February 20, 2023

Brent Larkin: Devaluing teachers hurts America by hollowing out our education system

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Brent Larkin is the retired editorial director of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In this editorial, he decries Ohio’s tendency to attack teachers.

A large number of odious types in elected life are so obsessed with demonizing public schoolteachers that it interferes with these legislators’ ability to deal with real problems. Like finding out what dark secrets lie buried inside Hunter Biden’s laptop. Or the ongoing search in Columbus for new ways to prevent Ohio voters from participating in our democracy.

A strike by Akron teachers was narrowly averted Jan. 8 when the teachers union and school board negotiators struck a three-year deal that teachers ratified Tuesday night. It will result in teachers receiving annual raises of 4% the first year, 3% the second year and 3.5% the third year; they had been seeking increases averaging more than 6% a year.
For this school year, a starting Akron teacher with a four-year college degree will earn $42,039. Teacher pay in Akron is below the state average for urban districts. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, teacher pay in Akron now averages $69,726 annually. In Cleveland, the average is $77,253.
As in any profession, some teachers are overpaid. An overwhelming majority are probably shamefully underpaid, as few jobs are more important than educating young minds.
The critical shortage of teachers and substitute teachers nationwide has been well-documented, as has the precipitous drop in the number of college students pursuing a degree in education.
There’s more, before he concludes with this line:
Great teachers are to be treasured. The way they’re treated speaks volumes about where we’re headed.
Read the full editorial here. 
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