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'Teachers: True or False?'

July 28, 1986

Your editorial made some fine points. It also dropped the ball a couple of times.

You write that, "after long resistance, (the National Education Assn.) finally accepted the idea of a teacher-certification system." In reality, NEA all but created the idea of teacher certification--as long ago as 1858--specifically to ensure that teachers are employed for their qualifications rather than their political connections.

NEA's support of state , as opposed to national certification does not derive from its members' "influence" in state capitals. NEA itself is the most powerful teachers organization in Washington. But the states, not the federal government, make tenure laws, set curriculum and graduation standards, and contribute most of the money to public education (about 80% of the total in California). Beyond that, education is traditionally--and even constitutionally--a state, not a national responsibility.

The California Teachers Assn., NEA's largest affiliate, vigorously supports moves to "reform" or to renew , public education. We also agree strongly with your observation that all such efforts are doomed to failure if "state governors do not crusade for them and state legislatures do not turn them into law."

Attention and pressure from The Times, and other journals, will also help ensure that efforts to improve our schools are not allowed to die.

MARILYN RUSSELL BITTLE

Burlingame

Bittle is president of the California Teachers Assn.

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