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The Quintessence of Irony

My husband and I often joke about a fake talk show I host called “Righteous Incredulity.” It all started when I read the book “Katrina After the Flood” by Gary Rivlin and was apoplectic at the mismanagement of the hurricane crisis at multiple levels of government. My emotions ranged from shock to frustration and anger at the lack of basic logistical organization, the opportunism, and the outright lies. Each “episode” of my show is a recounting of the horrors I see around the world, sprinkled with potential solutions and statements like “how could this kind of person be elected?”

Well, the state legislature has again given me fodder for a new episode of “Righteous Incredulity.” Consider the situation in the news this week wherein the Legislative Compensation Board discussed (though ultimately deciding against) cutting the pay of elected members as a punishment for their poor performance. Channel 9 reported potentially the quintessence of irony when they recounted the fact that “some legislators say they'd welcome the idea, but others say they worry about what lowering pay would do to the quality of candidates running in future races as well as the possibility of it slowing work at the Capitol even further.”

Unbelievable.

On so many levels I have a response to this, so let me organize this clearly:

  1. How could lowering the salary possibly slow up work anymore? Were it slower, we should just close the whole building — oh wait, it IS closed right now!! (For renovation, but the comment was just sitting there!)
  2. Having been a candidate for office in the past myself, I can assure you that the rate of pay is not what deters a person from running. At the time I ran, the salary was MORE than my meager teaching salary by a lot. What deters people is the lack of action, the cost to run, and the incessant vulgar politics of it all.
  3. Does this person have any idea of what our teachers are paid today in Oklahoma? Would his/her same logic apply to the “quality of candidates” working to build a future for this state in our classrooms?
  4. Do they think that logic of “slowing work” applies in all jobs? That’s not possible in our schools because the kids are here every day needing to be taught.
  5. Allow me to remind my kind readers that the starting teacher salary in Oklahoma is $31,600 while the starting legislator salary is $38,400. According to NewsOK, benefits like per diem add another $8,000 per year on average! News 9 says the average pay is $62,000!

What is going on here people? I really don’t understand the hold up to getting a budget deal with a teacher salary increase on the table. I know the excuse, but I don’t understand it. Don’t they see the future of this behavior? Don’t they care?

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Steve wrote:
I hear you and am certainly in the camp of believing pay for teachers and other undervalued workers is a tragedy. However, consider this, I am a fifty-six year old white male with a doctorate degree and work 40+ hours per week for a privately held health services corporation. I provide direct patient care, all day, everyday, week in, week out. There is no doubt in my mind that the high deductible, catastrophic type health insurance plan I am offered (that I pay $475 of the monthly premium), is a far cry from what ANY state employee receives. LIFE I NOT FAIR!

Thu, October 19, 2017 @ 3:42 PM

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