The Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman, through the vehicle of the State Board of Education is attempting to alter the state minimum salary schedule for teachers.
The State Board of Education needs to maintain a state salary schedule that provides teachers with at least an annual cost-of-living increase and rewards advanced degrees to keep good teachers teaching in our schools.
Commissioner Huffman’s proposal fails to recognize the value of experienced teachers or advanced degrees. When setting salary for the people responsible for educating our children, how can the state suggest that the person’s level of education doesn’t count? In fact, how can we have a strong education system if we don’t demonstrate by our policies that we value education?
Many teachers in our community have spent their nights, weekends, and summers gaining advanced degrees to improve their practice for their students and gain better salaries. Eliminating the state requirement for rewarding degrees above a master’s changes the rules in the middle of careers. That is wrong!
I worry that by failing to recognize and reward advanced education beyond a master’s degree and experience beyond 11 years, we will be creating constant turnover among school faculties. Such turnover is not healthy for our students, our schools or our communities; a stable teaching force that gets to know our families and community is what we need.
The State Board of Education should delay any changes to the state minimum salary schedule until the impact of Commissioner Huffman’s proposal can be fully studied.
All educators and anyone who values the education of our youth should contact Governor Haslam, Commissioner Huffman, and the members of the State Board of Education! The education of our youth depends on it!
Melanie D. Buchanan