Letters to the Editor
Autry Crawford President Lampasas Texas State Teachers Association Lampasas, Tex.
I am writing in regard to an article which appeared in the Oct. 12 issue of Education Week. It is not the article that we object to; it is the headline, "Texas Teachers' Union Criticizes Amendments." We feel that this title is grossly misleading. It gives the impression that all Texas teachers belong to and share the views of the Texas Federation of Teachers.
In reality there are a number of teacher organizations in Texas with a much larger membership than the tft While we hold with the right of each group to express its views, we do object to a title in bold print that implies that all Texas teachers share this view.
The Lampasas Unit of the Texas State Teachers Association would like to state to the rest of the nation that this group does not speak for all Texas teachers, nor do all Texas teachers agree completely with this article.
William R. Pierce Executive Director Council of Chief State School Officers Washington
I would like to share with your readers why the Council of Chief State School Officers (ccsso) feels that the Department of Education should maintain its cabinet-level status.
ccsso has requested a meeting with President Reagan and his top advisers to discuss the future of the federal role in eduation. In the request, we stated:
"The Council remains committed to the Department of Education. As society becomes more complex, its structure becomes more interdependent. Education is increasingly essential to the task of preparing all citizens to solve the problems caused by such complexities. While many of the current activities of the department could be carried out under other organizational structures, what cannot be accomplished at less than cabinet-level status is an assured mechanism for focusing the attention of the President, his top policy advisers and members of the cabinet on the centrality of education to all endeavors conducted by the federal government. For example, as a cabinet officer of equal rank, the Secretary of Education can work cooperatively with:
"The Secretary of State to ensure that the nation's schools and colleges produce citizens who understand the interdependent nature of the modern world. Education can help ensure that we have a pool of trained individuals not only with proficiencies in foreign languages, but with sufficient sensitivity to the interrelationships among other cultures and this nation's industrial needs.
"The Secretary of Labor to develop the "human capital" needed to spur productivity and retrain our workforce to meet the needs and challenges of new technology, as well as ensuring that the wasted pool of unemployable youth is sufficiently trained to meet the current and emerging needs of this nation's business and industry.
"The Secretary of Defense to focus the nation's attention on the need for well-educated, well-trained people, a sorely needed component of today's complex military weapons and logistical systems.
"The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to forge the role education should play in th rebirth of our urban areas. As well, the Secretaries of Education and hud can cooperatively fashion a solution to school desegregation, which is at least as much a result of housing policies as it is an educational issue.
"The Secretary of Commerce to devise ways of focusing the power of education +and skills training on such issues as international trade, economic development, (national and international), and minority business enterprise.
"The list of education's relationships to other cabinet-level agencies goes on."
The council believes that when education had less than cabinet-level status attempts to emphasize the interaction of education with other federal responsiblilties were inefficient and ineffectual.
Our letter to President Reagan also stated that "education is the core of the effective resolution of all national concerns. To deny the importance of education in today's world by dismantling the department would be a disservice to the public, and would suggest a conscious denigration by the leaders in whom we place our trust. Consequently, before you and your advisers carry out your stated intent regarding the Department of Education, the Council President, Dr. Robert Benton, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction from Iowa, and its President Elect, Dr. Wilson Riles, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction from California, would be pleased to meet with you and you senior advisors to discuss the role they feel education should, and indeed must, play in ensuring that the objectives of your administration are met."
ccsso will continue its efforts and cooperatively work with the Department of Education Coalition to maintain the cabinet-level status of the Department of Education.
William J. Casey Superintendent, Public Schools Belmont, Mass.
Might I make one suggestion that would provide a sense of courtesy and respect for the profession?
In the Oct. 26, 1981, issue, your story, "Early Problem Behavior," identifies Sheppard G. Kellam as "Dr."--in testimony to his role as a psychiatrist. Yet, under the column "People," John H. Lawson, the newly named Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, is referred to as "Mr.," despite the fact that he holds a doctorate from Boston University. The doctorate is, after all, the highest academic honor that a person can achieve--be it in medicine, education, dentistry, or philosophy--and thus, seems always worthy of acknowledgement.
Editor's Note: We mean no disrespect by reserving the title of "Dr." for persons with an M.D. degree. So many people in education have advanced degrees--both master's and doctorates in education and in other fields--that our "house style" is to identify the position an educator holds rather than the degrees he or she has earned.
Richard P. Simpson Assistant Vice President California Taxpayers' Association Sacramento, Calif.
An article in the Oct. 19 issue of Education Week that reviewed the participation of the California Teachers Association in a current campaign to alter Proposition 13 and increase school revenues is incorrect in one respect. Your story noted that "... the California Tax Association ... organized the campaign for Proposition 13."
The California Taxpayers' Association not only did not organize the campaign for Proposition 13, the measure was opposed by Cal-Tax. We supported Proposition 8 in the June 1978 primary, an alternative proposal for homeowner property-tax relief. We have long been opposed to the split-assessment roll.
Brother Donnan Berry, S.C. Development Director Catholic High School Baton Rouge, La.
In regard to your several articles on tuition tax credits: It is interesting to note that when speaking of nonpublic schools, opponents of tuition tax credits (or educational vouchers) tend to use the term "private schools" when they wish to connote wealth and "parochial schools" when they wish to imply constitutional questions. The same apparently holds true for most of the media editors throughout the country. They tend to use pictures of wealthy private schools to illustrate presentations about independent education, despite the fact that these schools are atypical.
It's a subtle but effective equivocation.
Most "parochial" high schools (71 percent of all independent schools) are far from wealthy, amd most truly wealthy private high schools have no religious affiliation.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 1978-79 school year 4,102 of the nation's independent high schools were religiously affiliated and 1,664 were not.
And concerning "What's Wrong, What's Right with America's High Schools?": If the Carnegie Foundation chooses to study only the public high schools of the nation, that's its privilege. But I sincerely hope that when the foundation officials publish their results, they make it clear that theirs is a study of American socialized secondary education only and that they freely chose to exclude 19 percent of the nation's high schools from consideration. (According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, during the 1978-1979 school year there were 25,300 public high schools and 5,766 independent high schools in the U.S.)