Does tenure protect teachers or laziness?
Regarding the June 22 article, "New battle in the wars over tenure": I applaud the governor for having the courage to put this to a vote. I can appreciate that the California Teachers Association and most teachers would hate to lose this benefit. However, many of us can remember a teacher who had been around forever, doing a lousy job, and then went on to do the same lousy job with our kids. The reverse of this is when outstanding and excellent teachers throw in the towel.
I believe that eliminating tenure altogether and replacing it with better wages and merit raises would go a long way in elevating the pride and respect due our teachers. There is no other profession I know of that once you've been on the job two or three years, you can stay until you die, regardless of your performance. It isn't in students' best interests and, ultimately, it isn't in teachers' best interest either.
Judie Hilke Lundborg
My husband and I are teachers in California. Changing the number of years one has to teach to receive tenure from two to five is not going to improve schools. This is a red herring from the governor's desk to distract attention away from the dismal education funding here.
A better idea would be to change the rules surrounding teacher dismissal, regardless of how many years they have worked - and you don't need a multimillion-dollar special election to do that. While teachers shouldn't be fired or disciplined for ridiculous reasons - or because they push for smaller class sizes and better curriculum - this shouldn't mean that you can't fire a teacher for good cause, whether they have been teaching for two years, 10 years, or 30.
Changing tenure only punishes new teachers who possess the enthusiasm needed to push the education field forward. It will just discourage young people thinking about coming into teaching, and silence the brand-new teachers for five years - creating a culture of fear.
Make the due-process rights of all teachers fair for everyone. That would be in the best interest of the children.
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Regarding the June 21 article, "US strategy in Iraq: Is it working?": Our poor soldiers know they're playing a giant game of "whack-a-mole," in Iraq - hit the enemy in one place and he pops up in another, with endless re-inforcements from other Arab states. And every day the US occupation continues, it makes more people hate our presence there. Perversely, the longer our troops stay, the stronger the insurgency will be. How can a war like that be won, even with 10 times the number of troops?
Studio City, Calif
In response to the June 1 "Roll over Beethoven, your fans are barking" article: Just as music brings harmony to animal shelters and nurseries, it would be a great help in prisons. The constant noise that goes on there might be quieted if classical, semiclassical, and "elevator" music were piped into the cells. It's worth trying.
The June 13 article, "He saves, she saves," illustrates the need for couples to learn to communicate and negotiate in managing money, and the importance of money-management skills. Why can't states encourage a family and consumer-science course in all public schools? Along with all the extra math, science, language, etc., a family and consumer-science course could be a real education for living as an adult.
East Lansing, Mich.
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