Get best teachers with higher pay
Teachers must be paid significantly more money. No matter what programs, curriculum or technology we offer, the individuals we employ to teach our students must be academically talented in regard to their discipline. We hope they are good with children, and we hope they can communicate and plan lessons well. But if teachers have not excelled in study, we should not expect children to excel under their tutelage.
We have underpaid teachers for so long that the quality of instruction has deteriorated to dangerous levels. The teachers we have at present are paid appropriately for their skill level, but this skill level is not nearly sufficient. We need the best and the brightest, not the mediocre, to seriously consider education as a career path.
Conservatively speaking, this would require an entry level salary in the mid-$40,000 range with significant yearly raises. It should not be uncommon for a teacher with 10 years of experience to make $70,000 per year. Competition for these teaching positions should be fierce. We only want the best. If this means we have to have fewer teachers and larger class sizes, then we simply have to find a way to be successful under those terms.
Public TV just a voice for liberals
Public television overall has been nothing more than a liberal spin machine for the Democratic Party, and the American tax dollars have paid the bill.
I don't watch the conservative talk show hosts either. The major difference is this: My tax dollars don't support their conservative views and their show.
So the Democratic Party and the teachers' union will have to find other means to brainwash the small children at public schools who are being taught by the government workers.
Murray Hills better than story indicates
I feel your staff writer did a great disservice to our Murray Hills neighborhood in an article which appeared in Sunday's Times Free Press. The writer used some rather startling statistics to paint our neighborhood as one where crime is rampant and robberies are out of control.
We have had our share of crime in the past few months, but in my experience, Murray Hills is one of the safest, most convenient, community-minded and attractive places to live in all of Chattanooga. I have lived in Murray Hills since 1960, and many of my neighbors live in the same house they bought when it was brand new in the late '50s.
Our community includes over 400 households representing a diversity of race and background that contributes to the spirit of the neighborhood. Our residents include a County Commission member, a City Council member, two active churches, newlyweds and seniors. We enjoy two beautiful parks, a walking track, and an active neighborhood association, and many lucky residents have a nice view of Chickamauga Lake and the mountains beyond.
Could we use more police presence ... sure! What community does not? Are we rife with crime ... certainly not! Visit Murray Hills any time. You will be impressed.
Unions at forefront of GOP attacks
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush attacked labor unions in earnest. Now, teachers unions are the favorite target. Rhonda Thurman said, "they have too much power." Another ludicrous statement from her. Unfortunately, state Sen. Bo Watson and state Reps. Vince Dean, Richard Floyd and Gerald McCormick agree.
If you take away teacher rights to "collective bargaining," you destroy their voice in their working conditions which directly effects children. If you support this you are not a friend of teachers, even if you think you are. Such ignorance!
What are they afraid of? Teachers in Tennessee can't strike! All teachers want is to sit down and discuss what is fair. I can assure you their salaries are not going to encourage the best and brightest in our county to teach here. Teachers have for years left and gone to Georgia for better pay.
Republicans have historically fought unions. Do these latter-day haters of unions know what they are doing? They are helping to destroy the middle class! Do they not know that prior to the industrial revolution, we only had the rich and poor classes in our country?
Is that what Republicans want? Labor unions created the middle class. Destroy unions and you destroy middle America!
WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM
Don't abolish funding for arts
The move at the national level to greatly reduce funding or abolish funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is extremely distressing to me although I have no direct connection to the arts community.
Arts organizations in our region either benefit directly or indirectly -- through the Tennessee Arts Commission -- from NEA funding.
The area arts organizations that I am familiar with: Allied Arts, Arts and Education Council and Chattanooga Symphony and Opera provide real benefits to the Chattanooga area.
Each of these organizations has outreach programs that provide arts programs for the children in Hamilton and surrounding counties. Programs such as the Conference on Southern Literature sponsored by the Arts and Education Council attract authors from around the country and attendees from the Southeast region. These people stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants. Many undoubtedly bring their families back to enjoy the amenities here.
I challenge our politicians to evaluate the real benefits that accrue to this state and this region from having a healthy and vibrant environment for fostering the arts. On the national level, arts funding is minuscule compared to other budget items and should be retained.
Spread budget cuts across the board
Our representatives in Congress are proposing large cuts to bring down the runaway deficits. I agree, but let's look at where the cuts are proposed.
Are there cuts affecting the wealthy other than tax cuts? How about big business? Oil companies are making record profits, but there doesn't seem to be any corporate welfare cut.
There do appear to be EPA cuts while mining companies are still allowed to do "mountaintop mining," and there is a lack of safety enforcement.
How about Wall Street? No "regulations" wanted there.
National Public Radio funds are up for total cuts. Poor "Sesame Street'' and WTCI-Channel 45.
States are trying to "break" union collective bargaining. Poor teachers and public workers. Well, we all know they don't really work.
Proposed cuts in Medicare, food stamps and Social Security do affect the poor, aged, young and the working middle class.
No COLA for Social Security recipients. I think all would be willing to sacrifice some, but it doesn't seem the wealthy and big business are being asked to sacrifice at all. Be fair and spread the cuts across the board and stop trying to balance the budget and cut deficits on the backs of those less fortunate.
Art cuts will lead to more losses
The city of Chattanooga receives a great deal in return for its mere $20,000 for support of public art.
It would be fiscally irresponsible to eliminate that $20,000 which is matched by foundation and individual support and provides enrichment of our cultural landscape which provides further economic benefit for the city of Chattanooga.
Take away that $20,000 and we will lose a great deal more.