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Teachers deserve more payPosted Friday, September 7, 2007, at 11:24 AM
Let's talk teacher pay.
While students are forced to raise funds for the little things that can sometimes make a big difference, Bedford County teacher salaries lag behind those of surrounding counties.
My blog Thursday brought comments from at least one teacher, who comes across as someone whose students are fortunate to be associated with, and a few comments about other teachers. I'd like to think the vast majority of teachers are as dedicated to making a difference.
We hear too often about the bad teachers and way too little about the good ones -- those who leave a lifelong impression on students' lives.
That's why somehow, some way, Bedford County needs to keep teacher salaries as close as possible to those of higher-paying areas with bigger tax bases to our north and northwest. We've already lost too many talented teachers. Those who remain here shouldn't have to sacrifice financially.
And to those who complain that teachers are paid too much and get summers off, reconsider. Think about how intense teaching can sometimes be and the amount of time far beyond an eight-hour day spent by many, if not most, teachers. Don't judge the many good ones by the few lazy or poor ones.
If pro athletes and high-level corporate officials can make millions then certainly classroom teachers, whose jobs of molding minds are as or more important than many jobs, deserve somewhat more than their current salary level. The same goes for other public servants such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and the like.
I realize teacher pay is taxpayer-funded as opposed to pro sports (well, Nashville taxpayers are paying for the Titans and Predators...) or corporations. But a good start to pay increases could be made by cutting unneeded positions or trimming inflated salaries starting at higher levels of government -- it seems like waves of bureaucrats populate state offices -- on down and reallocating.
Yes, I think teachers should be strongly evaluated regularly and the bad ones weeded out. But the good ones deserve everything they earn and more.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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