to the la times Re "The teaching fix," Opinion, June 16 | http://lat.ms/mIsXBi
While Antonio Villaraigosa cites more rigorous teacher evaluations, tougher requirements for tenure and ending seniority as we know it as "fixes" for the Los Angeles Unified School District, he puts teacher compensation at the very bottom of his wish list, backing "sensible formulas that put more dollars where they belong — in the classroom."
We teachers want reform too, perhaps more than anyone. What we don't want is someone else's definition of our "effectiveness," more hurdles to a fair paycheck and for our careers to be at the mercy of people who have never taught — people like Villaraigosa.
And people wonder why teacher training programs are like ghost towns these days.
The mayor writes, "Every child in every school in every neighborhood must have an effective teacher." What he should say is that every child deserves to have the full support and encouragement of their parents when it comes to their education.
Here is a theory of mine. If every parent went to open house and back-to-school night, every child would understand how important it was to get the best education possible.
Instead of trying to make good teachers great teachers, we should help parents work with their children when it comes to schoolwork.
Notwithstanding my admiration and support of Villaraigosa, I take issue with his contention that "we must make excellent teaching a top priority." Excellent teaching is important, but the top priority should be to educate, train, encourage and reward the "top dog" in any school: the principal.
As a father of four, one of whom is a teacher, I have seen the difference a top-notch principal makes on the educational progress within a school. After all, a successful business is largely the result of strong management skills at the top.
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