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Letter: Education reform must address current culture

Education reform must address current culture

It’s a lovely idea at The News to stir the pot. The March 15 editorial, “Loyalty test,” would make one believe that the current State Education Department reforms with Common Core, etc., were good ideas.

One of the reasons the governor and the Regents are backpedaling is because parents have been and are resisting changes that are not good for their children. Make no mistake: Reform is necessary in our schools, but not in a way that decapitates a child’s image of self.

Are the teachers’ unions involved? Absolutely, because we, as teachers, know more about education than anyone else. Others who have never stepped into a classroom, or did so a long time ago, cannot comprehend school and student clientele as they are now.

A huge reform is necessary, but it must address current culture. That culture includes poverty, with its many social problems (hunger, drugs, violence, psychological issues, parenting and the lack of it), absenteeism, non-support of teachers and the robbing of money from districts, forcing a rape of programming.

Cliché as it is, the phrase “go back to the drawing board” is the proper course. Look at what has been done in five years – with minimal success – and try again. The students and what they accomplish should be the foci. Evaluation of teachers is a given, but not the main point of schooling.

It is quite clear that the writer of the editorial, seemingly wearing blinders, wanted to thrust upon readers a limited view of reform. As a reading teacher at North Tonawanda High School, I look back at the previous changes and realize how much of my time is wasted filling forms when I could be planning more great learning activities for my students.

Jack A. Agugliaro