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[Susan notes: This good letter is in response to a New York Times editorial.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

Although I disagree with your opinion (Editorial, 3/2/04) of the motives of both the Bush administration in pushing the No Child Left Behind

Act (NCLB) and the National Education Association (NEA) in opposing it, motives are not the issue. Results are. So far, NCLB has, proportionally,

done the most harm to the poor and minority students it purports to help, by denying so many of them graduation, holding them back in grade, pushing them out of school, and offering them test prep instead of good teaching. So far, instead of putting a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, NCLB has driven the best teachers toward affluent suburban schools or premature retirement, offered early career teachers "training" in how to parrot scripted programs, tarnished the reputations of experienced teachers who are teaching courses in addition to the ones they are certified for, and

facilitated the issuance of "quickie" licenses to those who think they "might like" to teach. What new wonders does this deceitful and vicious law

have in store?

Democrats are talking about the under-funding of NCLB because that is what members of the public who do not have children in school can most easily understand. Many politicians of both parties know--as Howard Dean was not afraid to say--that money alone can't transform this sow's ear into a silk purse. The repeal of NCLB, with all its ugliness and stupidity, and replacing it with true education reform should be the goal off all Americans who sincerely care about education.

Joanne Yatvin

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