I read with interest Sherry East’s column on Aug. 15 regarding the South Carolina legislature’s tinkering with the state teacher’s defined pension plan. A recent study of inmates being released from J. Reuben Long correctional institution revealed that they have an average reading level of third grade. Could there be a correlation between those who commit crimes and their level of education?
Teachers are charged with one of the most important responsibilities in our society, yet they are often used as pawns in state budget wars. In addition, for a long time in education, there has been a slide in the amount of authority teachers possess, requiring them to spend more time in the classroom tiptoeing around unruly students for fear of the possible destruction of their careers and reputations.
Not only do I agree with Ms. East’s position that South Carolina should protect one of the benefits afforded to teachers, the defined benefit pension, but South Carolina should consider to overhaul the pension system and pay scale to reflect today’s difficult and stressful work environment teachers face on a daily basis. The questions that need to be answered are, "Do our children deserve a quality education in order to help them become productive South Carolinian citizens," and, "Is it important to provide financial support to the education industry to ensure we have and retain quality teachers to teach our children?"
If you answer yes to both of those question, then let your legislators know that education matters to all of us, and we should not be stingy with our money to support our teachers.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.