Letters to the Editor

Don’t begrudge teachers their pay, pensions

“If you can read this, thank a teacher” (and your parents.) The Belleville News-Democrat does a good job of covering education events and issues. I commend you for that. However, it appears to me that you sometimes forget that your knowledge base comes from teachers, from pre-school on up through university graduate schooling.

It is my sense that you often appear to begrudge teachers their salaries and even their pensions. I am a former AFT Local 1220 teacher who served on the negotiations team and walked the picket line back in the 1950s and 1960s, who came up through the ranks to serve as an administrator for many years. Therefore I could see and understand the union’s position as well as the district’s position. It is my professional and personal sense that both sides did a yeoman job in a sticky situation ... where some people on both sides felt that more should have been done or not done. The main thing is that we got the children back in school. (Some of my neighbor kids were knocking on my door pleading “Miss Katie, we want to go to school,” especially the Katie Wright School.)

I take issue with your position in your Nov. 4 edition where you slyly tie teacher pay to high school ACT scores. There are just too many variables that teachers cannot control to completely fault teachers about test scores. In fact, the Gallup Poll published in the September 2015 Phi Delta Kappa professional education journal states that most public school parents oppose basing teacher evaluation on test scores. Meanwhile, the BND ought to stop begrudging teacher pay and benefits.

Katie H. Wright, East St. Louis