Letter to the Editor: Robert Randle

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Dear Editor,

The next most difficult and challenging profession to being a parent is teaching. It goes without saying that anyone who takes upon themselves the commitment and responsibility for teaching our youth should be well paid, but how do you determine adequate compensation? The Washington State McCleary decision of January 2012 mandated that the state fully fund K-12 public schools, as required by Article IX of the state Constitution; which includes $1 billion for teacher salaries.

The minimum requirement to qualify for a teacher is a Bachelor’s degree and earning a starting salary of $53,353. The earnings vary by city, county, school district or population. Edmonds has a population of 42,623 but the starting teacher salary is $58,262. Mukilteo ‘s population is 22,034 with a starting salary of $67,540. Contrast this with a Seattle population of 776,013 and a teacher salary of $59,174; and the median income is $38,211 in King County. Is this adequate? Puyallup teachers are on strike but the average income in Pierce County is $27,446 and the city of Tacoma, with a population of 218,511 pays teachers $53,611.

The average teacher salary across the entire U.S. is $28,555, so is the issue more about not being competitive with other industries in the private sector or working for state or federal agencies? That is always an option, and doubtless some teachers could get a job but many of them could not because their particular degree, experience or skill set might not be in demand. I wonder if the education of our children is not being politicized by the teachers unions and the real victims in all of this are our kids. There is something wrong in our society when every few years teachers walk the picket lines. Is it the teachers, their unions, the state department of education, or the politicians? In the meantime, thousands of schoolchildren are waiting and want to be in class.

Robert Randle
Tacoma, WA

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