<b>Tenure ruling</b>

EDITOR: How should we as informed citizens respond to Judge Rolf Treu's ruling that tenure protections for public school teachers are unconstitutional ("Judge rejects teacher tenure," June 11)? In his opinion, the current situation discriminates against minority children and low-income students because it places ineffective teachers in their schools.

Is he right?

If, as suggested by some of the letters to the editor, teachers are being "scapegoated," and that there is a "war on teachers," we should remember that teachers' unions are very powerful, with plenty of resources to protect the rights of their members.

It is the responsibility of the teachers individually and collectively to not allow the tenure system to be abused. If they fail to police themselves, then they run the risk of losing this important protection.

Poverty can be a major obstacle to ensuring a child's rights to an equal opportunity to learn, but it is not an excuse for a poor education. There are many public schools that have proven to be very effective in educating low-income students. If we are asked to take sides, then we should be on the side of children. That is how we empower the educators that know how to reform their own schools.


Santa Rosa