Letters: Standardized Tests For Teachers; Doppelgangers

Audie Cornish and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about a standardized test for teachers; bento box lunches and doppelgangers.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, your comments about yesterday's program, which included a report about a proposal for a national standardized test, a kind of bar exam for teachers.

Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers is one of those pushing the idea because she says the current system of preparing and evaluating new teachers is broken.

RANDI WEINGARTEN: It's demeaning to our profession, it's demeaning to our practice, and no one would ever think that a lawyer who's not prepared should go into a courtroom and try a case without any preparation.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Well, Sally Beaupre of Sunnyvale, California, has been teaching for 30 years and tells us she was offended by that statement. Beaupre writes this. I earned a bachelor's degree in my field equal to that of all the bachelor students. I spent a year in a Master's in Education program. She goes on to say she spent time interning in a classroom before she was allowed to teach, and had to take multiple qualifying exams.

Beaupre adds, newer teachers have even more rigorous requirements than I had in the past, and all of this for a salary that neither a lawyer nor a doctor would ever look at.

CORNISH: Many of you echoed that sentiment, including Nicole Cerqueira(ph), a teacher from Newark, Delaware. She writes, I am all for raising the standards for teacher certification. But until states agree to pay teachers a salary that is commensurate with their level of preparation, no major changes can occur.

BLOCK: On a lighter note, several of you wrote in about my chat yesterday with a French Canadian photographer who's been taking pictures of doppelgangers, people who look very much alike but aren't related.

Kenny Nottingham of Anderson, Indiana, writes, for most of my adult life, I've been cheerfully, then apologetically, greeted by people who thought they recognized somebody else who looks like me. I just shrug and quote Tom McCahill who said, "They say grandpa really got around when he had that motor scooter."

CORNISH: Finally, my interview with chef Debra Samuels about making school lunches in Japan, particularly the art of the bento box.

DEBRA SAMUELS: I just cut my carrots into the shape of a flower, or I made the sandwich, you know, with baloney bangs. I mean, there are any number of things that...

CORNISH: Did you say baloney bangs?

SAMUELS: That's what I said.

CORNISH: What does that mean?

(LAUGHTER)

SAMUELS: Instead of the baloney inside the sandwich, the - it was a little, round face, and the bangs on the face were made of baloney.

CORNISH: Well, Roxane Ronca of Prescott, Arizona, said this story should have come with a warning. Her suggestion, this material may be inappropriate for children whose parents make their lunches every morning.

Ronca asks, how can I keep up with the meat fringes, flower carrots, et cetera? She then answers her own question: my kids will have to be content with whole apples, whole carrots and whole grain sandwiches and the occasional I love you note.

BLOCK: We enjoy your notes. Please keep them coming at npr.org. Click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

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