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I am an educator. I have taught second and third grade children for over 29 years. I have a Masters degree and 45 hours beyond. I have a passion for education and yet, I can't wait to retire.

I am energized when I teach, yet I am frustrated, disgruntled, disappointed and discouraged when I am forced to teach under state and federal guidelines that know nothing about my classroom.

Education needs a systemic change and NCLB is not the way to get there. It was refreshing to hear Mike Rose talk about education and testing. His years of research and my years in the classroom have discovered the same result. Assessments test for different things and are useful in their own right, however standardized testing does not reflect the amount of sleep the child got the night before because the mom worked until midnight. Nor does it reflect what is being taught in the classroom. Recently I attended a workshop where the teachers were being blasted to include Higher Order Thinking Skills. (Bloom's Taxonomy came out in the 50s) as if teachers did not want to teach thinking. But thinking is not assessed on a test of multiple choice. When curriculum has to be covered in a timely fashion there is not time to go deep. We can't burn the candle at both ends...cover it quickly and deeply.

I so want reform in education and I do not want politicians to be doing the reform. I want two groups to be equally represented to make the change. The first and foremost group would be teachers. NO ONE asks teachers what can be done. No administrator, no college educator, no School Board member, no Senator or Representative has surveyed the staff. How can these people speak for education when they are NOT doing the educating? Because everyone has at one time or another been in school, it somehow deems that they know what needs to be done. I do not conclude the same after having several appointments with a doctor, but unfortunately the teaching profession is not respected in the US by our government, our community or our students.

The second group I think needs to be involved in NCLB reform are people like Mike Rose, Robert Marzano, Jay McTighe, etc. people who have spent their lives researching and asking questions and forming conclusions.These people need us, the practitioners, to test their theories in the classroom. We need to be working side by side and we need to be the ones shaping the reform.

It is a shame that the educational world cannot look at the resource it has in teachers. Not all teachers do nothing or are incapable.

I appreciate your efforts in keeping education, the striving for intellectual growth, and progress in our country in the forefront.

Diane Bodnar