[Vision2020] RE: Idaho Teachers Among Nation's Lowest Paid

josephc at mail.wsu.edu josephc at mail.wsu.edu
Wed Oct 12 07:26:08 PDT 2005

A few comments on the comments about teachers and teaching.

I shared Chas's experiences, not Saundra's: most of my teachers were
simply awful, especially my high school teachers. Of course, I was a
rotten student, as well. My guess is that different people will record
different experiences even with the same teacher in part because many
teachers just teach to the top students. Not that I blame them. Class
sizes are generally too large.

I should add that my son, Lake, is in 1st-grade at West Park and so far he
has had two excellent teachers! We are blessed, here in Moscow/Pullman, in
that regard!

Tom noted that you get what you pay for and this is a large part of the
story. If we paid teachers better, we would have more and better qualified
applicants. If we paid teachers more money, more and better qualified
people would want to go into teaching and the result would be better
teachers. I find it interesting that some of the same people who argue
that taking money away from the military will weaken it fail to admit that
putting more money into education will strengthen it. You can't have it
both ways.

Of course, money is not the whole story. Idaho teachers are underpaid yet
here in Moscow/Pullman we have great teachers. Why is that? In part this
is true because in Moscow/Pullman there is an overabundance of applicants.
Many who teach at UI/WSU have significant others who are K-12 teachers. I
have three colleagues, for instance, who fall in this category and none of
their spouses are able to get teaching jobs in the Moscow/Pullman school
districts. These jobs are extremely competitive and -- not to sound like a
Capitalist but -- competition is often correlated with quality.

Lastly, let me echo the sentiments of Chas and Tom by noting that monetary
value is relative. When I left New Jersey for graduate school at the
University of Arizona I thought that I was on top of the world because I
was working as a TA making a little over $8,000 a year. Not much by most
standards but given that it was about the same amount of money that my
mother made, while raising 6 children, I knew I was very fortunate indeed!

Joe Campbell

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