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Rod Watson, in his Oct. 23 column "Far from the ivory towers of the education profs, there's classroom reality," was partly right about uscollege professors:

We often differ from teachers, since their job is to teach kids while ours is to test theories and help teachers learn to think about their teaching. If we all agreed, what's to think about?

We don't like one-word forced-choiceanswers to oversimplified surveys about complex problems like education. And we certainly would not report the results of a survey without examining the validity of the survey's methodology and results, as journalists like Watson apparently do.

He's wrong about a few points:

We do like and respect most teachers most of the time and believe that they, all of their students, and yes, even our professor colleagues, are educable.

The remaining question for me, if not for my colleagues, seems to be whether there's any reason to believe that journalists are educable. We already know -- from surveys, of course -- that the public likes and respects them even less than college professors.

J. Ronald Gentile UB Professor of Education

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