Teacher’s pay? As Professionals or Babysitters?

A teacher recently sent me a text message with a picture of a handwritten sign addressing this issue at a gathering of teachers in another state. Here’s a slightly fuzzy recreation of the sign.

The  message very cleverly gets across the idea of how little the public and lawmakers of our state and national governments value the men and women who educate their children. This short-sighted neglect of such a critical profession defies common sense.

As I write this, Texas, where I live, has just signaled that it is probably going to cut our education budget by $3.5 billion over the next several years because property taxes in our booming state are skyrocketing, so they will easily cover the $3.5 billion loss. At the same time, the Texas Education Agency is asking for an additional $54 million to help schools provide students with mental health counselors (because of increased school shootings throughout the state), to increase the number of law enforcement officers, and to arm teachers in schools.

If Texas booming economy enables it to have a boom in property taxes as well, why not use that $3.5 billion windfall to increase teacher pay instead of taking it out of the Education budget altogether? Is that a failure of imagination? Yes. Is that an example of misplaced priorities? Yes. Is that an example of greed over vision? Yes.

Maybe if we paid our teachers more, they could teach the next generation of legislators that investing in the minds of our future leaders would lead to a more intelligent use of resources, and a more compassionate government.