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[Susan notes: Longtime educator Bill Archer puts local devastation into a national context.]

Published in News-Journal

To the editor

Now ten years down the road, the vast range of destruction created for public education by the FCAT scam of former Education Reform Governor Jeb Bush is almost too much to correct. Thousands of students' lives suffered irreparable emotional damages as a result of being retained at the Third Grade level. Denial of graduation from High School for many students has resulted in a dramatic change in plans for their future lives that have been forced in directions not anticipated or wanted. All because of a controversial and bogus evaluation process that failed most standard tests of reliability and validity.

Voluminous research has established the emotional damage that grade level retention has had on many children and longitudinal studies have shown even more negative impacts. The News-Journal has just scratched the surface of the myriad consequences of a politically and corporately motivated "education reform" scheme.

Local school districts nationwide need to be wary of any kind of federal and political meddling that wants to "standardize" exams that will be tied to teacher merit pay and students' future educational plans. The News-Journal has lifted the cover to give a peak at the broiling mix of ineffective plans that are being hyped as genuine education reform.

The latest plan, the Race To The Top, is the shiny new money carrot being swung in the face of the nation's school districts. School districts whose budgets have been devastated by the costly and faulty FCATs and NCLBs of the corporately directed "reformers" of the last decade. These same frauds see huge profits coming with their government assisted hijacking of public education if they can pull it off. Stop them!

Bill Archer

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