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High school.

I read David Ferrero's review essay "Tales from the Inside: Five Books about High School" (book reviews, Spring 2006) with great interest. I grew up in a suburban community that went through a "population explosion" in the early 1960s and was fortunate to go to grade school and high school in newer facilities, like many of the kids interviewed in the books Mr. Ferrero reviewed.

My senior year in high school was marked by a teacher strike. The strike made me realize that while kids go to school, teachers go to work. Our teachers wanted better pay and benefits; a fairer process for tenure review; and fewer noneducational "babysitting" tasks. Today, I don't blame my teachers for their requests; as Mr. Ferrero points out, they are inherent to the dynamics between teachers and school boards and their full-time administrators.

But I agree with Mr. Ferrero that these dynamics must change.

Teacher development programs and partnerships between union and management could help new teachers succeed. It is in no one's best interest to see a new teacher fail.

We need a new approach to Advanced Placement. Why not consider tax credits for parents to send a bright child to college for a couple of classes, instead of placing the burden for instruction on public schools?

We need more flexible schedules. Summer school could help kids gain advanced standing and graduate early, just as it is used to help stragglers keep up.

Organizational change happens with leadership. I do not believe a superintendent must be an educator. A superintendent's skill set is more like that of a municipal business administrator: manage people with varied skills; negotiate contracts; arrange financing; develop facilities; direct budgets; and answer to voters.


Princeton, New Jersey
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Author:Nachbar, Stuart
Publication:Education Next
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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