NYPD tells teachers, “No grading papers in public.”

Anne and I are in New York for the weekend to see our kids and grand kids. Plus it is our 35th wedding anniversary. Naturally we want to spend some time at Occupy Wall Street.

Liberty Park is jammed with people. Some have taken up permanent residence in sleeping bags and tents. Hundreds more fill the park every day with signs of one kind or another. There are lots of tourists, reporters and college students who have been assigned to interview the protesters.

There are drum circles, spontaneous dances and the steady flow of speakers whose voices get amplified, not by the banned electronic microphones and loudspeakers, but the technique of the crowd repeating what each speaker says in waves that carry the message to the back of the throngs who are listening.

As we left we stopped by a group of teachers who were doing a grade-in in an open plaza across from the park.

Grade-ins have become common in cities across the country as teachers gather in public spaces to do work that usually gets done at home, off the clock and unrecognized: prepping for classes, grading papers and doing the unending paperwork that the school bureaucracies demand.

Since there was no open space in Liberty Square, this group of teachers gathered across the street. A few minutes later two uniformed New York cops arrived on the scene.

“What’s going on.”

“We’re grading papers.”

“Can’t do that here.”

The cops disappeared for a few minutes and suddenly there were a half-dozen more New York cops.

“Can’t do that here,” they repeated.

“Thank you, officers,” one of the teachers politely said. And the teachers gathered their tests, folding chairs and hand-made cardboard signs and moved across the street, disappearing into the crowd.

134 thoughts on “NYPD tells teachers, “No grading papers in public.”

  1. It was the chairs. . .Otherwise they’d have absolutely no legal grounds to tell you that you can’t Grade Papers. That’d be like telling Wall St. Brokers they can’t read the Wall St Journal on their way to work. Or use their blackberries to check in with the office. Not only should you grade peers there but history teachers should be taking their classes down town learn about the protests .

    1. It wasnt the chairs at all because there is no notification or passin law that says you cant have your own chairs to sit down and do work, the park is a public facility and it would be the same as saying you cant put your blanket down on the grass for when you have a picnic, the main problem is the size of the group and the way the officers percieve the groups activities x

    2. Qué paradójico y ridículo resulta que en ese país tengan la “Estatua de la LIBERTAD”.
      Ahora el mundo entero está sabiendo lo que muchos supimos desde hace tiempo, quienes vivimos en el tercer mundo conocemos bien la VERDADERA cara de Estados Unidos.

  2. Yah..if you believe it was the chairs then you probably believe that “seperate but equal” could’ve worked if given the right implementation..

      1. It was violent. People are still protesting and gathering in public spaces around the city but it seems to have lost its oomph.

  3. Oh my! 😦 But those teachers are polite 🙂 Hats off! I admire teachers and it’s nice to check papers outdoors and do other paperworks in public area 😀

    Great post! Congrats for being freshly pressed!


    1. Yes Curly. It needs to be noted that the Teachers were peaceful and left without incident, yet amazingly enough,, Here I am in FL reading about it. I think the teachers accomplished their goal of getting their voices heard in terms of being overworked and underpaid like millions of Americans Today.

  4. Oh dear, just bonkers. I work in education and spend most of my marking time in public – to do so couped up indoors would make the whole thing horrible – I mean marking is never fun in or outdoors, but outdoors helps. Pure sillyness, boo to the police!

    1. I hope you are not an English teacher: “couped” should be “cooped”; “sillyness” should be “silliness”.

  5. The whole point of this story is that teachers spend a whole lot of their own time doing work that they do not get paid for. If those cops were asked to work 2 hours overtime everyday without pay they would be on strike in a New York minute.

    1. Absolutely. When I worked in insurance and made twice what I do now, I never took home work. As a teacher, I take home papers to correct, plans to write, and more. I work at least 4-6 hours at home each week. Why? Because I don’t have enough planning time during the work day to get any of it done. Do I get paid for all the extra time.Nope.

      And I am only a 1/2 time teacher – I’m sure full time teachers have to spend even more time outside of school.

