---- — CHEERS to all the teachers who spent time during the summer preparing for the school year that starts this week. You hear some people complain that educators have it easy because they have the summer off, but frankly we don’t know many teachers who don’t spend part of their vacation working on school matters. Some of those teachers are paid to put in extra time on committees or special projects. But we are aiming this cheer at those who work all year round at educating because they care so much about the children and families they will work with. Many teachers scour garage sales over the summer for good-condition items that can be used in their classrooms. Others keep an eye out for bargains on supplies that they want but know the school can’t provide. Some spend time mapping out or adjusting lesson plans. Numerous teachers, this summer, were planning portfolios for the new evaluation demands they face. A number of them were in schools sprucing up and individualizing their classrooms. Teachers can sometimes be targets of criticism from frustrated taxpayers, taking public heat because they are unfortunate enough to be the faces of an education system that appears, at times, to be dysfunctional. But most teachers are professional, highly educated and nurturing individuals who want to see their students succeed — not because of any rating system imposed by the federal or state government but because they truly care about our kids. We send appreciation and best wishes to all teachers at the start of another school year.
JEERS to stores that make a pretense of being friends of the environment while wasting excess paper at the cash register. More often these days, clerks ask customers if they would like a bag for their purchases, presumably to help save the environment, yet stores waste a wealth of paper for their receipts. One recent receipt for a $2.05 purchase at Rite Aid measured a total 17 inches, with just 5 1/2 inches with the actual itemization of items and costs. The rest offered a chance for a prize in exchange for feedback on store service, a “thank you for using your Wellness card” and an ad promoting a sale on greeting cards. A receipt from Dollar General for 14 items costing $16.74 devoted 6 inches for that information and another 10 inches to a $5 off coupon and an ad for Dish Network. Those are just two examples; it happens at most stores these days. Granted, receipts offer an opportunity to entice further business with coupons or small ads, but stores that ask about needing a bag in one breath and hand over a lengthy receipt in the next seems a bit hypocritical.
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