For over a decade in West Virginia, public school teachers have been getting only minimal pay raises. Following the walkout in 1989 and Governor Caperton's reform plans, teacher pay slowly began to inch out of the basement in state-by-state rankings, but they have now worked their way down near the bottom again. And each year the refrain goes something like: "You deserve more and if we had more money, you'd get it."
Well, now there IS more money and it's time to do what's right.
Many Republicans are urging a repeal of the food tax (if we don't need the money let's give it back to the people). Behind the argument is a basic premise that government should be "starved" of money so it will get leaner.
What that arguments forgets is that GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO DO THINGS. We expect them to build and maintain roads, train and dispatch law enforcement, collect taxes, and yes, educate our children (the ONLY resposibility of state government actually mandated by our constitution). To do those things requires money. To do them well requires more money. Of course, as in any business, there is some waste and inefficent. There are people who don't pull their weight. But at heart, the state's teachers do an exmplary job.
Classsroom-by-classroom, school-by-school, county-by-county, teachers prepare our children for the future. How dare we tell them the time still isn't right! You don't think teachers work hard--BECOME one. You think they have summers off? Check the seasonal employment list at your local park system or see who's on the roof painting houses.
And if you only see "bad" teachers in your kid's school, ask yourself where did the "good" ones go? Chances are the answer is: somewhere where they can make more money.