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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 29, 2014 at 7:35 AM

Teacher evaluations: Imperative for core skills; some things out of teachers’ control

Student testing is imperative to maintain core proficiencies

Having been a tutor in Seattle Schools for the past 17 years, a parent of three children who are all college graduates and now adults with their own children, I disagree with Robert Cruickshank’s opinion that test score of students should not be used to evaluate teachers [“Resist federal pressure to consider test scores in teacher evaluations,” Opinion, Jan. 24].

From my perspective, the main job of teachers is to make sure that our children graduate with a proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic. This has not been happening for many years. I just recently spoke with a high school 11th-and-12th-grade math teacher who lamented that some of her students did not have the proficiency of third- or fourth-grade students.

Testing in these core subjects is imperative. Remedial action must be taken immediately when students fall behind. Teachers should be rewarded for keeping students on the high-achieving academic track.

Bob Dorse, Seattle

Sick of teachers blamed for things out of their control

I totally agree with Robert Cruickshank’s guest column. He showed how damaging and ridiculous it is to include student test scores when evaluating teachers.

It’s actually quite simple, and the absurdity brought up in Cruickshank’s column is easily exposed with one simple question: If student test scores are used to evaluate teachers, what teacher, in his or her right mind, would want to teach special education? (Some special education students need to take the same standardized tests as other students, while other special education students take the Washington Alternate Assessment System test — which test they take is determined by an Individual Education Program tailored to a student’s needs).

My wife currently teaches special education, and her students, for all practical purposes, do not stand a chance to pass a standardized state test. Does this make her a bad, ineffective teacher? The same could be applied to students living in poverty, or with other challenges to their academic success. These students can definitely learn, but doing well on a standardized test is the least of their concerns. As a retired teacher, I’m sick of teachers getting blamed for things they have no control over.

Roger J. Wong, Renton

0 Comments | More in Education | Topics: Bob Dorse, Robert Cruickshank, Roger J. Wong

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