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[Susan notes: Three cheers. No, three hundred cheers! We MUST force corporate-politicos to address issues of poverty instead of tinkering with testing. Or the funding of testing.]

Published in Education Week

To the editor

It was gratifying to read William A. Proefriedt’s Commentary "Outsider

in the Locker Room" (Dec. 6, 2006) after so many years of suppression

of the opinions, views, and, indeed, even the research findings of all

those educators who attempt to discuss socioeconomic-status factors in

student achievement, only to be ruthlessly shouted down.

Teachers who are willing to speak of these issues are told in a variety

of ways that they are not confident in the abilities of students who

have historically done poorly in school, or have left without

graduating. Worse, it might be implied that these teachers are racists

who hold negative views about the children of ethnic minorities. All to

support the notion that simply upholding standards, planning lessons

“aligned” with standards, and measuring outcomes according to the

standards is enough. Mention children who lack sufficient food, sleep,

or a place to call home, who have no books or access to books, or

suffer the effects of poverty in other ways, and you may find yourself

accused of espousing a deficit view of them.

I concur with others who believe that the nation’s children would be

far better served by investment in initiatives to address poverty than

in more standards programs or standardized testing in schools.

Juliet Luther, Bilingual Educator/ESL Specialist

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