Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Older, yes. Wiser? Maybe not

Another year older, but not necessarily another year wiser.
At least that’s how I feel lately.
Heck, if I had been truly wise, wouldn’t I have seen the economic downfall about to happen and, therefore, would not have suffered the same fate as most Americans who thought they were doing the right thing by saving and investing for retirement?
If I had truly been “wiser,” wouldn’t all of my money have been hidden in a cave somewhere, safe from the market crash?
And wouldn’t I long ago have chosen a profession that was absolutely recesssion-proof?
These days, that seems to be the teaching profession, where first they make demands when a contract is up. Then, if they don’t like the offer made by the school district, they go on strike.
After that, even if nothing is settled, they do go back to work — sort of. But they refuse to do anything deemed “extra.”
And don’t forget the administrators and their huge salaries. In my humble opinion, I think it would be within reason to trim pay rates during these trying times, freeze any raises and forget any “contributions” into savings plans.
Somehow it seems that too many educators can comfortably live with the viewpoint that even if the very people who pay for their salaries and benefits — namely, the taxpayers — are losing their jobs, having their hours cut or, at the very least, not seeing any raises, they still “deserve” a huge hike in pay but, of course, no increase in what they pay for health insurance.
Obviously my birthday has not made me another year wiser, because I have to admit, I just don’t understand this mindset.
When the entire country — make that the entire world — is collapsing financially, how can a person still think that large raises are perfectly reasonable?
Or that they should be able to pick and choose what they will or won’t do as part of their job?
Educators are supposed to be professionals; these tactics are anything but.
And if they think they are the only ones who work beyond their “official” hours or are the only ones who take work home at night or are the only ones who spend their own money to provide “extras,” I have a news flash for them.
They aren’t.
Most people deserve raises, but realize that, right now, they are lucky to have jobs. So yes, our teachers deserve raises. They have a tough job that few of us would want to do. But we are not playing by the same rules, economically, that we were even a year ago.
As educators, they certainly know our nation’s history, and what sacrifices had to be made when we went through recessions and the Great Depression.
We are there again. We all must make sacrifices. We all must live in the reality of today’s economic turmoil.
It isn’t a matter of what a person deserves to earn; it’s a matter of working together to survive all of this.
And if that happens now, taxpayers most likely would remember those concessions in a positive light a few years down the road when, we hope, better times will return.
I had many teachers I highly respected when I was a student — and I had some who made me wonder why they were still allowed in the school each day.
The same may be true today, but I hope not.
When I watch the way things far too often play out in area school districts, I have to wonder, though.
And I figure that I’m not the only one who may be older, but not wiser.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nona- Run for School Board. I'm serious. The only way to deal with such strong feelings is to keep writing as you do and consider running for a position/voice on your school board. Go toe to toe with them and don't back down. Be a voice in the wilderness- trust me, they can only harm you- they can't kill you. No one is ever too old to serve. Your passion on this subject needs to be launched and landing it in the middle of an executive session for matters of litigation is a good place to start. Go for it. Go with God. d