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[Susan notes: This is an elegant letter that says it all.]

Published in Houston Chronicle

To the editor

Regarding the Feb. 18 Page One article, " 'School will be harder' in HISD / Sixth-graders face pre-AP English class next year": "Harder" and "difficult" are no substitutes for stimulating and thought-provoking experiences with literature, grammar, writing and publishing. Successful and struggling students, alike, know the difference and respond to intriguing intellectual challenges by wanting to know more and do more. This is how effective advanced-placement programs are built and sustained.

Pre-AP classes are a silly idea and are not offered in other good schools across the country because those districts are busy concentrating on curriculum that builds an appetite for rigor and complexity in all children of every background. This is not an easy task, but it can be done when adults step out from behind hyped-up headlines and standardized test scoreboards to imagine and design instructional programs for hungry minds.

Houston Independent School District, please use what is available right now to electrify and enliven.

Kathy Irwin

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