Standardized test scores do not reflect teachers’ abilities, a reader argues.

Standardized test scores do not reflect teachers’ abilities, a reader argues. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Standardized tests show what each student can demonstrate on that day at that moment [“Time to opt in to state tests,” Editorial, April 4]. Having worked in public education for 30 years, I know they do not necessarily reflect a student’s overall abilities nor a teacher’s ability to teach.

Standardized reading and writing tests can be impacted by the student’s interest of the topic of each reading and writing passage. Mathematical abilities are now a test of reading ability, comprehension, deduction and the ability to answer questions in a specific format.

If the test is read to students, can they verbalize the answer? A question of 10 x 12 cannot simply be answered as 120. The answer must be shown by breaking the numbers into factors in a specific format and then determining the answer.

If students can accurately calculate the answer in their head, they are penalized for their abilities. Not understanding the formula can hinder a score, even when an answer is correct.

Standardized tests do not account for computer abilities, confidence or other situations such as level of confidence, an upsetting situation at home, teasing on the bus, having eaten breakfast, comments of other students on the test’s difficulty, etc.

None of the above reflects teachers’ abilities.

— Laurel Garofolo, Oakdale

A reader perpetuated the myth that back in the day, a “whole language” approach did not include teaching phonics and spelling “Parents’ focus must be on reading basics,” Letters, April 3]. It certainly did but within a meaningful context instead of in isolation.

Would you ask a child to put together a jigsaw puzzle without showing them the picture first? Having taught in the Levittown school district, I know that whole language didn’t just teach kids to read, it taught them to be readers.

— Jacqueline Rabinoff, Massapequa Park

Hochul’s withholding aid a political move?

As we read about another school district laying off teachers, we should remember that Gov. Kathy Hochul has been playing politics with state aid [“Tighten districts to minimize layoffs,” Letters, March 25]. More than once, she has threatened to take state money away from us. Has she forgotten that it is our tax money she is withholding? Long Island again gets shortchanged by Albany.

Is the new wrinkle of withholding state aid related to how Long Island has voted for Republican candidates?

— Patrick Heaney, Malverne

Solid family structure is on its way out

It seems surreal that the Democrat-controlled State Legislature, despite all its current legislative challenges, would focus on eliminating a rarely enforced adultery law that has been in force since 1907 [“State Legislature bill would repeal 1907 adultery law,” News, April 4].

Obviously, those legislators who initially drafted the law were concerned with the devastating effect that adultery could have on families and used their legislative power to restrain individuals and keep the traditional family intact.

But sadly, today’s Democrats seem more concerned with sexual liberation than the destruction of a family that often can be brought on by extramarital relationships. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, of course, likely will sign the bill.

Anything other than a full endorsement might send a message that New York still holds marriage sacred and foundational to sustain the family structure. It appears that this concept is something that the Albany Democrats have contempt for.

— Joe Falcone, Yaphank

Seniors should be a priority in this state

The state certainly has a way of setting priorities [“Elder services backlog,” News, March 21]. To fully address the backlog, it would cost $42 million. And according to the 2024-25 Executive Budget Financial Plan, the state plans to spend $4.3 billion from fiscal 2022 to 2026 for emergency spending related to people seeking asylum.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers who have paid taxes most of their lives now have to practically beg for $42 million?

I am disgusted, sad and embarrassed with our elected politicians.

— Glen Rose, Holbrook

As soon as my two sons were old enough to shovel snow for money, I made sure they first did that for my three elderly neighbors (I paid my boys).

When I made a larger dinner, I made extra and dropped it off to them without asking, saying, “Try this new recipe.”

My wife and I and other neighbors would regularly check in with them and drive them shopping or to see a doctor. This reduced their need for driving. Back in the day, this was the norm. What changed, at least in my neighborhood?

— Anthony Bordano, Middle Village

Medicare Advantage plans probably should be called disadvantage plans. The federal government is giving billions of our tax dollars to for-profit insurance companies [“Health insurance stocks take a hit,” LI Business, April 3].

Everyone should be aware that this is different from traditional Medicare. If you have traditional Medicare, you can take your card to any state since over 93% of primary care doctors accept that card.

Far fewer physicians are on advantage plans, so traveling out of state can be a problem. Many advantage plans will also require preauthorization for certain procedures.

— Diane Coddington, Port Washington

Shielding workers in Valva case an outrage

In the tragic case of the Valva brothers, it is a travesty and an outrage that the Child Protective Services workers were protected [“Seeking reform of rules for CPS in Suffolk,” News, April 10].

These people were sworn to protect children’s lives and ignored compelling evidence from reliable sources that the boys were abused, neglected and tortured by their NYPD officer father and his fiancee.

It is a classic case of seeing and hearing no evil, of a bureaucratic “don’t rain on my parade and I won’t rain on yours.”

They went beyond ignoring. In effect, they were condoning apparent criminal conduct. The “task forces” will most likely investigate and contemplate until the issue fades away. They even promoted the workers.

Where does the buck stop?

— Howard Mandell, East Northport

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