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[Susan notes: This fine letter nicely upends the medical model so popular with Standardistos.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposal to use standardized tests on the city’s youngest students is a dangerous mistake, akin to a doctor’s prescribing a drug knowing that research has proved it ineffective and often harmful for young patients (“A Plan to Test the City’s Youngest Pupils,” news article, Aug. 27).

The National Association for the Education of Young Children says standardized achievement tests should not be used before third grade. Paper-and-pencil tests produce highly erratic results for these students. Forcing them to sit for long test-taking sessions is emotionally stressful and educationally useless.

Like President Bush, Mr. Bloomberg perpetuates the illusion that standardized tests are necessary for evaluating young children and their schools. Congress, however, scrapped the Head Start testing program, over Mr. Bush’s objections. There are many effective, beneficial ways for teachers to evaluate young pupils, starting with in-class assessments by teachers. Parents, educators and the public must rise up and stop this destructive scheme.

The writer is a policy analyst with the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.

Lisa Guisbond

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