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Layoffs will hurt both teachers and students

I am writing in response and agreement with the letter “Pols must start supporting teachers” by John Amato in the March 24-30 issue of TimesLedger Newspapers.

When I watched President Barack Obama address the country a few months ago, I was amazed as to how much of an emphasis he put on education and how much he seemed to support teachers and the roles they play every day in the lives of our children.

But the continuous talk of layoffs among teachers is devastating to our profession. It causes our teachers to constantly worry and agonize about their job security for the future. It causes school officials and staff to start to consider something they do not even want to have to think about: How will the impending threat of class sizes increasing affect our children and the teachers who teach them? This is something school communities should not have to deal with, especially when we have more than a $3 billion surplus that can and should be used for education.

If teachers are laid off and class sizes increased, the children of our city will suffer. Studies have shown that the smaller the class size, the more individual attention a student can get. As a teacher, I have had the opportunity in the past to teach a class of only 16 students. I cannot begin to describe how I felt. I was able to reach my students on a daily basis where it was more challenging for me in a class of more than 30.

I also want to make a point about the elected officials that I have dealt with in the past. I have had nothing but positive contacts with state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who represents me, as well as City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who represents the district in which I teach.

In fact, I have a letter from Stavisky hanging in my classroom. This letter was her response to one I wrote to her, reiterating her support of teachers, no need for layoffs and the importance the teaching profession holds to her. It is support like this that gives teachers the strength to go on during these challenging times.

Diane Yodice

Whitestone

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