In my guest column, “Time to get tough with educators” (Feb. 15), I explained that the SAT, a standardized test employed to reveal student learning, revealed that more than half of our high school juniors were not proficient in math, reading or writing.

I placed blame on state legislators, teachers and other educators in general, and particularly the School Committee and the teachers’ union.

The column prompted a large number of dissenting opinions. Those opinions took one or more of four positions:

• I am a teacher and I work hard;

• I think parents should do better;

• Demographics and poverty make teaching difficult;


• We should not place so much emphasis on a single test.

First, I know some teachers work hard, and I said so in my column.

Second, demographics and poverty do make teaching difficult.

Third, I agree; but some parents have less education than their children and that is just another problem educators must overcome.

Fourth, accepting unpleasant facts is difficult (I don’t trust my bathroom scale). But, the SAT is a valid instrument and shouldn’t be dismissed.

Originally, I intended to write this response with a conciliatory tone so teachers, especially, might feel good about themselves. But that wouldn’t help schoolchildren.

Instead, I stand by my column in its entirety. We, as a community, some teachers, some educators, the School Committee, some state legislators and the teachers’ union are failing our students.

Richard Sabine, Lewiston

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