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Letters: New teacher evals harm education

The New York State Legislature voted to limit

The New York State Legislature voted to limit access to teacher evaluations to parents only, giving teachers unions perhaps their biggest political victory of the last two years. Credit: AP

Teachers have been laid off throughout the United States ["Education reform's long list," News, July 12]. Class sizes will increase. Elective subjects will be cut in high schools in a large number of districts. Will these affect the quality of education? You bet they will.

At the same time, teachers will be judged in part by how well students do on standardized tests. Will test results reflect the increased number of children in so many classes? You bet they will.

To save money, school districts will be forced to cut back on school trips and some extra curricular activities. Will these affect learning? You bet they will.

Will cuts in education have long-lasting effects on those students who are left behind in a nation that wants no child left behind? You bet they will. This is the real impact of our recession and slow economic recovery.

Joseph Marcal, Commack

Editor's note: The writer is a former Long Island teacher.

In the case of standardized testing, there are no winners, only losers. Our children lose, and our educators lose.

Over the past year, the New York State Education Department has instituted dramatic changes which have serious repercussions for our children. Of particular concern is a new teacher evaluation system that is based in part on how well students perform on standardized tests as well as other local assessments.

Testing time has substantially increased. There is no research supporting its predictive ability to rate teachers. Why exactly are our children taking these lengthy tests?

The emotional ramifications for our kids are many, ranging from test anxiety to burnout. Students with disabilities, English language learners, and struggling students are also greatly disadvantaged by this increased focus on testing. Younger students too, seem to be exhausted by this year's longer exams.

Valuable instructional time is lost due to test preparation, administration and scoring. These also limit creative endeavors that our students should participate in, and curtail worthy programs such as the arts and music.

Randi Polansky, East Rockaway