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Open Letter to Governor Daugaard: Just Raise Teacher Pay

Dennis Daugaard, Aberdeen, 2015.09.01
I’m warning you, don’t push me, or it’s no soup for you!

To the Honorable Governor Dennis Daugaard,

Tomorrow you open the 2016 Session of the South Dakota Legislature with your traditional State of the State Address. In this speech, you have an opportunity to break with tradition. You have an opportunity to call on legislators to end South Dakota’s shameful thirty-year tradition of paying its teachers the lowest teaching salaries in the nation.

That shameful tradition of not paying teachers what they are worth—a worth defined not just intrinsically by teachers’ status as caring, talented professionals but also by policy choices and market forces in every neighboring state—has steadily drained our teacher talent pool, to the point where South Dakota now suffers a teacher shortage acknowledged by almost every observer, including your Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students.

The problem is simple: we aren’t paying teachers enough. The solution is simple: pay teachers more.

The problem isn’t that local districts are misprioritizing funds or undertaxing their constituents. For decades, the state has borne a lower share of total K-12 funding than surrounding states have. Local districts try to make up for the state’s miserliness toward K-12 education, but they can’t do it all themselves. Since 2005, the state has found the wherewithal to increase per-resident spending at an annual rate of 3.36%, but it has only increased per-student spending by 1.55%. The shortage of funds that causes the shortage of teachers comes primarily from the shortage of real support for K-12 education from the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.

The problem isn’t that teachers aren’t doing enough work. The Blue Ribbon Task Force built its recommendations for raising teacher pay on the assumption that teachers are already working hard enough. There’s little if any work that teachers do in Minnesota, Iowa, or any other neighboring state that they don’t already do here. Teachers can put in the same work in Pipestone, Rock Rapids, Norfolk, Sundance, Billings, and Bismarck that they do Sisseton and Spearfish and get paid more for it. We don’t need teachers to do more work; we need to pay teachers for the couple months of work that, under current market conditions, we’re squeezing from them for free.

The problem is not that we need some revolutionary overhaul of how we run our K-12 schools. Given you time in Chicago, I can understand the resonance Rahm’s Rule may have with you: Never let a crisis go to waste. If K-12 schools face a crisis in the teacher shortage, if we must marshal the political courage to raise revenues to raise teacher pay sufficiently to counter that crisis, then it is tempting to channel that political courage into other agenda items. It is tempting to hang all sorts of gee-gaws on the teacher-pay-raise Christmas tree. Even your own Blue Ribbon panel couldn’t resist running down a variety of policy trails—capping school reserves, reconfiguring the funding formula, spending more on distance learning—that may be worth considering but which are not integral to solving the fundamental problem of inexcusably low teacher pay. Even an idealist like myself recognizes the practical need for compromise; I have offered my own plan for a $20,000 pay increase for teachers in exchange for a temporary sacrifice of one of the few meager labor protections teachers enjoy in this state, continuing contract.

But a leader doesn’t compromise right out of the gate. A visionary doesn’t say, “We could do something great and necessary, but that’s too hard, so let’s start with a halfway measure filled with concessions and distractions and let it get worse from there.” A visionary leader in South Dakota right now says, “We’ve cheated our teachers for decades. They’re finally getting wise. If we don’t fix the problem now, our K-12 schools and our entire economic future founders. Raise teacher pay now.”

Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame others. Don’t be timid. And don’t compromise right out of the gate. Come forward in your State of the State Address tomorrow and recommend one straightforward plan: Raise the average teacher salary to $60,000. Fund K-12 so every district in the state can outbid every surrounding state for teachers. Raise the $184 million necessary through any combination of tax increasesending tax breaks, and cutting other programs you can think of. But invest in teachers big, and invest in teachers now.

Keep it simple. Do what’s right. Create a new South Dakota tradition: pay teachers what they are worth.


Cory Allen Heidelberger
Aberdeen, South Dakota


  1. Mark Remily 2016-01-11 11:36

    You should sent this letter to all S.D. newspspers

  2. Owen 2016-01-11 13:07

    Amen! Well done Cory. Well done

  3. SDTeacher 2016-01-11 13:40

    A thing to remember as well; AVERAGE teacher pay is $39,850- there are many, many teachers who make far less. As a fourth year teacher, my net pay is below $30,000. Since most districts took steps out of their salary schedule, the only way for teachers to get a raise is to go another $15,000 in debt to achieve their masters. Add that to the already $20-30,000 they owe the government for an undergrad, it will just take more years to pay off with a small increase in pay.

