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Utah’s teachers

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Randy Shumway makes some interesting points in his editorial column, "Attracting and retaining high-caliber teachers" (Nov. 23). He asserts that Utah needs to attract and retain high-quality teachers to prepare our students for 21st century job demands and proposes attracting the top one-third of college graduates into teaching (a notion I applaud). What his column lacks is any sensible means to achieve his goal. Never once does he touch on the top two problems with teaching in Utah: low pay and large class size.

I have been a teacher in Utah for the past 14 years, and I am a cum laude college graduate and retired Navy pilot. I chose teaching for a second career because I wanted to make a difference, and I have been successful. But Mr. Shumway needs to understand that I would never be able to pursue teaching without my retiree pay.

A friend of mine, an excellent science teacher, left after four years of a job he loved and was quite good at because, even with a summer job, he couldn't raise a family on his teacher's salary. He took a job selling pharmaceuticals and now makes five times his teacher's pay.

If Mr. Shumway wishes to learn more about teaching, I would welcome him at any time to visit my school and my classroom. I'd even go so far as to recommend he try it for a week. He would gain an appreciation for teachers that would help him in guiding Utah's prosperity.

Mike Barton