Oct 28, 2011

America's Priorities

by Tanya Parker Mills

This NBA lockout/strike/whatever has got me really grilled. Yes, I'm a basketball fan, and yes, I was looking forward to watching Jimmer prove himself against all the greats, but that's not what's making me steamed.

It's the money!

I'm not sure what the player percentage was before but now they're down to a 53% share and they absolutely refuse to budge another three points for a 50-50 share with owners.

As a writer, I'd LOVE a 50-50 share with publishers. That's why Amazon's 70-30 share is so appealing and more and more writers (whether they're traditionally published or not) are gravitating to getting their rights back and republishing their old work as ebooks or self-publishing new work.

But I'm not writing today to bemoan the undervalued status of writers in America.

No, there is another profession that has, for too long, been shuffled around, disrespected, blamed, even belittled while music stars, Hollywood stars, and sports stars pull in millions every year. And this inequity is the true tragedy in America today.

Consider any K-12 teacher. His/her salary is a joke and yet here is an individual who spends all kinds of extra time and money each week simply to better serve our youth. Many of them supervise extra-curricular activities, as well. Is their job secure in this period of economic crisis? Can they make enough to support a family without having the spouse work, as well? Could they even afford to try a long-term walkout like NBA players have?

There is only one thing an NBA player and a teacher have in common when it comes to their job: they both love what they're doing.

But how can a game well-played compare with a student well-taught? There's no comparison. In terms of making a difference in our country's future, teachers should be the real stars. The fact that they are paid so poorly only reveals how far America's priorities have slipped.


  1. Absolutely agree!!! It is ridiculous that we pay millions of dollars for people to play sports or act in movies yet pay those who are shaping the minds of our future leaders a pittance. It should be the other way around. Completely inequitable. Our society prizes entertainment more than education. Sad commentary.

  2. As the daughter of a teacher and the friend of a teacher I totally agree. I also think that most teachers ( I know there have been strikes in the past.)not only can't afford to strike for long periods but also prefer to solve problems less dramatically and are conscious of the message they are sending to their students about the value of their students through their actions.
    I haven't watched the news lately so I had no idea they were striking. Isn't this football season?

  3. It is crazy that these people get paid so much money, but then it's crazy that actors get paid such mega bucks. But some of it is tied to performance. A player who doesn't perform well or be a big draw for fans (who fork out their money to watch these players) won't be making a huge salary for long.

    But it's nuts that we pay so much for entertainment when we would never consider doing it for the essentials.

  4. yep. This is one of my pet peeves, too. Especially when so many administators get paid double or triple or more than the teachers. Or when we spend millions of dollars on fancy admin buildings that have nothing to do with our students learning. so many inequities and messed up priorities!

  5. I dunno what part of the country you are in but teachers even K teachers around here are paid surprisingly well for this area.

  6. As a mother of a bunch of serious athletes, I want to add that my sons sacrifice all their free time working on their skills. They work out three to five hours a day on their sports, and have done this for years. One broke his back quarterbacking so his Pro aspirations are gone. One has decided the life of a Pro athlete is not conducive to his life goals, and the other, we have yet to see. In the meantime remember that a pro athlete's carreer is often very short, then what? Best thing is to take college seriously and be ready to get another job. While I agree that Pro Athletes and movie stars often get way more money than they may need or even deserve, many of them work far harder than we think just to pretend to be someone else or to play a game.

    Having said all this, I am the daughter of a school teacher/coach, my grandmothers were school teachers. My sister, an elementary principal and so are are many of my cousins. I know how hard they work and they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT GET PAID WHAT THEY DESERVE. But it isn't the athletes or the movie stars fault. It looks like teachers need AGENTS!


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