Reply to Joslin
As East Bay scribe can attest who’s spent a late-night hour or two trimming words and sentences from a letter to make it of acceptable length, the Sakonnet Times has a 500-word limit on missives. Yet, by the time Richard Joslin got around, last week, to challenging Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC) to “prove they care about Tiverton’s children,” the paper could have printed both his introductory reminiscences of his own childhood and a letter that I’d written explaining why public officials should define “fairness” from a budgetary standpoint, not a union one. As it was, Mr. Joslin’s diatribe rambled on for 908 words, and my letter disappeared into cyberspace.
In the light of Joslin’s assault, a pillar of erroneous thought is starkly observable: Both he and young Caitlin Alexandra, whose letter appears just behind his, gauge concern for education in terms of teachers’ remuneration. This despite the fact that a higher percentage of Tiverton’s per-pupil costs already go to teachers than is true for the state overall. Indeed, Joslin positions “oust[ing] the teachers’ union” as an unthinkable option following cuts to “programs in sports, advanced placement, language, music, art and more” that have already been made.
Personally, I happen to believe ousting the unions to be a prerequisite for improving both Rhode Island’s educational system and its economic viability. Surely neither has sunny prospects as long as teachers absorb more and more of our education dollars, continuing to cost us programs that might keep RI parents from having to sacrifice for private school (which they do more frequently than parents of most other states). One mustn’t forget, by the way, that the loss of programs will tend to mean the immolation of teachers whose jobs depend on them.
So, although I can speak only on my own behalf, I say, yes, let’s “break the teachers’ union” — and use the savings to reinvigorate sports, advanced placement, language, and music programs (and more). Perhaps the crossing of that rubicon will give Ms. Alexandra cause to consider Tiverton a superior place to raise her “potential family” than some “small developing communit[y] in the south of Africa.” Perhaps, too, the political loss will motivate Mr. Joslin to examine the roots of his hatred and anger and give him something for which to be truly thankful during this season next year.
I see this letter made it onto the Sakonnet Times Web site, as did one by TCC President Dave Nelson. Now comes the interesting new game of waiting to see what gets into print.