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[Susan notes: Robert Kay makes such an important point. How many of us would subject ourselves to doing what schools demand?]

Submitted to Philadelphia Inquirer but not published

To the editor

It's about time that we read a headline that said "No kidding: No finals" (News, June. 15)

Because it's safe to say that there's not one, single, solitary adult anywhere in the United States who would let the government force them into a school building for a mere one hour a week, have them study some obscure subject mandated from on high, require a final exam, and then make their future career in large part dependent on passing the course.

That is, we're doing to the young what they wouldn't DARE do to us.

And the results show it: -- Fear, boredom, confusion, resistance, anger, and failure are widespread. Basic skills are pathetic. Nationally, just one-third of high-school seniors are proficient readers.

Meanwhile, from K through graduate school, virtually all subject matter is happily forgotten just as soon as summer rolls aroiund.

The solution: - "Stop Schooling - Start Educating" just as they did with our Founding Fathers, and now with every toddler in every home where they're rarely quizzed and never tested.

The result: - rapid, effective, enthusiastic, need-driven and curiosity-based learning -- especially if we turn off the electronic screens and then STIMULATE and INTEREST them by reading aloud from GOOD books, newspapers, magazines, and by then using objects, mathematical games, printing letters about important things to important people, chit-chat, sports, and with trips to libraries, museums etc., and other kinds of non-schooly stuff.

In the meantime, the unfortunate downside is that I might very soon be out of a job and politicians might be asked a few pointed questions!

Robert E. Kay, MD, psychiatrist

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