The Children Verses Derek Jeter

OK so I never intended to spend my life working with children. Yes I did the childcare degree in the UK but that was because I wanted to travel.  I thought if I got that degree I could become a nanny which was a great way to travel the world for cheap, and I was right…it was.  And then when I came to the USA and my children were born, I wanted them with me so working as a preschool teacher was a win win…But I NEVER expected it would become my career…But it did…And the funny thing is, I was really good at it. I moved up from being Assistant, to Teacher, to Lead Teacher, to Assistant Director, to Director,  and I really enjoyed it.

But do you know what I did not enjoy, do you know what really really  p##*@ed me off the most?  It was the fact that what I did was seen by society as not  very valuable, I mean I can only draw that conclusion as we here in the USA value things with a dollar amount, and as the dollar amount placed on me was $7 to $9 an hour,  what other conclusion can I draw?

Part of my job as Lead Teacher was to teach children to read. Now I may be a bit naive but I think that this is THE most important job on the planet,  I mean think about it…. If children cannot read, there will be no doctors, no lawyers, no scientist, no teachers or professors, no….., well, you get the picture.

I really don’t understand it,  as a licensed family daycare provider, I saw parents wince when I told them my cost for taking care of their child for a week from 7am to 6pm was $150.00 (this worked out at $3.75 an hour)  And yet these same parents don’t think anything of paying much much more for other services..Here are some examples…..

Piano tuner. $70 an hour

Dog grooming $70 to $90 an hour

Computer hard drive install $199.00

Plumber $150 an hour

So why is anything related to children valued so low?  This speaks to our Public School Teachers also but that is another post. These days many qualifications are required to be a preschool teacher and yet the pay remains low .

But you know what, that is really not what bothers me the most, even though I truly think we should be paying these people much much more.  No,  what bothers me the most is when I open my MSN news and the first thing I see is that Derek Jeter just signed a new contract with the Yankees for…wait for it….$51 million !!!! Yes you read it correct $51 million for 3 years

So based on this, I can only draw the conclusion that this is what we consider valuable…..

Teaching a child to read…………………………………………………………………….. $51 thousand over 3 years

Throwing a ball, catching a ball, hitting a ball, running in a circle………………. $51 million  over 3 years

Seriously, I have to ask..what is wrong with this picture?  Why is it that we place so little value in the care and education of what is obviously our most important “resource” for the future and yet so much on our ‘entertainment”

What needs to be done for this to change? What can WE as individuals do to let society know that this is unacceptable and that we HAVE to invest more money in both early childhood and our Public education system and NOT be making the damaging cuts that are happening right now all over the country.  But more important, how can we, as a society start placing less emphasis on movie stars, rock stars, people in sports and stop idolizing them.

And not being outraged when someone gets paid $5 million per episode for starring in a show about nothing!


About Julie Labes
Julie Labes: Baby-Boomer Travel Specialist: The Fun-Loving, Feisty, Fearless, Frisky, Fierce Over 50 Traveler Julie owns and operates an internet based full service travel booking engine. She has traveled extensively and lived in several countries including England, Switzerland, 7 years in Athens Greece and now resides in Florida. She has been married 20 years and has two children When not working, she enjoys theater, traveling, music cryptic crosswords and a nice cuppa tea

18 Responses to The Children Verses Derek Jeter

  1. It seems that we don ‘t make the connection that the value we place on our teachers and caregivers directly impacts the quality of the care our children receives. I have seen this time and time again and it is so frustrating!

  2. There are so many examples of this–people who work with children, people who do caregiving, people who help heal people in ways other than big bucks medicine (and often these people are women). Society is not geared toward helping as something that should be financially rewarded.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

  3. The wince response really says it all, doesn’t it? What we are willing to pay vs. what something is worth is a whole can of worms, and celebrity math is not in the same league. The market rate for Child Care vs. Pet Care is interesting.

    I’m in health care (usually paid more per hour than child care givers and teachers, but talk to my bookkeeper about the take home pay). Still, I see the wince all the time too. It amazes how much more per month people will pay to have a low deductible insurance, but end up hundreds of dollars behind at the end of the year whether they met that deductible or not. How about super premium cable vs. hormone free food? How about an adjustment and massage every month or so vs. feeling crummy?

  4. It is shameful. I know that I would not be where I am today without the help of amazing teachers and mentors.

  5. lisawifemom says:

    I totally agree, it’s an outrage, so what can we do? As a teacher, what do you know of that would make a difference?

    For one, I try to follow the teacher’s recommendations when voting, trying to get more funding, etc. Although that hasn’t worked lately. Part of the problem is that the money being used to pay these over-paid famous people, or just the plumber, is not coming from the government, it’s private money, and those wealthy people that are putting up that private money are not going to put their money into the school systems. There is no tangible return on investment for them. Sad…and well, I could go on and on, as I’m sure all parents could on this subject.

    The hardest, most important, and underpaid job in the world, a parent. Second to that is a teacher. And BTW, in my dreams could I find someone to take care of my kids for that price, those people are crazy to flinch at that!!

  6. WOW! I love the way you make your point. I agree with you on all accounts….I am a social worker by trade, and I had similar experiences/feelings when I worked in that field.
    Parents would bring their kids to me for outpatient therapy and say “Fix my kid”. Of course, when insurance ran out, they would stop coming. Not to mention, the insurance did not cover much.

