Educator Concerns

by Jessica Cervantez

Thirty-three years experience in the classroom, shows Fourth Grade Brookhollow Elementary teacher Susan Dickens that there are concerns when it comes to education. A new report shows that the state pension fund for teachers is 11 billion dollars short of what it needs to pay benefits promised to Texas educators, and this brings some concern.

Dickens said, "I'm not worried. Concerned is a better way to put that. That is an awful lot of money. I just have faith that they will have funds for us as we need them."

Dickens believes education finances are in a lot more trouble than the teachers' pension fund, but the two are related.

"We keep falling farther and farther behind. We get a little increment, and then we find ourselves back to the bottom. It doesn't speak well about us," Dickens said.

Another issue involves state-mandated tests. Dickens has been around since the first state-mandated test was given in 1979. She says she doesn't think the TAKS test is the answer to testing children. She is here to see that her students get the best education they can.

Dickens said, "None of us are in this to get rich. The reason you go into teaching is because of the children. We are here for them, and they are not getting a fair shake."

The bottom line is the children are our future.

Mrs. Dickens plans to retire in a few years, but says if the teachers pension fund continues to fall short, it might have some effect on when she retires.