Readers Respond

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Letters to the Pilot

Doubting if Iowa will be daughter's field of dreams

To The Editor,

I'm a father who wonders if his daughter made the right career choice.

My daughter chose to follow in my footsteps and that's what worries me. She is now a special education teacher in Iowa, a state which doesn't value teachers as much it used to, or as much as most other states do.

I want to be clear that I'm very proud Lindsay decided to be a teacher. I've spent my life teaching in local schools and I'm now also a member of the Iowa Senate Education Committee. Teachers can help good students become great students. Teachers can help struggling students turn their lives around.

That's the kind of teacher Lindsay is. She loves teaching and she has a natural gift for working with kids. Her talent showed as a student at UNI and now you see it in her classroom where she teaches severe and profoundly disabled children.

So what's my problem? I'm worried that the low value we place on teaching in Iowa may make it impossible for Lindsay to keep teaching. Teachers make 38% less than college-educated Iowans in other professions. That is a huge financial hit over a lifetime.

As a father, I'm worried my daughter might be forced out of the profession that she loves and is well suited to do. Too many of our best teachers leave Iowa or leave teaching.

As a principal, I've seen firsthand the problems schools face due to the painful financial penalty Iowa imposes on people who love teaching. As state senator, I'm worried about the future of education in our state.

When it comes to average teacher pay, Iowa ranks 41st in the nation. That is the lowest we have ever ranked.

What's at issue this year at the Legislature? It's pretty simple. We are arguing about whether Iowa should pay enough to keep the best and brightest teachers working with our youngsters.

This is one father who is wondering if Iowa can really be his daughter's "field of dreams."

- Frank B. Wood, Iowa State Senator, Eldridge

Immigration, labor and Storm Lake

To The Editor,

I am submitting articles in response to the recent demonstrations. I was outraged when I saw illegal immigrants protesting in Washington, DC claiming their rights. They have no rights in this country. I think we should re-think whether the more recent legal immigrants should retain their status.

The benefits these people receive from Uncle Sam and the lack of respect they have for our society, culture and our people is a disgrace.

The bottom line is they are here for cheap labor not to fill jobs that can't be filled. Through the '70s and '80s there was a surplus off labor. Americans worked for lower wages. In the '90s when that started changing, American citizens, instead of enjoying potentially higher wages due to a natural increase in demand for labor, have been sabotaged by our own political leaders under the influence of big business. This mass immigration is a burden on our economy.

How much abuse do we have to take so that Tyson Foods can make big profits? If the packing plant in town was paying a starting salary of say $16 an hour do you think they would have any trouble hiring help? Can you picture how much better our local economy might be? Think about it.

- Mark Rosdail, Storm Lake