Maryland fails to support retired teachersThe Dec. 19 news...


January 07, 1998

Maryland fails to support retired teachers

The Dec. 19 news story regarding large numbers of teachers retiring early hit a nerve.

I am a teacher (second career) of only eight years in Baltimore. I recently got a retirement estimate from the state and was horrified to discover that I will only be receiving $480 a month if I remain in the school system until 65, and that the state will deduct medical insurance from that.

Your article alluded to retirement benefits for teachers hired after 1980 being the worst in the country. I must agree.

Many teachers who have worked for 20 to 30 years are retiring on $30,000 to $50,000 per year with medical insurance costs covered almost 100 percent.

The graph reflected that a disproportionate number of experienced city teachers are retiring. I cannot help but believe that lack of administrative support with discipline problems combined with a chronic lack of texts and supplies is part of the motivation for experienced and caring teachers to get out.

Many teachers and aides, including myself, have been seriously, physically hurt by students. The sad part is nothing is done to hold the student involved responsible.

My basic question to the state is to consider why educators should continue to teach. Yes, we love our jobs, but it is not in the job description to deal with acting-out, hostile students and parents. It is not in our job description to risk our lives when students threaten us with weapons.

What is Baltimore City going to do when no educator is willing to come to a school where there are constant threats of violence against teachers?

Why should multi-degreed educators have to live with low pay and virtually no retirement benefits to cushion their golden years?

I can make 50 percent over my salary as a teacher in another line of work. I can get decent benefits without being physically threatened on a daily basis.

It is sad to think of so many caring professionals leaving teaching because the state does not choose to reward educators for the time and effort it takes to mold a child into an intelligent and productive citizen.

Connie Thomas


High-volume music is sheer punishment

Recently I attended an ice show at the Baltimore Arena. The skating performances were superb and a true pleasure to watch. But for my aged ears (I belong to the category referred to as senior citizens) most of the music was sheer punishment.

I realize I have not adjusted to new trends of music; however, I wonder if people who spend a lot of time listening to such high volumes of sound may not eventually suffer from impaired hearing.

Joan U. Alston


Changes in marriage affect corporate wife

It troubles me that the homemaking skills and contributions of Lorna Wendt ("GE executive's ex-wife pushes equal settlement," Dec. 30) are still considered superfluous after decades of feminism and equality.

The "corporate wife" may be the social equivalent of a dinosaur; nevertheless the Wendt divorce proves the species is still alive. In 1965, a woman's career path was relatively secure -- marriage, homemaking and directing all energies to her husband's success.

It's unusual the Wendt marriage survived this long. We live in a throw-away society where wives and mothers are dumped with dull regularity. The fact that Gary Wendt hasn't worked his way through several "trophy wives" by now is admirable. Perhaps that is why he doesn't believe he should pay Lorna her fair share.

Nevertheless, Wendt's Foundation for Equality in Marriage is doomed. Much has changed since 1965 -- no-fault divorce, two-career marriages and, yes, the pre-nuptial agreement.

If Lorna Wendt wins the financial equivalent of partner in her husband's career, her achievement will demonstrate to rising corporate stars how much they need a legal framework to protect their assets.

Rosalind Ellis


Same picture, different hats

The Dec. 20 edition of The Sun had a picture and write-up about the Maryland Natural Resource Police. The Dec. 27 letters page showed the same picture but the letter called them state troopers.

There is quite a difference between the State Police and the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Their duties and jobs are quite different.

Walter Smith Jr.

St. Michaels

Survival of liberty is U.S. business

Michael J. Hurd (letter, Dec. 27) is absolutely wrong questioning President Clinton's policy about keeping troops in Bosnia. He also asserts that we are not our brothers' keepers.

Like it or not, we are the world's keepers, and we cannot just ignore our neighbors.

Most countries look to us for guidance, support and assistance, because we have asserted that we are the greatest country on earth because of our democratic principles.

As President John F. Kennedy said in his 1961 inaugural address, ''Let every nation know, whether they wish us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty."

Christopher Krieg


Socialized medicine available for some

One couldn't help but note the inherent irony in the New Year's Day report that Sen. Strom Thurmond, released by his doctors after being hospitalized for a cold, had decided to stay in the hospital to get some rest.

One can only wonder what would have been the situation if another elderly person or a newly delivered mother wanted to stay in the hospital a while longer to ''get some rest."

The specialized, government-paid medical care that members of Congress receive sounds like socialized medicine at its best. It is just too bad that it isn't available to the rest of the people in the United States.

Ronald E. Mattson


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