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Making Teaching More Attractive

September 09, 1985

Your editorial (Sept. 3), "Thanks, Teach," hits the nail on the head.

As a teacher in the public schools for the past 16 years, I have seen the deleterious effects of recent political decisions regarding school budgets. Our nation's future security is intimately tied to the quality of education that we currently give our students, and that quality is directly related to today's undervalued teachers.

Presently, teaching is not an attractive career with minuscule pay, poor working conditions, and the lack of appreciation and respect from both the students and the society. Movies and television shows have portrayed schools as playgrounds and teachers as bumbling misfits.

Unfortunately, teachers, as a profession, have done little to foster an image of competence and dedication. Labor disputes combined with strikes have irreparably damaged the reputation of the teaching profession. Amongst all of the myriad of frustrations and problems, a majority of our teachers are doing a fantastic job with the limited resources on hand and they should be applauded.

Where will our next generation of teachers come from? Most of my students will not enter the teaching profession because of its low salary and prestige. School districts have consistently refused to pay teachers a salary equal to private industry, and for science and math majors it is economic suicide to enter the teaching profession.

Now is the time to stem the outgoing tide and attract the best students from our universities and colleges into the teaching profession and at the same time keeping the best that we now have. Taxpayers must be willing to fill the bill. Do we as a nation want to be second best in the world? I hope not.

JOHN PAWSON

Huntington Beach

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