Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: We’ve seen all this before

Letter by Linda L. McCone, Tacoma on Aug. 16, 2010 at 11:58 am | No Comments »
August 16, 2010 2:32 pm

Re: the changes in three of Tacoma’s middle schools (TNT, 8-15).:

With a few changes of names and dates, you could have written this article from archives of The News Tribune. For example, Rudy Crew initiated new programs and teacher training to ensure that all children were ready for college, and Hunt Middle School launched the IB Middle Years program in the late 1990s.

Principals are regularly rotated through Tacoma schools, and new curricula emphasizing math and science have been trotted out almost every year – each one claiming to increase student interest and, consequently, test scores.

I applaud Susie Richardson’s enthusiasm for showing students the teeming life in a teaspoon of water. But the science teachers who were replaced at the three middle schools undoubtedly had the same lesson for their students. It is a classic. If they stopped doing that activity, there is probably a good reason, such as broken microscopes, mandated curriculum or lack of student interest.

It isn’t new curricula, fancy equipment or new teachers that make the biggest difference to student achievement. It’s intellectual curiosity, a willingness to learn and a caring adult in their lives.

I sincerely hope that more students experience academic success in Tacoma’s schools, but I’m afraid that when this pot of money runs out and a new initiative arrives, these teachers and principals will be replaced by a new crowd with new acronyms for the same old ideas.

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