Teachers already give enough
I would encourage teachers to give up their cost of living increases, experience-level increases and tuition reimbursements to help during these tough economic times, but they should not work any days for free (Pay freezes may limit damage, April 23). I worked for Portland Public Schools when the teachers volunteered to work 10 days for free. As difficult as it was financially to do so at the time, I supported it.
Even though we are suffering through an even more difficult financial situation, I no longer support teachers being asked to work for free in addition to salary cuts.
Unlike any other public or private job, teachers constantly spend hundreds of dollars of their salary on books, supplies and other things to make the education of their students better and to make up for the districts' inability to adequately supply these necessary items. Every year, whether economic times are good or bad, teachers make financial sacrifices to contribute to the education of our youth. Time and again, the public fails to recognize this and they put the sole blame for the problems in education on teachers.
Does the public have a right to expect teachers to sacrifice? They do. However, in light of the lack of recognition for the personal and financial sacrifices that teachers already make, the public's right is limited.
Teachers' unions must share solution
Pay cuts and benefit reductions were made by autoworkers' unions to save U.S. automakers and their members' jobs. Won't Oregon teachers' unions do the same to save our children's education and their own members' jobs (Pay freezes may limit damage, April 23)?
Cutting the school year or laying off teachers - that's all we hear. Hey, Portland school board, think outside the box. A temporary 10 percent compensation cut could solve the problem. What other employers pay $1,000-plus per month for health care or 25 percent of compensation toward retirement? Come on, just by having teachers pay their fair share of benefits like the rest of us, there wouldn't even be a need to cut their salaries.
Show us that union people care about kids.
Improving education will pay off
I just read the McKinsey and Company report on 'The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools,' along with your story 'Region's schools consider big cuts' and your editorial 'Pay freezes may limit damage' (both April 23).
Oregon and the other states need to improve education, not cut teaching positions and days from the school year. The McKinsey report makes clear that United States education lags behind that of most European countries and that the problems with our education system have a huge economic impact - 'the equivalent of a permanent deep recession.'
Clearly, as your editorial states, sacrifices to improve education are needed and will pay off handsomely in the long term. I question, however, whether teachers (and other public employees) should be the only ones to make these sacrifices. We want to attract the best and brightest of our young people to the teaching profession, not frighten them away by asking that teachers bear the main burden of our school financing problems.
The financing of our schools needs a complete overhaul to assure that the quality of education students receive does not depend upon where they live or whether or not they are in school during an economic downturn.
David R. Harrington
Limit credit card billing periods
I'd like to see the maximum number of billing periods be limited to 12 per year (The plastic punch down, April 23). Over the past two decades, the billing period has shrunk from monthly down to 21 calendar days. In effect, they're gouging extra fees out of people and shortening the time allowed to send your payment in on time.
On the other hand, this is exactly why people should bolt for credit unions.
Easy money - just borrow a town car
This article makes it clear that anyone can buy, rent or borrow a town car and start providing transportation service for Portland hotels (A fare fight - taxicabs cry foul, April 16). They do not need a business license, permit or insurance because the city of Portland has no power to take you off the street. The police will not tow you. The most that will happen is you will get fined by the city. You don't have to pay the fines, and if you keep working after they revoke your business license, there is nothing the city can do about it.
Does anyone find it odd that a person with no vendor's license selling hot dogs can be stopped by the Portland police but a person providing transportation service with no license, permit or insurance is immune from police interference?
What's more dangerous - a car accident with no insurance or a hot dog without a business license?
I'm going to borrow my grandma's town car and go to work today as a new town car driver. All I need is $10 to bribe the hotel bellmen to get started.
Anyone desperate for work need not worry. Rent or borrow a town car and go to work today!
Bioscience numbers are not exaggerated
The Oregon Bioscience Association would like to correct the false claim made in last week's article (Bioscience Bust?, May 14) by Peter Korn.
In the article, Korn concluded that exaggerations were made to the data used in the OBA's recent economic impact analysis, 'The Dimensions and Contributions of the Bioscience Industry in Oregon.' It's false to make any claim, intimation or statement that the data are exaggerated or inaccurate.
The data presented in the OBA's 2009 economic-impact analysis were reported using industry-standard, generally accepted, NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes. Bioscience companies, institutions, research universities, suppliers, manufacturers, hospitals and other industries report data using NAICS codes.
NAICS codes are the benchmarks used by Battelle Institute, the international bio industry measurement organization, which uses the same standard across all markets. It's important to note that the data contained in NAICS classifications are self-reported. It's not in the filer's best interest to inaccurately claim or falsely report such statistics.
In its report, EcoNorthwest took extreme care to review and analyze this data using the same measurement and benchmarks elsewhere in North America, to effect an apples-to-apples comparison.
Additionally, the jobs and payroll data were taken directly from the Oregon Employment Security department, which is extensively measured and vetted. The first two pages of the 'Dimensions' economic impact analysis clearly explain what data were used and how it was - closely and carefully - analyzed. No augmentation, changes or additions were made to any of the data.
Although the reporter made other inaccurate conclusions in this article, the Oregon Bioscience Association verifies and stands behind the integrity of the data contained in its first ever economic benchmark study, which highlights the rapid and exciting growth of the bio industry in Oregon.
2009 Chairman, Oregon Bioscience Association
vice president/business development, Skanska