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[Susan notes: The letter writer points to the major purpose of NCLB--setting up public schools for failure--in a way the average reader can understand.]

Published in Salt Lake Tribune

To the editor

'F' for NCLB

The fact that 27 percent of Utah's schools have been declared failing under No Child Left Behind, up from 18 percent last year, ought to make us ask whether our schools have really plummeted this much in a single year, or whether there's something wrong with the law itself.

NCLB seems to be based on two assumptions: that the nation's schools are failing on an unprecedented scale, and that nothing but massive federal regulation (670 pages worth, to be exact) can save them. Little evidence has been given to support either assumption.

By punishing entire schools simply because a handful of learning-disabled or English-as-second-lan- guage students didn't pass a standardized test, by failing to track the progress of individual students, and by neglecting to provide adequate resources to really help struggling students, NCLB sets our schools up for failure. It is predicted that by 2014, nearly all of the nation's public schools will have been declared failing, making them prime for takeover by private corporations, which is, in fact, one of the provisions of the law.

NCLB is up for reauthorization this year. Utahns need to urge their representatives in Congress to fix this fundamentally flawed law.

Blair Bateman

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