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Letters: ‘A Christmas Carol’ plays out in US companies; diverse teacher workforce critical; Trump’s comments not joke

Benefit packages in U.S. can rival ‘A Christmas Carol’

Scrooge: “You’ll want all day tomorrow, I’ll suppose?”

Cratchit: “If quite convenient Sir.”

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Scrooge: “It’s not convenient, and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half a crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound.”

Cratchit: Smiles, but says nothing.

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Scrooge: “And yet, you don’t think ME ill-used when I pay a day’s wages for no work.”

Cratchit: It only comes once a year, Sir.”

Scrooge: A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December. But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning…”

One hundred seventy-eight years after “A Christmas Carol” was published, we still have employers whose “benefit packages” are even worse than Scrooge’s. Too many of our workers are still abused, underpaid, receive no benefits to speak of, are awarded no vacation days, no health benefits, and no sick or family leave. In this country, places where this can continue are referred to as “business friendly.”

Now, consider the situation in Finland. Soviet-style nanny state it is not. But here’s what they do have — universal health care without confusing paperwork and huge bills, public day care available for about $300 dollars a month, (as good a quality as anything you could ever find here), paid parental leave, free high-quality K-12 education for all students regardless of ZIP code, tuition-free college, and paid vacation of at least four weeks a year. They can afford it but we can’t?

Finns consistently rank as some of the happiest people in the world, and they enjoy higher levels of personal and political freedom. Finland is one of the wealthiest societies on the planet and is home to some of the world’s most successful corporations. They do better on most “business-friendly” and free market indexes, they do better at protecting private property, and they are more open to trade and capital flows.

There is a good chance the person who is serving you coffee this morning either is finishing the night shift and will then go to their day job, or maybe it’s the other way around, and there is no safety net if anyone gets sick or if the car breaks down. I hope you don’t think that is the way it has to be. This should be what our next election is all about.

Gary Foote

Westminster

Diverse teacher workforce critical for student success

I agree wholeheartedly with your recent editorial on teacher diversity in Carroll County (“Improving teacher diversity critical for Carroll County Public Schools,” Nov. 26). In The New Teacher Project’s two decades of work recruiting, training, and supporting 50,000 educators across the country, we’ve found that few things are more critical for student success than a diverse teacher workforce.

One proven strategy is creating high-quality alternative pathways to the teaching profession — something we’ve been proud to bring to Maryland through the Baltimore City Teacher Residency (BCTR), created in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools. Since launching the program in 2002, we’ve trained over 2,000 teachers in Baltimore City across all subject areas. Today, 1 in 10 teachers in Baltimore City were trained through BCTR.

Teacher diversity has been a priority for BCTR since the beginning. But in recent years we’ve redoubled our efforts by working to remove barriers that prevent prospective teachers of color from entering the profession, including the financial burden and certification requirements that disproportionately prohibit teachers of color from entering the classroom. And it’s working: this year 65% of BCTR participants identify as teachers of color, the highest diversity rate in the history of the program.

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While we’re proud of what we’re accomplished, there is so much more to be done to create a strong and diverse teacher workforce. We’re glad to see Carroll County take up this challenge, and are eager to help in any way we can.

Garima Bhatt Handley

Ellicott City

Trump’s comments about women no joking matter

Trump’s most recent demeaning of women, including the Speaker of the House, is no joke.

Trump's grabber comments, among his other comments demeaning women in other professions, the physically challenged, those of different national origin, those who have religious beliefs, LGBT, those in the military service and the parents of a son who died fighting for our freedoms and to uphold and protect the United States Constitution may not be impeachable offenses, but the position of President requires a leader of all the people all the time.

Certainly, Democrats, Republicans and Independents can join together and make America whole again by electing a leader to replace him.

John D. Witiak

Union Bridge

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