You said it: Value teachers as an asset

You said it: Value teachers as an asset

Sylvia Gibson

Let’s value teachers as an asset.

What is Alameda Unified School District’s greatest asset? District leadership will often remark that good teachers are its greatest asset. But where are teachers accounted for in the financial statements? Today they are classified as “expenses” on the income statement and “liabilities” on the balance sheet—not as an investable asset. Thus, when AUSD seeks to cut costs, it cuts teachers and teachers’ salaries, rather than investing in its greatest asset—teachers.

The core service of the school district is to provide excellent and free education to all of Alameda’s youth. Teachers are the driving force of performance in the school district; therefore it makes financial sense to invest in teachers. An investment in teachers will bring a “return on human resource value” as we attract and retain great teachers in our district. Viewing teachers as an asset recognizes that teachers’ value can appreciate with training, experience and teamwork. Great teachers make great schools.

A sustainable investment in Alameda teachers includes respect for the union contract. Recently AUSD teachers rejected a tentative 1.5% salary increase because it was tied to contract amendments teachers found demeaning. Most AUSD teachers will work in Alameda for over two decades. This means they will teach under the leadership of several different superintendents and dozens of school board members. The union contract is a thoughtful document that protects the quality of the workplace over the long run—it should not change with the winds and tides of leadership styles. Since teachers are a source of lasting value for the school district, it makes long-term sense to value the teachers’ contract.

The quality of Alameda teachers can be measured by our schools’ high test scores, strong graduation rates, and numerous awards. 41% of Alameda teachers have a master’s or PhD degree. Our teaching staff is an investable asset and is worthy of being honored with a raise. The teachers have shown that they will not accept a raise if it compromises the dignity of their union contract. Let’s value our teachers as the school district’s greatest asset and offer them a raise they can accept.

Sylvia Gibson
Independent Study Teacher
Island High School