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Governor’s education reforms adequate

The recent Other Voices column titled “Plan won’t improve education” by Shane Valdez calls for some serious rebuttal.

He is responding to our Governor’s statement that our education system is facing a crisis because a growing number of students are failing and almost a third of them are not graduating from high school. This is not a new problem. It is an old and continuing problem. Unfortunately, our legislators and school administrators have, for many years, tried to fix it by throwing more and more money at it. Unfortunately, again, most of the money was spent on pop courses instead of English, mathematics and sciences and, as a result, many graduates of our high schools and colleges cannot read, write and express themselves so they can successfully compete in our modern day world.

Our governor has proposed that our teachers should have 10 school years of experience, instead of two to attain tenure status, and to pay them on the merit system. Tenure means that it is virtually impossible to discharge a teacher because of incompetence and an incompetent teacher will retire with a guaranteed generous pension paid by the taxpayers. Tenure is not given to any other profession or job in our world and merit is absolutely necessary for advancement and pay increases. It takes years to make a really good teacher as it does in any other profession and no teacher is fully qualified to adequately teach with only 18 months of experience.

Mr. Valdez states “I cannot comprehend what suggests that our education problems will disappear if we stop paying substandard teachers and quality teachers equally.” Paying them equally is pure socialism and penalizing quality to pay for substandard is ridiculous.

Our governor has been doing a fine job in his efforts to improve education programs and should not be criticized in expensive and misleading television advertisements that claim he has cut school budgets when he has actually increased school spending by three billion dollars. The teachers’ union would serve its members better if it spent that money to lobby the legislature to permit the teachers to exert discipline in classrooms and deny advancement to students who have failed in their courses.

In summary, I believe Mr. Valdez is one of the problems in our school system, not part of the solution.


Robert Shoemaker lives in Grass Valley.