Sound Off: Teachers out of touch

The following is what our readers sounded off about this week:

Teachers out of touch
You've got to love Geneva teachers. They set up a website asking taxpayers to call the school board and tell them, please don't make our special teachers experience the same hardships and pay freezes and stagnant wages that the rest of us in the country have endured. Please, please take more of my money so they can maintain their standard of living and benefits, even though mine have greatly diminished. When asked why they should get a pay raise while so many of those who have to pay for their increases have not gotten any, they respond that they want us to follow the private industry for performance raises and bonuses. They are kidding, right? They want us to utilize private industry methods? Private industry is who is freezing and reducing wages and benefits. Are they aware of that?

Geneva teachers are lucky
I am calling in response to the articles about how great the teachers are in Geneva and how great the scores are. My experience is that the teachers are like anywhere else – there are some great ones, some awful ones, and most of them are in between. There is only one reason why the scores are so high, and everyone knows [that] reason – it's demographics. Show me one school district with these demographics that [has] bad schools, and I'll eat my words.

I care about bullying
In response to "Don't want to read about bullying." This person is a senior citizen. Well, then don't read the article. I'm a senior citizen, too, but I do want to hear about this. When I was in high school, I wasn't living in the Tri-Cities area. As a freshman in a Catholic school, I was bullied. My parents did not know because I was too afraid to tell anyone. It is good to know, in the paper, what's going on in schools, even though we have senior citizens. Lady, whoever you are, just don't read it. I do want to read it. I remember my time as a freshman in high school, that I was pushed down the stairs and injured. I'm a baby boomer, and the school officials did nothing until my friends all stood up for me. That's how she got expelled.

Permit fees too high

I'm calling about the donation boxes in Geneva. Though I can understand the concern about them becoming a nuisance, I don't understand the rationale behind charging a $250-per-year permit fee. These boxes are to support a charity, and that is a huge amount of money that could become better spent. I propose a smaller fee, maybe just $20 a year to cover paperwork, and if the boxes aren't maintained, according to a certain criteria, they would need to be removed, end of discussion.

Happy you wrote about bullying
Good reading on the subject of bullying. It gave us more insight on the subject. I do not have children in school, but I have grandchildren who go to school. I am happy that you wrote of all the different things that can come of it. Great information on it. Keep up the good work.

Bullying is a reality
I'm calling to comment on the individual who called in Sound Off and was irritated on the issues of bullying. This particular individual and some other people are completely unaware of what goes on. I have been a victim myself in an unusual way. This is a reality. Everyone has to wake up. We know it's happening on schools and buses and to senior citizens. This person is obviously out of touch about what's going on with social media, computer, Facebook and email. I think it's a very important series that you presented. I've been a Chronicle reader for 20 years or more, and it was a very valuable piece of information. I have saved every copy for future reference. In this changing world, this is happening.

Guns aren't the problem
Applying the same convoluted logic as the anti-gun caller used in the Oct. 6 Sound Off column, we should get rid of automobiles. Just think of all the lives that would be saved if thoughtless, careless drivers didn't have a car to drive. Maybe we should get rid of everything that causes harm to others when it's used illegally or improperly. The problem is not with the gun or the car or any other object. The problem is the person using that object illegally. They are the ones who should be punished, not legitimate, law-abiding citizens.

Bullying in the spotlight
I just finished reading Sound Off, and I read about the woman who didn't want to read about bullying in the newspaper. She was a senior citizen. I also am. I'm 90 years old, and after reading that I am ashamed to be a senior citizen. It's important to read about things that are happening to our children in school. Would she rather not read about helping these children? Would she rather read about "Dancing With the Stars" or what celebrities are going to get a divorce? We seniors are not all like that. We want to know what's going on in our schools, and we want to help our children.

The anguish of bullying
This is in response to the senior citizen who objected to the series on bullying in the Chronicle. I, too, am a senior and know first-hand the anguish of bullying. I have a granddaughter who suffers each day with it. You mentioned that the paper did not cover news, but I would like to remind you that there are men and women fighting the worst bullies ever. Some die, and some are severely maimed so that you and I and millions of others have the luxury of having a cup of coffee and reading the paper in the morning. The bullies are called al-Qaida. Bullying has become a very serious issue, and the more that we know and learn about it will help to put a stop to it.

