Monday, May 09, 2016

Graves: Teachers are tremendously underappreciated

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Last Wednesday, we celebrated national Teacher Appreciation Day.

Almost everyone has had a teacher leave a lasting impact on their life. And yet teachers are tremendously underappreciated in this country. That's a disgrace.

If teacher pay had risen in proportion to per-pupil spending since 1970, the average teacher would make more than $120,000 today. And studies have shown that an exceptional, high-performing teacher can impart a year and a half's worth of learning to a student in just one year.

There is no magic fix to our nation’s education system, to finding a way to give every single kid in America the opportunity to become happy, productive and self-sufficient adults. But the best place to start is by reducing red tape and getting the federal government out of our schools.

The problem is that our education dollars are not going where they'd be most useful. This bureaucracy is what keeps teacher pay stagnant while education spending skyrockets.

It also helps force nearly half of all public school teachers out of the profession within five years.

I recently introduced a resolution honoring Teacher Appreciation Week in the Capitol, but we have to do much more from Washington to support our schools.

Late last year, the House passed a law to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, which gives more control back to local governments.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal called it the “largest devolution of federal control” in 25 years. The law replaces No Child Left Behind, gives authority back to local school districts, and prevents the White House from forcing states to adopt Common Core standards. I’d say the Wall Street Journal was on to something.

This law will return decision-making to administrators, school districts and local governments, while limiting the influence of bureaucrats in Washington. It represents a shift back to the way things should be run, but there's still a long way to go. The national attitude on teachers and the importance of education has to change before we can really fix the problem. And it has to happen soon.


Anonymous said...

Show them the Money!

Anonymous said...

Money is not spent where it is needed. Worthless professional development that is the current, trendy and what everyone else is doing eats up a lot of money and actually does little to benefit the students or teachers. The biggest worry with most school boards is who is going to be the football coach or another coach and what can we do to get them to come to our school. This being said while the board and administration harps about raising rigor in the classroom and raising academics. Academics is the last thing on school boards and administrators minds. There are to many former coaches who are administrators and they continue to perpetuate the good old boy system. To many administrators are clueless wimps who don't have an original idea and just copy whatever the big name district in the area is doing.

Anonymous said...

Seventy cents out of every dollar goes to salary and benefits in public schools. The only way to increase teacher pay is to increase funding. So quit masking the problem and pretending more funding won't help. It is the only way to give teachers the salaries they deserve!

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I read here an article listing several employee promotions and shufflings, mostly principals. I noticed that many of them are currently working towards more degrees of on sort or another to add to their already multiple degrees. Who is paying for all these degrees and as much time as education professionals claim to have to spend on their jobs, how do they have the time?