By PAULA HERBART/President – Michigan Education Association
For many, education is a calling — but that doesn’t mean a career in education should come with a vow of poverty.
That’s the case for too many educators who are struggling with low and declining pay, according to recently released national figures.
Studies have shown – and logic dictates – that the number one variable in student achievement is the presence of a high quality teacher.
But only 25 percent of educators would recommend a young person enter the profession, according to a statewide survey released by Launch Michigan earlier this year.
Respect for the profession is certainly a factor. As one survey respondent put it, “Teaching is a calling and a noble profession, but the constant criticism from media and politicians make us feel unappreciated, undervalued and disrespected.”
The Launch Michigan survey also showed pay and benefits weren’t far behind as a point of dissatisfaction. While teachers and education support professionals have weathered the attacks on their profession, many are driven out of education by stagnant and in some cases, declining pay.