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Even in School, You Get What You Pay for

June 17, 2002

I really do not understand the LAUSD's rationale for trying to improve the quality of education ("L.A. Unified Cuts $31 Million More," June 12). The school board justifies the high salaries to administrators by saying it needs to attract the best qualified. But in terms of teachers it is not willing to pay the same price. Now The Times reports that the board will review possible cuts to rewards for National Board Certified teachers.

As a prospective NBC candidate I will think twice before investing a couple of thousand dollars in the yearlong process. How does the board expect to hire and retain the best and brightest teachers if it is not willing to pay for them? Money is being spent on frivolous administrative expenses. Recently, District H sent leadership teams from the Roosevelt cluster to a three-day retreat, hotel room included. Our school was left without anyone in charge. Parents were livid.

The LAUSD will never rise up from its mediocrity until it realizes that teachers have the greatest impact on students.

Jonathan Weisbart


Malabar Street Elementary


Re "L.A. Schools Pressured to Add 17 Days," June 11: It is reported that one of the alternatives being considered by the LAUSD for dealing with its overcrowded campuses is "running double sessions on the same day. The school day would be split in two."

Fifty years ago this fall, the population of the San Fernando Valley was increasing so rapidly that Van Nuys Junior High School had to go on double session. I was a member of the eighth-grade class and still have the Oct. 14, 1952, issue of the Mustang, the school newspaper, in which it was reported that "because of so many students the B-8s have had to go on an extended schedule. Of course all of you are aware of this because it has thrown the regular schedule somewhat out of whack."

The school operated on a nine-period day, with the seventh and ninth grades in session Periods 1-6. We eighth-graders had five classes rather than six, started our school day with Period 5 at about 11 a.m. and ended with Period 9 at about 4:30 p.m. From the perspective of a 12-year-old, this was an exciting new adventure, one that I have never forgotten. I wonder what The Times will be reporting about the classroom situation in 2052.

Harold Jacobs

Valley Village

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