Teachers choose pay over class size

There are reports that some teachers in Santa Barbara are being given a pay rise of 9% to be spread over 3 years, at the cost of increasing the class sizes that they teach.

This is a hard one for me to swallow – I do not believe we should make our children’s education suffer just to provide teachers with a pay raise. Now before teachers bombard me with angry comments let me say this. Yes, teaching is an underpaid occupation, and you should be better compensated – but for two reasons. 1. Higher salaries would attract more teachers from relevant industries and 2. With higher salaries, comes higher standards for hiring teaching staff – and a better overall standard for our education system.

Currently teaching is seen as a vocation, for all the wrong reasons. Low salaries, and powerful unions have bred a really poor situation for those good teachers that exist, and the children they are educating. Poor quality teachers who reach tenure have essentially become untouchable, which means that new educators have less of a chance of being rewarded at a competitive rate. So many potential educators choose different career paths. Those with the inspiration to soldier on into the educational realm are faced with low salaries, low funding, and large class sizes. Of course, not all of the people so inspired should actually be teaching either. It is these people that give the teaching profession a bad name, and in my opinion, it is these same people that decide to become Union Leaders.

Teaching is one the most honorable professions anyone can choose to enter. I really would like to see a return to a situation where educators are attracted from relevant industries to share their real world experience in the class room. Class room sizes must decrease to allow these new educators (and the current ones) the opportunities to actually impart their knowledge on the children in a more effective manner. I believe this is a goal shared by many people. Here is the problem I see. Too much politics has crept into the education system. The real goal is being drowned out by politically motivated unions, and the real message of caring for education and welfare of the teachers and the children is lost.

This has caused a schism in the political parties. With the Republicans against the power the Union holds, and the Democrats for the union power, we are constantly in fighting over the wrong issues.

At what point can we all agree that we have to remember the real problem: Our education system is failing the people it is meant to serve: Our children.

Education needs more funding, but we also need more accountability. Anybody who proposes that raising teachers salaries at the expense of class sizes is for me missing the point that most teachers are trying to make. There is no choice here, we need BOTH smaller class sizes and better salaries. We also need to remove the tenure system, and be able to hold the small number of poor teachers accountable. This is how the business world operates, and I have yet to hear any argument that justifies for me why the education system should be different.

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