      1. Both of my parents worked as teachers when I was growing up. Those three months off for summer are rarely if ever three months off work, and they don’t get paid for that time off in most places. The time they do get off is spent like most of their time off, getting more stuff done in preperations for when school to starts, mostly things that they know that wont be able to get done when school starts. That’s if you get the time to do all of it. That three months is actully two months for most teachers, who have to stay several weeks after the kids get out of school filling out the endless end of year paperwork. Then they have to get to school several weeks early to get their classes set up, fight to have the curriculum, that they spent their unpaid summer planning, approved, and starting on the enrollement and start of school year paperwork.

        All of that is only if the teacher doesn’t have to meet a new board requirement or update a certification, or if the school just decides that all their teachers should take a specific class. In those cases, which happens often enough, especially for teachers working with younger kids or special needs, you have teachers spending that two months “off” in a classroom.

        I could go on forever, but the point is that teachers don’t get days off like most professions, and they DO NOT get paid for the time they work. Any one related to a teacher has seen class papers being graded on a holiday weekend, or them spending hours, on a vacation, trying to figure out how to help one kid pass a class.

      2. To English guncontrol

        In Sweden teachers work 5 hour extra per week and that way they have already worked their extra vacation.
        Normal scheduled work week in Sweden is 40 hours and teachers work 45 (on paper) but really put in much more hours than that

    2. Teachers earn a salary, not an hourly wage. The work you do before/during/after the official school day is included in your job and therefore is paid. The problem here is two-fold: 1) State, federal & school district bureaucracies keep demanding more “accountability”, which increases the time spent on (nearly) meaningless paperwork; 2) teachers don’t get paid nearly enough for their work!!

      1. That is incorrect. Teacher pay, though often expressed as an annual salary, is based on an hourly wage—and it’s wage we DON’T earn during those “three months off for summer” another poster thinks we should be consdering as compensation for the extra hours we put in. The only reason I get a paycheck year round is that my district allows me to spread nine months wages over twelve.

      1. No – Teachers are paid for the number of school days plus the days right before the school year and right after. It is very clearly stated in contracts what the expected “hours” and days are in terms of work. Any teacher knows that the actual work far exceeds what is stated in the contract. As for pay during the summer, the pay (which is based on the 9 months) is spread across 12 months so teachers cannot claim unemployment. This is especially true for areas where teachers do not know if they will have a job the following year until right before school starts.

        Any good teacher is working the full year.

  6. It is interesting to see that. Teachers in my area of the USA typically grade stuff at home. Interesting to note that New York works differently I guess.

  7. I think everyone knows and pretty much agrees that teachers are overworked and underpaid, so I’m not sure that these teachers are showing the public anything that they were previously unaware of by doing their work in public…

  8. I hate to say it but it is a very well known fact that becoming a teacher means you’re not going to work a standard 40hr week. That is why teachers are paid a salary, not an hourly wage. You get paid to get your work done, whether it takes 30 hours or 60 hours per week.

    The school I worked at had an average annual salary of $45,000 for teachers on a 9 month contract. That means if they worked a full 12 months that would be a $60,000 per year career. Not bad in my book. If I made that kind of money, I wouldn’t complain about having to take my work home with me.

    I feel like we didn’t get enough of the situation explained to us to understand what the police were actually saying. If it’s the chairs on a sidewalk, I can believe that. I don’t believe they would just say you can’t grade papers on the streets. That’s just dumb. It’s gotta be something else the group was doing. I’m glad they were polite and left though.

    1. “,…it is a very well known fact that becoming a teacher means you’re not going to work a standard 40hr week” Yes most teachers know this. Most other people don’t seem to get it. They think teachers work from 9-3 9 months a year and then just have the rest of the time to themselves. That is why they resent the paltry salary teachers do make and keep trying to reduce school budgets on teachers backs.. Teachers also frequently have to buy their own classroom supplies etc. We don’t expect carpenters to supply their own nails, or lawyers to supply legal pads.

      “If I made that kind of money, I wouldn’t complain about having to take my work home with me.” Absolute bullshit. 1] “That kind of money” is not a lot of money. 2] These people are taking care of and educating YOUR CHILDREN!. I would think you would want the best and brightest doing it and show them some respect. Did I mention they take care of and educate your children?

