Talk Back - May | June 2010
Colleague, Mentor, Judge?
Iam happy to see NEA Today cover peer assistance and review as conceptual issues (“Colleague, Mentor, Judge?” March/April). Many of us have a simple problem with PAR programs in that peer review and removal make no sense as long as we, as professionals, have little or no say in peer licensure and selection. Without significant control of our profession, we are asked, in peer review, to clean up the messes created by management, political leaders, and faceless state bureaucrats. In order to participate in opening the door marked “exit” from our profession, we should control the door marked “enter.”
Paul J. Philips
I’ve always thought teaching is the only profession where its members are trained in school and then thrown to the wolves without backup. Every other profession uses mentors to help their professionals succeed. Kudos to the schools and teachers using PAR. It will only strengthen our profession. I wish all teachers would find a mentor to help them become great teachers.
I was confused by the image of Che Guevara next to the article, “Who is Trying to Kill Raza Studies?” (Upfront, March/April). The program at the Tucson School District strives to promote the roles of Latinos in U.S. history. Is this the best image you could come up with? How about Sonia Sotomayor, Bill Richardson, Alberto Gonzales, or Hilda Solis? In the future, I hope you give the Latino community more credit.
North Huntingdon, PA
At the Mercy of the Test
I would like any public official to spend time in a middle school and watch the attitude of students taking standardized tests. (Upfront, March/April, “Will NCLB ever Make Sense?”) Trust me, it’s not taken as seriously as their driver’s test. Why should teachers be held responsible for the kids who don’t care, or who have parents who don’t care? A student once told me, “It’s only a test to see how teachers are doing.” Can you imagine how teachers would feel if their salary were based on test results alone? I firmly believe that teachers need to let their voices be heard and stop this nonsense.
Religion in the Classroom
The article about my case (“Teacher Sued Over ‘Anti-Religion’ Classroom Comments,” March/April) was incorrect in one substantial way. I did not refer to the biblical creation story as “superstitious, religious, nonsense.” My comment referred to the teaching of John Peloza, a teacher at my school who sued the District, Board, Science Department Chair, Principal, and others for violating his “freedom of speech,” in that they required him to teach the state approved curriculum and not his religious view of creation.
San Clemente, CA
PE Teachers Do Not Have It Easy
I’m surprised you chose to print Melissa Fisher’s response to the question “If you could switch jobs with another educator, what would you try?” I would hate for any classroom teacher to read that description of a PE teacher’s job and think it’s really as easy as she makes it sound. Sadly, Melissa is not alone in her impression of the ease of teaching PE, or any “special” subject for that matter. Contrary to popular belief, we specialists are also “real” teachers.
In the story, “Identity Crisis,” (March/April), NEA Today incorrectly
reported the volume of unionized charter schools in Minnesota. Of that
state’s roughly 150 charter schools, very few are unionized.
In the interview with author Katherine Paterson (Upfront, March/April) NEA Today misidentified the author of Tuck Everlasting. The author is Natalie Babbitt, not Katherine Paterson.