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Letters: Tenure isn't the real teacher problem

Re "Trial over teacher protections opens," Jan. 28, and "Lawsuit targets teacher job security," Jan. 26, and "Judging teachers, helping teachers," Letters, Jan. 30

Those calling for an end to teacher tenure forget that the real problem here is hiring and retaining educators, especially in large urban areas such as Los Angeles.

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During good economic times, these districts often have a very difficult time staffing their classrooms and must resort to "long-term subs," sometimes for the entire school year. Many teachers leave the classroom after just a few years, often to pursue more lucrative and prestigious positions. Many urban and rural districts lose half their teachers during their first five years of employment.

Naturally, this turnover has a very negative effect.

To prepare for the next teacher shortage, I suggest that L.A. Unified School District Supt. John Deasy and other leaders of large districts concentrate on retaining the majority of their good teachers instead of focusing on the few who are ineffective.

With good management, ineffective teachers can be easily dismissed during their probationary years.

Linda Mele Johnson

Long Beach

Jim Finberg, the attorney representing the California Teachers Assn., logically states, "If you give teachers resources and appropriate class sizes [and] principals and superintendents that support them, they will be successful in increasing student achievement."

Seems like a no-brainer.

Deasy, oddly, takes the antithetical and punitive approach. His teachers haven't had a pay raise — not even a cost-of-living adjustment — since 2007. Class sizes are too large and many essential support staff (including assistants, librarians, counselors and even custodians, who maintain the campuses and clean the classrooms) haven't had their positions restored.

Good luck attracting the "best and brightest" to the teaching profession that the Los Angeles Unified superintendent claims to seek.

Wendy Blais

North Hills

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