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[Susan notes: The writer gets in a good zinger of a final line.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re "Now, Standardized Achievement Tests in Head Start" (Education page, Oct. 29):

As principal of a public high school, I note daily how detrimental the No Child Left Behind law's overemphasis on standardized testing is to our educational mission.

You report how a "nervous" preschooler "tentatively" responded to a question incorrectly and how the principal, who was administering the test, was "not allowed" to respond. In another instance, a 4-year-old responded to a test question by starting a conversation about the item. The adult's preprogrammed response was to proceed to the next question.

These examples reveal how this law works against the most basic tenets of child development and good pedagogical practice. This approach extends to high school students where, in the name of test preparation, little time or encouragement is allotted to deep inquiry, research or conversation. For the sake of our young, we need to overturn policies that are actually leaving more children behind.

Vincent Brevetti

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