Here’s a quick thought on another argument SB5 supporters keep using during debates: quoting the number of applicants for teaching jobs.

In a recent debate between State Senator Keith Faber (representing Better Ohio) and Dale Butland (representing We Are Ohio) the participants are asked a question about whether SB5 will make public positions less attractive to highly-qualified applicants.

Butland speaks first and mentions that starting pay for Ohio’s teachers is only $31K/year – which puts Ohio at #42 for the lowest paid teachers in the country. And Senate Bill 5 removes even the minimum pay standards for teachers. Butland calls this “absurd” – and he’s right.

Faber’s response, however, is also pretty damn absurd. He claim schools in his district receive, on average, 400 applicants for each opening for a K-6 teacher position. (jump ahead to about 1:57:00) Later he mentions that 100 people applied for a high school math position.

First, notice that Faber never tries to dispute the fact that teachers are paid too little and will likely be getting lower pay under SB5. He not only seems to accept that point – he seems this think it’s a good idea. Faber’s argument is based purely on the economics of the situation and he completely fails to address the quality of education our children will receive, the quality of the teachers applying for the jobs or the quality of life a teacher deserves.

Faber seems to be saying that since the demand is so high for math teachers we are obviously paying them too much. Even if we pay them less – and cut the crap out of the benefits they receive – we’ll still have a lot of people who are willing to do the job.

Under Faber’s logic, if we get 100 people applying for a math teacher job at $33K, then we can probably cut it down to $25K and still get 50 people to apply. Why not figure out the absolute minimum we can pay and still get ANYONE to apply? Why should we only be the 8th worst in the country for starting teacher pay when we can be #1?!

It’s a completely screwed up argument that shows how little respect Faber and other SB5 supporters have for the teaching profession.

It’s also a red herring.

Notice that Faber also fails to mention that Ohio – and the country as a whole – is in the middle of a recession. With nearly a 10% unemployment rate, anyone and everyone is applying for every job available. Saying 100 people applied for a math teacher job doesn’t tell you much about the job or the people. How many of the applicants were even eligible to teach in Ohio? How many actually had degrees in math, or any degree at all?

100 people applying for a math teacher job – or ANY job – right now is not surprising. You can hear similar stories around the state for all kinds of public and private sector jobs.

For example, FIVE THOUSAND people applied for jobs as dealers at the new casino in Cleveland. Jobs that pay, on average, about $35K year. I can almost guarantee that none of these people were highly qualified card dealers and I’d be surprised if any of them have ever worked in a casino before.

Quoting the number of people who applied for a teaching job is completely irrelevant and simply a distraction. As Dale Butland put it, it’s like the pretty girl on stage intended to distract you from the magician’s tricks.

Vote No On Issue 2