The State of Education Today

It is bad enough that there is a minority (at least I hope it is minority) would rather us go to war than seek peace in this world.

But I just read that the new president of the University of North Carolina system was given a salary of $775,000 and the chancellors in the same system were given raises of 8 to 19 percent. The faculty in the UNC system, after several years of pay freezes were given a one-time payment of $750.

I have never understood why administrators are given six figure salaries when it is the faculty and support staff that do all the work.

And all the while, tuition goes up making it harder and harder for families to send their children to college.

And this is not just in North Carolina (for the record, Ann Walker​ and I have ties to the state that go back several years). I see such gaps between administrators and faculty in K – 12 education as well.

But we are told that teachers are overpaid for what they do. In 1971, my first year of public school teaching, I made $6,300. My landlord essentially told me that I should be grateful that I was getting that much and shouldn’t complain because I also got 3 months summer vacation. But during that “vacation” I was under contract to go to school and I did not get paid for those months of vacation.

College teaching is really no better because, especially at colleges like the UNC system, you are expected to do research and seek funds which then replace, not supplement, your salary. And if you don’t do the research and publish the results (which by the way grants are written belong to the university), then you go looking for another position somewhere else. In most cases, it does not matter one bit if your passion and excellence lies in teaching, research and publications for the benefit of the university are all that matter.

And now, with the need for an educated populace even more of an imperative, there are those who would lead us to say that education is not important, that it cannot be free, and that we need to pursue more mundane jobs. I am not saying that every child should go to college because, for some, that is the wrong mix. But education needs to be a way of improvement, not the maintenance of the status quo.

The process of education is two-fold. First, it helps each and every individual find who they are. Second, it creates within each individual the opportunity to discover new things. Right now, we are not doing that and we are going to pay the price pretty soon.

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