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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Teachers and Our Future

Teachers are the future of America. They are educating the next generation of Americans.

So why are get treated so badly by their elected U.S. representative?

Last year we lost over 5,000 teachers in Texas because Mr. DeLay changed the rules on them -- and pushed through a bill called the "Windfall Elimination provision."

Basically it said that if you worked in the private sector then became a teacher you had to give something up in benefits. Housewives who lost their husbands didn't lose their death benefits even if they never worked, but teachers did. Why should teachers be treated worse than housewives?

After that bill passed, Mr. DeLay allowed himself a pay raise as thousands of teachers in their prime had to retire early to save their benefits.

How does this translate into being "for children"...? I talked to many of the teachers, a large number of them in District 22 are (or were) Republicans. Their pain was great.

In fact I attended a town hall meeting in 2004 in Rosenberg and watched as Mr. DeLay stood before 1,000 teachers to talk about the “Windfall” bill and heard him declare: "I'm going to tell you why I'm right and you're wrong!"

Ummm. And I thought a Congressman's job was to listen!

I don't see teachers as "double dippers." I see them as underpaid heroes who do extraordinary things on a shoestring. They make less money than paralegals, yet they perform a much greater service to our country and its future than someone fighting over a car wreck or dog bite.

As a result of the pension changes, our education system has been damaged. Our kids will have to compete in a Global Economy. Running off talented teachers will not help us. Underpaying them does not help us. Kids from Asia are dominating math and science. We are dominating “reality” TV shows. Guess which will make a bigger difference to our future prosperity?

If I run, teachers, kids and education will come first, not last. I would fight to eliminate the so-called Windfall Elimination provision.

In the meantime, Congressional pay raises need to be stopped until they balance the budget! Now that would be fiscal responsibility - something Republicans are supposed to care about in government!

I do. Am I the only one?

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