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[Susan notes: We must all follow Stephen Krashen's lead and continue to hit home on the issue of poverty and the massive testing that will accompany the Common Core. His summary description of these two issues is brilliant.]

Published in Seattle Times
01/11/2013

To the editor

The publicity given to the latest Gates Foundation report on teacher

evaluation [ Gates: Test scores not enough for teacher reviews,Jan. 9, adds strength to the common view that there is something very wrong with American teachers. There is, for example, no pressing concern about how we should evaluate nurses, carpenters, doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, plumbers, butchers, newspaper reporters, etc.

Every profession has some inferior practitioners, but the available evidence says that American teachers as a group are excellent. When we control for the effects of poverty, our international test scores are very good, ranking at or near the top of world.

There are two major factors preventing teachers from being even more effective:

(1) The high level of child poverty in the U.S., 23.1 percent, second among high-income countries; children who are hungry, have poor health care and

little access to books will not do well in school regardless of teacher quality.

(2) The unreasonable demands of the Common Core: a tight, inflexible curriculum that crushes creativity, designed by elitists with little idea of what goes on in classrooms, and a massive amount of testing, more than we have ever seen on this planet.

Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus, USC


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