Opinion

Join Our Conversation: Letters to the Editor

By The 74 and Bellwether Staff | September 27, 2015

As part of The Seventy Four's mission to lead an honest, fact-based debate about K-12 education, we encourage everyone — from lawmakers to teachers to parents to students — to join our conversation.
This is why we love hearing from our readers, and will regularly publish your input (You can always reach us here). We received a number of letters that were insightful, provocative and made excellent points. Below are a handful from our inbox.
Please keep the feedback coming!


The below letters have been edited for length and clarity:
On Matt Barnum’s Essay: The Fact-Check — No Vox, All Good Schools Are NOT in Rich Neighborhoods (Read here):
Matt Barnum’s essay has some […] problems. While the large growth in achievement in students from poorer neighborhoods is admirable, to compare it to lower growth in more affluent neighborhoods defies psychometric knowledge about testing.  
Most group tests do their best assessment of achievement in the middle of the spectrum — that is where most of the questions are with progressively fewer questions at the extremes. Students who score at or near the bottom typically need to only answer a few more answer correctly to show moderate gain. For students near the top, the tests are not structured to show gains. Irene Goetze from Social Circle, Georgia
On William Bennett’s Essay: The GOP Is Wrong to Run Away from Common Core — Because the Standards Are Working (Read here):
Most other countries in the world have common standards. Measurement of these standards often starts as early as 5th grade. I was educated in India for the most part. When administered correctly the “common standards” work beyond reasonable doubt.
Educators and policy makers do not have to re-invent the wheel. I urge them to visit these countries and educate themselves on this issue. They can see firsthand how poorest of the poor countries can implement this system while America struggles. KC Mahesh from Dayton, New Jersey
On the article: Florida Judge Reinstates Teacher Who Was Fired for Verbally Abusing Students (Read here):
As the parent of a rising 5th grader, we abandoned “the sinking ship” of public education after 2nd grade. We are blessed to live in what is considered “the best elementary school zone” in our community; and indeed the majority of teachers and staff at the public school were dedicated and hardworking.
At a public school, there are too many stakeholders in the mix; local school board, local teacher's union, state board of education, national teachers union, and the U.S. Department of Education. Ultimately, the interests of all these groups are paramount to what should be at the top of the list; providing an educational environment  where each and every child can become a successful learner. Teachers must have the best curriculum/materials available, and the discretion and autonomy to TEACH, and not just robotically churn out the Common Core Standards, and expect students to regurgitate them.
Teaching is an art, and every child's learning style is different, and no single, cookie-cutter approach is going to work. Angela Nelson from Vero Beach, Florida
On the article: New Jersey Teacher Who Was Late to School 111 Times in Two Years Cannot Be Fired (Read here)
Both the principal and the teacher need to GO! The behavior for both parties is unacceptable. The situation has gone far beyond counseling at this point. Punitive action needs to be taken immediately. The students deserve better. — Bill Painter from St. George, Michigan
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