Letters to the Editor

Teacher pay isn’t a ‘right/left problem’

I am a retired teacher from way upstate New York. The salaries are all locally funded and so they are wonderful in southern part of state, terrible in the North Country where I lived. But the state does fund teacher training, the unions are rather powerful and libraries are in decent shape.

At the real risk of being a “know it all Yankee” I recently visited a Wake County elementary school that my grandson attends. Both the classroom and especially the library were incredibly lacking in materials. The teacher is marvelous. She has accomplished so much with so little.

The contrast to even a poor district in New York like mine was stunning. The lack of books in particular was so disheartening. The room mothers copy material and bind it into little books for the children. Whole shelves were bare in the library. Display and visuals were missing throughout the classrooms I peeked into.

I assume teachers must supply such things out of their meager budgets and, with salaries so low, how can they afford to pay out of pocket? This has nagged at me for the weeks since I was there. Now with the teachers’ march I feel I need to speak out.

North Carolina, is such a wonderful, forward-thinking state with a deserved reputation for kindness and generosity. The little school district from which I retired was impoverished, with the majority of students on free lunch yet somehow money for books and supplies was found. Teachers, though not earning a fortune, were paid a decent salary. Please, this is not a right/left problem. Our precious children deserve our very best.

Kathleen O’Day

Washington County, New York

UNC ‘kerfuffle’

Regarding “The Jay Smith case is not about academic freedom” (May 11): The dark shadow of the school’s academic/athletic scandal still dims the light and liberty proclaimed in its motto. Smith is a frequent critic of the university’s handling of the scandal and claims he was a victim of threatening, intimidating tactics by administrators over the scheduling of his course on the history of big-time college sports.

In response, Joel Curran, who heads up university communications, contends that the matter was handled within the administrators’ authority to oversee scheduling. The course was removed from the schedule in 2017 but returned in 2018.

So another kerfuffle plays out in the shadow of the scandal, with tone-deaf administrators appearing mighty sensitive about big-time collegiate athletics. Curran has solid credentials in the public relations industry, but the continuing bad news is that in defending its attempt to quash an examination of the college-sports quagmire my alma mater appears – yet again – to see the issue as a PR problem.

Whenever and wherever the great scandal manifests itself, we should hear from those with direct responsibility not with a PR spin, but with a stringent accounting and, if justified, a sincere apology.

Ed Bristol

Raleigh

‘Forgotten group’

Regarding “NC teachers rally in Raleigh for more pay, education funding” (May 17): For 32 years I worked as an underpaid police officer. Police officers work 12 months a year, not nine months like teachers. The police are the forgotten group, not the teachers. Yet in my 32 years, I have never seen police walk off their job, when many times I have personally wanted to see walk outs for better pay.

Police officers took an oath to protect the public, and in my eyes, teachers took an oath to teach their students. To the protestors I say, quit if you are not happy with your salaries and benefits. Your radical leaders have now blemished what was once a respected profession.

Wayne R. Muller

Angier

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