Having spent much time over the years volunteering in public school classrooms, I submit that, though teachers are due a pay raise to be sure, there are several other reasons that they leave the profession after two years (Our View, 8/11).

First of all, the student body is not what it used to be. Due to societal dysfunction (family breakdown, excessive permissivenes, moral decay, etc.) many students are simply not in a position to learn. Anyone with a love of teaching will be greatly disillusioned when they realize they are just glorified babysitters.

In addition, they become overburdened by the incessant mandates coming down from a top-heavy bureaucracy, that thwart their teaching time. Special ed kids are constantly being taken out of class for individual work, classroom discipline is gone, and it becomes harder and harder for any teaching to get done.

Add to this the fact that they have spent four years of their time, and thousands of dollars, obtaining a teaching degree that has very little bearing on the job they will actually be doing, and you can understand why there is a dearth of teachers.

It is a credit to the system that, finally, people with expertise can teach in public schools without getting a teaching degree. If public schools are going to remain relevant there needs to be a change in the way they do business. The threat of competition will, and has already in small ways, forced them to be more responsive.

TONI SYKORA

Tempe and Flagstaff

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