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[Susan notes: A teacher speaks out in this is a strong, effective letter. Kudos.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re "'Waiting for Superman' and the Education Debate," by Brent Staples (Editorial Observer, Oct. 2):

We teach. We spend seven to eight hours a day with your children, sometimes an hour before school, sometimes an hour or two after school and certainly countless hours researching, planning and coordinating lessons that are just right for your children.

The system is not perfect, we are not perfect, but please do not trash us all or the public school system because there are an imperfect few among us. To say tenure is granted "to any warm body that comes along" is making an unjust generalization. In my case, I was observed more than a dozen times in order to be granted tenure in a school that rarely granted tenure to teachers in three years.

I work in a high-minority, low-wealth district that is underperforming. Are all the teachers underperforming? No! I have three master's degrees and attend every professional development opportunity that will allow me to afford my children the best education possible.

I do agree that the unions are being unfairly vilified. Without the security of the teachers' union, I donĂ¢€™t think I would be the really great educator that I am. In fact, I might have left education.

Joyce Koestenblatt

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