I am writing in support of Brunswick School Superintendent Paul Perzanoski and his letter that criticized Gov. LePage and the education agenda that his policies represent (“School chief defends his lambasting of Gov. LePage,” Aug. 23).

In particular, I would like to address those who have suggested that Mr. Perzanoski shouldn’t have inserted himself into the political arena and that he should just “focus on teaching.”

It is important for the public to understand that educators would love to only focus on teaching. Unfortunately, recent trends across the country make that impossible.

First, there are the specific actions that are being taken that make teaching more difficult.

Over the last few decades, politicians have inserted themselves into the classroom in a negative fashion by promoting the use of high-stakes testing, cutting support for arts and music, and increasing the number of unfunded mandates, to name just a few examples.

As the new twist on the old saying goes: “Those who can’t teach pass laws about teaching.”

It doesn’t stop there. Politicians have not just taken steps to make teaching harder. They’ve failed to take steps that would make teaching easier.

Inaction has been just as devastating as action. Systemic child poverty and an outdated and unjust school funding system are just two examples of issues that politicians could be acting on to make a positive contribution to the teaching environment in our schools.

Overwhelmed and frustrated by the failings of the political class, Mr. Perzanoski is merely pushing back.

Tom Walsh

Portland

When Brunswick Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski said, “There comes a time when you have to stand up and say enough is enough,” he hit the proverbial nail on the head.

As a retired educator, I have had it with the education rhetoric of our governor. It would be one thing if he had experience as an educator before spouting off such things as Maine students are “looked down upon” by out-of-state colleges. Where in God’s name did LePage come up with that statement?

When the governor’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, called Perzanoski’s comments “wildly inappropriate” and “defamatory,” I laughed out loud thinking of the phrase, “The pot calling the kettle black.”

After all, who knows more about “inappropriate” and “defamatory” than LePage himself? Isn’t he the person who previously said of the NAACP, “Tell them to kiss my butt”?

Our governor, I believe, was elected with a staggering 38 percent of the votes cast in the last election. He needs to be careful when he utters statistics, since 38 percent doesn’t exactly give him a mandate to speak on behalf of the citizens of Maine.

The road to improvement in education isn’t to privatize education such as charter schools. Education isn’t a business such as Microsoft or General Motors. It is a unique element in our society that captures all the elements of life.

Schools are places where the curriculum is only one part of the whole pie. Students learn about others, deal with differences, learn to communicate and generally give and earn respect.

My hat goes off to Mr. Perzanoski. As a graduate of Brunswick High School, Class of 1967, I look back with fond memories at what public education gave me.

Jerry Thibeault

Scarborough

Cemetery restoration effort compromised by vandalism

This paper and many other media outlets recently published the story of the dedication of the new stones and memorial bench at the Grand Trunk Cemetery by Girl Scout Troop 2051 and the city (“Dignity restored to veterans’ burial site,” Aug. 5).

It seems not everyone was pleased with the new additions, as the memorial plaque and the kiosk were recently vandalized by someone. It takes a very mean-spirited and ignorant person to vandalize a graveyard. I hope they are smart enough to read this letter, although I doubt it.

If you are a neighbor of this ancient graveyard, dating back to the Revolutionary War, I hope you will help us protect this part of our history. If you are one of the vandals, shame on you.

The police have agreed to help us watch the cemetery, and there may be a surprise waiting for anyone who decides they must party in or damage this area. It is a cemetery and is closed after dark.

Joel W. Chapman

volunteer, Girl Scout Troop 2051

Portland

Cut to ‘paltry’ $20 million for Leno stirs no sympathy

While I read the Telegram, the tears slowly cascaded down the sides of my nose and darkened the newsprint that encompassed the article about Jay Leno of “The Tonight Show” taking a “substantial” pay cut (Aug. 19).

The story reports that Mr. Leno reportedly makes between $25 million and $30 million per year. NBC has decided to make cuts within the production staff due to decreases in the show’s budget. My tears were those of sorrow in that I do not know how he’ll get by on his new salary of a reported $20 million.

Oh, I suppose he could buy one or two less insanely expensive automobiles or start bringing a brown bag for lunch. He could try some market brand foods vs. the well-known brands or shop at Goodwill in order to get by.

While a good portion of the country is still unemployed and many others have learned to get by with half the salary they used to make, I find no sympathy for Leno or any other outrageously paid entertainers and athletes.

If you do indeed find that you cannot get by on the paltry sum of $20 million a year, then drop me a line. I’ll see if I can take up a collection for you.

Scott Plummer

South Casco

Benefit organizers should choose words more carefully

Recently I saw the entry form and shirt promoting the Fight Back Festival, a benefit for the Cancer Community Center to be held at Pineland Farms in September.

I was appalled to see their logo, “Not Dead Yet.” For anyone battling cancer, this is not something to be reminded of.

Having lost my husband to cancer and with a grandson battling leukemia, I feel it is an offensive remark.

P.S. Seeing this in print hopefully will give the organizers some thought for a change.

Elizabeth Callan

Brunswick