Letters

Talented teachers can't always bring their creativity to class

In response to the Dec. 1 article, "The mystery of teaching science ... solved!": Good teachers (especially in science) often are the people who do not receive tenure and commonly are viewed as a threat by other teachers, department heads, and most especially by the principals of their schools. I realize this sounds outrageous, but it is all too often true.

When these inventive, flexible teachers find an interesting way to teach a difficult concept, they are chastised for not following the routine text.

If they bring in unusual objects for problem solving, such as an old car engine or other machinery, they are viewed with suspicion. The good results don't usually seem to matter unless the department chair is also a flexible person and acts as a buffer.

When an education student at college, I was told by my professor in an education class that a teacher should never make waves before he gets tenure, or he will be fired. I feel that by the end of the five-plus years of probation, all the inventiveness will be beaten out of new teachers.

It's wonderful to read that some good teachers are permitted to be inventive and inspire their students. Thanks for this article.
B. Charlotte Schreiber
Seattle

There is a dearth of wages, not workers

Regarding the Dec. 2 article, "A drought of farm labor": We are drowning under a tidal wave of impoverished immigrants, and there is a lack of farm labor? Please! Unemployment in California's Central Valley is nearly double the national rates. There is no dearth of workers, just wages and working conditions that sink lower with each wave of illegal immigrants.

In spite of all the lip service given to the achievements of the former leader of United Farm Workers, Cesar Chavez, I think agricultural workers are worse off than before he attempted to improve conditions and wages.

Stories like the Dec. 2 article are not new. Time magazine's June 1965 issue sang the same sad song - just in time to influence the 1965 immigration laws that opened the floodgates of our nation, and have kept them open for the past 40 years.

Employers too greedy to pay decent wages or maintain good working conditions can cry "drought" in the middle of this sea of humanity. The rest of us are too busy treading water and know better.
Barbara Vickroy
Escondido, Calif.

A free press protects against tyranny

Thank you for publishing Karin Deutsch Karlekar's Sept. 15 Opinion piece, "Set global example: Pass US journalism shield law."

In both democratic societies and societies striving for democracy, freedom of the press is essential. In this regard, a shield law in the United States, as Ms. Karlekar emphasizes, is vital to our democracy, but it also serves as a model for the rest of the world.

History, even very recent history, shows that a free press is one of the earliest victims of tyranny. This same history also shows that this freedom is a leading safeguard against tyranny.

Most important, we the people have the main responsibility to insist that freedom of the press is protected.

In this regard, a better job of teaching about this in our public schools would be most beneficial in reminding all of us, particularly our future leaders, about this important civil right.
Waddell Robey
Harrisburg, Pa.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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