The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 25, 2020 1:00 am


Pay is just one way teachers are devalued

In 1976, as a first-year teacher whose own child was entering school, and for a few years thereafter, my child qualified for reduced-price lunches based upon my meager salary in an Indiana public school. I also had significant repayments of student loans. We got by, partly by my taking on 17 years of half-time, year-round outside employment, which also detracted from giving full attention to my chosen profession.

Reading “Signs of struggle” about free and reduced-priced school lunches (Jan. 19) prompted me to look at the current salaries in the northern Indiana school district where I began my career. If I were to do it all over again, as a beginning teacher with a spouse and one child on the 2019-20 salary in that same district, I would earn $37,000. The income to qualify for reduced-price lunches for a household of three is $38,443 or less, so my child would still qualify for reduced-price lunches – probably for several years.

Indiana expects, as it should, teachers to educate students to the highest standards while denying the financial benefits of professional achievement to our teachers and their own children. Indiana legislators and governors past and present have talked about improving schools by helping teachers and improving salaries – nothing but promises, empty and delayed, at least for the past 44 years.

We need bright, multitalented individuals to take on the diverse challenges of teaching, but as a state and culture, through low salaries, social and political attacks on the profession, and continued erosion of public school funding by privatization, we do little to incentivize talented young people to consider the profession. As a state, we need to reevaluate our priorities and take action to improve public schools by respecting teaching as a profession and teachers as skilled professionals.

Mark Beck

Fort Wayne

Mugshots do little to ease racial tension

On the back page of the Jan. 15 “A” section were two articles about local crimes. Included were five pictures of those accused; all were black. Why was this necessary?

We have enough racial issues to deal with, so why enlarge the problem? I question the use of photographs unless trying to identify someone is the purpose.

I have great respect for the Journal and hope editors can do something to reduce racial tension by not displaying pictures of offenders, no matter what race they happen to be.

Robert J. Smith


Intersection inconsistency could be life-threatening

Many Fort Wayne intersections now display countdown timers to help pedestrians decide whether enough time remains to safely cross a street. They are helpful guides for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

However, confusion is created as the timer nears “one.” Will the traffic signal immediately change, or will “wait” be displayed another five to 10 seconds prior to the signal change? It's a confusing situation that can endanger pedestrians and also encourage aggressive driving.

The pedestrian displays are intended to help everyone make the safest decision, but the full benefit is not realized due to system inconsistency. Why are not all displays within Fort Wayne and New Haven programmed to end identically? No one knows what will happen as the countdown nears zero, and that creates a situation that unintentionally could contribute to a life-threatening decision.

It does not matter at what number the countdown begins; it does matter what happens when the timer reaches zero. Programming all timers to perform identically at zero does not appear to be a monumental challenge, and their consistency should result in safer intersections for all travelers.

Dan Federspiel

New Haven 

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