In response to Allan Bernstein's editorial asserting that OPRF teachers are overpaid, doesn't it all depend on how we define "overpaid"?
Yes, it's true we could probably find teachers who would do the job for less. Whether they are equally qualified, experienced or suited is another question. Yes, it's true that a six-figure salary is a comfortable living but certainly not excessive in an age when a mid-level manager at a downtown business can make that much (and comfortably afford to live in Oak Park, send his or her children to college and save for retirement). I would not deny these professional teachers the right to earn a respectable and comfortable living.
If some folks in our culture are struggling financially, does that mean we should tear down those who have been successful? Should we demand that doctors, small business owners, accountants and plumbers all take a pay cut? Should we assume that the cheapest labor we can find in any of these areas equals the best?
Rather, we should fight to raise the circumstances of those who are struggling, not demean and tear down those who are succeeding.
Is a good teacher worth a six-figure salary? Heck yes, when you look at the contribution he or she makes every day to our society and our families. Is a Wall Street Banker worth a billion? Is that really where our values are?
Yes, I am certain that some areas of the compensation package could be reformed, but overall I do not accept the premise that cheaper is better; nor do I accept that any American should be denied the right to negotiate and receive a wage commensurate with his or her experience, education and contribution to the greater good.
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