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Fields, Korenstein for LAUSD Board

March 25, 2001

* Change simply for its own sake is a step backward, and that's what The Times is promoting by not supporting school board incumbents Julie Korenstein and Valerie Fields ("3 for L.A. School Board," editorial, March 20). Korenstein and Fields pushed for higher standards and phonics-based instruction, and now test scores are up. Fields and Korenstein led the call for real merit pay--higher pay for teachers achieving the rigorous and prestigious National Board certification. They also led the charge for peer assistance and review, which makes the teachers union accountable for bringing the classroom performance of educators up to standard. They supported the creation of an inspector general for the LAUSD, who is saving the district millions by ending fiscal mismanagement.

Fields and Korenstein were against the Belmont fiasco before it was fashionable to be against it. And Korenstein has led the fight on the school board against environmental hazards and dangerous conditions in our schools. They also proudly supported the most important reform of all: raising teacher salaries to a more competitive level, to give all our students a better chance to learn from an experienced, qualified teacher.

DAY HIGUCHI, President

United Teacher Los Angeles

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* In its endorsements, The Times seems to use the following reasoning: Independent thinkers are needed. If you vote for teacher pay raises, you are not an independent thinker. Therefore, people should vote for candidates who vote the way the mayor wants them to. The same candidates who voted for teacher pay raises also voted for administrative pay raises, in some cases bordering on 40%. Why is that never mentioned when complaining about a lack of independence? The Times has become a conservative, antilabor voice, like the mayor, and I will support none of his handpicked delegates.

MICHAEL HELWIG

Canoga Park

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