OTHER VIEWS: It matters what you pay teachers

  • Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:24 a.m.

BRUNSWICK, GA. — Money is not everything, but it certainly helps. Just ask anyone alive today what money can do.

It can pay for shelter, heat to keep that shelter warm in winter, electricity to keep it out of the dark at night and food on its table.

It’s hard to understand how they do it, but somehow those holding the purse strings of public schools sometimes fail to remember “little” necessities like these when taking wild ax swings at education costs. The first expenditure usually in their sights are teacher salaries and all other costs associated with the public school system payroll.

These same politicians fail to remember that this is the 21st century. It is not Laura Ingall Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie,” a period during the 19th century when how well one’s cabin was heated was directly related to how much wood was gathered for a fire. Today, teachers and others pay utility companies to provide heat, and at a cost that continues to rise.

Diets in the 19th century were supplemented by hunting skills, something that today could never happen since the government regulates when and where an individual can hunt, as well as how much game he can take. Grocery stores provide most of what’s needed now, and at prices that seem to increase almost weekly.

Yes, the cost of education is higher today. Just look at the expenditures. Schools do not send children home to eat, for example. They feed them. They feed them breakfast and lunch, and not just any old food either. Students are provided nutritious meals every day of the school year.

This is the 21st century, when every child, regardless of social standing or ability or inability to learn, is treated with dignity and respect and given a chance, a fair chance, to improve knowledge and skills. That adds to the cost of education, you can bet.

Are teachers dedicated, as some question when toying with pay cuts?

They have to be dedicated to put up with constant rule changes, which include sometimes dealing with behavioral problems that your grandmother would not have tolerated for longer than a millisecond.

And when little Johnny or little Susie fails to pass, who gets the blame?

Adjust or cut pay for educators? That would be reckless when considering most Americans would prefer to be dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean than at the head of a classroom.

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