Letters to the Editor

Was the NC teacher rally really warranted?

Better pay needed

The only thing behind the educators marching in Raleigh on Wednesday is the desire to have good teachers and well-funded schools to provide high-quality public education to young people.

Here is why it is so important to increase teacher pay: Higher salaries make the teaching profession more attractive to bright young people deciding which career to pursue. We want smart, talented people to become and remain teachers because competent, creative educators improve student learning. When teacher pay is low and schools are underfunded, people with a lot of options will choose other professions where they know their skills will be compensated at a higher rate.

For example, my daughter’s first grade teacher is excellent, but she’s quitting teaching after this year for a higher paying job. People who are good at teaching are going to be good at a lot of careers. So teacher salaries need to be competitive in order to attract and retain quality teachers.

Having well-paid teachers and well-funded schools is the key to having well-educated citizens, which in turn improves the economy, lowers crime rates and keeps our democracy vibrant.

Sera Arcaro

Cary

GOP at fault?

As would be expected, Democrats are attacking the GOP for their perceived underfunding of education. It seems to me that the Democrats controlled the legislature for many years prior to the Republicans gaining control.

During the Democrats’ control during the recession, teacher pay declined. Since the GOP gained control, their pay has significantly improved. So why this anti-GOP political rally? Simply the desire to unseat the GOP in the next election.

Also, how can any sane individual claim that education is underfunded when the U.S. spending per student is among the highest in the industrialized world, yet our students lag behind many other countries in achievement?

So how many more thousands of dollars per student is required to raise student performance? I suggest the fault really lies with parents, not money.

James Bullock

Wake Forest

Prevent teacher loss

I can only hope that the teacher protest on Wednesday causes the General Assembly to take the funding of public education seriously, and corrects the obvious inequities in the system.

My daughter has taught string instruments in the public schools of Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Walking into her newly-assigned classroom, she discovered that the only equipment there were a few beat-up music stands. Out of her own pocket, she bought herself a used desk, the remaining music stands that were necessary, and sheet music for the class library. She also spent her own money refurbishing some of the class’s instruments. This cost her and her husband several hundred dollars.

My daughter is hardly alone in caring for her students’ education. Many teachers do this. Eventually, she became so fed up with the lack of public funding, unending legislature-mandated testing and burden of paperwork that she left the public schools, and started her own studio. She now teaches 70-odd students privately, and has vastly increased her income, as well as her professional satisfaction. The public schools lost an extremely qualified teacher.

Best wishes for the success of the teachers’ protest. Let’s help prevent the loss of great teachers.

Ken Caudell

Durham

Not ‘thugs’

As a retired NC educator, I take great offense at Rep. Mark Brody’s characterization of the teacher’s march organizers as ‘thugs’ and in so doing, casting those who attended as undesirables instead of the decent, law-abiding citizens that we are.

With NC ranked 37th in teacher pay 39th in per-pupil funding, he has a lot of nerve trying to undermine the efforts of hardworking, dedicated teachers to make their voices heard.

I hope Brody and his colleague Tim Moore took a close look at the faces of the thousands who attended and discovered that they are anything but thugs. Indeed, they are men and women who plan to vote this November for change.

Frances Fincher

Newton

Legislature ‘not worthy’

Children are the hope of a nation’s future. They guarantee that a nation will have a future. Their education is the source of that guarantee.

A legislature which does not adequately fund education in the city, the district, the state or the nation which it has been elected to serve is failing in its obligations and is not worthy of its calling.

William Ilgen

Chapel Hill

Help substitutes

How enlightening to see teachers rally for public education. Public school teachers and administrators are trying desparately to hold our eroding educational system together in spite of all the obstacles they face. I too, am an educator with an advanced degree and work as a substitute teacher. I have seen and experienced it all.

There are outdated, torn textbooks; too many pupils in classes; lack of support staff and much more. I’m all for raising teacher salaries. I have written to the Wake County officials regarding substitute salary. For someone with an advanced teaching degree, we receive $106/8 hour day or $13.25 per hour. I was shocked upon hearing a report that the average salary for a babysitter in Wake County was $15/hour.

If you think we just babysit, you are sorely mistaken. We teach an average of 200 students per day. We rarely get a teachers’ planning period off because we are assigned to cover other classes. We have lunch and hall duty as well. I was told on, on two occasions, the county would look into this. It’s now another year and still no action. Subs need help too.

Judy Martino

Apex

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