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[Susan notes: As always, Don writes a great letter. The link to democracy is critical.

Please write your own letter, remembering to cc: Randi Weingarten, head of the United Federation of Teachers.



Submitted to but not published

Dear Chancellor Klein

Dear Mr. Klein:

On behalf of our Coalition for Better Education, Inc. (www.thecbe.org), I would like to add my voice to the others who are raising theirs on behalf of principled educator Doug Avella whose students boycotted the high stakes standardized testing program.

The more one studies the impact of high stakes standardized testing, the more one comes to the conclusion that this regimen is decimating public schools and the egalitarian principles on which our public school systems are based. Erudite scholars such as Jonathan Kozol (The Shame of the Nation) David G. Berliner (The Manufactured Crisis and Collateral Damage), Alfie Kohn (The Case Against Standardized Testing, Raising the Scores and Ruining the Schools), and Susan Ohanian (One Size Fits Few and Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools) have examined in detail the consequences of high stakes testing and the results are indisputable.

Our children are increasingly marginalized, and the over-emphasis of their scores on a grid has taken the place of developing co-operative, compassionate and thoughtful citizens so necessary for a healthy, democratic society.

Oscar Wilde wrote, "Disobedience is our original virtue. Through disobedience progress is made-through disobedience and through rebellion." What educator Avella and his students have done is raise our awareness of the harms of high stakes testing, and in so doing they have inched forward the wheel of history. I implore you to acknowledge this teacher's contribution to our profession, to our children, and to our fragile democracy.

Respectfully submitted,

Don Perl

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