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[Susan notes: A teacher speaks her mind. Good for her! We need more!!]

Published in Washington Post
11/15/2003

To the editor



Regarding the Nov. 8 front-page story "Education 'Miracle' Has a Math Problem":



The consequences of touting Houston schools as "models" reach as far as the school where I teach in Silver Spring. Looking beyond the bad press for Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige and the Bush administration, schools across the country are being punished by the No Child Left Behind Act, which is an outgrowth of this Houston school model.



The "failing" school where I teach has to offer private tutoring to students after school, the choice of attending a different school and, as of a few weeks from now, an hour of scripted reading intervention every day. Thanks to the Reading First initiative we will move away from a balanced literacy curriculum, which is taught in every respected graduate education program, and instead will be using a phonics-based, scripted reading program.



The No Child Left Behind Act is labeling schools as "failing" solely based on test scores. As a teacher at one of these "failing" schools, I can say that the scores are a gross misrepresentation of the incredible progress that our students make every day.





Versha Munshi


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