
Re: Testing Math Teachers
Posted:
Apr 25, 2000 8:54 PM


Here's a reaction from one Springfield school:
>Here's a letter we math teachers at Springfield's Central High School are >sending to various concerned parties. > Springfield Central >High School > 1840 Roosevelt Ave. > Springfield, MA 01109 > April 10, 2000 > > We, the undersigned teachers in the mathematics department at >Springfield Central High School, resent being scapegoated by bureaucrats in >the Department of Education and on the Board of Education. Segments of >the press and the business community have joined them in this tactic with >an apparent agenda of doing great harm to the public schools in the >Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They have been putting forward such schemes >as making the MCAS a graduation requirement and proposals for >teachertesting, most recently and specifically the testing of mathematics >teachers in high schools such as our own, where MCAS "failure" rates are >high. These are clear attempts to make the students and teachers in the >public schools appear to be failing, thus paving the way for privatization, >forprofit charter schools, vouchers and the like. > > We are dedicated professionals, hardworking and skilled mathematics >educators, nearly all with advanced degrees and scores of years of >collective mathematics teaching experience. We have completed extensive >professional development programs in many areas of mathematics, computers >and such technologies as graphing calculators, as well as in pedagogy. >Many of us have facilitated these workshops ourselves. > > We teach in one of the state's poorest communities. Many of our >students face innumerable social and economic pressures both in their >neighborhoods and in the schoolsobstacles not encountered by most young >people in the more affluent suburban communities. Getting a good >education, getting to school on a daily basis, making time to study, and >even surviving are not the same here as in these wealthier communities. We >have always accepted the challenge to teach in this city's schools. We try >to be there on a daily basis for our students, providing quality >mathematics instruction as well as the necessary support to motivate our >students to overcome these obstacles as best they can. > > In spite of these conditions and difficulties, 75% of Central's >graduates go on to 2 and 4year colleges each year. Yet only 25% of last >year's 10th graders would have been allowed to graduate based on their >mathematics scores on this MCAS exam. Our students do much better on the >proven, validated and nationally normed Iowa's and on the SAT's. Now the >Commonwealth wants to deny diplomas to 75% of future potential graduates of >our school. > > To add insult to injury, the Governor and the Board of Education >want to test the math teachers in schools with a higher than 30% "failure" >rate on the MCAS. Naturally, we find this idea to be quite offensive and >preposterous in light of the previous information on our already proven >qualifications and on the job we are dedicated to do. Perhaps they are >trying to drive us out of Springfield to another community or to another >state where our services most likely would be in demand and perhaps better >appreciated. (There is a national shortage of trained, certified and >experienced math teachers such as ourselves). We are tired of being bashed >and bullied. Let us do our job, and test the DOE (Department of Education) >bureaucrats, not the math teachers. > > Sincerely, > > >Richard Annino Walter N. Brown James Carithers David Carlos > >Myron Follett Francis P. Funai Gladys T. Gagnon > Lori Giacomoni > >Katrina Krach Denese Lakoma Lenny Lapon Nancy Mathras > >James J. Phaneuf Tim Renn Leroy Scott., Jr. > Janet Settembro > >N. Everett Washington Jean Watson Carolyn Wikar >

