To the editor:
I have been following with great interest the statements made by various representative who are worried about protecting my salary from bullies and myself. One would think that the proponents of HB 2023 would have taken time to determine the level of education that KNEA members have and come to the conclusion that we have enough education, intelligence and savvy to make sure no one is bullying us about our money.
It is for that reason that I am writing this letter. The only people who are bullying me with regard to my salary are Greg Smith, Eric Carter, Walt Chappell, Dave Trabert and others who spoke out against KNEA.
In the 46 years in which I have been involved in education and two different teacher associations, I have never felt bullied, compelled to vote for a particular person or any other undue influence on any topic. Like any association including ones for businessmen, lawyers and other professions, KNEA has made sure that we teachers are aware of issues that concern education be it legislation or new research in education.
Or, perhaps there is a school board election or a building fund election and to get out and vote. That encouragement was delivered by both national political parties before each election and no one is calling foul.
For the first time in my life I feel bullied by people who don't even know me, who imply that I am such a sheep that I feel I must tag along after someone else's opinion. What hogwash!
I get the feeling that the people who are trying to push this legislation as well as other anti-education and anti-union legislation are the ones who are the bullies and they are expecting legislators to follow their skewed reasoning and arguments. I'm guessing that all of these men went to private schools in some elite district and have no true idea of what Kansas teachers are like or what Kansas schools are really like.
Some legislators take short tours through carefully chosen classrooms and see the best and brightest at work, but on the other side of the coin are thousands of classrooms where good teachers are fighting an uphill battle against poverty, gangs, drugs, family problems, teen pregnancy, dropping out, and attitudes which children bring to the school everyday. The thanks we get is when we see our kids graduate and go off to college.
Yes, we get paid but not commensurate with the salaries we would bring in if we were in the world of business and commerce. What? Some say that we wouldn't be able to work there, however, if it weren't for the creativity and intelligence and ability of teachers, even in elite schools, few would be working out there in the real world either.
Page 2 of 2 - Please do not let bullies badger your legislators into taking a stand against teachers' constitutional rights of free speech and the freedom to choose how we spend our salary "unprotected" from people who would like to see Kansas education destroyed.