Skip to content
ascd logo

Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
April 1, 2001
Vol. 58
No. 7


Interrupting Hateful Language

Stephen L. Wessler's "Sticks and Stones" (December 2000/January 2001) was both informative and inspiring. I especially appreciated the gay, ethnic, and religious, as well as racial, examples of how language can hurt. Inappropriate language can also hurt gifted and disabled students. Of particular importance is encouraging educators and students to "interrupt the language." Speaking up when one hears degrading and hurtful language is a simple step that everyone can take.
—Dan Tussey, Director of Gifted Services, Hilliard City Schools, Hilliard, Ohio

Understanding School Psychology

As a father, licensed psychologist, and certified school psychologist, I applaud John Stewart ("Preventing Violent Behavior," February 2001) for urging us to address students' needs with interventions that promote inclusion and mental health.
I disagree, however, with his position that clinically trained psychologists are heroes in the multifaceted struggle to help troubled students. Relying too heavily on clinical psychologists would be against best practice and not to students' benefit.
Stewart is correct that school psychologists often have less training in developmental psychopathology. Many clinical psychologists, however, even with pediatric specialities, have little training in school psychology. Clinical psychologists need more training in the ecology of schools before they venture into this area of practice. Some clinical diagnoses of troubled behavior, for example, may not make sense in the school setting.
Stewart also states erroneously that public school administrators determine students' eligibility for special education. A team—often of school psychologists, specialists, social workers, and parents—evaluates a student's eligibility for special education. Under the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents are full team members in decisions regarding their children's eligibility for special education. Public school administrators may not legally restrict eligibility to special education services.
—Wayne T. Stewart, Coordinator, Special Education Department, Jefferson Parish Public Schools, Harvey, Louisiana

What's Wrong with Merit Pay?

As a teacher about to become an administrator, I appreciate Al Ramirez's thought-provoking comments about merit pay ("Merit Pay Undermines Education," February 2001). Although teaching has intrinsic rewards, I question whether giving quality educators monetary rewards demeans the profession of teaching. Shouldn't teachers who receive excellent evaluations and perform above standards reap the benefits of a higher salary, just as people in business do? Merit pay does not undermine salary structures in most states. It simply offers an incentive. Just as students are motivated in many ways to achieve, teachers may be motivated in different ways, too. Those who are content with the intrinsic rewards of teaching can simply turn down the merit pay if offered, but how likely would such a refusal be?
—Todd Music, Language Arts Instructor, Franklin Junior High School, Franklin, Ohio

True Art

Jason Ohler ("Art Becomes the Fourth R," October 2000) suggests that computers and the Internet have expanded opportunities for artistic expression. Computers, however, are still just a collection of records and a library of information. We can use computer drawing programs to help present and clarify artistic ideas, but we cannot compare the computer to a piece of crayon or charcoal. Like cooking, writing an essay, or cleaning up the garage, the only way to get any benefit from a creative activity is to do it. For children ages 5–8, shouldn't we suggest drawing instead of using a computer?
—James Kershaw and Wess Hylton, Harmony Painting, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Jason Ohler Replies

In the best of all possible worlds, students would be taught drawing across the curriculum. Certainly, young children should begin with pencil and paper, exploring their use as far as they can. We can add other tools as the need to expand expression increases. Much of what students learn in drawing translates to computer graphics.
The computer is just one of many art tools, but the increasingly widespread use of computers makes a more convincing case for teaching art. Art instruction promotes multicultural understanding, develops hand-eye coordination, offers a means of expression, and helps in other subject areas. The average taxpayer used to say, "That's nice, but can my child get a job by learning it?" In the past, the answer was no. Now, it is an overwhelming yes. The creative industries are some of the fastest-growing areas of the economy. Art is no longer a fluffy add-on to the "real" curriculum—not that it ever was to many of us. Art is a literacy, crucial in the global arena of the Internet. The multimedia presentation is now the new Esperanto, and art is now the fourth R.
Correction: The photos for Barbara Hurd's "Voices in Exile" (February, 2001) were taken by Barbara Goodbody of Portland, Maine.

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

Learn More

ASCD is a community dedicated to educators' professional growth and well-being.

Let us help you put your vision into action.
From our issue
Product cover image 101036.jpg
Beyond Class Time
Go To Publication