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January 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Seattle pride

Criticism of schools is empty

Sharon Pian Chan’s recent column [“Seattle smells like team spirit,” Opinion, Jan. 9] tossed this statement into the mix of Seattle’s supposed problems: “Seattle schools are failing our students.”

As a teacher who must persistently redirect the public discussion on education, I require support for this flippant claim that gets bounced around like a beach ball at a sports event.

People say this like it’s always been true and always will be.

I think the public comforts themselves with unsupportable, patently false lies such as this. It’s our way of casting blame on others to explain the ills of society. It’s a softball slander, like “all politicians lie,” “all lawyers steal,” and “all athletes cheat.”

Does anyone realize Seattle schools beat the state averages last year? Do those tests you love mean anything to you? Then why do we do them?

We send thousands of students every year to college and beyond. We send thousands to good jobs. How many more must succeed before we are no longer “failing” them?

Before spewing out meaningless, baseless, vague statements like this, perhaps we, and especially a newspaper columnist, ought to consider that words matter, definitions matter, and entire systems cannot be dismissed in a single sentence.

--Dan Magill, Seattle

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