* In your Sept. 14 editorial, "Grading the Teachers," you piously extol the very practice today's highly competitive, quality-driven companies abandoned long ago--grading and ranking employee performance on numerical "results," consigning the hindmost to the devil. The late Edwards Deming, guru of the quality movement, believed that most employees had an innate desire to do a good job. The important thing, said Deming, is to examine the process. If you have poor results, it's the system that has to go, not the person.
So it is in our schools. Peer review, which United Teachers Los Angeles advocates, examines what a teacher's practice is within the context of administrative and parental support (or lack thereof), the transiency and nature of the student population--all the actual facts--and judges the teacher on the basis of what he or she can actually control.
What UTLA has negotiated is the right to determine how the teaching profession will judge its own. Accountability to one's peers is the hallmark of a profession. It is the only kind of accountability that carries the sophistication needed to deal fairly and constructively with the quality of teaching practice.
DAY HIGUCHI, President
United Teachers Los Angeles
* When you write of unbalanced power, and accountability, this speaks volumes about the state of LAUSD today. The public may not be aware, but UTLA and its members literally run our schools.