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Letter to the editor: Governor and Legislature must honor pension deal

I believe that education is the foundation to building a democratic society. Education that involves not just math, reading and writing skills, but education to think critically about systems and structures that construct society.
I believe well-educated, thoughtful and committed teachers are essential to helping students become critical thinkers and effective participants in our democracy.
I believe that teachers should be supported in their efforts to be well-educated, thoughtful and committed — in other words, professional. Teachers should be able to rely on government’s commitment to the existing pension structure. Changing government’s commitment distracts teachers from their professional focus.
I believe in high educational standards established by academics and industry (Common Core State Standards are appropriate measures).
I believe all students can be successful if and when education systems can and do respond to their diverse needs. Students aren’t widgets.
Teachers should be able to rely on government’s commitment to the existing pension structure. Changing government’s commitment distracts teachers from focusing on students.
I believe in investing in great teachers. I believe teacher training should be high quality and ongoing. Teaching is an ever-evolving profession with new information, new pedagogical strategies, and emerging student needs. Responding to all this requires teacher time, thought, creativity and passion. Teachers aren’t widgets.
Teachers should be able to rely on government’s commitment to the existing pension structure. Changing government’s commitment distracts teachers from focusing on necessary professional development.
I believe in paying for great education. There are many other issues which impact education’s cost (healthcare being the major one), and the funding mechanism needs to be changed. Those are arguments for another time.
When government makes a commitment, a public contract, it has a moral responsibility to honor it. Honor, commitment and principled behavior (follow-through) are attributes essential to a stable, democratic society. Indeed, we expect students to develop these attributes. Vermont’s Legislature and governor should follow-through on their commitment to the Teacher Pension Fund. It’s a matter of honor, principle and investment in education. It’s a matter of investment in Vermont.
I write this as a Vermont taxpayer for 37 years, a parent of two Vermont public school system graduates, a six-year school board member, a public school aide for five years, and a teacher for 13.
Christina Wadsworth
Weybridge

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