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Teachers' Assistants

May 21, 2000

"Politicking on Education's Back" (editorial, May 9) states that Title I moneys should not be spent on "the same old ineffective programs, particularly teachers' aides who often have no education credentials or training appropriate to instructing children." Here in L.A., teachers' assistants must be certified and/or pass a test before being allowed to assist in the classroom. Over 10,000 of LAUSD teachers' assistants participate in the Career Ladder, an overwhelmingly effective program created to meet the teacher shortage. Teachers' assistants who participate are working toward bachelor's degrees to become teachers. Over 1,300 paraprofessionals have graduated since 1994 and are now teaching. These new teachers are from the community and have the highest retention rate among new teachers. Other teachers' assistants are required to take college-level educational classes to continue in their jobs.

Teachers' assistants funded by Title I dollars enable teachers to give students more one-on-one, directed attention and are an investment in our children's education.

JANETT HUMPHRIES, President

SEIU Local 99, Los Angeles

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