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Elementary school teachers play important role

Robert Firchock Oakland
Wednesday October 02, 2002

To the Editor, 

Among the reports of the employment dispute at UC Berkeley, both in the Daily Planet and in other media, the observation has been made that lecturers are paid less than “local grade school teachers” (Daily Planet, Aug. 29). I have no independent knowledge of the issues at UC and am not an educator, but allow me to suggest that using this disparity to argue for a pay raise contains a false premise that should not go unchallenged. Elementary school teachers should be paid more than university lecturers. Quite frankly, I think their jobs are more important. In fact, after parents, I believe elementary teachers are the most critical actors in our educational scheme, charged with the primary care and intellectual feeding of our youngest children as they begin to learn to take on their roles and responsibilities in society. Lecturers may well be underpaid, but to suggest that they should get a raise because they are paid less than elementary school teachers misplaces our priorities and misstates our society’s educational needs.  


Robert Firchock