Written by T. Logan Dayne
The lockdowns that took place following the onset of COVID-19 has greatly had an effect on students’ learning. A price that will be seen for generations as nearly 2 years of online education has deprived young students of social interactions and hands-on learning. The virtual zoom classroom has made a poor substitute for the real deal. It seems that with schools returning to in-person learning, getting kids caught up in subjects like mathematics, English, and History would be the top priority for those in charge of their education.
This assumption is wrong. Teacher union strikes have begun popping up, leveraging the pandemic to strong-arm districts into raising wages. While students standardized testing scores are plummeting as the schools have closed down for so long, the priority of teachers is more money. Teachers are demanding unrealistic pay hikes regardless of what the budget can afford, pay by student enrollment rather than by attendance as retention has also dropped considerably, and higher local taxes in the middle of inflation.
The teachers unions themselves were not made for students. Their priority is teachers first. This system leans towards rewarding poor teachers and good teachers alike regardless of performance. A situation where those who are most important in this picture are hurt the most. In Sacramento, the SCUSD teachers are paid an average of $83,000, higher than their counterparts in the largest districts nearby. This would beat the average salary of the largest nearby district by $2,000-$10,000. In total, including all benefits, the SCUSD teachers come out to $118,000 worth of compensation for elementary schools and $124,000 for middle school students.
Despite that, the Sacramento teachers are pushing to receive a piece of the COVID relief funds that were used for nurses, social workers, and even psychologists to help students returning to school. The one-time relief package is still being leveraged to give teachers the pay boost despite the financial reports showing that the district is already $1 billion short of its part considering its general revenue.
Photo Cred: Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee via AP