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Teachers Not at Fault for District Problems

May 23, 1993

* Andrea Hecht ("Teachers' Pawn," May 2) is justified in her frustration and correct in her statement that the problems facing the Los Angeles Unified School District are serious ones.

She writes: "The people inside the district--teachers and administrators--are not decision-makers.

They play the education game with rigid enforcement of rules and little awareness of their effect on children and parents and learning."

I take exception to her inclusion of teachers.

Not until very, very recently have teachers been allowed to enter into the decision-making process due to their strong, united efforts over the past several years.

Teachers have long had problems with middle administrators who go strictly by the book, and they have had very little to say in the trickle-down management policies of the LAUSD and the inflexible thinking of management.

I empathize with her plight in trying to provide for her asthmatic child. This demonstrates one of the most serious faults of the LAUSD, and that is trying to be all things to all students and thereby not really meeting the needs of any.

"Simple requests are greeted coolly." Ms. Hecht says that is due to the size of the LAUSD in which all too often the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

As a teacher, I cannot count the number of times I have been frustrated in trying to resolve what appears to be the simplest of matters. There are constant referrals to various departments. There are referrals to those who have referred me back to the person with whom I spoke in the first place.

Documentation and information is often lost or sent to the wrong office in and one is forced to go back to step one of the process.

I am however, weary of hearing that the teachers are using the children as pawns. If this appears to be the case, it is because of an unwieldy top-heavy district with unbending top management.

NORMAN A. NERO

Granada Hills

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