Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 12, 2012

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Teachers  work when school’s out

I heard a radio commentator mention  how easy classroom  teachers have it  with  their  seven-hour  weekdays and three-month summer vacations. Did he think that teachers only work when there are students in  the classroom?

If this is the case, then  this commentator must only work three hours a day because that is the only time that his listeners know he exists!

I channeled my thoughts further to the world of professional athletes and coaching. I only see professional  football, basketball and baseball players and  coaches  on “game” days. So,  that means they  only work about  three hours a day and, depending on the sport, less than six days a week? They also get long vacations.

I have witnessed teachers working many hours outside of class, including weekends and holiday periods, and “their  playbook” is pretty large!   

The playbook of a teacher contains weekly lesson plans, academic and physical needs of different students, progress reports of students about their skills in different subjects including writing portfolios, and other pertinent information about changes in the educational system. They also need to set aside time for parent  conferences  and extra-curricular activities such as coaching various groups. 

Computers have also made teacher workdays longer because of educational information that they have to be familiar with and the emails they have to read and reply to. A lot of this “computer work" is done at home as well.

The “two-month” summer vacation is  used mostly for planning and preparing classrooms for the upcoming year. 

I’m sure professional players and coaches prepare for their competitions. I just don’t see it in person.

However, I would sure like to have the “severance  package” they receive when they are unable to fulfill the  contracts that they signed!

Bryan  Fleming, Ashland

Right to work laws costly to workers

I’m writing in regards to the “right to work” law in Michigan that was approved Tuesday.

Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, endorsed the bill so that the non-union employees would not have to pay the unions for the service of negotiating contracts and other services.

If not the unions, who will be negotiating for them? Who will be talking to their employers about their living wages and health benefits and pensions ?

I asked my wife if she knew what a “living wage” was? She said, “Not really.”  I told her it’s a wage that you are paid that’s good enough for you to “live” comfortably on in your community that includes health care insurance and also a pension for when you retire.

Again I ask who is going to be negotiating your living wage for you if the “right to work” law is adopted in your state? I will tell you who: your employer! There will be no negotiating. They will simply tell you what they are going to pay you.

Under “right to work” you would be by yourself negotiating for yourself. How much do you think you will get for yourself by yourself?

If you’re blessed enough to have a good caring employer, then thank God for them for they are very few. If they were all that way, we wouldn’t need union help.

Do you want to turn back the clock to those days without any help whatsoever? A divided house will fall, and that’s what their plan is to divide the house to make us individualized.

It’s easier to tear one sheet of paper than a whole stack of papers. And that’s what they want.

Terry D. Sexton, Grayson

Christmas today celebrates greed

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus is pleased with the way we Christians celebrate his birthday. Is capitalism the economic system Jesus wills for his followers? I find it hard to believe Jesus would praise an economic system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

It seems Wall Street's idea of a “successful Christmas” is determined by the exorbitant amount of money consumers spend during the Christmas shopping season.

The economy’s health that is so dependent on each year’s year-end shopping splurge in honor of Christ’s birth might cause Jesus to go to Wall Street the day after Thanksgiving to deliver this message: “You are again turning my house on this street into a den of thieves! You don’t care anything about me. Stop pretending you know me. I’'s all about padding your bank accounts. Feed the poor, then come and follow me.”

Those are bold words that would probably get Jesus crucified again. One has to wonder if Christmas in America is more a celebration of our greed than a celebration of our Creator-Savior's birth.

 Paul L. Whiteley Sr., Louisville

Prepare healthy, humane feast

Santa’s belly is supposed to shake like a bowl full of jelly, but Uncle Earl could really benefit if there were a little less “bounce” in his step. So this Christmas, I’m preparing a healthy — and humane — feast featuring a savory vegan pot pie and vegan versions of traditional holiday favorites, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean bake.

Unlike turkey, ham and other animal-derived foods, vegan foods are cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat and calories.

So even if you “overindulge” a little at Christmas, you won’t have to spend the New Year trying to lose the holiday weight.

If you also want to enjoy a healthy, humane holiday feast, visit www.PETA.org for free vegan recipes and product suggestions. Your heart may not actually grow three sizes if you celebrate Christmas with a vegan feast, but you will feel good for making a compassionate, heart-healthy choice.

Heather Moore, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.

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