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Teachers need the respect they deserve

For years, Alabama teachers have been known as some of the lowest paid professionals in the nation. According to the most recent national poll, Alabama teacher's are currently ranked 48 out of 50 on the pay scale.

Teacher's pay is equivalent to a department manager at a retail outlet or a delivery driver for a snack vending company.

Earlier this week it was announced that the Alabama Education Association (AEA) is pushing for a seven percent cost-of-living raise for teachers to begin the 2005-06 year. If the raise is implemented teachers would earn $2,462 more a year.

It's about time!

Earlier this year, the state Board of Education requested money in the 2005-06 budget to hire more than 1,000 new teachers, counselors, librarians and assistant principals to get Alabama’s staffing levels up to those recommended by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This too is long overdue.

For example, math and science teachers have some of the same training that some engineers have to endure, but an engineer is hired on with a company for thousands of dollars more than a teacher. The starting pay is understandable, but the increase in, pay say after 10 years, would be double for an engineer, while a teacher's salary only increases a couple of a thousand dollars, give or take a few cost-of-living raises.

Teachers deserve respect, not only from their students, but from the state. Educators assure our state continues to prosper by producing tomorrow's leaders. Who do you think teaches the

engineers?

At one point, Alabama had the hardest graduation standards in the nation, while teachers pay remained near the lowest. Teachers' salaries need to be carefully reviewed.

For education employees, the last cost-of-living raise was 3 percent in October 2002.

Be Safe Over Holidays

As many in the world prepare to celebrate the birthday of Christ, we musts take the opportunity here in Crenshaw County to offer words of caution on how some will celebrate the season.

It's quite simple.

If you drink, don't drive. If you’re heading to a party, make sure you have a designated driver and if you don't, make arrangements to stay the night.

As the host of a party, be sure your guests have a way home or can stay overnight. Also, make sure there’s plenty of food available, especially high-protein food, and have nonalcoholic beverages for designated drivers. You should also stop serving alcohol 90 minutes before the party ends. Also, make one person the bartender and have him or her serve drinks all night so he can monitor alcohol intake.

Christmas is intended to be the celebration of the birth of Christ and we do not wish for anyone to have to mark the memory of a loved one lost to drunk driving ever year.

We also don't want someone to sit in prison for not obeying the law.