Editorials

Pay our teachers as well as our coaches

Pearl River Central High School’s Larry Dolan is the highest paid public school head coach in South Mississippi from the 2016-17 school year. While coaches deserve to be paid well, so do teachers.
Pearl River Central High School’s Larry Dolan is the highest paid public school head coach in South Mississippi from the 2016-17 school year. While coaches deserve to be paid well, so do teachers. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

If you haven’t read sports reporter Patrick Magee’s story on coaches salaries in South Mississippi, please do. And read the comments. And think.

First of all, we believe coaches deserve to be paid well. They put in a lot of extra time after school, at night, on weekends. They mentor children in need of someone to talk to. They are scrutinized by a lot of sports fans. Their every move is subject to criticism both fair and unfair.

It’s not the kind of job a person would take for money. They love the games they coach. They take pride in seeing the children they coach grow. They are an important part of the education community.

So, this is not in any way critical of the coaches’ salaries. This is about the teachers.

The best teachers, the most successful teachers, didn’t get there by luck. Good teachers aren’t born. They work hard. They put in extra time. They never stop learning.

And, like coaches, they didn’t get in the profession for the money.

They had to know that teachers’ salaries lag those in other states. They had to know they would be expected to pay for some of their classroom supplies.

And yet, they chose to become teachers.

They did it because they know it was one of society’s most important jobs. Every student they reach, every student they inspire to embark on a lifetime of learning, every student they show the way out of the bad circumstances they were born into, makes our little corner of the world a better place.

This is not about teachers vs. coaches. This is not about who is more worthy. Both are.

This is about paying teachers more, not paying coaches less.

If you have reached the same conclusion as we have, that teachers deserve higher pay, contact the people who can do something about it. Start with the board of education in your school district. (The state Department of Education has a clickable list of all school districts online at www.mde.k12.ms.us. Click “MS Schools” in the red menu bar and then select “MS District Listing.”) If they don’t hear from you, if they don’t hear that you think teachers need a raise, they are free to think that everyone is happy with teacher compensation.

Then move on to your representatives in Jackson, the state senators and representatives we elect to look out for our best interests.

Don’t know who that is? Go to openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ and enter your address. There you find their names and contact information.

Give them your opinions. Once again, if they don’t hear from you, they’ll think you are satisfied with the status quo.

And, go to your schools. Ask them what you personally can do. That will be your reward.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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