Don’t hold teachers accountable right away for new curriculum
Re the April 6 article, “Hard Lessons,” which dealt with the new Common Core curriculum and higher standards education is setting for our students:
As a former teacher and mother of a daughter who is a tenured third-grade teacher, I am dismayed by what I see in the current state of education. I understand the desire and need to improve the standards and preparation students need to “raise the bar.” I think the Common Core curriculum is a good idea to attain these goals.
What I don’t understand is what I am observing from the teacher’s point of view. If this is truly a transition period, with expectations that student test scores will drop by as much as 30 percent from last year and as many as 80 percent of Schenectady students will fail, why is 20 percent of the teacher’s evaluation being based on the expected drop in performance? Don’t the teachers deserve a transition period, too?
From what I have observed, teacher morale is at an all-time low. Budget problems are causing layoffs, larger classes and cutbacks in support staff. Teachers are spending more time preparing for this new testing and less on fun, innovative learning.
In fact, with more testing, evaluations and diagnoses, more students are being identified as needing extra support. Despite all the changes being implemented, most teachers are still working hard to educate all their students on an individual basis, knowing that all students do not learn in the same way. Many need individual attention, extra support and smaller groups to reach their potential.
The article further addresses the challenges parents face trying to learn the new, more difficult and accelerated curriculum and methods now being taught. How many parents are really going to be able to put much effort into doing this?
So with all the effort being made to improve the state of education so that our children are better prepared for college and careers, I feel the teachers are being shortchanged. They need more support, not less; more time to teach the new curriculum and reach the new standards before being evaluated with labels based on the results of testing.
Our hard-working professionals who are devoting their careers to our most precious resources, our children, deserve much more than that.
Kilcullen doing a good job running Sch’dy PD
It is a breath of fresh air what Chief Brian Kilcullen has brought to the Schenectady Police Department. The department seems to be doing better each day, with better morale and a better handle on the crime.
I think they could still use another 20 or so officers to handle the crime in the city, though.
I think Kilcullen realized that the quality-of-life issues in Schenectady were a major problem, and knew that it was up to him to handle them, and I would have to say he has done a great job with them so far.
I have not always seen eye to eye with the chiefs in Schenectady, but I think we have the right one there now.
Of all the stories to misspell a headline on ...
For several years, I have had the good fortune of having time to read the Gazette in the morning before going to work. I’ve tolerated the intermittent typos, grammar and spelling errors for decades, with only mild annoyance. However, in the April 14 Gazette, the spelling error in the headline in the Education section was beyond my threshold of tolerance.
At first I thought the error [in the headline], “Now, spelling bee kids will have to know definations,” was a joke — or perhaps a clever way to get the reader to actually read the article. But, no. No mention in the article that the misspelling was intentional.
In a time of spell-check and auto-correct, I find this mistake hard to understand. It makes a mockery of the newspaper. Please consider putting “definitions” on your spelling list.
Diane E. Grabo
Too much cut from interview with a Realtor
On April 16, the city of Schenectady sponsored a very well-organized meeting with area Realtors, promoting home ownership in the city. The meeting was informative and well done.
The next day, your reporter, Kathleen Moore, wrote an extremely biased and negative article about the event [“Area real estate agents not sold on city’s pitch”].
Ms. Moore interviewed me. Most of our conversation was left on the cutting room floor and the rest was misused, misdirected and misinformed.
I always thought good journalism was supposed to be fair and balanced. No evidence of that here. I’m very disappointed in Ms. Moore. I think she owes an apology to the city of Schenectady.
The writer is an associate broker of the Weichert Realtors Northeast Group.
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