East St. Louis teachers union president Sharon Crockett made $82,200 last year teaching junior high, so obviously she was being straight when she said the teacher strike is not all about the money.
“It’s about the morale of the teachers and students,” Crockett said. “If the teachers are not happy, the students are not happy. What it all boils down to, education is about the teachers and the students.”
Let’s see if we can follow her logic. If it’s not about the money, but rather about happiness and morale, then exactly how are teachers trying to find their smiles and what morale booster are the teachers seeking? Gee, could it be... money?
And if it all boils down to education being about the teachers and the students, then where exactly do the 6,100 East St. Louis students fit into the union’s equation? Guess we have a few things to learn from teacher Crockett, because we were under the impression that education was all about the students.
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So let’s turn to District Superintendent Arthur Culver. He’s been transparent by providing a letter to parents and the rejected a contract that boosted pay by $5 million by 2018.
He also compared salaries with other K-12 districts: A teacher fresh from college starts in East St. Louis at $42,786 and after 21 years maxes out at $74,125, which is about $20,000 more than a peer in Edwardsville can earn. East St. Louis was second in pay across the board for the six districts compared, with Cahokia at the top.
Crockett’s response was to criticize Culver for not following the process. Would that be the process of refusing to work toward a solution and holding students’ education hostage? Must a strike be part of the process?
Then Culver solved the problem of all those kids who rely on school for breakfast and lunch. They are being bused to school so they can eat and community groups are helping keep them occupied.
Crockett questioned whether those community groups have had their people background and drug tested.
Maybe she thinks the crack dealer on the corner would make a better recreation director? Or maybe she’s volunteering district workers for background and drug tests to boost morale by ensuring a clean, felon-free learning environment.