That's one way to spend $50 million

That's one way to spend $50 million
Students leave Roosevelt High School in 2012. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: While parent Lisa Lewis writes about searching for sponsors to pay for her son's speech and debate team, Laurene Powell Jobs offers $50 million to "create high schools that foster dynamic learning." ("At high schools, fundraising has no end,'' Opinion, Sept. 17, and "A $50-million contest to design a better school, " Sept. 17)

The educational disconnect between these extremes of generating operating expenses for schools couldn't be better illustrated. That $50 million could be spent on reducing prevailing class sizes of 40 students.

What Jobs wants to spend her money on — "critical thinking, intellectual flexibility, collaboration" — could be achieved by teachers providing individualized attention among smaller groups of students.

Ask any teacher which would be preferred — smaller class size or a larger paycheck — and I'll bet most would ask for fewer students.

Teachers want to teach, not manage crowds of kids. With $50 million, there'd be plenty left over to fund that debate team.

Milton Goldman, Santa Monica


To the editor: I congratulate Jobs for her generous philanthropy toward high school education. However, to other philanthropists with an interest in education, I offer a suggestion: To get the most out of your money, start by donating at the front end of the education process, not midway through or at the highest levels.

Donate to Head Start, pre-kindergarten and other such programs that engage all young children early in their lives.

Over the years, while working as a volunteer with young students, I've seen that if you show them early that getting an education is exciting, fun, challenging and personally rewarding, they will carry those values forward for the rest of their lives.

Ed Hieshetter, San Diego

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