Just more teacher excuses to avoid reform

Dear Editor,
Gilroy High School teacher Wayne Scott begins his March 10
letter by stating that I am

attempting to misuse statistics to fit [my] political
agenda.

Mr. Scott, typically, makes a baseless accusation, and then
state facts that are irrelevant (smoke and mirrors).
Dear Editor,

Gilroy High School teacher Wayne Scott begins his March 10 letter by stating that I am “attempting to misuse statistics to fit [my] political agenda.” Mr. Scott, typically, makes a baseless accusation, and then state facts that are irrelevant (smoke and mirrors).

Much like his union leader, Dale Morejon, Mr. Scott does all he can to avoid efforts at reform; he has a “political agenda” but won’t admit it. I left an e-mail address at the end of my original letter in case anyone had questions for which Mr. Morejon accused me of “self aggrandizement.”

Originally, I described a system in place at a private high school – one in which Mr. Scott states, “Within a school, students are not randomly distributed. The realities of K-12 class scheduling make it impossible to randomly assign students to teachers.” Not true. Said school does this for the express purpose I mentioned, to accurately measure teaching in their school of science.

Mr. Scott correctly states, “Within a school district, students are often not randomly distributed. In Gilroy students attend neighborhood schools.” And what did Superintendent Edwin Diaz and the school board do when eliminating school choice? I wrote to each school board member then (they do not merit the title “trustee”) suggesting random assignment for accountability and testing purposes within the district. No response from a single one.

Mr. Scott states, “Since a random sample of students can not be assigned to each teacher, … the ANOVA test is not a valid statistical measure.” Actually, it can. The random variable simply becomes the progressive change in score throughout the year. I could not go into this depth of detail in the paper, but did so for those who e-mailed me.

Mr. Scott asks, “What makes Mr. Viarengo think that a comparison between California and Utah is statistically valid?” I never mentioned such a statistical comparison. I asked Mr. Morejon to explain the drastic difference between per-pupil spending and outcome. He did not.

A parting test for Scott and Morejon: The proportions of “persons over 25 who are high school graduates,” “persons below the poverty level,” and “households that speak a language other than English at home,” are similar in Utah and several states (NE, ID, KS, MT, and the Dakotas), yet Utah spends much less than the others per pupil and achieves top results. If you want to do something constructive, I suggest finding what Utah does so well relative to those states. But that would best serve you kept secret, since you would otherwise have no “poverty” excuses to avoid reform.

Alan Viarengo, Gilroy

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