op-eds

Increased state spending

In Gov. Bill Haslam’s “State of the State” address, he discussed increasing spending on education in the coming year. As a daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and niece of public school teachers, I can say with confidence that I believe the increase of spending on Tennessee schools will benefit our children and the community.

Growing up as a teacher’s kid, I had quite the temper when it came to people’s opinions on education. “Teachers should be paid less because they don’t have to work in the summer,” was a phrase that could really get my blood boiling, even as a 45-pound fifth-grader. The truth is that most competent teachers spend an absurd amount of overtime grading papers, preparing lesson plans and sitting in meetings. According to a Trades Union Congress study, 61.4 percent of primary teachers completed 13 hours of overtime per week in 2014. Without. Getting. Paid.

The average teacher makes roughly $30 per hour. If you assume that each classroom contains about 30 students, teachers are looking at $1 per child per hour. Teenage babysitters make at least 10 times that. I can’t speak for everyone, but if I’m going to entrust my future child to professional care, I should hope that it would be for a more worthwhile paycheck.

But that’s the thing: Teachers aren’t in it for the money. They are dedicated to the success of our children’s futures, as well as the furthering of society. These precious children will one day become the doctors, lawyers, politicians and (yes) teachers that we need to make the world go ‘round. Maybe you don’t realize it, but the impact that educators have on our kids is strong enough to shape eternity.

Even if teachers don’t receive a larger paycheck as a result of this proposed funding change, there are so many other avenues that could give students a boost in education. As the United States delves ever deeper into the world of technology, schools need to be able to provide the means for students to keep up. Gone is the mystique of iPads and Smart Boards; 3D printers and doodle pens are now making appearances in schools. The increase in school funds could also enlarge the liberal arts programs that were so recently threatened.

Yes, I think it’s quite fair for Gov. Haslam to increase spending on education.

 

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