The Mid-county Memo is your newspaper. We want to hear from you. Discuss an important issue, respond to a request for comment or address a concern you want to call to the attention of the community. Letters to the editor will always be edited for space, style, grammar and issues of clarity. Please include your full name and identify the neighborhood in which you reside. We prefer e-mailed letters to the editor sent to Darlene Vinson at Please put “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. You may also mail your letter to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230 or fax it to 503-249-7672. Deadline for the June issue is Thursday, Feb. 15.

Teachers more important than programs

This letter is a follow-up to one submitted last month. See Letters “Are high-stakes tests worth the cost?” Memo, Dec. 2014.

To the Editor:

We appreciate your printing our letter in your last issue. Also, we appreciate your going the extra mile to contact the school district to get their input. We would like to add the following in regard to the topic of the high expense of the Smarter Balanced Assessment:

As we continue to gather and clarify facts on the cost of high-stakes testing the more worried we get about what appears to be a concerted attack on our public schools. David Douglas School District spokesperson Dan McCue’s statistics on staff attrition due to the great recession are far more problematic than the statistics we supplied in our initial letter. DDSD is still down 90 teacher positions, one administrative position, and ten classified staff positions. These people are basically missing in action. Our kids need the human touch that these people have provided so effectively.

Our governor’s recommended education budget calls for a major investment in early childhood education. Where will this money come from? We need to resource our schools back to pre-recession levels and concentrate on school reforms that actually enhance student achievement instead of creating new programs that may or may not pay off.

The indirect cost of time lost in direct instruction due to the Smarter Balanced Assessment is shocking. Our youngest test takers will be subjected to an estimated seven hours of testing. It is interesting to note that the Scholastic Aptitude Test takes just three hours and forty-five minutes. The Smarter Balanced Assessment in an untimed test. Therefore, there will be kids taking much longer to complete the test. The undue stress on children and the disruption to the classroom will be significant.

We highly recommend that the DDSD and patrons take a strong stand against high-stakes testing. We also recommend that the DDSD and patrons work together to create an authentic assessment program that promotes good teaching and high rates of student achievement.

Paul “Pat” Eck and Sara “Janet” Eck
Mill Park residents