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'Running Short of Good Teachers'

July 05, 1985

Hayden said a mouthful in his article when he stated, "Good teachers are the key to good schools, and good education is the basis of a healthy economy, cultural tolerance and meaningful democracy. We must restore the importance of teaching." Hayden left out one important facet of restoring the importance of teaching and that is the fading respect for teachers in Los Angeles.

Hayden talks of incentives to attract a larger pool of young people to the field and working conditions that will hold teachers on the job instead of driving them out. Let's take a look at the incentives. California is in the process of raising teacher's starting pay to $18,000 by next year. Compare this to $26,800 for engineers. Starting pay for teachers should go to at least $22,000 immediately.

Teachers should be able to make up to $50,000. (about the salary of an experienced school administrator) and 25% over the highest pay ranges for teachers. As Hayden stated in his article, "By a perverse incentive system that offers no reward for experience, teachers can advance less rapidly and look forward to smaller salary increases for each year that they work until they reach their ceiling at about age 35."

You can't attract future teachers unless you revise the system. Career steps should never end for teachers until the age of 65, not 35. Management should make up steps that will provide challenge and opportunity for each year a teacher wishes to move up another step. Experience should be rewarded. Management has the responsibility of coming up with ideas to also get rid of bad teachers or at least help them improve.

ED RASKY

Canoga Park

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