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[Susan notes: ]

Submitted to The Argus but not published
12/05/2002

To the editor

I appreciated the balance of your article (http://www.theargusonline.com/Stories/0,1413,83~1968~1027170,00.html

Fremont schools drop general English class; College prep required for graduation; some worry rigor will leave some students behind)--you let both camps be heard.



Nonetheless, the story is deeply distressing: The policy says "Everybody reads Moby Dick and writes research papers--or else!"



As a longtime teacher of noncollege-bound English classes, I'd be first in line to advocate making those classes more vital. But dumping the kids into college prep English is not the answer. I wonder why we never see a call for English for Democracy, a course that would draw on the strengths and, god-help-us, the interests, of the students.



The arrogance of people claiming that "those kids" just need to work a little harder is indefensible. Plenty of kids need alternative approaches. To insist that "one size fits all," demeans all of us.



Susan Ohanian


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