Governor Tom Vilsack says it’s time for people to quit haranguing teachers and start paying them more respect and paying them a higher salary. Vilsack’s not ready to reveal the budget proposals he’ll forward to legislators in January but he is talking about priority areas, and boosting teacher salaries will be on his priority list. Vilsack says he’s concerned that fewer and fewer young people are choosing to become math and science teachers. “I think part of it has to do with the respect that we give teachers,” Vilsack says. Vilsack says there’s a constant drumbeat of complaints about the teaching profession and the education system has been labeled as a failure. “You know, every profession has people (who) aren’t as good as they need to be,” Vilsack says. “But the vast majority of teachers in this state are highly-qualified. They are passionate. They work hard and they care deeply about the children, our children, but you never hear that expressed.” The governor says college graduates aren’t choosing teaching as a career because of the starting salary. Vilsack says a 24-thousand dollar starting salary for teachers isn’t that attractive when compared with the other salaries that are available.
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