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[Susan notes: Two letters here: the original and the response. The response, printed first, goes beyond the original, providing detail to support its anti-NCLB argument. Imagine: a school with a marquee bragging "We test best." How low can you stoop?]

Published in Tuscaloosa News

To the editor

It’s obvious from his letter applauding President Bush for education reform [9/25/03] that Chip Crowell has not bothered to inquire much farther than the feel-good title of the No Child Left Behind Act. I wonder from his vague generalizations about “quality education" and “new options" if Mr. Crowell has been anywhere near an actual classroom or school where the NCBLA is doing its damage.

Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." The “strong accountability provisions" cited by Mr. Crowell ensure that more and more meaningless counting will go on in our schools.

But test prep is not real learning. Anyone who knows anything about how standardized tests are made, marketed, and misused would be ashamed to brag about test scores, as one local elementary school has done with its marquee proclaiming “We test best."

I challenge parents, educators, and political leaders to go beyond the self-congratulatory headlines and find out what is truly best for our children. We owe them something more than platitudes from presidential press releases and instructions on “bubbling in."

Here's the letter Theresa was responding to.

Applauding education reform

September 25, 2003

Dear Editor: Because of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, our schools are already receiving additional resources and historic levels of federal funding to ensure that students succeed — and more positive changes are on the way.

Recently, the president announced that every state had put in place an accountability plan to ensure that all schools makes progress.

As part of these plans and the No Child Left Behind Act’s strong accountability provisions, school districts will be required to test students and give parents annual report cards. Schools that don’t make progress will offer their students additional services, such as free tutoring, and parents will be given new options.

Through these new reforms, we have a real chance to ensure that every child receives a quality education, and President Bush deserves enormous credit for focusing our nation’s attention on this challenge.

Chip Crowell

Theresa Pappas

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