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[Susan notes: This is one of the strongest indictments of NCLB I have read. It is short and it cuts to the core.]

Published in The Nation

To the editor

Portland, Ore.

Re: ["Evaluating 'No Child Left Behind,'" May 21]I work in the Reading First program. I can anonymously attest that it is the greatest attack on democracy imaginable. The programs are designed to take the teacher out of the equation. Teachers must spend a minimum of five years learning to deliver the program. Forget about discussing current events or introducing information that does not relate specifically to the anthology. Teachers learn that they must follow orders. If you point out that the program teaches incorrect information (like "more" is the superlative and "most" the comparative, as I noted) you will halt your ascent of the bureaucratic ladder.

Teachers soon begin to pass that message along to students: Don't think; just do what's in front of you. We don't need qualified teachers to implement these programs; we need unqualified teachers. There are two choices for educators like myself: Teach public school and teach the poor how to follow orders, or teach private school and teach the rich how to think for themselves. I can't say this publicly because I would lose my job. We all have to watch what we say.

Name Withheld

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