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[Susan notes: Aha! Could this all be a move to privatize?]

Published in New York Times
09/11/2004

To the editor



The issue of "good" schools being labeled as failures speaks directly to the flaw in supposedly strict standards of accountability for schools. The mission of the public schools is to produce a literate citizenry. This is a goal that can be met on a variety of levels not easily measured by a standardized test.



Parents who worry if universities will "look down" on their children enrolled in these negatively labeled schools and who worry about real estate values, too, have missed the point of education.



True learning is not a commodity purchased through a school or neighborhood or a test score. The truly educated individual is one who thinks. For more than a generation, there has been a movement afoot to label inner-city schools as failures. Now, public schools in affluent communities are being similarly labeled. Could this be another example of the pressure to privatize?



Barbara M. Simon


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