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[Susan notes: ]

Published in San Francisco Chronicle

To the editor

Bravo to The Chronicle for truly listening to teachers. Your editorial points out that "teachers spend less time on social studies and art, less time on field trips, less time on 'project-based' curriculum." But you fail to connect this to the devastating harm that state and federally mandated high-stakes testing is wreaking on our schools.
From the discriminatory California high school exit exam to the nationalized testing imposed by "No Child Left Behind," the testing craze is threatening to destroy education as we know it -- over the strong objections of numerous teacher organizations.

In June, our school board established a task force that is investigating alternatives to the testing mandates. Teachers and parents are centrally involved, as are special education and immigrant-rights advocates. Yet San Francisco Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has halted progress of the task force fearing it may make recommendations critical of the federal and state mandates.

We must listen to and respect teachers as crucial stakeholders in all our educational reform efforts.

Eric Mar, San Francisco Board of Education

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