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Who Are the Real Villains in Education?

October 04, 1998

Thanks to Dave Gardetta for a perceptive front-line report on L.A.'s education wars ("School Daze," Aug. 30). He seems to be an exceptional beginning teacher in terms of the energy and optimism he brings to the classroom and his persistence against overwhelming odds. Until we take the air waves back from big business, and TV is forcibly prodded toward social responsibility, our schools will continue to lose the attention battle against the hucksters of mindless sensual stimulation.

Charles Wilson

West Hills

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MTV has something to do with the decline in student achievement, but the more likely villains are the "educational experts" in the California State University system. Gardetta's students cannot read because they were never taught to read, because someone came up with the Whole Language Theory: that kids will pick up reading naturally, by some form of osmosis, if they're exposed to it. And we're the fools who allow the incompetents to run things.

Thomas M. Cleaver

Glendale

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Gardetta has captured the depth, breadth and width of the Pete Wilson program: Under-educate the children with $27,000 teachers so they can become either state prison inmates or $51,000 prison guards in a union that contributes heavily to the Wilson campaigns.

Robert Whitney

Monterey Park

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During my entire teaching career, I have heard political and media pundits belittling the job that teachers are doing, claiming that education has failed. I disagree. The job we do is overwhelming and frustrating. The public school system is successful because good teachers wonder daily if what they did in the classroom was useful or effective.

Steven Harrison

Claremont

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As a publishing-company editor who works in a creative environment, I see the result of what Gardetta describes on almost a daily basis. I am confounded by the lack of simple intelligence in younger, college-educated co-workers, friends and acquaintances.

Rick A. Diaz

Hollywood

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The problem with public school education is a decaying 20-year-old topic. The issue is exhumed again in Gardetta's earnest diary: "I have a very difficult time figuring out what is relevant to my students." Relevant? Education is not a "fun" form of personalized entertainment. That's called "recess."

What's with all this coddling? If those Eagle Rock students consider school a drag, how bewildering they'll find the real-world workplace, which couldn't care less about their "needs." Armed with "feel-good" grades, they'll end up in retail or food-service jobs and find that their customers ignore all their "cultural" sensitivities.

Perhaps Shakespeare will be a tad more exciting by comparison.

Whitney H. Smith

Pasadena

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Stick with it, Dave. Someday, when you are standing in the middle of St. Mark's Square in Venice, you will hear an adult voice shout out your name. It will be a former student whose name you may have forgotten but who remembers you fondly and is more than willing to recall that time in your class when something wonderful happened.

Joan Martin

Woodland Hills

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