      1. Well… I guess it’s not BS as I did work for a school and made a little less than the average teacher made, though I worked a 12 month contract at an average of 50-60 hrs per week. I was the IT Director which is, in my opinion, a skilled position no higher or lower than a teachers position yet I was paid considerably less yet had more responsibility (entire district responsibilities). Instead of complaining about the hours and pay I chose to move on to a different sector. I did my best to never complain about the hours or the pay because I knew it was for the kids. It wears on a person the lack of acknowledgment teachers get, but I have to say, I think there’s more acknowledgment than some would like to admit exists. There must be some really bad districts out there that really treat teachers like crap. I can’t speak for that. In our area, the teachers are treated pretty well, but they still complain about their pay and hours.

        As for $45-$60k a year not being a lot of money… It’s all perspective. I grew up on a rural farm that would be considered quite poor, so yes, that amount is a respectable amount. So put things into perspective. The area you live in may mean that amount isn’t huge, but it’s still well above poverty level. All should be able to live comfortably within their means with that amount of annual income. If you can’t, then you may be overextending your finances.

    2. Your $60,000 is a nice math exercise, but you still get $45,000 when all is said and done, which forces many teachers to work during their so-called “vacation” time (As a teacher, I have never had a summer off in 15 years)…If you want teaching to remain a “profession” and not a “trade” then you need to professionalize it, thus making it valued in society in terms of a worthwhile occupation, not a pursuit borne of simple altruism…In the long run, we will not retain a large mass of quality people since many will flock to the private sector where they can actually have a shot at a good financial foundation…We haven’t even mentioned if a teacher has a family…Your $45,000 isn’t much with a couple of kids, a mortgage and other life expenses…Yet the educational requirements for teaching goes up all the time…Not the way to provide incentives for an occupation.

    3. Check your facts. As it’s been said before, in most states, teachers are hourly workers. Their “salary” is just an expression of what they make working X amount of time for Y hours.

  9. I keep wishing there was more coverage or investigation into what the police are hearing from the top– they seem to be so unnecessarily aggressively asserting their presence. I went to an Occupy Brooklyn Event about 2 weeks ago. It was supposed to be a family friendly event– that’s how it was promoted in every venue, that parents should bring their kids for a positive show of support. When I arrived there were about 30 people there and easily 80 or 100 police officers, making a very aggressive show of keeping people inside of barriers. As a result, the event fizzled out– no one wants to bring their children somewhere where they are being pushed into pens and surrounded by police officers.
    That same day, my friend went to a large event in TImes Square and she said that officers in full riot gear and on horses kept everyone in pens and wouldn’t allow them to leave the area. She got the impression that they were eager for someone to challenge them in an attempt to leave the protest so that they could justify making arrests. She told me that one woman kept begging them for help, saying that she was a tourist and needed help getting back to her hotel, and the cops just ignored her. Is that doing their job?
    That same day police officers were standing guard in front of bank branch doors to prevent protesters from entering. Since when is it their job to provide security for private businesses?
    And to confront teachers grading papers?!! What!!!!!
    How much is all of this increased police presence (in overtime I’m sure) costing the taxpayers? That’s what I’d like to know.

  10. In this case I’m definitely going to have to side with the teachers. The police have been given such a bad rep recently because of OWS, and I feel like the main motivations between the bad choices the NYPD is making are fear, frustration and pressure. It’s a shame, but they really have to think of a more efficient way to go about this, without creating resentment towards the police force.

    Just my two cents, but you know.

  11. Wow… because it wasn’t enough for cops to somehow manage to get middle-aged white soccer moms to not like them– now they are after teachers. They really seem to have a comprehensive plan for being despised. Kudos!

  12. That is absolutely ridiculous. Crazy, awful and ridiculous. Where do we live again? Because it’s feeling less and less “united” and increasingly “police state-ish.”

    And yeah, I totally just made up that word…


  13. I wish there had been a law against chairs on the sidewalk when we lived in Vietnam–not to mention motorbikes that took over the sidewalks, turning it into an extra lane of traffic during rush hour. My partner’s first comment when she arrived and I had yet to come was one of dismay, “They have no respect for the sidewalk here!”

    We Americans have made an institution of the sidewalk–what shoud or should not be done there. No wonder our country is being sidelined/sidewalked by countries like China that fully occupy any available space.

