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Published: Tuesday, June 24 2014 9:42 a.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Are the solutions proposed by the writer guaranteed to improve education? AT what age should the State mandate education? At 2, at 3, at 4, at 5, at 6? Who is the "external" auditor that guarantees that the methods used are the best for EACH student? Who are the "peers" that check on teaching? Are they the same people who have failed to teach our children for decades? Who determines whether a teacher has the experience to know when to "go it alone" or whether that teacher is better suited to use "tried and true" methods? Aren't teachers trained to use a "system" that is certified and approved by the State before licensing takes place?

I agree that something needs to be done, but I disagree with the "broad" solution offered by the writer.

Grandma Char
Kaysville, UT

The writer of this letter doesn't understand Common Core. It prevents much of what he suggests, especially, teachers being able to have the freedom to select teaching methods. Common Core takes that away from teachers. So, if we want to improve education, we must rid ourselves of this federal government overreach! It is so much more than standards. A little research will help anyone understand this. Also, the book "School Can Wait" puts forth good information about keeping children out of the classroom until they are older.

E Sam
Provo, UT

In other words, more useless testing. And more teaching to the test.

Coach P
Provo, UT

Mike Richards:

I have your posts for years and endless teacher bashing grows tiresome. I have taught for decades now. Some of my first students are in the mid 40's. Many have turned out just fine and became business leaders, doctors, lawyers, college professors, and even teachers. Most have grown up to be civic and service minded, good husbands and fathers, good wives and mothers and good citizens generally. I don't think my colleagues nor myself have failed these students miserably.

Also, most teachers haven't been evaluated by their teaching peers per se, but they have been evaluated by administrators, many of which have had little experience in the classroom. But they have had some. But rareley, if ever, have I received evaluation from those in the teaching trenches.

The biggest problem I see with "educational reforms" is that they are most often driven by politicians. Teachers are less and less consulted on decisions on pedagogy, teacher evaluation, curriculum, nor the non-stop desire for data (end-of-year testing). Most teachers, I believe Mike Richards, are doing the job in the most trying circumstances imaginable. Most teachers are working their guts off for our children.

machievela
slc, UT

Not all children enter school with equal ability to learn. Early education for disadvantaged
children with adequate nutrition and medical care CAN NARROW the differences. Peer evaluation was extremely successful in the SLC School District (1973-1990). It is done in all professions
if we wish teachers to be accountable, they must have control of time, methods and materials.
External standards are established based on the demographics of the student population and audits are conducted against the established standards. See School Match.com for explanation.
Program requires only ONE test. Provides teacher freedom. Establishes accountability. Utilizes effective evaluation to terminate unsatisfactory teachers. See Rand Report on Teacher evaluation, 1980.

Sweet Ginger
Salt Lake City, UT

1) I have a kindergartner and she has been doing common core math. I was very impressed with how they taught math ... a very intuitive model. They began addition with the 5's, so 5+2; this is ideal b/c you always hold up your hands when showing your kids the numbers over 5 so it's very visual. They also went over the all the combinations of how you could make a number ... so to get 8 you could add 7+1 or 2+6 or 3+5. So far, I love the common core!

2) When HB96 was coming out (providing preschool to high-risk kids) I did some research. First, it can (and usually is) offered as a choice to families not a law. Secondly, the the benefits of early school for high-risk kids cannot be understated; kids that start behind stay behind and it leads to horrible outcomes from increased rates of imprisonment to teenage pregnancy. Not only that the small costs of providing early education is more than made up for in the cost savings from not having to put these kids in special ed!

RBB
Sandy, UT

The best way to establish accountability is to test children before and after a class and then have consequences based on the results. By using predictive modeling, one can estimate where students are likely to end up at the end of the year. If the average test score of students ends several points higher than what was predicted, then the teacher was doing something right. If the average score is several points below what was expected, the teacher is probably doing something wrong.

There are a lot of good teachers who deserve to be making much more than they are. There are also a lot of teachers who are doing the minimum to keep their jobs. Until we reward good teachers, though, there is no incentive to be one of the good ones. Unfortunately, the UEA and NEA will do everything in their power to avoid a system which rewards teachers based on how good they are.

Until then, parents who are actively involved with their children's education will find out who the good teachers are and do everything in their power to get their children in those classes.

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