To the editor: In his final column for The Times, Jim Newton had this to say about teachers unions: "Unions play an important role in protecting the livelihoods of their members, but they don't represent children." ("A journalist's recipe for fixing L.A.," Op-Ed, Nov. 23)
Has Newton forgotten that the needs of children are protected by the parents and teachers who care for them? Has he forgotten that in a life-or-death situation, the people who are most likely to save a child are the men and women who are with that child in his moment of need?
Teachers are the people who act in the place of parents each day. In that capacity, they might demand special help for a disabled child, insist that Child Protective Services be called, or make certain that the child receives enough food or a pair of glasses. And this is in addition to providing safety and instruction for the children each day.
The teachers union protects teachers' ability to carry out all those activities and more.
The people who are with the children each day, parents and teachers, should be the ones to set education policy.
Linda Mele Johnson, Long Beach
To the editor: You folks should laminate Newton's final column on reform ideas for Los Angeles and distribute it as your 2014 holiday gift. It's a must-read for us all.
Gene Touchet, Palm Springs
To the editor: Newton is leaving the Times? Say it ain't so!
I have learned much about local politics from Newton. His departure is The Times' loss and ours.
Geoff Kuenning, Claremont