As an educator with 38 years experience as a teacher, principal and personnel administrator, I believe there is a strong but often overlooked rationale for the step salary schedules in wide use in America.
Teachers have been historically underpaid; but when formalized pay plans were conceived, I think school boards recognized they couldn't pay what their teachers deserved. Their alternative was to commit to an increase in salary over a period of years as a sort of deferred compensation for those who had committed to a teaching career.
I fail to find this rationale in any discussion of pay scales and believe it constitutes a strong reason for maintaining step salaries to help ensure an adequately compensated teacher corps. Rather than just debate the benefits of additional experience and education, let's ensure the maintenance of salary plans that allow a satisfying and rewarding career path for our public school faculties.
THOMAS CALHOUN, Signal Mountain
The timing of the letter "Evolution Theory not an educated guess" couldn't have been better, because the just-released book "Darwin's Doubt" by Dr. Stephen Meyer shows with evolutionists' own studies that it is not even an "educated guess." The writer should check this book for 400 documented pages of contrary evidence that he claims does not exist.
Evolution has no guess for how the massive amounts of information required for a single cell to form and reproduce ever appeared. Nor how mutations could possibly increase complexity when all significant ones result in death. Nor why calculations show that significant mutations are so rare that only two would have happened in the age of the universe. Nor why there are zero transitional forms.
Evolution is bankrupt. So why is it defended with great passion? Richard Lewontin, Harvard geneticist, stated: "We take the side of (evolution) in spite of the patent absurdity of some of it, in spite of the tolerance for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment to materialism. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." Evolution is a pretense to deny God.
NATHAN SCHWENK, Spring City, Tenn.
What do qualifications for the Hope Scholarship have in common with the stringent requirements for personal and private information requested on the mandatory FAFSA form? Very little!
Information can be powerful and serve good. Information also can be used by evil to do harm. This is nothing new but we now are seeing misuse by the very government that collects this information (NSA, IRS, Healthcare). The Hope Scholarship is for state residents; therefore, confirmation of state residency -- in some form -- would be required. There also is a requirement to meet academic standards -- grade verification. There is no requirement related to needing a driver's license or financial information. The student earned the scholarship due to academic excellence! Why is personal and private student and parental information being dragged into the process? Bank statements? Investment records? Driver records? Federal SSNs? How is this information used? Citizens voted for the scholarship program and should have a say in its administration! If not checked/controlled, Big Data will be the downfall of our rights and eventually of our freedom.
Our state representatives and senators should work together to minimize the amount of information required for this specific purpose only and cut government out of our private lives.
RAY GOODPASTURE, Ooltewah
The evidence indicates global warming is real and human activity is a major contributing factor. The evidence is even more conclusive that if addressing climate change is put in the hands of government, "you ain't seen nothing yet." Asking government to fix the climate is akin to asking Congress to stop spending money the Treasury doesn't have. Whatever government does in relation to the weather will have unforeseen and unintended negative consequence, which will only make matters worse.
It is the nature of the beast, predicated as it is on the "legal" but illicit initiation of force, that politicians and bureaucrats are good at wars and executions, but nothing else. Certainly one of the federal government's early initiatives intended to reduce carbon emissions, the mandate to mix ethanol in our gas, has been a disastrous failure. Its most noticeable effect has been to increase food costs and worldwide hunger. Obama's cute remark, "We don't have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society," should have continued, "Nor should we ever trust the future of our climate to a bunch of political hacks."
NED NETTERVILLE, Signal Mountain
As a teacher in the Hamilton County School System, reading the comments (and fears) regarding the move to the Common Core Standards has been somewhat puzzling. The desire to do all that we can to ensure our students are successful and competitive in math, English, history and science should be a good thing! In addition, we want them to have a well-rounded fine-arts education. Oh, the horrors of it all! We seem to have no problems with national standards in athletics: The 100-meter run; the 100-yard football field; 90 feet between the bases in baseball; 10 feet for the height of a basketball goal. We compare records from these athletic contests across the country, don't we? So why shouldn't our students in Tennessee have the opportunity to know what the students in other states know? Where's the harm in that? Seems like a great educational opportunity for our kids! Oh, and if you get tired of that pesky federal government interfering in your life (as some of the opponents of Common Core have reasoned), just try driving on the left side of the road and see where that gets you!
The current uproar about same-sex-marriage is much ado about very little -- to misquote Shakespeare. Those who are not heterosexuals make up less than 4 percent of the human population.
ROBERT F. CAHILL
Does it make sense that several major corporations would drop Paula Deen over the one-time use of the "N" word 30 years ago? For that and nothing else? Really? Only reading headlines can sometimes be misleading. Something just did not equate between the one time 30 years ago and the exodus of major sponsors. The fallout was mind boggling until I goggled her deposition and read it word-for-word. I had to read and re-read to believe it.
Please pull up and read her deposition before you form an opinion. I suggest you then research her brother's deposition. Their own words were enough to explain the fallout. This does not have to end negatively. Financially it remains to be seen, but money isn't nearly as important as her ability to learn from this. She could come out of this a stronger, more effective role model for the treatment of all people.
JUDY CORN DALE
As a Democrat, I'm tickled to death to see Sarah Palin back at Fox News. They're birds of a feather, and easier to keep an eye on together. She's a flaming example of what's wrong with our country, and Fox News will play her to the hilt. Since they are both knotted to the religious right, we will be reminded often of the Republicans' hatred for differences. Ghandi said it best when he said, "You Christians -- you're so unlike your Christ."
Growing up, we heard "Save your Confederate money -- the South will rise again." Little did we know then that the Supreme Court of our land would implement this movement. The severe twist that half of our people have taken since 2008 would show that not only have we as a nation not moved past our prejudices, we're become more entrenched in them. Same with their robes, maybe our Supreme Justices should also wear pointed hats, or pillow cases over their heads.
If we ever change the pledge of allegiance to the flag again, I suggest we take out the word "indivisible." I believe we're reached an impasse for ever irretrievable, and that's sad. It seems only a few feel the obligation to serve our country, who so many claim to love her, which is just empty words.
ALLAN BAGGETT, Trion, Ga.