Letter: Demands on teachers are diverse

Published:

 

The Jan. 7 story “Study: Yearly teacher reviews aren’t enough,” echoing Bill and Melinda Gates’ incessant attack on teachers, is puzzling.

Consider the underlying assumption that teachers come to their profession with neither adequate training nor dedication. That conclusion must be extended to those who hire teachers as incompetent as well as administrators who mentor the staff. Rather than excessive and redundant evaluations of teachers, developing ways to engage students and their parents in the education process would seem to be a more productive emphasis.

In the current culture that reflects the ravages of a weak economy and a diminishing middle class, reduced revenue to public education creates underpaid teachers in crowded classrooms with fewer resources.

Never before have the needs of students been more diverse or intense. It’s convenient to minimize or ignore the impact of hunger, lack of medical care or frequent relocations among the student population. Poverty is devastating to families. The damages it creates have been shifted to the public school system to address at the same time that a frenzy of data collection has been put in place as a measure of the value of the student. Being hungry or know knowing where you will sleep trump most academic expectations.

Gates has amassed a vast fortune and that is commendable. That does not make him an oracle.

Carol Obenour

Vancouver