  4. twinsfan 2016-01-11 13:54

    Good read. What time is the State of State address? Am I correct to assume it will be broadcast on SDPB ?

  5. moses 2016-01-11 13:56

    C.H are you going statewide to all the newspapers.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-11 14:03

    Thanks for asking and answering, Twinsfan!

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-11 14:03

    Moses, I just went statewide with the Internet. The Governor can see it, as can every editor, and everyone with whom you share the link. :-)

  8. moses 2016-01-11 14:12

    He is to stuck on him self is that why they call him do -nothing? where is Soholt on getting these teachers paid?

  9. mike from iowa 2016-01-11 16:03

    Too bad,so sad
    Our economy is bad
    Black guy in the white house must go
    Then ‘murrica goes back to the status quo
    Funnel every damn dime up
    koch bros are starving,they need to sup
    Teachers must do without extra pay
    They don’t work that hard anyway
    Screw the weak,the lame the halt
    Their welfare check is stuck in the vault
    On its way up to the top
    War on poverty is a flop
    You’ll make do with leftover slop
    Remember to vote for the GOP
    This is the world jesus had in mind
    According to faux religious wingnut kind
    I as you governor must concede
    I alone did the dirty deed and I enjoyed it.

  10. Sam@ 2016-01-11 19:28

    Teachers have a lot of benefits they do not tell us about that many workers in South Dakota do not receive
    1) State Retirment plan
    2) Health insurance for them and family
    3) Tenure (call it what you want it is tenure)
    4) They only track abut 180 days a year.
    5) Winter break, spring break and personal days off.

    I think if we add uo the total package in comparison to other occupations that are similar in South Dakota there are no issues.

  11. Roberta 2016-01-11 19:44


    Other professional workers in South Dakota receive the benefits of a retirement plan, health insurance, and time off. Such benefits are an expected part of government employment, especially for professionals. Job stability, while less common, is not unique to teachers and is often a part of other union positions (police, fire, etc.) You seem to be equating the benefits for the professionals who educate our children – in my opinion one of the most important jobs one can do – with the benefits of people who work at McDonalds. Your apparent low opinion of teaching professionals is part of the problem and is not what our state needs to address our teacher shortage.

  12. Les 2016-01-11 19:47

    SD teacher@”there are many, many who make far less.” That must also mean, there are many many more making far more. Is there a problem if above average teachers make far more than 40,000 for 180 days?

  13. owen reitzel 2016-01-11 19:52

    1) most businesses have 401k plans with a match
    2) Healthcare plans vary per school district. Some pay for a single plan a lot don’t. Plus adding a family is very expensive-not to mention is a person added has preexisting conditions.
    3) Tenure doesn’t exist . A teacher can be fired.
    4) Most teachers work late nights correcting papers, doing lessons plans and so on. because of low pay some take summer jobs to make ends meet or take summer classes (some they pay for) for re-certification.
    5) Lots of people take time off during Christmas. Don’t know of a school that takes a spring break, maybe a day. Do you mean a week?
    6) Question. When you say South Dakota workers are you talking about workers with 4 year degrees?

  14. grudznick 2016-01-11 20:00

    Les, it’s great if above average teachers make more than $40,000. As long as below average teachers make less than them. There is an average, that cannot be denied, just like the SILT.

    I do worry about that 180 days a year. That doesn’t seem like so much, so I base my comment that above average teachers making $40,000 is based on the going rate for neighboring states, not the 180 days. I am sure the teachers in the other states also have a similar number of days they must work.

  15. owen reitzel 2016-01-11 20:04

    hard to tell a below average and above average teacher

  16. grudznick 2016-01-11 20:21

    Good teachers know how to do it, Mr. reitzel. Mr. H knows. Mr. O’Brien knows. It’s all been documented and just needs to be applied to part of the BluRT-F report. Then, raises for the good teachers, and a parade!!!

  17. Danno 2016-01-11 21:56

    Great article.
    Those of us who own grocery stores, car dealerships, or service businesses in a rural communities should be pushing for this. 30 teachers bringing in an extra 10k per year will make an impact on our towns. This is a good thing and we need to be voicing this to our legislators.

  18. Dana P 2016-01-11 22:22

    Nicely done, Cory.

  19. leslie 2016-01-12 00:54

    Remind me why denny and nepo-in law tony called us silly?

