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[Susan notes: We know Don as the Colorado teacher who stood tall, refusing to give the CSAP, the Colorado state test, to his 8th graders at John Evans Middle School in Greeley.

Don stood tall then but since then he has stood even taller as the leader of the vibrant and innovative Coalition for Better Education. Members of this group make themselves heard day in and day out. They are compassionate in the face of student need and relentless in the face of corporate politico chicanery. Kudos all around.

Note how Don offers support for libraries as the alternative to standardized testing that will enrich students'lives--and develop their skills.]

Submitted to NCTE Executive Committee but not published

Dear Colleagues,

Problems reign in the LEARN act. The legislation assumes that direct

instruction is the singular pathway to literacy. The truth is indeed the

contrary. As a lifetime educator and student of the research I have seen so

often young people inspired by something they would love to know more about,

and through that inspiration become voracious readers and articulate writers

in a wide variety of fields. Teachers so often hold the key to seeing those

talents and unlocking doors for their students. The LEARN act is blind to

the gold that is this key. It focuses instead on "summative, formative

assessments," or indeed more standardized testing in an educational

landscape already blighted with the choking atmosphere of high stakes

standardized testing.

Nor does the LEARN bill make mention of the enormous and deleterious role

that poverty plays in the education of our young. Nor does it underscore

the critical role that local libraries play in inspiring our next

generation's intellectual curiosities. We at the Coalition for Better

Education, Inc. contend that investments in our local school and district

libraries would reap dividends beyond measure in the development of all our

children's language skills.

Don Perl is President of The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.


Don Perl

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