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Teachers and L.A. Unified are supposed to educate students, not fix society's ills

Teachers and L.A. Unified are supposed to educate students, not fix society's ills
UTLA President Alex-Caputo Pearl announces in a Dec. 19 news conference that LAUSD teachers will strike on Jan. 10 if a contract settlement is not reached by then. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In their Dec. 28 op-ed article, Fred Ali, Antonia Hernández and Robert K. Ross did a great job outlining just what the Los Angeles Unified School District should not be doing — providing basic sustenance to students.

Public schools should not be offering a refuge for homeless people, hygiene facilities and other services unrelated to education. Our schools were never meant to function as second homes, and teachers were never meant to take the place of parents.

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Our school system was never designed to support students in all facets of their lives, and certainly our taxpayers should not be shouldering this burden. There would be plenty of money available to give the teachers a much-needed raise if the LAUSD wasn’t doubling as a welfare state.

Charles Reilly, Manhattan Beach

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To the editor: Unfortunately, we educators are not valued as public servants as much as law enforcement, firefighters or nurses. The district has capitalized on this indifference and has painted us as money hungry.

This cannot be further from the truth, as anyone working in our field understands that teachers do not aspire to great wealth, but rather want to give back to our communities.

The writers highlight the great inconvenience students will suffer because of a strike. But remember, many of our own children will be directly affected as well. This should serve more evidence of just how strongly we feel about a strike.

Ramon Angel Sanchez Jr., Los Angeles

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To the editor: As your readers and the citizens of Los Angeles consider all sides in the possible pending teachers strike, it’s worth noting something that seemingly receives no ink: Students attending independent and non-unionized charter schools will suffer no upheaval and chaos in their educational schedules.

Hmm, if only students had a union that put their needs ahead of bloated, top-heavy LAUSD bureaucracies and teachers unions that too frequently protect ineffective, irresponsible and uncaring teachers.

Jim Tetreau, South Pasadena

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To the editor: Good working conditions for teachers are the same as good learning conditions for students. Every classroom should be safe, uncrowded, clean, comfortable, well supplied and staffed with a well-trained, respected teacher who earns a middle-class salary.

If we paid attractive starting salaries, we would not have to hire mediocre applicants, and good teachers would stay in the profession. Less turnover would save money and give students the undeniable benefit of experienced teachers.

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Some students might even be inspired to become good teachers.

Helen H. Gordon, Santa Barbara

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