by: Chris Francis Updated:
CAMAS, Wash. - It’s a Facebook post that has drawn the ire of Washington teachers and it comes amid the stalemate over a state budget that threatens to shut down the government.
Representative Liz Pike, a republican from Camas, said she was prompted to write her open letter after reading emails from her constituents, many of them teachers, complaining about their cost of living increase being suspended. In that letter, Pike blasted teachers for pushing for a pay increase.
One particular quote really got people upset. It reads, “teachers who are dissatisfied with their pay and benefits should look for work elsewhere so that someone who is inspired to greatness can take their place in the classroom."
The letter has prompted more than 400 comments on Facebook, many of them negative.
Jim Hillis said Pike is shockingly out of touch with reality when it comes to teachers. Only a handful were encouraging. Rick Jones wrote, “I think I love her.”
Pike added that teachers enjoy summers off, have full benefits and paid holidays and a generous pension. She blamed all of that on the teachers' unions, explaining that those unions have led to the decline in education.
One teacher responded to the post saying he has not had a cost of living increase in four years. According to the website teacherportal.com, which tracks teacher salaries, Washington teachers rank 20th in the nation with an average salary of just under $53,000 per year.
The letter and subsequent outrage is drawing attention to this legislative special session and putting the spotlight one of the biggest roadblocks to a deal.
The question of where to spend money on education has lawmakers largely divided into two categories – should taxpayer money be spent on education infrastructure or teacher salaries.