Clearly, the post "Is Stafford County headed for a mass exodus of it's teaching force and an ensuing teacher shortage?" struck a chord. The story has been spread to thousands. Both former and current teachers alike have left comments on Facebook and the post's comments section to share their frustration, like this one...
"It is time they realize that people are leaving because of the money. I'm leaving because of the money. They need to understand that they may have bodies in the classroom but the northern counties that pay more aren't taking our worst teachers; they're taking our best teachers. We train first year teachers 3 to 5 years and if they're good they leave. I just finished my PhD. I was going to make an additional $400 a year for having done so. It wasn't enough. We won't be able to hire and keep the best of what's available unless we become competitive." And this one...
"I am one of the 267 (teachers) that left 2 years ago... making about $10,000 more a year by driving one county to the north."
I did get a comment that was critical from a Stafford elected official who said that we can't compare ourselves to the much larger, wealthier counties to the north and that the time to advocate for increases in teacher salaries is not in the 11th hour when little can be done.
I always appreciate it when the decision makers take time to give me feedback, they have a lot more information regarding the issues than I and a completely different perspective. I do agree that advocacy for teachers should not be put off until the last minute and to that end, BTW plans to be there when the 2018-19 budget is rolled out next year. However, I don't think that we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that our neighbors to the north aren't stealing away our teachers. By pretending that they are not"comparable" districts and therefore we don't need to be competitive with them seems short-sighted. But maybe our elected officials, on the School Board and Board of Supervisors alike, just don't realize how bad the problem is because they aren't hearing about it.
So, current and former Stafford teachers, here is your chance to tell them what you really think without fear of retribution. Send me your comments and I will post them (keep it clean, please.) Many on the School Board and Board of Supervisors keep tabs on this blog, you can rest assured that your comments will reach them. I guarantee all comments will be completely anonymous, your identity will be protected. If I get enough of them, I can get a post out in advance of the special School Board meeting that has been set for tomorrow evening. Together, we can enlighten our elected officials and hopefully make them see that this is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org