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[Susan notes: Excellent. We need to bombard the Times with rebuttals to Brent Staples' terrible rants.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

>RE: "The Fine Art of Getting It Down on Paper, Fast," by Brent Staples, May 15:

Corporate imposition of top-down education reforms like NCLB and high stakes testing upon the nation's schools is actually worsening our children's writing. The scripted curricula promoted by leading proponents of these so-called reforms are notorious for their unscientific, grammar-driven approach to writing.

In California, for example, the federally funded Reading First program allows elementary children practically no daily writing time, and provides little more than scripted grammar lessons in the guise of a "writing curriculum." During their professional development classes, Reading First teachers are not even exposed to the large body of research on process writing.

If you want better writing, you should oppose the current corporate stranglehold on our schools. It's time to demand real education reform, which must include adequate funding for child- friendly classrooms, well prepared professionals to teach in them, and an end to micromanaging by businessmen and politicians.

Peter Farruggio, PhD

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