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Uncertainty Faces State's Schoolteachers

May 10, 2003

Re "Unwelcome Lessons in Budget Anxiety," May 6: A teacher can no longer shop at Banana Republic? A high school student had to cancel a trip to Europe? A Canadian teacher with a house in Santa Monica may have to return to Canada? Please. If these are hardships, I'm a Rockefeller. I have really lost patience with fellow Californians who think they're making "sacrifices" when their extravagant spending or affluent lifestyles are threatened.

In my part of the state, there is a 40% child-poverty rate. More than 70% of local school district students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches. Real estate has appreciated so drastically that it appears quite possible that I, a college- and graduate-school-educated native Fresnan with a long professional career behind her, may not be able to buy a home in my hometown, or anywhere else.

And yet, when I contrast my little struggles with millions of people around the globe who can't put a basic meal on their tables, who watch their children die from entirely preventable diseases or consider a basic education an unattainable luxury, I feel lucky. Sounds like a whole lot of people down south need to get some perspective and get over themselves.

Janelle Schneider

Fresno

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Your article left out one important segment of the education community in Los Angeles: adult education. The L.A. Unified School District alone serves more than 430,000 adult ed students per year in programs such as English as a second language, job training, literacy, high school diploma, parent education and classes for older adults and adults with disabilities. Adult ed provides a lifeline to the poorest residents of the city. Cuts to the adult ed program would be just as devastating to students and teachers as those to any K-12, community college or university program.

Jim Chacon

Assistant Principal

Los Angeles Community

Adult School

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