Letters to Madam – teachers will work for food+rent
// September 7th, 2009 // Uncategorized
I had rather neglected the Letters to Madam* feature over the last few years. Last week was particular fun in that a number of letters perked my interest in the Irish Times Letters pages.
Bernadine O’Sullivan, letters September 1st, makes an interesting comparison by stating that “When income tax, pension contributions, PRSI, income levies, health levies and the pension levies are deducted from salary, then the take-home pay is almost equal to what it costs the State to provide unemployment benefit, rent allowance and a medical card.”
Taking that statement to its logical conclusion it would seem she is saying that teachers in receipt of unemployment benefit, rent allowance and a medical card could be willing to teach full-time for no extra reward. After all according to her viewpoint it is all the same to the teachers. I wonder how the members of the teachers unions, including the ASTI of which she was once president, would react to such an offer. I doubt if they would be impressed or too eager to take up such an offer.
Or is her comparison simple hyperbole, the sort of exaggeration that undermines the genuine case that can be made for the retention of many teaching positions. It is past time for outrageous, over the top claims to end and common sense to reassert itself. I can only hope for all our sakes and those of our children that it is not maths or economics she is teaching.
*Part of what caused me to start this blog was to capture letters I wrote or started to write but never finished and other half completed thoughts I had about topical events of the day. The upside of a blog post is that you know it will be seen, the downside is that it will be seen by considerably fewer people. There again though you’ve no idea of how many will actually read a letter in the Times.