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Letter to the Editor: Stop kicking can down the road

Editor:

It is time to stop “kicking the can down the road” over budget issues. There are many issues about what is needed for Shenandoah County. First, we must make the county competitive for economic development. Quality education that is available for personnel and families of any prospective new business enterprise is paramount. Standard curriculum balanced with skill development training is essential for our county demographic.

There are arguments that our teachers are paid enough, and a recent article quoted median household incomes compared with budgeted teacher salaries. This is a misleading comparison since it includes a lot of minimum wage households within the county. Teachers are professionals, not just teachers. Over 48 percent of Shenandoah County teachers have advanced degrees, and some colleges even require a master’s degree to obtain teacher certification. With our high turnover, we have a large population of young teachers. Well over 50 percent of our teachers are still paying off education loans, and they still have the expense of continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification. In addition, young teachers have the expense starting up new households.

Teachers are no less a professional than a doctor, nurse, or a professional engineer as I am. To maintain our licenses, we must remain current in our profession and have continuing education. This is expensive!

Teaching is a profession, not a job! These professionals are preparing our next generation for the future, whether preparing for college and further education or developing a skill. That skill will enable a new graduate to get a good paying job and support our local economy.

Recognize teachers for their professionalism and fund their pay appropriately. We’ve delayed too long by just kicking the can down the road.

Raymond F. Powell, Woodstock

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