To the editor: One of the most pernicious ideas afloat in the public is that teachers "don't go into teaching to get rich…they love to teach" (even when offered by an ex-teacher, who, tellingly, is now a state senator). ("How California can entice young people back to teaching," Feb. 8)
Yes, teachers are dedicated, but this continually rebooted perception translates into is a collective complacency that keeps teachers underpaid and teaching not truly respected in a culture that values ambition (not in the least historically fueled because women have dominated the profession).
Increasing a teacher corps with quality individuals is not about forgiving college debt or other ideas around the margins. It's about competitive starting pay and meaningful raises. And beyond cost of living, people going into urban teaching today know what to expect.
For a 15-hour-a-day job that too often requires the motivational chops of Tony Robbins and the forbearance of Gandhi, with an attrition rate of 50% in the first five years, $45,000 a year is insulting and cannot compete.
Mitch Paradise, Los Angeles
To the editor: California should require its public universities to expedite the credentialing process so that a bachelor's degree and teaching credential can be received in four years. This is already available at some colleges and for some fields, but not all. Doing so would reduce student tuition costs and provide qualified teachers.
We also need to listen to the message coming from those who have most recently been in our school systems (recent graduates) and decided they don't want to return. They're telling us, "Being a teacher does not look like a job I want."
It's time we work on fixing that by giving teachers the pay, support and respect they deserve instead of treating them like baby sitters for unruly kids.
Julie Scorziell, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.