A trying winter, a hopeful spring

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Executive Director's Column

Our push is far from over

Sometimes, despite your efforts, you aren’t able to accomplish a goal you have set for yourself. Yet, it doesn’t mean that you are not better off for having put forth the effort.

Such was the case with our efforts to increase the minimum educator salary along with the minimum wage. While we did come close, the issues were removed from the state budget negotiations table late in the legislative debate.

But, our push is far from over, and I’m confident we can win this.

In just a few short months, members contacted lawmakers thousands of times, were featured in dozens of newspaper stories and television and radio reports, and swarmed the state Capitol to remind legislators that these initiatives are key to securing the respect that educators and support professionals deserve.

The fact is that it sometimes takes several years to translate great ideas into state laws. Any number of successful legislative initiatives have taken that kind of time. So, the keys to success are persistence, patience, and discipline.

Think of it this way.

It took three years to enact the last increase in minimum educator salaries in the 1980s. It took five to pass a law that protected PSEA members’ pensions from relentless attacks. It took a decade and more to reform the state’s basic education funding formula.

Sometimes, it just takes time to get good things done in Harrisburg. But we have the facts on our side. And we have the public on our side, too. Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support increasing the minimum educator salary and the minimum wage.

There’s more good news.

As you’ve read in previous editions of this magazine, the people who live, work, and send their children to public schools in your communities have a tremendous amount of respect for the work you do every day. More than 70 percent of Pennsylvanians have positive impressions of educators in their public schools.

We’re planning to build on that foundation of support and respect as we keep working to get this done. Even more important, we’re doing this for a reason.

PSEA members simply deserve to be compensated fairly for the incredible work you do.

There’s no reason why thousands of educators should struggle to pay student loans or take on second and third jobs to support their families. And there’s no reason why public schools should have trouble attracting the best and brightest to the teaching profession.

The same goes for education support professionals. There’s simply no reason why the men and women who help our students learn to read, make sure they get healthy meals, and keep their schools safe, healthy, and clean should be paid less than they deserve.

These are the problems PSEA’s RESPECT initiative is trying to solve.

And, no matter how much time it takes, we’re going to solve them.

So, keep up the great work. Stay tuned for the next round of this fight. And be ready to fight to win it. 


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