Thousands of Sharon Wests

Many Rhode Islanders surely share the sentiments that Sharon West expresses from East Providence:

Recently, a consultant hired by the committee reported that the average teacher makes $69,000 a year and receives benefits costing $26,000 annually.
Yes, $95,000, and many make even more. The consultant stated that this amounts to an hourly wage of $93. Please bear in mind that currently the School Department is $4 million in the red and sinking deeper every day.
As average homeowners, as well as renters, struggle to pay utility bills, car payments, the mortgage or the rent, buy groceries and pay medical bills, these 180-day-a-year workers want still more. Teachers, look around! These folks are valiantly struggling day by day to provide basic necessities for their families.
We, the working stiffs who pay for everything, need some relief, not further plundering.

The question is whether there are enough of us to force change. Can we (or hard experience) shake enough of our neighbors out of their apathy to counterbalance the well entrenched interests that bind the state? Let’s hope the isolated reform movements that have emerged (notably in the East Bay, for some reason) are the tip of the spear, not the rear guard of an exodus.

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Frank
Frank
12 years ago

A big part of forcing change is numbers and facts that people can understand and use such as those that Ms. West has offered. Many, many times I have heard the comment, “I don’t think teachers make too much.” To which I now respond, “How much do they make?” And when, invariably, that person admits that they have no idea what a public school teacher makes I ask how they could possibly have an informed opinion on teacher pay when they don’t even know what their pay is.
This is a start. If nearly $100 per hour average pay is perceived as not overly generous for a single public school teacher when entire families are struggling to survive on much less than what one of those teachers makes then there will be no revolt. On the other hand … the tip of the spear may well be gleaming off those East Bay waters!

thinkaboutit
thinkaboutit
12 years ago

The answer is to always be able to point to credible data. Either have it on hand or know the website to point to. I find the NEARI website to be helpful because they can’t really dispute their own data so easily.
I keep faith that over time the uninformed but mildly aroused voter will go to a website and learn if shown the way. I refer people to AR all the time, and even if 1 out of 3 actually follow-up, then the snowball builds.
I’m not sure if AR is a repository of such data or more of a rolling forum for issues, but I haven’t looked around enough to say.
Sites like AR are our only hope to combat a biased media, opponent lies, and voter apathy.

kathy
kathy
12 years ago

There us a school committee meeting at East Providence City Hall on Tues Jan 13. City Hall is on 124 Taunton Ave. Just exit off the Riverside/Taunton Ave exit on route 195E and city hall is a couple of blocks on your right.
I hope there is a good turnout. NEARI has sent out a memo to all their membership to come to this meeting for a showdown of sorts.
I hope there will be plenty of East Providence Taxpayers at this meeting to defend themselves. I hope non-East Providence residents show up too. The problem will no doubt be coming to your town in the near future.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

The reality is people have been voting with their feet. Productive people leave, with a big sigh of relief, and leeches or out of state Marxist Millionaires (Segal, Jerzyk, Donnis, Handy, Ajiello, Roberts and SO many more) move in.
Unfortunately for the Left, the “golden goose” has been cooked and eaten. It shall lay no more eggs. We have entered the era of Peak Taxes and the Left is in full scale panic.

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