Supporting Our Public Schools
I am a retired career educator, who served in classroom, school, and district positions. I have a bachelors, masters and specialist degree in various aspects of education. It has long been acknowledged that education is the major avenue for moving people out of dependency and poverty. The same holds true for countries and states. The individuals, states and countries with the best education or educational systems are the strongest and most prosperous. If Alabama is to compete in the 21st century, it must up its game in the education sector.
- The governor has suggested a pay raise for teachers of 2.5-3%. The last time teachers had a pay raise was in 2009 or nine years ago. The average yearly rate of inflation over the past nine years was 1.8%. To get teachers back to the level of income they had in 2009, we would need to give them a 15% pay raise. We cannot afford to do this, but I feel at least a 5% pay raise is in order. You cannot develop a quality football team by paying players the worst salaries in a league, and you cannot continue to pay our teachers poorly and keep the best and brightest in our classroom.
- Education Lottery: While I am generally opposed to gambling, the reality is millions and millions of dollars are leaving Alabama and going to neighboring states. I support some form of lottery as long as its income stream benefits education.
- I support statewide four-year-old pre-kindergarten programs. Investments in children bear far more fruit than incarcerating adults. Alabama puts its money in the latter, not the former, and we should change that calculus.
- I support an expansion of dual enrollment in high school and two-year higher education institutions. For students who are heading to college, the reduction in tuition expenses is a clear advantage. For other students, these programs represent a key to a good job after graduation, utilizing 21st century skills.
- Our retired teachers have not had a cost of living adjustment since 2008. It’s high time that our retired educators receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and I feel this should be written into law. It is not fair that all other expenses go up but our retired teachers who have given their lives to our children should see their spendable income go down, down, down.