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[Susan notes: Excellent letter, and good for the writer for informing the public that the Obama "reform" began much earlier. Actually it dates back to President Bush the elder and his pal Arkansas governor Bill Clinton. But it's important for readers to know that the current reform is kissing kin with the highly discredited NCLB.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

"The Fight Over Education in Washington" (editorial, July 31) says "teachers unions and other forces of the status quo" are trying to discredit the Obama education initiative, Race to the Top.

There is nothing "retrograde" about objecting to the pernicious effect standardized assessment has had on our children, schools and a generation of teachers. And there is nothing "reform"-minded about a policy ΓΆ€” begun under President George W. Bush and adapted by the current administration --that reinforces those negative consequences.

We are at the point where a young teacher's first question about teaching poetry is, But how will I assess it?

Expect a lot more disappointment when young people become teachers because they're interested in assessment rather than poetry, history or art, a few of the disciplines that are ignored or perverted by the current standardized-assessment environment.

The writer is director of the Center for Inquiry, part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium.

Phyllis Tashlik

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