As a public school teacher of 22 years, I'm alarmed at the continuing attacks on our public schools.

Not long ago the Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the prison population because overcrowding violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. I also am aware that for some time it has been unconstitutional in some states for prisons to be without air conditioning.

As a teacher, I have long advocated for air conditioning in all of our classrooms (we are finally scheduled to get air conditioning in our 45-year-old school). I have also been an advocate for smaller class size, yet we are witnessing an increase in the number of students per classroom in our state. Why is it that in our society, our children are thought of less than prisoners?

The latest attack on our association is to take away our ability to negotiate at the bargaining table. Whom do people believe we are bargaining for? I don't know of any teachers who went into this profession expecting to make big bucks, so be assured, we are negotiating for salaries that will allow us to remain in a profession we love. More importantly, we are negotiating to optimize our students' learning environment with smaller and more comfortable classrooms.

It is time for the public to stand up to those who are trying to demonize educators and support our public school teachers.

Connie Sorensen

Salt Lake City