California Educator

March 2016

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Y O U R O P I N I O N S A N D L E T T E R S A R E W E L C O M E ! There is a 250-word limit, and all letters will be edited. If you send photos or other materials, identifications and permissions are required. Letters must include your name along with your address, daytime telephone number or email address. Email feedback R E A D E R CO N T E S T: T H E P E T S O F C TA Enter Fluffy or Fido in the Pets of CTA contest! We're look- ing for special photos of members and their best friends, be they furry, finny, scaly — you get the idea. Show us their good side in two or three portraits or action pics, and you may win a $50 gi card for school supplies. Photos should show both member and pet, though we will consider pets alone. Send to with "Pets of CTA" in the subject line; include your name, chapter and pet's name. Alternatively, tweet or Instagram your entry: @cateachersassoc #petsofcta. Enter by March 25. We'll pick three winners based on creativity, photography and animal magnetism. And we'll run a gallery of entrants in our May issue. S C E N T E D I S D E M E N T E D Numerous teachers and admin- istrators are forced to breathe in fragrances simply because students insist on contaminating common-air space. Fragrance is a $6 billion per year business in the United States, with marketing that specifically targets teenagers. Students' sense of entitle- ment is based on advertising, which guarantees a more good-looking, attractive personal presence, general adultness, and undeniable sensuality. This is seriously heady stuff, hard to argue against. But studies document that the sharp, sweet scent of benzene, a secret ingredient in synthetic fragrance, swily pierces the blood- brain barrier, causing immediate discomfort in the form of nagging headaches, bloodshot eyes, dizzi- ness, loss of concentration and dry sinuses, and may have other effects, such as triggering an asthma attack. Long-term exposure to fragrance ingredients can cause respiratory disease, cancer, hormonal disruption and genetic damage. If environmental justice were easy, every school would enthusiastically enforce a clean air policy. I know a teacher who starts each class with a breath meditation, makes sure her room is well-ventilated, and enlists help from parents to incorporate a lot of green plants to grace her space. I know another teacher who doesn't see herself in the role of fragrance police. The minute you step inside her classroom, the air is noticeably chemical-laden. It does not feel like a welcoming learning environment. Which classroom environment would you prefer? ROBERTA LAWRINSKY United Educators of San Francisco F R I E D R I C H S V. C TA : LOW E R WAG E S The disgruntled Rebecca Friedrichs erroneously believes the world will be improved when all workplaces are union-free, and therefore subject to so-called right-to-work rules. However, a report by the University of Notre Dame Higgins Labor Study Program found that such rules result in lower wages and benefits for union and non-union workers alike. Be careful what you wish for, Ms. Friedrichs. A Supreme Court ruling in your favor could very well lower the living standards for millions of hardworking public servants, your- self included. DAVID G. ODDO Retired CTA President Eric Heins with Ophelia. Extra Credit answers (see page 52) Monday: 1. cheapest = chest + ape; 2. cologne = cone + log; 3. mosquitoes = Moses + Quito; 4. travesty = tray + vest. Tuesday: 1. changeless = chess + angel; 2. narrowest = nest + arrow; 3. patients = pants + tie; 4. rudiment = runt + dime. Wednesday: 1. clambake = cake + lamb; 2. fawningly = fly + awning; 3. freelance = France + eel; 4. opinion = onion + pi. (AFL-CIO) 3 March 2016

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