Topic: education reform
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December 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM
We need to replicate Finland’s educational system
I’m really sick and tired of people like guest columnist Kimberly Lasher Mitchell who claim to be a reformer of public education [“I’m a proud education reformer,” Opinion, Dec. 2].
The truth is that without so-called reforms her position as co-founder of Inquiry Partners would be meaningless and without profit.
And that is the problem with the current educational reforms — they are motivated by profit. Diane Ravitch, in her new book called “Reign of Error,” exposes this profit motive and the absurdity of the new educational reforms. It should be required reading for everyone associated with education.
November 5, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Reducing class size will lead to large improvements
I’m really getting frustrated and angry with all the so-called educational “reformers,” like Kevin Welner [“Challenging students to succeed,” Opinion, Oct. 28].
As a retired public school teacher who taught for 34 years, I can tell you that Kevin’s opinion on how to improve student learning is flat out wrong. It’s interesting that reformers nowadays are usually people who have never taught in a public school.
The bottom line is that any improvement in student learning needs to be accompanied by a drastic reduction in class size. This variable seems to be left out of most reformers’ improvement plans. The other improvement is rather simple. Let the classroom teacher make professional decisions about how to teach and manage the class. He or she knows the students best.
Teachers today are fed up with someone outside of their school telling them what to do, knowing that it won’t work for their students.
Roger Wong, Renton
August 13, 2013 at 6:23 AM
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
May 27, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Lack of parenting is part of the problem
In Bruce Ramsey’s education-reform column, he wrote: “Schooling comes down to the quality of the people: What they aim for, what they insist on, what they allow.” I agree [“Education reform is only part of answer to student achievement,” Opinion, May 22].
As a former teacher, I don’t believe enough parents are accepting enough of a role in preparing their kids for school. Large class sizes aside, too many parents seem to expect that school will teach manners, how to play, how to accept responsibility for their children’s actions, and how to interact respectfully.
Increasingly, students speak out and act disrespectfully in the classroom, which isn’t being addressed at home. A cavalier attitude toward classwork and effort is too often the first thing a teacher must address.
Parent and student apathy should no longer be tolerated. If support at home is not there, if disrespect and poor effort in the classroom continues, should we allow a child to pass to the next grade or insist on each child being ready before promotion? Let’s insist on quality for and from everyone.
Jim Thompson, Seattle
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