The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge's decision on teacher tenure does not surprise me. Having taught for 30 years in Los Angeles schools, I have seen education deteriorate almost on a daily basis, not because of bad teachers but because of problems imposed by non-educators. ("California teacher tenure and seniority system is struck down," June 10)
First, there was the underfunding caused by Proposition 13. Then disruptive problem kids were mainstreamed into the classroom. More recently, we decided to test and then test some more. Now, we have an attack on tenure.
It's always the teachers' fault. But has anyone considered why recruiting good teachers is getting more difficult?
Those opposed to tenure should spend time in a real-world classroom with kids raised by single parents in homes with myriad problems. Maybe they'd understand why school districts are not attracting the type of teachers they once did.
On Wednesday's front page, we read about a decision highly critical of teachers and their unions. In the Opinion section, Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy lauded the ruling.
Elsewhere in the paper, we read how Todd Rispler, a teacher in Oregon, was shot in the hip while trying to protect his students from a gunman.
I'm curious: Just who do the judge, Deasy and advocates of fewer job protections for teachers think will want to go into teaching in the future? Who would want to risk their lives for an insecure, poorly paid job?
My prediction: Headlines in a few years will shout about a severe teacher shortage.
Gayle K. Brunelle
I am thrilled that the discussion on tenure has come this far. As a former teacher in a school that was recognized as "distinguished," I saw incompetence that no one would believe.
There were the teachers who simply had no ability to teach; one of my colleagues routinely fell asleep during class; another never returned her assigned essays; and another used the same "dittos" year after year. There were the teachers on drugs and some who engaged in inappropriate relationships with students.
Where were the administrators during these situations? I was "evaluated" twice in my 30 years of teaching. Only once did an administrator actually watch me teach for the entire period.
No wonder incompetent teachers remain: There are no watchdogs and no skilled evaluators.
Please do not believe that teachers in L.A. Unified enjoy having colleagues who are mediocre or inferior. Please do not believe that teachers do not care about children. Please do not believe that teachers do not want to be given evaluations that help them be better.
Do believe that teachers are offered a 2% raise after seven years of no raises and furlough salary reductions. Do believe that when budgets are tight — as they often are — teachers pay for many of their own materials, including items as essential as paper and pencils.
Do believe that teachers cannot be constantly bashed or held responsible for every aspect of a child's life. We love what we do, we work hard, we are not afraid of scrutiny — and we deserve to be treated better and with respect.
I don't believe (nor have I ever believed) in tenure, and I come from a family of educators. I also raised two children who went through L.A. Unified K-12. My kids had some great, memorable teachers, and some not.
At one point, I had to hire an advocate for my younger daughter, who has a learning disability, just to be heard.
In my humble opinion, it is imperative that we have good criteria for evaluating teachers — and not by using only test scores. Without a system in place, this ruling will be for naught.