    Good for those teachers for bringing their work out into the open–hard work that is often under-appreciated when it takes place indoors and off the clock.


  14. Chairs or no chairs, (are we really discussing chairs?) NYPD seem to have already set themselves up for many a huge fall in their treatment of the main groups of OWS and other visitors to the protest, and some of the Force will be looking for whatever ‘housekeeping’ they can do without a fight.

    The teachers, having no doubt carefully chosen their spot, seem to have been peaceably minding their own business in a slightly separate area(?) but it’s away from any possibility of exciting backup from the main groups; an easy ‘housekeeping’ target.

    When challenged the teachers move off politely – their point made (we are discussing it after all) and the NYPD group have exercised power. Law of the playground – you’re making my territory look messy and I can do something about it. (Yup, I was a teacher)

  15. Presumably the teachers in question are well educated. What bothers me is the implication that none of them thought to ask what was the problem. If it were me I certainly would want to know.

  16. Really, so many of the reactions towards Occupy Wall Street are absolutely ridiculous. The police, and those blustering that OWS has no clear goal or purpose, seem to pretty terrified of something. Why else would a group of teachers grading papers threaten a group of cops?

  17. Yes, it’s ridiculous to tell people they can’t grade papers in public, but people please. Cops are PAID TO BE PARANOID. It’s their job. They don’t care if one person is sitting there grading papers. What they don’t want is for seventy people to be hanging out in what could become a potentially uncontrolled situation. Yes, the “you can’t do that here” comment was dumb — but could you PLEASE look at it from their point of view? It’s just not all that shocking that they’d be nervous or worried or anxious that someone who IS dangerous might use this excuse of a bunch of clearly not-dangerous people aggregating in one place to start trouble. No, the grading teachers aren’t bad guys, and the cops know that. What they also know is that there are probably a herd of pickpockets and possibly some bored teenaged males wandering around looking for some sort of ruckus to attach themselves to, and a conglomeration of teachers in a peaceful protest is as good as excuse as any. If someone had started that flavor of trouble (and in a megalopolis like NYC, someone will eventually), you’d all be up in arms about why didn’t the cops do something to break it up.

    Also, remember that this is freaking NEW YORK. They earned the right to be paranoid. They didn’t pull out billy clubs and start beating people up, they just quietly said, “Don’t do that here.” It IS a damned shame, and I can guarantee you I support Occupy Wall street 100%. The monstrous banksters that have sent an entire planet teetering to the fine edge of collapse deserve to put locked up for the rest of their lives and pauperized. But those schlub cops were simply doing what they are paid to do — quietly and politely keeping a lid on things as much as they can. Cut them a break, and don’t pretend to be all flummoxed and eyes-to-heaven naive as to why they asked the teachers to move. (Speaking of grading, you all have no idea the amount of bureaucratic paperwork your average cop has to fill out as well, and on their own time.) Don’t act deliberately obtuse about this.

  18. That’s ridiculous! Those teachers did nothing wrong. I wish the story would have been a little longer and had some explanations on behalf of the police. Other that that GREAT!

  19. They used the chairs as the excuse because in most cities you can’t set up personal chairs on city property but sounds like the cops will pull any excuse they can out of their hats.

  20. I’ve never heard of ‘grade-ins’ but I think they are a GREAT idea. I get so upset (yes, I used to be a teacher–until VERY recently) when I hear people say things like ‘but you only work 9 months per year’ (not true) or ‘but you only work six hours per day’ (SUPER not true!) My husband is still a teacher and he worked 12+ hour days all last week–including Saturday–so that he could spend one day–Sunday–with me. I hope the grade-ins continue–and if they do, I hope my husband will participate. He certainly has enough work to occupy himself (pun intended!)

  21. I don’t understand why everyone is discussing chairs on or off the sidewalk, there is no mention of them being on the sidewalk, and from the photo it appears that they are a ways in possibly in front of a building. This is simply ridiculous and obviously their point was made, now that we are discussing it in a public forum.

    Thank you for this post, and congrats on Freshly Pressed 🙂

  22. It is possible that where the teachers were standing, which sounds like it was separate from the Liberty Square, may not allow stopping/standing/loitering/what-have-you. Which may sound silly but there are areas in towns I have lived that have such rules. Though the underlying issue is that teachers are not being recognized for the work they put in off the clock, I’m sure the police in New York are on the defensive in light of some of the Occupy Wall Street issues.

