An Open Letter to Gov. John Kasich

A great letter from an Ohio teacher to Governor Kasich in response to his request for merit pay feedback (brought to our attention by another teacher).

Dear Mr. Kasich,

I do not teach a tested subject area. I am an elementary music teacher with nearly 350 students that I work with once every 3 days for 50 minutes. I recommend that I be assessed on how I benefit my school community. My students present musical performances at least once per year for their families and the entire student body. My fourth grade students are successful recorder players, my fifth grade students produce a CD of their original compositions each year, nearly all of my students sing tunefully and beautifully, and every single one of them is an appreciative consumer of many different musical genres and a respectful audience member. I serve as a staff liaison to my building PTO, I am my school’s technology coordinator, I sit on our Intervention Assistance Team, I coordinate the afternoon car pickup, I monitor the cafeteria for 30 minutes each day, I volunteered on my district’s levy committee, I have mentored student teachers, and I regularly present professional development for my colleagues. I also hold master’s degree in literacy and a license to teach reading, and I frequently integrate other subjects and technology into my music curriculum, which helps my students perform to the best of their abilities on standardized tests.

How would you quantify all that I do for my school community? I would love to use all of the above information to negotiate my salary. I could certainly argue that I’m worth quite a lot because of my education, experience, and the myriad of essential roles I play. I was going to begin my “Idea” with stating that the average salary for an American with a master’s degree is about $65,000 (with eight years of experience and an MA I make $57,113), but that really isn’t the point. I didn’t choose a teaching career for the money; I just want to be respected for all that I do for my kids.

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