Archived Story

Open mouth, insert foot yet again

Published 6:00am Saturday, February 4, 2012

Alabama Senator Shadrack McGill created quite a stir this week when he seemingly said that teachers shouldn’t receive pay raises because their pay should remain “in balance,” and if it wasn’t in balance then it would be “unbiblical.”

He was quoted as saying:

“If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.

To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling.

And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach.

It’s just in them to do. It’s the ability that God give ‘em… If you don’t keep that in balance, you’re going to attract people who are not called, who don’t need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance.”

Many across the nation have taken McGill’s comments to mean teachers should not receive a raise because some people who wouldn’t be good teachers would become teachers just for the money, thus creating teachers who don’t care about what they do.

McGill has since backtracked after the outrage from teachers and others across the country came pouring in shortly after the comments were made public.

He said he was never trying to say a teacher couldn’t receive a raise because it would be unbiblical and that his comments were taken out of context.

But at this same prayer breakfast, McGill also said he was in favor of the 67 percent pay increase for state lawmakers that passed in 2007 because paying legislators more money would make them less susceptible to taking bribes.

First of all, I am saddened by this entire situation because once again, the state of Alabama is made to look like an uneducated place where the people have no clue what they’re talking about just because this representative of our state didn’t take the time to think about his words before he let them fly out of his mouth.

I am tired of Alabama getting bad press because people don’t think before they speak.

Secondly, whether McGill thinks his comments have been taken out of context or not, the theory he laid out in his speech about teachers not getting paid too much because if they are called to teach they’ll do it regardless of the pay is ridiculous.

Did Mr. McGill ever stop to think that we live in the real world where bills have to be paid and children have to be fed and that many of the people who feel a “calling” to teach might have to take a different job because their teacher’s salary isn’t cutting it?

In that case, the school systems would have to hire teachers who may not be as “passionate” or qualified to make up for the qualified teachers who took other jobs.

Just to be fair and “in balance” with this opinion, there are many other jobs that receive lower pay than teachers and these jobs are also important.

It just seems like teachers are always catching flack these days and it doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: What doesn’t make sense is that a school teacher who educates a child or a police officer who protects a community or a firefighter who saves lives makes less money than a person who can throw a fastball at 100 mph or a person who can make 50 free throws in a row.

Seems to me like balance is definitely the problem, but it’s not with teacher’s salaries.

If the lawmakers could just understand that there are other ways to save money and other ways to reduce spending than to always take it out on teachers — or state employees for that matter —, then we might actually get somewhere.

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