Los Angeles Daily News Letters for Sunday, Oct. 3 | http://bit.ly/cGJQoZ
Who's to blame?: No-show parents at fault
Some years ago, my wife and I attended an open house at my daughter's high school. In each classroom we visited, parent attendance was standing-room only. That same month, an open house was held at the school where I taught, located a few miles from my daughter's school. Only three parents showed up to see me that evening, and the response from most of my fellow teachers was also poor. One of the two schools was rated academically high, the other school was not. I'll give you one guess.
- MICHAEL WIENER
Who's to blame?: Motivated students needed
I taught at Los Angeles Unified School District for three years as a long-term substitute teacher for math and science. I came to the conclusion that it's not the teacher's fault for the low performance of students. It is primarily a lack of motivation to learn on the student's part.
We can solve this problem by parental guidance and involvement in church and organizations like the YMCA. We also need role models from the community in which the student lives to come to the school and speak about how a good education helped them become successful in their career and life. I believe that extending school terms and firing teachers are short-term fixes to long-term solutions. What students need is motivation to learn.
- MICHAEL BRANDON
Who's to blame?: Unions at root of problem
There has always been a predominance of well-qualified, highly motivated teachers who teach because of the love of the profession and the pleasure they receive from seeing their students develop and their minds mature. Then came the unions that mediocre teachers became thrilled with. They were provided an environment where they would be allowed to get by with mediocre/poor performance and would not lose their jobs, protected by a new system of tenure. A supervisor would go through hell to get rid of a bad candidate and would still fail because of the union's power.
Unions destroy the need for teachers to compete on the basis of talent and teaching skill to survive.
- FRANKLIN N. HANOCK
Who's to blame?: Combined support for success
I'm the mother of six children: one in college, three in high school, one middle-schooler and one in elementary. There are some very good teachers out there who care about the children they teach, as there are good parents who make sure their children understand and are doing their homework. This is a combined effort between both the school and home. Without the two, the child gets lost.
No, it's not easy to come home after a long day and continue the structure required to have children do their homework before the TV or computer goes on. But if we as parents don't teach the children that their education is important, who will?
- LISA A. WORRILOW
Who's to blame?: We face unique challenges
Teachers are not to blame for today's sudden crisis. The disparity between resources and opportunities between various schools and districts has been entrenched for decades and teachers are powerless to significantly change this dysfunctional system. We don't get to choose the standards, textbooks, or in many cases today, even the instruction.
Critics of American schools like to point to school systems in Finland and other highly performing countries as a means of pointing the finger at our bad teachers. What is not mentioned is that in these countries teachers are highly valued and respected, well-trained and paid commensurate with the challenges inherent in their profession, and provided with much more time for planning and collaboration with other teachers.
- KATHIE MARSHALL
Who's to blame?: Hold parents accountable
I, my wife and my children all attended LAUSD schools. Through the years, I observed three things:
- My children did a lot more work than I did.
- There are currently a mix of good, fair and a few awful LAUSD teachers - just like when I went to school.
- Fewer parents today are riding their kids' butts regarding school work, attendance, homework, etc.
The major cause for deterioration of public schools is not due to a few bad teachers, it's due to poor parenting. Let's have the LAUSD staff develop some creative ways to force parents to do some parenting instead of spending their time developing schemes to raise taxes.
- SCOTT MUNSON