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 06:18

    Sam@, teacher benefits are no secret. Teachers aren’t trying to pull a fast one on you. And again, you miss the point: we aren’t competing with McDonalds and the body shop down the street for teacher candidates; we’re competing with Minnesota and Wymoing, where teachers enjoy very similar benefits and still get paid thousands of dollars more than they do in South Dakota. We are cheating our teachers. If we want to keep good teachers, we’re going to have to compete with regional wages.

    And Owen is right: it is not tenure. Lee Schoenbeck says so. It is continuing contract, which teachers only get after proving themselves in three years of service, and which does not stop any school board from firing a demonstrably bad teacher, but which does give teachers some mild protection against local politics on the school board.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 06:24

    Danno, absolutely! Focus on the economic impact side. It’s unfortunate that some legislators will adopt Sam’s anti-teacher envy, but we have to accept that some folks just won’t recognize the real value of teachers. We must thus turn to such folks and make the dollars argument: investing in teacher salaries is automatic economic stimulus for every town with a school district. Higher teacher salaries will mean immediately that every teacher in the district has more money to spend on groceries, cars, and houses. Teachers who get paid more will be more likely to stick around, which means they’ll be more likely to stop renting and invest in a nice house, which will increase local property values and the property tax that each district can collect (Oh! a positive fiscal feedback loop!). Teachers who get paid more will be more likely to stay long enough to get married, which will bring another working adult (likely a professional) to the community, and to have kids, which will increase economic activity and put more kids in the school district, which under the current student-based funding formula will bring more money to the school from Pierre.

    Raising teacher pay is a win for local businesses and local governments.

  22. Greg 2016-01-12 07:15

    Is it true that a teacher gets 70% of their pay when they retire?

  23. John 2016-01-12 08:10

    Breaking news: Rapid City school board member and superintendent support year-round schooling – beyond the silly, 1800s-era 175-180 days-per-year.

    Finally someone in authority sees that it’s impossible to keep up with or be the leader in the developed world by chasing the agrarian school calendar. The nations leading in elementary and secondary education attend school 220 to 230 days per year. That’s why those folks fill our graduate schools – we can’t compete. This is also a means to raise teacher pay to that of a living salary.

  24. SDTeacher 2016-01-12 08:25

    @Les- you are correct, there are many teachers making more than the state average, and good for them because they deserve it. I was merely stating that the public sees the figure of $40,000 and may assume that all teachers are making that.
    Also, I don’t know many teachers who only work 180 days a year, punch in at 8:00 and leave at 4:00, or who take ALL nights and weekends off. One cannot be a successful teacher and only work those hours.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 08:48

    Greg, I don’t know the exact number, but the South Dakota Retirement System pays out very well. Teachers and districts pay in throughout their career, and State Investment Officer Matt Clark turns those contributions into gold.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 08:52

    Interesting article, John! The article does not make clear (and perhaps board member McLaughlin didn’t at the meeting, and the details would come in the study he proposes) if we’d actually have more contact days and whether those contact days would be for longer instruction in the core curriculum or just to create summer programs for all students in enrichment topics. I oppose year-round school on moral and traditionalist grounds, but I’m open to hearing the nuts and bolts, particularly the contact-day count and what the school district would do with extra contact days.

  27. Jackie Jessop Rising 2016-01-12 09:07


    At my district, the family plan costs an employee $1250/month. How could a young teacher with a family afford that? Please do some research before making blanket statements.

    In addition, for any teacher to make more money, we have to take classes and get advanced degrees, which we pay for out of our own pockets. Often times, those advanced degrees make little difference in our pay increase.

    What bothers me the most about your comments which I have heard before from MANY others, is you think teachers work very little and are living the large life with personal days and vacation days, so you say the salary correlates to the job. However, you, like, many others in the state, have no problem with administrators making $80k/year and then some. Do you really think their jobs are that much more complicated and trying than being in the classroom with the kids? We have administrators in this state, who are at schools with a total K-12 enrollment of 500 students or less, and they are making $90K, plus they get their health insurance paid in full as part of the package. How is that okay with you? How is that okay with anyone?

  28. Madman 2016-01-12 10:05

    The hard facts about teaching in South Dakota.

    The statistics at one time had teachers making more then the average South Dakotan in the mid 90’s, now they are making nearly the same as the average South Dakotan. These are professionals who are supposed to be raising the next generation to be better then the previous generation. If you do not pay an adequate wage you can not expect results that will increase.

