Forum: Teachers fall guys in debate
June 28, 2012 8:20PM
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:30AM
Considering how the media has reported on the issue of teacher pensions, the negative sentiment toward teachers doesn’t surprise me. I’d like to offer some facts regarding this issue.
Teachers didn’t cause their pension system’s deficit. The state’s required payment into its five pension systems has ballooned because the General Assembly failed to make the required payments over several decades. If this were done with a private-sector pension system, it would be considered criminal.
A teacher’s pension isn’t “gravy” on top of Social Security. They don’t receive Social Security. Their pension is their retirement income. Teachers contribute 9.4 percent of their annual salary into the pension fund — higher than those who pay into Social Security — and pending legislation would increase that to 12.4 percent.
If the federal government proposed cutting Social Security benefits or significantly increasing employee contributions, I wonder how private-sector employees would react. Would they think it was fair?
The Legislature’s proposed pension reform also calls for transferring the state’s payments to the Teachers’ Retirement System to local school districts. This would be disastrous. The state has cut education funding. Most school districts can’t afford additional costs, especially such potentially heavy ones.
Rather than cutting benefits to address the multibillion-dollar shortage in Illinois’ long-term pension funding, the General Assembly must look at raising revenue, such as through a progressive income tax similar to the federal income tax. Please consider contacting your legislators and asking them to oppose the pending pension reform legislation and support a progressive Illinois income tax.
Alcohol, pregnancy don’t mix
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) refer to physical and mental birth defects that may develop when expectant mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Alcohol is one of the few known causes of birth defects that produce retardation. It is certainly 100 percent preventable. Babies born with FAS or FASD are abnormally small at birth and usually do not catch up as they age. They may suffer from a variety of organ malformations, particularly of the heart and brain.
In the United States, as many as 40,000 babies are born each year with an FASD. A baby gets as much alcohol as a mother drinks, but because an unborn baby’s liver is immature, it cannot break it down..
Drinking alcohol also can increase the risk of other problems such as a miscarriage between the fourth and sixth months of pregnancy.
Women planning a pregnancy should stop consuming alcohol before attempting to conceive and should abstain throughout pregnancy and nursing. Women who drink and have unplanned pregnancies should abstain as soon as they suspect they are pregnant.
Chairman, Young Children Priority One and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness
Kiwanis Club of Blue Island
Chicago’s plan isn’t working
As a retired police officer, I know one of the hardest things to accomplish is to try to explain human
The mayor of Chicago, almost every Monday after a weekend of unprecedented violence, feels the need to do just that.
To his everlasting credit, his visits to the families of the victims are most touching. He really does care. However, to say over and over again that the plans to stem the violence are working is beginning to insult even the most naive listener or viewer.
I know it has to hurt to hear that the city you love and lead is more dangerous than Afghanistan, but please stop telling us the “plan” is working.
It clearly is not, and all the spin will not stem the violence.
Credit belongs to the people in the arena, the people who are trying to get this thing under control, but the only plan I can see that’s working is to keep saying it’s working until next year — when the statistics will be up against this year’s horrendous stats. Then let the back pats begin.
Retired Chicago police lieutenant