Tell local legislators to value teachers in budget process

Published 7:56 am Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dear Editor,

It has happened again — a mass shooting in a school. This letter is not about gun control, though I firmly believe we need a serious discussion and effort to confront the level of gun violence in this country.

No, this letter is about teachers and coaches and school personnel who have become the front line of defense in these frightening times. Once again, students’ lives were saved when a football coach put his body between kids and a gunman. A teacher, herding students into a classroom for safety, was killed.

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Students at Florida’s Parkland High School cited teachers and school personnel as the reason there were not more deaths. And yet, our lawmakers, federal and state, treat teachers as less than. Teachers probably spend more time with your kids than you do. Don’t you want your kids to be taught by the best and brightest?

Explain to me how you are going to recruit the best and the brightest to teach in Kentucky when they see the lack of respect with which teachers are treated in light of the pension and retired teacher health care “crises.”

Teachers, both active and retired, have been at the forefront calling for tax reform and revenue increases so that commitments and promises made to them can be honored. I am not a teacher, but I know the impact that good, dedicated teachers have on students’ lives. I call on all of us that are not teachers to show them we have their backs!

Contact our representatives in the state legislature, Rep. Daniel Elliott and Sen. Rick Girdler, and let them know that you want Kentucky’s teachers to be treated with respect. Advocate for fully funding teacher pensions and health benefits and tell them to stop treating education professionals with disdain. Maybe then we can attract the best and brightest to Kentucky to teach and protect our kids.

To reach our state legislators, please call the legislative comment line and tell them you would like to leave a message for Rep. Elliott and Sen. Girdler. That number is (800) 372-7181. Honor the teachers in your life by advocating for all Kentucky teachers now.

Julie Pease