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[Susan notes: This letter makes important global points and then personalizes it to specific schools.]

Published in Journal Sentinel

To the editor


Earlier testing prescription for failure

In an ongoing effort to further diminish the validity of high stakes testing, the state bureaucrats, in all their wisdom, moved the testing date up to November ("Earlier tests put pressure on schools," Oct. 7).

Now, let's take a look at what this really does. Middle schools, for example, are evaluated on the test scores of sixth graders who have been in their school for less than three months as well as the scores of seventh and eighth graders who are only one-third through their curriculum.

Even worse, teachers have to scramble to adjust their curriculum to force-feed students memorized data in time for the test. These rigid time frames, already damaging to children, are now designed to increase failure, leaving even more children behind.

It's time to come to our senses and replace this madness with real assessment, done as part of the classroom curriculum. Assessment that is ongoing, using timelines as guidelines for success rather than deadlines for failure. Assessment that allows time for a common-sense curriculum so children at Bell Middle School can learn useful math and students at Bruce Guadalupe Community School can understand their culture in a meaningful way.

It's time to design schools for children, not for politicians.

Eldon Lee


Eldon Lee

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