Strike now, teachers
Re: “Should Texas teachers walk out, too? Nothing else has persuaded lawmakers to spend more on education, Michael Lindenberger says,” April 5 Viewpoints.
Yes … and they don’t have to wait for the next legislative session, because the governor can call a special session anytime and for any reason he likes.
Texas teachers and students deserve better funding and benefits, and state allocations have never been lower. It’s time to change. Texas is 34th in the nation for teacher pay. Strike now and improve Texas public school.
Wade A. Crowder, Dallas
The author blames state lawmakers for the problem. But the real blame belongs to us. We vote for these lawmakers and ask them to lower our taxes rather than asking them to act responsibly and make Texas the best in the nation when it comes to education. We continue to vote for legislators who shift the burden of school funding to local school districts. And then we gripe like spoiled children when our property taxes go up, knowing full well that local property tax is the main source of revenue to pay teachers and improve our schools.
If we want an excellent public education system, we have to put up the money to pay for it. We have to quit voting for politicians based on their ideology and focus more on their willingness to act responsibly and do what’s right, even if it hurts our pocketbooks a little.
Dennis Frailey, Fairview
Workers’ salaries in comparison to the state’s cost of living should be a major focal point here in regard to what is deemed as being adequate funding. The cost of living in Oklahoma is 15 percent lower than the national average so the annual salaries for some occupations will be lower as a result. However, with this stated, teachers in general should be paid higher annual salaries based on the merit of business: supply and demand!
How many children and adults attend school on a daily basis? How many months out of the year? The investment (especially financial) and credentials necessary to become qualified to teach should be considered as well, along with timely commitments such as: attending extracurricular activities within and for the school, parent/teacher conferences, grading away from the job site, etc. A pay raise in and for this profession is highly justifiable.
Michael Lee, Baltimore, Md.
An education plan
When I started school there was no kindergarten, but I was lucky that I had a sister three years ahead of me and made me play school. If starting school at 4 years old is more productive due to brain development, I suggest we overhaul the program. For more than 100 years it has been assumed that 12 years of elementary and high school was adequate. I suggest we stay with that due to the high cost of added years.
Why not start all children at age 4 in first grade, have nine years of elementary school and three years of high school, then government-paid first-year tuition to community college or a subsidy of equivalent value to those who choose a state university?
Cedric Derby, Greenvillle
Teachers are spoiled …
Poor teachers! They have to work 9 1/2 months a year, being paid by you and me! They have happily signed a contract and are now being told by someone and then telling us they are under-paid. Bless their poor hearts.
My wife and I both taught school in Arkansas in the 50s. My first contract was for $2,320 a year, knowing, though, it was going to be $2,340 the next year. We became pregnant, and I had to get a real job so we could eat. I opted not to go on strike.
Teachers today are spoiled. In fact, we have become a country of spoiled brats with our hands always out for more freebies.
Come on now, teachers, be examples for the kids you teach as working people who love their jobs, rather than telling them to hold their hands out to be filled by someone else rather than having them down working.
Bob Tubbs, North Dallas
… and may be overpaid
Incomes are earned, they are not given. Hence, It makes sense to say that one’s income should reflect that person’s performance.
In case of secondary school teachers, the performance correlates with the knowledge attained by their high school graduates. Given the quality of high school graduates in many public schools, teachers might be overpaid.
Svetozar Pejovich, Dallas
No more use-it-or-lose-it
I’m a classroom teacher in an area high school, and I receive 10 days of sick and personal leave per year. Upon my retirement or resignation, any unused days simply disappear with zero compensation to myself. This system of “use your days or lose them” encourages teachers to be absent and request a substitute.
If I don’t use a leave day, why not pay me what they would have paid a substitute if I did use it? This would reduce teacher absences and probably improve student performance in school.
Tim Bollinger, Plano
Take responsibility, parents
Re: “Schools failing to get better — Dallas, Fort Worth students lag behind those in other big cities in math, reading,” Tuesday 1A.
It’s a sad, yet untrue, headline. It is the parenting and students that are failing to get better. Please don’t give parents and guardians yet another excuse for their kids’ failures. Education begins in the home. Teachers can only do so much. Even the best teacher can rarely engage an uninterested student. And it’s always the fault of the teachers when that happens? Parents: Please take responsibility for your students.
Cathy Gribnitz, Irving
Get involved in Texas politics
Re: “Let voices carry on school finance,” by Mitch Schnurman, April 8 business column.
In this article, I learned that our Robin Hood money is not even going to poorer districts, but to the state, which uses it offset other parts of the budget.
Teachers, please be alert to what is happening in our Texas politics. We are the smallest voting group, yet our future and the future of public education in Texas is on the line. We must research who we are putting on our school boards and in our state Legislature. We are in grave danger!
Already the state has taken away our insurance plan and replaced it with a plan that carries a high deductible and poor medicine coverage. Each year, as the Legislature resumes, there are financial companies knocking at their doors, wanting to privatize our superior retirement plan.
Get involved with your teacher organizations, vote and don’t let them take away what they have promised to us and the children of Texas.
Angie Johnson, Farmers Branch
Protect all students
The Texas Supreme Court is considering a case that could affect thousands of children enrolled in faith-based private schools. It involves a lawsuit ﬁled by a father who alleges his child was emotionally harmed by the Episcopal School of Dallas. The school claims no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.
As a child advocate and as a parent, I entrust our schools to care for kids and keep them safe. But depending on how the court decides, the case could potentially leave students in faith-based schools more vulnerable to maltreatment than those in secular schools, which is discriminatory. Furthermore, it would be far too easy for an institution to simply claim it is faith-based or religiously affiliated as a way to avoid litigation.
ESD is a case in point. Despite its legal position as a faith-based school, it enrolls students who come from families of all faiths and backgrounds and has a curriculum that’s largely secular.
All schoolchildren, regardless of what kind of institution they attend, must be protected from harm. To ensure that children are safe, no school should be exempted from judicial review.
Janet Heimlich, Austin
It’s hard to say who among President Donald Trump’s appointees can do the greatest harm, but Betsy DeVos is a good candidate. The education secretary’s restricted public appearance shielded her from meaningful exchanges with school authorities, teachers, parents and students. The staged venues allowed her signature non-answers to the few questions allowed.
Are the numbers of false accusations and sexual assaults on campus the same? In Stepford wife fashion and with a vacuous smile, she intones, “One sexual assault is one too many and one falsely accused student is one too many.”
She engages in Trump-like hyperbole (billions of federal dollars produced “zero” results). A year after taking office, DeVos is no better informed.
DeVos’ special potential to do harm, though, lies in the school’s role as the transmitter of values. Obama-era measures to reduce racial bias in school discipline have been cut back and the primary guidance for sexual assault on campus has been rescinded. Other changes place LGBT, special education and poor students back in jeopardy. Clearly, her message is that it’s OK for those with power, including the government, to disrespect the powerless.
Victoria Jean Palacios, Dallas