The Times Daily editorial of September 19 argued that recruiting South Koreans to fill the teacher gaps in Alabama is only a short-term solution that does not address fundamental problems. South Korea has an excellent education system with plenty of great teachers. They are treated as professionals and paid more than average college graduates.
The situation here is just the opposite. The teacher shortage will continue until the state offers better pay and working conditions. Alabama teachers spend an average $463 of their own money each year for essential school supplies.
It is ironic that Sen. Tim Melson is heading to South Korea on this quest when he and his cronies hijacked $600,000 in TVA payments over two years for their pet ag event center project. Those funds would have helped support Florence and Lauderdale schools.
Similarly, with Montgomery collusion they extended the 2% gas tax to feed the $40 million proposed center. If given a choice, local citizens might have dedicated that $80,000 per month tax revenue to our schools and teachers.
While South Korean teachers are no doubt qualified, there will be cultural and accent hurdles for them and our students. It will be expensive to bring them here for a year or two. Why not look toward Teach for America and other national loan forgiveness programs? Such volunteer teachers will bring new perspectives and work in poorer districts. They may even decide to stay here if conditions improve. That will depend on voters.