Over the past few months, conservatives have beat a steady drum accusing public servants, particularly public school teachers, of being a blight on the nation. Republicans governors from across the county, along with a chorus of Fox News personalities, have scapegoated teachers as overpaid workers who receive too many benefits on the taxpayers’ dime.
However, public teachers have found an unlikely ally: failed Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV). Speaking to a class at Dutch Fork High School in South Carolina recently, the staunch conservative told students that public school teachers are dedicated public servants who are generally over-worked and under-paid for their profession:
ANGLE: I think that improving public education in Nevada is the same as improving public education all over the nation. [...] Teachers who are really good teachers do this not because of the pay, not because of the three month vacation, and not because they work a six hour day. And if you know a good teacher you know none of those things are true.
They don’t get paid like other professionals do. Their three month vacation turns out usually to be more like two months in the summer and they’re usually going back to school so they can learn more so they can stay ahead of you. Their six hour day is more like a sixty hour work week because they have more than they do than the six hours they spend in the classroom. They are dedicated professionals and they are dedicated to you. They are usually very honest, caring individuals and they want what’s best for you. When you talk about the three people who are most vested in education, that’s where our resources should be put, that’s where our concentration should be, that’s what we should be asking ‘what would make a better school?’
Earlier this week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof rebuked the Republican war on teachers and pointed out that teacher pay has been plummeting for decades. “In 1970, in New York City, a newly minted teacher at a public school earned about $2,000 less in salary than a starting lawyer at a prominent law firm,” Kristof noted. “These days the lawyer takes home, including bonus, $115,000 more than the teacher, the McKinsey study found.”