* I would like to thank all of the public school teachers for their patience with dunderheads like me. I thank them for teaching me to read and reason; two skills that allow me to sort out the baloney in John F. Dean's commentary on Proposition 174.
A private school will not last very long if it does not produce a superior product. In a private school the teacher is accountable to the parent: no results, hit the road!
I have encouraged my daughter to seek employment at a private school because her students will be there because their parents want them there to learn. If Jennifer doesn't do her homework or Johnny brings a knife to class, the problem can be corrected with one phone call to Dad and Mom. Is Supt. Dean concerned that his best teachers will flee the chaos (and gangs) of the public classroom for more fertile private classrooms? The competition will give him headaches and I think that's good for our future.
JAMES E. MACDONALD
* Orange County Supt. of Schools John Dean missed two fundamental concepts in his commentary, "Public Money for Private Education: Choice is not the Issue"(Sept. 19).
The first is tax equity. Those who pay taxes but elect to have their children attend private schools should be entitled to have their education tax dollars applied to the education of "their" children at a qualified school of "their" choice. Our failure to accommodate taxpayer choice creates an undue hardship on families electing to use private education.
The second is that competition is good. The highest quality and most efficient services in our country are provided in a competitive environment. Such an environment fosters real diversity and creativity; it rewards ingenuity; and it compels greater cost effectiveness. Proposition 174 is a step toward establishing real educational democracy.
This voucher initiative is no panacea, but it does call for a fair sharing of educational resources; and it establishes the kind of fair competition which can lead to the attainment of real excellence.
These views may not be popular with the public school bureaucracy, but in my opinion, teaching opportunities will become more challenging and educational outcomes will improve. Clearly, the broad public interest should compel our support of educational democracy through choice.
Chris Loumakis is a member of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.
* Supt. John Dean challenges using "public money" for a second school system. Dean is wrong for two reasons. One, it is not public money. It is first money removed from California taxpayers before it becomes government revenue. Second, the Parental Choice in Education will not create a second school system. Vouchers used by parents will be only be utilized by concerned parents at a convenient local school. Such schools will never duplicate the waste and overhead of the monopoly now in place.
School union-elected school board trustees favor school-based health clinics, non-English instruction, racial multicultural studies, homosexual and sexual instruction and metal detectors over expulsion and prosecution of gang activity. Ruthless teen-agers (many illegal immigrants) are tolerated in schools denying others an education as local administrators prefer per-student aid over the education of students.
This is public schooling in Orange County. Offering parents and students a choice for a part of their tax dollars to avoid such turmoil only makes sense. That choice only exists for those that can afford to pay tuition in addition to high taxes; the wealthier and concerned parents.
This choice will not remove one dollar from your local school district if the parents and students are satisfied with the educational opportunities at their school.
Proposition 174 must pass to show that education is more important than the failed attempts at social engineering in California schools.
* As a parent of two children, one in public school and one in private school, I am dismayed that, since Mr. Dean is an education leader, the essay wasn't a balanced and accurate analysis of the Parental Choice in Education Initiative--Proposition 174. Dean's composition is an incomplete, simplistic and pessimistic analysis of the likely consequences if the voters pass the Parental Choice in Education Initiative. Dean seems to rely on the educational tactic of the past and of big time bureaucrats--more money. Also, his essay fails to recognize the wisdom, common sense and love of parents for their children in choosing a school by suggesting that parents would put their children at risk in private schools of questionable quality.
Dean writes: "Choice is not the issue; public money for private education is. . . ." If this is the core issue for Mr. Dean, then one would expect that he would know and therefore be able to cite other examples of use of public money. Government programs such as the GI Bill and Cal Grants provide support to students who may choose a public or private school.
AMBROSE A. McGRAW