  23. I don’t understand why there is a forum going on in these comments at all. Thanks for the post, Fred. Congrats on FP and hope you’re not stuck here for a week. 🙂

  24. What a great idea for finding time to be part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Teachers are masters of multitasking, and being part a civic movement while getting work done is commendable.

    What grade of school must policemen complete before being allowed on the force in New York???


  25. Woah. That sucks for the teachers. It seems like the police force is growing more ridiculous as the OWS movement progresses. Seriously? No grading papers in public? The U.S. already has a bunch of nonsensical laws anyway. Congrats on being FP. Cheers.

  26. That’s ridiculous! The teachers aren’t doing anything wrong or breaking any laws, so why would the police chase them away/

  27. While I do believe teachers are underappreciated, I don’t really see anything wrong with telling them they can’t grade papers there. If they had set up chairs and signs, they were probably breaking some sort of city ordinance (as people pointed out before), at least requring a permit for a peaceful protest maybe also a general nuisance rule about blocking a sidewalk. With a large movement like Occupy Wallstreet going on right across the street, the police are tasked to keep order and to keep people following law and rules. While those teachers were most likely being quiet and just grading their papers, letting them remain in protest in that area would open it up for others to decide it would be okay to protest there as well. It’s much easier to keep a protest peaceful if you enforce the rules governing them – which are meant to help keep order and peace in the first place.

    That said, I’ve never heard of the grading papers in public protest. That’s an interesting idea and it raises a valid complaint.

  28. I get pretty sick of hearing teachers whine. If you don’t like the work, get some other job. And NO you are not educating my children. We are doing that ourselves, and we are doing a much better job of it than the government monopoly school had done in the past 40 years or so.

    The people whose lives are disrupted by the merry band of Woodstock wannabes (the glorious Occupy Wall Street crowd), those who live and work in that area, are sick of the human waste on the sidewalk and the other mess that these hooligans leave behind.

    Your life is your own, and it’s in your own hands. Do something with it or shut the hell up.

    1. Can’t help but notice this, Delona: “I’ve almost run through my inheritance, and I need to find a way to make a living. Anyone need a manners coach? ” If this is a troll, well done. And if not, most teachers can’t inherit money for a living. And if you’re a manners coach, I’m the Overlord of the Universe. And we both know that I’m merely assistant Overlord, so guess what?

      On a more serious note, unless you are home schooling your children (hopefully not in manners!), then yes, teachers are educating your children. And finally, I get pretty sick of hearing people complain about other people in New York City. If you don’t like the people, move to some other city.

      *jazz hands*

      1. Okay, reading is not your thing. I get it. And, humor is not your thing. I can see that, too.

        I stated clearly that we are homeschooling our children because that’s the best way for them to get a decent education.

        Troll? Because I disagreed? You betcha, Eddie, I’m such a troll.

        On the upside, your response to me wasn’t much less sapient than the average comment here.

        I stand by every word I wrote, and I rather enjoy my cheeky fictional profile blurb.

        Congrats on the pretty pink flower, too.

      2. Let’s put this into perspective, Delona – homeschooling is the best way for kids to get a decent education? Yes, that’s why the vast majority of successful people in this country have been educated at home. Oh wait… no they haven’t.

        Are you a trained and degreed educator? If you’re not, then how are you qualified to teach? And if you are, haven’t you proven that home schooling is NOT, in fact, the best way for people to get a decent education? No employer in the land will accept a home-schooled degree, and on top of that, a high school diploma is just a check box to them.

        Were YOU home schooled? Again, if you were, how are you qualified to teach other children? And if you weren’t, haven’t you proven that someone can have a reasonable education whilst attending a public school?

        And finally, what does that have to do with cops telling teachers they can’t grade papers? On the downside, your response was well below the average comment here. Good luck with all the extracurricular activities your kids will be missing, and pray to god that one of your kids doesn’t have a crush on the teacher.

        I don’t expect a response. You’re too busy packing because you’re moving away from New York City.

