As you shame all of those individuals that you trust with the education of your children, ask yourself where your priorities lie. The problem goes higher than the School Board or the Superintendent, but the solution begins with us. Explain why California has some of the highest tax rates of any state and yet we are ranked #49 in funding for education. Why do we send our kids to school every day expecting teachers to be responsible for their futures and yet we don't want to compensate them for their skills, knowledge, expertise, and commitment? Why is it okay for other careers to demand a high salary and yet we expect educators to do it out of the kindness of their hearts and their commitment to children?
A teacher’s salary is a direct reflection of the level of education and the number of years of service/experience they hold. Hence, you are paying more for highly qualified teachers who have ample experience at what they do. Yes, you could pay less and hire new teachers each year with only a Bachelor's degree and a credential, and the district would have ample funds to spare. However, how would the children benefit from a district with less educated teachers with little to no experience? When you choose a doctor or a dentist, do you choose the cheapest service provider with the lowest prices, or do you consider experience, level of education, and expertise when making a decision that impacts yourself and your family?
Perhaps those who pass judgment on the teachers for striking should walk a day in their shoes. Try teaching 30+ individuals mixed in with behavior problems, learning problems, and social problems and then tell me what you think the value of a great teacher is. Most of us have a difficult time managing the needs of our children at one time; imagine trying to manage the needs of a class of children at one time. It takes a highly skilled person to keep a class of children engaged and learning for 6 hours out of the day. The demand to raise scores and produce educated young minds increases the pressure on educators. I think the philosophy of education can be summed up in this quote, “We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are not qualified to do anything with nothing.” -Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Teachers are not asking for more, they are asking to not have taken away what they already depend on to live. Trust me, no one wants to strike. It is a scary time for educators as well as children and families. It is a last resort only when all other options have failed. For those who want to point fingers and lay blame, remember this; when you point the finger, you have three pointing back at you! What are you doing to make a difference? What are you doing to support the development of productive members of society?
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