Re the March 26 letter from Bill Dekle:
As a former resident of Millen and product of the Jenkins County school system and former teacher in this school system, I feel it is my duty to make Mr. Dekle aware of a few facts.
He implies that teachers in Georgia are paid too much because they do a poor job. The first fact is teachers in Georgia rank 26th in the nation according to their pay. Yet 60 percent of high school graduates in Georgia attend post-secondary schools. In addition, Georgia students rank 14th among states where 60 percent of all students take the SAT examinations.
A recent study names Georgia as the fourth fastest improving state in public education in America. This is just a few of the facts I can use to prove teachers in Georgia earn their pay, and the majority of them do an exceptional job.
Mr. Dekle, if you take a look around Jenkins County you will see a doctor, bank president, city manager, county commissioner, county attorney, and yes many teachers that I and other educators taught or coached when they attended Jenkins County's public schools. Where would Millen be without these fine young adults?
Are teachers overpaid? Ask the husband of Arkansas English teacher Shannon Wright, who was shot to death recently, if his wife's life was worth what she was paid as a teacher. A recent study on crime and family structure said every hour 40 teachers are physically attacked and 900 teachers are threatened. Ask those teachers if they are overpaid.
In my 20 years as an educator Ihave seen very few incompetent teachers. What I have seen is an increasing number of citizens who have the same attitude as Mr. Dekle and expect teachers to cure all the ills of society while they sit on their butt and complain.
The No. 1 contributor to poor grades and discipline of students is the lack of parental involvement in schools. Educators are begging for help from government agencies, businesses, citizens and parents. Mr. Dekle, go visit a school for a week, you will soon find out that teachers not only earn their pay, but are highly underpaid.
Mike Johnson, Statesboro
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