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[Susan notes: We all need to push this naked emperor message.]

Published in New York Times
04/24/2005

To the editor

After 35 years as a public school teacher, I can say that the only "experts" never consulted about the school system's problems are teachers. Yet opinions like Sy Fliegel's are given full voice ("Fix the Teachers' Contract," Op-Ed, April 17). He should know that all teachers in public schools face "challenging assignments," not only those in "hard-to-staff" schools or those who are math and science teachers.



Giving principals "flexibility" to run their schools sounds logical, but principals are not always in it for altruistic reasons. Too many of them can be petty, vindictive and incompetent. And where is any mention of how principals would be allowed to control unruly students?



Professionals who hold advanced degrees should not perform menial, caretaker tasks like patrolling lunchrooms, especially without any authority to control the chaos. Yet Mr. Fliegel thinks that this would serve as meaningful interaction.



The problem isn't the teachers or their contract. The problem is that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, and no one will listen to teachers who point this out.









Herman Kolender


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