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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 13, 2013 at 6:23 AM

Education reform in Seattle

Teachers can only do so much

As a high-school teacher with 32 years of experience, I read your Sunday editorial and once again reflected on the fact that everyone seems to know what is best for education, particularly if he or she has never been involved in the system except as students or parents. [“Teachers, districts should embrace reform,” Opinion, Aug. 11.]

This “embrace-all” solution advocated by the editorial board fails to address the reality of public education. Teachers are not miracle workers. They are forced to deal with whoever walks into their classroom. As many students with learning disabilities are meshed within a classroom of 30 students or more, teachers can only bring those students so far.

The new evaluation system takes time to learn and to implement, just as any new, complex, professional program does. Most districts offer a single day of “professional development” and begin the evaluation process in that same year, so asking teachers and districts to “embrace” the new system, particularly when the stakes are so high, shows complete ignorance.

Test scores, while currently regarded as the “be-all, end-all,” face the same problem as listed above. Students need time to adjust to new curricula, new methodology, and a new means of assessment.

This reeks of sudden-fix pontificating.

Toni Nyman, Shoreline

Comments | More in Education, Politics, Seattle | Topics: education reform, evaluation system, public education

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