Letter: Alvarez missing the point

To the Editor,

It seems I have ruffled the feathers of the school superintendent of Rye and a few parents over one sentence in a previous letter. Apparently, the word insecure and its connotation, rather than its denotation, has been taken as an attack on the children as a whole and the parenting skills as well.

I have no particular stake in this other than to have a conscience and a voice when watching a misuse of power, subjecting children to the kinds of questioning that would not pass muster in the legal community and hold up careers while hunting for chargeable offenses.

To read the counter charges to Carin Mehler’s suit is to insult the intelligence of the voters in your district. What the counter charges are saying is a teacher was having students change answers during the state exam without causing total chaos in the room, that the principal and the testing coordinator had no clue that this happened and only one child came home to report this apparent travesty.

And, to boot, this happened in four separate classrooms over two years with a wall of silence.

Anyone who has worked in a school building readily knows even a small episode is known throughout a building in short order. Had this happened, the building would’ve been abuzz by lunchtime and children, brave or otherwise, would have brought the story home.

What you are describing are practice test sessions that I and my colleagues have used for years. It’s not unlike the practice sessions of a Regents exam or the SAT, for that matter. The difference with this test, unlike previous ones, is it was sequestered until the morning of the test and its distribution.

No teacher had prior knowledge of it and certainly had no time to create an answer key. Across the state, the exams were collected upon completion and they were scored without teacher participation.

Statewide, both parents and children, with most teachers thrown into the mix, were so appalled by what this test did to children there was an outcry of protest with opt-outs by the thousands. This is not about teachers, Dr. Alvarez. It was a test that was poorly designed and field tested, and a factor that no one in your administration ever took into consideration, nor certainly gave much credence to, before hauling four teachers out of their classrooms and contacting the Westchester DA and Albany.

Your counter charges, if not affecting a woman’s career, would be laughable. However, I and others, no matter where we live, aren’t laughing watching adults that have been charged with the well-being of a highly regarded school district lose all sense of rational thought and problem solving.


Shelley Karlen,

Greenwich, Conn.