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[Susan notes: Follow Don Perl's lead and speak to your local politicos.]

Submitted to but not published

Dear Representative Middleton:

I have watched SB 191 unfold for some time, and must speak out against this bill. While well-meaning legislative efforts to serve our children's education are to be encouraged, this piece of legislation is ill-advised.

Each of our children is unique. Each one has different talents and different needs. We serve them well when we dignify their autonomy, their needs, and their talents. We also serve them well when we dignify their teachers' autonomy in the classroom.

Speak to any young person about educational success, and each will tell you that some teacher made a lasting impression that was inspiring. The relationship that teachers and students develop is a critical component in any true learning. Perhaps it is the most critical component.

However, I hesitate to label it as such, because components such as poverty, and its attendant issues are often overwhelming. Joblessness, poor nutrition, poor role modeling, minimal access to public libraries, lead in the water in poor neighborhoods all are heavy burdens and barriers to developing those meaningful relationships with professional classroom teachers.

Thus, any legislation which attempts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores is an immeasurable insult to our children, their teachers, and indeed all of society. Such legislation has as its point of departure a lack of faith in the profession and a certain skewed mentality that using very flawed measures will somehow improve our children's education.

Let us investigate who will profit from such a destructive plan. Surely, they will not be the children. Unintended consequences are legion and negative, and will result in a more marginalized and more robotized next generation.

Don Perl, The Coalition for Better Education

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