Letters to the Editor
Rachel Hampton 5th-Grade Teacher La Porte, Tex.
I read with disbelief your article on the "guarantees" policy proposed by the Council of Chief State School Officers ("Chiefs Unanimously Endorse School 'Guarantees' Policy," Nov. 25, 1987).
As a classroom teacher, I will be the one who must "guarantee" that my students will learn. Every brainstorm of groups like this puts the burden of implementation on the classroom teacher.
I will be happy to guarantee that learning takes place if the following conditions are met:
The parents certify that neither has ever used drugs.
A doctor certifies that the mother had proper prenatal care and that the child was properly nurtured by both parents the first five years of his life.
The child scores above 100 on an i.q. test.
An inspection is made of the home to see that a quiet place to study is available.
An attitudinal survey is given to the parents to determine the degree of importance they place on education.
The parents present a sworn statement that they will not divorce or consume alcohol to excess while the child is being educated.
The child and his parents promise that the child will follow the school district's code of behavior.
A secretary is provided to handle routine paperwork so that I have time to plan and teach.
Of course, given the conditions of society, these requirements are as ridiculous as the "guarantees" that are being pushed by the state chiefs. I don't hold any child responsible for his home life. Neither do I take the responsibility for correcting all the problems that are inflicted upon him.
I get cold chills every time I read another national report or another proposal for "improvement." These are all prepared by people who are so far removed from the classroom that they don't have the foggiest notion about the realities of our schools.
How much battering can teachers take before we all throw up our hands in desperation and leave the profession?
Richard L. Tyson Mercersburg, Pa.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress and the U.S. Education Department are investigating what they call an "anomaly" in the results of naep's 1986 reading test ("Drop in Scores On Reading Test Baffles Experts," Jan. 20, 1988).
I hope this development will help people understand that using only test results as the means of measuring the success or failure of schools may be the greatest "anomaly" of all.
Shirley A. McFaul Chairperson Education Department Lewis University Romeoville, Ill.
In the Jan. 13 Commentary section, you invited a number of educators, analysts, and policymakers to propose initiatives of high priority for the federal government's role in education ("Priorities for the Next Administration").
This is a timely idea in this election year. What astounded me was that of the 13 respondents, only one was a woman: Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association.
This ratio in no way reflects the population in general or the key role women play at all levels of the educational process.
The male participants included two professors, an assistant superintendent, and a teacher. Surely you don't believe that there aren't many capable and insightful women in all those roles and other leadership positions who might have been considered, do you?