  29. As an English teacher, perhaps I can use that as an excuse for why my papers are not graded quickly enough. “The NYPD told me it’s against the law.” Seriously though, I see the point public grading is trying to make. However, the real issue is not the extra work that teachers do (English teachers more than most), but rather the lack of incentive or reward to work harder or better. Merit pay with the right monitoring system could potentially create a teaching force that feels valued and rewarded for their work. This healthy competition would create better teachers just like it creates better businesses, products, and workers, not a divisive atmosphere as the union suggests.

    1. I am an English teacher from the other side of the pond in the UK and we are also undervalued as a profession. We are also facing massive spending cutbacks and even teacher training funding has been slashed by 25%. We are facing a period of severe cutbacks in spending…I understand that, but why are teachers being treated so badly?! I know that there is much more to this issue than grading in public (we wouldnt be able to do that over here…privacy issues). But there is a fundamental issue with how teachers are treated by society, worldwide. If you want us to educate the future of tomorrow PROPERLY then start by paying us what we deserve, stop capping our pensions, stop cutting FUNDING for training courses and (my personal favourite) STILL expect more from us!!! I have only been qualified a year and am amazed at the turnover in this profession, some of my colleagues who have been only teaching a matter of years are changing careers because they cannot cope with the financial constraints as well as the emotional ones that you face in a the profession.
      This is a programme that we are currently airing in the UK, I can guess that these experiences mirror some of the ones we as teachers face all across the world on a day to day basis…

      1. Unfortunately the youtube link you posted is not available for viewing in the U.S. Do you know of another link for it? (Thank you for sharing, by the way).

  30. I would think privacy laws would prevent open marking of papers. Here where I teach that would never be allowed. Names in puble must be carried around in a secured and private bag or something similar. It’s a shame, marking on a sunny afternoon with friends at the park sounds lovey.

  31. I am sitting right beside my papers I have to grade before the end of the quarter on Friday. I teach advanced English courses in public high school…so yes, tons of grading. I feel I shouldn’t be grading on my couch. From now on I’ll make it a point to grade in public!

  32. We’re drowning in paper work North of the border too. One day the pendulum will swing back and we’ll actually focus on teaching and kids and the very things we took the job for.

    Just hope I’m still in it when that happens.

  33. I think it’s a great thing that teachers get together and support each other while doing their work. It makes their work more pleasant and less tedious. If they’re doing it outside, let them do it outside!

  34. Teachers are under attack all over this great nation. I am one in Michigan and the legislators are working hard to balance the budget on the backs of governmental employees. Sad, despicable, depressing. As if being a teacher was that easy of a job.

    I’ve always said, if you think it’s all glory and time off, come join us. Go through the state mandated hoops regarding certification and re-certifying through the years. Then you too can have all these perks. That is, if you can do the job as it constantly changes.

    So sad when society has no respect for educators. Really upsetting.
    Congrats on FP!

  35. Grading papers outside might not be a great idea, I am a university teacher and a researcher. I know better than to process sensitive documents while on public transport.

    I think that things like exam marking and report writing involves the production and processing of paperwork which should not be given out to the general public, is it right that little johnny’s math exam answers should be seen by every Tom, Dick and Harry ? I would say no.

    Little johnny’s math exam answers are a private thing between him and either the teacher or the exam board.

    What the teachers should have done was lesson planning in the open air, that would have been a better way to use the time on the side walk.

    Cop “What are you doing ?”
    Teacher “Working out how to educate your kids so that they can add up / read / insert some other teaching goal”

    1. We aren’t exactly talking about the results Little Johnny’s syphilis test. It would be one thing if he or she were using the human mic system to broadcast their grades, but it is ridiculous to think that a stack of times tables tests and spelling quizzes need a Top Secret clearance.

  36. I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. Teachers are the backbone of the community and have always been. They educate our young using their vast training and experience which can only come from years on the job. I’d have asked the cops to “move along, nothing to see here”

  37. Absolutely ridiculous, the amount of work teachers do, why not let them grade a few papers in the fresh air in a public place with colleges. Not sure about you but I know I always had respect for my teachers and I know my pupils have always had respect for me. Think the police need to remember their school days and appreciate the work that their teachers did for them and the work that those teachers were doing, which was more than likely on a weekend.

