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Letters: Michelle Rhee and teaching children

March 30, 2013

Re "'Radical' educator takes on state's unions," March 27

I've always viewed the policies and philosophy of Michelle Rhee, a former District of Columbia schools chancellor, with some ambivalence. While she's to be commended for her determined efforts at school reform, I always felt her over-reliance on standardized test scores as a significant barometer for teacher assessment was misguided.

As a newly retired teacher with 34 years of experience, it was always my belief that a teacher's true effectiveness could be determined not only by student test scores but also by myriad other factors, including creativity, utilizing proven instructional techniques and using technology whenever possible in lessons.

Good teachers engage their students enough so they not only master the required skills but also (and just as important) become lifelong learners.

Rhee is being somewhat myopic in basing a large part of her plan for educational reform on standardized testing. This tool can be useful, but not to the extent she has suggested.

Lynn Robert Fairbanks

Diamond Bar

As a retired dean and English teacher and department chairwoman at two of Southern California's leading independent schools, I am quite disturbed that many people concerned about the quality of our public schools would turn to Rhee for leadership.

How could anyone give credence to a woman who claims to be an educator but who uses crude and degrading language to describe her own daughters (she said that, despite their collection of soccer trophies, they "suck at soccer"), school principals and poor schools.

I need not repeat all of the examples from your article.

We need educational leaders who build up public education rather than degrade and privatize it.

Margaret P. Bowles

Woodland Hills


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