January 8, 2013

Rita Murphy: Testing isn't everything

It would be remiss to ignore the innuendos and bias in the media about teachers and the California Teachers Association. In your Jan. 3 editorial, you say that Delhi sets an example of accountability. You congratulate the Delhi teachers for accepting money for the district with the provision that test scores will be part of teacher evaluations. You also stated that the CTA is causing districts to lose money because teachers will not incorporate test scores into evaluations.

The Merced Union High School District and the Fresno Unified School District both wrote plans to include test scores. Perhaps Delhi was chosen because it is small, can be better controlled and will cost the federal government less money than helping the bigger districts.

On the same page, you ran a Lodi News-Sentinel editorial, "Galt schools also win by putting kids first."

Are you saying that there are teachers who don't want kids to achieve? Are you accusing the CTA of not caring about students? The CTA is all about learning and has been the respected leader in education for many years. So now that we need the federal money, we will turn our backs on the people who have demonstrated their knowledge and concern for public education. The CTA is just one of the many unions that government and business would like to break.

Divide and conquer is the method and it is working. Public schools are being replaced by charter schools.

Teachers that do not focus enough on testing will be replaced. Are we all so desperate for money that anyone who questions or challenges the data is conceived of as uncooperative, especially the teachers' union?

Did you ever consider that perhaps this test-driven business model is really not that successful? Why would anyone want their job evaluation based on one 50-point test? Do people realize that in the last decade under this testing method, students' ability to write has deteriorated?

Teaching a child to read and write takes time and personal attention; with 40 students in a classroom, we are relying on multiple choice testing! The money we have should be used to hire more teachers, not invest in more tests that hardly measure if someone is educated. If you can read this and write a logical reply, thank a teacher.


Golden Valley High School history teacher


Editor's Note: The federal education funds have been released at different times. Delhi learned in September that it was among 35 receiving Teacher Incentive Fund grants. Galt was one of three California districts that learned in December that it would get the federal Race to the Top money. Merced and Fresno were among 372 districts that applied for this last round of funding. Merced was ranked 310 on the scoring list and Fresno 106. The entire list is available at www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district.

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