More school testing supports textbook publishing

In his opinion piece "Educational tests worth keeping" (June 22), Michael Kean praises the increase in testing of our public school students. It doesn't surprise me that he is so vocal in his support. As vice president at CTB/McGraw-Hill and chairman of the Test Committee of the Association of American Publishers, it would be a surprise if he didn't support them.

The current drive for more testing is great for the textbook and test publishing businesses. With the tests that these publishers help create come revised curriculum to teach what is on the tests. Of course these same publishers are more than happy to provide new (and expensive) textbooks that align with the new curricula. My teachers and administrators are bombarded with new curricula, text books, and practice tests, each guaranteeing to improve the school's scores. All we have to do is buy the latest sure-fire teaching tool.

I don't have a problem with increased accountability for our schools. But gone are the days when a truly creative teacher could take off with an interested group of students and investigate some challenging problem. We now have to make sure everybody is proficient before we can do that.

Accountability is fine, but focusing our entire school structure around testing students is not the way to train our children for the future.

Mark D. Wilkinson Cleveland President, Solon Education Association

UN is still a useful forum

At last I have found a John Hughes opinion piece I can agree with ("Presidential challenge: fix UN," June 21). He writes, "The US cannot run it autocratically." That is exactly what Truman wanted from the UN, and Wilson wanted from the League of Nations. And why the Republicans kept us out of the League and wanted the UN to crash and burn.

The Republicans believe we can achieve a global hegemony (open door empire) without an international front, and achieve it cheaper and easier. I believe both the Democrats and Republicans are wrong. As with all previous efforts of this kind, we are forging an opposition capable of keeping us honest.

Arthur Stier Glastonbury, Conn.

Preserving parental rights

Regarding "A rebuff of grandparents' rights" June 6: I am a grandfather who likes to visit his grandchildren. Their parents are one of my sons and my step daughter. The US Supreme Court decision supporting a parent's right to raise their children without judicial interference encouraged and delighted me. But your jump headline, "Court limits grandparents' right to see grandchildren," missed the real significance of the decision: parents decide who visit their children and not some judge.

Wouldn't it have been as newsworthy to report the decision as a strong and much needed affirmation of parental rights? Every parent should be grateful the high court said "no" to judicial interference with such a basic parental right. This fine newspaper frequently runs articles about special problems of divorced families and about parents who spend too little time with their kids. It is too bad the article ignored the good news for parents and families since there is precious little of it in our society. Too many people seem to believe courts and government hold some higher wisdom on all subjects.

Thankfully, most families will be able to resolve visitation issues by working together for the good of their children and grandchildren.

Tom Palmer Williamsburg, Mich.

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