Teach youth how to think, not how to take tests
In response to the July 13 editorial "Don't Leave 'No Child' Act Behind": Whatever good comes from the No Child Left Behind Act, when it results in my son's teachers all saying that their goal is "to make sure your child passes the end-of-grade tests," the act is not working.
The goal of public education in the US must not be to pass tests.
The goal must be to teach children how to think, read, write, do math, and to appreciate history, science, the arts, and language skills. They should gain workplace skills and a love of learning.
The act's good intentions are not enough. NCLB has gotten lost in testing. It needs to be done away with and a fresh start made with a "no test" rule.
Measurements are good, but not as goals. Measure graduation rates, measure college acceptances, measure local employer satisfaction with graduates, watch SAT scores if you must, but don't build a house of tests.
The No Child Left Behind Act begets "one-size fits all" and "throw money at it" solutions to our nation's problems with educating our youth. With its inflexible standards, NCLB fails to address differences.
Our society includes immigrants from all over the world - with diverse languages, dialects, backgrounds, values, and ethics. Some communities have children speaking languages from several ethnic backgrounds.
Some families are burdened with unemployment, partial employment, seasonal employment, or with a situation in which both parents need to work and aren't home for the children.
The NCLB demands that teachers teach for the tests - which means no creative teaching.
Yes, there is a teacher shortage. Under this regimen, talented teachers get discouraged.
Most teachers I know teach because they love the children. It is hard, often grueling, and challenging work, yet most satisfying.
We need to ask ourselves why the private and charter school numbers keep growing.
Regarding the July 18 article, "What lurks inside video games": If a child - someone below the age of 17 - has a copy of "Grand Theft Auto" or any M-rated game, someone over 17 got it for him or her.
Four years ago, when I was 16 and wanted to get a copy of "Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction," a tamer M-rated title, the store wouldn't sell it to me.
I know the industry is strict about whom it sells M-rated titles to. M-rated games are for the mature and sold only to the mature.
If children have copies, then it is the fault of their parents or other adults around them, not the fault of the industry.
I would like to correct one point of the fine June 29 article, "A livelihood on the water at risk."
The writer states that Lubek, Maine, is "the easternmost tip of America." This is not so. The title belongs to Semisopochnoi, a small member of the Rat Islands Group of the Aleutian Islands. Semisopochnoi is just west of the 180 degree longitudinal line; therefore it claims the title of the most eastern part of America.
As a former Air Force pilot, and later as a pilot for Reeve Aleutian Airways back in the '50s, I have flown that route many times while stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. Thanks for allowing me some fun with this geographical question.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.