Teacher reacts critically to WKBN story about YSU professor’s pay cut

Several school districts in Mahoning County are experiencing a substitute teacher and driver shortage.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Thursday, June 22, 2017, WKBN 27 First News Anchor Stan Boney reported a story on Youngstown State professor Dr. Chet Cooper, who refused to teach a class after learning it would include taking a 43 percent decrease in pay. Stan later received an email from a teacher critical of a question he asked Dr. Cooper. The teacher also gave her opinion on teachers’ salaries.

The teacher asked to remain anonymous. The teacher’s email was also edited to delete any references to who the teacher might be.

After a discussion among the journalists in our newsroom, we at WKBN thought what the teacher had to say was very important and outweighed any concerns about not using the teacher’s name.

Hello Mr. Stan Boney:

Did you really make the statement “What about the idea that teachers don’t teach to get rich?” As a teacher watching this news broadcast, I was stunned. I am a teacher. I enjoy working with my students, however, I teach to make a living by earning money. I use that money to support my family and my lifestyle. Unfortunately, when you look at what our society is willing to pay certain people for athletics and entertainment, as well as other industries, it is sad that teachers are not able to get rich for all of the work that they are expected to do with our youth.

This is what is really sad-my son recently graduated…with his Masters (in a business-related field). His starting salary in his field is well above my teaching salary of which I am on the pay scale of a Masters +30 additional semester hours of continuing education. Yes, you read that correctly–his starting salary is well above mine with a Masters +30 hours of continuing education so that I could continue to renew my teaching license and to stay abreast of current topics and teaching strategies to apply in the classroom.

I am not sure where you even came up with the idea that teachers don’t teach to get rich. It isn’t that we wouldn’t like to get rich, or that we don’t feel we deserve to get rich. The reality is that our society does not place a high value on paying teachers a fair salary for the work that we do.

While this is my opinion, I am sure that many teachers would agree with me in saying we sure as heck would like to get rich in our career choice and if we were paid FAIR compensation for EVERY hour that we put into our craft beyond the school walls, we certainly would not get to the level of “rich” as measured by our society but it would be a little closer to fair.

To even imply that this YSU professor has a “duty” to the students who were signed up for this course is rather insulting and certainly did not feel like impartial reporting. If your employer came to you today and said they were going to pay you less over the weekend because there were less TV viewers, I am sure you and your colleagues would not see this as fair in any way because you were still doing the same amount of work and you would expect to be compensated fairly for your work.

I have never felt compelled to personally contact a local news anchor about their stories or their news reporting but I had to respond to this story because it struck a nerve.


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