Tests, poverty and teacher accountability

I have to disagree strongly with “Teachers should be accountable” [Letters, May 12].

Teachers are held accountable and are glad to accept responsibility for what our children learn, a responsibility we share with parents, grandparents and caregivers, including Little League coaches.

However, many doubts exist as to whether the use of standardized testing in determining the success or failure of teachers, or their students, is the preferred measuring stick. Many American colleges and universities have already stepped away from using standardized tests as primary determinants in their application processes.

Few people would imagine evaluating doctors using a standardized test given to their patients to measure the patients’ fitness.

While there is ample evidence that Long Island public school children receive one of the best educations provided by our tax dollars, there is little evidence to support the idea that politicians, here or in Washington, are silent or afraid of teachers unions.

Jim Incorvaia, Westbury

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Editor’s note: The writer teaches at Harborfields High School.

I am writing in response to letters complaining about the lack of teacher accountability [“Use student tests to evaluate teachers,” Letters, May 9].

I’ve had enough of the shortsighted complaining about a complex problem that doesn’t begin with teachers nor is likely to end with them.

One writer identified herself as a grandparent. She certainly must remember the War on Poverty initiated by President Lyndon Johnson. That war rages on, with only modest success over the last half century.

Solution to problems that start in the home and community must be addressed there. When all children come to school well fed, clothed, rested and secure, then let’s talk about teaching them. Do children sleep well and come to school ready to learn when they know they will go into the streets in the morning and perhaps be a victim of gang violence? Can kids of any socio-economic stratum concentrate on studies when they dread going home to domestic violence?

Poverty pockets exist in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, and addiction issues are rampant. Addiction isn’t confined to the poor by any means. If problems are not properly identified, then solutions cannot be either.

Dorothy Jacobs, Island Park