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[Susan notes: It's always good to find a newspaper doing something good. Here's just one sentence from the editorial: Having your performance judged by people who aren't part of your profession is always frustrating. Having your performance judged based on a process devised by people who have never been part of your profession is even worse.

And another: Teachers aren't making widgets, and they can't be evaluated in the same way that a plant manager evaluates production workers. They don't take uniform raw materials and craft a product that accurately represents their skill at their craft.

Thank you to the Herald-Journal--and to Flip Jones for taking the time to give credit where credit is due.]

Published in Herald-Journal
12/29/2013

To the editor

Your Sunday editorial about Testing Teachers reached me in my soul, as cool, clear water reaches the throat of a parched wanderer coming out of the burning desert.

As a Professional Educator, it was so very, very welcome to read an opinion that contained only positive statements about teachers and education. It is also more than satisfying to know that you know who is in charge of our state's educational system and who, most certainly, is not.

You also show well that you know why a student's test scores could be different and why they may not be indicative of the job that teacher is doing with that student, in that group of students, in that year (actually, in that part of that year). Too heavy reliance on one factor is ignorant and stupid. There are many other factors (including non-quantifiable ones) making up the body of passed-on knowledge to our youngsters by their teachers.

The paragraph about our teachers not making widgets could not be better stated.

The paragraph lamenting the judging of the teacher's performance by non-education personnel, using an evaluation instrument devised by those same non-education personnel was quite accurate. The subjective process of evaluation by the observations of other professional educators (plus some other factors) is still the best we've ever had. Any system can be improved upon.

Thank you for this statement of understanding and support of our teachers.





Flip Jones


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