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[Susan notes: Good for Mr. Proietta. ]

Published in Philadelphia Inquirer

To the editor

Re: "Charter schools fall short in testing," Oct. 16:

Once again the press is being hoodwinked by the Bush administration. The No Child Left Behind Act is ill-conceived, rushed, and just plan nonsense. It's another administration promise that won't be kept. The people who brought us weapons of mass destruction, Michael Brown's Federal Emergency Management Agency and record deficits have pushed an "apples and oranges," one-size-fits-all disaster on public education. Teach to the test, forget socialization, the arts, and languages; we don't need them any more. This is the Bush era, when excellence is measured by cronyism or whether the political right likes what you're doing.

At Community Academy charter school, our 11th graders were recorded as not proficient in PSSA reading at just 12 percent, but they scored 65 percent proficient in PSSA writing. Who are those 53 percent who can write but cannot read? Are the tests valid for such a serious purpose? NCLB discourages schools from working with the most problematic students and families - the ones Bush proclaims NCLB was meant to serve.

NCLB leaves no room for comprehensive schools such as Community Academy or Hope Charter that work with inner-city youths. Charter schools were designed to be experimental and to deal with the tough problems of society, but instead they are measured by tests and curricula designed by state committees or the federal government. It insults, demeans and slanders hard-working teachers who toil among the most challenging field of education.

Joseph H. Proietta, CEO Community Academy of Philadelphia

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