To the editor: Ronald Brownstein is correct that the societal problems that perpetuate social inequality go beyond the Vergara "fix" on teacher job protections. Nevertheless, he fails to address important questions about school reform.
Absent the strictures of tenure, for example, will administrators who have made bad staffing decisions hire the best teachers rather than the cheapest and most compliant ones? Does youthful enthusiasm really equate with better teaching outcomes, or is it simply the ageist meme of the moment? Is the agenda of the educational reformer-capitalists truly altruistic?
James Madison wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." The truth is that educational reformers, administrators and teachers are not angels. Our schools need rules to ensure that innovation, honest dialogue and a fair workplace are protected.
What is good for kids need not be different from what is good for teachers and their families.
Lorraine Gayer, Huntington Beach
The writer is a former history teacher.
To the editor: Brownstein's piece enraged me. I almost stopped at the sixth paragraph.
As a teacher-librarian, I'm interested in the Vergara ruling, so I read all that I can about it, including Brownstein's column. I was fine until he wrote that "better-performing younger teachers were regularly sacrificed to protect less-effective elders."
What are Brownstein's criteria for good performance? Having worked in the field of education as well as the private sector for a number of years, I've discovered that age has little to do with performance.
There are young teachers who are not cut out for the rigors of teaching, while seasoned professionals are still performing at the top of their game. Age is not, and should not, be the deciding factor.