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[Susan notes: It is especially gratifying to see such an informed, albeit painful, call for NOT reauthorizing NCLB from a parent.]

Published in Capital Gazette
01/06/2007

To the editor


To my elected officials: do you know what real-life effects spring from

your signatures? My youngest daughter's transition into high school

coincided with the No Child Left Behind epidemic, and watching her change

from a bright, enthusiastic, curious student to one who hates school has

been painful. She has been driven to an intensity of cynicism beyond her

age by rote memorization of factoids for incessant tests, by lessons with

no other objective than to accumulate meaningless scores for meaningless

benefits.



You will hear coded phrases such as "educational rigor" and "closing the

gap," but as with other uninformed plans unilaterally inflicted on us by

the Bush administration, NCLB, a military-style education plan cobbled

together by a lawyer and an administrator with no education experience,

these phrases are rotten carrots with real-life sticks that are devastating

for my daughter and her teachers, for thousands of other students and

teachers, for education generally, and for public education, long range.



At a time when achievement is inflated and politicized, "rigor" doesn't

address higher-order thinking, nor is its practice closing any gaps; test

results from oversized school districts are manipulated for the benefit of

local real estate markets and tax revenues; and good teachers are being

forced to carry out the dictates of this act in silence, at the risk of

their jobs.



In competition with higher-profile issues, the education of our children is

not as compelling, unfortunately. Few parents are aware of the damaging

effects this federal program has had on the daily lives of our children.

But, my daughter is suffering, and I join the voices that protest this

program and demand that you, as a parent and an elected representative, do

some research, ask your children about their school lives, and do not

reauthorize NCLB.



Mike Pittard


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