Educators create wealth

Discussing the teachers’ job action, a local columnist commented that the arguments of the teachers’ union for “sharing the wealth” is flawed. The author writes that “fair share” “implies someone has contributed directly to creating what is they want to share” and that such reasoning “smacks of an entitlement mentality”. (Star-Phoenix, “Sharing the wealth not the point”, Friday, May 27, 2011).

To the contrary. Teachers at all levels directly contribute to wealth creation by virtue of training the work force. Very few jobs in Saskatchewan require no education at all. Depending on the occupation, most employees are expected to have certain basic literacy and numeracy skills, and many are expected, at point of hire, to have considerably more knowledge.

And don’t employers elsewhere know it! Before the current boom, many commentators would say that one of our biggest exports was our educated young people who went to other provinces or even abroad to use their skills to create wealth elsewhere. This habit became so ingrained that government has provided tuition rebates as an incentive to keep educated people in the province. Government did not do this to increase the level of dinner-party conversation; it was done to stimulate wealth creation.