Be Wary of Education Reform Promoters

Article excerpt

Be wary of education reform promoters

We must be careful of the wealthy foundations that support the prevailing tsunami of educational reform. These corporate millionaires behind groups like Advance Illinois and Stand for Children will not and cannot be held accountable; they are not elected by anyone.

This is an irony since these groups believe that teachers should be held accountable for all the failures of their students. Implementing performance agreements, diminishing the power of unions, establishing merit pay, hiring and firing personnel according to private sectors' procedures do not address problems in education.

Consider, for instance, how a public school district would establish an assurance of administrative impartiality and competency before providing the requisite training for fair and equitable evaluative methods and due process.

Changes for educational reform must come from teachers, administrators and its local school board, and from students and their involved parents as they work together to solve the many challenges that we face.

Modifications of current teachers' evaluations, benefits and rights should not come from outside, corporate-funded groups that emphasize an accountability program based on questionable sanctions and unformulated "multiple measures" linked to teachers' performance.

No Child Left Behind and its spawn, "Performance Counts," cannot resolve the difficulties that teachers will invariably inherit. Why? Teachers do not work with quantifiable outcomes. How does one measure the effects that a teacher has on his or her students' character, aspirations, responsibility and moral and ethical values? How does one measure a teacher's inspiration, dedication and passion that these influences have on a student? Are there reliable, valid tests and data for such indelible impressions on a student? A teacher does not make a sale or earn a profit. A teacher works with children and young adults.

Glen Brown

Naperville

Here's an issue for all women

Kathleen Parker's column regarding the empowerment and protection of women as an essential part of our foreign policy should be mandatory reading for every American woman. Nowhere is this more essential than in Afghanistan, the country in which we supposedly are fighting for the rights of women.

Here, the Taliban for five years prohibited female education, and still would not let a woman to leave her house without her full face burqa and an male relative escort.

Parker correctly states, "Without exception every nation that oppresses women is a failed and, therefore, a dangerous state." She cites Afghanistan as "a country where men feel free to throw acid in the faces of little girls trying to attend school." Having spent some time in Afghanistan myself, I heard these stories but did not believe them till Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times came home with pictures of women with disfigured, scared faces from acid having been thrown on them. Recently Time magazine had a cover showing a woman with her nose cut off.

Where are the privileged women of the United States who will stand up to condemn this barbaric treatment of our sisters? Sad to say, it seems too many advocates of women's rights are only concerned about funding such programs as Planned Parenthood and abortion rights.

Priscilla Weese

Wheaton

90 percent of life is showing up

From March 30 to April 5, 487 people from 57 different local faith communities came out to pray at the Aanchor Health Center in Glen Ellyn. …