In One Eye

Sunday, June 22, 2003
Gadding about the largely newsless Courant on a Sunday morning ...
[Joseph Liberman], an observant Jew, will not work during the Sabbath or on major Jewish holidays. That has not hurt him in the past; in 1994, for instance, he was nominated for his Senate seat in absentia, on a Friday night, by Connecticut Democrats.

In 2000, his absences had no discernible effect when he ran for vice president. Throughout his Senate career, he has attended rare crucial votes on the Sabbath - but would not ride home or talk to the media.
I've said this before: this will hurt him as he runs for the nomination. If I were a candidate, I'd certainly make it an issue: If he becomes President, what will happen when a crisis on Saturday occurs?

God, I wish I could say this was surprising:
A high school teacher arrested earlier this week on charges he had sex with a student was arrested again Friday for allegedly having sex with a second student.

Frank Bencivengo, 34, a teacher and baseball coach at Morgan High School in Clinton, was arrested at his home in Madison on second-degree sexual assault. The newer allegations pertain to a former female student at the high school.
On a related topic, I see that teachers are paid too much. (Mr. Bencivengo, of course, attempted to get something extra.)
The average [pay] increase is 4.5 percent in the most recent [teachers'] contract, according to CCM statistics, and does not include pay increases when a teacher moves up another step on the seniority scale. The average for unionized government employees, by contrast, is 3.25 percent, the statistics show.
The figures may not lie, but that hasn't been my experience.

Of course, there's the obligatory reference to the "bad economy." Of course, comparable benefits are never offered during good times.
Skeptical union leaders say teachers are being targeted unfairly.

"I'm not buying how desperate the situation is," said Barbara Smyth, president of Local 871 of the Connecticut Federation of Educational and Professional Employees, the union representing New Britain's 840 teachers, social workers, psychologists and guidance counselors. "I know it isn't good, but if things were that bad they would be cutting services."

Working with the children they do in New Britain, Smyth said, is not easy for teachers. That fact has to be reflected in what teachers are paid or they won't stay, she said.
No matter what, it's a tricky situation with myriad ramifications. Urban districts are hurting for staff. There has to be some enticement for people to start and stay in an urban setting. Salary and benefits can help provide those enticements. Yet, it's those same districts that seem the most strapped for cash.

Today's op-ed pieces don't seem to be on the Web. I'll have to read them in the newspaper.