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16 March 2015 @ 06:58 am
Know? No!  
Morning talk show host Mika Brzezinski has put together a production tailored to women about Knowing Your Value. She has mentioned it a few (thousand) times during Morning Joe. Part of the production is aimed at helping women ask for better pay. While I applaud this effort to equalize the pay gap, part of the production is proof positive that Mika lives in a world quite different from the one I do.

Dear Mika,

I know my value, my worth. Unfortunately, the rest of the country seems to think I am overpaid and live, in Mike Huckabee's words, "in a bubble." I am a teacher. If I live in a bubble, I wonder where all the insulation and protection has gone, insulation and protection against the slings and arrows from folks JUST. LIKE. YOU. and the others on your show who advocate for VAM, for testing, for CCSS. Consorting with Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown (and where has she gone, I wonder, with her cries for better schools since she apparently had THE plan?) and others who have little or zero experience teaching the nation's kids seems to have caused you to think that I, like you, can negotiate a salary based on my worth, my value.

Sadly, that is not the case.

If I were paid according to my worth, my salary would be much closer to your own given that I am charged with educating teachers and librarians who will work with America's children, "our most precious resource" (or at least that is the lip service). I would make considerably more money because of my education, my years of experience, the other work I take on. My books would earn me what yours does instead of pulling in a modest amount each year. You see, there are no sweetheart publishing deals for me. I am a teacher.

There are no negotiations for salary. I draw from the same diminishing pool of funds that all the educators do at my university. Our overall funding for high ed has been slashed anywhere from 25-30% over the years. So, I know my worth and value: I am last in line for funding behind prisons, legislature pay increases, and a host of other priorities. And do you want to know why tuitions have skyrocketed? Universities were told by politicians to raise tuition to make up for the cuts in our budgets. These same politicians then wring their hands about tuition and debt.

I know my value, my worth. And I love my job. That is what keeps me going almost 40 years after entering this vocation. So, keep up the good work of helping others find a voice for asking for more funding. I will continue to find ways to help teachers and librarians find money for books and supplies. I will work to do what I can to ease the burden placed on our nation's teachers. You see, I know their value, their worth.

Respectfully,

Teri, who lives in a bubble
 
 
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