I am not a politician. I am not a political writer. But I have opinions about the policies that affect my life and livelihood. And my opinions, though often expressed poetically, or even humorously, are based on real troubles never-the-less.
I am disturbed by the problems I see in education. Teachers are not paid what they are worth. Anyone with half a brain can see that, for the level of education required of them, the professionalism expected of them, and the ever-increasing responsibilities foisted upon them, they are not compensated for their work in a manner comparable to people who do the same work in the corporate world. And those comparable workers never have to endure the conditions of a teacher’s job, overloaded with students, forced to stand and deliver to a hostile audience whose behavior you are responsible for controlling six or seven times a day, and then being evaluated by how that audience does on tests that often measure the wrong thing with financial punishments waiting for failure and rarely any rewards waiting for success.
I started teaching in 1981 in South Texas for a salary of $11,000 dollars a year. That was below the poverty line in 1981. If I had a family at that time, we would’ve been eligible for food stamps. The highest I ever earned was $55,000 with a master’s degree, 28 years of experience, and a summer of teaching summer school. Some one who delivers similar forms of information to a receptive audience in a boardroom, only has to deliver maybe once per day, and is paid upwards of twice that highest amount is treated far better.
And when teachers strike in West Virginia for being the lowest paid in the country, or a teacher complains on social media by revealing their actual yearly salary from Arizona, or a teacher is forced to move from Oklahoma to Texas for higher pay even though they were the teacher of the year in the State the year before, there is blow-back. There are stupid people out there that think teachers are overpaid. They think all teachers have to do is talk to kids every day, and they have only 185 work days a year, they have the summer off, and their job is one anyone can do. These stupid people have less than half a brain. What makes a guy who sits in an office all day with his feet up making decisions about stocks and bonds and business deals worth thousands of dollars a minute? Teachers, in my amateur political opinionater’s opinion, are underpaid.
To quote the Beatles’ 1969 animated movie, the Yellow Submarine, “It’s a blue world, Max.” Unfortunately, in the world of education, the Blue Meanies are now in charge.