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Letter: Teacher training

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This is a followup to the Karen Longmore letter ("Teachers' perspective," Wednesday, Aug. 27).

Back in the sixties our government was concerned about the lack of science education for students. In the space race with the USSR, the United States seemed to be in catch-up mode. How was the problem attacked?

Teachers of science were given the opportunity to return to college at government expense to improve their knowledge in scientific fields. Later it expanded into other fields. It was not a "one size fit all" approach. Each university was allowed to design a one-year program with a limited number of positions and then advertise to attract teachers. I was a beneficiary.

The competition was strong. After applying several times I was finally accepted at a university where I was given excellent training in subjects which I had no knowledge and was given an expansion in others.

Did it help my students? When I began teaching at a local high school I had only two physics classes each semester. However, in about three years I was teaching physics full time. That's more than 400 students each year. It continued until my retirement several years later.

Instead of the current competency requirement and extensive testing, let's give the teachers training in areas of weakness. Let them catch the excitement, and pass it on to their students. Children love what their teachers are excited about.

Newel Standley