    As for 180 days on the contract as a former teacher you have to remember that the wage on paper is the average salary not the beginning salary for educators. When I left education I was making just around 26,000 a year not counting my extra curricular activities. That was after five years of teaching. Also keep in mind that most small school districts do not award employee longevity because most schools will add the wage increases to their base salary to attract new hires. So with that information after five years of teaching I was making the same amount as a first year teacher with no experience. This is still the common practice today.

    Has anyone paid any attention to what is already on the State Legislature’s agenda already. I see that they have another debate on the abortion issue coming up and I bet you that it is handled long before they get down to talking about the education budget.

  29. bearcreekbat 2016-01-12 10:24

    Sam, I agree with all of Cory’s points as well as the other folks who addressed your comment, yet these points may be a little too complicated for some folks to digest, so to keep it simple I will ask you:

    If Teacher pay and benefits is so great in SD, why do we have a teacher shortage?

  30. Lloyd K. 2016-01-12 11:53

    You are talking to the guy that started the whole mess.

  31. Douglas Wiken 2016-01-12 12:43

    Schools are sitting with over $400 million in reserves. We are already overtaxed. Administrators who spend most of their time sitting on their dead asses concerned only about athletics are making far too much. Beginning teachers are screwed because of the percentage wage increases rather than equal dollar amount raises for all teachers. The same percentage increases disproportionately benefit administrators with already high salaries. The same has happened in SD State government with several hundred administrators making multiple times what the lowest paid employees get. Schools are squandering money on athletics that only benefit a few students out of the total school population. As for education pay benefiting local businesses, that is BS. Every dollar a teacher spends is taken out of the pocket of other taxpayers who would much rather spend money on what they want instead of paying property and sales taxes.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 12:49

    I don’t know, Lloyd. Daugaard inherited the problem from Rounds, who inherited it from Janklow, who made a mess that Mickelson did nothing about.

    But whoever started the whole mess, someone now has to stand up and clean it up. Today is Governor Daugaard’s chance to be that guy.

  33. Bobby 2016-01-12 13:44

    Good pay=good quality…………………..more to life than and 8th grade education………more and more “parenting” is becoming the responsibility of the schools……….breakfast, after school programs, counseling for students(and parents), the list goes on and on………….So Dak is lucky to have gotten this far, with the low pay, considering that most teachers have 4+ years of schooling, look at what other professions pay…………….also, look at what schools spend in each community………wake up SoDak!!!!!!

  34. Eli 2016-01-12 15:24

    This letter is well said in my eyes. Thank you for sharing and South Dakota needs to keep the teachers in the state. The South Dakota STUDENTS have potential to thrive in places other than South Dakota. Governor Daugaard, please RAISE THE PAY

  35. JR 2016-01-12 17:50

    Let me start by saying that I love my job. I have fantastic students, great coworkers, and supportive parents and community members. I didn’t go into teaching to make money. I went in to make a difference.

    My contract may say 180 contact days, but I would have a hard time recalling the last time I worked only eight hours in one day. I teach in a small district, and I have five different courses to prepare for every week. I spend a good chunk of my summer attending workshops, revamping lesson plans, and working with students who need additional time. I have additional duties that include coaching for much of the year, and my “duties to be assigned” constituted a full-time job for someone else ten years ago. Now, I do that in addition to my teaching assignment. I want to be the best teacher that I can, so I have invested a large portion of my income over the last two years to earn additional credits. Though I do get a small compensation in my salary for that investment, it will take me ten years to break even. My salary with a Master’s degree and several years of experience is several thousand dollars lower than the current average teacher’s salary. A good friend took a job across the border a year ago and now makes about $18,000 more than she did with us.

    I don’t write this for sympathy or anything along that line. I love my job, and I will continue to do it because I am making a difference. At the district and local level, I know my efforts are appreciated. I wish I could say the same at the state level. As many others have written in one form or another, I would like to be treated like the professional I am by our state leadership.

  36. mike from iowa 2016-01-12 18:15

    Who gives a rat’s arse who started this mess. It should have been cleaned up years-decades ago. Where does the buck finally stop and who is going to make it stop???

