September 24, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Sept. 24, 2012


---- — Evaluating students

TO THE EDITOR:  A most respected philosopher and mathematical genius, Alfred North Whitehead, had this to say about education in 1929: “What is needed is an eye for the whole chessboard, for the bearing of one set of ideas on another.”

Failure to see relationships may be represented in the following example. The news media recently reported a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School award granted to Chazy Rural School, a teacher strike in Chicago against the proposed implementation of a plan to use achievement test scores to evaluate teachers and a truthful column by Steve Quellette, entitled, “First grade sets course for life.”

All of these reports are directly related to the U.S. Office of Education’s Race to the Top; they all have in common the mandatory use of standardized tests as the measure of student achievement.

Add one more report, Pearson Education, the British, multi-national conglomerate that controlled the development of the most recent battery of standardized tests administered in public schools this past May, will take over teacher certification in New York state in May 2014.

The problem with all these events could be put in context if one simple but profound premise was to be injected into the mix. No two people are identical in this world, not their DNA, not their experiences nor what they have done with their experiences. And no standardized test (one-size-fits-all) can measure the achievements of these individuals as they grow and develop along their unique developmental sequence.

Are there alternatives to standardized tests that can accurately measure achievement that is truly individually oriented rather than grade-level oriented? Absolutely. One is the Constructive Assessment, Recordkeeping and Evaluation System (CARES), developed by this author.

If this is important to you, contact me at


Professor of education, emeritus


Willsboro Understand before vote

TO THE EDITOR:  Time is running out with about 50 days until the election.

Hopefully, you have not made your choice until you are sure of the honest facts. You have to listen to both sides, the Left and the extreme Right, and then spend the time to understand the candidates’ plan for your own welfare: Medicaid, Medicare, education, food vouchers, unemployment, etc.

When President Obama’s Health Care Act was passed, the media was inundated with misinformation, lies, distortions, all of which have left many either undecided or in doubt whether and how they will vote.

Fully understand the benefits, not the distortions and lies. It is a great plan for millions of people, insured or not, on Medicare, Medicaid, food vouchers Social Security or whatever. The filibustered House has blocked all that the Obama administration has tried to pass to get the economy and health issues voted on for the betterment of the public. It has been a no-win Congress for 3.5 years to defeat the president’s administration. Now is the time to change all of that.

I lost my wife of 61 years to pancreatic cancer recently. With Medicare and self-paid health insurance, the hospital, chemotherapy, all the doctors, staff and costs for 15 months of care were fully paid for with the help of Medicare and my insurance, plus my co-pays. My rates did not go up.

Do you and your family want to take the chance of a wrong political choice and lose these benefits or will you understand just what the Right is going to take away from you if they succeed in their plan to decimate our wonderful government?

You must make changes in both state and federal elections this November if we are going to be guaranteed a future working government. Voting is your choice and voice.