Union Leader Says 2 Percent a Start in Teacher Pay Raise
Governor Tomblin announced a 2 percent pay raise for teachers during his State of the State Address, but union representatives say the state needs more to keep quality teachers in the classrooms.
West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said he was glad to hear education is still a top priority for the governor this legislative session, but thinks more can be done for teacher pay.
“We will continue to work with the House and Senate to see if we can improve on that two percent realizing that it’s a starting point,” he said Wednesday.
Lee said he still plans to work with lawmakers to put a multi-year proposal in place, increasing teachers’ salaries incrementally to become competitive with surrounding states.
“One of the things we can’t do is to give a raise one year and then forget it the next three or four,” he said. “That’s how we got to 48th in the nation. That’s how we got to more than 600 classrooms in the state without a certified teacher in them.”
Lee, however, said he was encouraged by Tomblin’s mention of continuing to support alternative certification programs.
One thing he would have liked to have heard, emphasizing STEAM learning in schools.
Governor Tomblin spoke of advancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math- STEM- education in West Virginia schools, but Lee said adding the Arts to that acronym is extremely important.
“Students who have an interest in the arts score higher in math and science,” Lee said. “So, just expanding STEM to STEAM would be a great way to broaden the curriculum and reach more children.”