Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How California Helped the Pacific Northwest

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How California Helped the Pacific Northwest

Article excerpt

As a displaced Washingtonian married to a displaced Oregonian, I would like to comment on an overlooked fact related to your Dec. 22 article about the rift between Californians and natives of the Pacific Northwest ("Two cultures, one power grid").

At the time my wife and I graduated from college, there were few jobs to be had in Oregon and Washington. Hence, many of our college friends ended up in California. At both my wife's and my 50th high school reunions (Oregon and Washington), a review of the alumni lists revealed that approximately 50 percent of the graduates have an out-of-state address, and most of those are in California.

From my viewpoint, California has helped to solve many of Oregon's and Washington's problems by providing jobs and homes for former natives.

Keith M. Baker Los Gatos, Calif.

Teaching is no cushy job

As a public-school teacher for 33 years, I sincerely resent the tone of some letter responses to your Dec. 4 editorial "Merit pay for teachers" ("Teacher's salaries: What's fair?" Readers Write Dec. 26; "Double the salary of all teachers," Readers Write Dec. 11). Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of the positions in many schools are staffed by friends and relatives of local politicians. "Merit" often becomes who you know, play golf with, and so on.

As to the myths of excessive benefits, I know many recent college graduates who are starting first jobs at only $5,000 less than I make after earning a master's degree and 33 years of experience. In addition, I have never had dental coverage or three months off. And, because of the noncompetitive nature of salaries, most teachers I know spend "vacations" working at part-time jobs or doing home- repair projects they can't afford to hire others to do.

The armchair experts have little idea what they're talking about. I strongly suggest that before offering such acerbic criticism of teachers they follow the native-American adage, "First, walk a mile in my moccasins!"

Robert Miles Easton, Mass. …

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