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Letters: In pursuit of excellent teachers

November 09, 2013

Re "How to grade a teacher," Editorial, Nov. 7

Thank you for your balanced editorial on the use of test scores in evaluating schools and teachers. The "all or none" attitude of No Child Left Behind in using test scores to demonize struggling schools and teachers is counterproductive.

Test data should always be used as a tool to diagnose problems of weak students and teachers and to provide a road map toward strengthening their areas of need. The evil of using test scores as a means of showing failure of teachers or students leads to the proliferation of the "teach to the test" attitude in schools.

Indeed, the new Common Core standards call for more in-depth understanding of concepts rather than rote memorization that enables a student to fill in a bubble.

Bob Bruesch


The writer, a member of the Garvey School District Board of Education, is a 1997 inductee to the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

I couldn't agree more with The Times. Parents and students know who the good teachers are. They use their creativity and knowledge of subjects and the needs of students to develop and adjust their programs.

These teachers are comfortable using a variety of tools to infuse their lessons with energy and a celebration of learning. They are not locked into the robotic teaching and testing programs prescribed by others who don't even know their students. These teachers recognize that they can't solve society's problems, but they can teach your children in class.

Good test scores are a byproduct and not a goal of their programs. Let's hire more of this type of teacher.

Fabulous buildings, annual tech tools budgets, huge administrations and grand test results are nice, I guess, but I'll bet on hiring and paying professional teachers any day.

Mary Sikonia

Manhattan Beach


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