Thursday, October 18, 2007

RH Jones: The ethics of supporting HB 315

From RH Jones, October 18, 2007
To all:
Ethical to support HB 315?
One might ask: Is it ethical for both professionally active & retired Ohio public school educators to campaign for the passage of a HB315 when it provides health care (HC) for retired educators? For the following reasons, I think it is ethical:
First, unlike charter schools, children are not commodities to be exploited for profit. Professionally trained, at their own expense, educators supply a commodity: their expertise to train all the children, of all the people, for their futures, and the future of Ohio. Professional educator retirement is not retirement without school districts supplying them with proper funding for their HC. The most competent educators, therefore, are attracted to school systems in states that do offer a reasonably secure retirement HC funding. Our Ohio public school children are shortchanged on teacher quality without a retired educator HC set in law.
Secondly, the business climate is not attractive to communities that do not have quality schools staffed by quality educators attracted, in part, by retirement HC.
Thirdly, in today’s times, jobs are not being created & available to the uneducated. Educators do the educating and educator retiree HC is needed to maintain staffing.
Thirdly, in a time of increased assaults, and shootings of educators, as any other profession (Police/Fire, etc.) that incurs violence, needs retirement HC to provide for their physical & mental rehabilitation. (Note: my first year of teaching was done at Akron Kenmore Jr. High, way before Innis Jr. High opened, I was hired to replace a teacher who had a “mental breakdown” - at term used at that time. Would it be ethical to not provide that teacher with retiree HC?)
Fourth: To be ethical is one of the most high of the human condition. All of us fail; even an NASA astronaut recently failed and had a “mental breakdown”. Educators fail also; the news media pounces on those stories rather quickly. Therefore, being a public professional is usually more newsworthy than the general citizen. Especially when being involved with educating children is not without its risk of frivolous prosecution. Retired educator HC is therefore a need. An astute voter would not miss this fact; they would vote for those politicians that support retired educator HC.
Finally, there are a number of other reasons that one can innumerate that would give a strong case for the passage of HB315. To answer the question: Is it ethical for an educator, even one who may in retirement, it is beyond a doubt that working hard to pass this most need legislation (HB315) is definitely ethical and it is the moral thing to do. Most professional educators have a Lifetime Certificate to teach. We are, hence, teachers until death. For educators to support any issue that benefits all of the citizenry, such as HB315, is most definitely ethical for educators, and a responsibility of their position in a civilized society. To do otherwise would be unethical & just plain wrong.
RHJones, A STRS retired member
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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