NSEA: Money doesn’t matter to teachers; CCEA: Fire 500 teachers so others get a raise

Victor Joecks

Rarely is the disconnect between what an organization says and what they’re actually doing as apparent as it is with the words of the Nevada State Education Association and the actions of the Clark County Education Association.

Here’s what Gary Peck and Lynn Warne of the NSEA wrote in a recent op-ed.

Success can be measured different ways. For many, it involves wealth, prosperity or power. For Nevada’s educators, it means something entirely different.

For these educators, success in schools is about more than test scores. It’s about values and hard work. It’s about the expression on a child’s face when she finally grasps the concept of a basic equation, the enthusiasm in a roomful of kids eager to be called on to answer a question, and the tearful goodbye from an accomplished student at the end of another academic year.

Nevada educators experience success – and disappointment – every workday, because they care about kids, not money or perks. Somehow this gets lost in education policy debates, where the voices of front-line experts aren’t heard. [Emphasis added]

Peck and Warne are clear – teachers care about kids, not money or perks.

Someone alert the CCEA!

Right now the CCEA is bargaining with the Clark County School District and pushing for a proposal that would force CCSD to lay off 500 teachers, in order to give remaining teachers a raise.

So which is it? Is the CCEA not representing the interests of teachers or do teachers care about money and perks, despite the claim made by Peck and Warne? Or both?

I should point out that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with caring about your salary or perks. I love how Peck and Warne make it seem like caring about their salary is beneath the dignity of teachers in a column where they spend most of their words shilling for more spending on education – and therefore educators.

The major problem with teacher salaries isn’t that teachers are paid too much or too little. It’s that there’s little to no relation between how good of a teacher you are and how much you get paid.

Most everyone can agree that great teachers need to be paid more and poor teachers should be paid less (or encouraged to find other work), but the union insists on paying teachers for length of service and advanced degrees, neither of which have significant impacts on teacher quality.

Once again, union rhetoric doesn’t match union actions.