California Educator

May 2013

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OPINIONS < & LETTERS COMMENTS Lysa Sassman's second-graders read about Read Across America in the Educator at Rock Creek Elementary in Auburn. EVALUATE THIS Your opinions and letters are welcome. So, too, are your photos of teaching, learning and association activities. There is a 250word limit on letters and all letters will be edited. Photo identifications and permissions are required. All materials submitted must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address. E-mail to THANK YOU, TEACHERS I believed it when I started my career as an educator, and I'm even more certain of it now: Teaching is the most important job there is. Ask anyone about the most memorable people in their life, and there's usually a teacher at the top of the list — with good reason. As we celebrate the Day of the Teacher, it's important for people to remember that teachers like you are often the greatest champions our children have. Your care and skill inspires our students, motivates them to do their best, and prepares them for the world beyond the classroom. Inside those classrooms, teachers are not only the brains — they're also the heart. We should celebrate educators like you not only for what you teach, but also for giving us all the great gift of learning to believe in ourselves. Let me wish all of our outstanding educators a wonderful Day of the Teacher. You deserve our thanks, today and every day. —Tom Torlakson State Superintendent of Public Instruction DO TEST SCORES REALLY MATTER? Why do CST scores not count for a student's graduation, or in some meaningful way toward a student's grade? If the test actually mattered to a student, then we can use it in our evaluations. But that's not the case, is it? As it is, neither the pro nor the con arguments (April) addressed this crucial issue. What is CTA doing to make the Common Core more meaningful to individual students? Will the new test count toward student grades at all? If it does not affect the student in any way, then it ought not affect the teacher. Why is this issue not addressed at all, like it's the elephant in the room? We are putting increasing responsibility on teachers, and increasingly less responsibility on students, not to mention parents. —Ion Puschila Associated Pomona Teachers Editor's note: CTA held dozens of Common Core related trainings over the past two years that have been attended by thousands of members; it is a featured issue at Summer Institute (page 27), and local teams of teachers and administrators are encouraged to attend. Also, CTA believes student test scores should not be used in the summative evaluations of educators. See more on this at As a longtime teacher of a subject that is not regularly tested on the standardized tests (music), but knowing that the subject I teach has great value to the development of children, my question is: How would teachers in this category be evaluated? In all the discussion of tying teacher evaluations to test scores, I have not yet seen any discussion of how or to what standards teachers who do not teach the four subjects tested would be evaluated. Any thoughts? —Carol Kouklis Gold Oak Teachers Association PEOPLE BEFORE DISABILITIES When reading "Joy, enthusiasm and a pooch" (March), I was upset by the first words: "Ren the therapy dog visits April Giles' class of ED students…" This upset me because you referenced the students' disability first, and them as people, second. People First Language is important to special educators. I implore you, when writing or speaking about a person with a disability, to state the person first and the disability or difference second. The sentence would then read: "Ren the therapy dog visits April Giles' class of students with emotional disturbance." I hope that you, as a highly regarded magazine for educators, will set the standard for how people with differences are written about in the future. —Kara Lowney Salinas Elementary Teachers Council May 2013 7

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