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[Susan notes: This teacher employs good use of detail to make important point.]

Published in Los Angeles Times

To the editor

After seven years of teaching English and journalism at Rosemead High School, my alma mater, I see education suffering from an

all-consuming culture of test-taking. In these past several years I have administered and/or prepared my students for such tests as TAP,

STAR, SAT I & II, ACT, CAHSEE, GSE and AP, many of which have been discarded or revamped due to the swinging pendulum of fickle education theory. Because administration is under immense pressure to show constant improvements in test scores, teachers and students alike find themselves in an unhealthy and pressure-filled competition

that loses its focus on learning. As state content standards have become the priority, I find myself with far less time to teach the

ideas in the literature and push the kids to think critically.

Either the student becomes a test-taking savant or he or she is forced to the periphery and reclassified, or worse. I became a teacher in order to be a positive force in the lives and development of the children who sit in the very same classrooms I did just a decade or so ago. What I am becoming instead is a Pavlovian automaton ringing bells to see how well the salivating students perform on Scantron tests.

Eric Burgess

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