Moral Low Ground

US Government

‘Douche du Jour’: Shadrack McGill, Alabama Republican State Senator, Says God Wants Low Teacher Salaries

A Republican state senator from Alabama defended a massive pay raise for state lawmakers even while advocating for low teacher pay as a matter of “biblical principle.”

The Ft. Payne Times-Journal reports that Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Woodsville) appeared at a prayer breakfast in Ft. Payne on Monday, where he said that a 62% pay raise for state lawmakers better rewards their work and makes them less susceptible to corruption and the insidious influence of lobbyists. Legislators earned $30,710 annually before the raise and $49,500 after it.

“That played into the corruption, guys, big time,” he told the Times-Journal. “You had your higher-ranking legislators that were connected with the lobbyists making up in the millions of dollars. They weren’t worried about that $30,000 paid salary they were getting.”

McGill continued:

“He needs to make enough that he can say no, in regards to temptation. … Teachers need to make the money that they need to make. There needs to be a balance there. If you double what you’re paying education, you know what’s going to happen? I’ve heard the comment many times, ‘Well, the quality of education’s going to go up.’ That’s never proven to happen, guys.”

“It’s a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.”

“To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn’t want to do it, OK?”

“And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It’s just in them to do. It’s the ability that God give ’em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn’t matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.”

“If you don’t keep that in balance, you’re going to attract people who are not called, who don’t need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance.”

First of all, if Sen. McGill believes that raising lawmakers’ salaries by less than $20,000 is going to somehow render them impervious to the overtures of lobbyists with millions to spend  influencing them, he needs to go back to community college and take a political science course.

But more importantly, by invoking the Bible, a 2,000-year-old collection of fable and fantasy, as an excuse for underpaying some of the most critical workers in our society, the good senator is guilty of two infractions. First, he’s injected religion into politics. Last time I checked, this isn’t Iran or Saudi Arabia. McGill, and all politicians, should keep whatever supernatural beliefs they have out of the public arena, or have them subject to scrutiny, criticism and, dare I say, refutation based on a dearth of science or even basic reason? What was an elected government official even doing at a prayer breakfast? Oh wait– this is Alabama we’re dealing with. And lest anyone down in the Heart of Dixie take offense to a loud-mouthed outsider ragging on their state, I’ve actually lived and worked in Alabama. In Ft. Payne, to boot. But I digress…

So, in addition to hiding behind a “god” whose existence is as provable as the Tooth Fairy’s, Sen. McGill is guilty of hypocrisy for advocating massive raises for one set of public servants while supporting the status quo for another set of decidedly more important (and honest) public servants. Sure, Alabama teachers have the highest starting salaries in the nation— $36,144)– but that’s still pretty paltry compared to, say,  the $5.9 million that University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban earned last year– the highest salary of any public employee in the nation. For doing an infinitely less important job than that of any old kindergarten teacher, Mr. Saban earns at least around 100 times as much.

I don’t hear Sen. McGill crying about how overpaid Coach Saban is… or maybe it’s all some sort of divine game plan. As anyone down in ‘Bama will tell you (unless they’re an Auburn fan, in which case they’ll soon burn in hell), “god” is a Crimson Tide fanatic.




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