I belong to a Music Teachers group on Facebook. It is an extremely active group. Members discuss ideas for lessons, instrumental questions, they look for repertoire, discuss discipline techniques, share successes and commiserate on bad days. But this week I read something out of the ordinary.
"I absolutely love my job. I have adequate prep time, reasonable breaks, small classes and only 24 classes a week. The problem is that I will soon be forced to leave because the cost of living has priced my family out of the area. I'm terrified! Are there other great jobs out there like mine? Please share!"
This didn't come from a local teacher, but it very well could have. Solidly middle class professions like teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, plumbers, and more are just about completely priced out of Columbia. All the while certain people rail about Section 8 housing and use coded language to encourage a fear of "thugs" coming to a street near you.
Yeah, thugs like me. Be very, very afraid.
I was pleased to see this article about Councilwoman Jen Terrasa's bill for affordable housing in Downtown Columbia.
"Terrasa's bill would require 15 percent of all new housing units developed downtown to be affordable to families earning between 40 and 80 percent of Howard County's area median income of $109,476."
A healthy community needs to be not only racially and culturally diverse, but also economically diverse. Perpetuating policies that drive out the middle class is just plain bad for Columbia. A big HoCo Holler to Ms. Terrasa for focusing her energies on shaping an affordable housing proposal that makes room for the people and families we need most.
Because a teacher is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood...