July 22, 2001
Salter's perspective doesn't fit with reality
To the Editor:
Sid Salter, new perspective editor for the Clarion-Ledger, certainly has a unique perspective regarding teaching in Mississippi one that doesn't fit with reality.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove knows that the teacher shortage is a reality. He understands that certified, professional teachers are the only way of improving education. The Governor also knows that a teaching contract is presently worth little in terms of hard cash and nothing in terms of a contractual agreement.
Teachers are offered one-year contracts and have the prerogative of resigning at any time. Many teachers have signed contracts, but this does not mean they have ceased looking for a better opportunity.
This is standard practice and underscores the urgency of an immediate special session to address teachers' salaries prior to the start of school in August.
As of today in Lauderdale County, 19 teachers have retired and 33 have resigned. Twelve have moved out of state. Between now and the time school starts there may be several more who resign.
The number of teachers who have already left represent approximately 14 percent of the teacher work force in the district. How will this impact the quality of education in a district that already has 28 teachers with alternative route certificates, 9 teachers with emergency certificates, and 14 teachers teaching out of field?
Other districts across the state are in the same precarious situation. This is not "malarkey." This is a teacher shortage.
Mr. Salter's fanciful perspective continues when he suggests that Gov. Musgrove is, "attempting to change the political subject." In reality, the Governor is the only one who is not changing the political subject. He has consistently, adamantly, sincerely and often voiced his support for teachers and his opposition to the 5 percent "trigger."
A more realistic perspective is one that recognizes the only attempt to change the political subject has come from Speaker of the House, Tim Ford, and Lt. Governor, Amy Tuck, who are doing some serious back-pedaling in an effort to protect their "political fortunes."
The only thing that amounts to "diddly-squat" besides Mr. Salter's perspective, is the $47,460 cost of a one-day special session. Mississippi teachers should have been receiving the Southeastern average since 1982. So considering the millions and millions and millions of dollars the state has saved by reneging on this promise for almost 20 years, $47,460 is a small price to pay on a message that is invaluable; a message of real commitment to Mississippi's teachers and Mississippi's children.
District 7 Vice-President
Mississippi American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Steel industry at crossroads
To the Editor:
I would like to thank Mississippi's U.S. Reps. Shows and Thompson for standing up to the steel industry in Alabama and America with their co-sponsoring of H.R. 808, the Steel Revitalization Act. At a time when young people find it hard to land good paying jobs and struggle to meet basic needs, our government is allowing steel to be illegally dumped into this country and costing thousands of good-paying American jobs.
It upsets me to think about the loss of more jobs, but in this case we are going to lose a whole industry along with the security of the United States. The steel industry is in trouble because of unfair and illegal dumping of foreign steel. What this is doing is not only putting over 24,000 steelworkers out of work, but also jeopardizing thousands of retired steelworkers' benefits and health care coverage that they have long since paid for.
America has given away over 600,000 jobs due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, resulting in a loss of over 1,292 jobs in the state of Mississippi.
Now, what is next in the job giveaway department? The White House has come up with a new deal called the Trade Promotional Act, which is a new version of NAFTA Fast Track. I do not believe the American people will stand for any more job losses, in the steel industry or any other industry, so Congress be aware election time is getting near.
United Steelworkers of America
Slaves held under U.S. flag
To the Editor:
It was rather ironic to read in the July 6 issue of The Star that Mr. Mfume of the NAACP and a former member of the U.S. Congress from Maryland, made the statement that the Confederate battle flag stirs up bad memories for many Americans.
If Mr. Mfume would read Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation, he would find that the state of Maryland and other Northern states were allowed to keep their slaves after the slaves were "freed" in the South.
The slaves in Maryland were held under the American flag, not the Confederate battle flag.
Roy P. Gibbens