politics

Smackademic!

NM legislators to cut educators’ pay

Cuts in educator pay will probably first be felt in the chalk and pointing stick departments
Cuts in educator pay will probably first be felt in the chalk and pointing stick departments

NM lawmakers have found a way around a pledge (inferred if not outright) to not cut educators’ salary. So they’re upping the amount that the state’s public school teachers and college faculty are contributing to pension plans. For an instructor earning $47,000 a year, that’s $702 less.

This might not seem like much, but consider the fact that these are people who have already lost considerable amounts of retirement money because of the state’s investment of their money in plans that went fffffttttttkaplowey. My dad lost nearly one-third of his retirement funds, and I’ve lost a good chunk as well.

There’s a sort of systemic attack happening against educators in this state. According to a Daily Lobo article, UNM Regents President Jamie Koch recently misstated (by tens of thousands) the salary of the average faculty member. He said it was $94,000, but it’s really $83,000 (he factored in retirement benefits). But averages are deceiving -- the median income for faculty at UNM is around $70,000. Honest mistake? Please. I don’t want to wear a hole in this particular cliché rug, but we don’t value education, especially in this state. Koch was attempting to color college faculty as overpaid state employees, discounting the decades of education and experience that go toward earning those sums (which are 10% less than the national average). Yes, difficult choices are ahead of us. But no one should try to paint these cuts as anything besides reducing teacher pay. Period. Exclamation point.