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Stop bashing teachers

RAY GEPHART

Howard

As a retired educator of 35 years, I found the editorial cartoon you ran Sept. 18 offensive and irresponsible.

Offensive, because you, once again, bash the teaching profession. This time, you intimate that teachers support revolutionary dictators and have disdain for students who are patriotic. As a career high school teacher, I can attest that a teacher can not say ANYTHING negative to a student, without serious repercussions — the job-threatening kind — from their superiors. Doesn’t matter if that student called that teacher every foul name in the book, teachers are not allowed to respond in a negative fashion. Our district did have a dress policy, but neither of the shirts in the cartoon would have elicited a warning, or even the choice of turning it inside-out or calling home for another shirt. Your premise is baseless.

Leading up to the election, you bashed teachers for the burden that pensions placed on school district budgets — overlooking entirely that the pension crisis was a product of then-Governor Tom Ridge’s decision to not adequately fund the pension system for several years, but to send that bill to the taxpayers of the future. Ignoring, also, that Pennsylvania Congressmen gave a 50 percent pension jump to themselves and the judiciary. Their salaries are double and triple what teachers make, which means their pensions are, too. Did you rail about that? No. Instead you bashed teachers.

Irresponsible, because this is the beginning of another school year, and educating students and helping them become productive and successful members of society is an extremely important task. Teachers need parents and students to work with them, not against them. The baseless alt right propaganda contained in this cartoon does nothing but undermine that goal by sowing unrest, very much like what the Russians have been doing in our country.

For four years, former Governor Tom Corbett verbally attacked, criticized, insulted, and denigrated public school teachers. So much so that Pennsylvania colleges witnessed a severe decline in applicants for elementary and secondary education, putting many of these schools at risk of closing. Smart, talented young people chose not to be in a career field in which they would be constantly picked on, and get so little support, as you have depicted with this tasteless editorial cartoon.

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