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[Susan notes: Kudos to this teacher for laying it on the line.]

Published in Alexandria Connection

To the editor

As a teacher beginning a new school year, I will tell anyone that No Child Left Behind has nothing to do with improving education. It requires that schools be evaluated by the test scores of students within racial, economic and ability (special ed.) subgroups.

However, the tests (and pass scores) are the same for all groups, including ESL students who arrived in the U.S. yesterday, and special ed students who may have improved greatly but can't yet pass Algebra or Geometry. This is contrary to everything we know about not leaving children behind. It is painful even to administer the tests to some of these students, who feel that they are failures. Then, NCLB forces the "failing" schools to provide money to send students elsewhere. The students who "take advantage" of this are students who have resources to succeed, and those most needy are left behind in schools with less money. Meanwhile, teachers have been forced to spend many hours administering tests and sorting data rather than working with children. This has nothing to do with leaving no child behind. It is simply a program designed to make public schools, including very good public schools, appear to be failing.

Alice Foltz

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