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[Susan notes: This is one beautiful letter.]

Submitted to Forward.com but not published

To the editor

We at the Coalition for Better Education, Inc. encourage you to take up the banner opposing the increasingly oppressive invasion of high stakes standardized testing in our public schools and the malpractice that is No Child Left Behind legislation. Our tradition treasures our children and their education and requires a strident voice of resistance.

Public education in the United States has devolved since the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983. This document of some 65 pages promulgated an alleged malfunction of our system of public education. A generation later our children's scores are valued more than our children. The public perception is that a standardized test can measure achievement, and a child's ability to repeat, robot-like, nonsense syllables can determine reading skills. In the wake of this furor, our teachers, prepared by training and DNA to bring out the best in our children, have been reduced to technocrats.

Erudite authors such as Jonathan Kozol (The Shame of the Nation), David G. Berliner (The Manufactured Crisis and Collateral Damage), Alfie Kohn (The Case Against Standardized Testing, Raising the Scores and Ruining the Schools), and Susan Ohanian (One Size Fits Few and Why is Corporate America Bashing our Public Schools?) have examined in detail the harms of high stakes testing.

The results of their research are indisputable. Our children, especially those who are socially and economically disadvantaged, are increasingly marginalized, and the over-emphasis of their scores on a grid has taken the place of developing inquisitive, co-operative, compassionate and thoughtful citizens so necesarry for a healthy, democratic society.

We welcome you to visit our website and that of scholar (www.susanohanian.org) Susan Ohanian and then to add your voice to the growing resistance which has as its core the importance of dignifying the autonomy of our children and of their teachers. And in so doing you will dignify us all.

Don Perl

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