Up for Debate: Think realistically, 5 percent per year is too much

In the battle of negotiation, possibilities are endless, although rarely realistic. This isn’t an argument of whether teachers deserve a 5 percent raise, as most would agree that compared to professional athletes and Hollywood stars, teachers are much more essential and influential. But we have already set the status quo for how much teachers are paid, and though it is considerably lower than a doctor or lawyer, (careers that also require lots of education) the state still doesn’t have enough roles for teachers. A cost of living increase is a totally reasonable proposition, but to increase a teacher’s salary 5 percent annually for 3 years is unlikely to swing.

First of all, it’s important to mention that the ECCFT (El Camino College Federation of Teachers) agreed to the current terms that they are under, and they are simply attempting a renegotiation. They are protesting to start a ruckus, but they are unable to go on strike due to the agreement that is already in place. The Board of Trustees is simply offering what was agreed upon by the state. The 5 percent figure, inspired by the EC President Tom Fallo’s personal raise, is basically used as a symbol of respect.

I believe most teachers think that 15 percent over three years is unrealistic, and most teachers would be happy with a deal somewhere in the middle. Fallo is paid very handsomely, but he is a single person who received an increase, which isn’t the same as the entire teacher’s board. There isn’t enough money in the budget to currently hire more teachers, let alone pay the lucky ones who have a job already.

As a student, I’m not sure how a pay increase for teachers would affect me. Is that 5 percent really going to make my teachers better? It shouldn’t, pay increases should come from excellent performance, not inspire it. It’s difficult to set a merit meter for a professor, as it’s much easier to find negatives than positives. Rateyourprofessor.com, a website where students can rate and review other professors to guide future students, has worked for me at EC, but the Board of Trustees shouldn’t use it since the website can be very biased. I would like to believe that students use the survey given every semester (where we critique the class) intelligently, as those could be used to better distribute the funds.

Depending on whose side you are on, either you believe the teachers are under appreciated or they are just arguing because they can. But no matter which side you are on 5 percent is a ridiculous figure.