Letter to the editor: Stand up for students – Question 2

To the editor: My name is Bernard Paradis and I have taught science at UMFK and SAD No. 27 for many years. I am semi-retired, which means I still teach some courses. I have always enjoyed teaching, even though it has to be the hardest job I have ever done.

I enjoy working with students, young and old, and helping them learn. It is hard, because it takes a lot of preparation and a lot of correcting has to be done. Many of my students have different learning styles and even special needs, which I have to take into consideration as I prepare to guide them in their learning. I may have to give them more time to do assessments. I also know my parents keep thanking me for all I do for their children.

I wish I could do more, but there is a problem that affects teachers like me and our students and their parents all over Maine. In rural Maine the differences are particularly acute.

In 2004, a measure was passed that would fund schools at 55 percent of educational funding in Maine. The mark is missed year after year and the students are the ones who suffer. But we have a solution – Question 2 would add a surcharge to the top 2 percent of our wealthiest people in Maine. Right now someone making $40,000 and someone making a million dollars are taxed at the same rate. How is that fair? All across Maine our vocational tech programs are being cut. Those cuts impact our kids who need to find good paying jobs – plumbers, contractors, and electricians.

Shouldn’t we improve our educational offerings so that more of our present graduates could fill these jobs?

Maybe we should think of this tax increase not as a burden on the wealthiest, but an investment on their part in the future of their state. According to what I read this would bring in about $157 million of extra revenue for the state, enough to increase state funding to education to the 55 percent that was promised more than a decade ago. With a better-educated work pool, businesses could expand, giving their owners more profit. Maybe this could be thought of as ‘Trickle Up’ economics?

Bernard Paradis
Fort Kent

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