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[Susan notes: The letter points to what the Times editorialists ignore: privatization of public schools.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

I am glad to see the Times now questioning some aspects of NCLB (NYT 4/05/05), but I am dismayed at your editorial claim that NCLB requires schools "to erase the achievement gap between white and minority students in exchange for federal dollars." There is no such demand in the NCLB Act, even though the rhetoric from the U.S. Department of Education has been effective in making us believe that is the case.

In fact, in many schools the narrowing of the achievement has remained negligible, even as scores overall have increased in many schools. The sad fact is the low-performing students have suffered the brunt damage from the high-stakes testing hysteria accompanying NCLB, even though more middle class schools will inevitably be labeled as failures, too, as we move toward magic date of 2014 and its fantasy-world goal of every child competent in math and reading. As more and more schools are found to be failing the unrealistic expectations set by AYP, the public's opposition to school privatization will become softened.

When your editorial warns us that backing off these unrealistic demands of NCLB will lead to, yet, another failure "to remake the country's public schools," the point has been missed that the current Administration's agenda is, indeed, to remake the public schools, but it is to be

accomplished by removing the public voice in educating our children.

James Horn

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