Jeffery Wells's article "Blackboard Bungle" {Outlook, Sept. 2} and the letters to the editor on Sept. 10 address a teacher-hiring policy that was not in effect in the '60s and early '70s. In 1966, when I started as a math teacher, I had only a BA from the University of Chicago. When I was hired, my lack of education courses was the reason given for employing me at the old Western High School, instead of at an elementary school. I was asked to take some education courses and get a master's degree within five years. This was a bit troublesome because the degree courses and the education courses did not overlap, but I complied. Several of us at Western were in the same boat, and we divided the labor of going to the education courses in an amicable way. They were, of course, insultingly foolish, but we put up with them.

The point is that we were all the sort of people who would not, apparently, be hired today. We were a mix of ex-Peace Corps volunteers, mothers returning to work and recent idealistic Ivy League graduates. I went on to teach nine years at Western, one year at Coolidge High School and nine years in the science-math program at Ballou High School. Many of the rest continued as well.

A little later there was what I believe was called a conversion program in which people with real liberal arts degrees spent a year taking education courses to become certified. I know two people who went through the program and who have become outstanding teachers.

In the past the hiring policies were different. It would be good to have an explanation of what caused the change. MIRIAM HOLSEN Washington