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School Spirit
As a former teacher, for three years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Southern Africa and for one year at a public high school in Texas, I read your article on reconstitution with great interest ("Cleaning Slates," July 31).

In an education system where teachers are severely discouraged from failing or retaining students who have refused or otherwise failed to learn the material, it is absurd to blame them for the low achievement of students, especially at the high school level. It is ironic that the very administrators who do not allow teachers to retain students are the first to blame teachers when students do not meet some nebulous "standard." It's interesting superintendents and principals do not include themselves in such "reconstitution." Or do they not consider themselves part of the problem?

I am sorry for those "reconstituted" teachers who have worked hard only to be rewarded with reproach and humiliation for something that is ultimately the fault of our corrupt and insidious education system.

Timothy J. Wade

Tenure Trap
I read with great interest your article on school reconstitution ("Cleaning Slates"). However, some confusions about the idea of "tenure" need to be clarified.

"Tenure" traditionally describes the right of a teacher to be discharged or disciplined only through due process, for just cause. Contrary to what people, including Superintendent Rojas, think, this right is neither unusual nor unreasonable.

Every day throughout the Western world and in the private sector in the United States, thousands of employees are given due process and fired or disciplined for just cause with little fuss or expense. The fact that Superintendent Rojas does not think he can do it without the expenditure of vast amounts of time and money may say more about his administrative ability than about the use of tenure as a legal protection.

David Looman, Instructor
Labor Studies Program
San Francisco State University

Critical Condition
I always thought someone should be writing more honest art reviews ("Writer's Block," Art, July 31). If you visit a gallery and all you can think of is that you're not wearing good enough shoes, what does that say about the art you are viewing? Well, thank you Dave Eggers. A good art critic should be critical.

Carolyn Crampton
Potrero Hill

Scene Stir
I enjoyed your recent riff on the gallery scene and the toils of El Rocho ("Writer's Block," Art). It was quite funny. I do feel, however, that slagging the scene only reassures an already apathetic community that there's no need to participate. I'll grant you that the galleries themselves are to blame, but there are those of us out here who are trying hard to create another model. It's easier to target something that no one will defend than to congratulate new energetic efforts.

Griff Williams
Gallery 16
San Francisco

Food Fight
In closing his favorable report on Joubert's vegan restaurant ("Where's the Beef?" Eat, July 31), Paul Reidinger doesn't see a sense in the self-imposed limitations of the vegan cuisine. Mr. Reidinger, I doubt that your taste buds will grasp this, but maybe your brain or heart will: The sense is in not lending a hand to the millionfold abuses of feeling creatures and to the perpetuation of their miserable living conditions, including the final atrocious transport to the slaughterhouses, and what awaits them there; it is in not being the fool of the meat/dairy industry, which has a gullible public believing that the consumption of meat/dairy products makes strong bodies and other nonsense that flies in the face of a number of scientific studies; and, it is in gaining awareness of the health effects and ecological ramifications of our cherished habits.

Hans Holzherr
Potrero Hill

The photos of Willie Brown used in the cover illustration for "Ringmaster Willie" (Aug. 7) were taken by Chris T. Anderson.


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