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Comments of the week: Language of the law & language exams

If it’s Friday, then it’s time for us to offer positive reinforcement to our readers who have posted comments that help us meet our goal of elevating public dialogue about education.

This week, we especially appreciated (almost entirely) civil discussions about legislation that Albany considered in the waning days of this year’s legislative session. Comments hashed out the pros and cons of bills about extra tutoring for needy students, charter school enrollment, and shielding teacher ratings.

It’s the last issue, decided in the legislature’s final act for the session, that we’re highlighting today. The very first commenter to weigh in on our story about the teacher data shield bill that passed on Thursday was NYCdoenuts, who wrote:

BEFORE this bill passed, teachers’ privacy wasn’t protected. Now it is. Albany acted to protect teachers…Wow.

In fact, this is the first bill to protect teachers that I’ve seen come out of Albany in a few years. That’s a very cool thing

Soon after, a user posting as “Vote NO” offered another take:

This is NOT good for teachers. … Transparency was the only real protection teachers had against the APPR. Now it will be very easy to fire them under the “cloak of darkness.”

And today, a third commenter, “B,” provided a different perspective:

It’s privacy with a catch. How is it teacher privacy if, at any moment after receiving the data on the teacher, the parent can give that information to the Post or other newspapers with absolutely NO penalty afforded to them?

We also enjoyed learning a new twist about our story on errors in the city’s foreign-language exams from Travis Dove, a student at CSI High School for International Studies:

One of the Japanese questions couldn’t be answered without knowledge of where Grand Central, Times Square, Midtown, and East Village are in Manhattan. So I emailed the [Languages Other Than English] guy and today they released a notice – everyone gets credit for that question!

And readers who asked teacher Sam McElroy questions about the Community section piece he wrote, about the advantages of the blended learning instructional model, quickly got answers:

I agree with the first point that it is pobably more effective with smaller class sizes. I have a 15:1 ratio in my classes with paraprofessional support, but I’ve never done blended learning with a larger class. I dont think that it cant be effective with a larger class though.

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