People always ask me why I chose to be a teacher. I decided on this profession because I wanted to inspire students and prove to them that they can learn, despite their difficulties—just like I did. I became a teacher to show my students that quality education is the one thing that no one will ever be able to take away from them.
Now my students and I are getting a painful lesson in life. Some people in positions of power can take away your rights, no matter how unfair, unsafe, or how badly it hurts.
Because of Senate Bill 5, which is now Issue 2 on the November ballot, some people are telling me that I’m the enemy and it’s my turn to help balance the budget. They claim this economic situation is my fault. They say I’m greedy for caring—and fighting—for my students. They don’t understand the facts.
Through the collective bargaining process, Pickerington teachers recently have made many sacrifices. Teachers, staff and administrators have made concessions in salary and insurance. Class sizes have increased, while our professional development budgets have decreased. Due to the failure of a levy last August, 130 teachers and staff were laid off. Our programs have been drastically altered for this school year—resulting in reduced wrap-around services, electives and other course offerings for students.
Issue 2 only continues budget cuts to our school district, leaving us in even more dire financial straights. It baffles me how it’s fair to blame teachers, school employees and other public workers for the budget mess we didn’t cause, while politicians create loopholes to exempt themselves. That’s not fair. And that’s why I am voting NO on Issue 2.
—Erin Salzer, high school special education teacher, Pickerington