You may have read about the walkouts by teachers in Colorado and Arizona. Every time something like this happens, I think “how can teachers be so stupid?” Allow me to ‘plain.
Why are teachers protesting? Well, of course, they want more money. The teachers are represented by the the NEA who act as their bargaining agent. Here’s the thing — if you’re not getting the amount of money you think you should, it’s the NEA’s fault. Full stop. You elected to have them bargain for you and presumably they got you the best deal they could. If they didn’t get you the best deal they could, then you need to do something else! If you haven’t figured this out by now, you have some homework to do.
The problem I’m now faced with is that this article isn’t long enough to meet the minimum standards imposed by “the powers that be.” So, OK, we’ll look at the teachers’ complaints a bit further just for drill.
In an article in the Denver Post —
The state currently underfunds schools by $822 million annually, said Kerrie Dallman, president of the teachers union Colorado Education Association. Since 2009, the state has shorted schools $6.6 billion, she said.
“Underfunds” doesn’t mean that schools are in debt in some way. It just means that that’s how much money Ms. Dallman has dreamed up that the citizens of the Colorado have in some way cheated her minions out of. The state hasn’t shorted you out of anything — they gave you exactly what you negotiated for based on what the citizens of Colorado have made available to you.
The shortage plays out in each district differently. Districts have implemented four-day weeks, increased student fees and cut the number of teachers while growing class sizes and decreasing the number of courses. It’s also led to a lack of adequate staffing of counselors, social workers and school psychologists, she said.
Unfortunately, as the article notes, Colorado has 55,298 teachers which works out 16.4 students for every teacher, which is slightly above the national average of 15.9 students. What I don’t see her complaining about is the ability to actually teach but rather ancillary services that used to be largely the responsibility of parents.
I’m not against counselors, social workers and school psychologists although but my personal experience is somewhat limited here. In my instance, I had a counselor tell me not to take calculus in high school because it was too hard. This turned out to be a bit of an issue when I entered engineering college and the professor said “we’ll skip the first three chapters since I’m sure you had calculus in high school.”
These walkouts certainly aren’t to support their colleagues in these fields. It’s about — money.
The National Education Association’s 2018 report said the Colorado teachers were paid on average $51,808 in 2017 compared to a national average of $59,660. That ranks 31st among the states and Washington, D.C.
Why do teachers believe they should be paid “the national average”? An average is nice way to rather simplistically compare two things but I fail to see why “the national average” is a benchmark for expected salary. I hate to tell you folks but you’re being paid exactly what your service is worth in the area in which you live. This is a little thing we call capitalism. You might want to look it up. Here’s a hint, if you want to make the most money, move to New York. If you like living in Colorado, accept the wage your union has negotiated for you.
“Waa. Waa. But we no such great work and are underappreciated. We deserve more!”
My teacher friend, there’s not a person in the United States who doesn’t believe that! Get over it!
While I’m ranting — if the citizens of Colorado give you a big, fat raise, what are you going to do differently to increase the quality of education? If the answer is “nothing, we’ll just be happier,” then my answer is that as long as we can attract teachers to the state for the salary you’re currently getting, I’m not giving you another penny. It’s that capitalism thing again.