  37. Portia Dannenbring Larsen 2016-01-12 20:29

    Thanks. Just pay them more… sad to be the lowest paid teachers in America, and for how many years……..I taught 10 years..two other states. ….and I came back home to South Dakota and I couldn’t get hired because I was not an athletic coach…….I love all sports,
    And I was a great teacher, I worked hard for my students…….they are like my own kids…..we need great people who love to teach and are proud of their job. pay better, get higher quality employees…..great teachers with less administration in our small school and save money… me 16056512189 or i could talk to your staff. thanks for reading this. i am a past educator who is proud to say that. portia dannenbring larsen

  38. South Dakota farmer & small business owner. 2016-01-12 21:22

    Well as always there are 2 sides to these stories. Should teacher’s make more money? Well that depends on how good the teacher is. Our school in SD is ranked near the bottom of 2016 Best School Districts in South Dakota and yet our school board wants to opt out of the tax levy and raise our property taxes. The taxes they want are like $4.71 additional taxes per $1,000 worth of property. We own farm land which has gone up significantly in value (which would be a good thing if we were selling it …. but we are not) We are making payments on this land and we are barely able to make it and prices for crops have significantly dropped! Now our school board wants to add even more taxes but the truth is, the school is not offering a quality education to our students and our school has been bringing kids to our school from other towns just to keep their enrollment high enough to qualify for government finding.
    I am not for just unilaterally giving teachers a raise. They should have to show they deserve it like anywhere else in the work place.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-12 21:37

    Well, Farmer/Biz, teachers can sit here and prove to you that they are worth more more, or they can cross any state line and get that money without a big fight. What you need is tax reform: instead of taxing you on your land, how about we tax you on your income, so low crop prices don’t kill you at tax time?

    If your school isn’t offering a quality education, talk to your school board. Tell them to fire whoever’s responsible for delivering a poor product and hire better people.

  40. bearcreekbat 2016-01-13 09:32

    Cory, given SD’s overall poor wages and frequent tough times your observation says it all: “instead of taxing you on your land, how about we tax you on your income, so low crop prices don’t kill you at tax time.”

    What a common sense approach to the fluctuations in ag income! In this heavy ag state moving to a state income tax rather than raising property taxes would seem to be in most South Dakotan’s financial interest. Likewise with the sales tax – it doesn’t go down when income drops or is low, but income taxes do go down in such situations. Why is a progressive income tax such a hard sell in a state where people own property, but suffer low wages or low business earnings?

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-13 09:59

    There’s the key point, Bear! I’m fighting for buys like Farmer/Biz above. I’m trying to give farmers and businesspeople a fairer tax system, one that doesn’t punish them during economic downturns and lays a tax burden on them and everyone else that is proportionate to their ability to pay.

    I’m also trying to save the whole South Dakota economy by ensuring that our public education system doesn’t collapse for want of qualified teachers.

  42. former teacher 2016-01-13 10:19

    I am a former teacher and think it is time for SD to wake up and change before it is too late for our youth. I spent many a night at the school preparing for my upcoming classes. Most teachers want to provide the best education that they can for our children. It is time to step up and acknowledge the jobs that they do. Every year teachers are expected to do more and more and continue to live on the meager wages they make. My daughter is now a teacher and I’m very proud of her. She spends countless hours at the school in the evenings and weekends working to improve her students education. She is also working to get her master’s which will set her back another 20,000 in student loans, on top of the student loans she took to get her bachelor’s degree. She feels like she’ll never get out of debt. It’s time that we wake up and pay our teachers their worth before all of the top quality teacher’s have left the state for better pay. Teachers also must continue their education to remain certified and this cost comes out of their own pockets. It is not a slack job, you are entrusting these professionals with the development of our future leaders. Much time and effort go into developing these students into productive responsible leaders.

  43. bearcreekbat 2016-01-13 10:25

    Cory, you are fighting the good fight for sure!

    Perhaps the question to ask farmers and working folks in this state is: “Do you think taxes should go down when you have a bad year and your income falls or is low? If so, you want an income tax instead of unchanging or increasing property taxes and sales taxes.”

    I don’t recall seeing this argument or analysis in public tax discussions before. I think you are on to an idea that could change our state’s view of fair taxation.

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-13 11:05

    Every fight I fight is good. :-)

    Bear, if I’m involved in any public policy debate, I’m sure my views on taxation will come up. I will defend income tax along exactly those lines: Income tax treats taxpayers better when they most need help. You pay less when you make less money. The federal version gives you a break on your first $10,300 in income, something our sales tax doesn’t do for you on your first couple months of purchases and which property tax assessments don’t do on the first 40 acres of your farm. WHy not pick income tax over property or sales tax?

