To the Editor:
In the continuing issue of asbestos in schools, there are several questions school-board members and superintendents should ask enforcement officers of state and federal environmental-protection agencies (“New Report Criticizes epa Handling of School Asbestos Program,” Oct. 11, 1989).
These questions pertain to the the reasons behind the rigorous enforcement of regulations regarding asbestos used in schools.
First, are the regulations being stringently applied because the hazard is serious or because schools are easy targets for enforcement?
Second, is there any evidence that asbestos used in schools or other public buildings has ever caused cancer? It is my understanding that cancer cases caused by asbestos have been limited to those who mine or work with it, or the families of those workers.
Third, what is the number of deaths attributed to asbestos-induced cancer?
This question concerns the priorities we place on risk. A number of environmentally induced cancers could be alleviated by rigorous application of rules regarding the workplace.
Secondary tobacco smoke, for example, is certainly more serious in terms of total numbers of cancer incidence, yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is quiet about smoking. Is that because the tobacco companies are more difficult to police than the schools?
If the amount of money used for encapsulation, removal, and ren4ovation to meet the asbestos regulations were used for educational purposes, the mortality rate for asbestos-induced cancer would not be affected at all, but the children in our schools would be far better served.
Fellow, American Institute of Chemists
Maine Township High School
South Park Ridge, Ill.
To the Editor:
As a trained assessor, I was pleased to read both your report on Connecticut’s Beginning Educator Support and Training program (“In Connecticut, Moving Past Pencil and Paper,” Sept. 13, 1989) and Cynthia L. Jorgensen’s letter describing how the process was developed (“Creation of best Program in Connecticut Described,” Oct. 11, 1989).
The assessment instrument undoubtedly measures good teaching. During each session, I observe the beginning teacher and script all that I see and hear. The information is then coded to fit the indictors listed on the instrument.
When judgments are removed, specific trends, patterns, and idiosyncrasies appear that do contribute to or distract from a good lesson.
This tool provides a logical focus on what we already know about good teaching.
Do all assessors believe in it as I do? Most do.
Some have given up--because the assessment requires a lot of work and a commitment.
I believe that carrying out the best program with a positive attitude can make a difference in every classroom.
Edie L. Franzi
A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 1989 edition of Education Week as Letters to the Editor