Readers React

About all those bad teachers in California

I usually agree with Michael Hiltzik, but I was surprised when he called the ruling on teacher tenure useless "snake oil." ("Why that ruling against teacher tenure won't help your schoolchildren," Column, June 11)

Yes, there are many school problems aside from bad teachers, and yes, taking away protections could lead to some unfair firings. It has to be very bad for teacher morale, however, to see bad teachers being treated better than some of the good ones. It is definitely bad for student morale.

So work on the other school and social problems too, but let districts get rid of bad teachers. This would attract good teachers, not repel them.

Sue Raymond, Montrose

Hiltzik's column comes like a refreshing ocean breeze sweeping across the Southland and pushing out the smoggy rhetoric of the profit-driven educational "reformers." Hiltzik sweeps right past these counter-

productive remedies and places the issue of educational reform in the context of socioeconomic reform, where it belongs.

If U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and others could think this clearly, we could address the underlying economic issues that impact our schools. Otherwise, the profit-driven remedies will drive more teachers out of the profession and discourage others from entering it.

Dennis M. Clausen, Escondido

The elephant in the classroom that Hiltzik ignores is that before this court decision, any teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District who managed to get through less than two years on the job would be virtually impossible to fire unless they actually committed a crime.

Hiltzik admits that up to 3% of teachers should probably be fired, but he doesn't think this is a big deal. In fact, 3% of 275,000 teachers in California is 8,250 who are too incompetent to be in a classroom.

How would removing protections for these bad apples make it harder to recruit and keep good teachers?

E.G. Rice, Marina del Rey

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