Quality education worth striking for

Courtesy // Tiffany McGaughey

The faculty across the CSU system have voted to call a strike, asking for a 5 percent salary increase. According to the California Faculty Administration, 94 percent of members voted ‘yes’ to the strike. It seems fairly straightforward, but it isn’t as simple as ‘please sir, can I have some more?”
Teachers, professors and educators all across the country are not payed nearly as much as they should. This is because they aren’t taken seriously (the saying ‘those who can’t do, teach’).
But think about it: literally everyone in the modern world goes to school. They go to school to learn what they need to know for the rest of their lives, basics in every subject. This is why it is arguably the most important profession in the world.
For the most important profession in the world, a meager salary is unacceptable. On the Sonoma State’s website, the most recent salary schedule is available. The document states that tenure-track professors earn between $74,256 and $89,412 annually. While that might not seem so bad, the annual cost of living in Sonoma County is around $62,000 (assuming people live with their families), according to livingwage.mit.edu.
So the strike and salary increase is reasonable. The California Faculty Administration is asking for a 5 percent increase. But where would the money come from?
The CSU system has a $65.5 million budget this year, according to Toni Molle, director of Public Affairs for the CSU office of the chancellor. Molle said that the sum needed to accomplish the 5 percent increase would “amount to a total of $101.7 million”. This amount greatly exceeds the CSU system’s operating budget.
The problem moves a notch higher, from the CSU system to the government. According to the White House, President Obama allotted $70.7 billion to the Department of Education this fiscal year.
Whereas he gave $561 billion to the Department of Defense. The $101.7 million needed to give teachers their 5 percent increase is two millionths of $561 billion. Can’t it be used to make some teachers happy, and in turn, their students?
Teachers get enough disrespect as it is. Imagine having to conduct a classroom of rowdy toddlers, mischievous children, sarcastic teens, or lazy college students? I can’t assume that all classrooms apply to those ideas, but I know that every teacher I’ve ever had has been the recipient of some sort of disrespect, and it has almost always come from students.
The saying still goes ‘those who can’t do, teach’. But between managing students, grading papers, teaching classes, studying coursework, and maintaining their own lives, I’d have to say that teachers ‘do’ quite a lot.
The fact that we can’t pay them little more than a living wage disgusts me. These people put so much effort into molding the future generations of America, yet we divert hundreds of billions of dollars towards the next new deadly weapon.
Some might argue that bombs cost more than books, and in this college setting, I could disagree. But while it may be true, I’d rather my tax dollars be used to better our own country than to bomb another.