Re "Lesson from a good teacher," Column, Aug. 2
Steve Lopez is apparently so anxious to attack United Teachers Los Angeles that he misses the whole point. Novice teacher Susan Requa was not laid off because of union seniority rules; she was laid off because our Republican governor and a minority of GOP legislators exploited the budget crisis to cut the size of government programs. Rather than raising taxes on oil companies and tobacco or repealing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature auto registration tax cut, Republicans fought single-mindedly to enact the massive cuts that Lopez now decries and for which Schwarzenegger now proudly takes credit.
I've spent 10 years teaching in California public schools; Lopez should drop his fake aura of expertise. Changing the manner in which teachers are laid off is not what's going to save education in California.
As much as I dislike UTLA -- I believe it is the most regressive force in local education -- I have to highlight one good reason for the existence of tenure in public schools. It is the protection of those who hold unpopular political beliefs.
Supervising teacher Ron Harris lists a "Holocaust denier" among other ineffective faculty under his supervision. The implication is that holding such a belief should be grounds for dismissal. I thought the discussion was about how to judge "good teaching," not the political correctness of the teacher.