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Our Opinion: A big return for good work

December 12, 2001

It's a big day for education and educators in the Imperial Valley. Goals have been met, expectations reached and as a result rewards have been far-reaching and large both for individuals and communities.

Certified staff at five local schools — Frank Wright Intermediate School in Imperial, Harding Elementary School, Kennedy Middle School and McKinley Elementary School, all in El Centro, and William Moreno Junior High School in Calexico — have been rewarded checks of $25,000, $10,000 or $5,000 for meeting goals related to the state Academic Performance Index.

Although they are paid better now than in years past, teachers still don't make as much as they deserve considering all their training, trials and dedication. So these checks, which will have big chunks removed for taxes, are deserved. These teachers' hard work has helped their students to sharply improve their state standardized test scores and these teachers and the schools they work in are setting a positive example for all to follow.

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We will continue to question whether standardized testing should be the primary way to judge a student's knowledge and academic abilities, but the tests are mandated by the state and we must accept them as a reality. Such testing puts a lot of pressure on students, teachers and schools and it is no easy task to rise up under such conditions.

Still, that is exactly what the teachers at each of the schools named above have done. We all will benefit because our kids have learned what it is to succeed. They learned what it is to be praised for their hard work and to feel a sense of pride in their efforts.

While the teachers at the five schools have received cash rewards for their efforts, we applaud all teachers and schools that have shown some improvement in their test scores.

We are confident we are going to continue to see our kids improve. We believe in the quality of education available to our youths. When teachers, staff, administration, parents and students unite in their efforts, the end result is the kind of improvement that has occurred.

Ultimately, our teachers will continue to rise to whatever challenges the state may throw our way, and we all must do our part to help teachers and our kids meet that challenge.

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