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[Susan notes: This excellent letter points to the overstandardization of current education policy.]

Published in Christian Science Monitor

To the editor

The Nov. 18 article "Education pick comes from inside Bush circle" makes clear to me not only the origin of the ironically named No Child Left Behind Act, but also the great tragedy in its adoption and promotion even by those who had great goodwill and the best of intentions.

The view in these reforms is that we can mold children into a uniform model of desired and expected abilities. Those who don't meet our expectations we shunt aside as behavioral problems or unworthy candidates. So we begin to mold criminals, "failures," and dropouts rather than training critical thinkers, creative personalities, and other successfully adaptive persons who are not necessarily in the preferred or expected mold.

The real problem in this revision and overstandardization of public school policy is that we have not approached these children from the very beginning as individuals, each deserving our recognition and respect. Only then can they respect themselves, their peers, and authority, and develop their full potential. Behavior and discipline can be imposed, but respect and love must be earned, and are learned only by example.

By failing to teach these qualities in the new system, we fail a great many more children than those we previously left behind.

William Weimholt

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