Bullying is everywhere
This is in response to the senior, "Don't want to read about bullying." I disagree with you. I applaud the Kane County Chronicle for discussing bullying in four days of the week. The point of the articles didn't mean they were talking about bullying just in schools. Bullying takes place everyplace, in the workplace, in social events. They want to improve the quality of life for everybody, not just school-aged children. Second, I think this is relevant, and I have shared this information from these articles with people I know. My own grandchild was being bullied, and it is so scary. So, to be able to share the tools and the ideas with other people, so that we can improve other people's lives, that's a good thing. That's what a newspaper should be about – reporting, understanding and making the community better. I hope you have a better day. I'm a senior citizen, too. And I realize not all things in the paper interest me, but this time, it was very relevant for the newspaper to do this.

Hollywood Casino rocks
I would like to compliment the Hollywood Casino in Aurora for the bands they have every weekend. They have a band every Friday and Saturday, everything from country to rock. You just have to be 21 years of age. You don't have to drink. You don't have to pay a cover charge. I think if everybody enjoys a band, that's the place to go. They've got a dance floor, and you can dance also. You don't have to gamble to watch the band. The band is located in the back of the casino. The nonalcoholic beverages are free of charge.

Of great interest
I was utterly appalled by the insensitivity and selfishness of the Sound Off caller who said that the articles on bullying were of no interest to him or her, and should not have been in the newspaper. I am also a senior citizen and I couldn't disagree more. Evidently, the caller has been fortunate enough to have had no experience with bullying. Sadly, I cannot say the same. I have seen a lovely, talented, smart young lady in our family lose all the self-esteem she once had because of cruel bullying in one of our high schools. She told us not only was she bullied, just for the fun of it, by other students, but that she also knew of many other students who suffered the same fate. We can only address and try to work toward solutions if the public becomes aware of this problem, and for this reason I applaud Chronicle news editor Al Lagattolla for the insightful articles he wrote about bullying. Yes, this should be worked out in the schools, but doesn't an informed public need to know about the high incidence and seriousness of bullying, so that this can be addressed in their homes as part of a discussion on teaching tolerance of people who look different than us, in size, shape or color? I am sorry that the person who was upset by the articles did not see the tremendous value of Al Lagattolla's work. The person certainly wasn't forced to read the reports.

Decertify the union
This is directed at the school board. There is a simple solution to the teacher-union conversation. Decertify the union and offer all of the teaching positions to the open market. Your pool of qualified and talented teachers will expand exponentially, and the conversation about what is fair wage will disappear. Let the open market determine the fair wage. By doing this, you'll serve your constituents more effectively by staffing the schools with the best qualified teachers for the best price, as determined by the open market. It's a mystery to me why our public servants should have better job security, better benefits and better pensions than the people who pay the taxes to support them. And then they demand more. If the teachers strike, I encourage the school board to replace the teachers with new hires, like Reagan did with air-traffic controllers. We didn't miss a beat then. We wouldn't miss a beat now.

The world's tiniest violin
In regards to the Geneva teachers and their high test scores, why don't you trade places with the teachers in the inner city of Chicago or East Aurora? Then you can see if you can brag about your high test scores. In Geneva, you have it pretty good. You deal with middle class to upper middle class. I'm playing the world's tiniest violin for you. Plus, you have a $30 million surplus, why don't you give that back to the taxpayers, who paid that out in the first place? Everybody is struggling to make ends meet, and you want more money because the Batavia teachers make a little bit more than you do.

Bullying can't be ignored
I'm calling in response to the person who didn't like your articles on bullying. He or she must have been guilty of bullying, or they wouldn't have felt that way. I'm 90 years old, and I went through bullying all the way through school. We had a boy who carried a baseball bat to beat us up, before the school finally took a hand in it. It seems like today, there are more kids and more uncaring personnel in high places. And too much of this is ignored by other people in charge.

