California Educator

April 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 47

OPINIONS < & LETTERS COMMENTS Your opinions and letters are welcome. So, too, are your photos of teaching, learning and association activities. There is a 250-word limit on letters and all letters will be edited. Photo identi���cations and permissions are required. All materials submitted must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address. E-mail to COMMON CORE A TALE OF FRIENDSHIP I am writing to tell you of an English assignment given 56 years ago in my seventh-grade class by Mrs. Reuben at Hibbard School in Chicago. Each student in her class was given an airmail paper (the old blue thin paper) with a student���s name and address on it asking for an American pen pal. I received my letter from a girl in Cornwall, England. Thus began our friendship. We are still best friends, more like sisters. Communication is easy now. We use snail mail, e-mail, Facebook and the telephone. We spend time together when we can. Unfortunately, I was never able to thank Mrs. Reuben for her assignment. It will last a lifetime and continue into future generations because the connections have been made. I hope Stefanie Pechan���s students (February Educator) find the connection with their pen pal to make it a lifelong friendship. Great assignment! Barbara Byrd California Faculty Association (retired) In the article ���Common Core Standards, Commonsense Math Standards��� (March), I disagree with Dr. Wu���s statement that students are taught a formulaic procedure, ���without once telling students a fraction is.��� At the elementary level, good teachers illustrate the concept of fractions on a number line and other geometric shapes. He should visit the primary grades in an elementary school. I embrace the coherence and universality of the Common Core standards, and I know effective teachers employ CLASS SIZE As an 80-year-old retiree who fought and shouted and wrote and spoke for class size reduction starting in the ���60s, I am overjoyed to see the CTA take it on. We struggled against huge odds, against the John Birch Society and the Business Roundtable, against those who thought us crazy, just to make class size a public issue. It is, as most teachers agree, the catalyst that unlocks real improvement. A class of 38 or 45 leaves little time for teaching, and leaves a teacher too exhausted to work effectively on necessary reforms, though we did. Experience shows that if we can approach a limit of 20 students per class, in-depth, personal education becomes possible, even where a teacher is new or burnt out. Many of us believe small classes to be an exponentially greater necessity than any other proposed improvement in our educational system. Please, dear CTA, dear editor, continue to fight ���by any means necessary��� for small classes. The quote, in my mind, is from Malcolm X. He meant do whatever you need to do until you succeed. Malcolm helped bring about the civil rights movement. Maybe CTA can help bring about the educational rights movement, and I hope I live to see it! James M. LeCuyer United Educators of San Francisco (retired) ASL IS A PRIMARY LANGUAGE the many resources available to teach a deeper, conceptual understanding of academic content, regardless of educational curricular policy, mandate, or trendy instructional strategies. Ann Waller Manteca Educators Association As a special education teacher, I have always had a problem with the fact that students with deaf parents, whose primary language is ASL (American Sign Language), are not considered second language learners or given any ELD services (���Language disorders,��� March). For the last 10 years I���ve taught mild to moderate Special Day Class (SDC) kindergarten/first grade. I���ve received children with an IEP that says they are ���speech and language impaired��� whose parents are deaf, April 2013 7

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - April 2013