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Letter: Educating children is not a ‘business’

Educating children is not a ‘business’

I was confused by the editorial of April 3 in which The News indicated that, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It added, “That’s true in business and true in the business of educating students and, for that matter, evaluating teachers.”

What struck me about the editorial board’s position is the very notion that teachers are in the “business” of educating students and that schooling involves the “business” of evaluating teachers. Somehow, our politicians, our media and, in some cases, school boards and the public have reduced the teaching profession and the process of educating children to a “business,” something to be managed and subsequently measured. The apparent goal of such a “business” model is the sorting and selecting of children and teachers into groups that can then be categorized as “exemplary,” “proficient” or “defective.”

While measuring teachers and students by itself is acceptable to most; the process, the tools and the intention for the use of results is of significant concern to all stakeholders. The ways and means by which the most recent testing debacle was implemented should serve as a warning to all those who believe that the best way to improve the process of education is to implement a “business” model that treats children like widgets who can be turned out like an assembly line. Society wouldn’t allow that in the medical or legal professions and shouldn’t tolerate it in the teaching profession!

Thomas J. Sheeran, Ed.D.

Professor of Education

Niagara University