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Letters: Emphasis on teacher's ability

Many desks were empty in this classroom at

Many desks were empty in this classroom at Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School as students opted out of taking the state's English Language Arts test Thursday, April 16, 2015. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

I read Lane Filler's column "Where opt-out reasoning goes wrong" [Opinion, April 22]. It's astonishing to conclude that the Common Core, standardized tests and the company that produces them are all aboveboard, merely because they have an interest in effective tests.

As a parent, I believe most professional educators agree Common Core is good. What is broken is the way it was implemented and the way its success is being measured. The governor, the state Education Department and Pearson Learning are arrogant, righteous, elitist and perhaps incompetent. They have convinced themselves that their paradigm for education is right.

Filler says to look at their motivation, and I say look at their work. You can't. These tests are guarded in a shroud of secrecy. Why? Are they afraid to let the public see the level of knowledge third-graders are expected to master? There are some who contend that the tests are two or three grade levels above the students' grade.

If it's all so right, then be transparent. But they are not.

The real issue, and what the public is so outraged by, are the excessive, pervasive, one-size-fits-all standardized tests. What are we measuring? The effectiveness of the teachers and schools, or the knowledge absorption rate of the students? There is a serious misunderstanding that a student's ability to learn is solely a function of the quality of the teacher.

Andrew Renter, Dix Hills

Parents, students, teachers and administrators are all responsible for a child's education. When one is lacking, those remaining must pick up the slack, or the child doesn't achieve full potential.

What is happening today is that those who are lacking are refusing to take any responsibility. The teacher is now labeled the miracle worker.

No one is denying it's a good thing to improve the education system. However, all parties need to have skin in the game. Otherwise, Long Island's schools will become a game of numbers and little else.

Bob Bascelli, Seaford

Editor's note: The writer's wife is a teacher.