  38. What are we missing here? My wife and I are teachers and she grades papers in groups all the time. I’ve looked at the photo and, assuming it is a photo of the incident, it shows they clearly have homemade cardboard sighns of some sort. I doubt that a small group of people sorting through documents would have garnered the attention of the police at all, but people in chairs with signs look like they’re up to something.

    I’m all for anyone voicing their feelings in some “occupy” event, but there are probably guidelines about where and how you can do it. I don’t teach (or protest) in NYC so I really don’t know what it was all about, but I really hope that it was not as cut and dried as it seems.

  39. To the poster who did the whole “three-months-off” spiel, teachers get paid for nine months only, but usually opt for the salary to be paid over the course of the year. Most teachers spend that time “off” attending mandatory workshops, planning their upcoming years, pursuing education (also required, which is why most teachers have their master’s degrees, though they are only compensated about 1/3 of the tuition), or working in another teaching capacity (i.e., summer school, college classes) to earn more money. The summers-off argument is annoying and ignorant. When I taught I spent most evenings and weekends grading, doing lessons plans, going to school-related activities in support of my students. Those couple weeks that are truly “off” in July are needed to gear up for another year and not burning out within five years, which most teachers do, because this job is *hard.* Please. Be thankful for good teachers already, because most people can’t or don’t want to do it.

    But great post! Cleanly and well-written. Sweet, almost. You must have had some good teachers, yourself. 🙂

  40. I think that this shouldn’t have happend. Why shoulden’t or even why can’t teachers simply grade papers out side. That is like a teacher yelling at a student doing homework in a studyhall.Plus COPS really that is totally not needed and a dozen thats just OVERKILL in numbers.

  41. I find this terribly alarming. I am a middle school teacher and grading papers at a coffee shop or while I’m getting the oil in my car changed or while I’m at my child’s soccer game is the only way I can even tread water (I work part-time, technically 50%, have 103 students, and regularly put in 40-50 hour weeks). If teachers stay invisible (as these police obviously wanted them to be), then their benefits can be cut, unions busted, and class sizes can grow inexplicably. Public Education gets blamed for so many of societal ills and until it is seen clearly and in broad daylight, the misinformed can continue to wreak havoc. In the end, it’s the children who pay for it. This is all so very sad.

  42. I think many have missed the point here. I’ll echo what others have said…

    The point is not that that “grading is in public is illegal.” One point being made here is that teachers work many more hours than they are given credit for. With the attacks on public employees – in this case schoolteachers – people are trying to bring to light what those workers actually DO for their wages. Teachers have been attacked repeatedly for having a 9 month work year, and for only working 7.5 hours per day. Both assertions are false, as detailed here by other responders. Another point being made is concerns the state of affairs with the OWS protests. I’m sure that there is more to the story than “you can’t do that here,” but we do not know what the details are.

    I wish there was more actual dialogue about the issues facing us today, instead of the knee-jerk sound bytes that we are subjected to by our media, our government and ourselves.

    1. (sorry for the typo… “Another point being made concerns the state of affairs….” No ‘is’ in that sentence.)

  43. So does that mean it’s now illegal when I take a stack of papers out to the courtyard on campus so I can get some sunlight while I’m grading? Does this I can just stop grading papers? I think I’d be okay with that….

  44. Hey, if my professors aren’t allowed to grade my papers, that’s perfectly fine with me haha.

    But seriously, this is ridiculous. I can’t believe crap like this is even happening.

  45. Finally the police are tackling the well known public menace of paperwork being performed on the street(!)

    The chant on the London streets to the police was “It’s your job next!” I find it hard to understand why the police are being so compliant with the people above them, considering how they are next on the list.

  46. this is just plain silly. i commend the teachers for getting together. and doing their work. off the official clock. i’m certain that the nypd have murders to solve and predators to arrest and traffic violations to ticket. they need to lay off. it makes me sick.

  47. Maybe, maybe, just maybe the powermeisters are running scared. They should be. Karl Marx was correct – capitalism would destroy itself. Maybe this is the time!

  48. Didn’t see the problem with grading papers in public, none the less it was illegal to do so in that particular location.The teachers were more than polite. Hats of to those wonderful people!

