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[Susan notes: Here is a terrific letter making use of specific details to show how test prep deprives students of an education.]

Published in Pensacola News Journal

To the editor

Pensacola News-Journal

Letters to the editor Oct. 31, 2006

It's time to spay the FCAT

Charlie Crist promises to "stay the course" at the helm of Florida education's "ship of fools," hailing the virtues of testing 5-year-olds and spewing meaningless statistics.

The head of the House Education Committee, Ralph Arza, is preoccupied with drinking and issuing racial slurs against those who oppose him.

Education Commissioner John Winn wants to hold children to a standard that is measured by temporary workers who don't even have college degrees.

My daughter, Victoria, is a freshman at Washington High School. She tells me that at least 20 percent of the class time in her honors biology class will be devoted to FCAT prep. One-fifth of the entire course -- time that could be used for learning oh, I don't know, BIOLOGY?

Assuming a 36-week school year, this means that more than seven weeks are devoted to teaching material that bears no relevance to the actual course.

Her word: "DUH!"

Jim Davis indicates he will work to change the way we use the FCAT. He wants to see it used as a diagnostic tool rather than the current one-dimensional measure of a child's ability.

Don't let party politics cloud good judgment. My vote for governor is going to Jim Davis.

Lara McKnight

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