Education

Just a matter of priorities

I have heard it so much. ...it is old... it is trite... we need more teachers... we need more substitute teachers! We hear it lots of places, from nurses to truck drivers. But in particular, you want more teachers? Double the pay and you will have teachers begging to work. Want more subs, pay them more, make it less onerous to become a substitute. Pay them to get their licenses reinstated, pay for the background checks, make it easier for qualified but unlicensed professionals to teach.

If you make it hard to be a sub and you don’t pay them, what can you expect? What is the message you are sending? We live in a capitalist world, money talks. The standard school rebuttal is, “We don’t have the money.” The truthful response is, we always have money for the really important things, the things we really want. It is just a matter of priority. In schools the priority should be education and where does that come from? Good qualified teachers. Incentivize them. Anything else is a second priority. It really is simple.

Daryl Kuiper

Colorado Springs

Over-simplification of a complex issueYour editorial of Nov. 15, “Colorado’s schools decide to play hooky,” is profoundly misguided and deeply offensive.

I am a teacher in the Front Range, and the teachers that I know are exhausted by the ever-increasing demands of teaching in the COVID era and are completely demoralized by low pay and lack of support from administrators and the community.

The way to solve this problem is not to heap more blame on educators, many of whom make considerable sacrifices financially and emotionally in service to their students, but rather to create incentives to encourage qualified people to remain in the profession. Part of that is improving compensation, but teachers have always been underpaid. In Colorado, teachers’ salaries never completely recovered following the Great Recession.

Even more powerful would be creating a climate where educators’ voices are respected and lead to real changes. Instead, you simply write off teachers as being selfish. This is an over-simplification of a complex issue, and only serves to make matters worse.

Mark Klopfenstein

Colorado Springs

Put the blame where blame is due

Tay Anderson seems disingenuous at best and a freeloader at worst. His reasons for being on the Denver School Board seem more about him than about students. “I was forced to leave my paying job with the District to accept the volunteer position on the board.”

No one forced him to do anything. He chose to be on the board rather than continue in his paying job that would have taken care of him and his family. Put the blame where blame is due.

“In my second year in office, I welcomed a new addition to the family.” Really? Why would you have a child, or another child, if you’re not in a job that provides for a family? How about waiting? People wait to have kids when they can’t afford to have kids, or they accept the responsibility without blaming external factors. As point-man Tyler Sandberg mentioned, being on a school board takes 5-10 hours a month for meetings. Maybe they have to take another 5-10 hours a month for researching topics of discussion, but this still does not warrant being paid $1,000 a month.

I think Anderson should resign his position and get a job that supports his family, rather than forcing the school districts or the state to support him in doing as little as possible for a paycheck.

Joseph Ford

Colorado Springs

Support the Pikes Peak musicians

The Colorado Springs Area Labor Council congratulates the Pikes Peak Musicians’ Association on their new contract with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra. Thanksgiving week, they are offering “The Nutcracker” — the first full performance since their contract was canceled.

“The Nutcracker” — an inspired choice, denoting the way management put the squeeze on musicians. No other orchestra in the country canceled an existing contract due to the pandemic.

Musicians lost a year’s salary, due to the cancellation of their five-year agreement. Management added insult to injury, insisting on further concessions in the new contract. Their current three-year agreement, which cut guaranteed salaries 41% in Year 1, and 26% in Year 2, was almost rejected by the bargaining unit. In Year 3, wages will be restored to normal.

The CSPO received over $3.5 million in government aid and community support during the pandemic — enough to have paid the orchestra’s entire salary more than twice. Instead, they insisted on salary cuts.

This misguided action contradicts the CSPO’s Strategic Plan, to “value the Musicians through compensation.” We challenge them to honor this vision, by allowing musicians to share the growth. Musicians expect next season to be a full offering of work, despite deep cuts to salaries.

How can you help? Buy tickets, attend concerts, and continue donating to the CSPO. Turn up the volume, and help us support the Pikes Peak Musicians Association!

Molly Anderson

Denver

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