Originally created 03/20/00

Let teachers decide



Aiken County School Board Chairman John Bradley is fit to be tied that Palmetto State House Republicans have sent a questionnaire to public school principals to be distributed to teachers.

The idea, says Rep. Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is to sound out the sentiments of teachers on six bills the House is considering.

What's so bad about that? Legislators should find out what's on teachers' minds before they plunge, willy-nilly, into writing legislation they may not understand.

Besides, teachers are constituents, too, and should be encouraged to communicate with lawmakers.

But not according to Bradley, or the school board he heads. He charged the survey was a "raw" example of partisan GOP politics that amounted to "soliciting votes."

He even prodded the board to vote to ban the teachers from answering the survey.

Bradley can get upset at whatever he wants -- but teachers aren't school children, and shouldn't be treated as if they were.

Teachers are fully capable of figuring out for themselves if the questionnaire is too partisan or silly. They don't have to answer if they don't want to.

But that's a determination which should be made by them, not by Bradley on their behalf. He's overreacting.