STAAR tests: Bad for the kids
The commentaries Sunday concerning STAAR tests were interesting, but left out the detrimental personal effects of the system. ("What are we really learning from statewide STAAR tests?")
As an elementary reading tutor, I think it is unconscionable that kindergarteners are now required to know their letters and sounds and read, and ludicrous that they are tested.
Kindergarten should be that important time to learn confidence and socialization.
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Who wants to be a failure at 5?
Further, the math portion of the STAAR test for second grade has a "word problem" section.
For those students who struggle with reading, this is yet another defeating aspect of the system.
Consider the discouragement of a talented teacher capable of helping. His or her assessment and pay are directly affected by students' test performance.
Talented teachers are being punished for helping those children who most need help.
The test is the failure, not the student or teacher.
STAAR tests: Not tough enough
The commentaries re-affirm my poor opinion of public education.
As a businessman and taxpayer, I expect my tax dollars to provide the means to a balanced education.
STAAR is a survey, not a test.
In my youth if you didn’t pass, then it was summer school or repeat the grade. Period.
A student must demonstrate competency in the curriculum to advance. Periodic testing measures this competency and should include past and current material.
Any educator who discounts testing’s importance is out of touch.
If the test is not comprehensive enough, then make it so. If a senior can’t read the newspaper, participate in an intelligent discussion or balance a checkbook, then they are not prepared.
—Paul Martin, Hurst
Teacher pay: Don't punish experience
The Fort Worth school board is considering a paltry pay raise. But the administration is recommending lowering pay at the highest end of the scale.
Retirement benefits are based on a teacher’s highest earning years and years of service. This decision will punish those who have remained loyal to Fort Worth by lowering salary and retirement benefits.
Teachers don’t get Social Security, and they don’t get annual cost-of-living raises!
Family health insurance for teachers is prohibitively expensive. Teachers often work two jobs and still may rely on outside assistance to meet basic needs.
They need the raise. But surely that can be done in a way not penalizing experienced teachers!
Taking away the 30-year pay bump is denigrating and furthers lack of respect for those who have devoted their lives and careers to teaching Fort Worth’s children.
Teacher retirement: It's not enough
As a Texas teacher who retired in 2001, I have had one raise.
The state says that we cannot have a raise because the fund is not "actuarily sound," yet the retirement system board was voting to lower the state's contribution to the retirement fund.
Thirty percent of retired teachers live on $1,000 a month or less.
Retired teachers are forbidden to receive Social Security. They can receive neither earned SS benefits nor spousal benefits.
As a woman from one of the striking states stated, "We are the professionals who make today's professionals." Why are we abandoned?
Teachers' jobs: Stop the meddling
I agree with many of the points in Christopher McCarthy's article "School shootings and shrinking paychecks may scare off teachers," May 23)
In the 58 years since I graduated from public schools, I have witnessed a significant degradation of the teaching profession.
I blame politicians.
Politicians know very little about educating children, yet they have directed our school system administrators to use methods that appear politically beneficial but have appalling results.
As the old line goes, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Give our teachers back their ability to use their teaching skills and knowledge to best teach our children.
Maybe "no child left behind" is a goal we should strive for.
But "all children being left behind" is not working very well.
School taxes: Yes, make seniors pay
It is hard to believe the view expressed in a June 3 letter about property taxes and making the poor pay for their own education. ("School funding: Make the poor pay.")
His comment is selfish: “At 81, why am I required to pay for someone else’s education? Where is the benefit to me?”
Who does the writer think paid for his education?
Free education is one of the pillars of our society.
It is one of the reasons our country has been so successful.
As a senior citizen myself, I no longer have any direct benefit of our “free” education system.
However, the indirect benefits are incalculable.
The letter writer should feel lucky to be able to live in a great country that values education.