I am a special-education teacher at Orange Unified School District who chose not to strike. However, that does not mean that I disagree with the reasons many teachers did strike. Teachers deserve to be treated as the professionals that we are. We were merely asking for a pay raise commensurate with the rising cost of living and for adequate benefits for ourselves and our children.
As is true of many professionals, educators are required to spend much time and energy in meeting state and federal guidelines for maintaining our credentials. In my particular case, over the past two years, I have spent approximately $2,000 on continuing education courses and materials. These requirements are fair and proper in that they help us to serve the children in the best way possible.
In addition, I am a participant in a behavior modification program for children with special needs whereby the child earns tokens that may be exchanged for treats and prizes. This, too, comes from my own income. We give of our time and our talents, and we are not asking for too much in return.
Those of us who observed the right not to strike are just as concerned about the education of our children as those who did strike. Both groups realize that the public wants extremely qualified teachers. Some thought, however, should be given to the future of education.