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Obstacles for Teachers

May 07, 2000

* Joel Parkes (Commentary, May 1) is the latest in a long line of LAUSD teachers who lament the fact that their students won't learn, due to factors outside their control. However, I've never heard one LAUSD teacher or union representative explain how a pay increase of any size would ameliorate the poverty, language deficiencies, parental indifference and lack of classroom discipline that thwart Parkes' ability to produce academic achievement commensurate with the pay he seeks.

Maybe we should direct the money for teacher pay increases toward programs that would solve all these supposed obstacles to learning. Or maybe we should offer bonuses to teachers who don't make excuses about learning obstacles and who are willing to be paid according to results. However, we certainly shouldn't be offering pay increases to teachers who make excuses and who don't improve their students' academic achievement.

DAVID BARULICH

Los Angeles

* * As a former teacher, coach and counselor in the LAUSD (32 years), I thoroughly agree with Parkes' well-written commentary. Here you see the reasons why our young high school graduates do not choose to go into teaching. Money is secondary. These graduates have seen the abuse that many teachers have had to endure in an attempt to educate their disruptive fellow students, and they want no part of teaching.

Social promotion has many evils in both directions, but giving passing grades to those who deserve to fail is a disservice to all students. Those students who are not making educational progress should be terminated at the high school level. This would help classroom disruption, cut down on our overcrowded schools as well as save money for those who came to learn.

DON MacKENZIE

San Dimas

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