To the editor: As a newly retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, Tuesday was the first day of school in 17 years that I didn't have to go. ("L.A. Unified students head back to schools lifted by funding increase," Aug. 12)
Among the problems facing the district are an attendance crisis at all grade levels and low graduation rates for high school students. Concerning the cutbacks in crossing guards, Board of Education member Steve Zimmer noted, "To get to the graduation stage, you must first safely cross the street." The implementation of the new controversial but mandated online student information system is being delayed in part due to numerous glitches and problems for teachers and students alike.
Yes, the 644,000 students were supported by the largest funding increase in seven years. However, veteran teachers haven't received a raise in those same seven years, and the increased funding follows years of layoffs. In contentious preliminary contract talks, what is currently on the table is 2%.
And this is good news?
Lilia Martonak, Gardena
To the editor: As a very recently retired L.A. Unified teacher, I had to chuckle at the photo of state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris visiting classes on the district's first day of school. In the photo, she is apparently patting the cheek of a young male student.
After all that has happened in the district over the last few years and the current consequences for teachers due to any accusation, false or not, her innocent and powerful gesture would not be recommended for any teacher, especially on the first day with a student you do not know.
Paul Burns, Granada Hills