Washington state rep. Liz Pike has unleashed the fury of teachers and schoolmarms in general across The Evergreen State after she suggested in a Facebook post that teachers who want to make more money should find a different line of work.
Pike, a Republican from the southwest corner of the state who favors small government and low taxes, prefaced her “open letter to public educators” by noting that she has received a number of emails from teachers who are unhappy because teachers across the state have gone without a salary increase for two years. Some teachers have taken a pay cut of nearly two percent.
“Congratulations on enjoying your last day of the school year,” Pike’s post reads. “If I had the opportunity to choose my career all over, I would have opted to get the necessary degree and teaching certificate so that I too could enjoy summertime off with my children, spring break vacations, christmas [sic] break vacations, paid holidays, a generous pension and health insurance benefits.
“Instead, I chose to work a career in private sector business so that I could be one of those tax payers who funds your salaries.”
Pike’s electoral website says she has been a small business owner for the last 15 years, running the Pike Advertising Agency. Before that, she worked at a small newspaper. She also has two grown children and operates a small-scale sustainable farm.
After some words of gratitude to various “excellent instructors” who are “inspiring our children to reach their full intellectual potential,” Pike cuts to the quick.
“[W]e have unions that only care about the adults in the system,” she charges. “Since the rise of teachers’ unions in this nation, our public education system has deteriorated.
“If you are uninspired because of the lack of a cost of living increase, I encourage you to speak with your neighbors who work in the private sector,” she advises. “Ask them when was the last time they were guaranteed pay increases that were not based on performance standards.”
Pike then goes on to explain her small-government beliefs — and rudimentary economics — in stark, simple terms.
Naturally, reports The Seattle Times, many teachers were seriously displeased with Pike’s Facebook post.
“It’s disheartening that she’d take such a dim view of teachers. It shows such a disrespect for the teaching profession,” Jamie Hurly, a social-studies teacher at Battle Ground High School, told The Times. “To imply that we only work by the clock, we don’t. We work outside of our school day.”
Coincidentally enough, Pike is a graduate of Battle Ground High School.
“Most of our teachers have master’s degrees or higher,” Rick Wilson, executive director of the Vancouver Education Association, told The Times. “They work very hard. They get extra training in the summers. They’re here because they want to make a difference in the lives of children. And they do.”
“[W]e’re getting cut after cut after cut, it’s hard to survive,” elementary school teacher Tim Kelly told FOX affiliate KPTV. “We’re not greedy. I don’t make a lot of money. As a matter of fact I work a second job throughout the year just so we could barely get by.”
Rep. Pike has not responded to the torrent of criticism from educators, saying that her Facebook post speaks eloquently for itself.