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View Diary: A political issue -- teacher pay (255 comments)

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  •  I have to say... (4.00)
    It's all true.  Teachers need to be paid more, and respected more, and given more control over how they teach.

    Plus, I have a kid about to hit public school in a year, I'd like to see his teachers paid and supported a lot more than they are now, believe me, and I have felt that way since I was a kid in public school myself in the 70s, with tattered Signet paperbacks and my most dedicated talented teachers buying extra supplies out of their own pockets.

    But lordy - they aren't alone.  Try being a librarian sometime, a job that requires a masters degree to get your foot in the door.

    A few years ago (1998-2001) when I was an academic librarian at an Ivy League university with a massive endowment, the usual starting salary for a librarian with a master's degree in librarianship/information science (which is a standard job requirement) was $32,000.  When I was looking for a job, I applied for several (not in major metropolises or at major universities) that started at $28,000. $42,000 was often the cap, achieved after many years of  small raises that never kept pace with inflation. Second job?  After working 50 hours a week year round? Sure, some librarians had them.  Most of them just lived like students.

    I believe the current administration would like to kill the public school system, the public library system, and the public parks and is making progress on all fronts.

    In addition, I have a friend who is a social worker with a master's degree, an employed husband and a child, who works very long hours, and has to visit her church food shelf all the time.  

    I think we hugely undervalue all jobs that benefit the common good, and are the pillars of democracy and opportunity.  

    I agree that respect and support are a lot of the problem with getting good teachers, not just money (though clearly, money is very important!).  My husband attended a public (there called a 'state') school in the 1970s in Manchester, England where his math teacher had a PhD from Cambridge University.  They were not paid well at all, but they had control over their classes and curriculums and were highly respected.  His opinion is that made all the difference.  Teachers don't have that kind of support and respect there now either, and he believes that's a lot of why they can't get the best teachers anymore.

    I've had two friends who taught public school for five and three years, respectively.  They quit because of the bureaucracy pressures and lack of respect in the classroom and from the higher ups, not because of the pay (the jobs they took afterwards paid the same or less).

    "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

    by sarac on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 07:16:42 AM PDT

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