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[Susan notes: Here's a good letter that reminds readers of the history behind a standardista's current remarks.]

Submitted to USA Today but not published

To the editor

Chester E. Finn Jr., one of the most dedicated proponents of the standards and high stakes testing movement, now has the gall to rail against the fact that public school textbooks are busting at the seams with a meaningless assortment of state content standards [Today's textbooks offer an unhealthy diet of history 3/24/04].

It is no wonder that Mr. Finn can "feel the pain" of our public school students as they lug around these fat, joyless textbooks -- because he was so instrumental in causing that pain through his relentless and unquestioning advocacy for one-size-fits all statewide educational standards linked to dumbed down, fill-in-the bubble state standardized tests.

Mr. Finn is currently working on the "American Diploma Project," which has tasked itself with establishing nationally aligned high stakes graduation standards. I can hardly wait to find out how much our kids' backpacks will weigh when he is through with his current endeavor.

Sue Allison

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