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Your Views: Teachers deserve more respect and more state support

POSTED: May 5, 2010 1:00 a.m.

My wife and I are fortunate to have two grown sons, both successful with families of their own.

Each Saturday, we set aside time to eat breakfast at a local restaurant with our youngest son, a high school English teacher. His wife is a middle school science teacher.

While enjoying our time together, we were approached by an elderly gentleman whom we know well enough to speak to. Once pleasantries were exchanged, this gentleman asked what my son did for a living. He replied, "I am a teacher," at which point the man said "Oh, a babysitter." No, I responded, a talented high school English teacher.

This brief exchange put a lot of things in perspective for me and touched a sore spot for my son.

It is unfortunate that people have no respect for teachers. My son, who taught in North Carolina for several years, moved to Georgia and taught English at a Hall County high school, where he was the only teacher to have attained National Board Certification. He now teaches in an adjacent high school, where he is one of only three teachers with National Board Credentials.

Roughly 3 percent of the teachers nationwide have that degree of expertise. For those who criticize that accomplishment, think of the accountant who becomes a CPA, the doctor who becomes a surgeon or any other profession where additional learning equates to a better and more professional performance.

Now here we are in the wonderful state of Georgia, but it is not so wonderful when it comes to educating our children. Why is that? Why are we always in the bottom three or four nationally in education?

One reason is the attitude expressed to us by the man who thinks teachers are only babysitters. Is that the opinion of our governor and the current administration as well? Is that how the governor, who just cut incentive pay to our teachers as well as decreasing their pay in other ways, shows how little he thinks of our education system? Well, his term will be up soon, but who will follow? What will be the new policy for education?

How do you feel about education in Georgia? I would like to think that since the future of our state and our country lies in our children, we would insist upon the highest standards of education in our school systems. Apparently that is not the case.

It's time to stand up for what is right. Highly qualified, dedicated, professional teachers are our only hope for a generation of well-rounded, competitive students. What a shame to live among people who have no regard for education. Quality education is the key to success and absolutely necessary for the future.

Donald Landrum
Gainesville



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