As a citizen and public school teacher, I feel compelled to respond to Richard Sabine’s recent guest column, “Time to get tough with educators” (Feb. 15).

I wonder, would he dare to spout the same vitriol toward our union brothers and sisters in other lines of work? How about the 3,500 individuals who labor at Bath Iron Works, members of Local S6 of the machinists union, or the approximately 1,000 police officers who belong to the Maine Association of Police?

Sabine must feel emboldened by all the attacks on teachers coming from members of the so-called reform movement. By falling for this false narrative of “failing schools and bad teachers,” he contributes nothing to a solution. I would note that his advice to the public about getting involved is simply to “complain.”

Most of us enter the teaching profession because we are called to serve, just like other public servants. Despite our best efforts to reach every student every day, what happens in the classroom is just one small sliver of a child’s life. We see many Maine children who are struggling with real issues, such as hunger, homelessness and neglect.

Every teacher I know would say how easy it is to teach children who come to the classroom with their basic needs met at home.

While Sabine might feel better after venting in public, his screed brings us no closer to solving the real problems that are vexing our schools and communities.

Robin Brooks, Topsham

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