I take great offense at Gov. Paul LePage’s comments recently that teachers are a “dime a dozen.” As someone married to a public school teacher, I witness every day the effort and sacrifice it takes to serve our society in this critical role.

Public school teachers are the backbone of our nation. They are mentors, role models, counselors, substitute parents, and even friends to their students. They work long hours for insufficient pay — and then have to attend town meetings to defend their meager compensation and the “luxuries” of late busses and supplies.

Teachers must maintain their standing through continual education — often during the summers that so many envy with a disdainful, “Yeah but you only work nine months a year.” And teachers face an ever-changing regulatory framework that favors arbitrary black-and-white assessment over the reality of a diverse society and its many challenges and opportunities.

Education is the key to economic freedom. An educated electorate is the bedrock of democracy. We owe our thanks and gratitude to the men and women who take up the challenge of preparing the next generation.

Teachers a “dime a dozen”? Thanks, governor, but it really wasn’t worth a penny for your thoughts.

Rocko Graziano

Readfield