William Mann: Delegate gives teachers insults for their hard work (Gazette)

By William Mann

In a state that pays her teachers less than those in 48 other states, in a state that puts education behind concealed carry, behind “right-to-work,” behind repealing the prevailing wage, and behind giving our schools to outsiders via Charter Schools, is there no better alternative than to give teachers a massive pay cut due to lawmakers’ mismanagement of the PEIA?

Because if the PEIA is in financial straits, it is because our duly elected Legislature refuses to fund this taxpayer funded entity.

Do your job, and fully fund PEIA without putting our administrators, teachers, cooks, bus drivers and custodians into a recessionary spiral.

The good people of Berkeley County did not elect Delegate Eric Householder to insult our public employees by telling them to do the impossible, i.e. get a second job after hours. This is just not feasible.

Take my teaching career as a humble example: During my 33 years as a teacher in West Virginia, I would wake up at 4:30 a.m., do my devotionals, eat breakfast and leave for Clay County High School at 6 a.m.. I would teach 75 students at Clay High and Middle, stay after school sometimes as late as 7 p.m. (and I was one of several to do my second job at my first job site), get home around 8 p.m. on nights when I did not have to drive to Charleston for night classes. (My bosses at the Board of Education asked me to do a second specialization over five years until December 2015.) Then I would fix dinner for my wife, who never got home before 8 p.m. from her teaching job at West Virginia State, stay up until 11 p.m. grading or planning (50 percent via Internet), and do it all over again the next day after 4 or 5 hours of sleep. And this year in and year out.

Now I ask, how were we to take on a second job? And how does Delegate Householder expect this of my colleagues in Clay County where the unemployment rate is well above 10 percent? What job would they be able to do?

And what about their children? Don’t they have a right to some quality time with both parents after school and work?

Delegate Householder really should think twice about the effect his thoughtless comments might have on people who are already dedicated, hard-working and, most importantly, the guardians at school of our most precious treasure, our children. Maybe he should consider being a friend of teachers instead of a teacher-basher.

I think he knows just how unrealistic it would be to ask administrators, teachers, cooks, bus drivers, and custodians to give up the Internet via computers or other mobile devices! Does he want to send West Virginia educators and their students back 10 years?

Despite our university sports teams’ success on the national stage, our primary and secondary schools’ success does not bring us the same positive publicity. The Internet is a tool that our children will use, as taught, to help them succeed in the future and create jobs right here in West Virginia. He cannot be serious to expect educators and our children to handicap themselves in the global economy!

I believe the delegate also mentioned summer jobs for PEIA covered workers.

I am not sure our young and minimum wage fast food employees would appreciate their over qualified mentors stealing their jobs. And besides, the summer job red herring has always been one of the excuses to keep our teachers and support personnel’s wages at 49th in the country.

It seems Delegate Householder has a very negative image of those who are trying to educate our youth. He expects them to do a very difficult and challenging job with only negative support from his office. I truly hope he is in the vast minority! If worse comes to worse and administrators, teachers, cooks, bus drivers and custodians are penalized or set back to the harsh tune he is humming, I am not sure they will have a positive opinion of the very people they elected to serve the best interests of our administrators, teachers, cooks, bus drivers, custodians and students.

William Mann, of Grafton, is retired from Clay County Schools.