  45. Daniel Buresh 2016-01-13 11:50

    I wouldn’t support anything over 50k until school is year round. 60k? Good luck.

  46. Douglas Wiken 2016-01-13 12:15

    Cory, your number may be just the funds in general funds accounts. More information here

    I did not do the hard work totaling all accounts. An engineer and his very computer literate niece did the hard work. Chuck Noble has letters to the editor in the RC Journal, the Mitchell Daily Republic, and soon in the Argus with the $450 million reserve numbers. They also found information on total US school reserves and they total $ billions. Mostly all this money is sitting in banks as a huge taxpayer subsidy to banks since most of it draws next to nothing in interest.

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-13 12:29

    Why not, Dan? Iowa, Minnesota, and Wyoming all pay over $50K, and they don’t do year-round school.

  48. charlie 2016-01-13 12:30

    “DAYS” vs “HOURS”

    I work 4 – 10 hr shifts per week… occasional overtime, and sometimes cover nights when a co-worker has vacation or unexpected leave. I manage 12 adults, who for the most part have simple tasks & roles for which they are responsible. We get 6 weeks paid vacation, plus 9 holidays, and make between 55-78k plus benefits and a retirement package. When considering “days” instead of hours, I suppose it is true that we work about 175-190, much like a teacher does. Consequently, I don’t blame them for wanting similar pay, especially since they are managing someone else’s kids.

    Having said that, I am not sure why anyone would go into teaching in SD. I have no problem with the teachers wanting to make more, and I’m sure it will only lead to more quality people entering their profession. However, financially it makes no sense to be a teacher. None.

  49. Douglas Wiken 2016-01-13 12:41

    State law does not mention athletics as a school function or at least does not list it as a function of school boards. Cut the jocks out of the education “system” and use the money they are getting to increase pay of teachers actually performing an education function.

  50. Porter Lansing 2016-01-13 12:48

    Excellent thread w/ many new posters. ✯✯✯✯✯
    ~ Liberals are like cats. Most of the time you don’t even know we’re around. But when an issue arises or a candidate we need is on the ballot, we gather as a group and are capable of overwhelming progress. It’s a fool (Pat Powers) who denies the power of our group.

  51. Douglas Wiken 2016-01-13 20:07

    There appear to be multiple estimates of average teacher pay by state. Some show SD very low, others show SD not much different.

    The information below suggests the problem with getting teachers into SD has more to do with low starting wages rather than state average. This disparity results because of annual percentage wage increases year after year. I find little good about the Winner School board or administration, but in the last meeting they decided to give each teacher something like $528 regardless of pay and $240 to other employees. I don’t know if this is to be the annual pay increase or just for keeping their mouths shut about the insane gymnasium building expense. They did give a coaching job to a woman who was out-spoken in support of the plan. In any case, dollar sums per teacher rather than percentage increases will make starting teaching be more attractive. And of course, if a teacher shortage is so critical, the state can provide tuition waivers or partial forgiveness of tuition for those entering teaching. The state has done this for doctors and veterinarians, no reason why something like it can’t be done for teachers.

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-14 07:06

    Porter, we’re hearing stories from a lot of good people. I’d urge these commenters to tell these stories to their legislators… but haven’t legislators heard all these stories before, for the 30 years that they have let teacher pay languish in the cellar? Teachers and parents should speak up again, but apparently they need to open and close their remarks with this key phrase: “If you fail to act, we will vote you out of office.”

    The Blue Ribbon K-12 panel didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. The way to make a difference this year is to make clear that continuing to ignore these undeniable facts is cause for termination of one’s job in government.

  53. Alex 2016-02-01 09:38

    Pay all workers more! Raise the wages of 456 000 people! (That would include the 9,300 teachers, too.)

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-01 10:55

    Alex, if this were a socialist state and the government were responsible for all paychecks, then I’d advocate the same thing. We did what we could in 2014 to raise the minimum wage, and we’re fighting in 2016 to protect the minimum wage for young workers (Referred Law 20—vote no!). The state can significantly impact teacher pay right now, and it needs to. Private employers who are underpaying their employees and concentrating our significant wealth in fewer hands need to do the same thing… but passing a bill that makes private employers raise all wages is not just harder than passing higher pay for teachers but perhaps beyond the jurisdiction of the Legislature. Do you have a legislative proposal for raising all workers’ pay?

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