Readers Write

Children or Goats?

I read with interest our summer edition of the Reflector and noted several references to “kids.” However there were no references to goats, who are the progenitors of kids.

While observing a high school teacher, who was also a football coach, I learned that he always referred to his students as Mr. or Miss and always easily got their attention. Also, I observed an elementary teacher who always got her class’s attention by referring to them as students.

Is it not a better educational practice to refer to the children that are in our charge by name rather than a grandmotherly “kids?” 

A child’s self-esteem is surely enhanced by using his/her name when the teacher requires that student’s attention or response.

No kidding.

Stuart Lusty, BS’52, MA’53
Charlotte, Tenn.

Principals and Leadership

I read with interest the summer issue article entitled “Principals’ Leadership and Leadership Principles.” It was well written.

However, I vigorously challenge Ms. Dubois’ comment that “the person running the school was usually a shadowy figure, someone lurking on the periphery of their day-to-day educational lives.” A (pre-2000) principal lurking on the periphery of student achievement? Nothing could be further from reality and the truth!

As a building principal and K-16 educator for 45 years, my steady focus and those of my colleagues was directly on teacher evaluation, seeking and implementing robust teaching and learning models, and precisely disaggregating and analyzing test data to improve individual student performance.

Today’s high-stakes testing movement is challenging. But, so was the impact of the Sputnik Era of the ’50s, the prickly results of “A Nation at Risk” report of the ’80s as well as the ice-breaking, effective schools research of the ’90s. In other words, critical generational issues have surrounded public education for years, and it continues today.

As public educators, let us join together in creative partnerships to generate a critical performance mass. With the leadership of outstanding institutions such as Peabody College we can accomplish all that, plus much more.

Dave Ratajik, MA’64
Stevensville, Mich.

Higher Ed Curse?

The Peabody Reflector (summer 2012, page 11) says “the higher education sector is so supported by the government it would be difficult to operate without it.”

This statement raises a serious question. Has the government’s blind support of higher education become a “curse?” Has this support prevented universities from making much needed reforms? Did universities raise tuition and fees continually because students could get these grants and loans?

Today, students need to confront these universities with serious questions and demand answers. Is it ethical for a university to advertise a faculty of distinguished doctors, but have graduate students teaching the courses? Why are there no teacher certification requirements for university professors? Is there valid teaching and testing going on? Should students accept teaching that violates the basic rule of reasoning? (Reasoning is like a trial by jury. We must consider all the evidence and testimony before we draw a conclusion.) Should students accept one-sided, simplistic teaching that violates this basic principle? Must universities justify their graduation requirements? Can we keep a gifted student in acting, art, music, sports or science from entering their profession just because he or she cannot pass two years of a foreign language, a language that they will soon forget and never use?

Thomas L. Reid, MA’62
Tucson, Ariz.