$2.96 per hour.
That’s what state education commissioner Mitchell Chester has declared certified and qualified teachers ought to get paid for working the extended learning time at the Dever and the Holland schools next year. Both schools were taken over by the state last month.
$2.96 per hour. Not even enough for a Big Mac.
That’s less than $7.50 per day to teach the required 2 1/2 hour after-school academic block at the Dever and the Holland, or one dollar short of the $8.50 a beginning employee at McDonald’s earns for an hour’s work.
|A typical worker at the Golden Arches earns nearly 3 times the pay a skilled teacher in the ELT Program at the Holland and Dever Schools earns.|
An experienced teacher new to the Dever or the Holland next year with a Master’s Degree — with perhaps tens of thousands of dollars in college debt, and hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of teacher training — will earn $2,000 for working a school year that is close to 700 hours more than what is typically found at traditional schools.(*)
Why? Because State Ed Commissioner Mitchell Chester can pretty much set any rules he wants for these two takeover schools. This is one of his rules. He doesn’t need a good reason. Truth is, he doesn’t need any reason.
Supporting the commissioner in this endeavor is joining in a race to the bottom. The commissioner could just as easily have stood tall and supported a workable and fair compensation system. Instead he joined forces with those who seek to privatize public education by exploiting those who work in our schools.
It is appropriate for proponents of public education to ask a few questions. Will the commissioner’s heavy handedness lead to meaningful and sustainable educational progress? What kind of respect do the commissioner’s actions show for our trained professionals and the important work we do?