I was dismayed by Richard Piagari's perspective (Fence Post, Feb. 6). Good teachers are certainly one of our greatest assets, and the jobs they do directly impact how well our children learn and succeed. However, sharing knowledge, exercising and continuously honing teaching skills is part of the job and has nothing to do with the pension situation!
If Mr. Piagari began his teaching career at 24, his 33-year career would have him retiring at 57, five years before a nonunion citizen can begin to collect Social Security at the lowest rate offered. I imagine Mr. Piagari was able to start collecting his full pension and has done so for the last 20 years.
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The issue is not how great teachers are and how much they give. Most hardworking folks who choose a different career contribute no less than teachers in terms of increasing their knowledge, skills and value to their jobs and co-workers. The problem is the government and the unions. They bargain in their own best interest so they can keep their power. They are not willing to be reasonable, and when the funds are no longer there -- either because the unions negotiated unreasonable benefits or because the government did not honor the agreement to be fiscally accountable, they point fingers at each other.
Most Illinoisans who take the time to read what is happening in our state realize we are dealing with two sides that are greedy, manipulative and self-serving. The rug has been pulled out from every citizen in Illinois, not just the teachers.