TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
OpinionLetters

Teachers' pay, Harry Chapin, sewer districts and Haiti

Musician Harry Chapin, center, at Coindre Hall in

Musician Harry Chapin, center, at Coindre Hall in Huntington on June 7, 1974. Judi Parker, Lively Arts chairwoman, sits at Chapin's left, and William Pardue, coordinator of Huntington's theater series, sits at his right. Credit: Newsday/Jim Nightingale

Teachers’ real worth in the pandemic

I’m puzzled that some parents begrudge teachers their salaries, even after studies have shown that students in remote learning and hybrid-class environments demonstrate measurable lack of engagement and significant learning loss ["Teachers’ pay, body cams are different," Letters, July 12]. I taught in-person classes for 33 years when teacher pay badly lagged that of most professions; I’m proud that educators are catching up. It strikes me that some still don’t recognize that for seven hours, more with activities, their children are learning what they need to succeed.

I agree with the teacher who disputes a reader’s claim that teacher salaries are "excessive." I would add that public education, which is mandated by law, should not be conflated with the police profession. Indeed, most parents "wouldn’t last two hours" trying to teach a hybrid class. We are charged with empowering our students with inestimable skills like critical thinking as well as with the tools of each subject field. Pay teachers commensurately.

— Hank Cierski, Port Jefferson Station

A reader who is also a teacher objected to a letter complaining about high teacher salaries as compared with the $3,000 stipend that Nassau County patrol officers will receive for wearing body cameras. Another reader said people have no idea what it is like to teach in a classroom.

As a person who has done manual labor his entire life, I would like to ask this teacher if he has any idea how hard it is to rip off a roof in July or dig foundations in August. But teachers do not work in July and August. Not only that, I must work extra hard to pay my exorbitantly high school taxes, of which salaries and benefits are a major part.

— Peter Andrews, Brookhaven

I imagine that few people are happy with the pay they or others get. They think they are underpaid and others get too much. Perhaps they would enjoy living in Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World," where children were created outside the womb and cloned for a particular job. All necessary jobs would be filled; alas, no freedom.

I cannot understand why a person or group thinks they need more money because of added pressures. Sanitation employees may get infected by improper garbage contents. Firefighters may suffer by seeing burnt bodies. Does anyone get what they really deserve? Look at the end results: retirement pensions, lifetime savings, home location, lifestyle and disposable income.

Many of us live beyond our means and live for what we "wish" we had rather than what we need. It’s 40 years since Harry Chapin died. Perhaps we can all look for a way to lift up those who struggle to make ends meet.

— Larry Duncklee, Seaford

Chapin created special memories

One of my special and fondest memories of Harry Chapin was during the early 1970s ["Chapin’s legacy lives," News, July 12].

My husband was a teacher at Cold Spring Harbor High School, and I received a telephone call from him to hurry to the school because Chapin was coming. I rushed there to watch the singer sitting on the gym floor, playing his guitar and singing his songs.

His early demise, at age 38 on July 16, 1981, was devastating .

— Sandy Cohen, Hauppauge

Build sewer districts before high-speed rail

I want to add one key idea to a reader’s brilliant letter about infrastructure priorities ["Fix the bay crisis before adding rail," Letters, July 11].

Build the sewer districts that will save the Great South Bayinstead of building a high-speed rail bypass.

This rail proposal is a terrible idea.

It would divert infrastructure funds needed for Suffolk County and increase access to Long Island,   which already cannot adequately stop poisoning our underground drinking water sources and the Great South Bay marine environment .

Build new sewer districts where they are needed, all the way to the Hamptons.

— Mary Helen Crump, Lindenhurst

U.S. must learn and not aid Haiti again

History does repeat. Whatever is left of the Haitian government has asked us to send troops to "restore order" ["Haiti seeks U.S. troops," News, July 10]. But we’ve been there before. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson sent 330 Marines to Port-au-Prince to establish control of Haiti’s political and financial interests. We occupied Haiti until 1934. And how did that work out?

That’s all we need, another sinkhole like Iraq and Afghanistan to pour billions of our taxpayer dollars into without any discernible benefit.

— Michael J. Moonitz, Massapequa

Columns