You state that teachers in the Council Rock (Pa.) School District with 13 or more years experience will earn $81,606 in the 1995-96 school year ["Roundup,'' August]. As a proud member of the Council Rock staff for 22 years, I was dismayed that your magazine failed to add that these teachers must have completed 60 graduate credits approved by the superintendent. The public, and fellow teachers, should not assume that every teacher with 13 years' experience automatically gets the "big money'' without a major investment of time, money, and intellectual effort.
It is clear from your August "Roundup'' item on the equalization of
funding for New Jersey school districts that you do not have all the
facts. Equalization does not mean that all districts in the state will
be spending up to the level of the wealthiest districts, as you
reported. Instead, all districts will be spending down to the mediocre
level of the poorest districts in the state. In addition, Gov. James
Florio has strong-armed the state legislature into making the local
districts take over from the state the costs of the state teacher's
pension fund. This will only add to the financial burdens of the
districts. In short, the wealthy districts in our state will be lucky
to make ends meet, while the poorer districts, in order to cover
pension costs, will have to pay back to the state much of the state aid
they will receive. This doesn't seem like a good way to improve the
quality of education in any district.
Feld Kirchner Elementary School
Green Brook, N.J.
In your recent "Roundup,'' you mention the bargaining rights
attained by educators at Department of Defense Dependents Schools. May
I suggest that you include DoDDS the next time you publish a table of
teacher salaries based on the National Education Association's salary
Edward La Londe
Soesterberg American Elementary School
Camp van Zeist
I would like to compliment the Syracuse school system for its commitment to child care ["Making Room For Baby,'' September]. But I would like to add that other school systems are also responding. The Pinellas County (Fla.) school system near St. Petersburg began employee child care in January 1990 and now has four centers operating. These centers are housed in high schools with large, well-equipped child-care rooms and separate fenced-in playgrounds. We are able to offer full-time day care from 6:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. for $50 per week per child. A unique aspect of this program is that high school students taking child-care courses in these schools actually get hands-on teaching experience by assisting in the centers. The centers are run by the school system and are self-supporting. We are excited about the positive response we have received and hope to expand the program next year. School employees who feel confident about their children's care will be more dedicated employees. Alison Bellack
Coordinator of Partnership Schools and Child Care Programs
Pinellas County Schools
I read with interest your article on child care, since we at Sandia
High School have opened this fall a similar facility for teachers'
children, the Sandia Share and Care Center. Since Sandia's student
population has been in decline for several years, new uses have been
found for many spaces. The center occupies what was a cooking
classroom. Like the center in your article, it operates on the
teachers' schedule and costs $65 a week. Our teacher-director is paid
partially by the school district and partially from center income. The
center has also let us revive a parenting class for our students. We
think the center meets the need for a child-care facility for the
children of educators and the need to train future parents.
Sandia High School
The System Works
Being a New York City teacher for more than a quarter of a century may have jaded me so deeply that I missed the point and the excitement of the article on John Chubb ["Prescription For A Revolution,'' August]. Based on my experiences, the various bureaucracies are doing the jobs for which they were created very well. Custodians continue to fatten at the public trough. Superintendents manage to maintain a political base by doling out patronage financed, once again, by the middle class. Building contractors are able to utilize their shoddiest materials and retire to condos in the Southwest. I suspect that those who do well in the education establishment may become eligible for positions in the military-procurement field. So, as far as the bureaucracies are concerned, the schools are doing just fine, thank you, and please pass the caviar.
Intermediate School 181
The Bronx, N.Y.
I enjoy your magazine very much, and I find your articles generally thoughtprovoking and accurate. However, your recent article on moonlighting omitted something essential: It did not include education-related moonlighting, such as coaching and advising clubs, or profession-related moonlighters, such as music teachers who direct church choirs.
Wyomissing Area High School
Private Vs. Public
As a product of a public school, now the principal of a private school, I read your August cover story ["A Tale Of Two Teachers''] with appreciation for the vitality of both the teachers profiled and the strengths of the institutions represented. In comparing the public and private schools, your writer concluded that kids in trouble are not an issue in an independent school because such kids are asked to leave or are never admitted. This conclusion is unfair. One of the benefits of an independent school is that teachers have the time to pay attention to vulnerable children. At Madeira, an all-girls residential and day high school, every teacher is responsible for the academic, social, physical, and emotional well-being of eight to 10 girls. Teachers get special training on how to identify studentdistress signals. We work with concerned parents to develop strategies to help any at-risk students, and we have a variety of other resources available to support vulnerable adolescents. Independent schools do address the needs of all their students.
The Madeira School
In his commentary, John Taylor Gatto offered valuable suggestions for ways to broaden and enhance the educational experiences of young people ["The Curriculum Of The Family,'' August]. A new national initiative called the Civic Achievement Award Program focuses on student involvement in the types of projects Gatto suggests and meets many of his educational goals. It especially tries to create independent citizens and to restore democracy as a national mission among the young. CAAP was created by Congress, and is conducted by the Close Up Foundation, to help raise the level of civic literacy among American students. It is available at no charge to thousands of schools, thanks to substantial funding from Burger King Corp. The program targets 5th through 8th grade students, who gain research, organizational, and communication skills and are encouraged to use them to address public issues and to conduct community-service projects. CAAP students have set up programs for the homeless, started recycling programs, and conducted anti-drug campaigns. They have also worked with local community organizations and businesses and lobbied government officials. CAAP is a new challenge for educators and students, but participants gain immeasurable benefits. As Gatto stated, "There really isn't anything to lose by trying something different.''
Mary Jane Turner Director,
Close Up Foundation
His Own School
Your article on Harry Chaucer ["Mr. Chaucer Builds His Dream School,'' September] is uncannily parallel to the experience of another educator who built his field of dreams. Joseph Pacelli has done in Lincroft, N.J., what Harry Chaucer is doing in Middlebury, Vt. Ten years ago, Pacelli left his administrative position at a local parochial high school to follow his dream of starting a comprehensive junior high program. In the fall of 1981, Oak Hill Academy opened its doors, in rented space, to 50 7th and 8th graders and six part-time teachers. The opening came after nearly three years of planning, researching, working, and scrounging. OHA is now a complete elementary school, housing grades K-8, with an enrollment of 243 students and 38 faculty and staff. I wish Chaucer and the Gailer School the success that OHA has experienced. Dreams become attainable goals when there is a plan of action, commitment, and persistence.
Oak Hill Academy
Please help the overworked, conscientious librarians. Teacher Magazine is becoming a "must-read'' periodical among staff members and education association officers, who frequently ask for the full texts of reports they read about. Abstracts of research reports, such as those mentioned in your "Notebook'' sections, are useless without full data on the author and publication source. Complete citations will make your good magazine even better.
E. Lynne Van Buskirk Associate Director,
New Jersey Education Association