Immediate raises for teachers a necessity

To the editor:

For this entire school year, the Clark County School District has been short more than 400 teachers, and now it’s reported to be more than 1,000.

It doesn’t stop there: The district is advertising a need to hire 3,000 new teachers for the next school year.

This is despite all of the well-intended Band-Aid fixes instituted, including: minimal pay raises, going around the globe to recruit, hiring people without a degree in education and moving new hires two steps up the pay scale. These approaches have helped decrease the size of the shortage, but none has been a solution to the problem, which continues to grow.

The school district can barely even consider being selective in who it hires. This is a recipe for disaster, a sinking ship that government officials and the public have turned a blind eye to. When does it stop?

The only option left is a substantial raise to all teachers, not just new hires. Anything less than $5,000 per year will be pointless, while $10,000 per year would fill the district with qualified applicants.

When there was a shortage of campus police officers, they were given a substantial raise. The result was numerous qualified applicants and no more shortage. Are campus police more important to a school than teachers? I would hate to think that opinion is our reality. Unfortunately, that is the direction in which we are heading. I can guarantee thousands more teachers will jump ship well before that happens.

If little to nothing continues to be done, then the problem will go away. There won’t be any teachers left to complain — or fill the classrooms.

That job can be left to all those who have voiced opposition to paying teachers an appropriate wage.

TRAVIS BOWKER

LAS VEGAS

Iraq betrayal

To the editor:

When I donated my time, energy and, yes, money in the 2006 election cycle, I had just one prayer: Please, oh please, let the new members of Congress stop killing my generation. When the Democrats won, I rejoiced, because they ran largely on that platform.

When the Congress sent up a bill to the president that included troop withdrawal deadlines in Iraq, I was ecstatic. Maybe, I thought, it will only be nine more months until my generation stops choking on sand and dying for a cause nobody believes in.

When the bill was vetoed, I was devastated, but I knew — just knew — that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid would be fighting for my generation.

Last week, I saw that trust betrayed. Not only did Sen. Reid not fight the stripped-down Iraq bill with his leadership power, and not only did he vote for it, but he gave a floor speech in favor of it. I was crushed.

Tell me, Sen. Reid: Which consideration tipped your political calculus when you decided your position? Was it that you chose the blood of Iraqis over the blood of thousands of my countrymen? Or was it that you chose your political capital over the flower of my generation?

WILLIAM WOLFS

LAS VEGAS

Hard work

To the editor:

You often hear that illegals are “doing jobs that American workers won’t do.” With the debate over immigration reform raging, that statement seems to be a battle cry of sorts for those on the side of illegal immigrants. In fact, they’ve done such a good job with that argument that many of us actually acknowledge it to be true. But is it?

In May 1999, I started working in the landscaping industry, mowing lawns and making $5.50 an hour. I worked with a crew of 15 to 16 other guys at several large apartment complexes. All were naturalized citizens.

By the following summer I was the only one left. A flood of cheap labor had come across the border and replaced the rest. These “replacements” worked harder, faster and because they knew how easy they were to replace. They never complained.

In one fell swoop, the value of the American worker in the landscape industry had been destroyed. An American worker would have done (and was doing) these jobs for an amount of money that the “free market” had set. Not anymore.

I am empathetic to the plight of those who come to America seeking a better life. Over the years I have employed hundreds of them. But to say they are doing jobs American workers won’t do is a fallacy. Why American workers won’t do those jobs has nothing to do with the job and everything to do with the price.

No one wants to push a lawn mower in the hot sun. But if they can make a little more money doing such hard labor, they will. American workers have always been willing to work harder to earn more. More money means you can buy more stuff — and isn’t that what America is all about anyway?

MARTIN ELGE

LAS VEGAS

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