Opinion Readers React
Readers React

Better teachers, but how exactly?

To the editor: While L.A. Unified School District Supt. John Deasy celebrates expanded powers to fire teachers, Jack Schneider's Op-Ed article (“Firing teachers won't fix education” Opinion, June 12) lays out the real picture. Given that half of new teachers flee the field within the first five years, the notion that more punitive action will miraculously produce “effective teachers” is delusional.

Where campuses are so stripped of resources that students, teachers and principals make due in overcrowded conditions, should we be shocked that a child molester operates unnoticed for years? Are teachers blatantly devalued when, after seven years without a raise and significant income loss from furlough days, a paltry 2% is reluctantly offered two years after Proposition 30's new funding?

The refusal to invest in teachers, as opposed to driving them out, will sadly and certainly continue to erode the quality of our schools.

Wendy Blais, North Hills

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To the editor: “Firing teachers won't fix education,” says the headline on the article by Jack Schneider, a professor of education at College of the Holly Cross.

“Firing teachers who are ineffective, not qualified and have little concern for their students, will fix education,” says Jack Buss the taxpayer.

Jack Buss, Banning

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To the editor: Schneider is spot-on in his analysis of how to produce the best teachers.

The mistaken notion of removing tenure protections, seniority-based layoffs and teacher dismissal procedures is based on a narrative (promoted aggressively by advocates of privatized education) that the system is awash in bad teachers. This is dangerously false, and the popularly proposed remedies will make teachers worse, not better.

Schneider's proposals for evaluations based less on test scores, more collaboration, more professional development based on best practices, and more coaching and mentoring programs are the right solution. The foolish effort to “fire our way” into a better teacher corps will prove to be a disaster.

Carl K. Allender, Glendale

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To the editor: Performance as the basis of job retention is standard practice in the business world. So it should be in public schools. The practice of tenure in public schools has taken precedent only in the absence of adequate performance reviews.

For 19 years of my 40-year career, I taught in a major Los Angeles-area school district. My performance review — and I am sure those of my colleagues — consisted of nothing more than an end-of-the-year checklist.

Too few administrators have a solid grasp of what exemplifies good teaching. In addition, administrators do not have the time to perform the multiple observations and conferences to produce a valid performance review.

Performance reviews can be effectively used only when administrators learn, practice and implement appropriate procedures.

Mark Stephen Mrotek, Carson

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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