Seattle Public Schools’ Superintendent José Banda made a poorly thought-out decision to evict (on very short notice) an excellent nonprofit program for infants and toddlers with disabilities, The Northwest Center Kids program [“Northwest Center Kids deserves more time to find new home,” Opinion, Feb. 13]. He did this in order to house another very…More
In an Education Lab blog post, the writer indicated that researchers were not sure why good English teaching led to higher math scores other than that students must read and write to do math [“To raise math scores, hire a good English teacher,” Feb. 26]. I’d like to demonstrate further just why reading…More
Over the years, I’ve tried to talk to many teachers about the state of education reform. What I’ve come up against time and time again is fear — long-standing, well-established fear of retribution from administrators. It is a thing, and it’s an obstacle to high-quality public education. But times they are a changing, and teachers across…More
This is to address the article regarding universities paying adjunct professors a lower pay than full-time and part-time professors [“New union at colleges? Adjunct instructors make push,” Local News, Feb. 19]. As a current student at Seattle University, I have spent half of my undergrad years with adjunct professors and have seen what they…More
In response to Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn’s call for state test scores as part of teacher evaluation: I am a science teacher in a middle school in Snohomish County [“Consider test scores in teacher evaluations,” Opinion, Feb. 13]. If the test scores used as part of my evaluation were from a pre-test…More
Include arts in STEM learning
Guest columnist Robin Lake makes a compelling argument for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education [“Washington state lags rest of U.S. on STEM education,” Opinion, Feb. 9]. I only wish that she had included the “A” for the arts, making it STEAM instead of STEM. STEAM includes the arts as a vital part of each student’s education.
The data support the economic argument for increasing STEM education. But data need to be interpreted to get a better idea of the big picture. Seventy percent of all new jobs may be in computer-related occupations, but that encompasses a broad category, which covers everything from data entry to designing video games to curing cancer. Which would you rather do and how should you prepare yourself to do it?
Technical proficiency isn’t enough. You will need creative problem solving skills and imagination. Both can be acquired through the arts. The arts are valuable in and of themselves for the meaning, richness, depth and perspective that they add to our lives.
If we want to engage more students, we need to spark their interests and their passions. The arts are a great way to accomplish this. Innovative thinking should prepare our students for fulfilling careers in a variety of fields.
Kristin Austin, Bothell
STEM isn’t right for everyone
Isn’t education reform a fascinating topic. Only ten years ago SLCs (Small Learning Communities, aka “small schools”) were the answer to all of our education problems. Then DLCs (Digital Learning Commons) became the new silver bullet in education. Then “Mainstreaming.”More
The article “Fast-growing school districts seek more money from voters” [Local News, Feb. 5] revealed that, next week, some of Washington’s richest school districts — like Bellevue and Lake Washington — will vote on more than $2 billion worth of bonds to build schools in their neighborhoods. Odds are these bonds will pass. Meanwhile,…More
Solutions that combine academics with fun This session has seen a lot of bipartisan agreement in both the House and Senate that Washington state needs to address summer learning loss. Lance Dickie’s column [“How to solve summer learning loss and close the opportunity gap,” Opinion, Jan. 30) spoke to the importance of addressing summer…More
The guest column on the GED test is partially correct [“Guests: New GED test fails to measure skills that matter most,” Education Lab, Jan. 23]. It is true that the test doesn’t measure those items that many would associate with good character. When teaching the GED at the Seattle Indian Center, I used to…More
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.More