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[Susan notes: I understand this teacher's frustration. I remember my own frustration when talking with the mother of my third grade student who was having such great difficulty in school. I told her I didn't want to give him homework but wondered if she could talk to him about his school day--maybe while fixing dinner, encourage him to open up about what was troubling him. Her answer: "Sure, if he's around. Usually he doesn't show up for dinner."

He was 8 years old. Plenty of my students had tales of watching horror movies until one or two a.m.

Every teacher has these stories.


Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

South Korean students with money go to school twice a day ( The $4 Million Teacher, Review, Aug. 3). My New York City students barely made it in for school once a day. When they did make it in, the morning was spent in a teenage trance, sleeping on the desk and being desperate for food since they had not eaten any breakfast.

When questioned, the students would admit going to bed at two or three in the morning on a regular basis. Trust me, they weren't studying. They also freely admitted that when they left the building, they didn't think about school until the next day. Their families didn't prepare them for school, but now teachers will be rated based on these poor kids' performance.

We were not serving their real needs. Truth was not served. Educational policy makers insist these kids are college bound. To that I say hogwash, not hagwon.

Dianne Stillman

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