Letters: How to measure, meet student needs
Our kids rank 35th in math among 65 countries ["U.S. students lag," News, Dec. 4]. We rank fifth in spending per student.
In the same edition of Newsday, people are complaining about standardized tests ["Common Core, profit and burnout," Letters, Dec. 4]. We hear people whining that they're unfair, are too difficult and take up too much time. One writer even suggested we boycott the tests. There's a great solution to teach your kids: When things get too difficult, quit.
One retired superintendent wants to eliminate homework. That's like telling baseball players they don't need to practice. Getting an education doesn't start at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
The purpose of standardized testing isn't to rank students. It's to see how much they've learned. It doesn't matter if they pass or fail. It's to see where they are and where the education system needs to be improved. They shouldn't be "taught to the test." These tests should be given randomly, with no notice as to when or what content will be tested. Only then can we get a true evaluation of our education system.
Chuck Fox, Smithtown
I would like to know how many years of classroom experience state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. and the suits at test publisher NCS Pearson Inc. have. These are the people who want to implement the rigorous Common Core curriculum for all students.
I was a New York City teacher for 28 years, in the classroom and as a literacy specialist. I remember many of my students: The boy who slept all day in class because his mom brought "customers" home at night and kept him awake. The two sisters who came to class every other day because, in winter, they shared one warm coat.
School is not a business, and children are not blueberries that arrive in a box. They come to us rich, poor, gifted, abused, frightened, homeless, confident, rude and brilliant. The Common Core cannot and should not be a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Teachers and parents must work together to provide instruction that is differentiated to meet students' individual needs.
Jackie Brandwein, Oceanside