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Education reform ideas misguided

November 08, 2009

Re "Reform run rampant," Editorial, Nov. 4

I agree with your concerns over state Sen. Gloria Romero's (D-Los Angeles) potpourri education bill to qualify California public schools for federal Race to the Top education grants. However, some of the "common-sense reforms" of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan that you call worth supporting are misguided. Duncan has never been a public school teacher. His attempts to link student test scores in determining teacher pay, promotion, sanction and evaluation are specious.

Teachers cry out for students to repeat failed classes, for effective discipline support from administrators, for fewer class interruptions, for consequences for low STAR scores and for measuring what students have actually learned. More federal money is not a panacea.

Mark C. Salvaggio



Now that Romero's proposed legislation allowing students to transfer to any school or district their parents might choose has passed, California's affluent suburban districts will soon resemble Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. "Sorry folks, no room at the inn," said the registrar.

Such transfers will threaten the chief appeal of these districts -- their exclusivity. Indeed, you will find many suburban districts (particularly the most affluent ones) rushing to eliminate any excess capacity they might have to avoid having to serve "those kids" -- the kids of poverty and color.

As for the parents making these choices, they will find that their children will end up bearing a remarkable resemblance to their former selves, and to their former academic performance, wherever they attend school. The drive to excel within a family far exceeds the effect of the drive to a new school.

Bill Bibbiani


The writer is a former director of research and testing for the Pasadena Unified School District and a former member of the PUSD Board of Education.

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