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April 04, 2011

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Mike Huben

Thank you for an excellent clarification.

But the grandmother's comment still doesn't sound right for several reasons.

First off, 25th is not so bad.

Second, the furloughs are new and present in only a few states. The ranking has been there for quite a while, and could not be due to the furloughs.

Your characters are supposed to be well-informed, and this is a mistake.

Still, you could use this as an opening for an interesting theme of exploring the problems of low school performance in a series of future strips. It would be great if the grandmother could be shown backing down from that position and finding a more realistic one with her daughters. The folks who find fault with public schools are die-hards, and never publicly admit they are wrong.

I think it's great that you are shaming Oregon for a policy that is blatantly shortchanging students. Just a tiny change and it would have been clear what you meant, even to out-of-staters.

Kathie Hledik

Thank you for the clarification. As an Oregon educator in your own community, I am dismayed, too, by the sorry state of school funding here. Since I interpreted your comic strip today the same way as others, that teachers are "getting" something desirable with furlough days, I was ready to argue the point. But I appreciate your defense of hard-working teachers and agree completely with your assessment.

B. Grimm

I wish you would clarify this for readers throughout the country. As an Ohio teacher, I was sure these past two strips were yet another attempt to vilify public school teachers. Your blog explains it is not. But, how many people will take the time to look this up and read it? Thanks.

Elena Piexoto

Perhaps you should not use this as a subject matter for your comics at all. This is a touchy subject amongst teachers, and not humorous at all. Furlough days are in actuality days in which teachers are FORCED to take days off, due to budget cuts. That means that teachers DO NOT GET PAID for these days. Just to clarify, these are teachers that are supporting families, trying to make a decent living. Asking them to take a mandatory day off is no laughing matter.

No matter your intent, your character's comments are still hurtful to teachers, . It makes it sound as if furlough days are the only reason their children seem to be ill-educated. What are the parents doing at home, beside making wisecracks and smart comments? Why don't they read to their child, take them to a museum, or play a trivia or spelling board game?

Bad taste, plain and simple.

Jan Eliot

Although most of my readers understand my position on the problems in education, and that I am a huge supporter of teachers, others were led to a different conclusion after reading installments ofStone Soupthis week.Believe me, when I put Furlough Days in my strip, I was not attacking teachers. How many furlough days do they get? refers to the kids being home, another day off from school, not to teachers getting something. I am keenly aware of the difficulties teachers face in their classrooms on a daily basis. Furthermore, furlough days, whether in our schools or city government or elsewhere, are forced, unpaid days. I thought that it would be clear that I view these as a negative on all counts, not a vacation day or some kind of benefit for teachers. But unfortunatelyfor some readers, in the shorthand of a comic strip, it was not.The strips were intended to touch on the waste of furlough days... a waste of precious time during which kids should be learning, not sitting at home. This is an extension of my view that scrimping on education as a way to solve budget deficit issues is misguided, as we will be creating a completely different, and more damaging, kind of deficit in the next generation.School closures and furlough days are a huge issue for our community on another level. Sacred Heart, local industry, the University of Oregon and other businesses will soon find it difficult to attract qualified professionals to Eugene. Surgeons, professors, scientists and others who could contribute to the growth and liveability or our community will look first to see if this is a suitable place for their families. Without quality schools, Eugene is a hard sell.You cant go wrong supporting teachers and schools.

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