Forget teacher salaries; worry about apathy
Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:02 am

To the Editor:

I see that it’s that time of the year again when Potsdam Central School, in particular, gets lots of attention in the news. But hey, it sells papers.

Within minutes of leaving the house this morning and seeing the local folks, I was made aware that 11 teachers make over 100k and 21 more, over 90k at you guessed it, Potsdam Central. The social network as well was buzzing over it. These published figures are surely those older (sorry but true) teachers, many nearing retirement. Please understand that these numbers include costs such as Social Security, Health Care, Worker’s Compensation, Salary and whatever else government requires. If one wants to see the salary schedules of Potsdam Central Teachers you only need to go to www.potsdam.k12.ny.us and hit the “employment” tab on the left (I think).

For those who are saying, in the wake of these salary and benefit facts, that you are going to quit your job and go teach, I would highly encourage you to do that. In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama said “And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”

Lets hope schools are listening. You will work rather hard in college for these degrees, as I have a son and daughter involved in Technology and Secondary Science Education and the youngest exemption in the engineering pursuit. As you may know, to teach, you will need a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in an “approved” area. Throughout your career you will have to complete 175 hours of “Inservice Training” every five years to maintain your “Renewable Certification” as “Permanent Certification” is gone. While teaching you will be frustrated, elated, berated, and never bored…unless you are boring.

Your greatest challenge will be apathy. For years I have felt this, to be the number one problem in education, not my tax bill. While the tax bill is frustrating, apathy toward education is very frustrating. It is a triad situation between Teacher, Student and Parent/Guardian and it is by far, the most serious of our local, state and national education woes.

This is what we should be kicking around in the news and social networks. This is what we should be getting concerned about. Let Administration, the elected Board and Teachers settle the financial issues.

Mark Leuthauser

Hannawa Falls