Regarding "Pa. Districts Show Steep Drop in Test Scores" (Sept. 22): How dare Ron Tomalis, Pennsylvania secretary of education, accuse schools of cheating on previous PSSA tests due to a drop in 2012 results! If he were doing his job, he would be running breathlessly to Gov. Tom Corbett and showing him the effects his budget cuts have had on education. What did they think was going to happen once the elimination of reading and math programs and staff occurred?
I retired a year ago from teaching reading at the middle school level so I suppose I fall into Mr. Tomalis' category of "cheating teacher." Our gains existed because every staff member incorporated the standards into their lessons. We read every piece of literature provided by the education department to improve test scores. A focus was placed on good testing strategies, such as check and recheck responses. Not to mention the motivational activities developed to increase awareness and promote a positive attitude and effort from our students. And Mr. Tomalis dares to say the results were due to cheating!
Thirty districts or charter schools that were accused of cheating were later cleared; perhaps the initial screening needs to be revised to eliminate false accusations. Who's counting your erasures, Mr. Tomalis?
If I may alter an African proverb, it would read, "It takes a village to reach AYP." And that village was destroyed by budget cuts to education.
Mr. Tomalis, you owe an apology to every teacher in Pennsylvania! Do your job and get districts the funding they need to succeed.
The writer retired from West Mifflin Area School District.