Teachers have other factors to consider

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dear Editor,

In response to Jan Griffey’s column, “Reality hits home for educators too,” I appreciate your sentiments and agree that times are hard, and teachers can’t be protected from the reality that everyone is facing. However, there are some other realities here that aren’t being mentioned.

-Teachers never get cost-of-living adjustments. When times are good, we may get a step raise if we’re lucky, but when times are lean, we get nothing. So prices continue to rise, but teacher salaries remain static, meaning that our money has a little less buying power each year. Teachers haven’t had any kind of salary bump in five or six years now.

-Prior to our last pay bump, we opted not to take a salary increase in order to hold our benefits steady. Multiply that forgotten raise over time, and if we lose benefits now, we gained nothing by making the sacrifice then.

-Since the passing of “No Child Left Behind,” teachers are under increased scrutiny for everything we do, thus stress levels are higher in education; stress levels are higher nationwide; and we’re working for no more money and decreased benefits.

-Because we’ve had no instructional supply money for three years in a row — likely to go four years in a row — we’ve been purchasing things for our classrooms (to an even greater degree) out of our own pockets.

Another thing nobody talks about — the big corporations/businesses in Alabama and their loopholes that allow them to sidestep paying taxes and, thus, helping support Alabama’s schools.

How about we start talking about them and what they need to do to help educate the workers they’re demanding we produce?

Everyone understands that times are hard. But over and over and over again, it’s the teachers but much more importantly, the students, who are asked to sacrifice.

The average teacher stays in education five years now before moving on.

Let’s be sure that we understand the history of what teachers have already sacrificed before we start saying it’s reasonable to ask for more.

Susan Hyatt

Riverchase Middle School