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Reward Teachers

October 04, 1987

Being a teacher and a leader in a local unit of National Education Assn., I found Harry Bernstein's column on salaries for teachers and nurses most interesting. A few comments:

First, there are those who say that teachers shouldn't make demands because they should be more concerned about children than themselves.

This logic would suggest that pediatricians take small fees because they have the privilege of working with children. It makes no sense to say that because a person spends a large portion of the day with children means that he or she should take great satisfaction in getting underpaid.

Others tell me that teachers should not join associations involved in collective bargaining because they are professional and not merely labor.

While that may be true at some abstract level, it is not practical. The state has legislated that the way teachers negotiate is through collective bargaining. Would any reasonable person believe it appropriate for teachers to shun collective bargaining and merely depend on the generosity of the school district?

Both teachers and nurses provide important professional services to the community. They deserve more than they get. Further, the public will get more dedicated teachers and nurses if it shows a little more dedication to the people in these professions. No teacher or nurse needs to apologize for asking for more reward for dedicated service.



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