“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” — ­Jacques Barzan

These words seem to indicate the sentiments of Superintendent Bernard Taylor and the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board members toward retirees, as they seek to separate retired teachers and principals from the actively employed teachers’ group insurance plan. The plan Superintendent Taylor is advocating would totally devastate presently retired teachers who gave the most productive years of their lives serving children.

This movement is indicative of Superintendent Taylor’s management style, as evidenced in his former positions. I only hope that School Board members who were educated in EBR would have more regard for educators who helped them to become who they are today.

The public is probably not aware that there are many retirees who retired before 2002 living on an average pension of $1,000 per month, far below poverty level. If they lose the group insurance plan, the effect would be disastrous.

To acquire new insurance, the least possible cost would be approximately $405 per month, which would cover only the insurance premium. Drugs, Co-payments and deductibles would be additional. How could a retiree with a monthly income of $1,000 afford insurance?

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character ?— that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.” — Dr. Martin Luther King

I hope our Board members will take these words to heart as they ponder the fate of our retirees, who gave the best years of their lives endeavoring to make a contribution to mankind, to make the world better for years to come.

If EBRPSS wants to do the honorable thing in upholding the pact it made with its retirees many years ago, it will not follow Superintendent Taylor’s lead, but will vote with conviction to leave retirees as part of the overall teachers’ insurance plan.

Carl Jung once said, “An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” It is the teacher who provides that essential quality for the child.

I have faith that EBRPSS will do the right thing regarding insurance for its retirees. I believe the system wants to follow the Golden Rule and the board will live up to the standard of true decency.

Julia McClendon Law, M.ED

retired principal

Baton Rouge