Speak up for the teachers – Nick & Sue Richardson

After reading the article on GreeneCountyNewsOnline about negotiations between the teachers and the school board, it became apparent that members of the community need to speak up about the importance of having and keeping high quality educators in the Greene County Schools.

In a survey conducted by the research magazine Education Next in 2018, sixty-seven percent of respondents felt that teachers’ salaries should increase. Parents and community members are aware of the increased demands on teachers and feel that educators need to be compensated in order to keep them in the field.

The Economic Policy Institute reported that federal data shows that “Teachers are paid less than comparable workers with similar education levels. Since 1996, teachers’ weekly wages have decreased.”

In 2017 when collective bargaining was rescinded in Iowa, teachers lost their voice in our educational system. This resulted in diminishing perks and benefits that might have helped keep them in the field and it has increased their economic burdens. We all are aware of the rising health care costs, increased child care expenses, student debt and other costs that drain paychecks. Even if you love what you do, you have to be able to support your family.

“Research conducted in recent years in various parts of the country and world has shown that increased pay — whether through salary hikes, one-time bonuses, college debt-forgiveness programs or other new forms of compensation is associated with improved teacher retention, gains in student performance, a larger percentage of high-achieving college students taking courses in education and an increased likelihood of hiring teachers who earned top scores on their educator certification.”

Successful schools build a successful community. A strong school system helps the community attract the best teachers and provides the best tools to educate our children.

As a community, it is our duty to provide the facilities and teachers to help our young people. Good schools and a healthy local economy go hand-in-hand. When new families move to town, homes are built and retail services come because the families attracted to good schools want all those things.

Everyone who lives in Greene County benefits from that commerce as well. Strong schools are important for our future. A vibrant community and high-quality schools play a significant role in bringing young adults back to the area and attracting business.

Derek Bok former President of Harvard University said “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Now more than ever with the new Career Academy and additional expectations for students and faculty, it is essential that teachers receive the pay and benefits needed to keep them in the Greene County School District. It is critical for our kids and our community… So speak up for the teachers and let’s keep the best and brightest in our town by being smart and not ignorant about what’s important.

Sue and Nick Richardson, Jefferson

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