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How to Lose Teachers in a Few Easy Steps

July 04, 2002

Re "Teachers Lose Bid to End Class-Upsizing Plan," June 28:

If L.A. Unified School District Supt. Roy Romer cuts salaries for teachers (as he was given the authority to do), this will be the final blow to my already low morale as a teacher. I am going into my seventh year as an elementary school teacher. I am also a second-career UCLA graduate with an MBA who became a teacher when then-Gov. Pete Wilson reduced class size to 20 in grades K-3.

I love my students, my school and my job, but having experienced the reality of teaching I don't think I could stay if my salary was cut. The district can't afford to lose teachers like me--but will, if this drastic action is taken. Can you imagine the teacher shortage and the quality of teachers then?

Genie Penn

Los Angeles

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Why are teachers upset with the LAUSD school board?

Romer just had his expense account for meals and entertainment doubled to $30,000 (June 27)--so he can eat at the Pacific Dining Car restaurant, because no other restaurant will serve him after late meetings; teachers are given two additional students per class and no pay raise.

Romer's wife gets fully paid health benefits for life; teachers are being asked to start paying additional premiums each month for each dependent (effectively, a pay cut). School board members get private bathrooms in the new headquarters building so they can "have a private place of refuge"; teachers work at schools notorious for bathroom problems (and no place for refuge).

All of these items may seem little, but they are symbolic. And the symbolism is that the school board cares more about administrators than it does about teachers. Romer has never taught in a classroom; teachers are there every day preparing your children to deal with life.

Joel Robbins

North Hollywood

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