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Letters to the Editors

How to pay teachers more

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 6, 2002

Editor: I want to make some suggestions regarding the Hernando County teachers contract:

Do away with all competitive athletic teams and events, drama and music performances, clubs, dances, "causes," field trips and all other activities that are extraneous to the curriculum, so that teachers have additional time for their teaching duties and schools are freed of the monetary expenses. There are many organizations in the county that offer opportunities for students to participate in these activities.

Do away with all homework, since it uses up teachers' time to correct, is a waste of time for students who know the material and accomplishes nothing for thosewho do not.

Do away with a long-term contract. Instead, put teachers on hourly pay, with increases based on merit. That way, there is no contract to contest.

There should be no reason for a teacher to work beyond salaried time.

When that happens, part of the reason is the teacher.

A major part of teaching is designing a syllabus that ensures all of the important subject matter is covered and that time is allotted for the determination of grades, all to be accomplished within salaried time.

The other part is the schools attempting to be all things to all people, providing activities they are not required to provide and using up salaried teaching time in doing so.
-- There is no requirement that schools provide activities that go beyond the curriculum. All of those activities are available elsewhere in the county, usually for free.
To say that Hernando's salaries are lower than some other counties' (although higher than others') and that's proof by itself that a substantial pay raise is warranted, has to be rejected as meaningless.
What has meaning is this question: Are Hernando salaries sufficiently high to attract teachers qualified to the degree Hernando County thinks necessary?
Judging by the glowing evaluations the teachers give themselves, the answer must be yes.
Richard M. Desautels, Spring Hill

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