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Teachers are important; compensate accordingly 

Santa Maria

Roy Berger in his recent letter (“Teachers: Stop whining and quit,” Feb. 10) says he’s tired of teachers whining. If they don’t like their jobs they should quit.

I’m reminded that teachers are the lowest-paid members of a major profession, a profession that molds our young people into knowledgeable productive adults. I can think of no higher calling with more important duties.

I googled around and found the public-school median teacher salaries in my area to be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range. That is embarrassingly poor, considering the amount of formal education needed, the skills required, plus the responsibilities of a very difficult job.

Equally distressing to me are the salaries of the upper-level school administrators, who typically are paid three or four times what classroom teachers are paid. The answer is not to say teachers should quit if they don’t like their pay. The answers are that teachers deserve higher salaries, and that school administrators should be paid less.

I suggest the salaries of school principals should be capped at 20 percent above the salary of the highest-paid teacher. The salaries of school district administrators should be capped at 20 percent above the salary of the highest-paid principal. And the salary of the superintendent of the school district should be capped at 20 percent above the salary of the highest-paid administrator.

School administrators are important, but they have little to do with helping Johnny and Mary learn to read, write, do arithmetic, and develop social skills. The teachers do that, and that is what school is all about.

-- Steve Riehle - Santa Maria

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