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[Susan notes: A reading specialist makes a strong stand against the LEARN legislation and for putting librariesat the core of the curriculum.]

Submitted to NCTE Executive Committee but not published
11/30/2009

Dear NCTE Past President Kathleen Yancey:

The NCTE support of the LEARN Act needs to be challenged by teachers everywhere, whether NCTE members, non-members, or former members. In my case, I am a former member of the organization.



I do not support the LEARN Act. The program described rehashes past programs, NCLA and Reading First. Highly respected Educators criticized the principles used in the earlier programs, however the very premise of the earlier programs are in the LEARN Act.



"The intellectual and linguistic skills necessary for writing and reading must be developed through explicit, intentional, and systematic language activities", assumes that there is no contrary view. Children will be lost through this program. I would have been lost had I been put through this step by step regimentation, however I am successful and hold a MA in education, even with my unique learning style.



Vocabulary, reading fluency, and reading comprehension come by READING. Libraries full of books and time in the day to READ are the two components that should be the core of the curriculum with teaching strategies of reading and writing woven into the program.



While libraries are closing throughout California, hundreds of thousands of dollars go toward testing which is destroying our children.



It is understood that money for libraries and money for testing come from varied and separate funding processes, however, money eaten up by the testing process amounts to a huge amount in California and elsewhere. Without the cost of testing, districts would be in better financial position:



School districts in California which pair library services with their city would be able to channel funding to their libraries.



Presently two school districts which pair with the City of Lincoln CA struggle to continue to finacncially support the library contract and may cease to do so while the testing dollars sponge

up existing funding.



Trust our teachers to evaluate and teach, please reconsider NCTE's stand.





Shirley L. Russell, MA Elementary Education, Reading Specialist, ECE Specialist, Miller Unruh Reading Specialist, retired 1996



Shirley L. Russell


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