Re “O.C. Teachers in Pink-Slip Shock,” March 14:
An estimated 250,000 teachers in California will receive pink slips from their district offices. State law requires that teachers be notified a minimum of five months before a layoff. Because most teachers begin work in mid-August, districts must send out notices by March 15.
The pink slips are a direct result of the $5.2-billion cut in K-12 education called for by Gov. Gray Davis. First- and second-year teachers, along with teachers working on internships, make up the majority of those receiving pink slips. In other words, the youth, enthusiasm and future leadership of K-12 education will be forced out. Many who have left other professions to fill the need for qualified teachers in California will be scrambling to retain their jobs. Young teachers who have followed their dreams into the teaching profession are receiving a message that they are expendable and not valued by the state and district that hired them.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act demands that each child has a highly qualified teacher. Spending in California public education over the last few years has focused on the development of highly qualified teachers. New teacher training programs and rigorous intern programs have prepared our newest teachers to lead students to a higher level of achievement. If swift measures are not taken to counter the budget cuts in education and to avoid the dismissal of our brightest teachers, the billions of dollars we’ve invested in training them will be for naught.
My wife and I moved back to Orange County from Sacramento last year. We were thrilled to find so many great teaching opportunities in schools that really promote the value of education. It looks like we get to try our luck finding work again.
Just as my wife received a reduction-in-force notice from Laguna Beach, I received one from Saddleback Valley Unified. As an adult, I understand some of the things that have forced the state into this situation, but the students in my classes do not. All they know is that they may have to say goodbye to people whom they view as role models, mentors and (on occasion) sources of inspiration.
The last 10 years have been very progressive in education in this state. It is a shame to see so many successful programs being wiped out by a lack of action on the part of our elected officials.
By March 15, up to 1,000 teachers in Orange County received notices from their districts to anticipate that their assignments will be terminated at the end of this school year. The reason is not for incompetence but rather that there will be no financial resources available for their salaries.
In 2000, the voters of Orange County gave presidential candidate George W. Bush a large majority vote over Al Gore. Bush’s basic campaign theme was “Vote for an education candidate. No child should be left behind.”
Is there anyone out there who can explain this style of American democracy? We vote for education performance, but we get a military performance.
David N. Hartman
Re “ ‘We’re Cutting Bone': O.C. Schools Warn of Bleak Times,” Feb. 24:
Thank you for covering the budget crisis. But I did not see any mention of the Saddleback Unified School District board voting to eliminate 209 teachers. I believe it is extremely important to emphasize to the public how the state budget crisis will affect our children. We cannot let our legislators make budget cuts without the public understanding how it affects our community. Action needs to be taken before it is too late.