As a concerned citizen and an elementary school principal, I have watched with concern as proposals have been made to respond to our state's current budget crisis. The projected revenue shortfall is indeed serious. Recent solutions, however, place an undue burden on our state's teachers.
Teaching is a profession which, when compared to other college-graduate professions, is chronically underpaid. Most educators do not complain, however, since virtually all made their career choice out of a strong desire to make a positive difference in children’s lives.
Most work late hours, spend their own money on classroom supplies, and work weekends to ensure that their lessons are well-organized and engaging. They endure constant criticism in the media and in society at large, being accused of failing America’s children and falling behind the achievement levels in other countries. (The fact that most of these other countries do not accept the challenge of educating their disadvantaged or handicapped students is largely ignored.)
Now our state Legislature has proposed either to freeze teacher salaries or to reduce them by 3 percent.
This will have an inordinate effect on newer teachers who have not reached the salary limit on the pay scale or who have recently paid for graduate coursework.
In 2009, executives of failed American corporations were paid millions of taxpayer bailout dollars, with the reason given that “they have contracts.” Our teachers do, as well. The current injustice being done to them is severe and should not be accepted.