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[Susan notes: These excellent letters were published under the headline Teaching as a Career, Not a Resume Line. ]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re "Options Open, Top Graduates Line Up to Teach to the Poor" (front page, Oct. 2):

As a New York City public school teacher, I am distressed by how many students entering Teach for America see teaching as a way to fill time or pad their resumes before moving on to other careers.

I was also concerned that a recruiter quoted in your article used the fact that many teachers had left the program after two years as a selling point.

We do need young, intelligent people as teachers. But the only way that they can effect any meaningful change is to stay in schools and develop their skills.

Amy Mogulescu
Brooklyn, Oct. 2, 2005

To the Editor:

Participation in programs like Teach for America can -- and should -- permanently alter the lives of its participants.

As for the young teachers who choose to go to law school, we should really be interested in knowing how the experience of teaching affects the kind of law that they practice, not just whether the experience helps them to get into a better law school.

The person who walks away from this program with only a stronger resume has missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel truly connected to the communities that he or she serves and the human community at large.

J. Lynn Gieger
Atlanta, Oct. 2, 2005
The writer is an assistant professor of mathematics education at Oglethorpe University.

To the Editor:

It is commendable that graduates from top colleges are taking some time to do something meaningful while they put off major career decisions. But putting people with almost no training into the hardest teaching situations in the country is not fair to the students.

It is also degrading for the teaching profession and smacks of elitism. We would never let untrained people become doctors or lawyers simply because they were well educated.

Jeremy Kaplan
Brooklyn, Oct. 3, 2005

To the Editor:

Re "Options Open, Top Graduates Line Up to Teach to the Poor" (front page, Oct. 2):

The real measure of progress for the profession of teaching is not whether a group of talented Ivy Leaguers chooses teaching for two years on the way to "real careers" in investment banking, law or medicine.

Rather, it is when teaching itself is one of those "real career" choices in the first place.

Teach for America is a plausible distraction from the real issue: whether this country has the will to make a serious investment in its educational system so that teaching is transformed into a profession that garners respect, has a solid infrastructure and allows teachers to earn an attractive career-long salary.

Marleen C. Pugach
Shorewood, Wis., Oct. 3, 2005
The writer is a professor in the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

multiple authors

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