To the editor: I am a former school district trustee, teacher of students and parent of three sons, and Sarah Carr's observations come close to my own on educational improvement. ("Making it easier to fire teachers won't fix American education," Opinion, March 15)
However, retention of outstanding school administrators is also critical. The successful schools I observed or worked at had principals who spent several years at that site and knew their teachers well. They supported their staff, and teachers responded positively.
If principals are frequently rotated or promoted, their evaluations will not be as respected by staff members; they will not have the information necessary to guide and support teachers. Likewise, as teachers are regularly evaluated, principals need to be routinely evaluated and supported so that they can achieve the districts' goals and improve student learning.
Barbara L. Chavira, Monterey Park
To the editor: In The Times, Carr indicated that new teachers leave the profession because of a lack of training and support. This is wrong and naive; it blames the school systems.
As a teacher and school administrator for more than 34 years, I know that novice teachers generally leave for two reasons.
First, young people want to try out teaching to see if it's their "cup of tea." That's their right, and they should not be shamed. Second, teachers need money to support themselves and their families.
There's a teacher shortage in California. Within five years, the deficiency will be dismal. How do we fix this? Not to sound crassly capitalistic, but please pay members of the profession that prepares all other professions well. Until then, home teaching may not be a choice, but a necessity.
Perhaps the old proverb "you get what you pay for" is apropos.
Tom Kaminski, Redondo Beach