, Kingston, NH

May 9, 2013

RE: HB 370

Carriage Towne News

---- — RE: HB370

This week’s Carriage Towne News (April 25) contained a letter from an Atkinson resident on the subject of HB370, which would repeal the Education Tax Credit Program.

I found the letter to be informative until the last sentence where the writer revealed a darker tone. There she writes that “the NEA and other teacher unions” are opposed to the Education Tax Credit Program “because it threatens their members’ jobs.” Really? I confess to being woefully ignorant of the relative benefits or faults of the Education Tax Credit Program, but those words I just quoted raised a red flag for me.

Years ago, a wise teacher showed me that, in any conflict of ideas, it is usually a mistake to guess at your opponent’s motives. There are several reasons for this.

First, if you accuse your opponent of acting selfishly, as the letter implies, you create an enemy. (Your opponent does not have to be your enemy!)

Secondly, if you are wrong in your assumption, you are guilty of an injustice. (You just wanted to express your opinion about HB370, not to hurt someone! Isn’t it possible that teachers oppose the Tax Credit Program because they think it weakens public education?)

Thirdly, you have changed the topic. (You wanted to inform readers about the benefits of Education Tax Credits, but now you have shifted their attention to your opinion of teachers and their supposedly selfish motives.)

I am a retired teacher. I admit my bias in favor of this profession. Maybe teachers are worried about their job prospects. Isn’t everybody? But you don’t have to be a teacher to be concerned about funding for public education. You don’t even have to have a child in a public school. Everyone should be concerned. We are all stakeholders in our state’s public schools.

Gene Baldwin