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Apparently the Teacher Still Has a Lot to Learn

November 23, 2002

Re "Mr. Hart's Teachable Moment," Nov. 19: While I applaud former state Education Secretary Gary K. Hart's return to the classroom, the article points out why there is such an acute shortage of teachers. After getting to pick and choose his students, having the help of two college students to read his students' essays and having immediate access to top district officials to cut through the bureaucracy, he has committed to staying only two years. Most teachers plug along much longer with much less.

Though not teaching a full load, he still puts in 80-hour weeks and, after only three months on the job, already has eyes that are "dark with fatigue." Additionally, he is unable to follow the mandates his fellow politicians have placed upon teachers.

However, Hart is making the "big bucks" -- $28,000 a year! Anyone still wondering why there's a shortage?

Marlin Sobbota

Arcadia

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Your article on Hart would be quite funny if it were not so sad. To think this man helped mold California's state standards and curriculum, the same state standards and curriculum to which thousands of teachers are held accountable on a daily basis, standards that rob teachers of their creativity and enthusiasm throughout the year.

Hart himself has shown that good teachers who are motivated and love their jobs enjoy having control over their learning environment. He may not be "trying to change the world" but he sure helped change California's educational system -- a system made up of packaged, rote, standards-based education where all teachers are held to, in some cases, unrealistic standards of performance. It is a shame that, as Hart has learned, good theory doesn't always translate into good practice.

Just ask the ninth-grade history teacher at Sacramento's Kennedy High School doing his "little thing."

Tom Iannucci

Los Angeles

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What's the correct phrase? I busted a gut laughing? At the pitiful attempts of former self-styled education guru Hart to pretend he is a real teacher. As a former teacher for 36 years, I consider Hart's pretense at teaching (four-fifths of a teaching day, handpicked students, field trips to Yosemite) to be as hypocritical as his self-promoting educational "reforms" were detrimental to the schools of California.

And shame on the Sacramento teachers organization for allowing this charlatan to position himself for another run at some public office.

Tom Burke

Bakersfield

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