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[Susan notes: Excellent letters make great points to rebut the NY Times miserable editorial on No Child Left Behind.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

No Child Left Behind is difficult to put into effect because it is a bad law. It assumes that our teachers are lazy, that our children are stupid and that we parents are too ignorant or uninterested to care.

It assumes that all children are the same and can be taught in the same way. It does not take into consideration that some children have learning disabilities or language barriers.

This law is not about accountability. If it were, the emphasis would be on real teaching and learning, not on test taking, "drill to kill" and a narrowed curriculum.

If the emphasis really were on accountability, we would see innovation and creativity in the classroom. If this law were really about improving our public schools, it would be fully financed.

Diane Singer

Anaheim Hills, Calif., April 6, 2005

To the Editor:

The problem with No Child Left Behind is not the government's failure to finance the law. Good education does not have to be measured in dollars.

The question we should be asking is: How and why do we measure "adequate yearly progress" with standardized tests, without also examining the social, emotional and even spiritual progress of our children?

As you say, closing the gap between white and minority students must remain "sacrosanct." Leveling the playing field through a more creative curriculum would foster greater communication among groups and a healthier society.

Karen R. Green

Bronx, April 5, 2005

The writer was an elementary school teacher.

To the Editor:

Suggesting that opponents of the No Child Left Behind law "simply don't want to make the effort" to improve schools unfairly maligns the education profession.

I am a mathematician who has worked with teachers and teachers-to-be for more than three decades. In my work in a San Francisco elementary school over the past few years, I have seen dedicated and creative teachers forced to choose between what they know is best in the long run for their students - meaningful and in-depth understanding - and the trivia that dominates the tests.

The outcome is sad, especially because their students, mostly poor and Hispanic, are among those that the law was supposed to protect.

Dan Fendel

Piedmont, Calif., April 5, 2005

The writer is a professor of mathematics at San Francisco State University.

To the Editor:

The No Child Left Behind law is not preparing young people for the future. We need students who understand big ideas and are politically astute citizens, as well as independent and creative thinkers, problem solvers, researchers and scientific investigators.

Elliott Seif

Philadelphia, April 5, 2005

The writer was director of curriculum services for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, a county agency.

multiple authors

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