Dumping money on our colleges isn't the answer

June 20, 2013

In reference to Donald Norris' commentary, "Flacco's pay and our skewed priorities" (June 12), he is right on the mark regarding the outrageous salaries we pay our "jocks" — a fact that speaks volumes of our society's misguided values. However, as a political science teacher since 1964, I venture to say that Mr. Norris misses the boat with his recommendations on how to spend the money should a miracle occur and our educational system acquire an infusion of an additional $20 million. He focuses on utilizing the funds in institutions of higher learning, such as his own.

With all due respect to Mr. Norris, I don't believe any amount should be designated for his university. I remind Mr. Norris that the real core of any educational system is the nurturing and development of a child's character and personality, and this takes place during the critical years in grades K-6. Hence, what I would do is increase the salaries of those dedicated and skilled elementary school teachers so they would have some reason to remain in the classroom.

According to the Maryland Department of Education, the average starting salary for a first year teacher is approximately $43,000, which is really a drop in the bucket for the committed and capable teacher who most likely puts in many more hours before and after the typical school day.

I would also allocate a portion of the funds toward an increased number of scholarships for high school graduates who truly want a good college education but don't have the money.

The truth of the matter though is the following. While an extra $20 million will help in the short run, it will not really solve the ills confronting our public schools today. What we really need is a resurrection and renaissance of the family as a unit (actual mother/father or suitable surrogate mother/father) instead of just two "human producers."

Ralph Jaffe, Baltimore

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