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Letters: Raises for teachers taking courses

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday.

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday. Check our listings of delayed openings, closures and cancellations to see what's in store for Friday. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Why does Newsday feel compelled to attack teachers on Long Island ["Take a course, get a raise," News, Oct. 21]? We are all paid too much! We do not work hard enough! We do not work long enough! We are all self-centered takers!

All too often the front page of Newsday reinforces these stereotypic beliefs. Is the purpose to tap into the general economic malaise and by so doing sell newspapers? Is it good copy to attack a soft target, knowing the greatest retaliation will be a number of letters written to the editorial staff in defense of teachers?

The problem goes to the basic principles of respect and appreciation. It would be difficult for almost anyone working at a large newspaper, or for that matter any professional, to convincingly argue that his teachers did not have a role in his ultimate success. Yes, there are a number of other factors involved, no one is dismissing them, but at the core of it all is the teacher.

Long Island schools are shining beacons across this country because of the disproportional number of high school student winners of prestigious national science awards and competitions. In the vast majority of school districts across Long Island, the number of students passing Regents exams and getting credit for college courses is among the highest in the nation. And yet, it is not enough to stop the attacks.

Michael Alestra, Ronkonkoma

Editor's note: The writer teaches in the Sachem school district.

I must applaud Newsday for its exceptional investigative reporting, detailing the widespread abuse of granting credits to teachers taking dubious courses, which results in substantial raises.

Rather than criticize Newsday, as many teachers have, how about getting together to correct the problem?

No one has said what was reported was not true. The point is people are going along with their fellow union members' abuse of extra pay for extra credit course work and are remaining silent when the union protects these gamers of the system.

In fact, isn't the teachers union responsible for promoting the requirement that a good portion of credits be contractual "in service" courses given by teachers for teachers? Granting extra pay for taking online courses has added to the problem of controlling and limiting abuses. Unfortunately, most school superintendents will continue to go along to get along rather than buck the union. This cannot continue.

Andrea Vecchio, East Islip

Editor's note: The writer is an activist with taxpayer groups Suffolk County TaxPAC and Long Islanders for Educational Reform.

Perhaps Newsday could do another investigation and report to the public the extensive list of things teachers do to benefit students, parents and the community. Be sure to inform everyone about the extra hours teachers work beyond their contractual obligations. Write that number really big in a bright color.

Then indicate how much teachers care about the students they interact with regularly. You can't quantify that, so just write in big red letters: A lot! When teachers put in more hours working with students than what's required of them, publicize what we charge: Nothing.

With much scrutiny, one can discover how money can be put to better use in every profession. I don't condone the wasting of resources in any field, but enough already with the mud-slinging.

Debbie Cuttitta Pekoff, Bellmore

Editor's note: The writer is a Syosset High School science teacher.

I am disgusted by this article. Once again, Newsday does its best to depict Long Island teachers as an evil empire whose sole purpose is to bilk the Long Island taxpayer.

This story is an attack on the true professionals to whom most Long Island parents entrust their children for the vast majority of their day. It is comical that these attacks come when the economy is in a recession or a downward spiral. Why doesn't Newsday question lawyers' salaries?

As a teacher and coach for 25 years, I work with a dedicated and caring staff of teachers, administrators, nurses and secretaries. The superintendent who decides whether courses taken by the teachers are relevant has much more insight and expertise in this matter than Newsday.

Andre Dattero, Great River

Editor's note: The writer teaches Italian at Lindenhurst High School.