Saturday, June 17, 2017

From the Trenches of Public Education by Christine Gill

This is in response to someone trying to lecture us on how we in public ed sound greedy and like we do not care about our students, just ourselves. Feel free to grab a cup of covfefe before you read my rant:

You have bought the propaganda people like the current Michigan GOP, the Mackinac Center, and The Great Lakes Education Project (all three highly funded by Betsy DeVos and her family, by the way) have offered up to the good people of Michigan for YEARS. We do not think we are more important, it is our students who are the MOST important otherwise none of us could stay working in these often toxic work environments because yes the pay and total compensation package is just not worth it.

Imagine being a highly motivated, master teacher in a work environment where you cannot take your act down the road for a higher rate of pay, more prestige, and better working conditions. Yes that is what public educators face every day. So is individual merit pay the solution? No, it is not for a variety of reasons. Do I think I am more important than my son the Funeral Director? No. People need his knowledgeable, calm caring presence when they are saying goodbye to a loved one. Am I more important than any one of my six cousins who are nurses or nurses to be? No. Without them we would not have good care when we are ill. We also need my law enforcement officer nephew, an officer of the year in his home state of Florida. Without him and his brothers and sisters in blue we would not be safe on the streets and sleep well at night.

What is the difference you may ask? There is NO ORGANIZED POLITICAL ATTACK aimed at them, their profession, their professionalism, and the people they serve. The attack on us is not just an attack on the employees of public education, they are attacks on all of our children who attend a public school. Ever since Wall Street and these so called ed reformers (I like to call them ed deformers) got a whiff of the profit to be made in education they have been on the attack backing efforts to de-fund and destabilize public education and then turning around and blaming us.

When did teachers become public enemy #1? When has a single profession with its roots in caring for and educating the least among us become so maligned that education schools in America have seen a huge decrease in enrollment? Ask yourself this - why is there a shortage of highly qualified teachers and a shortage of highly qualified substitute teachers? Once you truly examine these questions and research the answers I trust that you will have a completely different view point of the crisis in public education and why we are complaining. It is not just our compensation, it is the defunding of necessary services, infrastructure, and curricular needs, like art, music, and physical education that all children need and deserve and why the United States used to have the best educational system in the world.

Teachers are public servants, but they are not public slaves. They should be paid for their efforts which goes on for many hours after their duty day of 7.5 hours. They write curriculum, grade papers and projects, join committees and participate in continuing education all year long. Do not think for one minute they work 186 (or more) 7.5 hour days. They work as hard and put in the unpaid time like any other professional. You would not be who you are today without a teacher(s).

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I'd like to add that teaching is one of the few professions where you can actually make LESS if you have to switch jobs. I was laid off from the school I'd been a librarian at for 23 years. It took me two years to find a new position. During that time I finished getting my Masters in Library Science. My new school system offered agreed to pay me more for having a Masters but they would only pay me a first year teacher's salary. This resulted in a $15,000.00 cut in salary for me but it was the only job I could find in a state where school librarians are being cut right and left. After accepting the job I discovered that there was a pay freeze and the former pay scale was no longer valid. So here I am at 59 years old making $40K a year and owing 30K in student loans (for the MLS.) People say, get another job but a 59 year old woman can't just go out and get another job! Plus, I love my students and I love being a school librarian. As a mature worker I don't have a family I need to rush home to so I don't mind working late and on weekends and holidays. I resent that I'm made to feel greedy because, after 28 years in education I'd like to no longer be working paycheck to paycheck.


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