Readers React

How much does teacher collaboration help students?

To the editor: The "collaboration" effect has been imaginary in my experience in low-achieving schools. Hours and hours of "professional learning community" meetings were wasted as effective teachers listened to ineffective ones whine and complain or sometimes nod and agree to go along despite their true intention not to do so. ("Can collaboration between schools, unions fix failing campuses?," Dec. 1)

Afterward, highly motivated, effective teachers went back to their classrooms and hammered out innovative lesson plans that their colleagues did not want to do. The increase in average scores "schoolwide" can often be linked only to high gains in those few classrooms, while others continue to stagnate or go down.

Getting every teacher to perform more effectively is essential for every student.

Marta Gardner, Half Moon Bay

The writer is a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher and instructional coach.

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To the editor: Should student test scores be used to evaluate teachers? Consider an analogy.

Are there effective doctors at UCLA? Yes. Would their patients, many of whom arrive there in desperate condition, get low scores on a test of physical health? Yes. Did UCLA's doctors cause those low test scores? No.

Likewise, do teachers cause the low test scores of students who arrive at schools in desperate condition? No.

Wendell H. Jones, Ojai

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