  49. Grading papers in public is an act of rebellion and must be stopped at once. It the police were to allow this small group in N.Y. to do it, soon everyone would want to do it. Next thing you know, teachers would be sitting on chairs, park benches, or steps talking to one another about their lives, their families, their students. And then the real troubles would begin.

  50. Great Post! Regardless, if teachers get paid or not, you all seem to be missing the point here. New York City out of all places, the greatest city in the world, maybe I am misunderstanding but how can a cop tell someone they can’t grade papers in public. Where does it say that in the constitution? There are more serious issues that they should be occupying their time with, instead of distracting themselves with hard working people trying to do the right thing even if that means working off the clock. So now in America, we are punishing people to work to their potential in public, to motivate and inspire others to have a strong work ethic? Should I start a slow clap for how backwards society has become?

  51. I have no clue what the law says about grading papers in public… but my guestion is why are they grading papers in a public place? is this a commen teacher movement? Is that a comment on something or just a need for some fresh air and change of scenery? I find it odd.

  52. Thanks for writing a straight to the point article about some of the things people have seen and not understood. The NYPD is a strange thing to be a part of nowadays and things like this help people look at situations and really try to figure them out for more than just face value. I don’t think the point was ever about grading or these people being teachers, I think it came down to crowd size and area occupied.

  53. Congrats on making Fresh Pressed. I hope the reaction gives the finance world a chance to rethink themselves and adapt some higher standards of ethics or be forced into it by more checks and balances. I wish you courage and persistence and remember the only way to bring down the system is from within. Reach out to financial workers, influence them, get them on your side, etc. Power to the people!

  54. If they were sitting on chairs the area with that red box thingy in the picture (art work/statue/construction (whatever), they were outside 140 Broadway, and they were on a side walk. While it’s a large piece of sidewalk, it is not a park. It could be that Brown Brothers Harriman, a privately-held investment bank which is the main tenant in the building, didn’t like them there. But the cops should have been more forthcoming of what the purported violation was.

    And yes, teachers’ salaries are not well-understood by the general public; they put in a lot of time for tasks no one usually considers. People resent the so-called summer vacation without knowing that the time is not paid (unless the teacher agrees to take a lower payment during the winter to get money in the summer). Also teachers across the nation are not paid equally. A teacher in Florida or Alabama does not get the same salary as a teacher in NYC or from a Long Island (NY) school district.

  55. The NYPD most definitely did NOT say that papers can’t be graded in public. What the officers quite obviously were saying was, “You can’t block a public thoroughfare for that reason.” That’s a difference that should be obvious even to a modern public educator.
    New York City has one the largest urban green-spaces in the world. It’s called Central Park and it’s lined with benches, where you can read the paper, feed pigeons, play chess, grade papers or stare blankly off into space (my personal favorite).
    Most of the responses to this childishly simplistic post were from people who’ve never had to navigate a Manhattan sidewalk. There’s a distinct flow to the process. A cluster of chairs creates a whirpool that sends pedestrians spinning off into traffic or each other, which was clearly the intent.
    Just go and join the other OWS protestors and let people get where they’re going – or is that not a right that concerns you?

  56. interesting that one sector of people who serve the public (the police) telling another sector that also serves the public (the teachers) that they cannot do their job…. in a public place???? good grief!

  57. Thank your sharing. I thought it was interesting as I’ve never been there. My question was, why do they have cardboard signs if they are there marking papers. Was there a protest of some sort going on?

    I teach part time in Taipei, and I often have homework that I’m reviewing on the MRT (subway) or in public areas. No chairs or cardboard with me though.

  58. Not sure what the point was for teachers to be grading papers in an area they clearly are not supposed to be. Any New Yorker knows you cant just setup a folding chair in the middle of a sidewalk. Cmon! Now it would have been a good idea to bring the classes down to the protest to see democracy in action, but this was just a cheap grab for attention imho.

  59. Seriously. This is unbelievable. They’re grading papers for a PUBLIC school in PUBLIC and they can’t do that? I want to see the statute that says that. How are we ever going to retain teachers if 1) don’t give them enough resources 2) give them more work on top of what they do and 3) stop them from doing it in public. This is one of the times when the world just doesn’t make sense. Terrible.

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