Readers React: Lift kids out of poverty before expecting higher test scores
To the editor: The No Child Left Behind law gets undeserved credit for making schools pay attention to students living in poverty. (“Finding the sweet spot of reason in evaluating schools and teachers,” editorial, Nov. 27)
Experienced educators have always been aware of the effects of poverty and know which schools and students are the most impacted. Also, educational research has confirmed the negative effects of poverty on learning for decades.
Recommending more precise measurements to identify needy schools is like recommending that fire departments invest in expensive and highly accurate thermometers so that firefighters get the exact temperature of dangerous and rapidly spreading fires before trying to put them out.
Instead of spending billions on unnecessary testing, let’s invest in protecting children from the impact of poverty by expanding and improving food programs, improving healthcare and building better libraries in high-poverty areas. The best teaching in the world has little effect when children are hungry, sick and have little access to reading material.
Stephen Krashen, Los Angeles
The writer is a professor emeritus of education at USC.
To the editor: As bad as No Child Left Behind is, a major culprit in the downturn in the number of teachers entering the profession locally has been a series of “hit jobs” on the teaching profession by The Times and its publication of many public school teachers’ test-based value-added scores.
Many veteran teachers told promising new teachers that they would be judged more on their test scores on the high -stakes standardized tests than on their abilities as educators and that their employment would soon be based on that yearly test.
The vast majority of teachers want their students to do well, but they also want to own a car, buy a house and have a family. Choices were made.
Mark Walker, Chino Hills
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