Letter to the Editor: Robert Randle


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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  1. Robert Randle gives no citation for his claim the average annual salary for teachers across the nation is $28,555. The latest issue of Time Magazine is devoted to these very issues. Time’s research indicates the average annual salary in 2016-2017 in elementary and secondary schools ranges from a low of $42,700 in South Dakota to $79,600 in New York. The cost of living varies greatly across the nation. If the low is $42,700 in South Dakota the figure of $28,555 cannot be valid. A teacher’s “skill set” may not be in demand is to diminish the “skill sets” teachers do possess. I know many college educated professionals who lack the “skill set” to teach in a classroom, trying to educate 30 unique minds with varying degrees of interest, behavior and social problems. If you want the best minds you should be willing to pay for them.

  2. The teacher salary across the nation is a typo and should not have been in the article. The national average for K-12 teachers salary can be easily found with a Google search, just as with the salaries that I found for various cities in Washington State. The reader apparently didn’t read or understand the paragraph about a teacher’s “skill set” as it applies to entering a profession outside of teaching, as some would most certainly be competitive; other degrees and experience would not be in high demand. As far as the “skill set” in classrooms and teaching students from various backgrounds; invaluable and they should be paid adequately for their commitment, and teachers shouldn’t have to do this dance very few years. That’s what I tried to indicate in the article, and maybe I fell short in that effort.

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