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Stossel missed mark

To the Journal editor:

As a retired teacher and parent of a teacher, I was shocked to read some of the statements (national columnist) John Stossel wrote in a recent column. Specifically, “So, union workers (public school teachers) get paid even when they don’t work. Not working seems to be a big union goal.” and “Their (union’s) behavior reveals their true interest: Power and money. Students come third.”

Does Mr. Stossel know any teachers who are trying to work virtually? Has he ever spoken to any of them? Perhaps he should! Every teacher I know prefers teaching with students in their classroom! Teaching virtually is a lot harder and more time consuming than teaching in the classroom. It is a daily struggle to keep up.

This is what a teacher shared with me recently:

“I teach 6-7 hrs each day.. live. And my physical and mental health are suffering. I have headaches from all the screen time. Then I have to record a 45 min long live video of my lessons, create or purchase new material for my units out of my own pocket- probably at least $500 spent so far, because I’m starting from scratch. Nothing I’ve ever created or used before was made for virtual. I’m literally starting over as a new teacher with zero training in virtual learning, no support, and no money to cover all the new materials I need. Not to mention all the paperwork for state mandates, like writing literacy plans for 20 of my students. I work (minimum) at least 2-3 hrs. every day beyond my contracted time and until 10 or 11 pm a couple days a week.”

It’s unfortunate that Mr. Stossel has such a low opinion of public schools and their teachers. Perhaps he should sign up to be a substitute teacher, so he can walk in their shoes for a few days.

The mission statement of the Michigan Education Association is “to ensure that the education of our students and the working environments of our members are of the highest quality.”

The MEA is not a corporation. Its goals do not include the acquisition of money and power. I think Mr. Stossel may have gotten confused with the goals of many private schools which are operated by for-profit corporations.

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