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[Susan notes: Here is a great, positive answer to the Bush proposal for NCLB testing in high school. This letter could well give a journalist an idea for a story about the Library Trust Fund. Could and should.]

Submitted to Time Magazine but not published

To the editor

President Bush wants to expand No Child Left Behind to high school ( “No … teenager left behind, “ January 24) and proposes spending nearly one billion dollars for developing new tests and for rewarding teachers. A special focus of this plan is adolescent literacy. I have a suggestion: Invest the one billion instead in a trust fund, and spend the interest on improving school and public libraries.

The best predictor of reading scores among adolescents is the amount of reading they do that they choose themselves, and research also tells us that when teenagers have access to interesting reading material, most, in fact, read. The real problem is that those from low-income families have little access to reading material at home, at school, and in their communities. Improving libraries, especially in low-income areas, is the most direct and powerful means of helping these


We already have valid means of determining high school achievement; the current plan calls for additional, unnecessary tests that will continue to drain our funds and that will take valuable time from the school day. The Library Trust Fund is a one-time investment that will pay dividends forever.

Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, USC

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