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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Teacher layoffs

Eliminating the most valuable commodity

We hear a lot about cuts in teaching positions, but we haven’t heard anything about elimination of administrative positions. My memory from university teaching/research and my wife’s 20 years as a senior-high science teacher is that in tough times, deans, department chairmen and principals save the bureaucrats above all.

Teachers, of course, are the most valuable commodity. But watch the school boards cry, “We mustn’t eliminate programs!” Teachers, yes, but programs, no. That would mean reducing the often-excessive number of administrators and counselors.

— Luther E. Franklin, Issaquah

Out with the new, in with the old

I’m an amazing teacher. I’m young, vibrant, love what I do each day and am knowledgeable about the best practices in education. In fact, my final evaluation, written by my principal, started with the line, “Jessica is one of the best teachers in this school.”

Why am I writing to an editor then? On Monday, there will be a letter waiting for me at school — a “Reduction in Force” letter. This letter means that next year I, along with hundreds of other young, vibrant teachers across Washington, will not have a job. The funny thing is we suspect we didn’t get our letters on Friday because it was the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Who are the people replacing us? They are the people with far more experience — try 35-plus years. They are the people who are tired, who complain around the lunch table about their rowdy classes, the people who teach using the “best practices” from 1985. These are the teachers who will be teaching our children next year.

Me, I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll hear back about an application I put in at Nordstrom. I hear those employee discounts are pretty great.

— Jessica Simonson, Everett

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