Re "A clash over how to address teacher cheating," May 12
As a principal and a superintendent, I had always taken the view that one of the very important roles of a teacher was to model appropriate behavior. It would appear that the state Commission on Professional Competence, which found that a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher improperly helped students on standardized tests but decided that he shouldn't be fired, does not hold such a view.
The only conclusion I can draw from its decision is that the commission has taken the position that teacher cheating does not affect the teacher's competence. Appalling.
I am a teacher with a different point of view on standardized tests and cheating. I think the whole No Child Left Behind law is a cheat, in that it cheats students out of a well-rounded education.
When I see reports of less classroom time being spent on science, history and geography and more on English and math in elementary schools, I call that cheating required by school administrators. Teaching to the test is cheating.
I think that omitting subjects not likely to be on the tests is a cheat — things like Native American history, current events or career education.
The public needs to realize what their children know: that the tests are not for the students but for their teachers.
Is this state panel really called the Commission on Professional Competence? Of all institutions that should be effectively dealing with example-setting, our school systems are at the top of the list.
Someone should take a close look at those who make up this commission. There is something dreadfully wrong here.
Big Bear City, Calif.
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