Congratulations to Harry Bernstein for his wide-ranging perspective on America's apparent renewed commitment to public instruction ("U.S. May Be Finally Wising Up on Education," Labor, Jan. 8). However, it will take much more than "more money to achieve the nation's educational goals . . . and giving (education) workers a greater voice in the corporate decision-making process."
As the public and its legislators pressure the so-called educational system to "solve" more and more of our social ills through education, it ought to be obvious that it takes teaching and administrative staff who "have got it together" to impart and demonstrate by wholesome living example the sort of knowledge, skill and understanding that the taxpayers have a right to expect. It's one thing, for example, to "teach" kids how to say no to alcohol and other drugs, but it's another to be a chemically independent adult accountable for the public instruction of someone else's children.
That's why Californians who are really "wising up on education" ought to seek to protect their increasing investment in public instruction by insisting that their various school districts establish and maintain comprehensive employee assistance programs for all employees and their families. School staff should enjoy the voluntary opportunity to receive confidential counseling and referral services for the sorts of human problems they may bring to the work site and adversely affect their job performance.