Fairfax County Teachers 'Dress Down' for Better Wages
English teacher Drew Marvin, dressed casually in a t-shirt, leads a class discussion at W.T. Woodson High School on Thursday, February 6, 2014, in Fairfax, VA. A group of teachers is demonstrating for better compensation by 'dressing down.' The teachers contend that salaries are not competitive in Fairfax County compared to other school districts in the Washington, DC, region. Seeking better pay, the teachers are wearing jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers instead of buttoned-down shirts, blouses, dressy shirts, and nice shoes. English teacher Drew Marvin said, 'Our pay has, in fact, decreased over time and the county needs to wonder, what's that going to do to this supporting column of their community?' He added, 'Teachers are leaving, and they are going to other counties. We've been sitting stagnant, our decline in pay, and it becomes attractive, or maybe a necessary option, to go to a different county.' Another teacher, Tonya Field, who teaches American Literature, said, 'We can pretend all we want to, but money matters. Money speaks. We all need money. We need to clothe our children, we need to feed ourselves, we need to get from one place to another. And I'm not asking for a Porsche, but, you know, it'd be ok to be able to support my family in a better way since I'm taking everybody kids and I'm training them.' Pointing to the teacher's lounge, she added, 'You have sweet little teachers in that room right there who are traveling 45 minutes to get here in the morning, and that's 45 minutes without bad traffic, because they can't afford to live three miles from this place. I mean, how's that work?'