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    Letters to the Editors

    If you're unhappy teaching, just think how nurses feel

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published July 1, 2001

    Would you please do all of us out here in your reading public a favor and limit your "I'm so miserable because I'm a teacher" letters? You know the ones I mean: "I don't have $15 for a luncheon" and "I have two months off in the summer that I don't get paid for" -- those are the ones.

    Now, if anyone has a right to whine, it's nurses. Long hours on your feet, low pay, too many patients to care for, stress aplenty. And if we make a mistake, we might actually hurt somebody, get sued, lose our license and livelihood and live with the horrible guilt the rest of our lives.

    Yeah, I could whine, but I won't because I love what I do. So please, if you're unhappy being a teacher, come walk a mile or 10 in my Nursemates for a real wake-up call.
    -- M.A. Schmidt, R.N., East Lake

    Support staff has complaints, but don't pick on teachers

    Re: Teachers not the only ones underpaid, letter, June 19.

    I was employed as a teacher for the Pinellas County School Board for 17 years. I cannot sit back and let the writer's comments stand. I found them inaccurate and mean-spirited. Support personnel are underpaid, but disparaging teachers is not the answer.

    Teachers earn more than support personnel because they have college degrees and shoulder the responsibilities of the classroom. Teachers and administrators are the ones held accountable for student achievement and behavior. Teachers are professionals who are responsible for numerous professional tasks throughout each school day and are held to a high standard of conduct and accountability.

    Support personnel carry out clerical and routine types of duties. These tasks do not require a college degree nor does the support person shoulder the accountability or legal responsibilities.

    In regards to money, the math is easy. Anyone who works in public schools, from a support person to the superintendent, is underpaid, under-appreciated and overworked. To point an angry finger at teachers is grossly unfair.

    In any business organization, there are various staffing levels with pay commensurate with the job's educational requirements and responsibilities. To increase one's pay and responsibilities, one only needs to go back to school to earn a degree.

    In my 17 years of teaching, I've never witnessed a teacher unable to function without a support person. Teachers are a creative, clever bunch -- they can handle just about anything. That's why there are still teachers teaching in public schools!
    -- Holly Fordham, Seminole

    Seminole High principal acted responsibly and sensitively

    Re: Seminole High principal to retire, story, June 29.

    I commend Richard Duncan for his sense of personal honor. I enthusiastically agree that he retires on a high note for Seminole High School. His contributions to numerous objective measures of success cannot be denied, and whoever must sustain or enhance these standards will be the first to properly and fully appreciate Mr. Duncan's legacy.

    I have found public speculation over his relationship with the school district deplorable, but since it continues, it would be unconscionable for me not to state categorically, and with detailed firsthand knowledge, that Mr. Duncan was in no way accountable for the incident cited, but to the contrary, acted most responsibly and sensitively in resolving it.

    I wish Mr. Duncan personal happiness. The community should be grateful that he will remain here and bring his considerable talents and energies into a new domain.
    -- Pat Byrne, Seminole

    It's time to do something about Clearwater roundabout

    It seems to us that something positive should be attempted on our roundabout. The Clearwater city managers have gathered enough information to make some decision that would improve our traffic pattern.

    In December it will be two years and who knows how many accidents and we still cannot get a firm commitment to improve this costly mistake. We received a letter from Mayor Aungst in October 2000 regarding the status of roundabout improvements in which he states: "The consultant is currently preparing cost estimates for the improvements that were developed as a result of the public input received at the public meetings in August. When the cost estimates are completed the information will go to the City Commission for action." The mayor then passes the responsibility to the traffic operations manager.

    Come on guys. It has been 18 months and you still won't even define the problem, let alone come up with a solution. If this type of management were done in the private sector, several people would have lost their jobs. However, with city government, it is just a reason to have another meeting to discuss the last meeting. With all the highly paid executives we have in this very small city of Clearwater, it appears that you can only focus on one thing at a time. So far this spring and summer it has been developers. The window of opportunity to fix the roundabout is late spring, summer and early fall. Let's get on with it please.
    -- Bernie Brennan, Clearwater

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