Teachers deserve more pay


Published: Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 12:02 a.m.

This is in response to Charles E. Shorten's letter (Jan. 11). I, too, saw the ad offering a starting salary of $28,500 for a detention officer, and I think the salary is right on the mark.

What's appalling, unfair and immoral is the salary schedule used for the Alachua County teachers. Education is touted as being the top priority in our country; yet, those in Alachua County who are educating tomorrow's citizens are treated like missionaries who have taken the vow of poverty, instead of the highly educated, talented professionals they are.

Alachua's taxes are the highest in Florida, but teacher salaries don't reflect this. Also, it is a pity that although the University of Florida has an excellent masters program in education, on a par with Cornell University's program, many of those mature, well-educated men and women graduating from UF's program will go elsewhere to teach. Alachua County provides little incentive to stay.

I am a retired high school teacher from Albany, N.Y., who taught English for 30 years and loved every minute of it. I still hear from former students, telling me what a positive impact I had on them. These are rewards that are priceless!

However, my community and board of education recognized the value of excellent teaching and respected the teachers with fair compensation.

My family and I retired to Gainesville because we thought it was a lovely, progressive university city. It is a lovely city and so are its people, but the injustice I see in deciding teachers' salaries makes me heartsick.

Teachers did everything right. They worked hard in school, got advanced degrees, became professionals and should be held in high esteem. Isn't this what we teach our sons and daughters to do if they want to achieve the "American Dream"?

Well, where is the promised "American Dream" for the teachers of Alachua County?

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