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[Susan notes: Kudos for a very smart, experienced-based letter. McGill gets the emphasis right: Reduce the income gap. This line should be an instant classic: We know what many of the answers are. But we just have to ask the right questions first.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re Poor Dropping Further Behind Rich in School (front page, Feb. 10):

The cupboard of solutions isn't bare; many of today's education reforms just don't deal with the real problems.

Reduce the income gap. Adopt policies that address the effects of poverty in schools. Recognize that control and compliance reform strategies don't improve education. Make it easier to deal with ineffective teachers, but stop bashing schools.

See educators as partners in a search for solutions. Make teaching an honored profession. Spend money to attract and develop a stronger teaching force. Invest in smaller classes. Finance early-childhood education. Set high standards, but reduce the obsession with test scores. Promote smart, passionate and innovative teaching.

We know what many of the answers are. But we just have to ask the right questions first.

The writer is Superintendent of Schools, Scarsdale Public Schools

Michael V. McGill

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