October 19, 2011

The Value of Teachers

In Ohio, as Issue 2 becomes more and more heated, as well as a local school levy trying to pass, a lot of criticism is directed to the teachers. Many folks are suggesting we to find out how much our teachers are paid at the Buckeye Institute site. Their income is public knowledge. I wonder how we would feel if our incomes were posted on a public site for the world to gawk?

However, I admit, I'm curious so I checked on a few of the teachers I know personally. I'm sorry friends, I feel like I snooped in their filing cabinet when they weren't looking. The highest I saw was $80K, the lowest was $33K but most hovered around $50K. Guess what? I don't care, I'm not about to be stingy when it comes to investing in the folks who will make my future. And honestly, let's talk about what we "make" versus what we bring home. And what we live on. Let's be real and upfront.

I will also mention the sort of things I see when I make my weekly visit to the inner city classroom:

The building is only 4 years old. As I was walk in, I notice two smashed windows held together with duct tape. I'm not sure if it was a gun or rock or what exactly was used to smash the windows. I can only hope it was after school hours. There are signs all around the block "school zone" no shooting/drugs/etc.

As if. We're assuming those doing the shooting have respect. In the past month alone, there have been 3 random shootings in this neighborhood. Admittedly, I'm nervous driving through there, but I think if everyone is afraid to go in, the children will never see a way out.

While I walked out, I see the flag on the flagpole hanging upside down. I've got a really strong patriotic streak, and I almost marched back into the school to tell them that the flag was hung wrong, but then I realized how busy they really are. The school doesn't have time to fix the flag. But it just made me sad. I've heard an upside down flag is a sign of distress. That certainly is the truth regarding this district.

When I was driving away, I saw an elderly gentleman walking along the sidewalk. He was wearing dress trousers, a fisherman's type of hat, a cardigan sweater, and was carrying a single golf club over his shoulder, presumably as a weapon if needed. Either that or his golf league had one last round and he was walking to the course. I'm gonna guess option A.

I live in a generous district and whatever factors into it, our teachers are well paid. Our students also excel in everything from academics to sports, to music, to arts. We are a highly ranked district. Our kids don't see smashed out windows, nor do the neighbors of the school walk around protecting themselves with golf clubs. I've never seen the flag sending a distress signal.

All I can say is that when it comes to if a student succeeds? Using that as a criteria, our levy should pass easily. My area of the country is known for not just its blight, but also its fight. We have a lot of exciting energy bubbling, as we have been recognized nationally as a great area to start a business, an area filled with emerging innovation. If we want to attract talent, we need to offer a reason. We need to entice talent to our area by the promise of good schools. We owe it to our children to build a better tomorrow.

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