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[Susan notes: This is such a great letter that I have posted it here and in another section. This parent cuts to the chase: state tests are smothering any pretense of education. And it isn't just Texas. ]

Published in Amarillo Globe News

To the editor

My third-grade son recently passed his reading TAKS test. Though relieved, I feel more like crying than celebrating. I canít rejoice over something so harmful to our educational system. It is tragic that our Texas educational system has turned into a ridiculous political game of test scores.

Since the first week in kindergarten, my son has been getting ready for this test. In the past four years, he has done hundreds of test prep worksheets. Thousands of dollars have been spent on teacher training and test prep material. Countless hours of valuable class time have been wasted.

This type of instruction completely contradicts what research says is best for learning and brain development. We have allowed politicians to control the evaluation of students, teachers and schools based on one standardized test score.

The TAKS test is a waste of time and money. It puts undue pressure on students and teachers. The scores mean nothing to me. Our kids deserve a meaningful education with creative and multi-sensory learning experiences in which learning styles are respected and individual needs and interests are met. Lifelong learning and productivity should be the goal - not just one test score. For more info go to www.opposetaks.com

KayDonna Wolfcale

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