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Cause of education woes lies in poor working conditions

AS A public school teacher with 20 years’ experience, I take issue with the basic premise behind Samuel R. Tyler and Jorge Martinez’s Jan. 28 op-ed “Getting to yes on teacher contract.’’ The underlying assumption they seem to peddle is that teachers don’t try hard enough, and that more rigorous teacher evaluation would somehow improve the quality of instruction students receive.

If we follow this logic, there must be a pool of exceedingly qualified teachers out there who are desperate to get into the classroom, but are being prevented from doing so. Where, I would ask Tyler and Martinez, are these people?

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No, the reality is that the causes of inadequate education lie in the poor working conditions that urban teachers deal with daily, which make it difficult to recruit talented people to the teaching profession.

Further, their proposed solutions show a profound ignorance of what it means to settle a contract. In any negotiation there must be give and take. Tyler and Martinez propose to make teachers more vulnerable to the whims of individual administrators (whose judgment and qualifications are not guaranteed), while proposing nothing in return to make these sacrifices worth it for the teachers.

Mark Goldner

Jamaica Plain

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