The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, August 25, 2005

You Have No Idea

How frustrating articles like this are to me:

Vincent "Vince" Giordanelli wears a name tag and carries a walkie-talkie.

As assistant manager of a Sam's Club on the South Side, Giordanelli oversees 175 people. He prepares a budget. He checks payroll. He receives a sufficient paycheck, and he gets bonuses.

But it wasn't always this way.

Giordanelli, 37, was a math teacher at Clark High School for 11 years. But in his entire 14-year teaching career, he could not fully support his family.

So he turned in his chalk and put on a Sam's Club badge.

Giordanelli's teaching salary at one time qualified his children for reduced lunch prices at their schools.

"The situation never would have reached this point if teachers' salaries were up to par with the stress and responsibilities (of the job)," Giordanelli said. "I wasn't making enough to support a wife and three kids on a single income."

Let's be honest, there aren't many jobs left out there where you can support a wife and three kids on a single income. Fourteen years of teaching in NEISD with a Bachelor's degree gets you $45,186/year. I don't know, but with the median family income in San Antonio being about $41,000, I'd say you're making decent money.

And I really don't understand this idea of comparing a teacher's salary to what one could make in the private sector. Just about every person working in the public sector would make more in the private sector. The only time we see an actual number for a teacher's salary is when they compare what a woman was making at a private school- $15,000- (notoriously tight-fisted for many reasons) to what she's making now as a real estate agent- $225,000. Because that's a fair comparison.

I find this idea that it's tough goin' making a salary in the mid-40s really hard to swallow. I don't know, maybe it's because I've seen numerous family members raise their own families on much less. But where's the article talking about average pay for our city's police officers and firefighters? Or they're retention numbers? I'd submit they face slightly more on the job pressure than an average teacher. And why the hell aren't we talking about the salaries of the janitorial staff at Clark High School and whether or not you can provide on that salary?

As I've stated before, there are many, many good arguments for raising teacher pay- and tying consistent pay raises to something less political than our state legislature- and increasing their benefit packages. But this idea that our teacher's are part of the working poor is really, truly insulting to those who do live a hand-to-mouth existence.