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IN REPLY TO CHRISTOPHER Cooney’s unresearched comment (The Mail, 6/2), the Washington Teachers’ Union is very aware of how many members it represents. We currently have 5,207 members who are dedicated to the education of the children in the District of Columbia. Maybe Cooney should address the real issue: If Superintendent Franklin Smith provides teachers with an equitable salary, then perhaps more could afford to withstand the outrageous cost of living in the District and send their children to D.C. public schools. Furthermore, it would help a great deal if the superintendent of the Board of Education showed more respect for teachers by rating and promoting them fairly and equitably, protecting their pension benefits, and honoring their negotiated contract. However, when the starting salary for a teacher is $26,000 (before taxes) and they have children to feed and clothe, they cannot afford to pay Capitol Hill prices for rent or mortgage. Remember, Mr. Cooney, an intelligent response is an informed response. Next time, give the Washington Teachers’ Union a call and we will gladly supply you with all the necessary information you need to make an informed response.

Membership Technician, Washington Teachers’ Union, Downtown