A change in the White House
Libyan cover-up, Fast and Furious scandal, no time for our allies, big spender to the detriment of future generations, his way or no way. Enough is enough. Time for a change in the White House.

Caller was a bully
I'm calling about the bullying articles. I'm a senior of 81 years, and I read every article you printed about bullying. They were very interesting, and I hope it makes everybody aware of how awful and hurtful it is. The senior who commented last week, that there were too many articles about it, is in her own way, a bully.

Little support for teachers
Teachers, stop bullying the school board, the taxpayers and our children. You have good, well-paid jobs. These are hard times for all of us, especially those without guaranteed jobs. In the private sector, we are working harder and longer without any pay raises, and often pay cuts. By the way, I'm not seeing too many signs in your support. Your behavior is not setting a good example for our children.

No money left in Geneva
Geneva teachers, if Batavia and St. Charles are paying more, go there. We are out of money in Geneva. If your last pay increase was not enough, leave. It's a free country. Do not ask the Geneva taxpayer, many of us with no children in school, to do with less, while you can get more, while working only eight months a year. Because of past school board decisions, we are broke. This school board is trying to balance the budget. The reserves will be gone in a couple of years of high-interest payments. Because of past school board decisions, we don't have any money left in Geneva.

Seniors care about bullying
This is a rebuttal to the lady who talked about being a senior citizen and not wanting to read about bullying. I am a senior citizen. I have children who have children. I love the fact that there was that information given to us so that I could pass it on to my children. Keep up the good work.

Batavia is unbelievable
The city of Batavia is truly unbelievable. Instead of major cuts in the city's budget, they propose cutting the aldermen's minimal salary. Really, this is what you cut? How about cutting all seminars and conferences for all city employees and all elected officials? Eliminate all travel. Eliminate all personal use of city vehicles and agree to incur no additional debt. And most importantly, agree to reduce the city's real estate tax levy.

Geneva teachers' arrogance
The Geneva school teachers should keep their contract negotiations in private, like the school board is doing. For the teachers to protest, looking for public support for their contract, means standing in front of the taxpayers of the Geneva School District. The teachers are also showing a militancy and arrogance against the taxpayer. It is the taxpayer that the elected school board is protecting. When property tax bills arrive next year, the largest complaint will be the ever-increasing tax burden on education. It is time that the teachers start thinking not of themselves, but about the many workers who have not received any salary increase in the past several years, who are paying the teachers' salaries and benefits.

Good people are here
I'd like to thank the Chronicle for its recent stories on both bullying and children with special needs. Both of these groups need the support from our community. I'd also like to thank two local establishments for their treating us and our child with special needs like we fit in and are welcome patrons. One is the local Seven-Eleven, who always greets us with a smile. And the other is the restaurant Riganato. There is a waitress there who knows just about everyone who comes in the door and greets us with a smile and by name whenever we dine there. I forget her name, but she drives a school bus and is kind to our child whenever she sees her at school, too. It's comforting to know we have all these good people, right here in Geneva.

Candidates bring nothing
It's most unfortunate that we had two candidates in our area, running for Congress, who bring nothing in the way of leadership or new ideas. Both are running on Obama's coat tails. Bill Foster thinks he has the greatest credentials because he spent so many years at Fermilab, the scientist playground. What did he really produce? Tammy Duckworth had a very unfortunate experience while in the service. So have a lot of other veterans. She was appointed by Blagojevich to the veterans commission. Look at her TV commercials and judge for yourself, what she's really running on.

The best interests of the child
I would like to Sound Off about child custody and then problems we have had in the Kane County family court system and all the associated parts involved with the custody determination. In our experience, the child's welfare was not the prime focus, as required by law. We have yet to ever hear from anyone mention the best interests of the child. If you also have lost custody in the Kane County family court, share your experiences with us and others. Email your story to bestinterestsofthechild@yahoo.com.

• You can sound off, as well, by calling our Sound Off line at 630-845-5240 or by sending an e-mail to soundoff@kcchronicle.com. Calls must be limited to 1 minute or less.

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