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Teachers and How They Are Perceived

October 20, 1985

Bill Billiter in his analysis on "Pay for Teachers" (Oct. 11) misses the point. True, the money comes from the state and it is not enough--but individual school boards still must have priorities for that money. Unfortunately, many boards spend proportionately less in the classroom.

Not only have salaries dropped and class size increased, but many boards try to downgrade the job that teachers are doing to divert attention from their own mismanagement.

Today people want to have a feeling of self-worth from their jobs. They want to feel that their input is appreciated. However, this is difficult in districts in which board members seem intent on keeping teacher morale low. Why else would they approve a larger expenditure to keep possible substitutes on hand in case of a work stoppage than it would have taken to have a contract settlement?

I have found that when you treat students with respect, they reciprocate in kind. The same is true in relations between the board and the staff. Teachers who are happy and have a high self-image cannot help but transmit that attitude to their students. I contend that the way teachers are treated cannot help but have a negative effect on the students.

I do disagree, however, with the assertion that those with conservative values support the board's position rather than the teachers. I would think they might ask, "Why with more money has the district drastically reduced curriculum offerings, increased class size and been unable to offer teachers competitive wages, or to place teachers in their area of expertise?"

No doubt people get the government they deserve but the real question remains, "Will the people take the time to investigate this disgraceful situation?"



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