Your editorial (July 20), "Teachers: True or False?" stated that teacher organizations were "tardy and tentative" in our support of educational reform. United Teachers of Los Angeles has long advocated and supported educational reform. United Teachers Los Angeles supported the Education Reform Bill in 1984 as well as the 1985 California Commission on the Teaching Profession Report, and we support the recent Carnegie Forum Report.
Teachers understand better than anyone the problems with education today and the need for change. Only change will allow us to do our job as we know it should be done. Because of the present system, few college graduates are entering teaching, and record numbers of teachers are leaving our schools every year.
The result is the growing crisis of a severe teacher shortage. Los Angeles will be short about 3,000 fully credentialed teachers for the 1986-87 school year. Reform must be made if public education is to be revitalized. In the past, attempts at reform has only "meant longer days and a longer school year for an already overworked teaching force."
The Legislature and local districts conveniently overlook reform recommendations that call for more autonomy, and a competitive professional salary. A new Los Angeles Unified School District teacher with five years of college earned $20,600 in 1985-86. That is about 40% less than the starting salaries of other college graduates. Teachers want reform. We know that reform must take place. But, we want the reformers to go beyond the easy recommendations.