    I am sure that you were a fabulous preschool teacher & director, and there will be many adults that remember you as their first educator! Rachel

    • Julie Labes says:

      Yes it is always wonderful when a former student or parent stops me in the street to say hello and especially when they say nice things to me and thank me for what i did to help them. I am sure most teachers feel the same way. My husband teaches middle school math and many times ex students come up and thank him….Just a shame we can’t deposit those thanks in the bank to pay the bills…lol

  7. Jennifer says:

    Wow … when you put it like that, it really makes you stop and think… My husband and I came to a similar conclusion a while back and have since pretty much stopped watching pro sports. Too many are spoiled, overindulged babies, who get away with doing awful things just because they’re good at their sport and get paid a ridiculous amount of money.

    Teachers, firefighters, police officers … hmm the people who educate and care for our children for hours a day, the people who are at your beck and call with every 911 call – from sick people, to dead people, to horrific accidents, and fires, and the people who put their life on the line every day for our safety … are the lowest paid. Doesn’t make sense does it?

    -Jennifer Bourn, Custom WordPress Theme Designer,

  8. Great points!
    Did you share this with your co-workers? Would be interested in what they have to say, too! And the parents!
    – Debbie

    • Julie Labes says:


      I work from home now. i stopped being a preschool Teacher/Director a few years ago

  9. All I can say is I totally agree and I wish I knew the answer 😦
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom

    • Julie Labes says:

      I really think it is a “belief” thing..I still think society still views childcare providers and preschool teachers as not much more than babysitters and it is a job for a “MOM” so ‘why do we need to pay them?”

  10. You make a great point about what we value. Although I think the real problem lies not that we pay entertainers too much but that we pay teachers too little. Entertainers (and I lump athletes in that category as it applies here) are paid as part of a free market, based on how much attention and money they will draw…pure economics. And this is part of our capitalistic system that allows for the ‘American Dream’. Although I think it is ridiculous what they are paid too.

    I think we absolutely need to pay our teachers more and understand that if we don’t invest in our children, their care and education, we will find ourselves and our country on a slippery slope to ruin.

    Big issues you raise…I want it all…preserved free market AND an ample government budget to provide the best education for our children.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    Darcie Newton

  11. Donna McCord says:

    Both my husband and I have had conversations about this very same thing; we don’t want to pay our teachers well, and then we wonder why more gifted men and women are not pursuing teaching as a career, or why our schools are not as competitive in the world as they used to be. There never seems to be enough money for our public schools, and it is a mystery to me why that is true — there always seems to be enough money for other government jobs and projects. I have never been able to understand why schools, police and firemen always seem to be first to have their funding reduced. Here in California I have wondered for years about the Lottery and how it was voted in with a lot of hoopla about how the money was going to “save our schools”. Whatever happened there? It makes no sense.

  12. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for writing this provocative post and expressing it so effectively. I once taught in public schools, and I’ve studied education a bit, and I feel pretty much the same way as you do. But with at least one significant difference.

    First, a quick story. My grandfather used to rant about baseball games on the TV, saying why don’t those guys go out and get a job instead of playing? (Actually, this says everything about his own values and priorities.) Now I believe the answer to his question is that those players were paid very well for playing, in most cases far more than they’d earn in any other job.

    And they were paid so well because the sponsors of the televised games, and the people who made money on the live games, made enough money to pay the ballplayers’ salaries, as well as their own.

    So I believe how society at large values the work of teachers has nothing to do with the case. Ballplayers make lots of money because their owners and sponsors make lots of money. Maybe you could organize a national boycott of live and televised baseball, and their sponsors, so the teams would all go out of business. Think the teachers’ salaries would rise as a result? I doubt it.

    Here’s a thought: Suppose you could organize teachers like sports teams. Televise teachers in action, and have beer, soft drinks, cars, and fast food sponsor these telecasts. Suppose you could devise a way to make these shows compelling (say, vote someone off the “classroom” each week, or vote for a “Teacher Idol”) so the sponsors made lots of money. Then perhaps the participating teachers’ salaries would rise.

    Still, their salaries wouldn’t be a response to the valuable work they do. I think teachers generally are paid the least the market will bear, and they do themselves no favors when they disregard performance and tolerate incompetents within their ranks, and the selfless, dedicated ones buy school supplies out of their own pockets.

    Well, I’m not so sure this re-organization would benefit our country’s education responsibilities. But it IS an idea. What do you think?

  13. Bruce Barone says:

    It is very sad. Isn’t it. I have never understood our priorities.

  14. Fiona Stolze says:

    This seems to be the case all over the globe. I agree that it is all out of proportion. I’ve never understood why men (and some women) are paid handsomely and sometimes obscenely for running after balls. Really reflects our value system.

    Fiona Stolze

  15. You are so right and society is so unfair sometimes. Being in the tutoring industry I see first hand what happens when a child in 6th grade still can’t read and, due to budget cuts, an Algebra teacher is teaching Language Arts. Just doesn’t make sense, does it. I have often thought about sport figures raking in millions of dollars for what? To entertain us – what about educators raking in millions of dollars to EDUCATE our children. I could go on and on but you stated it quite well. Good post.

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