Letters to the Editor

Teachers being selfish; money never the answer

Wisconsin teachers, abandoning the classroom and responsibility to their students, went on strike to protect their own: their unions, their benefits, their salaries.

Their average salary last year was $48,743. Shouting and chanting as if they really had some noble cause, they are in fact dishonoring their profession and reducing it to what it is for them: a job for money.

At the same time, we see television reports of men and women protesting in the streets from Egypt to Iran, risking their lives to protest for freedom and human rights. What a humiliating contrast.

Once upon a time in America, teaching was public service. Teachers taught because they loved it -- in spite of low pay. I was a teacher for enough years to see the profession degraded by top-heavy bureaucratic administration, mandatory but useless certification requirements and the replacement of values and ethics with superficial political correctness.

Meanwhile, our salaries were increasing and the learning environment was declining. Caring parents were rightfully concerned, and thus astute politicians had a powerful talking point: "We need to improve our school system!" How? How else -- money! Show me a problem that politicians can't solve with money and I'll show you budget increases and problems that remain unsolved.

Some teachers have become hirelings; many have not. Some other professionals do it for the money; some do not. But maybe teachers who can't live on $48,743 need to do everyone -- themselves, students and taxpayers -- a favor and look for another job.

Thomas Richard

Lady's Island