Letters to the Editor

Readers write about part-time work, community organizers, and teacher respect.

Part-time work benefits families and employers

Regarding the Aug. 25 article, "A push for quality part-time work": As the mother of two young children, my balancing of commitment and responsibility to my profession and to my family has required an incredible amount of dedication, precision, foresight, and compromise. Seeking work-life balance has been, without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges of my life.

And I know that I am not alone. Millions of working parents struggle daily to balance their responsibilities and are forced to make wrenching choices between their work and their family. Meaningful part-time work is a solution that far too few employers recognize.

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In my family, my husband and I have both negotiated reduced hours and flexible schedules with our employers during these early years before our children enter school. Part-time work has given us what we truly need to meet the needs of our family. As a result, our employers have gained loyal, dedicated, and potentially life-long employees. It's a win-win solution for everyone.

Megan Van Sant
Ukiah, Calif.

The meaning of 'community organizer'

In response to John Hughes's Sept. 4 Opinion piece, "The 'experience' question: Judgment trumps pedigree": I am the daughter of a community organizer and a community volunteer. Having spent most of my childhood indirectly involved in the work of two people who directed much of their energies toward improving the lives of all in their community, I am surprised at the lack of knowledge exhibited about the role of community organizer.

There are very important people from my hometown in Texas who were busy building businesses when my parents were busy building young lives, my own included.

My mom was a PTA president. She worked in the Little League. She had to understand the budgets for these organizations. She talked to people in the neighborhood with various viewpoints, and gave time to the schools.

To say that any person who worked in a community as an organizer has no responsibilities is misleading. I would like to make that point clear, as it seems to be an issue.

If you take a mayor of a very small town and a community organizer, it would seem to me that the experiences are equal. One would need experience in the national community to complement that. I would hope that officials running for office have that.

Elizabeth Mercer
Lipan, Texas

Give teachers more respect

Regarding your Sept. 3 editorial, "Teacher pay at $100k?" It's not only the mediocre pay that keeps teachers in the United States mediocre, but also the widely shared public scorn for the profession.

Most of us have heard the old put-down "Those who can't, teach." It's a self-fulfilling prophecy to anyone who believes it – if you find yourself wanting a teaching job, you must be a failure in your chosen field.

Higher pay may not entirely solve this bind, but it's a step in the right direction. If teachers begin to get more money, they might also get more respect, and the job will start to look more like the honorable, essential role it is.

Glen Hutcheson
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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