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[Susan notes: This is so on target. I wish Arne Duncan and his teaching ambassadors, Business Roundtable members, and the Chamber of Commerce officials would read it.

Not to mention the other two of the Three Stooges would read this letter.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published

Dear Valerie Strauss:

Having taught that age group "Turn Middle School Into 'Boot Camp for Life,' I am fairly convinced that kids that age learn incidentally, if at all, and that most students would be better off if they could spend that 2 years doing something, anything, else. I've always figured that if we can afford to do our family trip around the world, that's when we should do it. Plan it, make a budget, make maps, research the countries, learn the language, and go.

What's more, I've had the opportunity, in the last year or so, of spending quite a bit of time with home schooled children, and home schooled middle school aged kids go through much the same social angst, pressure, and learning challenges traditionally schooled ones do, indicating that it's their age. The only home schooling parents I've seen more frustrated than those trying to home school a middle schooler are those who are trying to do a formal academic curriculum with their 5 yr old. Some ages and stages just plain do not do well in a structured, traditional classroom.

Donna Metler

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