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July 16, 2015

When the Grass is Greener

Harry M. Covert

One of the great reasons to live in Frederick is the reasonable cost of living, lovely homes and mighty nice people. Plus, expenses in other counties like Montgomery, Howard or Prince George’s can be considered outrageous.

The latest complaints about Frederick involve teachers’ salaries and how they are far behind the other jurisdictions.

Well, now, lots of citizens, who love amenities hereabouts, force themselves to commute to the higher salaried environs; and, it can be added, the complex and difficult professional conditions elsewhere are painful.

Everybody has heard the “grass is always greener across the street and more expensive, too.” That’s the thought from those classroom educators who want their cake and eat it, too. Frederick County schools are pretty good.

Local schools on all levels are to be complimented for their good work, care of the curriculum and the little minds eager to grow and prepare for the unknown future.

Usually teachers and colleagues can always find higher paid positions elsewhere. But they don’t have all the ancillary trials and tribulations outside of Frederick?

Certainly there are good reasons for more pay and benefits and retirement packages. But, dedicated educators usually don’t prepare to teach “readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic” for high remunerations. That’s why so many take on secondary positions in various available youth activities or marry those in higher professional pay grades.

This may be old thinking, but most taxpayers in Frederick City and County are average people, born and raised locally, received good educations, have matriculated to higher learning institutions and returned home to raise families and roots in a “land of pleasant living.”

Certainly a “servant is worthy of his/her hire.” Even though lots of Frederick County school teachers and administrators may jump away from the friendly confines, they give up the calm and steady professionalism they enjoy here.

There are lots of college graduates looking for teaching positions. Count the number of colleges and universities in the state and surrounding Middle Atlantic area. These eager young people have good opportunities in Frederick. They are offered good packages of health, dental and educational benefits. The system offers incredible money to pursue master’s degrees. If they remain until retirement, they’ll earn more than a gold watch.

These paragraphs are not intended to be niggardly toward educators or to those responsible for the public school system. While teachers’ pay is always a good political catch-word, as good as citing police pay, Fredericktonians are not like the rest of the state where troubles constantly overflow.

Most “come heres” like the quaintness and uptown lifestyles, lower costs of living, easier entertainment styles and, in a general sense and with just a few exceptions, crime free streets and roads and communities.

The education business does require lots of sacrifice by principals, classroom tutors, sports coaches, music teachers and supportive staffs. It is not similar to commerce and industrial jobs or farming and breeding horses and cows and swine.

Educators are an honored and special breed. They are not in any way shape or form nonentities. They are those who prepare children from pre-school to high school for collegiate learning where they become doctors, lawyers, writers, bankers, real estate magnates, inventors, creators and politicians on all levels.

In the middle of summer some teachers may be resigning, retiring or taking on new careers, but the vast majority are preparing for that onslaught and fun with students in the Fall.

So, more computers, laptops and iPhones to come.

No one remembers the opening days when dip pens (?) inkwells (?) and No. 2 lead pencils were the main supplies. Any youngster who dared sneak in a ballpoint pen could not write their papers about “What I did during the summer.” A ball point pen? The teacher explained the school board will never approve such a thing.

And, “no you are too young to typewrite.”

Will teachers’ unions or associations last? Probably. Some even get elected as council members.

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