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Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 19, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Failing high-schoolers

Give them support

I read “Seattle high-schoolers can now get failing grades” [News, Oct. 12] with dismay.

Neither teachers nor students should face more consequences for student failure. Both need support.

If one of the main purposes of the WASL [Washington Assessment of Student Learning] is to highlight those students who need additional assistance, then it is our obligation to provide it.

Let’s put the money behind the test scores for teacher training and student support. Too many educators lay awake at night worried about their failing students, but have limited training on differentiating instruction to support them.

No student enters kindergarten labeled as lazy. That’s what society calls a frustrated student who has given up after repeated failure only to adopt an attitude to cover the frustration.

Washington state has one of the most highly regarded K-12 reading models in the country. It was developed by the Curriculum and Instruction division of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Since it is not mandated, few Washington state teachers even know of the plan. If the practices were followed, fewer students would be failing.

It is shameful to continue testing the victims when a powerful resource is so accessible.

— Karolyn Backholm, Seattle

Comments | More in Education, Washington Legislature

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