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Letters: Teachers decry testing

Teacher pension costs will drop significantly next year,

Teacher pension costs will drop significantly next year, with lower rates expected to save more than $100 million in Nassau and Suffolk counties alone, officials said. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's well-meaning proposal for basing 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation on student results on standardized tests is a surefire recipe for increasing the dropout rate, as more and more students become alienated, even learning to hate school ["Cuomo puts eval to test," News, Jan. 22].

Teachers under that kind of daily pressure inadvertently risk passing on anxiety and tension, creating an environment unnatural to learning.

Fred Barnett, Lake Grove

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Levittown teacher.

I had always wanted to be a teacher, and after working 26 years in dentistry, I fulfilled that dream. I loved every minute in the classroom and taught health for 10 years. I quickly learned how difficult being a teacher can be.

You are immersed in a system that breaks your day into 45-minute interactions with as many as 140 students a day, each one coming with different needs, talents and life situations. Our teachers need support.

Barbara Gai, Huntington

As a physical therapist, my job is to help people recover from injury. No matter how good a therapist I am, the patients who get the best results are those who do their homework because they want to get better.

My wife is a junior high school math teacher. After she is done teaching, explaining the importance of practice, giving up lunch periods or coming in early to hold extra-help sessions -- her students have to go home and do their exercises if they want to get better.

I am well respected among my peers based on my skills, despite those patients who don't do their homework. Unfortunately for my wife, the same does not hold true.

Gerard Duca, East Setauket

As a retired high school English teacher, I am constantly befuddled by the political and educational pundits who believe that our schools are not creating the academic results for our students to succeed in life.

Student desire, and the willingness to read and study rather than just "Google" for information, must be enshrined by our education system.

John J. Scibelli, Rosedale

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is allowing politics and pettiness -- the New York State United Teachers didn't endorse him for re-election -- to drive his "education reform" program.

As a former principal, I fought for curricula based on critical thinking, problem solving and project-based learning. Today, so many teachers are reluctant to try anything other than drill, drill and more drill to prepare students for tests.

Tom Gilroy, Melville

My husband and I are retired teachers. A good way to evaluate teachers would be to have master teachers in the same field observe them. The master teachers could come from other schools, so they could be objective.

Another good idea is a school that held a family dinner night every week. The school served dinner in the lunchroom and invited the parents to come. As a result, parents got more involved and helped their children with their homework.

Helene Manas and Mark Manas


After countless meetings and protests, the governor has decided to double down on the standardized-test approach.

If he were really paying attention -- instead of grabbing headlines on behalf of charter school advocates and rich patrons -- he would know that our schools have become test-prep factories.

Arnold Dodge, Merrick

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at LIU Post in Brookville.


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