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[Susan notes: Don's letter appeared in the Greeley Tribune next to an editorial feature article about the closing of John Evans Junior High School/Middle School where he taught for 19 years: "We're sorry to see John Evans close." (The building is to be razed and a new middle school is being built a couple of miles to the west to be called Prairie Heights Middle School.) John Evans is the school where Don became the first teacher in the country to refuse to administer the state-required standardized test.

In 2001, the Denver Post headline read Teacher stands alone, unbowed.

He is still unbowed and no longer alone.]

Published in Greeley Tribune

To the editor

The editorial page of the Tribune for Thursday April 30th carried the opinion of Ross Izard and Ben DeGraw, education policy analysts for the Independence Institute, a free market Denver think tank. They implore policy makers to tread carefully through the labyrinth of proposed legislation intended to quell the outcry against high stakes testing. Indeed the outcry has grown into a massive act of civil disobedience throughout the country. The Colorado Springs Gazette carried this headline of April 30th: "Students Opt Out of Testing in Droves in Some Colorado Springs Schools."

Izard and DeGraw stand by the alleged compromise of student scores comprising 50% of teacher evaluations and issue the warning that legislation not allow for "watering down the 50% requirement." The authors equate assessments with learning. ". . . the requirement to incorporate student learning data finally takes effect this fall." And "These tests provide valuable data to measure the quality of education all students receive. . . ." Herein lies the fallacy. Test scores have nothing to do with learning. Test scores have everything to do with socio-economic status. Educators know this, and they know the hypocrisy of connecting test scores with learning.

Only when our collective conscience is raised to the awareness that these high stakes tests are decimating hopes of a democratic society which embraces its diversities, recognizes and appreciates other cultures and lifestyles, and addresses honestly the overwhelming issues of poverty will we finally realize the fraud of this testing regimen. It is a regimen concocted by multibillionaire corporations reaping enormous profits and destroying the fabric of the concept of public schools: "We are here for everyone." No, Izard and DeGraw are no educators.

Don Perl, The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.

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