SN&R Letters 2012-03-08

Who taught you to write?

Re “Teachers are not royalty” (SN&R Letters, February 23):

Like many of my colleagues, I read [Derek Link’s] letter to the editor and felt lambasted. I sat down to write a long rebuttal disputing many points in your letter regarding how good he thinks teachers have it when it hit me, why bother?

There are many people in our society who resent teachers. Whether it be caused by a poor experience in school or maybe just some ideology that teachers are “evil socialist liberals” responsible for the decline of society, we’re not sure. We don’t always hear it firsthand, but we know these feelings exist.

Let’s face it, Derek, we could argue you about your slanted math and reasoning, but it’s obvious we wouldn’t convince you. One thing I know for sure: You obviously don’t know a lot of teachers.

The ones I know and work with don’t walk around bragging about the new fancy car they bought or about the fancy clothes they wear. You’re more likely to overhear conversations about whether they know who is getting pink-slipped or if the same principal will be around the next year.

I’m not saying we’re not grateful, Derek. We are. But the thing you’re overlooking—and what, to me, is the biggest hole in your argument—is that teaching takes a certain kind of person with a certain set of skills. Those special skills are much like those of the well-paid consultants the district hired, but you don’t see the problem with them; it’s with us.

My question to you is this: If teaching is such a lucrative job with so much time off and—as you say—“only a [seven]-hour day,” then why aren’t people clamoring to become teachers? Why aren’t educational programs at colleges fighting off students?

And I ask the same of you. You seem intelligent, so why not share that with students, so they can have a promising future? Before you go off on some argument where you think teachers need to give many more concessions than they already have in a district with a proven experience of irrational spending, maybe you should think about why you chose to approach your argument from the standpoint of teachers as villains and consultants and six-figure district administrators as heroes.

By the way, where did you learn to write so well? I’m impressed. One thing I’ll bet: It wasn’t from your bus driver.

Peter Stanzler

Catholics’ chain of command

Re “Catholics and birth control” by Kel Munger (SN&R Frontlines, February 23):

News flash! The Catholic Church is not governed by polls, as in your “58 to 62 percent of American Catholics approve.” It would not matter if 99 percent held some opinion. The church teaches and leads from the top down.

If a so-called Catholic wants to be in a church where the congregation leads, there are thousands of other denominations to choose from. Our culture, and liberals [and] progressives in particular, suffers from a fatal disrespect for authority. The Catholic magisterium is the oldest continuously existing authority in the world today. (There may be some orthodox Jewish group that could challenge this claim.) Obviously, it is not hard to find some rebellious “Catholics”—whom you quote liberally in your article—who know better what Jesus taught and meant than the Church Magesterium.

I am a committed Catholic, and I support my pastor, bishop, all the way up to my beloved Pope. If an individual Catholic chooses to be their own final authority, vs. the established church hierarchy, then they’ve done what every Protestant has done for the last 500 years: set themselves up as their own pope.

If any “authority” should be questioned here, it should be [President Barack] Obama’s. As president, his authority derives from his oath of office to defend and support the Constitution. Yet his [contraception] mandate (indeed, Obamacare in general) violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment, which essentially restricts government from establishing a state religion (including secular humanism or atheism), or restricting the free exercise of religion. [Obama] has no respect for my constitutional rights, so I have no respect for him as president.

Rod Dwyre

Freedom of religion is an individual right

Re “Contraception” (SN&R Editorial, February 23):

Your editorial concerning insurance coverage of contraception is completely on target. Religious freedom is an individual right. One person (e.g., employer) cannot be allowed to impose his/her religious beliefs upon any other person (e.g., employee). The framers of the Constitution were quite familiar with the tendency of any dominant religion to try to ban all others, as the Puritans in Massachusetts banned (and in some instances, executed) Quakers.

To your excellent examples of other employer religions that have bans on various medical treatments, let’s add that of the Christian Scientists. Their belief is that there should be no medical treatment whatsoever; that prayer alone is the treatment for illness (I hope I have understood this correctly—my apologies to Christian Scientists if I have misrepresented their beliefs). Thus, if the Christian Scientist sets the standard for insurance coverage, no medical treatment at all will be covered. The insurance costs should thus be zero. Gee, with a financial bonanza like that, maybe all employers would embrace Christian Science.

This is one more case of one set of persons wanting to impose their own religious beliefs on someone else.

Pam Green

They work for their wages

Re “Teachers are not royalty” (SN&R Letters, February 23):

Before [Derek] Link gets carried away with his tirade, he should do some more research on the demographics he is quoting.

The [median] income in Sacramento county may be $50,000, but the demographics show that 51 percent of the wage-earning age group in Sacramento county earn zero dollars, have never earned a dollar and have been on the dole all of their life. Teachers earn a good salary because they get up in the morning and go to work!

By the way, I’m not a teacher.

Lou Meyer


In “Rebooting rail” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, March 1), SN&R referred to the $10 million in rail bonds approved by voters in 2008. The correct figure is, of course, $10 billion. The error has been corrected online.