To the Editor,
Teachers’ work is essential to the functioning of our democratic society. If teachers’ efforts and the value of their work are not understood by the public, it can go a long way to undermine the entire educational system. Education is expensive and the return on the investment is not always apparent. We take our public education so much for granted that often the value of it is lost to our awareness. All one has to do is look at countries where free public education is not available, to see the social and economic disasters that can occur. The main reason that our system is not as good as it could be, is that teachers are not valued enough to keep them in the profession for the duration of their careers. Only the most dedicated ones stay. As it is now, many teachers are having to borrow money or extend their lines of credit to survive. They will never be able to regain what they have lost in pay, even if an agreement were to be reached tomorrow. They have become desperate to save a system that is under attack.
Teachers are not able to legislate themselves a raise as the members of the legislature are able to do. Anybody compare the income and expense accounts of those in government and the hours they work with those of teachers?
The government has stated that it is willing to pay $40 per day per child to have the child in day care. They are willing to pay that for babysitting but are unwilling to negotiate with teachers. What an insult!
Teachers need the support of the public whom they serve. Do they deserve a raise? Should they be able to have some say in the working conditions under which they operate? You bet! As it is now, some teachers are being asked to function in unworkable situations, while the public is generally unaware that these conditions exist.