I was distressed after reading the excellent article in the U-B (Oct. 4) written by Elise Takahama of the Seattle Times titled “School supplies pour in for Washington state teachers.” It reported that many teachers spend $500 or more of their own money to purchase supplies for their classes

Is it reasonable to burden teachers economically this way? We should completely eliminate the need for teachers at their own expense to supply items needed during the school year by their students.

Consider this exercise.

Suppose that you have a young child and you hire a baby sitter to enable you to have some time off. Perhaps you may pay this sitter $5 per hour. What has this to do with teachers?

A teacher who is responsible for a class of 25 students and who has six classes a school day is now responsible for students for six times 25 equals 150 student hours per day. At $5 per hour this amounts to $900 per day for being responsible for those student. If the school year consists of 180 days, this amounts to teachers spending 150 student hours per day times 180 days equals 27,000 student hours per year, which costs out at $135,000 per school year.

As we expect teachers to be responsible for students in the same way that we expect a baby sitter to be responsible for our child, this is a reasonable cost.

On top of this baby-sitting time, we expect teachers to teach!

We really don’t pay teachers well for the responsibility that we impose on them regarding children. Consider what we get from our members of Congress. We pay them more than $180,000 per year.

We don’t demand that politicians have any competence such as a master’s degrees.

 This also applies to many local politicians (Walla Walla City Council excepted!). We also don’t demand that various department heads in business and government supply their staff with the tools needed to perform their jobs.

Why are teachers different?

The old saying, ”You only get what you pay for” is seldom true.

In the case of highly paid politicians and businessmen, it is never true. What nonprofit CEO making $4 million is worth 100 teachers making $40,000? I think none.

Let’s pay teachers what they are worth and not ask them to provide school supplies for their students.

Dick Swenson

 Walla Walla