Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are Pennsylvania teachers in it for the money?

An interesting op-ed piece in today's Daily Local News in West Chester that examines what many perceive as greed among teachers' unions in Pennsylvania.

The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania is $54,027 for nine months of work.

In the article, "Teaching isn't a 'for profit' profession," Exton resident Philip Bartholomeo recaps the controversy surrounding a threatened walkout by Downingtown Area School District teachers in Chester County if they don't get what they want in current contract talks.

Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states that allow teachers to strike.

Mr. Bartholomeo raises some good points in his op-ed:
"If you doubled salaries tomorrow, it would not materially change any test scores; in fact, the way you posture it, I would expect the energy crisis to be solved by the next graduating class. These kids are getting a fine education with the resources at hand now. Tell me something: When the student population decreases, will you be willing to reduce expenditures, or, will you be spinning the need to have a 10-to-1 student/teacher ratio."
He also wants to know why there is no competition in the education field and why public education costs rise much higher than the rate of inflation:
"What you need to do is get creative because the tired old issue of funding education by continual tax increases will not work. There is something wrong with the bigger picture. Maybe education should be opened to competition. Why shouldn't the taxpayers be given their tax money to choose where they educate their children. Why is it that Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states that allows teachers to strike?"

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