Teachers deserve credit for contributions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It is that time of year again.

I remember growing up, how excited I was when the first day of school approached. Going shopping for new clothes and school supplies was fun.

Like a lot of kids, I was in my own little world with thoughts of seeing old friends and getting back into a school routine. I never really thought about the work teachers went through to make that day possible.

Teaching has to be one of the most underappreciated jobs in the U.S.. Often our teachers get a bad rap, not from their students or the parents, but from the politicians who often use them as a scapegoat.

I have visited schools throughout my district and

these teachers are some of the most dedicated professionals I&8217;ve ever met.

In 2004, Alabama ranked 43rd in the nation for its average teacher salary, according to the American Federation of Teachers&8217; (AFT) annual teacher salary survey.

Since then, teachers in our state have moved to 41st.

On a somewhat brighter note, Alabama is currently one of only 22 states where the increase in average teacher salary has kept pace with the national rate of inflation. Of course, this is nothing to brag about, in my opinion.

The average teacher salary in Alabama for 2005-06 was $40,100. Alabama is ranked 20th in the nation for average beginning teacher salary, but this was only achieved after three straight years of small pay increases.

While someone may look at this statistic and think we are doing a good job in funding education, the truth is we can always do more.

Often teachers are expected to pay out of their own pockets for supplies and in some cases, cleaning materials. With all of this said, the truth of the matter is teachers are looked up to by our children and, we should tell them how much we appreciate all of their hard work.

Alabama&8217;s future is in their hands