By Craig Marx, Editor
One of the biggest concerns going into this week was the appointment of the Secretary of Education of our country. Education is the principle building block of future generations and is an issue that is prevalent in nearly every aspect of society, therefore it is often times one of the more emotional topics in how our children will be taught and essentially molded outside of parental supervision. While the Antigo area itself experienced a recent shakeup in the educational realm itself, it is a trying time for us as a nation to focus on what the future of our pedagogical institutions may come to.
Despite who is overseeing these institutions, be it from the recently-appointed and under-qualified top down national sense to the local boards and administrations that govern school districts, at the end of the day it is in the hands of teachers to determine the course of our educational future. The responsibilities of teachers in our modern society far outweighs their compensation, and now, more than ever, a sense of self-reliance without any clear program or organizational guidance from the educational bureaucracy of our country is necessary.
Teachers are undercompensated for the work they put in, which for some reason in our society is taken for granted and often times gutted itself by certain gubernatorial policies. The national average salary for a beginning teacher in 2013 was $36,141, according to statistics from the National Education Association. Wisconsin sat at $33,546, the lowest salary when compared to other adjacent states including Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois. Recognition and appropriate compensation for the men and women that have the immensely challenging task of preparing our youth for “the real world” is not too much to ask.
It is in their hands now, even with one of the lowest salaries in the Midwest, for teachers in Wisconsin to have to deal with whatever policies the new educational administration lays down. For taxpayers, if certain conditions that have already been proposed are met, the money funded to public education could be used to benefit alternative and parochial education. Public education is a basic right for any family that wants to have their children grow and succeed. It should not be thought of as a black sheep of learning because public funding has determined otherwise.
Our teachers and educational institutions enter an era of uncertainty that will be the deciding factor in whether the progress we have made as a species is retained or discarded. Faith in our teachers and their staff to continue to educate our children in the future is paramount in that decision.