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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:21 pm

Letters

Op-ed adds to decline in reading enthusiasm


I don’t know about other English teachers, but I get up every morning thinking of ways to make my students hate reading. I was reminded of this when I read Ron Flickinger’s op-ed, "Don’t let education put damper on love of books" (Dec. 15).

Flickinger’s statistical method – viewing "a rather small" group of his peers who are not avid readers – provides valid and reliable data. Using correlation (his peers went to school, and they don’t read for pleasure) and assuming causation demonstrates critical thinking at its best.

Having heard a student complain about "the demands placed on him in the classroom," Flickinger hits the nail on the head: Teachers "damage future reading experiences." He proves the point when he boasts that he "will never pick up Shakespeare because of the experiences with it in high school English classes."

I know how Flickinger feels. After reading his op-ed, I may never enjoy reading the newspaper again.

LILLY ANDERSON

Fort Wayne


Freedom to teach exactly what Hoosier schools need


I was disheartened to hear our governor state his education agenda for the 2015 legislative session. Disheartened, but not surprised. Same agenda, research and results be damned.

More merit pay. Ignore more than 20 years of research indicating that, in a collaborative profession such as teaching, merit pay does not improve student performance.

Raise the voucher amount. Despite – as we have seen locally – some schools have increased tuition just to get up to the current amount.

More funding for charter schools. Ignore the fact that the majority of charters are failing miserably on their promise to deliver a better educational model.

Here is the height of hypocrisy: Sell the concept of charters with the myth that we are putting all this money into public education with poor results then, when charters get poor results, the solution is more money.

And then there was something called Freedom to Teach, a to-be-defined program that gives some schools freedom from some rules. I had to laugh at that one. Would Indiana teachers like freedom to teach? I think they would.

They would like freedom from the smothering effects of tests which now determine teacher evaluation, student promotion, teacher pay, school grades, student graduation – and the governor wants to add school funding to the list. Ignore the fact that these tests were never designed for those purposes.

Teachers would like freedom from teaching students how to take the tests, since they will be so different this spring.

Teachers would like freedom from testing mandates which demand every student advance at the same rate and learn to read at the same time, ignoring developmental realities.

Teachers would like freedom to engage students with more projects, more science, more arts, music and physical education, more pleasure reading, more field trips and, yes, more recess – all things that have been proven to improve student outcomes yet have eroded as tests and more tests and test prep narrow the curriculum.

By all means, governor, give Indiana teachers freedom to teach.

JULIE HOLLINGSWORTH

District 1 representative,

Fort Wayne Community Schools Board


Letter writer’s sentiments didn’t merit publication


The fact that The Journal Gazette chose to print the ugly letter by Judith Hunter ("Racial issue created where none existed," Dec. 15) shows appalling lack of editorial judgment. We all know people like Hunter exist in our city, and she is entitled to her hate and ignorance. The Journal Gazette does not need to showcase her truly despicable sentiments – her brand of thinking is indicative of an awful past that must change.

LONI WOLF

Fort Wayne