New York Post
August 15, 2002

THE FINEST ARE WORTH EVERY PENNY AND MORE

By STEVE DUNLEAVY

August 15, 2002— Even if I thought teachers were doing a good job, which they profoundly are not, I would still feel exactly the same way. And that is: I'd rather die old and stupid than young and smart.

Today, I pray, that this city will recognize that fact. That cops save our lives and protect us into old age.

But for the last 20 years teachers have neglected the young lives of millions of kids whose parents had a misguided faith in the Board of Education, which wouldn't pass muster in Hanoi.

Today's cop rally is not so much about "give me more money."

It's more about: "Gimme a freakin' break and a bit of respect."

Oh, I can see members of the United Federation of Teachers organizing their addled brains right now as I remind the public of a few basic facts.

Based on their work year of 180 days, teachers get paid $32.50 an hour.

Based on the cops work year of 243 days, a police officer gets paid $15.00 an hour.

Starting teachers get paid $39,000 a year upwards to $81,000 a year. Starting cops get paid $31,305 a year upwards to $51,000 a year, in the Patrolman's Benevolent Association scale.

You see, all this wouldn't annoy me so much if any teacher could point his or her finger to success in the abominable way kids have been taught. Failure.

And yet we look at the Police Department and see how they have crunched crime to ashes. Dramatic success.

And yet, cops are going to get the same percentage raise for putting their life on the line as teachers who have put kids' future lives on the line of idiocy.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, will not knock another union. But he makes a simple point: "How is it that our kids can go to school in safety to learn from the better-paid teachers if there are no cops there?

"Today's rally is simply that all the citizens who so generously supported us after 9/11 will come out once again and show the same support."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) has been accused of playing politics with his call to the Bush administration to compensate cops with federal funds allotted for 9/11.

Rubbish. He's got the right idea.

In these last years, I have seen judges play the favorite game of locking up cops; recently we've even seen a numskull of a judge who wanted to identify an undercover cop, which surely would have made him a target in a shooting gallery. Now we have a city administration that wants to tell us that teachers who fail should be better paid than cops who succeed.

Yes, I can see the teachers right now checking the dictionary on how to spell the outrage in the letters they will write me.