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EDITORIAL : DANGEROUS GAME OF MONOPOLY; TEACHERS UNION NEEDS TO GET OVER ITSELF.

THE cry begins: ``Show me the money.''

From there, United Teachers Los Angeles makes it very clear in its newsletter it will not negotiate on tying pay raises for teachers to student test scores.

Now that's a clear and compelling message: Your money or your kids' education.

The teachers union is pushing for a 4 percent pay hike this year in addition to the 2 percent raise they are already getting this year.

The district last year agreed to give teachers a 10 percent increase over three years in return for a plan that would link instructors' pay raises to student performance.

Where's the plan?

The union wants peer review - teachers evaluating teachers - and nothing else as the basis of reform.

But if teachers don't need bosses to evaluate them, then students don't need teachers to give them grades. Roving bands of classroom peers can judge whether their classmates have learned anything and hold them back for another go or send them on their way.

Teachers have every right to demand to be paid what they are truly worth. The public has made it equally clear that they strongly support public education.

But issuing ultimatums isn't conducive to designing an educational system that works.

On the other hand, who can trust the Los Angeles Unified School District and its finances, especially when the board can't do the math in public. The district's figures are always suspect.

UTLA contends the district has the money to give substantial raises to teachers. And, of course, that's the only educational goal that is important to it as a union.

It's time to stop playing games with the welfare and future of children. Sending students into the world who can't read, can't add and can't get a job is increasingly seen for what it really is: cruel and unusual punishment.

When a high school graduate can't pass go and can't collect a salary because the system failed for 12 years to impart standards, then the money ought to stop flowing as well for the people who turned out failures.

Teacher unions should stop playing Monopoly with education. And the LAUSD should stop treating the budget like it's all just funny money.

The time is ripe to cut a genuine deal that upgrades the public school teaching profession for years to come. The price is genuine standards that get rid of bad teachers and high enough salaries that better people are drawn to the profession.

That's the road to better education for all, a road that requires real leadership, real commitment - for the sake of the children.
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 13, 1999
Words:431
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