By Pat Schmidt April 14, 2011 9:47 am
So…you want to know what Scott Walker’s budget repair bill means to me. Well, it means that I’m thinking about retiring from a job that I love. I’m a music teacher in Wautoma, WI. Our school district has about 1500 students and today I got to direct about 350 of them in our spring musical. Many times I find myself thinking in terms of song lyrics. One of our songs was called “The Worst Day All Day Long.” For those of us in Wisconsin the last two months has felt like a year!
When we received the call to action we really stepped up for the fight of our lives. As a member of the Republican Educators’ Caucus I work with Republican legislators on bipartisan legislation to help our students. I voted for Governor Walker, but I now feel that he has ignored the fact that out of the 3.2 million National Education Association members, 1 million of them are registered Republicans. Is he trying to tell me that I can’t be a teacher and have Republican values? I don’t teach Democrats or Republicans. I teach the children!
My students need experienced teachers in their classrooms as well as new teachers with fresh ideas. There is a political ad running here in Wisconsin that tells of a young teacher who is described as one of the best teachers in her school, but she may have to leave Wisconsin to teach elsewhere because she doesn’t make as much as the “poor” teachers. This ad totally distorts our salary schedule. The reason she makes less money is because she is young and starts at the bottom of the salary schedule. It doesn’t mean the teachers above her on the scale are “poor” teachers it just means they have more experience in that district and have been loyal to the community and have made their lives there.
It’s these kinds of distortions that have really hurt the morale of the teachers in our district.
My thanks to all of you who have supported us in Wisconsin. We really appreciate it!
Pat Schmidt is a music teacher in Wautoma, Wisconsin, and a Republican member of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.