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Improving Schools and Discipline

July 26, 1998

* Carol Jago's opinion in "Old-Fashioned Steps to Make Schools the Salt of the Town" (Commentary, July 19) that schools may have to bring in as teachers professionals such as poets, mathematicians and scientists "who have not passed through formal education programs" is not new. As a teacher I have seen a number of these individuals enter the classroom. They may have had a "love and deep knowledge" of their subject, but they had no classroom control. One basic that every experienced teacher knows is that it is impossible to teach Shakespeare if the students are not paying attention.

Discipline is an art. Certificated, trained teachers know this. I am surprised Jago does not.

LINDA BROWN

National Board Certified Teacher

Bellflower

* Jago is absolutely right with her recommendations taken from Cotton Mather. However, I would change one word in the headline of her essay: rather than "Old-Fashioned" I would put "Traditional" or "Classical." Since when have master teachers, discipline and textbooks become old-fashioned? It will probably take a generation to return our educational system to what it once was. Everyone knows the solutions, but no one has the courage to implement them: prayer and chapel, uniforms, absolute discipline, high academic standards, much less TV viewing, more reading--and above all, parental involvement.

DALE SALWAK

Professor of English

Citrus College

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