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[Susan notes: Super letter!! Yes, I know what critics will say but I think this point is strong: If businesses based their business models on what they want their customers to be instead of who their customers are, they'd go bankrupt. Starting where students are doesn't mean settling for that.]

Published in USA Today
02/08/2006

To the editor

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is kidding herself when she says she understands public schools because she has a 13-year-old that goes to one, or because President Bush appointed her to this job (Spellings 'living' her job, Life, Jan. 31).



If she really understood schools, she'd see how wrong the No Child Left Behind reform law is. It is wrong to have legislation based on some artificial and arbitrary levels of success determined by taking standardized tests that all students are expected to achieve, regardless of their background, ability or motivation. She'd see how unfair it is to have legislation that puts no responsibility on the student or parent for the child's academic success.



If she really understood public high schools, she'd realize that it's going to take more than just pushing students into colleges to make high schools successful. If businesses based their business models on what they want their customers to be instead of who their customers are, they'd go bankrupt. This explains why many of our high schools, particularly in low socioeconomic areas similar to where I teach, are broken or educationally bankrupting their students.



When are these "smart, college-educated" people and politicians going to get it? For high schools to be fixed, we need to give students what they want and need to be successful, and believe it or not, that goes way beyond just cramming the idea of college down the throats of many who don't want to go there.

Debra Craig


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