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Letters: Angry Teachers And A Clattering Coaster

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A story about teachers rallying for respect draws both criticism and praise from listeners, and a Kansas woman writes that a story about a Santa Cruz roller coaster brought her right back to the boardwalk of her youth.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: And I'm Michele Norris. And it's time now for your letters.

And many of you wrote in response to our story yesterday about teachers rallying for respect.

BETSY LEIS: I give my heart and my soul to every single student in my classroom. And all I see on the news is that we aren't doing our job. We are constantly beat down. That's why I'm angry.

NORRIS: That's been a schoolteacher Betsy Leis.

Well, Kenneth Gardner of Woodstock, Illinois, felt he didn't hear enough from people like Ms. Leis. He says that he taught for 36 years and is still working with teachers. And he writes: Imagine how excited I was when I heard a tease for a segment on teachers expressing their anger. It literally turned into a driveway moment. Then, what do I hear? I hear brief comments by two teachers, then two commentators talking about teachers. Too bad. What could have been a really informative segment turned into another opportunity to beat up on teachers.

BLOCK: And Christina Verba(ph) of New Milford, Connecticut, writes this: Thank you for taking the time to share how hurt and angry we teachers are, as a whole, over the whole blame game of politics and public education.

She did however take issue with our decision to include in the debate over tenure in the story. She, like many of you, felt we tried to pack too much into too little time. Ms. Verba concludes: Leave the hot button issues for another story, and help remind the public that we teachers are human beings, not budget items.

NORRIS: Finally, Mary Margaret Simpson brightened up our inbox. She heard our Summer Sound yesterday about the Giant Dipper, a famous roller coaster on the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk.


NORRIS: Ms. Simpson says she's lived in Kansas for more than 30 years, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. And on hearing the sound of that coaster, she had a visceral reaction.

She writes: The smell of salt, the tangy taste of Ruth's hot dog, the slight sting of a mild sunburn, and the clattering of the Giant Dipper inching its way to the top - I was driving down a country road outside of Lawrence, Kansas, and at the age of 60 I wanted to thrust both arms up into the air and scream we're going to die.

Thank you.

BLOCK: Thank you. And please keep writing. Just go to and click on Contact Us.

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