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[Susan notes: The letter writer exhorts teachers: Teachers, stand up and insist that you be allowed to be a professional instead of a pawn in a system that is destroying your profession. Your voices together can make a difference and move mountains.]

Published in Naples Daily News
04/04/2008

To the editor

Yes! Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test rears its ugly head once again to make a mockery of our attempt to teach children to love learning and be hungry to learn more. Learning is not just for now, but for the rest of their lives.



Little ones come to school eager to learn about the world around them. Then come those FCATs ΓΆ€” six months of pressuring the children to learn what they will need to know on the test.



Why? Because, as letter-writer P.T. Woodhouse points out on March 21, teachers can be fired or schools defunded, principals removed, or humiliated by public exposure of a single grade given to that school. It's called "high stakes testing."



Yes, monitoring progress of our children's work is essential. But we must use the results of our monitoring for improving our teaching methods and our understanding of the child who we are teaching. It takes constant appraisal ΓΆ€” not a single test. Each of us learns differently, and it takes a variety of ways to introduce new knowledge into the lives of children who come from such diverse backgrounds. A pluralistic society demands pluralistic approaches. Publishing test scores and rewarding the highest schools and punishing the lowest ones ill-serves our need to cultivate educated and creative citizens to make the world a better place.



Teachers, stand up and insist that you be allowed to be a professional instead of a pawn in a system that is destroying your profession. Your voices together can make a difference and move mountains.



Do away with "high stakes testing"!



Miriam Silver


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