JOSH SWENSON: What message does request for pay reduction send to our teachers?

TO THE EDITOR:

Do we really consider our children our hope for the future? What about our teachers? They, then, are our hope as well. We entrust our children to them. I think we would value our teachers too, especially as many of our kids do so well in school and in extra-curriculars (usually coached by our teaching staff).

We have a first-rate band program. Students scoop up awards in Forensics, Quiz Bowl and Science Olympiad. Kids involved groups like Youth in Government are well thought of at the state level. We have a swim team that consistently walks away with honors. Many students excel in AP (Advanced Placement) classes. The majority do pretty well in national and state testing.

So, then, what should we think when the board of education says to the teachers, well, you gave up a negotiated raise two years ago which was to make up for concessions we asked you to make earlier, so we insist, no, we demand, that now you concede about 5 percent of your pay?

Is this telling our teachers that we really appreciate the fine job they are doing, or is this telling our teachers they are just another cog in the system that can be replaced by a cheaper model off of some discount store shelf? And if you were a bright young person who cares about children and thinking of becoming a teacher, would you go through with your plan after seeing the treatment our teachers have been receiving for way too many years? No, if you were a bright young person, you’d go into a field where you could get some respect and still make a contribution.

We, the community, need to really look at the board of education and its decisions and values. We need to replace members that aren’t really behind our kids or teachers. And then we need that new board — dedicated to quality education in Manistee — to hire a superintendent who supports that goal and deals fairly with the teaching staff.

Come on folks, we owe it to the kids! We owe it to our own future.

Josh Swenson,

Manistee

 

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