollable by the daycare.

You therefore have a person responsible for the safety, welfare, and cognitive development of up to sixty children a day -- while professors and other high-paid UW-Whitewater employees punch the clock -- and the pay is between 13% and 53% less than some person receives to brainstorm new ways to blow money on IT stuff.

The latter category of expenditures usually involves changing to the fifth new instant messaging interface in twelve years or nesting user command buttons farther into the interface menus to “stay competitive” -- as if there weren’t enough IT activities to manage! These are only a few examples of what IT departments spend on to justify their budgets when everything is working fine.

Rather than further bloat the tech bubble, how about we bring greater fairness to the sometimes irrational market? “But each market is rational by definition!” No, the market is often irrational because buyers and sellers irrationally discount externalities such as communicating unintended social messages and are limited in what they can focus on at a given time.

This is why we witness pay discrepancies for duties which are more or less equally important when you account for the external consequences unto others for NOT rewarding necessary but socially unrewarding behavior such as doing the best you can to raise others’ children entrusted to you. And speaking of discrepancies, the stated application deadlines are contradictory: August 5 versus September 4. Because the vacancy remained open when I had found it on August 29, the true deadline was evidently the latter.

So what can be done? We hear how overpowered teachers’ unions bankrupt school districts, but a very weak union would by its mere existence prevent arbitrary “at will” dismissal from one’s job and bestow at least some benefits. Such a minimalist union would also remain limited in coercive bargaining power within Wisconsin due to Act 10 of 2011 and by the geographic dispersion of daycare teachers: One lead and two junior teachers per daycare up for a midsize university such as UW-Whitewater means only twenty or so substitutes would be needed to break a strike within a county.

Also, daycare centers are not subject to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 -- itself a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- or to other standardized testing requirements. This means daycare teachers do not present the dilemma of unaccountable instructional underperformance; they are caretakers and activity coordinators but do not assign homework or administer exams. The reason for this boils down to the question: Can you imagine evaluating “child-initiated, play-based learning” against a standard?

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