Labor Voices: Educator a year-round job

Reblogged from The Detroit News by Steven Cook, MEA President

Working in a public school doesn’t begin or end when the bell rings. School employees are doing more than ever with fewer resources and shrinking paychecks to make sure students get the best education possible — and that stretches into the summer months.

During the summer break, many MEA members work second and even third jobs to support their families, while finding creative ways to prepare for the next school year through professional development and other opportunities.

To debunk the myth that educators have “summer off,” we recently asked our members what they’re up to during break. Here are just a few examples:

■Many school employees work during the summer. With pay cuts common in the education profession — according to state data, Michigan’s average teacher salary has dropped for five consecutive years — many educators work summer jobs to support their families, while also preparing for the new school year.

April Bieri works three jobs, including two year-round jobs while school is in session and a seasonal summer position. She teaches summer school and tutors students throughout the summer. Angela Roberts-Beegle works a summer job as a seed corn inspector. Her job lasts six weeks with eight-hour-plus days in all conditions, rain or shine.

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