November 18, 2010 11:47:00 AM
If Lowndes County''s teachers were to emit a warm glow, the Mississippi University for Women campus would have been bright as the sun Wednesday afternoon.
Nearly a thousand teachers -- 90 percent of the public and private teachers in the county -- were recognized at a program sponsored by the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link. Kudos to the Link for organizing this effort.
Teachers realize the difference they make; they only need to know the rest of us recognize that fact. They''re on the front lines of lifting up our community through education. That''s too often a tireless, thankless job.
Some teachers came away from Wednesday''s program motivated, calling it a shot in the arm, and appreciating the recognition.
The fact is, Mississippi''s teachers aren''t recognized enough, or compensated enough. Cuts to education budgets have decimated Mississippi''s schools, and further cuts are looming. Our teachers'' salaries are the nation''s lowest. At the same time, they''re being asked to pay more for benefits such as medical insurance.
Many stock their classrooms out of their own pockets.
And, many are the only lifeline some children have -- the only warm glow some children encounter every day. "For some students, you are the only positive influence they have," Allegra Brigham, interim president of MUW, pointed out during the program.
Our teachers get a week off next week, for Thanksgiving break. We hope they use the time to rest and recharge.
The rest of us, when giving thanks, should remember our local teachers, and all they do for our children and our community.
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