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School Board Elections and Unions

November 17, 1985

Your coverage of the Orange County school board campaigns, especially that of Saddleback College, has been biased from the start against the so-called union-run campaigns. Even in the wake of the election, your article (Nov. 6) gives the impression that the outcome was bad news, that the election of the "union candidates" was some kind of fluke--a surprising result due to the formidable power of the teachers union.

Your article hints that the low voter turnout may be responsible for the union wins; but even before the election only an 11% or 12% turnout was predicted, and so the low 11% turnout was not the cause of the "surprising" result. If the remaining 89% of the voters had strong feelings about reelecting the incumbent board members for Saddleback College, they could have gone to the polls, too. Nobody was stopping them.

Your article gives the impression that the teachers' union pulled something over on all of us. On the contrary, the results of the election show that the people of Orange County, whom you describe as "the county's most wealthy and politically conservative," put a great deal of importance on their children's education, and their own continuing education and personal growth. We know that our teachers are professionals who work very hard toward their ultimate goal of helping their students get an education. The teachers' union is helping them see that the administration of schools does not get in the way of the No. 1 job, which is in the classroom.

Most teachers live modestly and are not climbing ladders of personal success at the expense of their students or the taxpayers. The people who had enough interest went to the polls and showed that they have confidence in their teachers and teacher efforts to provide quality education. These newly elected board members are not only the union's choice, but the choice of individual teachers who want to do their job the best they can and of concerned parents and students who have faith in their teachers' intentions.

LEE McLENDON

Mission Viejo

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