The single most important variable in improving student learning is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher ["Harsh spotlight on teachers colleges," Opinion, Dec. 1].
Today's teachers are faced with numerous challenges in their classrooms every day. Their job is not an easy one. Colleges and universities must clearly do everything possible to make sure they deliver "classroom ready" teachers to prospective employers.
However, higher education can't do it alone. We need the cooperation of local districts in opening their classroom doors to student teachers. This includes giving them the opportunity to work side by side with the most highly effective teachers the district can offer. And it similarly means that those effective teachers welcome and mentor those interested in entering this most important profession.
Once a new teacher secures a position, the school district must do everything it can to guide and retain that person. That mentoring must be real and not something written on paper only to meet a state mandate.
Furthermore, because of today's teaching challenges, new teachers need to be helped beyond the first year. So, before we place the focus of teacher reform solely on the shoulders of schools of education, let's not forget the role and professional responsibilities of personnel in kindergarten through grade 12.
Philip S. Cicero, North Massapequa
Editor's note: The writer is a retired Lynbrook schools superintendent and currently an adjunct professor at Adelphi University's School of Education.