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updated: 7/8/2011 3:55 PM

There are ways to keep best teachers

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"Pay for education now or pay for it with public assistance and prisons tomorrow. The first choice seems infinitely better."

I do not know who said these words, but I do know that I believe them. I just finished watching "Waiting for Superman. The bottom line of the movie is that our education system is broken.

I do not agree that it is broken, but I do believe that it has much room for improvement. I take heart that there is hope. That it can be fixed. It was no surprise to me that they suggest in the movie that the only way the system can be fixed is by hiring the best and the brightest people who believe that teaching is a calling -- not just a job. I do believe that our schools are filled with hardworking, dedicated teachers

In Bill Hartman's recent Fence Post letter bashing teacher unions, he stated that a friend of his was told by a union member not to stay too late at school. It would not look good for the other teachers. I find that incredulous, as almost all school parking lots are filled with teachers' cars hours before and after school starts.

I do agree that we must weed out teachers who should not be in the classroom. And I agree that tenure has made it difficult. However, administrators have the ability to fire the teachers who should not be there.

It has been proven time and again that the teacher is the main indicator of success or failure for the students. Last night a dedicated, master teacher who served 39 years said that education lifted her out of poverty. That is precisely what education can do. It is probably the most important issue facing America today.

Susan Merle Hoerauf

Prospect Heights