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[Susan notes: Finally, someone dares to point out that the Standardista emperor smashes all hope for curriculum success.]

Published in New York Times
01/10/2005

To the editor

Having taught for five years in a small high school in New York City, I would argue that the city's new themed schools face an uncertain future because they are required to prepare all students to pass the Regents exams.



This requirement paralyzes new teachers, precludes curricular innovation and ensures that the schools will fail to realize their vision of engaging classrooms, committed to depth and expertise.



It is possible to teach standard subject matter through a thematic lens (imagine learning about ancient Egypt through its architecture); it is impossible to do so meaningfully while covering 5,000 years of world history in 10 months.



As long as the testing requirement stands, teachers will remain novices in their fields, and students will remain bored.

Abby Reisman


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