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Who has a say in the classroom?

July 26, 2009

Re "Rewriting the 3 Rs," Editorial, July 20

I hope you didn't mean that parents should have a voice in the schools only on "safe passage to and from campus ... after-school programs or specialized curricula such as arts instruction." These are obviously parental concerns.

But parents are most concerned with the content and quality of the basic education that their children receive, and they must be included in that planning and execution. We cannot leave it only to the educational "experts."

My experience serving as a parent with a teaching background on a school/community advisory council demonstrated that some school administrators are reluctant to require more than rote learning without student reasoning to avoid a possible drop in test scores.

Dick Littlestone

Pacific Palisades

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Do flight attendants fly the airplanes? Does Tiger Woods' caddie play the sand shots? Do nurses perform surgery?

Teachers teach. Parents parent. Unions support union members. Private charters maximize profit. Politicians orate.

None of the above has the expertise to properly run a school. That requires academics and a full range of support activities to produce well-rounded individuals.

Every five years, some new education wrinkle comes along. They fail because they overlook dedicated teachers in the classrooms and professional administrators running the schools.

Bob Munson

Newbury Park

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All this latest talk about managing schools just proves that adult agendas are in front of classroom agendas. Another bait-and-switch.

How difficult is it to comprehend that the best practices in classrooms (where students actually sit) are designed and implemented by an individual, creative teacher (and there are still lots of them), not by a school board, a union, a parent group or a seminar-selling foundation?

Michael Katzman

Los Angeles

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While so much attention is being paid to education, will someone promise to include English grammar when "Rewriting the 3 Rs"?

One need only listen to media pundits and their guests. You will find that "are" has disappeared. In its place there "is" helicopters, "is" 60 acres and sometimes no number at all -- just "a large amount" of people.

This is clearly not a new problem, and it requires an answer based on five important rules of journalism: WHEN did correct grammar lose its significance in the curriculum? WHY do so few seem to notice? WHO is to blame for its demise? WHERE are those who care? And WHAT will be done to resurrect English grammar?

Bette Balliet

Mission Viejo

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You are exactly right in characterizing the "public school choice" initiative by LAUSD Board Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar as "an inventive idea that benefits children." Keeping the child in mind is our guiding principle at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. This initiative, which we strongly support, would allow many entities -- not just charter operators -- to submit proposals to run new schools. The alliance is all about creating options for educational excellence in public schools, and we applaud this bold idea that invites others to do likewise. At the opening of one of our new high schools this year, LAUSD Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said of our model: "You've taken it beyond rhetoric and made it real. We want to learn from you."

With this initiative, we can move closer to that goal.

Judy Burton

Los Angeles

The writer is the president of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

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