Letters to the Editor

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TEACHERS: Don’t base solutions on myths

Letter by Lucinda Wingard, Gig Harbor on Feb. 15, 2011 at 11:06 am | 12 Comments »
February 15, 2011 2:08 pm

Your editorial, “Seniority based teacher layoffs hurts schools, students” (2-13), is based solidly on four myths.

Myth 1: Everyone knows a bad teacher when they see one. There is a clear definition of bad teaching, and everyone knows what it is.

Myth 2: A good teacher can teach well no matter what the conditions.

Myth 3: We don’t have to worry about bad administrators. Administrators are more carefully hired than teachers, and they all know how to evaluate personnel dispassionately.

Myth 4: There’s no downside to firing experienced teachers, especially those in the later years of their professional life. After all, the younger, more energetic teachers are cheaper — a good buy for the taxpayer.

Questions reform-minded legislators must ask when considering the latest education bills, HB1699 and SB 5399, are these:

• Will “the best and brightest” college graduates choose a career where their status and income will be hostage to the vagaries of politics and competing ideologies?

• Will caring, nurturing young adults want to teach school where the odds of living in and serving their community for 25 years are shrinking fast?

• Will teachers ever be interested in “merit pay” when they have already seen other contractual promises — like class size, benefits, bonuses for national certification — disappear before their very eyes?

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