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Article posted: 7/26/2013 4:40 AM

Enough with the blame game

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Enough with the blame game

My letter came this week: "We reduce Social Security benefits paid to widows if they also receive a government pension based on their own work. We reduce benefits by two-thirds of the amount of the pension."

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This refers to a minor portion of my coordinated pension based on two years credit I left in the teachers retirement fund 40 years ago, before I joined the state employees retirement system and paid into both it and Social Security.

Teachers who spent their careers earning credit in their system have more to lose than I. No wonder teachers feel protective toward their pension benefits. Not paying into Social Security probably benefited local school districts more than teachers. A 401(k) plan for their future pension system, as recommended by the Illinois Policy Institute and my state senator, will not qualify as a substitute for paying into Social Security because benefits are not guaranteed, and depend on how investments are faring. Who will be liable for that (S.S.) cost? Federal contract law protects pensions.

Jake Griffin, in his June 5 Tax Watchdog article, quotes David From, Illinois director of Americans for Prosperity, "The union is constantly trying to take more taxpayer money, and not always in the best interest of the children's education." This organization promotes lower taxes and limited government.

The Elgin Area School District U-46 teacher's association insisted during bargaining on being allowed to collaborate with the administration, and union representatives are now working with administrators to restructure 10 elementary schools deemed failing under No Child Left Behind guidelines.

Let's have some sympathy for teachers already burdened by layoffs, rising standards, multiple languages and a growing number of students from impoverished families. Instead of blame, we need solutions. So down with the watchdog approach and up with discussing facts and solutions.

Ellen McDonald

South Elgin

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