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If we truly valued teachers, we'd pay them more

To the editor: I am the son, grandson and nephew of teachers and I am fortunate to be the husband of a teacher. Teachers work hard and truly make a profound difference in the lives of their students. They are wonderful people to have in your life. ("Why veteran teachers aren't surprised young people are shunning the profession," Feb. 15)

I have a daughter who I am proud to say graduated from college this year and is now employed with a school district. She is a hard worker, gifted and talented, but she is not cut from the same vocational cloth as her mother. She is a data systems analyst and she has been hired at almost twice the salary of a first-year teacher in her district and very close to the salary of her mother.

Her mother has a master's degree and is in her 11th year of teaching. She is a highly regarded teacher, but given the wage discrepancy, can it be said she is truly and fully valued as an educator?

Scott Hansen, Hesperia

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To the editor: Columnist George Skelton lists the usual reasons young people don't want to teach: uninvolved parents, disciplinary issues, low pay, continual reforms and more.

An article in the same day's paper highlighted the liberal attitudes of college freshmen and their commitment to activism and social justice compared with earlier generations. Perhaps these civic-minded collegians will consider channeling their activism into teaching.

This would be an excellent way for young people to get behind their values and work in what needs to become our nation's most respected profession. But first, our leaders need to insist that their salaries reflect the respect they deserve.

Until that happens, I'm afraid many new college graduates will choose a different path.

Claudia O'Connell, Los Angeles

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