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[Susan notes: Bill Archer is another persistent letter writer, and it's good news when he catches the media doing something right. ]

Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal

To the editor

Some are content to just suggest the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test needs to end. The Daytona Beach News-Journal offers statistics and results that illustrate the costliness and lack of overall positive benefits that the FCAT, imposed by former education reform governor Jeb Bush nearly 10 years ago, has achieved.

The goal of this mock diagnostic achievement test has been to dramatize the "failure" of many schools. And ultimately to use the sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind act to close those schools and offer alternatives that usher in an education system that deviates from traditional public schools.

Often cited for the failures of these schools has been the quality of teachers, as if the teachers were the cause of the failures. In reality, the FCAT has caused many quality teachers to abandon their jobs in the face of such false accusation.

High quality teachers have seen their traditional roles, as developers of individual potentials, be transformed into trainers who repetitiously pound required FCAT information into the memories of their students in order to make the "A."

Long before the existence of the FCAT and the NCLB, the results of education research revealed the most prominent cause of low performance in public school to be poverty. Those who have worked hard to convince the public that public school teachers were the reason nonwhite students generally performed more poorly than their white peers wanted to avoid the truth. In this way they would not have to invest public tax money in solving the real problems that the deprivations of poverty cause. The public has nearly bought their charade.

The News-Journal is keeping the deception in the news. It knows the importance of traditional public education's role in preserving true democracy.

Bill Archer

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