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[Susan notes: Another response to Ruben Navarrette Jr. and his continuing assault by editorial on teachers, parents, or anyone who gets in the way of his devotion to NCLB.]

Published in San Diego Union-Tribune

To the editor

Comment from Annie: I just couldn't read a tirade like this and not continue to offer up a garlic amulet.

In response to the March 1, 2006 editorial essay by Ruben Navarrette Jr. (San Francisco Chronicle

2006-03-01, The power of no excuses.)

We can do better for our teachers and our students than to standardize away attention to the variety of styles, interests, and abilities of both.

We can design a better vision than one that holds a minority child or group accountable for the failure of a school. We can create a better plan than to have our brightest students in a program of study that is geared for minimal "proficiency" and memorization on standardized tests, that excludes the expansive spontaneity of creative debate and discovery.

And, we can do much better than to spend hours training our least able children to bubble answer sheets to cheat the system as well as the child. We can use new and creative methods to help stimulate a joyful quest for knowledge and resist the boring, rote, and meaningless learning that is geared toward a limited and small-minded outcome that substitute for real learning.

Yes, our students need to learn basic skills, but more importantly, they need to learn to think independently, to reason, to be honest and thoughtful, and to decipher and apply the principles and values of our democracy. These are the skills they will need to become informed citizens in a society that will require their participation.

With the imposition of and adherence to the NCLB act, neither the rhetorical nor statistical manipulation can recover the many losses suffered by our students, our teachers, and our system of public education.

Anne E. Levin Garrison

Annapolis, Md.

Anne E. Levin Garrison

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