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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

School letter irks union

Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

Maria Goodloe-Johnson is superintendent for Seattle Public Schools.

Written out of arrogance or ignorance?

Editor, The Times:

It vexes me why Seattle’s school chief Maria Goodloe-Johnson failed to consult union officials before she wrote a letter to teachers about the reduction of paid days for next year [“School chief’s letter vexes union,” page one, May 9]. If she had taken the time to talk with the union, the whole problem could have easily been avoided.

It’s quite a coincidence that an adjacent article reports that the management style of Paul Jackson, Seattle’s manager of transportation, has come under City Council scrutiny [“Promotion of ‘unsafe’ manager questioned,” page one, May 9]. While they’re working on management practices, the council should ask Goodloe-Johnson if her letter to the teachers was written out of arrogance or ignorance.

— Bill Whetham, Seattle

Union ignores students, pursues power

It’s all about power, isn’t it?

The Seattle Education Association is mad that it can’t run Seattle Public Schools. They think they are co-superintendents and should have the final say on how the district runs.

Nowhere in the article do union spokespeople mention the children or education. You might think the union would be complaining that reduced class time means reduced success in education our children, but no –its complaint is about usurping the union’s “rights.”

Throughout the country, teachers unions are — while giving lip service to education — demanding policies that give them power. They insist on length of service as the criteria for pay increases. They fight back at the slightest suggestion that competency or merit should be reflected in their pay or that poor performance can result in termination.

In the last week, the Obama administration caved in to union pressure and let die an extremely successful scholarship program in Washington, D.C., which has one of the worst school systems in the country. Scholarships to private schools were given to a few students. Every report indicated that students in this program were far more successful than those in the D.C. system. About 10 applications were received for each vacancy. Never mind — the power of the union was threatened.

Everyone agrees that today, as never before, a good education is essential for the success of the individual and for the nation. Everyone agrees, that is, except the unions, who would rather trade their power today for our country’s future.

— Henry Kroeger, Redmond

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