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When will Governor Susana Martinez and Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera learn?
The proposed budget for Education for the 2015 Fiscal Year includes plenty of funding for such gimmicks as increased testing, carrots for high test performance and sticks for low (without factoring in poverty statistics, percent of non-English speakers and parent participation), and fancy teaching programs from out-of-state providers, but none for raises for teacher salaries.
Granted, the governor proposes raising the starting salary for new teachers about 10 percent, but only to suck them into teaching in our state and then treat them like dirt along with existing faculty.
No thought is given to trying to retain experienced teachers by paying them a living wage.
Given the number of actual hours that teachers spend in the classroom (before and after class hours and on weekends), at home, and attending various training and certification sessions, their salaries barely qualify as minimum wage.
And their benefits are gradually decreasing while teachers’ share for them is constantly increasing.
Teachers are the keystone species in the education ecosystem.
Given the adjusted-for-inflation decrease in forage (compensation) and the degradation of habitat (certification requirements, increasing workload, pressure to produce test scores), they should be listed as endangered.
Adele E. Zimmermann