Letters to the Editor

'Thought-provoking' school-board candidates forum| Letter

Thanks to the District PTA Council for hosting the recent school-board candidates forum. The forum questions were thought provoking, relevant and diverse. I was particularly pleased that a few of the candidates agreed on several critical issues. One of these was that our students deserved quality teachers, and that ineffective teachers should not be kept in the district. In admitting this, the candidates recognized how powerful an impact the quality of a teacher has on the success and failure of a student’s education and future.

A recent study released by the University of Washington addressed the impact of effective and ineffective teachers (http://educationnext.org/managing-the-teacher-workforce/ ), concluding that:

As expected, there are large differences in classroom effec­tiveness between teachers who actually received layoff notices and those who would have received them in our effectiveness-based simulation. The two groups differ by about 20 percent of a standard deviation in students’ math and reading achieve­ment. The magnitude of the difference is strik­ing, roughly equivalent to having a teacher who is at the 16th percentile of effectiveness rather than at the 50th percentile. This difference corresponds to roughly 2.5 to 3.5 months of student learning.

The candidates are not the only groups that agree on the importance of having and keeping good teachers.  I’ve also spoken with members of the Northshore School District teacher’s union who have admitted that ineffective teachers should not continue to teach.

Therefore, I am somewhat puzzled as to why (Director District 3 candidate) Ms. Davis and organizations that support her continue to combat against Board Director Ms. McCravey (also a Director District 3 candidate), and accuse her of being against teachers when Ms. McCravey simply testified to the legislature that a school district should have the authority to keep effective teachers and release ineffective teachers. Would Ms. Davis and her supporters like incompetent teachers to teach their children and grandchildren?  Would they like the opportunity for their children to lag 3.5 months behind other students?  I certainly would not, and I do not know of any other individuals that are crying out for that opportunity.

With that said, my children have been very fortunate in having wonderful teachers.  All three of them love school, their teachers and the staff that enrich their lives every day. Don’t all children deserve the same thing?  We need to give all our children the opportunity to experience how exciting learning can be — and that starts with having effective teachers.

Lying (Lyng) Wong, Bothell

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