2013-05-10 / Letters

Kaler teacher tells it how it is

To the editor: Dear Gov. Paul LePage

As a dedicated, hard-working, loving, kindergarten teacher at a school just given an F by your new school grading program, I am appalled, disappointed, and above all else, sad at what your system is doing to children and families at my and other “failing” schools.

First of all, as educators, we have learned, through research and experience, that a “standards” or “proficiency” based grading is more effective for students. Why then, would we not do the same for schools? Giving letter grades is antiquated and anyone in education knows it.

Secondly, basing the grade on one single test, given on one day, a simple snapshot of one moment is, quite simply, unfair. Mr. Governor, if we graded you on one moment, one snapshot of any given day, what grade would you get? How fair would the grade be?

Finally, above all else, your grading system is, what folks are calling, the “great UN-motivator.” Do you think telling a school they are failing is going to motivate or encourage students or staff in the least? No, our love for the children, teaching, and above all else, the craft of teaching and learning is what motivates you. We know our school needs help and we are already working with a plan to help our community. Your grading system is nothing more than bullying those poorer and disadvantaged communities.

I highly encourage you to repeal your grading system. You are hitting below the belt – these are our kids and the good loving people of Maine will not sit quietly while you do so.

Matt Halpern Kaler Elementary School, South Portland

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