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[Susan notes: Listing what a community loses when its children are turned into test taking machines, the writer challenges the people of Connecticut to stand up to the federal interference in schools.

A good, strong letter, we need to ask What comes next?]

Published in NewsTimes

To the editor

In response to the Oct. 27 article, "Danbury schools miss NCLB targets":

Danbury has joined the list of school districts that have failed to make "adequate yearly progress" under the No Child Left Behind act. It is a distinction every district will share by 2013 -- being deemed "inadequate" under the law.

The greater concern is the potential to turn our public school students into test-taking machines. Scores may increase as a result. But at what cost? Our progeny will become organic computers that excel on standardized tests, without any passion for a lifetime of learning.

Additionally, our community will become even more divided against itself, as we look to blame the working poor, single parents, minorities, immigrants and the physically and mentally challenged for our failure to achieve "adequate yearly progress."

Our local educators know this and have chosen instead to work diligently to instill a passion for learning in each child.

The Danbury public schools' award-winning curriculum is looked to as a model throughout Connecticut. It is relevant, encompassing and designed to prepare our children for the challenges of tomorrow's world.

And yes, it incorporates testing, but it recognizes it as only one of many tools to help educators and students.

I suggest the people of our state make a bold move. Demand that our elected representatives stand up to the federal government and the Bush administration.

Remind them that Connecticut has one of the best public education systems in the nation. Tell them we are not going to be held hostage by threats of losing federal resources, and we reject the unworkable mandates of NCLB.

Washington needs to fully fund public education in Connecticut, independent of any federal assistance that comes at the expense of doing that which we know is not in the best interest of our children.

John Woodruff Jr.

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