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School reforms and the teachers union

November 24, 2005

Re "The ABCs of school reform," editorial, Nov. 20

Your examination of poor schools should delve deeper than merely attacking the teachers unions and teacher contracts. Although abuses exist, union contracts are the only protection teachers have from potentially arbitrary and unfair treatment from the behemoth public school bureaucracy.

Your editorial blames veteran teachers for impeding school reform. As a Los Angeles teacher for 30 years, I say that experienced teachers are often treated as first-year novices by an army of non-classroom "experts."

If Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa takes a direct hand in running the schools, I hope he will have more respect for the profession than your editorial board exhibits.

DANIEL HENNESSY

Arcadia

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Good luck to the mayor in his efforts to improve our school district. He will have a tough battle with the teachers union that one political strategist described as "an incredible force" that brought down a popular governor. If the union is indeed this powerful, why doesn't it use its strength to change the system? Or is the union more interested in tenure than teaching children?

PAUL ELDER

Agoura Hills

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