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[Susan notes: Kudos to Don Perl for killing two birds with one letter. He refutes the polemics of former New York state politico and current New York Post teacher basher and points to the unions' absence from this critical fight. ]

Submitted to New York Post but not published

To the editor

I can speak with personal experience regarding a fallacy in Michael Benjamin's piece, The War on Testing. He notes that parent groups are "mostly fronts for the United Federation of Teachers or other unions which are really out to stop student test data from being used to expose some teachers as unfit." The statement is blatantly false.

In the spring of 2004 our Coalition for Better Education, Inc. ( http://www.thecbe.org) forwarded a ballot initiative to put the elimination of high stakes standardized testing on the November 2004 ballot in Colorado. In order to gain support, on a number of occasions I attempted to contact the National Education Association. Every attempt was foiled. Never did I have the opportunity to talk to a union leader. On one occasion I managed to have something that did not quite rise to the level of a conversation with an NEA representative. This person, who was unwilling to identify herself, stated that the association position was to "work with legislators to craft an appropriate testing regimen."

The truth is that teacher associations have betrayed the profession. Teachers know the harms of high stakes standardized testing. Teachers know that this regimen has nothing to do with meaningful educational policies which seek to dignify the autonomy of our children and recognize their talents, their needs, and their individual spark. Now at last after a generation of high stakes standardized testing has seen only the further marginalization of our society are parents, educators, and citizens together raising their voices against this regimen so antithetical to the true purpose of education. All this done with the voice of union leadership conspicuously absent.

Respectfully submitted,

Don Perl

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