One of the most critical and important assets we all possess is our Education! It is through quality education of all people that this county will grow economically, feel secure in our protected freedoms, and be a global leader. This country’s success begins with the education of our youth. As cliche as it is, “our youth is our future.” Children ages 0-18 make up 25 percent of our present and 100 percent of our future!
If our youth are a critical component to our world’s success, when will the education profession be recognized as the most important career in our country? Without well-educated youth, our nation cannot grow and become stronger. When will we recognize that our teachers create our future through the minds of our youth? We want and need the best, brightest, and most dedicated to teach our children. It’s pretty simple, treat the profession with respect and reward our teachers for committing their lives and spirit to education and the best and brightest will enter and stay in the field.
East Noble School Corporation is in the middle of teacher negotiations. I find the process extremely frustrating. Not negotiating with the teachers. My frustration is the laws that have been created that make providing a fair, not grand, raise to our teachers nearly impossible. Did you know, the district cannot give a raise to a teacher based on their classroom instruction/performance only? There must be additional factors included to earn a raise. Some of these include holding district/building leadership roles, earn a masters, demonstrate meeting the needs of students above and beyond their classroom, school or district grades, and a year of experience can be thrown in there under some circumstances.
There are uninformed people who get hung up on the number of days a teacher works. What they often miss is the number of hours above and beyond the classroom that our teachers dedicate to their students and profession. Five nights a week, teachers are grading papers. Sundays are dedicated to grading and preparing for the next week. They return to school many evenings for literacy night, math night, science fair, music programs, parent conferences, special education case conferences, fund raiser events, athletic events, and many others. They also stay after school for numerous staff meetings all directed to improving instruction for our students. When school is out for break, teachers struggle to “turn off” school. They continue their planning and adjusting of lessons. When summer break arrives, they spend many days closing out their room for the summer and then returning early to prepare their room for a new school year. In between, they attend numerous professional development events held at the district office or in the area without being paid.
There is a legislative study group that is meeting in October to discuss the declining pool of teachers. The answer is pretty simple: The demands placed on teachers, impossible and unfair accountability, an overt lack of respect to the profession, and a pay structure that prevents a person from earning a decent salary long term.
As the superintendent, I have one resource that I can use with no financial or governmental restrictions. That resource is my ability to say “Thank you.” Thank you to our teachers for all you do for our students and families. You are creating our future and I have the utmost respect for you and the impact that you make every day. Thank you!