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May 5th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

Should teachers earn bigger salaries?

CNN's Christine Romans speaks with CNN education contributor Steve Perry about whether school teachers across the country should be paid more, and whether job recruitment and retention should be reevaluated.

Filed under: Education • Perry's Principles
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Kimberley Schoenauer

    There are many people in their 30's, 40's, and even 50's entering the teaching field for the first time. They aren't all 21 years old, Dr. Perry. I began my teaching career at the ripe old age of 40 and I can tell you that I would not have been ready to teach at 21–my life experience helped prepare me for an incredible opportunity to work with the greatest people in the world–kids!

    Now about that 14 weeks off we get–many teachers get a second job to help make up for the low salaries they make. And, we use the summer to take classes (that we pay for) so that we can keep our licenses up to date and so that we can improve our skills. Some of us are just plain exhausted and need the break!

    I have watched quite a few of your Perry's Principles reports and I believe you need to come here to Twin Falls for a reality check. I teach ESL K-5. It is my second year at Oregon Trail Elementary School. I love my work and my students. I work every Sunday and sometimes I work on Saturdays. I also stay past "quitting time" during the week. I work through my lunch hours. I do this because I care about the quality of my work and I care about my students' education. I have an incredible amount of paperwork because The ESL Program is funded by Title III. I teach six different grade levels. I work with five different curriculums. I must have lesson plans for each day. I have 50 students who are pulled out for ESL instruction. All day long, the kids come and go and they are very needy. Some come with issues besides limited English skills. I give and give to them because I love them and want the best for them. It is nearing the end of the year and after nine months of caring for these precious children, I am worn out. I earned those summer months. That is the time I can do the things I did not get to do during the school year because I put my work first. So, this summer I am going to paint, work on my children's book, and watch Judge Joe on TV, and just rest and recharge for next year. Oh, and I will most definitely go into my classroom and start preparations for the upcoming school year. I have a huge stack of education books to read and I will probably take a professional development class. I almost forgot–I will spend time with my mother who is 87 years old and my sister. I hardly ever see them because I am always working. I know it is not healthy to spend so much time on the job, but then I say to myself–who is going to write my lesson plans, who is going to do all of the paperwork? You know the answer to that question. So, I have earned every minute of that summer vacation.

    One more thing Dr. Perry–I earn about $31,000 dollars per year. You see, our school district cut our salaries by 7.8%–yep–I work 6-7 days per week and I am earning less than I did last year. I cannot even afford to pay on all of my student loans–I have to defer, defer, defer. I owe over $125,000 dollars (for four degrees)–I jokingly call my student loans, "my house."

    Okay, I am now going to get off my soapbox. You really should come to Idaho. Spend a week in our school and I think you may learn something!!

    Sincerely–Miss Schoenauer

    May 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  2. Julie

    Steve Perry hits the nail on the head! I think that collective bargaining does limit the power of negotiating salary. It allows for some teachers to coast and get paid the same as the fabulous, hard-working ones. I think this is part of the reason why so many other professionals don't go into education. I also agree with his notion that you don't become a teacher for the money. There are certain careers that you go into knowing you will never make $1 million. I hope the system can make improvements. I think there are a lot of good people out there who want to, and could, greatly improve the education system in our country.

    May 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    Most definitely!! Here in Alabama we keep getting a raise in one tax or another usually for the specific purpose to help education. I have never seen any of that money going to educaton! Teachers stil have to buy supplies out of their own pockets. These people spend 8 hours a day with our children and should be able to give them the best education possible without having to pay for it themselves! And shrink the size of classes so students get the attention they might need.

    May 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm |