Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

Two opinions that were published on Oct. 17 are linked together in my mind as a retired public elementary school teacher ("Public schools are failing their students" and "Don't introduce business practices into public education"). Because of business-practice-style legislative rules and school district requirements for testing, teachers must move ahead before all students gain an understanding of any topic being taught. This practice does not lead to the success of all students, as noted by Michael Cordon, a student in Provo. I am in full agreement with the four rules that were proposed by M. Donald Thomas and Lynn Stoddard.

I believe that children should not be placed into business-style categories, but during my career I had to do this because test results required this to happen. A child and his/her parents had to be told that he/she was either proficient or not. Children in my first-grade class were placed in a stressful situation at the end of the school year, as was I, from the pressure to get high scores on standardized tests. I did learn some useful information about my students' progress from standardized math and reading tests that were given during the school year, but the presentation of the information in a positive way was essential for maintaining my students' desire to learn and progress.

Geraldine Coombs