I don’t know about you, but I think education is one of the most important things a community can provide to its people. I’ve got children who are in school here, and I’m betting you do too, or know neighbors who do. And I’ve worked in schools most of my life and I’ve seen how hard teachers work and how committed they are to doing the best for our kids every day.
Which is why I have to scratch my head when I hear about how education is being talked about in this year’s elections. Our governor is touting how the average teacher salary is above fifty-thousand dollars, which may be true depending how you move the numbers around, but the fact is that two-thirds of our state’s teachers make less than that, many of them WAY less than that. There are so many of our good, experienced teachers who are either leaving the state for better paying jobs in other states OR taking on second jobs to keep their own families afloat.
The governor is also saying that our state has the fastest growing teacher salaries in the nation, but this has already been fact-checked and found to be not true. Did the governor and the General Assembly do some creative budgeting to spend as little as possible but still be able to make these claims when election time rolled around again? If you take into account that our state is still WAY below average in teacher salaries and per pupil spending, I think the answer is yes.
Our schools used to attract good businesses to our state, which attracted good employees, which added to our tax base. Now they are having second thoughts because of the head-scratching education priorities of our governor and our legislature. I don’t know about you, but I know I’LL think twice this year, and make sure I’m voting for folks who REALLY support education and educators. Hope you do, too.
— Brian Thornburg
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