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Letter: Judging teachers by the numbers

This is a first grade classroom at the

This is a first grade classroom at the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The evaluation of educators is difficult ["LI teachers, principals: 97% make the grade," News, Aug. 29]. As a social studies teacher some years ago, I was called on the carpet for 10th-grade Regents test results. In four of five classes, a total of one student failed, but in the fifth class, six failed.

How could that be? Was I too tired by that end-of-the-day class? I said 13 of the 28 students in that class were receiving remedial help in reading and writing. I thought that the remedial-help teachers deserved a great deal of credit in helping me get seven very weak students to pass the initial test. Four of the six who had failed eventually passed with the help of summer school.

It's easy to get bound up in the numbers and not get a full picture of what's going on. We could all have great numbers if we eliminated our weak students, but would that really be what we want in education? Teachers cannot be evaluated simply by numbers.

Joseph Marcal, Commack