Training, not teacher evaluation

Now that the La Cañada Unified School District Board election is behind us, perhaps it’s time to revisit the discussion about the teacher accountability.

While attending the LCUSD candidates forum a while ago, I sensed that the candidates were heavily emphasizing “teacher accountability,” which I’m interpreting as a way to evaluate all teachers and then rid of “bad teachers.” Well, evaluation of a teacher begins the very moment when s/he submits an application form for a teaching position at a LCUSD school. Only small number of applicants from hundreds of applications is selected for an interview and then even fewer applicants are chosen for teaching positions. Through this rigorous hiring process, most “bad teachers” are identified and not hired. So, rather than going through painstaking evaluation procedures all over again for all or most teachers, the energy and resources of the LCUSD should be directed toward giving the support and training our teachers desperately need.

If the LCUSD board needs to hold someone accountable for the education of our children, then we should look no further than our community itself. Paraphrasing “it takes a village to raise a child,” I would say it takes a community to educate a student. Community accountability begins with parents and children themselves. Parents and children alike need to learn to be proactive when it comes to learning.

As an AYSO soccer dad, I used to scream at my three boys when they showed slack attitudes, and I cheered them when they made great efforts during soccer games. Sometimes, instead of standing on the sidelines, I felt like going onto the field and playing the game myself so that I could show my children how to play a smart game.

Likewise, parents and teachers can only provide certain guidance to their children’s learning. Ultimately, however, it’s the responsibility of the children to learn and to nurture their own intellectual curiosities. At the same time, they also need to learn to control temptations and instant gratification they can easily get from so many electronic gadgets and other sources. With so many distractions, it’s no wonder that today’s students are not performing as well as they should, with all the resources that are now available for them. As a college math instructor, I’ve been witnessing this poor performance of students for years and, unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse, according to many of my colleagues.

When my children brought their report cards with poor grades from their school, I did not have the luxury of pointing fingers at teachers. Rather, I sought for help and advice from them.

Educating a child needs a team effort; and for that, all I need is to tap the expertise of our great many teachers in LCUSD.

Leonard Cho¿

La Cañada Flintridge¿

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