Privileged to attend the Foundation for Excellence in Education summit last week in Washington, D.C., I have a new appreciation for how much work there is to make schools work “virtually” as well for the children of our fellow citizens who struggle with modern life as they work for the children of the citizens who live in my neighborhood.
The average teacher salary in my own neighborhood’s local school district is more than $62,000 per year. That is the arithmetic mean. The average teacher salary in the district immediately to our north here in Johnson County, Kansas, is just north of $65,000 per year. That is, I think, the highest average teacher salary in the Midwest.
When folks cry about our schools not having enough money, it’s amazing to me how so many of those doing the loudest crying are right here in the wealthiest part of the state.
There is much to do to repair a fundamentally broken school system, and it is not simply about the money. I know, I know… H.L Mencken suggested that “when someone says, ‘this isn’t about money,’ it’s about money!”
But with Almighty God as my witness, as long as we tell the public that you have to go to teachers’ college to have anything of value to give our children in any academic setting, and as long as we continue to constrict the number of people available to us in public classrooms, and as long as we hold to the unionized mentality that seniority is everything in teacher pay and that the last hired should be the first fired, then we will continue to give the very children who need our best the teachers with the least experience and the more meager amounts of wherewithal, expertise, and academic talent.
We can have schools that work virtually as well for poor kids as those for the children of affluent citizens, but we have to change some things. And I know how to do it.
I’m not kidding.
Here are two videos to help “get that ball rolling…”
A video from the Foundation for Excellence in Education Summit, 2015, Denver, CO
David McCullough on 60 Minutes with the late Morley Safer.