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Letters to the editor

Teaching for free in L.A. Unified; nuclear power; 'ginger' attacks in Calabasas

December 04, 2009

Mr. Kravets stays on

Re “Teaching for love, not money,” Nov. 29

It's so great to hear that Bruce Kravets will be allowed to teach for free at Palms.

I was in his class when I was in seventh grade -- I'm now at the University of Oregon -- and a strange thing happened: I actually enjoyed math. And I despise math. But in his class, it was different.

Kravets is a wonderful teacher, and it would be a huge loss to Palms if he were unable to teach.

Isaac Rosenthal
Eugene, Ore.

I always enjoy Steve Lopez's column, and this was no exception. It was heartwarming to learn of the math teacher who is teaching as a volunteer after retiring. And it is commendable that the school district bureaucrats were able to permit this to happen.

However, it does not take a mathematics teacher to comprehend that a state that pays a retired teacher more than he would be paid if he were working is doomed to insolvency.

Janet Weaver
Huntington Beach

Not only are Kravets and the L.A. Unified School District setting a very bad precedent by allowing him to work for no pay, but he also has all gifted classes.

After 42 years in the classroom, how about letting other teachers have a crack at the best and the brightest?

The expectation from this point forward is that the really good teachers will work for the love of teaching, no paycheck required.

We are professionals and expect to be compensated like professionals.

Carol May
Los Angeles

I was one of Kravets' students nearly 38 years ago, and I have always remembered him fondly. I was a terrible math student, but he was always kind and supportive.

Years later, when I taught education technology to teachers working on their credential, I always maintained a clear vision of teacher dedication: The vision was Bruce Kravets.

As a university administrator, I have never lost the vision, and I am so proud of "Mr. Kravets." His kindness, dedication and professionalism prove that teaching is not a career but truly a calling.

Barbara L. McMullin
Clarksville, Tenn.

I believe Kravets' teaching for free is rather self-indulgent. I admire his teaching prowess, but might this move be keeping one of our many talented, recently trained teachers from getting a job?

We are reading so much about homeless children; why couldn't he put his efforts into helping those who desperately need his talent?

Ben Boelman

Nuclear power: threat or promise?

Re “The nuclear (power) threat,” Nov. 28

Yet another uninformed anti-nuclear editorial. It is a pity that The Times has stepped blindly from technological ignorance to intellectual dishonesty in its view of nuclear electrical generation.

I'd like to hear an explanation of why the shortcomings of nuclear power are insoluble (especially because many of those you cite were solved long ago), while the very real shortcomings of geothermal and wind power are just a "smoke screen."

Perhaps you also would like to explain why a technology that already, by your own admission, provides a substantial fraction of our electrical energy is hopeless, while wildly unproven technologies such as geothermal energy are our salvation?

Also welcome would be an explanation of how a "vastly expensive" technology produces some of the cheapest electricity in Europe, or how an emission-free process for generating electricity is a "terrible option from an . . . environmental standpoint."

It seems pretty clear that George Orwell is alive and working at The Times.

Steve Maas
Long Beach

Reading your editorial brought back memories of working with the nuclear power industry 40 years ago. All bad memories, I might add, mostly of poor safety management, which indicates little has changed.

You missed one major issue with nuclear power today: Where do we get the fuel to run more power reactors? A large part of the fuel being used today comes from decommissioned nuclear bombs from the U.S. and Russian stockpiles.

An increase in uranium prospecting and mining would be needed to expand the use of nuclear power. Some say the planet is already running low on sources of usable fuel.

So add to the cost of building reactors and storing used fuel for centuries a cost for finding and refining new fuel. Then, I'd bet, a cost-benefit analysis makes other sources of energy even more attractive.

Jim Hayes

Seeing red over 'ginger' attacks

Re “3 arrested in ‘ginger’ attacks,” Dec. 1

As a former film instructor, I believe the latest incidents in Calabasas regarding attacks by middle-school children on red-haired classmates prove the unmitigated power of the media.

"South Park," a TV series of mixed messages, sent hatred over the airwaves in a 2005 episode. Its "lesson in tolerance" went over the heads of a younger audience.

Such programming should be off-limits for children -- any excuse to bully others is uppermost in many young minds. These kids must be charged as adults and face their punishment.

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